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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Montana USGS Maps Receive Digital Upgrade

You can make your own custom topo maps for free.

by: Abbey Dufoe

image: USGS
image: USGS

Montana's official topographical maps are getting a digital facelift. 

The Missoulian reports that the United States Geological Survey has released digital maps said to be as accurate as the hard-copy maps that hikers and hunters have been using for years.  Users can go onto the U.S. Topo portal and create a customized map for any area in Montana by stitching together as many quadrants as they like.

Users may add or subtract various overlays, including terrain, roads, boundaries and structures. The downloadable maps can be viewed on a desktop, printed, or downloaded to a smartphone. 

Much like Wikipedia, the state's digital maps are heavily dependent on crowdsourcing.  When users see an error or change that needs to be made, they can submit a request and USGS will correct the mistake in its database.

Read more: Missoulian | USGS Map Downloader


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