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Guide to Historical Maps in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

A guide to the types and uses of historical maps in SCARC's collections

Oregon Maps Online

Oregon Explorer: Launched in June 2007 (and redesigned in June 2015), The Oregon Explorer is a natural resources digital library that integrates and provides access to data and scholarly information from state and federal agencies, local governments, university scientists and citizens to support informed decisions and actions by people concerned with natural resources, environment, and communities throughout Oregon.  Among its many tools and webpages, the Oregon Explorer portals includes:

  • Oregon Explorer Atlas: Shows data on hazards such as floodplains, landslides, and wildfire; land use data, including zoning; and soil data, including hydrologic group, Farm Land Class, Irrigated Land Capability Class, Non-Irrigated Land Capability Class.
  • Communities Reporter: The Communities Reporter Tool (CRT) grants public access to community data in a flexible online space. From the CRT you can access over 600 demographic, social, economic, and environmental indicators about all of the towns, villages, cities, and counties in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. The CRT links all of these communities to data gathered at the place, census tract, and county levels by over 30 agencies and institutions.
  • Map Viewer: Allows users to draw from hundreds of map layers - including habitat and vegetation, hazards, landscape and geology, restoration, and transportation layers - to make unique, custom maps and share them with others.
  • Advanced Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer: The Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer is designed to increase wildfire awareness, give a comprehensive view of wildfire risk and local fire history, and educate users about wildfire prevention and mitigation resources. The site allows users to search for their home's address, create homeowners' reports, and create and download PDF maps and map data.
  • Oregon Explorer Imagery Portal: The Oregon Imagery Explorer makes available Oregon's 2005 half-meter orthoimagery, reconstructed from aerial photographs acquired in the summer of 2005. Other imagery including satellite data is also available. The original Oregon 2005 half-meter orthoimagery is in Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle (DOQ) format, and has a spatial resolution of a half-meter.

Oregon Map (ORMAP): Administered by the Department of Revenue, the ORMAP project is a statewide property tax parcel base map that is digital, publicly accessible, and continually maintained, to help and improve the administration of the property tax system. It also allows public and private organizations to support a wide variety of GIS (geographic information system) applications.

Oregon Coastal Atlas (OCA): The Oregon Ocean-Coastal Management Program, Oregon State University, and Ecotrust are creating an interactive map, data, and metadata portal for coastal resources managers and scientists, with additional outreach sections for the general public.

OregonFlora: Formerly known as the Oregon Plant Atlas, OregonFlora is based in the Department of Botany & Plant Pathology (BPP) at Oregon State University and provides a comprehensive guide to the ~4,700 vascular plants of Oregon that is shared through their website, Flora of Oregon books, and wildflower identification app.

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) Lidar Viewer: LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, is a "remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics." The Lidar Data Viewer interactive map shows the current extent of lidar data for the state of Oregon, including downloadable data by 7.5 minute USGS quadrangle; highest hit, bare earth, and bare earth slope lidar imagery; and Oregon Lidar Consortium project areas, including developing projects. The data are maintained by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI).

Oregon Climate Service: The Oregon Climate Service (OCS) is recognized by the American Association of State Climatologists as Oregon’s state climate office. Established in the 1970s, OCS is hosted by the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University and the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. The OCS connects users with past and near-future climate data, seasonal outlooks, and general knowledge about Oregon climate and weather.

Map Collections at the University of Oregon: The Knight Library's Map Collection includes over 300,000 individual maps, and over 3,000 atlases. Writ large, the geographic focus is on Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, though other geographic regions are also included. Both older maps and atlases, and contemporary maps, are included in their collection.

Oregon Historical Society (OHS): OHS's Digital Collections include 54 maps digitized from their OHS Maps Collection.

National Map Collections

In addition to the digital maps made available from SCARC's collections, and other online, Oregon-based map resources, a number of statewide and national institutions have significant digitized map holdings:

Other Maps Online

Please note: While every effort has been made to test and verify web addresses, some of the secondary links on the sites linked to below may no longer be active and/or maintained.

