IU makes historic maps available to public




Indiana University is now making

historic maps of more than 300 locations in the state available to the public.

The Sanborn Company created the maps

starting in 1867 for assessing fire insurance liability for buildings in U.S.

cities. IU officials say they are "considered a treasure trove of American

history sought after by genealogists, urban planners, sociologists and a gamut

of other researchers."

"Indiana's historic Sanborn Maps

provide an enormous amount of information regarding the growth of our cities

and towns," said Anna Radue, an IU database and geographic information

systems specialist, in a statement.

"The maps include the outlines of

buildings, the location of windows and doors, street names and property

boundaries, and even the building materials used for framing, flooring and

roofing materials," said Radue, who is also president of the Indiana Geographic

Information Council.

"Genealogists, planners, demographers and the general

public will find these maps invaluable for visualizing our past urban areas and

understanding our present."

The Sanborn Company designated Indiana

University's Herman B Wells Library Map Collections as the repository for the

original Indiana paper maps which the company produced between 1883 and 1966. A

recent joint project between IU and Historical Information Gatherers Inc. now

provides digital color versions of the maps to the Indiana Spatial Data Portal.

A 2011 grant from IndianaView funded

the digital archiving of the 10,020 public-domain maps and 1,497

copyright-restricted maps that represent 305 different Indiana locations. The

ISDP provides access to more than 20 terabytes of Indiana geospatial data and

most datasets are available to the public for download with no use


After 1910, Sanborn used what IU

Libraries' Lou Malcomb called "paste-overs" to record changes in the


"So these are quite fragile but

may be viewed at the Herman B Wells Library," Malcomb said. "And more

information about the pre- and post-1924 maps may be obtained by contacting the

IUB Map Collection."

The Sanborn maps announcement comes in

advance of GIS Day at Indiana University, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3:30

p.m. Nov. 16 at Herman B Wells Library.

The event is open to the public and

will include information booths, geocaching activities and a 4 p.m. keynote

address by Katy Börner, an IU information science professor. Guests will also

be able to speak with IU Libraries staff about the Sanborn maps.

The above

is one of an ongoing series of reports from the Indiana Statehouse by students

at the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism.