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
"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.
is one of an ongoing series of reports from the Indiana Statehouse by students
at the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism.