|This article may not meet the general notability guideline. Please help to establish notability by adding reliable, secondary sources about the topic. If notability cannot be established, the article is likely to be merged or deleted. (July 2008)|
TopoQuest is a free web mapping service built on open source software that provides internet-based topographic maps for most of the United States. The site is one of three internet services used by Wikipedia for providing topographic maps. It arose to prominence in May 2008 after TopoZone through its new trails.com owners required payment for access to its maps. TopoQuest map links are the same as Topozone's except for the difference in the domain.
It is operated by Ryan Niemi in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Niemi first experimented with a mapping program in July 2001 as a Linux, PHP and MySQL alternative to Microsoft's TerraServer-USA topographic mapviewer.
The domain was registered at Go Daddy to Sunset Dynamics on August 10, 2004, however Niemi did not aggressively develop the website because of the success of Topozone.
After Topozone started the for pay business model in April 8, 2008, Niemi made updates to get the website to match the Topozone URL methodology for viewing 1:24K USGS Digital raster graphic maps available from the Libre Map Project and Internet Archive and was operating by May 2008.
Code was adapted from the MapServer project at the University of Minnesota. The viewer was made seamless by incorporating GDAL. In addition to matching the Topozone URLs, the website offers free download of GeoTIFFs, which Topozone had only offered for a premium. TopoQuest started adding Canadian 1:50K scale topographic maps in July 2008, and USGS 1:100K and 1:250K scale topographic maps in March 2009.