USGS 1:250,000 Topo Maps

david's Avatar


06 Apr, 2021 08:44 PM

I would like to be able to view the 1:250,000 USGS topo maps in CalTopo. I see from a historic thread ( that this was once a feature but has since been discontinued due to claimed lack of usefulness. This is very much not the case as many routes are large enough that the existing Scanned Topos layer is completely unreadable, where a 1:250k map would provide sufficient detail for an overview-level map. May I suggest that different scale levels of maps be displayed at appropriate zoom levels in order to keep the layer count down as mentioned in the above linked thread. Personally, I would make regular use of either a separate layer or a layer with different scale maps displayed at different zoom levels. I believe that the MapBuilder layer has a similar functionality, but in my area (Alaska), USGS topo maps (up until the ones put out in the last 5 or 10 years) are still the best topo map available at any scale.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Ben Lantow on 07 Apr, 2021 12:47 AM

    Ben Lantow's Avatar

    Hi David,
    The scanned topos are a raster layer of 1:24k topos, most of the topos on that layer are older (paper scans). If you're looking for a layer that changes detail as you zoom MapBuilder Topo is a layer built on digital data so it scales as you zoom in and out, using an updated modern data set.The USFS layer (last updated in 2016 does the same). We do not have any of the digital USGS maps as CalTopo hosted layers at this point in time. We found that using a variety of sources (MapBuilder Topo) offers better overall data quality. CalTopo supports additional features for users to import their own map source either as a custom mapsheet, or a custom layer. I did a quick google for a 1:250k layer source but wasn't able to find one, however if you have a WMS server you can bring in that layer on our platform using directions found at


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