PDA

View Full Version : USGS Map, White areas?


Bill Harsey
09-17-2005, 09:48
Does anyone know what the white stands for on USGS topographic maps and what it first, and still could, mean?

The Reaper
09-17-2005, 09:53
Does anyone know what the white stands for on USGS topographic maps and what it first, and still could, mean?

Non-forested/vegetated areas, IIRC.

Or that you have moved off the printed areas and are navigating on the margins.

TR

Bill Harsey
09-17-2005, 10:12
Non-forested/vegetated areas, IIRC.

Or that you have moved off the printed areas and are navigating on the margins.

TR
I heard an interesting story about the non-forested areas this morning on Field and Stream Radio (broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Network and hosted by a buddy of mine, Scott Linden).

There can be some vegetation and trees in the white areas... how much vegetation had tactical value.

longtab
09-17-2005, 12:27
I always thought white areas on USGS maps were areas of non-significant vegetation, i.e. in a forested area meadows would appear white. Which would make North Dakota one big white map... :)

--- OT --- Mr. Harsey thanks for designing our knife. All the (ehem...) old timers are pretty dang jealous they didn't get one. Mine is #1799, and I was presented it at Sage graduation 22Aug03. Of course I never use it, but it is proudly displayed on my "I love me" shelf in our den. I have no doubt that it would perform flawlessly under the rigors of combat. My fixed back knives need only fit in the "sharpened pry-bar" category and your design falls within the same. Thanks!

Bill Harsey
09-17-2005, 12:37
I always thought white areas on USGS maps were areas of non-significant vegetation, i.e. in a forested area meadows would appear white. Which would make North Dakota one big white map... :)

--- OT --- Mr. Harsey thanks for designing our knife. All the (ehem...) old timers are pretty dang jealous they didn't get one. Mine is #1799, and I was presented it at Sage graduation 22Aug03. Of course I never use it, but it is proudly displayed on my "I love me" shelf in our den. I have no doubt that it would perform flawlessly under the rigors of combat. My fixed back knives need only fit in the "sharpened pry-bar" category and your design falls within the same. Thanks!
The story I heard this morning as told by a guy who has studied the history of those maps is that "an area is white if it doesn't have enough vegetation to hide one platoon of soldiers per acre."

Your welcome for the knife design, CRK does the hard work of producing it at a very high quality. We both consider this to be the highest honor we could have as knifemakers.

Take the knife down and use it, we will fix whatever you can do to it.

The Reaper
09-17-2005, 13:43
The story I heard this morning as told by a guy who has studied the history of those maps is that "an area is white if it doesn't have enough vegetation to hide one platoon of soldiers per acre."

Your welcome for the knife design, CRK does the hard work of producing it at a very high quality. We both consider this to be the highest honor we could have as knifemakers.

Take the knife down and use it, we will fix whatever you can do to it.

Sounds thin.

Check the date on the maps. Most are decades old, so what was true then, may not be true when you are looking at the map. I have seen horizontal data as old as 1935 on issued maps.

TR

Bill Harsey
09-17-2005, 14:04
Reaper,
Your right, that is the history behind the original meaning of the white areas on the map.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
09-17-2005, 14:38
Non-forested/vegetated areas, IIRC.

Or that you have moved off the printed areas and are navigating on the margins.

TR

That's the way I also learned it, however with some of the maps I have used there have been white areas in the middle of rain forests where you could hide a regiment. I was told by the folks that issued us the maps that the white area depicted places that they could not confirm by aerial mapping so rather than confuse the issue anymore they just left the area blank. The maps I really loved were the one where the UTM grids converged-that made for interesting navigation and reporting procedures.

Bill Harsey
09-17-2005, 14:47
The funny thing about those non forested, non vegetated areas is that in some areas that can change back in just a few years.
Jack,
Speaking of forests, I learned a new term yesterday in the local paper. A timber sale is being protested by folks who like to sit in trees and play harps. This patch of forest is being called a "legacy" forest because it is a few big trees with lots of small trees.
It used to be "old growth" was the catch phrase.
The timber sale is also being protested because it is in a watershed. Every square inch of ground in this state is a watershed when it's raining.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
09-17-2005, 20:10
A timber sale is being protested by folks who like to sit in trees and play harps.
.

