News & Announcements

2019 Posts

Posted July 5, 2019Authors: Ryan Mattke & Melinda Kernik

The University of Minnesota’s contributions to the BTAA Geoportal range from 16th century maps of Asia to geospatial data created using mid-20th century maps, to born-digital geospatial data sets published earlier this year.

Wildcard searches

Posted Jun 21, 2019Author: Daniel Dotson

The Geoportal allows you to use two symbols to find word variations:

  • * allows you to truncate terms. For example, engrav* will find terms like engraved, engraving, engraver, etc. It can also get internal replacement, for example: lab*r will get labor and labour (but also Labrador!).
  • ? is for a single character replacement. For example, wom?n finds woman and women.

Posted May 28, 2019Author: Cecilia Smith

The University of Chicago Library’s first contribution to the BTAA Geoportal was the Social Scientists Map Collection. The digital collection consists of 45 maps produced by UChicago sociologists in the late 19th to early 20th centuries who studied the impact of environment on behavior.

Posted Apr 23, 2019Author: Joshua Sadvari

What’s in this collection?

Over 2,000 scanned historical maps dating from the late 19th to mid-20th century and covering much of Pennsylvania. Sanborn fire insurance maps contain a wealth of information about individual properties and were designed to assist insurance agents in determining fire hazard potential.

Posted Apr 23, 2019Authors: Daniel Dotson

Did you know that you can use facets to find data or maps from a specific range of years?

Posted Apr 11, 2019Authors: Yue Shirley Li and Nicole Kong

Purdue University Libraries has contributed three major collections to BTAA Geoportal, ranging from state geospatial data collection to libraries’ georeferenced imagery collection.

Posted Mar 19, 2019Author: Joshua Sadvari

There is no shortage of noteworthy, thought-provoking information coming out of Washington, D.C. these days… That’s right! I’m talking about D.C.’s open geospatial data!

Posted Mar 19, 2019Authors: Catherine Hodge and Rob Shepard

Our largest contribution by volume comes from two of our digital collections: the Hixson Plat Map Atlases of Iowa and the Iowa Counties Historic Atlases. By adding these collections to the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal in 2016, University of Iowa was the first institution to contribute a series of scanned historic maps.

Posted Feb 28, 2019Author: Daniel Dotson

What is this item?

A scan of a 1966 USGS map.

What geographic region is featured?


Posted Feb 28, 2019Authors: Kelley O'Neal and Bria Parker

University of Maryland (UMD) Libraries has contributed to the BTAA Geoportal a few dozen scanned historical maps of 18th and 19th century Maryland from our Maryland Map Collection that focuses on the Chesapeake Bay region. Additionally we have helped to identify and contribute nearly 3,000 state and city-wide geospatial datasets for inclusion in the Geoportal, including open data from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.

Posted Jan 29, 2019Author: Danny Dotson

What is in this collection?

398 digitized maps that reflect multiple areas from both poles.

What geographic region is featured?

Both poles – Antarctica and Greenland being most common.

Posted: Jan 29, 2019Author: Nicole Sholtz

Our primary contribution to the BTAA Geoportal has been from the digital map collection from the Stephen S. Clark Library for Maps, Government Information and Data Services. Our geographic strengths include Michigan and the Great Lakes region, Europe, Japan, and South Africa, and we are continuing to scan and post maps from our collection of over 370,000 paper maps.

2018 Posts

Posted Dec 7, 2018Authors: Daniel Dotson and Joshua Sadvari

Ohio State University joined the BTAA geoportal in the summer of 2017. Our more recent addition as project collaborators means that in some ways we are “playing catch-up” with our peer institutions that have been involved since the project’s inception, but it also gives us a great opportunity to fill in gaps that existed for Ohio maps and geospatial data before we began contributing to the geoportal.

Posted Nov 8, 2018Authors: Jennifer Liss and Theresa Quill

According to WorldCat, approximately half of the digitized sheet maps in the Indiana Historic Maps collection have never been cataloged before. A large portion of the state’s earliest maps were issued in the annual reports of the Indiana Geological Survey and, while the bound journals were cataloged and readily findable, the individual maps within were not. We’re very excited to make this hidden collection discoverable in the Geoportal. More sheet maps will be added, so be sure to check back!