By Type Online resource
Aerials

Oregon Explorer: The Oregon Imagery Explorer Image Viewing Tool enables users to view, compare, and stream National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) orthoimagery from multiple years since 1995. The Oregon Geospatial Enterprise Office (GEO) and Oregon State University collaborated to develop an orthoimagery application to allow for the distribution of digital aerial imagery for the state of Oregon.

United States Geological Survey: The USGS Earth Explorer data portal allows users to "navigate via interactive map or text search to obtain Landsat satellite imagery, Radar data, UAS data, digital line graphs, digital elevation model data, aerial photos, Sentinel satellite data, some commercial satellite imagery, land cover data, and digital map data."

University of Oregon Knight Library: Though not an online resource, the Knight Library's Aerial Photography Collection is prodigious, containing approximately 1,000,000 unique images dating from the 1930s to the 2000s. To learn more about the collection and request access, contact Kathy Stroud by email at kstroud@uoregon.edu.

Atlases

David Rumsey Map Collection: The David Rumsey Map Collection - collected by Cartography Associates founder and President, David Rumsey - includes over 1,500 atlases, arranged by date. Included are atlases of the world, North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as celestial, statistical, and historical atlases.

The Newberry Library: The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries - created by the Newberry Libray's William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture - "presents in maps and text complete data about the creation and all subsequent changes (dated to the day) in the size, shape, and location of every county in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia." For each state, users can view atlas data on an interactive map, an index of counties and their equivalents, a consolidated chronology of state and county boundaries, and individual county chronologies (see Oregon's page here).

Cadastrals

Bureau of Land Management: Land Status and Cadastral Survey records for Oregon and Washington can be accessed online; land patents and survey plats are accessible online in the BLM's General Land Office Records.

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee's American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection contains over 14000 maps, ranging from early maps of Asia to historical maps of Wisconsin and Milwaukee, and other American cities, states, and national parks. Over 100 of these maps are cadastrals, primarily for cities and states east of the Mississippi River.

Geologic

United States Geological Survey: The USGS, in collaboration with the Association of American State Geologists (AASG), developed the National Geologic Map Database, providing access to over 100,000 maps from over 600 publishers. Users can search by keyword, theme, state, or publication date by clicking on the "Catalog" tab on the homepage. Clicking on the MapView tab allows users to navigate a global map, and zoom in and out to see what maps are available at each location.

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee's American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection contains over 14000 maps, ranging from early maps of Asia to historical maps of Wisconsin and Milwaukee, and other American cities, states, and national parks. Included in the digital collections are 76 geologic maps, Over 100 of these maps are cadastrals, primarily for cities and states east of the Mississippi River.

Highway, Road, and Street

Library of Congress: Maps collections at the Library of Congress include over 450 highway maps; well over 2,000 road maps; and 724 street maps. These map results can be further sorted by date, location, collection (i.e. "part of"), contributor (i.e. creator), subject, and language.

University of Texas at Austin: The Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) Map Collection includes historical road maps for the United States and parts of Canada and Latin America. All road maps date to the early- to mid-20th century.

David Rumsey Map Collection: The David Rumsey Map Collection - collected by Cartography Associates founder and President, David Rumsey - includes nearly 1,000 highway maps dating between 1896 and 2005; over 1,500 road maps dating between 1693 and 1996; and nearly 600 street maps dating between 1836 and 1967.

Nautical

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Historical Maps and Charts Collection: The NOAA Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection contains over 20,000 maps and charts from the late 1700s to present day. The Collection includes some of the nation's earliest nautical charts, hydrographic surveys, topographic surveys, geodetic surveys, city plans and Civil War battle maps.

Office of Coast Survey: Established by Thomas Jefferson in 1807 to "provide nautical charts [to ensure] safe shipping, national defense, and maritime boundaries." The Coast Survey - now an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - continues to provide navigation products and services that "ensure safe and efficient maritime commerce on America's oceans and coastal waters, and in the Great Lakes." Users can access their online chart locator here: Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) site.

Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center (Boston Public Library): The digital collections of the LMEC include maritime charts and atlases dating from the 17th through the 19th century. Although the collection's coverage is global, the primary focus is the "coastal waters of the United States, especially the northeastern coast."

Resource

Bureau of Land Management (BLM): The Bureau of Land Management offers a wealth of digital resources online via their primary web portal (especially under the "Services" tab of their homepage). Their Mineral & Land Records System (MLRS) is an online platform which provides mineral and land records transactions, tracking, mapping, and more. Their National Data Viewer "provides access to a variety of geospatial data layers created and maintained by the BLM."

Library of Congress: The Library of Congress's Mapping the National Parks Collection documents the "history, cultural aspects and geological formations of areas that eventually became National Parks. The collection consists of approximately 200 maps dating from the 17th century to the present, reflecting early mapping of the areas that would become four National Parks, as well as the parks themselves." Unfortunately, Crater Lake National Park is not represented.

National Wetlands Inventory - Wetlands Mapper: The Wetlands mapper is designed to deliver map like views of America’s Wetland resources. It integrates digital map data along with other resource information to produce current information on the status, extent, characteristics and functions of wetlands, riparian , and deepwater habitats. The wetlands displayed on the Wetlands Mapper show wetland type and extent using a biological definition of wetlands. There is no attempt to define the limits of proprietary jurisdiction of any federal, state, or local government, or to establish the geographical scope of the regulatory programs of government agencies.

World Resources Institute (WRI): Aqueduct, a water risk atlas created by the World Resources Institute, is not a historical representation of global water stress, but does project future water stress. In addition to water stress, the map also presents global data on coastal and riverine flood risk, drought risk, and water depletion. The WRI also created and maintains an interactive Global Forest Watch map, which presents statistics on land use, climate, and biodiversity as they relate to the Earth's forests. Data in the Global Forest Watch map dates between 2001 and 2020.

The World Bank: The World Bank's data catalog includes over 5,000 data sets, including over 400 data sets downloadable as maps. Their Forest Area map shows the percentage of forested land area by country. A slider at the bottom allows users to view data from 1990 to 2020 represented on the global map.

Topographic

United States Geological Survey: The USGS website provides access to real time data on algal blooms, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and wildfires; over 230 live webcams around the United States; a rich collection of digitized, stereographic photographs from the late 1800s; over 25,000 additional photographs and images dating as far back as the 1800s; and a wide variety of maps, including topographic and volcanic maps. In collaboration with the USGS, the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) developed the Historical USGS Topographic Map Explorer, which allows users to overlay geo-referenced maps, and increase/decrease the transparency of map layers.  The interface includes a timeline from which users can easily select the maps they want to view for a given location.

The official U.S. Topographic Quadrangle maps are also online, and are updated every three years; when updated, the previous quads are added to the Historical USGS Topographic Map Explorer.

University of Texas at Austin: The Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) Map Collection includes historical topographic maps for every contiguous U.S. state, plus Alaska; maps for Oregon date from as early as 1886 (Crater Lake National Park) through 1946. Also included among the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) Map Collection holdings are Army Map Service topographic maps from across all seven continents.

The National Map: The National Map is a collaborative effort between the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and other federal, state, and local partners to improve and deliver topographic information. You can access the National Map viewer directly here: National Map viewer.

National and World

Library of Congress: The digitized maps from the Library of Congress's General Map Collection number over 6,500 and "portray the physical environment and a variety of cultural elements for a geographic area at a particular point in time. The maps in this category show a geographic area larger than a city or town and do not display a subject that is part of one of the thematic categories."

Old Maps Online: What began as a collaboration between Klokan Technologies GmbH, Switzerland and The Great Britain Historical GIS Project with from the UK-based Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Old Maps Online has been maintained by volunteers since 2013. From the main page, users can either search for maps of a specific place by clicking "Find a Place," or browse for maps by clicking on the "Browse the old maps" button and zooming in or out of the map viewer window.


