Seamless Topographic USGS maps

A few months ago we showed you Matt Fox’s excellent topographic maps of New Zealand, which were quite impressive. Over the years he’s had many requests to create similar maps with seamless USGS topographic data, and now he’s starting to roll them out on his site.


As you can see from the image above, the maps are remarkably sharp. The are distributed through a rather unique system; rather than just downloading a KMZ file, you download an installation program that adds the maps to your PC as Super Overlays. To try it for yourself, Matt is offering a free download of the San Francisco area, available here.
For comparison, you can check out our “best topo map interface” post from 2006 (a free service of USGS topo maps for the US). While they were impressive five years ago, the new maps are significantly higher quality.

For more, be sure to visit Google Earth Library and read Matt’s full blog entry.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. This will not work on a Mac.

  2. I’m working on making them Mac compatible.

  3. I’ve finished re-compiling the maps to be compatible with Mac and they are all uploading to my server now to replace the incompatible version. However, to install on Mac you’ll need to use unzip command from the Terminal application to extract the files. Then manually add the map to Google Earth by double-clicking on the KML file. The Unarchiver program might allow you to install directly from the EXE, but I’m not able to test it.

  4. There has not been an update to this site in many months – seems to have stopped at roughly 2/3 of U.S. covered. Nice idea, but if you can’t finish coverage of places such as New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, etc., then it’s not very useful for those who live/play there.

  5. What ever happened to the Mac-friendly version?

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