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Indiana Sanborn Historic Maps 1883-1966

IN Sanborn Historic MapsDownload

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Dataset Basics

Founded in 1867 the Sanborn Map and Publishing Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years.  The Fire Insurance Maps aided insurance agents in estimating fire insurance liabilities in urban areas.  The maps provide a detailed account of urban development and change in communities during the early twentieth century. Sanborn maps are large-scale (1:600) and depict street layouts, building footprints, building materials, utility lines, street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. As urban areas expanded, the Sanborn Company created new maps to document changes and update their records. Many Indiana urban areas have multiple map editions or volumes such as Indianapolis.  For a particular publication year, Sanborn divided large city maps into multiple maps covering smaller areas.  The first map in each volume serves as a key to the locations of the other maps in the same volume. Sanborn provided updates to specific volumes as maps to be pasted on top of the old paper maps to reduce expense and preserve accuracy. The Sanborn Company reached a peak in production during the 1930s and reduced its efforts to isolated revisions in the 1960s. Sanborn produced Indiana maps between 1883 and 1966.

The Sanborn Company designated the Indiana University Herman B Wells Library Map Collections as the repository for the original Indiana Sanborn paper maps. A joint project between Indiana University and the Historical Information Gatherers, Inc., provides digital color versions of the Sanborn maps to the Indiana Spatial Data Portal (ISDP). A 2011 IndianaView grant funded the archiving of the digital maps on the ISDP.

In this archive the filename of each image includes (1) the 5 digit HIG code used to identify the location (2) the year the map was created/updated and (3) additional information regarding map location and volume.  

Use Restrictions:

All maps between 1883 and 1923 are public domain documents.  Maps created after 1923 have copyright restrictions.  These may be used for academic purposes.  To request a digital copy of a restricted map, please contact the Indiana University Libraries Government Information Services staff.

Available Files:

There are 10,020 public domain maps and 1,497 copyright restricted maps representing 305 different Indiana locations. Each map image is available in either PDF or uncompressed TIF format. The metadata includes lists in text format of public domain and copyright restricted maps and map location boundaries in ESRI shapefile format.

Included in the Metadata are both a black & white and a color symbol key in jpg format.

Dataset Contact Information:

Indiana University Libraries Government Information Services
Indiana University Wells Library 250B
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Phone: 812-855-6924