USGS Quadrangles (QUADS)

This page briefly describes a free application that runs in the Google Earth desktop client. Please install Google Earth, download QUADS, and return to this page to learn more. Additional documentation is provided by the QUADS white paper.

The principal component of QUADS is a Google Earth network link that plots approximate USGS quadrangle boundaries (Fig. 1) and provides direct access to 121,593 GeoPDF maps, including scans of the last historical paper map in all available grid sizes. All quadrangle balloons contain name, primary state, nominal grid size, scale, imprint year, and file size information with a link to the corresponding GeoPDF map. Use the All maps with this name link to search for older historical maps or newer current maps in the USGS Topographic Map Collection. See also USGS Maps and Topographic Map Symbols.

  1. Position the area of interest (AOI) in the viewer.
  2. Check the box beside the Search Results network link to display quadrangle placemarks and boundaries.
  3. On subsequent uses, reposition the AOI and ensure that the network link is checked and selected. When Refresh Mode is Automatic, search results are refreshed two seconds after camera movement stops. When Refresh Mode is Manual, choose Refresh from the Edit menu, or right-click and select Refresh in the context menu (explain).
Quadrangles are categorized by map series and collected in grid-size subfolders. Coverage includes the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Micronesia, Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, and portions of Canada.


© 2014 Google - Image USGS

Figure 1. USGS Quadrangles

All quadrangle boundaries, balloon information, and linked content are supplied by the USGS. Data errors, accuracy, and availability are beyond the control of this application.

QUADS also includes overlays for topographic-bathymetric, hydrographic, and shaded relief maps.


USGS Topographic Quadrangles

The TopoMaps folder contains two network links that retrieve multiresolution images of USGS topo maps (Fig. 2). TOPO! retrieves images of the National Geographic TOPO! series from the Esri USA Topo Maps server. TNM DRG retrieves images of Digital Raster Graphics from The National Map server. See also Topographic Map Symbols.
  1. Position the area of interest (AOI) in the viewer.
  2. Check the radio button beside the TOPO! or TNM DRG network link.
  3. On subsequent uses, reposition the AOI and ensure that the network link is checked and selected. When Refresh Mode is Automatic, the overlay is refreshed two seconds after camera movement stops. When Refresh Mode is Manual, choose Refresh from the Edit menu, or right-click and select Refresh in the context menu (explain).
TOPO! coverage includes the conterminous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. In addition to the fifty states, TNM DRG coverage includes Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Not all map scales are available at all locations. Check the USGS TNM subfolder of Extents to display the coverage area bounding box.


© 2014 Google - Image USGS

Figure 2. USGS Topographic Quadrangles


National Hydrography Dataset

The Hydrography network link retrieves multiresolution images of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) (Fig. 3) from the EPA Office of Water (OW) integrated with reach-related information from the USEPA Reach File. This service also includes hydrographic landmark features in NHD. Details include symbology based on the NHD symbol set and labels for flowlines and waterbodies.
  1. Position the area of interest (AOI) in the viewer.
  2. Check the radio button beside the Hydrography network link.
  3. On subsequent uses, reposition the AOI and ensure that the network link is checked and selected. When Refresh Mode is Automatic, the overlay is refreshed two seconds after camera movement stops. When Refresh Mode is Manual, choose Refresh from the Edit menu, or right-click and select Refresh in the context menu (explain).
Coverage includes the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico. Check the NationalAtlas subfolder of Extents to display the coverage area bounding box.


© 2014 Google - Image USGS

Figure 3. National Hydrography Dataset


National Elevation Dataset Grayscale Relief

The GrayRelief network link retrieves multiresolution images of the 10-meter National Elevation Dataset (NED) (Fig. 4) from the USGS EROS support server.
  1. Position the area of interest (AOI) in the viewer.
  2. Check the radio button beside the GrayRelief network link.
  3. On subsequent uses, reposition the AOI and ensure that the network link is checked and selected. When Refresh Mode is Automatic, the overlay is refreshed two seconds after camera movement stops. When Refresh Mode is Manual, choose Refresh from the Edit menu, or right-click and select Refresh in the context menu (explain).
Coverage includes the conterminous United States, Hawaii, portions of Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, and other US territorial islands. Check the USGS NED subfolder of Extents to display the coverage area bounding boxes.


© 2014 Google - Image USGS

Figure 4. National Elevation Dataset Grayscale Relief


National Atlas Color Relief

The ColorRelief network link retrieves multiresolution images of the 200-meter National Atlas (Fig. 5) from the USGS EROS support server.
  1. Position the area of interest (AOI) in the viewer.
  2. Check the radio button beside the ColorRelief network link.
  3. On subsequent uses, reposition the AOI and ensure that the network link is checked and selected. When Refresh Mode is Automatic, the overlay is refreshed two seconds after camera movement stops. When Refresh Mode is Manual, choose Refresh from the Edit menu, or right-click and select Refresh in the context menu (explain).
Coverage includes the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Check the NationalAtlas subfolder of Extents to display the coverage area bounding box.


© 2014 Google - Image UGGS

Figure 5. National Atlas Color Relief

All images are retrieved from remote servers. Data errors, accuracy, and availability are beyond the control of this application.