Maryland Department of Natural Resources


Physiographic Provinces of Maryland Data

Please note, a newer, more detailed Physographic Map of Maryland is available here:

2002, Maryland Geological Survey

ESRI shapefile, Maryland physiographic provinces


Physiographic Provinces thumbnailPhysiography is the study and classification of the natural landscape of the earth and the landforms that comprise it. The approach for the detailed physiographic map of Maryland is hierarchical and descriptive. Subdivisions are based on similarities (within) and differences (among) geologic structure, rock type, geomorphic history, and topographic characteristics. Data and subdivisions were compiled at a 1:100,000 scale for the detailed state-wide map. The hierarchical classification of the detailed physiographic map (in progress) includes subdivisions as follows, in descending order (and generally decreasing size): Province, Section, Region, District, Area. In Maryland there are portions of five physiographic Provinces.

The data set offered on this page consists of an ESRI shape file and complete metadata.  The shapefile contains the Province-level physiographic subdivisions of Maryland in ArcGIS format. The file was developed from components of a detailed digital physiographic map of Maryland by James P. Reger and Emery T. Cleaves.

In this data file, the polygons reflect Province level subdivision. The polygon feature attribute table has been developed to pertain only to the Provinces level. The table includes information on dominant rock types, geologic structure, topographic relief, and drainage pattern.

Metadata Summary
Description: ESRI shape file for Maryland physiographic provinces.  This file is projected in the Maryland State Plane Coordinate System (Lambert conformal conic projection, NAD83, meters). Data in this file were compiled at a 1:100,000 scale as part of a digital map (to be available in print/PDF version at 1:250,000).
Purpose: Although the primary purpose of the detailed map (in progress) is to develop the first physiographic map of Maryland that classifies the landscape to a greater degree than Section level, this file has been developed specifically at the Province level for general use by the public. The purpose of producing the map using ESRI ArcInfo is to allow spatial analyses as part of a geographic information system. The GIS format facilitates synergism between physiography and other disciplines and derivative work involving ecosystems management, hydrologic regions, watersheds, vegetation, and soils.
Custodian: Maryland Department of Natural / Resources/Maryland Geological Survey
Contact: Robert Conkwright; 410-554-5545;
Date: 2002
Data Type: GIS binary data
Format: ESRI shape file
Geographic Area: Maryland, excluding water bodies
Coordinate System: MD State Plane Coordinate System 1983, meters
Attribute Summary: area; perimeter; province; lithologies; structure; landform; elevation range; typical relief; drainage pattern
Detailed Metadata: Yes - included in download file

A detailed PDF map is also available at Physiographic Map of Maryland, 1:250,000

Downloads and Data

MD Physiographic Provinces data file (zip, 256 kB)