Topographic maps are usually published as a series at a given scale, for a specific area. A map series comprises a large number of map sheets fitting together like a giant jigsaw puzzle, to cover a large area in a lot of detail.

Which series should I request?

For current mapping

The 1:100 000 national topographic series gives a good general overview.

For highly detailed mapping of more densely settled areas, use the 1:25 000 series or the 1:50 000 series.

Smaller scale mapping provides a view of large areas of the country on each sheet, for example the 1:250 000 series, 1:500 000 series, and 1:1 000 000.

Detail from Geoscience Australia Index to Topographic Maps showing the major topographic map series used to map Australia.

For 'historical' mapping

Australian topographic maps published in the 1960s or earlier used one of a number of imperial scales. A standard series for historical mapping enquiries is the inch:mile (1:63 360). Series at one inch: 4 miles (1:253 440) and one inch: 2 miles (1:126 720) are also available.