Topographic map contours

Photo Credit: Timothy Messick. File photo. (iStock)

The United States Geological Survey is now offering public access to 'on demand' topographical maps, according to a recent announcement. 

Early last year, the National Geospatial Program (NGP) launched the topoBuilder pilot program, which allowed users to build topographic maps for anywhere in the United States or its territories, regardless of their level of mapping expertise. The resulting maps were called as OnDemand Topos. 

Beginning on Monday, the pilot program concluded and OnDemand Topo maps are now officially a permanent National Map offering.

"OnDemand Topo map extents do not need to align with the traditional grids used by other USGS topographic maps, so one map can cover an area that would previously require up to four maps. […] OnDemand Topo contours are generated on the fly from the latest USGS elevation data, acquired through the 3D Elevation Program," the announcement reads. 

According to a recent Facebook post from Douglas County Search and Rescue, access to these maps could come in handy if you ever find yourself lost.

"Topo maps are your friend in the wilderness. If you are good with a map and compass, you will always have an advantage and be safer than not. Note - we're not saying don't use phone map apps as well - they are great as long as you have power and signal - but a topo map and compass can help get you home when your phone cannot if you have them and know how to use them," the post reads. 

For more information or to build your own OnDemand Topo, visit the USGS website, here.