The National Parks of the United States are often compared to, and indeed inspire, works of art.
The national parks of the United States are often compared to, and indeed inspire, works of art. In fact, the USGS has been regularly contributing new and updated works of art for the national parks—maps.
USGS maps in national parks serve a variety of purposes, from planning to hiking to scientific interest. From outer space or beneath the water’s surface, here are some of the masterpieces of USGS maps in the national parks:
Probably the most famous maps of the national parks are the USGS topographic maps. Topographic maps show the elevation of various features in a landscape, such as the height of hills or the depth of valleys.
The USGS has been producing topographic maps since its founding in 1879. As mapping techniques improved, updated maps have been issued. The USGS recently unveiled a repository for all of its historical topographic maps at USGS TopoView.
Topographic maps have had a great many uses for the national parks. Any large-scale geographic development relies on topographic maps to accurately plan where improvements will go. Famous roads in the national parks, such as Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive or Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Road would not have been as successful without accurate topographic maps.
Another important use for these maps is for hikers, who rely on these maps for trail conditions and keeping track of where they are. The national parks have thousands of miles of trails, and USGS topographic maps are a key tool for not getting lost.
National Scenic Trails
As a subset of the topographic maps of national parks, the USGS is hard at work on adding all of the National Scenic Trails to The National Map Products. National scenic trails are those trails that are set aside for their particular national beauty. There are 11 national scenic trails covering parts of at least 32 states.
The most famous is probably the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which extends some 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
We at USGS certainly are inspired by the parks, and, since our founding in 1879, we’ve been regularly contributing new and updated works of art for the national parks—maps. From the classic topographic maps you use to hike the trails, to the cutting edge lidar maps used to track landslide hazards, we’ve got thousands of different maps covering all the national parks, no matter their size
Read more: http://on.doi.gov/1IbeQgs