This Research Guide focuses on topographic map and bathymetric chart resources that are available online through digital copies. The guide focuses on both U.S. and international topographic maps as well as bathymetric charts.
There are both topographic and bathymetric maps available in physical format at the Clark Library. Please contact us if you require use of them.
Topographic Maps show the lay of the land of a particular area. They use contour lines to show changes in elevation such as hills, mountains, plains and valleys. Topographic maps incorporate features of an area such as roads, cities, railroads, pipelines, fence lines, bodies of water, trees, wells, buildings, and cemeteries. The USGS provides a list of some of the symbols that are found on topographic maps.
Bathymetric Charts (nautical charts) show a visual presentation of underwater terrain as well as the adjacent coasts. A bathymetric chart shows the land if the overlying waters were removed in the same way as a topographic map. The NOAA provides a guide that explains the basic elements and symbols used on charts.