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Definition: "Maps that present the horizontal and vertical positions of the features represented; distinguished from a planimetric map by the addition of relief in measurable form."
Topographic Map Sets form the backbone of the Map Collection. Sets are collected for every country in the world at various scales, covering various time periods, and in various languages. Topographic maps not only show the relief of the terrain by elevation contours, but contain a wealth of information on cultural features. One of the best ways to see the type of information shown on each map is to study the Topographic Map Symbols used to depict features on the U.S. Geological Survey topographic sets.
U.S. Army Map Service
A period of great growth in the Library's collection came after World War II, when the U.S. Army Mapping Service (AMS) made the Library a depository for its own map publications as well as its distribution of captured maps. AMS sets cover most foreign countries of the world, with major emphasis on European countries. Many AMS Series index maps have been scanned by UC Santa Barbara and can be viewed online. The distribution of captured maps included German topographic sets covering all European countries, northern African countries, and asian countries extending from the Middle East to India. The distribution also provided a large collection of topographic maps produced by the Japanese. These are some of the most detailed maps available for parts of China, especially Manchuria, and for islands of the southwestern Pacific. The scales of AMS and captured maps vary from 1:250,000, 1:50,000, and 1:25,000 and, in general, were mapped during the 1930s-1940s.
U.S. Geological Survey
Some of the major sets received on Depository from the U.S. Geological Survey include those listed below. Additional information on the U.S. Geological Survey's topographic map products is available from the USGS Topographic Maps Homepage.
California Topographic Quadrangle Index
Soviet Military Topographic Maps
The Library's collection includes many topographic map sets issued by the Soviet military. These maps cover much of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe and were mapped at various scales. A list of Soviet Military Topographic Map Sets held by the Earth Sciences & Map Library, as well as the other UC campuses and Stanford University, is available online. For a guide to reading Soviet military topographic maps, including their symbols and abbreviations, refer to the U.S. Army manual Soviet Topographic Map Symbols.
Digital Topographic Map Sets
The Library's collection also includes digital topographic map sets, either purchased in digital format or digitized from our paper maps. An online list of the Library's Digital Topographic Map Sets, which includes sets covering various countries and regions worldwide, is available. Some digital maps can be viewed online.
Sample Topographic Maps
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