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Nevada In Maps: Historic Topographic Maps

Historic Topographical Maps of Nevada

Click here to access the Historic Topographical Maps of Nevada digital collection in the Historic Maps of Nevada and the Great Basin  

Project Background 


Historic topographic maps of Nevada are few in number and fewer in existence; no one library in the state holds them all. Many editions are over 100 years old and quite fragile. Along with physical features of the land, the maps depict much of the early western settlement of Nevada -- roads, railroads, mines, towns, etc. The maps were initially identified in the Map Index to topographic quadrangles of the United States, 1882-1940, Riley Moore Moffat, Western Association of Map Libraries, 1985. These are maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey, the primary mapping institution in this country, in scales of 1:250,000, 1:125,000, and 1:62,500 and commonly known as 60-, 30- and 15 minute quads. A few other scales were occasionally used. Most of the series were never completed, especially for the sparsely populated West. These maps are federal publications and not subject to copyright restrictions.

In addition to the Moffat volume, A cartobibliography of separately published U.S. Geological Survey special maps and river surveys, Peter L. Stark, Western Association of Map Libraries, 1989, was also reviewed to identify an additional 23 miscellaneous sheets on Nevada. Not all maps listed in the cartobibliography have been located for the project. 

Along with maps within the borders of Nevada, maps immediately adjacent to Nevada as identified in Moffat's work, are included. These areas are integrally involved in the settlement of the state.

Additional editions of maps now listed are being added. 15' minute maps (1:62,500) have not been published for several decades, are becoming scarce, and are now included in this project. 

The over 400 maps now on the topo list are of value to historians, anthropologists, for legal use, students at all levels, and the general public for many purposes. Online, this collection is now available to all Nevadans. 


Borrowing from Moffat's work, we use the list of maps and Nevada index map. We include in the list the historic border maps of California, Utah, Arizona, and Oregon; no historic Idaho maps are adjacent to the Nevada border. In time, the graphic will indicate the border maps included, too. An edition date is used with revision or reprints noted. The survey date is used when no other date is given. 

Maps are presented in tiff, jpeg and .djvu images. Of the image formats provided, Djvu images are most easily brought up on PC's of limited capability or connectivity. A one-time download of the free plug-in is necessary. 


Thanks first of all to AngloGold for their generous assistance at the beginning of this project. In addition, great thanks are extended to the various libraries and collections who loaned their maps for scanning: Special Collections Department of the UNR Library, the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, the Nevada State Historical Society, and the Nevada State Archives in Carson City. 

And, major thanks to Glee Willis, Digital Projects Librarian; Vicki Toy-Smith, Catalog Librarian Emerita; and Araby Greene, Web Development Librarian Emerita without whose help this site would not exist. 

Linda Newman, Geoscience & Map Librarian Emerita

Mary B. Ansari Map Library, DeLaMare Library, University of Nevada, Reno

August 2005