By Use Online Resource
General

Library of Congress: The digitized maps from the Library of Congress's General Map Collection number over 6,500 and "portray the physical environment and a variety of cultural elements for a geographic area at a particular point in time. The maps in this category show a geographic area larger than a city or town and do not display a subject that is part of one of the thematic categories."

Old Maps Online: What began as a collaboration between Klokan Technologies GmbH, Switzerland and The Great Britain Historical GIS Project with from the UK-based Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Old Maps Online has been maintained by volunteers since 2013. From the main page, users can either search for maps of a specific place by clicking "Find a Place," or browse for maps by clicking on the "Browse the old maps" button and zooming in or out of the map viewer window.

Historic Map Works: Historic Map Works is an online database incorporating digital versions of  the "antiquarian world map collection from the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education located at the University of Southern Maine." Map types represented in this digital collection include: U.S. property atlases, nautical charts, birdseye maps, and celestial maps. Their search page allows users to not only search by keyword or map type, but also by family name, township and range, publisher, and latitude and longitude.

David Rumsey Map Collection: The David Rumsey Map Collection - collected by Cartography Associates founder and President, David Rumsey - contains more than 150,000 maps. While the collection focuses on rare maps of North and South America, it also includes world maps and maps of Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. A variety of formats are represented in the collection from atlases and globes, to pocket maps and maritime charts. Items range in date from around 1550 to the present.

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee's American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection contains over 14000 maps, ranging from early maps of Asia to historical maps of Wisconsin and Milwaukee, and other American cities, states, and national parks.

Demography

U.S. Census Bureau: Data gathered and kept by the United State Census Bureau - formerly accessible digitally on the American FactFinder website - has been migrated to data.census.gov and is presented in a variety of ways: as data profiles (e.g. for individual cities or states); as sortable, filterable tables; and as maps and visualizations. Users can even access census microdata - i.e. supplemental data gathered by the Census Bureau - to create their own data tables. Oregon's most recent census profile can be found here: Geography Profile, Oregon.

Library of Congress: The Library of Congress continues to digitize and make available those Sanborn maps that are outside copyright, and are thus available in the public domain. Their Sanborn Map Collection includes over 500 maps of Oregon cities and towns.

Environmental Changes

United States Geological Survey: The USGS, in collaboration with the Association of American State Geologists (AASG), developed the National Geologic Map Database, providing access to over 100,000 maps from over 600 publishers. Users can search by keyword, theme, state, or publication date by clicking on the "Catalog" tab on the homepage. Clicking on the MapView tab allows users to navigate a global map, and zoom in and out to see what maps are available at each location.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM): The Bureau of Land Management offers a wealth of digital resources online via their primary web portal (especially under the "Services" tab of their homepage). Their Mineral & Land Records System (MLRS) is an online platform which provides mineral and land records transactions, tracking, mapping, and more. Their National Data Viewer "provides access to a variety of geospatial data layers created and maintained by the BLM."

Library of Congress: The Library of Congress's Mapping the National Parks Collection documents the "history, cultural aspects and geological formations of areas that eventually became National Parks. The collection consists of approximately 200 maps dating from the 17th century to the present, reflecting early mapping of the areas that would become four National Parks, as well as the parks themselves." Unfortunately, Crater Lake National Park is not represented.

National Wetlands Inventory - Wetlands Mapper: The Wetlands mapper is designed to deliver map like views of America’s Wetland resources. It integrates digital map data along with other resource information to produce current information on the status, extent, characteristics and functions of wetlands, riparian , and deepwater habitats. The wetlands displayed on the Wetlands Mapper show wetland type and extent using a biological definition of wetlands. There is no attempt to define the limits of proprietary jurisdiction of any federal, state, or local government, or to establish the geographical scope of the regulatory programs of government agencies.

World Resources Institute (WRI): Aqueduct, a water risk atlas created by the World Resources Institute, is not a historical representation of global water stress, but does project future water stress. In addition to water stress, the map also presents global data on coastal and riverine flood risk, drought risk, and water depletion. The WRI also created and maintains an interactive Global Forest Watch map, which presents statistics on land use, climate, and biodiversity as they relate to the Earth's forests. Data in the Global Forest Watch map dates between 2001 and 2020.

