This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Find out more about how to manage cookies, or dismiss this message and continue to use cookies.

Farewell to MSR maps/Terraserver

Boyd 2002 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
MSR (Microsoft Research) Maps (formerly known as Terraserver) has shutdown - in fact their website is completely gone and I get an error if I try to open

Microsoft provided free access to USGS topo maps aerial imagery for many years, and these were used by a number of popular websites and software packages But it's all gone now. :(

Some more information on this at TopoFusion's website:

For the technically inclined, the USGS has been transitioning to a tile-based service however, so this might be one free alternative:


  • cuc tu 91 Points
    were these the same maps there are being sold in the usgs store?
  • Boyd 2002 Points
    They offered USGS DRG (digital raster graphics) maps via WMS (web mapping service). These are scanned copies of the printed 24k, 100k and 250k USGS paper maps. They also offered old black and white orthophotography. Terraserver was the first site to make these maps available on the web, as part of a research project that Microsoft did to demonstrate the use of a large database of maps. I remember being completely blown away the first time I saw it. This was before Google came along.

    Since the WMS tiles were freely available, a lot of websites and computer programs were using them. One older program, USAPhotoMaps, has been very popular for example. As of today, all of these will be broken. I guess Microsoft got tired of giving away the same kind of thing that others are monetizing. I can't really blame them.

    The USGS allows you to download all this stuff for free, you don't need to buy anything unless you want hardcopy. The link I posted above describes their WMS servers which can provide maps in the same tile format as Microsoft. Or you can use the National Atlas to view and download USGS data for free too:
Sign In or Register to comment.
↑ Top