to the National Atlas Home page
About | Fact Sheets | Contact Us | Partners | Products | Site Map | FAQ | Help | Follow us on Twitter 
Part of Project LogoAgricultureBiologyBoundariesClimateEnvironmentGeologyGovernmentHistoryMappingPeopleTransportationWater
to the Interactive Map MakerMap LayersPrintable MapsWall MapsDynamic MapsArticlesMapping Professionals

Map Layer Info

100-Meter Resolution Natural Earth of the United States

What this map layer shows:

The shape of the land surface of the United States, in natural-color at a resolution of 100 meters. Its images were produced in the style of natural-color maps made by cartographer Hal Shelton.

This map layer is composed of four separate images for the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Elevation, Color-Sliced Elevation, Gray Shaded Relief, and Color Shaded Relief map layers are also available.

opens the National Park Service home page
Background Information
Sample map Sample Map
Physical maps that use the colors we see in nature are easy to understand and use by those who are color-sighted. They associate colors on maps with the colors of nature; for example, green with vegetation or brown with deserts. These Natural Earth images combine land cover in natural colors with shaded relief at differing levels of vertical exaggeration. They have a natural realism not found in other National Atlas map layers.

The images were made using several other National Atlas map layers. Land Cover, Tree Canopy, and Satellite View map layers were re-colorized and blended to create land cover with natural colors and terrain textures. Inland water bodies were removed, as were small urban areas. The National Atlas Elevation map layer was smoothed and rendered to produce shaded relief.

Natural Earth does not portray elevation values. There is no way to tell from the images how high or low an area is and precise measurements of slope or aspect cannot be made. The original Elevation map layer must be used for determining elevation values. Similarly, for more complete representations of America's land cover and landforms, use the National Atlas Land Cover and Satellite View map layers. Natural Earth images are best suited for making small-scale maps and reference maps where the portrayal of the natural environment – rather than the built environment – is most important.

The 100-Meter Resolution Natural Earth of the United States map layer was prepared by Tom Patterson of the National Park Service and is delivered in the Albers Equal-Area Conic map projection.

This map layer is part of our collection of fundamental digital cartographic data known as 1. This collection includes base map data in vector format at 1:1,000,000-scale and in image format at 100-meter ground resolution. Read more about the 1.