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Maps Collections in the Research Center: Map Indexing and Ordering

Finding and Ordering Maps

State geological map indexes, found in the vertical file drawers on the fourth floor in the Research Center, typically show a map divided into areas boxed off with colored borders. The colors sometimes indicate the scale of the maps while the numbers in each boxed-off area correspond to a numbered key showing the appropriate map source. Other indexes may be available, but it varies from state to state.

State geological publications catalogs can be helpful in determining what publications are available and, if we do not have them, how to order them. To find these, check the vertical files beneath the geological map index drawer. Each state will differ in the types of catalogs it offers. Oklahoma puts out special publications which have year-by-year indexes and bibliographies. When searching the alphabetical indexes, use key geological features, map series names, or the term 'counties.'

Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey is an annual catalog of all of the USGS publications grouped by type of publication and indexed by subject and author. When looking for maps in the subject index, search by state, type of map, or the word 'maps.' An abbreviations list is located at the front of the alphabetical index to identify the series or type of publication containing the information. The Research Center has these in print dating back to 1879.  As of January 2004, the printed version of the catalog of publications of the U.S. Geological Survey was discontinued and made available online only.

Online indexing and ordering information is also available through the USGS. The National Geologic Map Database (NGMDB) allows searching by place and feature names or even by lithologic and geochronologic unit names.  The USGS in its Maps, Imagery, and Publications site, offers links to the USGS Store, finding USGS publications, and the Publications Warehouse.  To find more tips for ordering USGS products look under Ordering USGS Products and USGS Map Dealer.  For background information about geologic maps, check the Geology Research and Information page.  Their Geologic Mapping page located under their list of ‘Programs’ gives an introduction, some history, and techniques of geologic mapping.  Other useful links are given for world geological organizations and state geological surveys. You can use these sites to find publications and ordering information for maps issued by agencies other than the USGS.