Gold Maps

Gold Maps for Google Earth Pro

Gold maps are available with Mines and Gold level memberships

WMH Gold Maps for Google Earth Pro are designed to locate areas with high potential for finding placer gold. The following files are included in each state-based package:

  • Locations of all mines in the USGS MRDS database that have gold as a primary commodity
  • Locations of all PLSS sections that contain active placer mining claims
  • Analysis layer that summarizes data for mines and claims by township
  • Ranking layer that identifies the top townships by density of placer claims and gold mines
  • A guide on how to do claims research with the BLM LR2000

Some state packages will have additional data layers like locations of mining districts.

The Arizona Gold Map package includes historical gold mine locations, modern placer mining claim locations by PLSS section, and analysis of gold potential by PLSS township

WMH Gold Maps can be used in Google Earth Pro or GIS applications to research areas with gold discovery potential. Using the same methodology as the WMH Gold Explorer, these mapping tools visualize related data sets that together identify areas of high gold potential by looking at where historical gold mines are located, and where placer mining is still occurring today.

Gold Mine Data

All mine records from the USGS MRDS database with a primary commodity value of gold are included in each state package

Gold mine data is included in two file formats – CSV and KMZ. 

The CSV file contains all gold mines in the state and can be used in GIS, database, or spreadsheet applications. This data can also be imported into Google Earth to create your own custom views.

The KMZ files are ready to use in Google Earth, simply open them and activate the layer and the mines will be displayed. Some states will have the gold mines divided into several KMZ files to avoid performance problems in Google Earth Pro.

Placer Claim Data

Placer claims are located by PLSS section centers.

The CSV file contains all PLSS sections that contain placer claims in the state and can be used in GIS, database, or spreadsheet applications. This data can also be imported into Google Earth to create your own custom views.

The KMZ files are ready to use in Google Earth, simply open them and activate the layer and the claim data will be displayed.

The info windows display the number of claims and the MTRS value of the PLSS section that the claims are located in. MTRS is the acronym for Meridian, Township, Range, Section, and represents the grid system used to survey public lands. The MTRS value for each claim marker can be used to shortcut the BLM LR2000 claims index search form, saving a lot of time in what is generally a very slow and cumbersome system to use.

Gold Region Analysis by Township

Townships that contain both historical gold mine locations and active placer mining claims are highlighted and ranked by number of claims

This layer identifies which PLSS townships have both active placer claims and historical gold mines. This correlation is valuable for two reasons – first it identifies areas where placer claims are maintained for the purpose of gold mining rather than mining of other surface commodities like gypsum or potash. Second it allows a quick view of the density and distribution of gold mining areas across a state.

Townships that contain both active placer claims and historical gold mine records will be shaded in one of the following colors based on how many active placer claims are in the township:

1 – 10 claims: blue; 10 – 50 claims: yellow; 50 – 100 claims: orange; More than 100 claims: red

Also included is a layer that ranks the top 50 gold-bearing township by the total number of claims in them.

Mining District Locations

Some states included historical mining district locations

Some states include locations of historical mining districts. See the state listings below for information on extra data layers.

The following articles were created from these Gold Map products – check them out to see numerous screenshots of the maps:

Where to Find Gold in Arizona

Where to Find Gold in California

WMH Gold Maps for Google Earth Pro are available for the following states:

  • Arizona (includes district locations)
  • California (includes district locations)
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Oregon (includes district locations)
  • Washington

Current maps contain claim data retrieved from the BLM August, 2020

Gold maps are available with Mines and Gold level memberships