Topographic, Aerial, and Other Online Maps

Q: Where can I find topographic, aerial, and other online maps?

A1: USGS Topographic Maps and Aerial Photo Images:

The Reference Department of the Central branch has a collection of the USGS topographic maps that focus on central California. Please check with the staff at the reference desk for availability.

To view topographic maps and aerial photo images online, there is a webpage of links on the USGS website to a number of business partners that provide free access to digital version of the topographic maps and aerial photo images. Many features and information are added on the online images. A new service on Google's map site shows aerial photos as well as street maps with a search by address. Click on "Satellite" in the upper right corner of the screen, the street map of the location will be replaced with a satellite or aerial photo.

To order maps and aerial images in paper format online, visit the USGS PhotoFinder website for aerial images, and the USGS Store for USGS 7.5 minutes (1:24,000 scale) topographic maps. To order USGS products by mail or by fax, you may print out the order form with Acrobat Reader. Order information is available on the form.

A2: Historical Maps

For local historical maps, please come to the California History and Genealogy Room of the Central branch library.

You may find images of historical maps on many websites of antique map specialists. An example is the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. For non-profit collections, Library of Congress Online Map Collection: 1500-2003, and the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia are two of the outstanding sources of online historical maps.

A3: Lists of Map Sources on the Internet

You may find extensive lists of sources to US and foreign country maps on Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection of University of Texas and Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections of Stanford University.

A4: Online Street Maps

Find an address on a street map, look for driving direction from one place to another, Yahoo!Map and MapQuest are two of the leading mapping sites that provide these free services. If you are looking for an address in a foreign country, check out MultiMap.

A5: Assessor Maps

Search the assessor maps and assessor roll in PDF format by parcel numbers on the Assessor's office homepage. To look for the parcel number of a property, search the "value lookup for real property" with an address on the Assessor's office homepage.

A6: Flood Maps

You can view and print current flood maps with a search by an address and by zooming in on a map. Historical flood maps are arranged by Federal Emergency Management Agency item id, which is identical for different editions of the maps.