How to use the City of Austin on-line map viewers

The City of Austin provides lots of useful mapping services. Here is the main link to the GIS (Geographic Information System) map site:

When you go there, you see this:

  1. To see topographical maps, click on the second link “WPDR Drainage Viewer - Older viewer that contains environmental layers as well as contour data with elevation.” Here is the direct link:

  1. First you see a Disclaimer page:

  1. Most computers already have Java installed, so just leave Advanced Viewer selected and click Acknowledge. Then the Drainage Viewer page appears:

  1. Click on Address in the left-hand menu bar. A place to enter your address appears at the bottom:

  1. Enter the address. Use abbreviations such as “DR” for Drive, “ST” for Street, “CIR” for Circle, “BLVD” for Boulevard, etc. Click on Search Tips to see the whole list. Then click Locate.

For instance, when you enter “1004 Elm St” you see this image:

  1. To make it more useful, select the following options on the right:

Then click Refresh Map, and it looks like this:

Voila! Here are all the topo lines!

  1. To zoom in, enter a new value in the entry field just below Refresh Map on the right and then click Refresh Map or just press Enter.

To print it on a Windows computer

  1. Press Alt + Print Screen at the same time. This copies the active window to the clipboard (an invisible place that holds things you have copied).

  2. Then you can open Word or a similar word processing program and Click Edit, and then click Paste to copy it into your document.

  3. If you do not have Word, you can open Paint, which comes with every Windows computer and paste the image there. Open Paint by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Paint. In Paint, Click Edit, and then click Paste.

To print it on a Mac

  1. Press Command + Shift + 4 at the same time. The cursor changes to a little cross-hairs thingie.

  2. Move the cross-hairs to the upper left of what you want to capture, click and hold your mouse button, and drag it to the lower right of what you want to capture.

  3. Release the mouse button. It makes a satisfying click and a new file appears on your desktop called something like “Screen shot ....png.”

  4. Click the file to open it and then you can print it.