Free California Topo Maps
Free California GeoTIFF Maps

  • The Past:
    The Federal Government used your tax dollars to map, in detail, the entire United States. This gigantic undertaking was done by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Every line on every topo map that the USGS produced was drawn in by hand, there were no computers when this project started. Check out the fascinating history of how topo maps are made here. Maps were previously printed and sold at cost, usually around three dollars, at any one of the Major Field Offices.

  • The Present:
    Private companies now own digital copies of the maps. While you can still buy paper copies for around six dollars, digital copies are for sale for a lot more. The maps should be public domain because tax dollars were used to create the maps. The State of California struck up a deal with the federal government to freely store these maps on a server at UC Davis, and freely distrubute.

  • The Future:
    Here you can download all of the topo maps of Calfornia for free. Due to diferences between the NAD27/WGS84 datums (what the topo maps are based on)and the State datum (what the "property line" of the state is based on), the southern edge of Oregon and the western edge of Nevada are also included. There are also a lot more than just topo maps on the California Saptial Information Library's webpage, including bathymetric maps, satellite images, highway plans, census data, geopolitical maps, and much more. There are also several interactive mapping programs on the CaSIL webpage, including DRG Mapsurfer and Geofinder

    7.5-minute Series

    30x60-minute Series

    1x2-degree Series

  • Notes:
  • Useful Mapping Links:
  • Thanks to the Geology Departament at Cal Poly Pomona for giving me the idea and helping me get started.

    Please email me with a correction or suggestion.
    Updated 10 November 2007