"Topographic maps, which differ from the base map in that they show not only relative distance and direction but also the accurate shape of the earths surface, are not new, but represent the constant improvement in mans efforts to reproduce on paper all that he sees and knows of regions of the globe.
While history records the first maps known to man as being made by the Babylonians on clay tablets centuries before Christ, the first relief map was made by the Ninth Inca who died in the year 1191. The present method of showing relief by contours was employed as early as 1728 by a Dutch engineer M. S. Cruquius. Cruquius first utilized contours on his chart of Merwede in 1728. In 1737 Phillip Buache introduced contours called isobaths (Greek meaning equal). Until the 20th century declevities of ground were indicated by systems of strokes or hachures first devised by L. Chas. Muller in 1788 and by J. G. Lehman who directed a survey of Saxony - 1780 - 1806. Hachures and contours are still combined in usage today in Italy's 1:1,000,000 scale map.
France produced the first regular topographic map in 1744. The engineer being Cassini De Thury, using a scale 1:86400.
Today due to the problems of highway construction, drainage, irrigation, etc., involving millions of people and hundred of miles of territory, the need for an accurate topographic map is vital.
While the growth of the topographic map since its inception into the United States has been slow on the whole, great strides have been made within the last two years. The demand has caused scale change from two miles to the inch to one third mile to the inch. The features shown have increased and accuracy of such degree must be produced that there are few engineering survey jobs that cannot be solved by the use of these maps without the numerous reconnaissance surveys of the past"--Introduction, pages iii-iv.
Butler, Joe Beaty
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Professional Degree in Civil Engineering
Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy
v, 32 pages
© 1935 Daniel Kennedy, All rights reserved.
Thesis - Open Access
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Link to Catalog Record
Kennedy, Daniel, "The U.S.G.S. topographic map: Its value and method of construction" (1935). Professional Degree Theses. 306.
Section of Polyconic Projection, with points plotted and land net adjusted, Missouri Bandyville Quadrangle
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Louisiana (St. Tammany Parish) Slidell Quadrangle
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North Dakota Flora Quadrangle
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North Dakota Grahams Island Quadrangle
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North Dakota Oberon Quadrangle
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North Dakota (Nelson County) Pekin Quadrangle
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Isle Royal Keweenaw County Michigan
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The Topographic Maps of the United States, with standard symbol