Maps of Locations for 1915 USGS Topographic Map
[Click on a marker on the map or from the list for information about the location.]
[See guide below for location information.]

Guide to1915 Topographic Survey
Read Description of Maps
MPG V2.8, January 2013

Advisories about Google map display and and about the Carbon River Road. See "Background" below for a description of the types of a field surveys used for the production of the 1915 topographic map. The boundary shown in the map (above) is the original 1899 NP boundary defined in the law designating Mt. Rainier as a National Park. This was the boundary at the time of the survey for the 1915 topographic map.


The locations are catagorized as:

   Plane Table Station, plane-table station peak used in mapping other peaks;

   Surveyed Peak, peaks surveyed from plane-table station peak;

   Benchmark, locations where elevation has been established by stadia survey;

   Not Used, reserved for future use.

Errors and name changes since the original survery are summarized here.


Note about .-- The "information window" for each location has the following information:

    (1) Name of feature and type of feature, plane-table, benchmark or surveyed point,
    (2) Location of site in or near NP,
    (3) Location, latitude, longitude and elevation, determined from latest maps and site description,
    (4) Location, latitude and longitude, reported in USGS summary report,
    (5) Station mark, from the summary report,
    (6) Reference mark, from the summary report,
    (7) Notes.

The information for each site is listed in the publications of the summary information about the traverse surveys and plane-table survey. The original site location, item 4 in the information window, was translated to newer USGS 1:24,000 series maps, described here and the errors found in the original publication, are noted in the information window and summarized here.


The US Geological Survey was established in 1879 with the expressed purpose to conduct a scientific survey of the lands and territories of the United States. From the outset of the USGS, topographic mapping and geologic mapping were two focuses and work of the agency. And without accurate topographic maps, no other research could be done.

To produce a topographic map, the USGS employed three different field survey methods. The first was to establish benchmarks, fixed permanent markers with an established elevation, to calibrate survey instruments and to establish benchmark at new locations. This is done with stadia surveys.

To establish elevation benchmarks at other locations, a survey team does a traverse survey from an existing benchmark to the location for a new one. This is done either with double or closed, loop levels or single loop and return levels. The former is the used when the distance is significant, usually over a mile or so.

The second was a plane-table survey. Starting from a known location, the survey team sets up a plane-table with the alidade and telescope and then surveys the surrounding peaks and features for azimuth, angle and distance, with which the same information from other sites, are used to establish the location of peaks, landmarks and features for the map of the area.


Below are the links to the various maps resources for current and historical maps and other historical resources for the early years of Mt. Rainier NP. To date I haven't posted a link the my copy of the USGS 1915 topographic map of the NP because while the map is public domain and free for use, my copy was acquired from the Bailey Willis collection at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, and we haven't resolved the use and public distribution rights yet for their work providing the digital version of the map.

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WSR V2.8, January 2013