New USGS 62k Historic Topo Map

Boyd

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This new map is now available and is sort of the opposite of my 24k Legacy Topo which used the newest available paper maps. The 62k Historic Topo consists of the oldest paper topographic maps from the USGS archives.

https://boydsmaps.com/#15.00/39.643571/-74.649638/historic62k/0.00/0.00

These old maps were drawn at the scale of 1:62,500, with a coverage of 15 minutes (1/4 degree). About a third of the quadrangles were created before 1900 with the earliest dating from 1884 - here's a breakdown by decade

historic_dates.png


This map replaces my smaller 1899 pines topo and any links to that old map will re-direct to the new one. If you had the old topo in your favorite maps list, you will get an alert and have to add the new map. I have not deleted the NJGIN or PASDA historic topo maps however, since they may offer something different (even though this new map has full coverage).

With the default settings, this map should be the second one on the menu (if you're inside the coverage area)

menu.png


I did color correction on my old pines topo to match the different quads, but that just wasn't practical on a map this large. However, I think the new map is an upgrade because almost all the quads are older, with most of them dating before 1890. Have been so busy making the map, I have not studied it very closely. However I did note that it says "Whitings" where the old one was "Whiting" and the new map also has "Shamong" where the old map showed "Chatsworth". :D

There are a total of 712 historic quadrangles (about a million map tiles) with full coverage of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachussets and partial coverage of New York, Virginia and West Virginia. This map is also a work-in-progress that will be expanded to a larger coverage in the future.

Since these are lower-resolution maps, they were processed at level 15 or 4.8-meters/pixel which is more than adequate to capture the full detail of the USGS 300dpi scans. Virginia turned out to be the difficult area to process, about 30 quads were (apparently) never mapped at 62500 scale and I needed to crop them from old 1:125,000 scale maps. You will notice the rather crude level of detail when you zoom into these areas.

As you zoom out, the view switches to the oldest 1:250,000 scale maps that I could find - mostly from the 1940's and 1950's. Some of these old maps are pretty cool, with shaded terrain, for example

https://boydsmaps.com/#12.00/40.518125/-78.373314/historic62k/0.00/0.00

Zoom farther out and you will see my own simple basemap. Just for fun, I tried to create a similar shaded terrain effect.

(edit 10/23) The basemap has been changed in the recent update and now only shows when you zoom out to level 8.

Unfortunately you may have problems accessing this new map if you're a frequent user of the site due to old data cached by your web browser, as discussed with @bobpbx earlier. Try reloading/refreshing the site to see if that helps. Otherwise you may need to clear your browser cache. On a phone you might need to delete the boydsmaps app from your home screen and re-install (you'll find instructions for this in the help menu). Or you could just wait awhile, eventually it will start working all by itself although that might take a few days.
 
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Boyd

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Today this map was updated to add full coverage of Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont - basically the entire Northeast US region (same as the 24k Legacy Topo). Again, you might have cache problems accessing the new map as discussed above. But if everything works correctly, this link will take you to an 1893 map of Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire:

https://boydsmaps.com/#14.00/44.270694/-71.303529/historic62k/0.00/0.00

Screen Shot 2022-10-23 at 5.49.15 PM.png
 
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Boyd

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This map has now been updated with full coverage of Virgina and West Virginia plus partial coverage of Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan (same as the 24k Legacy Topo). The total is now 1436 quadrangles (about 3 million map tiles).

Here's an example from the new section, if this link doesn't work then it's your web browser cache. Clearing the cache should fix this as has been discussed before.

https://boydsmaps.com/#13.00/42.331552/-83.047099/historic62k/0.00/0.00

Interestingly, there are large parts of Michigan where there don't seem to be any 62k historical topos, or any old maps at all. I ended up cropping these from the newer 100k topos which are mostly from the 1980's. For this version, I used the (digital) USGS topo basemap for zoom levels 5 through 8 (same as the 24k Legacy map). Here's the distribution of quad dates for the whole map.

historic_dates.png


One problem in creating these maps is the way USGS provides access to the files. They are on Amazon AWS servers in the form of web pages that cannot be searched or sorted. So it involves doom-scrolling through (literally) thousands of files, trying to spot what you need. I wrote my own software this week to capture the USGS web pages, extract the data and generate my own searchable/sortable download pages. This should save a lot of time as I continue expanding these topos.

A bigger problem is the amount of errors in the USGS shapefiles that serve as an index to the topo maps. These are really below the level of quality I would expect from USGS, they are filled with typographical errors which means the index names don't match the real quad names in the download files, making it hard to automate things. Some of these are predictable, like a quad name of "Saint James" but a filename of St_James, or "Mount Washington" instead of "Mt_Washington". Other errors are less easy to figure out, and can be pretty funny. For example, the correct name of one quad is "Bald Knob" but the index file identifies it as "Bald King". :D
 

Boyd

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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Have just completed an update to this map that extends coverage Westward past Indianapolis (to match the legacy and digital topo's). As I move West, it seems there just aren't so many of these old 62k maps, so I've used the (much newer) USGS 100k topo maps in their place. This update contains 465 new 15-minute quadrangles and I had to do this for about 200 of them. There are also many quads where the historic map only had partial coverage, with the rest blank. I have cropped these by hand and combined them with the newer 100k maps.

I made a change in zoom levels this time - the 62k maps are displayed all the way down to level 12 now and the view switches to the 250k maps at level 11. Previously the 250k maps appeared at level 12. I think I prefer it this way, so we see a bit more of the 62k maps. Would be interested in your opinions of this however.

Usual disclaimers apply, you might have to clear your browser cache to access the new parts of this map. Here's a link to the Udell Hills, an interesting geological feature in Michigan on the new section of the map.

https://boydsmaps.com/#14.00/44.200193/-86.090440/historic62k/0.00/0.00

Here's an updated tally of quad dates

historic_dates.png
 
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