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DRG Technical Information

Note: The information on this page is being retained for technical and historical reference only. The site is not under active maintenance and may include expired information and outdated links.

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USGS DRG Product Standard

2001 DRG Standard Revision

The Tagged Image File Format. TIFF is the physical format of DRG images. TIFF is copyrighted by Adobe Systems Incorporated. The standard can be retrieved from

GeoTIFF. GeoTIFF is a public domain extension of the TIFF standard. GeoTIFF files conform to the TIFF 6.0 base standard, but contain additional information that allows image coordinates to be transformed to ground coordinates. TIFF readers that do not recognize GeoTIFF tags can still read GeoTIFF files as ordinary TIFF data. The GeoTIFF home page is at

Technical Papers

Deciphering DRG Data Set Names

Transverse Mercator Projections and USGS Digital Products. An explanation of why DRGs "tilt" when displayed on a computer screen.
HTML (141K) | PDF (235K)

Datum Shifts and Map Coordinate Displays. An explanation of why a datum conversion appears to cause a much greater shift in the UTM grid than in the latitude/longitude graticule.
PDF (123K)

Problems with GeoTIFF on USGS DRG CD-ROM's in 1994-95

Other Technical Information

TIFF 6.0 Information for Programmers

GeoTIFF Home Page

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 11-May-2017 14:26:21 EDT