Posted Oct 17, 2018Authors: Nathan Piekielek, Paige Andrew, and Linda Ballinger

At the start of the BTAA Geoportal project in 2015, the state of Pennsylvania already had a well-developed geospatial data clearinghouse (PASDA) and the Penn State University Libraries had already published online tens of thousands of scanned Sanborn fire insurance maps. What we lacked, however, was a user-friendly online interface with which to search for digital cartographic resources geographically, as well as by keyword and topic regardless of their format (i.e., GIS data OR scanned map).

Posted Sep 19, 2018Authors: Amanda Tickner and Kathleen Weessies

MSU Libraries have submitted a collection of antique scanned maps collections (which focus primarily on Michigan, the Great Lakes region, and Africa).

Posted Aug 21, 2018Authors: Jaime Martinedale and Jim Lacy

Wisconsin is unique in that we don’t have an official state geoportal of our own. Therefore, we rely heavily on referring users to the BTAA Geoportal to access the geospatial content they need. While many agencies and local offices in Wisconsin provide data access via their own websites, pointing users to the BTAA Geoportal as a single point of entry to discover and download maps and data across our state (and region) is extremely valuable.

Posted Jul 8, 2018Authors: Melinda Kernik and Ryan Mattke

The University of Minnesota has contributed public GIS records from the Minnesota Geospatial Commons, the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission, and several individual counties. They have also added many items from the University’s digital repositories, including scanned maps from the John R. Borchert Map Library, GeoTIFFs from the Polar Geospatial Center, research data from the U of M Digital Conservancy, and hundreds of mixed resources from the Minnesota Geological Survey.

2017 Posts

Posted Dec 11, 2017

New records include Indiana Historic Maps and data from counties in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Posted Sep 12, 2017

As of September 2017, the BTAA Geoportal has three new features: Enhanced Metadata Display, Browse for Items on the Map, and Autocomplete for the Search box.

Posted Jul 24, 2017

This month, we welcomed two new Big Ten Academic Alliance universities to the project, Ohio State University and the University of Chicago. Look for new collections from these contributors coming soon! Our updated map shows that we now represent a contiguous region from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic coast.

Posted June 6, 2017

109 geospatial records were recently added to the geoportal from the City of Chicago’s Open Data Portal, notably dozens of records about public schools in the city. 17 GIS records were added from the City of Bloomington Data Portal.

Posted May 2, 2017

109 geospatial records were recently added to the geoportal from the City of Chicago’s Open Data Portal, notably dozens of records about public schools in the city. 17 GIS records were added from the City of Bloomington Data Portal.

Posted Apr 4, 2017

During March 2017, 802 scanned maps from the University of Michigan Clark Library were added to the geoportal. Several hundred scanned maps from the University of Minnesota’s Borchert Map Library were also added bringing the total number of map records to over 1700.

Posted Feb 16, 2017

It is Love Your Data Week and a key part of doing geospatial work is “Finding the Right Data”! The Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal strives to make relevant data easy to discover and fit into your workflow. While the data displayed in our portal comes from a variety of sources, it is often possible to access or download the data through our site.

Posted Jan 31, 2017

We added over 400 scanned map records from university libraries and 24 shapefiles from the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission to the geoportal during January 2017.

2016 Posts

Posted Dec 30, 2016

Approximately 350 records were added to the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal during December of 2016, bringing the total to over 4,000.

Posted Dec 1, 2016

The Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal provides links to public GIS datasets, web services, and digitized historical maps from multiple data clearinghouses and library catalogs. The geographical area represented is primarily the Upper Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

Posted Nov 15, 2016.

The Big Ten Academic Alliance Geospatial Data Project (formerly CIC Geospatial Data Discovery Project) has launched the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal, built with GeoBlacklight. This project is collectively managed by a task force of librarians and geospatial specialists at ten research institutions from across the Big Ten Academic Alliance. These institutions have collaboratively aggregated and edited thousands of metadata records from multiple GIS data clearinghouses, FTP sites, and library catalogs.