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Topographic Maps

Topographic Maps - The Basics brochure
The basics (PDF, 1.34 MB)

Topographic maps are suitable for a wide variety of applications, from emergency management, urban planning, surveying, resource development, to camping, canoeing, hunting and fishing to name a few. Why? Because they represent the earth's features accurately and to scale, on a two-dimensional surface. This section provides information to facilitate the use of topographic maps, and also how to obtain paper and digital maps.

National Topographic System

Topographic maps produced by NRCan conform to the National Topographic System (NTS) of Canada. They are available in two standard scales: 1:50 000 and 1:250 000. Each map in this system has a unique number, which is a combination of numbers and letters. The area covered by a given mapsheet is determined by its location in Canada. To understand the numbering of these maps, refer to the National Topographic System Index Maps.

Where to obtain a topographic paper map

Where to obtain digital topographic data

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