TopoZone was a website operated by Demand Media from 1999 to 2008 that offered free online topographic maps.
It was founded in November 1999 by Ed McNierney whose company Maps a la carte, Inc. operated out of North Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Prior to founding the company, McNierney, an organic chemistry graduate of Dartmouth College, was chief technology officer for Eastman Software, a division of Eastman Kodak.
In 2003 the company partnered with the National Map making its 20-Terabyte library of digital topographic maps and aerial photography available to the USGS. The 2003 press release of the partnership said that 300 million maps had been served from 1999 to 2003.
TopoZone was one of the first topographic mapping site on the web, providing visitors with free viewing and printing of the full set of United States Geological Survey topographic maps covering the entire United States. The maps are produced by the USGS, which encourages the distribution of their maps through business partners. TopoZone offered aerial photographs from the USGS and street maps from the United States Census Bureau. In 2007 complete coverage of Canada was added, using the topographic map series produced by Natural Resources Canada.
In 2007 McNierney sold the company to Demand Media and stayed on as chief mapmaker until the company was taken over by Trails.com.
On April 9, 2008, Topozone was incorporated into Demand Media's Hillclimb Media subsidiary Trails.com. Links to individual TopoZone maps now forward to Trails.com, with maps limited to small size and strongly watermarked. An annual $50 subscription is required to access larger maps without watermarks.
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