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Oscar A. Silverman Library

Science & Engineering Information News


USGS Topo Data on the Go

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National map topographic data from the USGS are now available on mobile devices that are using the Android or iOS operating system.

Android and iPhone users can now use their mobile devices as digital topo maps, leveraging USGS maps together with the power of GPS to zoom in on their precise location while hiking, biking, running, or any other activity that benefits from precision navigation. The type of data that are available includes USGS imagery and topographic maps from The National Map, as well as road and contour layers.Currently, two Android applications are using USGS data, OruxMaps (http://www.oruxmaps.com/index_en.html) and AlpineQuest (http://alpinequest.psyberia.net/). These apps include USGS services in the list of available online maps.For users that may be navigating in an area that is outside of cell phone coverage, Mobile Atlas Creator (http://mobac.sourceforge.net/) is allowing users of this desktop application to build small “mobile atlases” with USGS data. These “mobile atlases” can be built over any area of interest at multiple scales, and when completed, the small file is moved to the phone. The “mobile atlases” enable GPS applications on both iPhone and Android mobile devices. By storing this small amount of data on the phone, these “mobile atlases” ensure the topographic data is available even when cell coverage is not.

Users of mobile devices can use USGS data on their GPS-enabled phones to track their adventure or workout. This capability is new, and promises to increase awareness and use of USGS data and services, as well as increase demand for US Topos.

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