I have been trying for 5 solid days to acquire building footprints from USGS topographic maps THAT I KNOW EXIST: I can SEE them on the very topo map which is displayed BY DEFAULT at The National Map viewer: https://apps.nationalmap.gov/viewer/

I have been frustrated in my attempt to download THAT VERY map--the one that I'm actually looking at.

What is offered, after the search for locale (Mazomanie quadrangle) downloads in GeoPDF and GeoTIFF format, neither of which contains the building footprints.

I have been able to download the .pdf, extract information about the LAYERS inside it[1], and extract the most likely looking one[2], Structures, load that into QGIS3, and see that it is only sparsely populated with "public" structures, again, UNLIKE what I see before downloading.

I've since found building footprints at OpenStreetMap, but I feel certain that they MUST be available from The National Map server, or elsewhere at USGS and I merely have a blind spot, possibly HUGE. (I have a nagging sense that I USED to be able to do this.)

Can anyone recognize and identify my problem?

[1] gdalinfo -mdd LAYERS downloaded.geo.pdf [2] gdal_translate -of GTiff downloaded.geo.pdf extracted-structures.geo.tif --config GDAL_PDF_LAYERS "Map_Frame.Structures"

1 Answer 1


It's a tile service that you're seeing.

If you just want to visualise it in QGIS, open the Layer - Data Source Manager (Ctrl+L) XYZ tab, select New and paste https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/tile/{z}/{y}/{x} into the URL field.

enter image description here

Or you can add it as an ArcGIS Rest Server using the URL https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/rest/services/USGSTopo/MapServer

enter image description here

Alternatively, it looks like the data is available from:

  • @quagmire Did this answer solve your issue? If it did, you may choose to accept to mark the question as answered. Or if not, please provide feedback so the answer can be improved and help you or future users with the same problem.
    – user2856
    Jan 9, 2023 at 8:21

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