Make Your Own Free, Customizable Topographic Maps
For the wanderlust: check out Kevin Kelly’s detailed instructions on how to print out your own topographic maps for free. Kelly explains that while topomaps, a must-have for any serious hiker, can be ordered for pretty cheap through the U.S. Geological Survey site, there are many advantages to downloading the PDFs and printing them yourself:
Go to the USGS Map Locator page, and search for the quad you want. You can type in an “street” address just like in Google. Click on the appropriate miniature map and then choose which scale map of the area you want to download. The PDF files of the standard 7.5 minute topo map will be between 6 and 16 megs. You’ll need Photoshop or equivalent to crop and size them. Be prepared to use some heavy duty processing power. These are big, very detailed maps.