The World Bank: The World Bank's data catalog includes over 5,000 data sets, including over 400 data sets downloadable as maps. Their Forest Area map shows the percentage of forested land area by country. A slider at the bottom allows users to view data from 1990 to 2020 represented on the global map.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Historical Maps and Charts Collection: The NOAA Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection contains over 20,000 maps and charts from the late 1700s to present day. The Collection includes some of the nation's earliest nautical charts, hydrographic surveys, topographic surveys, geodetic surveys, city plans and Civil War battle maps.

Office of Coast Survey: Established by Thomas Jefferson in 1807 to "provide nautical charts [to ensure] safe shipping, national defense, and maritime boundaries." The Coast Survey - now an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - continues to provide navigation products and services that "ensure safe and efficient maritime commerce on America's oceans and coastal waters, and in the Great Lakes." Users can access their online chart locator here: Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) site.

Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center (Boston Public Library): The digital collections of the LMEC include maritime charts and atlases dating from the 17th through the 19th century. Although the collection's coverage is global, the primary focus is the "coastal waters of the United States, especially the northeastern coast."

Genealogy

David Rumsey Map Collection: The David Rumsey Map Collection - collected by Cartography Associates founder and President, David Rumsey - includes over 1,500 atlases, arranged by date. Included are atlases of the world, North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as celestial, statistical, and historical atlases.

The Newberry Library: The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries - created by the Newberry Libray's William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture - "presents in maps and text complete data about the creation and all subsequent changes (dated to the day) in the size, shape, and location of every county in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia." For each state, users can view atlas data on an interactive map, an index of counties and their equivalents, a consolidated chronology of state and county boundaries, and individual county chronologies (see Oregon's page here).

Bureau of Land Management: Land Status and Cadastral Survey records for Oregon and Washington can be accessed online; land patents and survey plats are accessible online in the BLM's General Land Office Records.

U.S. Census Bureau: Data gathered and kept by the United State Census Bureau - formerly accessible digitally on the American FactFinder website - has been migrated to data.census.gov and is presented in a variety of ways: as data profiles (e.g. for individual cities or states); as sortable, filterable tables; and as maps and visualizations. Users can even access census microdata - i.e. supplemental data gathered by the Census Bureau - to create their own data tables. Oregon's most recent census profile can be found here: Geography Profile, Oregon.

Library of Congress: The Library of Congress continues to digitize and make available those Sanborn maps that are outside copyright, and are thus available in the public domain. Their Sanborn Map Collection includes over 500 maps of Oregon cities and towns.

Historical Use

Oregon Explorer: The Oregon Imagery Explorer Image Viewing Tool enables users to view, compare, and stream National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) orthoimagery from multiple years since 1995. The Oregon Geospatial Enterprise Office (GEO) and Oregon State University collaborated to develop an orthoimagery application to allow for the distribution of digital aerial imagery for the state of Oregon.

United States Geological Survey: The USGS Earth Explorer data portal allows users to "navigate via interactive map or text search to obtain Landsat satellite imagery, Radar data, UAS data, digital line graphs, digital elevation model data, aerial photos, Sentinel satellite data, some commercial satellite imagery, land cover data, and digital map data."

The World Bank: The World Bank's data catalog includes over 5,000 data sets, including over 400 data sets downloadable as maps. Their Agricultural Land use map shows the percentage of land area being used for agriculture globally (by country). A slider at the bottom allows users to view data from 1961 to 2018 represented on the global map.

Library of Congress: The Library of Congress's Cities and Towns Maps Collection includes over 3,700 maps that "depict individual buildings to panoramic views of large urban areas. These maps record the evolution of cities illustrating the development and nature of economic activities, educational and religious facilities, parks, street patterns and widths, and transportation systems." A handful of Oregon maps can be found here: Oregon Cities and Towns.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Historical Maps and Charts Collection: The NOAA Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection contains over 20,000 maps and charts from the late 1700s to present day. The Collection includes some of the nation's earliest nautical charts, hydrographic surveys, topographic surveys, geodetic surveys, city plans and Civil War battle maps.

