Highlights from Penn State Contributions

Posted Oct 21, 2019Authors: Nathan Piekielek, Paige Andrew, and Linda Ballinger

Project Task Force Members

Nathan Piekielek, Geospatial Services Librarian; Paige Andrew, Maps Cataloging Librarian and Linda Ballinger, Metadata Strategist

Over the course of the past three years Penn State University Libraries has organized and shared through the BTAA geoportal cartographic information resources of two primary types: 1) digital surrogates of original paper maps and atlases; and 2) geospatial datasets. Paper maps and atlases are from The Donald W. Hamer Maps Collection and Eberly Family Special Collections Library. Geospatial data are from state agencies across Pennsylvania that have been contributed to The Pennsylvania Geospatial Data Clearinghouse (PASDA). Some examples of each follow:

A nearly complete collection of Pennsylvania Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps that when properly georeferenced can be used to track land use change through time and can be linked to other historical human geography data sources like manuscript censuses and university student directories to visually depict (at the building level) the locations of historical peoples and businesses within communities.

A portion of Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River in 1927

Vector shapefiles of current property parcels by county in Pennsylvania. Here are property parcels of Philadelphia’s Historic District, the first World Heritage site in the United States. Property parcels are an important unit of land division for many environmental, social and economic analyses.

Rare antique maps from around the world like the following representation of Native American tribe geographies of eastern North America in 1700.