Working with USGS Topographic Maps a Tutorial GEOG 310 Fall 2013

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1 Working with USGS Topographic Maps a Tutorial GEOG 310 Fall 2013 This tutorial uses examples from the southeast corner of the Durango West, Colorado 1:24,000 scale topographic map. The steps listed under each question represent the suggested sequence you should follow when answering the question. Answers are in bold font and boxed below. Question 1: Determine the location of the Firing Range building using the township & range system to the ¼ ¼ ¼ section. Use the legal description. Note: the Firing Range building is indicated by a small hollow rectangle symbol just west of the center of the map along Highway Along the edges of the map, you will see township & range, latitude/longitude, and UTM tic marks and values. For the Firing Range building, the township is T35N and the range is R10W. 2. The building is in Section Lightly sketch (or guesstimate) the positions of two intersecting lines that approximately subdivide Section 24 into four equal squares. The building is in the SW square (SW ¼ section). 4. Subdivide the SW ¼ section into four equal squares. The building is in the SE ¼ section. Township & Range legal description: fractional section(s) if any, Section #, Township # Range #, names of Principal Meridian and Baseline Answer: SE¼ SE¼ SW¼, Section 24, T35N-R10W, New Mexico Principal Meridian and Baseline Question 2: Determine the latitude and longitude, to the nearest second, of the Firing Range building. State your answer in both degrees-minutes-seconds (DMS) and decimal degrees (DD). Note: remember that there are 7 30 of latitude and longitude on a 1:24,000 scale USGS topographic map. Between each lat/long tic mark are 2 30 of latitude and 2 30 of longitude. Finally, ( ). 1. Latitude measurement 1: mm between N and N measurement 2: 96 mm between N and the unknown latitude (x) of the Firing Range building mm 96 mm x 74 (or 1 14 ) 150 x thus latitude is N 2. Longitude measurement 1: 154 mm between W and W measurement 2: 129 mm between W and unknown longitude (x) 154 mm 129 mm x 126 (or 2 06 ) 150 x thus longitude is W to convert from DMS to DD [round to the fourth decimal place] latitude / / (positive sign in the Northern Hemisphere) longitude /60 + 6/ (negative sign in the Western Hemisphere) 1

2 Question 3: Determine the UTM coordinates (northings and eastings), to the nearest meter, of the Firing Range building. Also, determine the State Plane coordinates for the Firing Range building. Use the legal descriptions. 1. determination of northing: measurement 1: 41.5 mm between 4,128,000 m N and 4,129,000 m N (1000 meters between northing tic marks) measurement 2: 24 mm between 4,128,000 m N and unknown northing (x) 41.5 mm 24 mm x 578 m 1000 m x thus northing is 4,128,578 m N 2. determination of easting: measurement 1: 41.5 mm between 241,000 m E and 242,000 m E (1000 meters between easting tic marks) measurement 2: 37 mm between 241,000 m E and unknown easting (x) 41.5 mm 37 mm x 892 m 1000 m x thus easting is 241,892 m E UTM legal description: # meters E, # meters N, UTM Zone #, hemisphere (North or South) Answer: 241,892 m E; 4,128,578 m N; 13, N for the State Plane Coordinate System (SPC)... follow the same general procedures as described above for UTM. Make sure you use SPC tick marks, not UTM or lat/long, and remember that there are generally 10,000 feet between SPC tick marks on USGS 1:24,000 maps (for pre-1983 topo maps) SPC legal description # feet E, # feet N, State, SPC Zone Question 4: Determine the amount of relief that exists (in feet) between the Firing Range building and the top of Perins Peak. Contour interval on the map is 40 ft. top of Perins Peak 8,346 ft. elevation of Firing Range building 6,660 ft. (estimation based on proximity to 6,640 ft. contour line and bench mark elevation of 6,658 ft. to the west) Answer: 8,346 6,660 1,686 ft. of relief Question 5: determine the average slope (in ft. per single mile) from the Firing Range building to the top of Perins Peak. Follow the draw upslope from and to the north of the Firing Range building, then follow the draw approximately due north to Perins Peak. 1. To get the numerator (ft.), determine the relief from the building to the top of Perins Peak (1,686 ft.). 2. Use the ruler and measure the length from the Firing Range building to Perins Peak. This is about 95 mm. You can either compare this length to the scale bar (miles units) to get the miles conversion, or use the 1:24,000 map scale. For example, the 95 mm distance equates to 95 24,000 mm on the ground, or 2,280,000 mm. This is equivalent to miles. Answer: 1,686 ft. per miles 1,686/ ,190 ft. per mile [rounded to the nearest ft.] 2

3 Other information... Common Conversions: LENGTH 1 mile 5,280 feet 63,360 inches 1 mile kilometers 1, meters 1 kilometer 1,000 meters 100,000 centimeters 1 kilometer 3, feet mile AREA 1 mile 2 27,878,400 feet 2 1 mile acres one section [also, one township 36 mile 2 23,040 acres] 1 mile kilometers hectares 1 kilometer 2 1,000,000 meters 2 1 kilometer hectares 1 kilometer mile acres 1 acre hectare 1 hectare acres Dr. White uses all of the time!! Latitude/Longitude conversions... DMS Degrees, Minutes, Seconds format ,600 DD Decimal Degrees format DMS to DD Conversion N 37+(16/60)+(31/3600) DD to DMS conversion is the degrees value multiply by 60 to get minutes value ( x 60) is the minutes value multiply by 60 to get seconds value ( x 60) [round this number] 31 is the seconds value N 3

4 4 Principal meridians and baselines of the Public Lands Survey System (a.k.a., the Township and Range syste) for the conterminous United States. An initial point marks the intersection of these two lines. Areas surveyed from each initial point are shown with different brown (or gray) tones.

5 The structure and notation of the PLSS (Township and Range system) provides a systematic means of describing land parcels as small as 10 acres (4 hectares). This diagram, and the map on the previous page, are from Map Use: Reading and Analysis, 6 th edition, 2012 Esri Press. 5

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