A Source of Topo maps

Sometime around 2005 I ran across a stash of scanned Topo maps at MIT: http://www.mit.edu/afs/sipb/contrib/usgs-data/ is the base URL. They're in directories by latitude and longitude so you really have to know what you're looking for. Directories have names like 42x72 for latitude 42° and longitude 72°. You can usually purchase these on paper at town halls, some stores that sell fishing supplies, etc. These have been scanned already so you can download and print the parts you need. But:

They're metric
Elevations and contour lines are in meters. Contour lines are every 6 meters instead of 20 feet, but 6 meters is 19.685 feet anyway. Elevations you just have to get used to, you can convert meters to feet by multiplying by 3.2808399
They're not here
You have to get them from MIT (by the links)
They're TIFF format
No web browser I know of will open them, without special plugins, you have to download them and open in something like Photoshop, The Gimp, Irfanview. Irfanview's a very good piece of free software for Windows.
They're from 1990
Obviously the land hasn't changed much but houses, roads and brooks will have. There are also some obscure 1 TIFF tags in them that some software may give warnings about.
They're big
On the order of 10,000 x 6,000 pixels (7 megabytes). You can rescale to 50% size and still read them, but not much smaller. They're 16-color TIFFs, so you can save your edits as 16-color GIFs and have them work in a wider variety of software, including web browsers. If you're going fishing, hiking, camping, etc. just print the area you need. When rescaling I've had good luck promoting them to truecolor, using bicubic resampling, then converting back to 16 color.
Some aren't well labeled
The K series of files seem normal, but l and o may not have edge labels, which also means they don't have latitude and longitude marks
They look crooked
That's probably the magnetic declination (look it up) so they aren't square on the white outline that looks like paper.

What I did was to download everything in 42x72 (200 megabytes) to catalog, look at and index. It's more than I need but I wanted a clearly defined set. I had downloaded all of them years ago but lost them in a move. There's most of the US available, I don't remember about Canada, just go by latitude and longitude.

I haven't (yet) opened each one to see what else is included. For instance the Ashfield (MA) map also includes Buckland (including Mohawk), Hawley, Plainfield, the part of Charlemont where Berkshire East is, Savoy, Windsor. They may be named for the biggest (population-wise) town contained. Some towns are split between 2 or more maps. Charlemont is on k42072e7.tif and k42072f7.tif. Colrain is on k42072f7.tif and k42072f5.tif. In doing the whole country USGS made generalizations for strictly geographical reasons. My father used to have a bunch of the paper maps cut out and gluied onto canvas that he had his students do, if I remember right he was trying to cover the area that Mohawk Trail Regional High School serves. It sat rolled up in a corner and he'd dig it out once a year. It was about 4 feet x 4 feet.

The letter and number after the 42072 refer to a grid within 42x72, but they're upside down and backwards from what you might expect. A1 is in the southeast corner, H8 is northwest. The little grid above tries to illustrate. If you had a computer with about a terabyte of RAM you could maybe put all these together, but then what would you do with it?

In 42x72 (sorted by file name):

k42072a1.tif   Southbridge MA & some CT
k42072a7.tif   Southwick MA & some CT
k42072b1.tif   Warren, MA
k42072b7.tif   Blandford, MA
k42072c7.tif   Chester, MA
k42072d1.tif   Barre, MA
k42072d3.tif   Shutesbury, MA
k42072d5.tif   Williamsburg, MA
k42072d7.tif   Goshen, MA
k42072e1.tif   Athol, MA
k42072e3.tif   Orange, MA
k42072e5.tif   Greenfield, MA (& Shelburne Falls, Shelburne, Conway, Deerfield, Montague, Millers Falls)
k42072e7.tif   Ashfield, MA (& Buckland, Hawley, Plainfield, Savoy, Windsor, south Charlemont
k42072f1.tif   Winchendon, MA, some NH
k42072f3.tif   Northfield, MA, some NH & VT
k42072f5.tif   Bernardston (& east Colrain, some Leyden) MA, some VT
k42072f7.tif   Rowe (& Heath, west Colrain, north Charlemont), MA
k42072g5.tif   Brattleboro, VT, some NH
k42072h5.tif   Newfane, VT, some NH
l42072a6.tif   West Springfield, MA, some CT
l42072b3.tif   Palmer, MA Quadrangle
l42072b4.tif   Ludlow, MA Quadrangle
l42072b5.tif   Springfield (north), MA Quadrangle
l42072b6.tif   Mount Tom, MA Quadrangle
l42072c3.tif   Winsor Dam Quadrangle
l42072c4.tif   Belchertown, MA Quadrangle
l42072c5.tif   Mt Holyoke, MA Quadrangle
o42072a1.tif   Sturbridge, Charlton, MA (no edge label)
o42072a2.tif   Brimfield, Wales, Holland, Union, Stafford CT (no label)
o42072a3.tif   Monson,MA, Stafford, CT (no label)
o42072a4.tif   Hampden, MA Quadrangle
o42072a5.tif   Parts of Springfield, Longmeadow, MA, Enfield, CT. (no labels)
o42072a6.tif   Parts of Springfield, Agawam, Southwick, Westfield, West Springfield, MA (no label)
o42072a7.tif   Parts of Westfield, Southwick, Granby, MA (no label)
o42072a8.tif   Tolland, Granville, MA (no label)
o42072g7.tif   Jacksonville, VT Quadrangle
o42072g8.tif   Readsboro, VT Quadrangle
o42072h7.tif   West Dover, VT Quadrangle
o42072h8.tif   Mount Snow, VT Quadrangle

1 Actually they're not that obscure, there's a specialized subset of the TIFF format called GeoTIFF which is used only for maps. TIFFs can have fields used for private purposes, so these may contain the latitudes and longitudes at the corners of the map, or something like that. See this for the geo data in the Ashfield file.

AB1JX / Toys