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I'm developing a Windows desktop app that uses map tile servers to display a scrollable map. It currently supports OpenStreetMap, OpenTopoMap and Bing Maps. I'm looking to see if there is a service available that offers access to USGS topographic maps.

I've spent quite a bit of time reading up on the REST API specs USGS publishes but I keep stumbling over things like "okay, but what's the base URL?" and "how do I get the developer account that appears to be necessary?"

This leads me to believe that perhaps USGS itself does not host a tile server and that I would need to subscribe to a 3rd party vendor to gain access to their tile server using USGS data/imagery.

Is that correct?

If so, I'd be interested in some recommendations.

I've also read about USGS' The National Map project. It seems like it might offer a USGS-hosted tile server, at least down to some modest scale. But, again, I'm stumbling over how to access its tile server (assuming I'm correct and there is such a beast hosted by USGS).

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2 Answers 2

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For Tiles using the OGC WMTS API, the end point is either:

https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/WMTS/tile/1.0.0/

for the <ows:Value>RESTful</ows:Value> version

Example request like:

https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/WMTS/tile/1.0.0/USGSTopo/default/default028mm/3/6/5

Example WMTS request

or:

https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/WMTS?

for the <ows:Value>KVP</ows:Value>

Example (comparable) request like:

https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/WMTS?service=WMTS&request=GetTile&version=1.0.0&style=default&format=image/png&layer=USGSTopo&TileMatrixSet=default028mm&TileMatrix=3&TileRow=6&TileCol=5&

Example WMTS request

The hypermedia document describing the operations for this service is:

https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/WMTS/1.0.0/WMTSCapabilities.xml

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  • Is there such a URL for 3DEP data? This format works, but not in Osmand: https://elevation.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/services/3DEPElevation/ImageServer/WMSServer?FORMAT=image/png32&TRANSPARENT=TRUE&VERSION=1.3.0&SERVICE=WMS&REQUEST=GetMap&LAYERS=3DEPElevation:Hillshade%20Multidirectional&STYLES=&CRS=EPSG:3857&WIDTH=256&HEIGHT=256&BBOX=-8256270,5033681,-8255813,5033988
    – endolith
    Aug 27, 2023 at 22:44
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    Not as far as I can tell: elevation.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/3DEPElevation/…
    – nmtoken
    Aug 29, 2023 at 9:25
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The url can be used to retrieve

https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/USGSTopo/MapServer

"USGS Topo is a tile cache base map service that combines the most current data in The National Map (TNM), and other public-domain data, into a multi-scale topographic reference map. Data themes included are Boundaries, Geographic Names, Transportation, Contours, Hydrography, Land Cover, Shaded Relief, and Bathymetry. This service is designed to provide a seamless view of TNM data in a geographic information system (GIS) accessible format."

In QGIS using ArcGIS REST Servers connection

enter image description here

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