How to Find Quality Topological Maps for Free on the Web

Joel Lee 08-09-2016

If you’ve ever searched for free topological maps on the internet, you’ve probably been disappointed by the results. Not many of them exist, and the ones that do are usually poor in quality.


But thanks to National Geographic, we now have access to high-quality topo maps for any location in the continental U.S. These maps are downloadable free of charge and can be printed using any standard home printer.


To get started, visit the National Geographic interactive map and find the location (by address or manual dragging) for which you want a topo map. Find the closest red pointer, click on it, then click on the image to download the map for that area.

When you download one of these topo maps, they come as five-page PDFs. The first page is an overview that shows the zone along with some surrounding context. The other four pages are zoom-ins on each of the four corners. All five pages fit on letter size paper.

These are the same maps that are provided by the U.S. Geological Survey.


What do you use topo maps for? Hiking? Camping? Landscape photography? Tell us about it in a comment below!

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  1. rannxeroxx
    September 12, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the info. This will come in handy for backpacking.

  2. Robert Largent
    September 12, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    These are called "Topographic" maps.

  3. Gail M
    September 11, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    We travel in an RV and use the maps to see the altitude of the backroads we prefer to travel on. (So my husband doesn't scare the shit out of me)