Office of Coast Survey: Established by Thomas Jefferson in 1807 to "provide nautical charts [to ensure] safe shipping, national defense, and maritime boundaries." The Coast Survey - now an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - continues to provide navigation products and services that "ensure safe and efficient maritime commerce on America's oceans and coastal waters, and in the Great Lakes." Users can access their online chart locator here: Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) site.

Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center (Boston Public Library): The digital collections of the LMEC include maritime charts and atlases dating from the 17th through the 19th century. Although the collection's coverage is global, the primary focus is the "coastal waters of the United States, especially the northeastern coast."

Property Ownership

David Rumsey Map Collection: The David Rumsey Map Collection - collected by Cartography Associates founder and President, David Rumsey - includes over 1,500 atlases, arranged by date. Included are atlases of the world, North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as celestial, statistical, and historical atlases.

The Newberry Library: The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries - created by the Newberry Libray's William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture - "presents in maps and text complete data about the creation and all subsequent changes (dated to the day) in the size, shape, and location of every county in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia." For each state, users can view atlas data on an interactive map, an index of counties and their equivalents, a consolidated chronology of state and county boundaries, and individual county chronologies (see Oregon's page here).

Bureau of Land Management: Land Status and Cadastral Survey records for Oregon and Washington can be accessed online; land patents and survey plats are accessible online in the BLM's General Land Office Records.

Urban Growth

Oregon Explorer: The Oregon Imagery Explorer Image Viewing Tool enables users to view, compare, and stream National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) orthoimagery from multiple years since 1995. The Oregon Geospatial Enterprise Office (GEO) and Oregon State University collaborated to develop an orthoimagery application to allow for the distribution of digital aerial imagery for the state of Oregon.

United States Geological Survey: The USGS Earth Explorer data portal allows users to "navigate via interactive map or text search to obtain Landsat satellite imagery, Radar data, UAS data, digital line graphs, digital elevation model data, aerial photos, Sentinel satellite data, some commercial satellite imagery, land cover data, and digital map data."

The World Bank: The World Bank's data catalog includes over 5,000 data sets, including over 400 data sets downloadable as maps. Their Agricultural Land use map shows the percentage of land area being used for agriculture globally (by country). A slider at the bottom allows users to view data from 1961 to 2018 represented on the global map.

Library of Congress: The Library of Congress's Cities and Towns Maps Collection includes over 3,700 maps that "depict individual buildings to panoramic views of large urban areas. These maps record the evolution of cities illustrating the development and nature of economic activities, educational and religious facilities, parks, street patterns and widths, and transportation systems." A handful of Oregon maps can be found here: Oregon Cities and Towns.

Recreation

United States Geological Survey: The USGS website provides access to real time data on algal blooms, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and wildfires; over 230 live webcams around the United States; a rich collection of digitized, stereographic photographs from the late 1800s; over 25,000 additional photographs and images dating as far back as the 1800s; and a wide variety of maps, including topographic and volcanic maps. In collaboration with the USGS, the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) developed the Historical USGS Topographic Map Explorer, which allows users to overlay geo-referenced maps, and increase/decrease the transparency of map layers.  The interface includes a timeline from which users can easily select the maps they want to view for a given location.

The official U.S. Topographic Quadrangle maps are also online, and are updated every three years; when updated, the previous quads are added to the Historical USGS Topographic Map Explorer.

University of Texas at Austin: The Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) Map Collection includes historical topographic maps for every contiguous U.S. state, plus Alaska; maps for Oregon date from as early as 1886 (Crater Lake National Park) through 1946. Also included among the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) Map Collection holdings are Army Map Service topographic maps from across all seven continents.

The National Map: The National Map is a collaborative effort between the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and other federal, state, and local partners to improve and deliver topographic information. You can access the National Map viewer directly here: National Map viewer.