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Exploration to Bring Water to Southern California and Coachella Valley

The map is one of the earliest obtainable detailed maps of the Los Angeles Basin, Inland Empire, Mojave Desert and Las Vegas areas.

The purpose of the expedition, as noted by the title of the map, was to investigate the prospect of diverting water from the Colorado River, in order to bring water to Southern California and irrigate areas such as the Coachella Valley, one of the earliest investigations of the feasibility of this concept.

The map provides a very early look at the road system and topographical features of Southern California, on the eve of Southern California's first big land boom in the 1880s. Executed under the auspices of the United States Geological Survey, the map meticulously traces the route of the exploration and highlights the basic topographical challenges of the region.

Historically, the latter half of the 19th century was a period of fervent exploration and scientific inquiry in the United States. Government entities were deeply involved in the search for viable means to develop the arid lands west of the Mississippi River. In this particular case, the primary focus of the expedition, as delineated by the map's title, was to explore the practicability of diverting water from the Colorado River for irrigation purposes, with a keen focus on the Coachella Valley and other parts of Southern California. This investigation represented one of the earliest systematic efforts to address the hydrological challenges associated with agricultural and urban development in the region.

The map is particularly noteworthy for its intricate detailing of the Los Angeles Basin, Inland Empire, Mojave Desert, and areas around present-day Las Vegas. At the time of its creation, this cartographic representation stood as one of the earliest available in-depth surveys of these significant locales. Importantly, it showcases an embryonic road system and topographical features of Southern California just prior to the notable land boom of the 1880s.