September 17, 2011

Historical Topographic Maps

Many of us old-timey cachers, who have been caching since the pre-smartphone era, latched on to this hobby as a result of a pre-existing love of the outdoors. Most of us already had recreational GPS receiver devices that we used for navigating through remote hiking, biking and/or 4x4 trails. When geocaching came along, it just gave us just one more excuse to break out the ol' GPSr.

Of course, most GPSr's back then did not have built-in background maps, so we still had to rely more heavily on the beloved USGS TOPO map to keep ourselves from getting lost. As such, many of us have acquired quite a collection of TOPO maps over the year, myself included.

If you grew up with a, some might call it sick, fondness for TOPO maps, then you might be interested to know that the USGS is converting all of their historical printed topographic quadrangles to an electronic format and making them available for download. This will be a great way to see how much has changed in your area of interest over the years, if at all, as these maps include such wonderful detail. I know I'm looking forward to seeing the railroad alignment that used to run through my neck of the woods long before I arrived here. There is no longer any physical evidence that it ever existed. The only clue I've had up until now, ironically, is from a geocache: Eastport.

Cache On!

1 comment:

David Williams said...

This is great news. I wish the Canadian government would follow suit. I have a decent Garmin Oregon, but I still like to have a good old map and compass, bring on the paper!