I have been using the National Map website to download some topographic maps and I can't help noticing a big difference between the old and new. Historical USGS topographic maps have building outlines on them, but current ones do not. Current maps have things like schools and cemeteries, but no outlines depicting general built structures.

Is there a reason for this omission?

Is there a data source where building information is available?

My apologies if this is not the correct forum for these questions.

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FAQ States:

The original USGS 7.5-minute (1:24,000 scale) Historical Topographic Maps (produced 1945-1992) included feature classes that are not yet shown on US Topo maps (produced 2009-present). Examples include recreational trails, pipelines, power lines, survey markers, many types of boundaries, and many types of buildings. The USGS no longer does field verification or other primary data collection for these feature classes, and there are no national data sources suitable for general-purpose, 1:24,000-scale maps. For many of these feature classes, USGS is working with other agencies to develop data. Over time, as these data become available and are included in The National Map, that content will be added to the US Topos.

Buildings and structures -- Traditional topographic maps locate and label a variety of public buildings and structures, such as courthouses, libraries, transportation terminals, and bridges. National public domain datasets of these feature classes do not currently exist. Although these kinds of features are not generally within USGS scope, we are working with other government agencies and incorporating crowd-sourced information to develop selected structures data.


  • Excellent, this is just the answer I was looking for! Duh, should've checked the FAQ. – Anger Density Jan 15 '20 at 21:02

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