Cut enough of them down with the wayward muscians sitting in them and it gives a whole new meaning to "harpsicord" if you stack them in rows 4x4x8 :D

Razor
09-17-2005, 21:38
...and it gives a whole new meaning to "harpsicord" if you stack them in rows 4x4x8

Now THAT was FUNNY! :D

NousDefionsDoc
09-17-2005, 21:38
Or that you have moved off the printed areas and are navigating on the margins.

LOL

Maas
09-18-2005, 00:14
^^^ that's one for the "Quote of the Year".

LMAO

HOLLiS
09-29-2005, 09:40
Or that you have moved off the printed areas and are navigating on the margins.

TR

Yes a good quote for the years, also it brings to light the meaning of someone with marginal skills.

Diablo Blanco
07-01-2008, 04:05
Board Answer is "Areas where the vegetation has no significant military value"

Mr Harsey's reply fits in well with this. It could also depend on the scale of the map. On maps with greater detail the green areas would serve smaller sized units. Larger scaled maps would serve brigades on up. Be interesting to see some comparisons of the same area on different scales.

OTOH how does a civilian map maker determine green and white areas?

Jack Moroney (RIP)
07-01-2008, 06:04
[QUOTE=Diablo Blanco;214912]Board Answer is "Areas where the vegetation has no significant military value" QUOTE]

That is a pretty "broad" answer. Lack of vegetation does not just mean lack of concealment, it also means good visibility and good fields of fire, both of which have significant military value. It can also be of "significant military value" for landing zones and drop zones. Lack of vegetation can also have "significant military value" when planning avenues of approach, analyzing the other sides options for trafficability that can be concealed for short time by the use of smoke or other obscurants. No, I would say that the there is no piece of terrain that has "no" significant military value as it depends on the situation and the mission as well as capabilities and limitations of both the friendly and enemy forces.

kgoerz
07-01-2008, 06:11
I thought it was Snow....another interesting note. Years ago some of the Guys who made or printed the Maps got busted sneaking their initials and curse words into the smaller Grid lines. Those Maps are considered collector items. They actually did a recall of certain Map series because of this.

Diablo Blanco
07-01-2008, 17:55
[QUOTE=Diablo Blanco;214912]Board Answer is "Areas where the vegetation has no significant military value" QUOTE]

That is a pretty "broad" answer. Lack of vegetation does not just mean lack of concealment, it also means good visibility and good fields of fire, both of which have significant military value. It can also be of "significant military value" for landing zones and drop zones. Lack of vegetation can also have "significant military value" when planning avenues of approach, analyzing the other sides options for trafficability that can be concealed for short time by the use of smoke or other obscurants. No, I would say that the there is no piece of terrain that has "no" significant military value as it depends on the situation and the mission as well as capabilities and limitations of both the friendly and enemy forces.

Very true. I suppose I could clarify the answer to mean the white areas lack vegetation with no significant military value to units platoon size or above. Of course smaller sized units could use them for cover, even several vehicles.

Perhaps it is decided by the Height of the vegetation. Take for example marsh areas with the dotted lines.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
07-02-2008, 06:51
Perhaps it is decided by the Height of the vegetation. Take for example marsh areas with the dotted lines.

Actually you need to add in the variables such as the type of unit, the mission, weather, and the enemy capabilities to mention a few. I am sure you can think of any number of scenarios where vegetation or lack there of has a positive or negative impact depending on those variables and others. As far as vegetation providing cover, unless you are talking about something that is going to absorb the impact of a round, I think you mean concealment. You are looking at this one sided, vegetation or lack there of, is always significant when it comes to terrain analysis. Go back to your initial entry training and recall what the acronym OCOKA represented. Vegetation plays a role in each of those letters-be it positive or negative-and that is just the simplistic view.

OpForKorn
11-10-2008, 19:46
Not trying to be funny, but here in Pineland it means an area that has been logged, and has grown into something only a tank could penetrate..

SF_BHT
11-10-2008, 20:24
Not trying to be funny, but here in Pineland it means an area that has been logged, and has grown into something only a tank could penetrate..


OK Stop Posting and Re-Read your welcome e-mail and Post the Intro you should have done 3 Post ago.