Students in Professor John Benhart’s spring 2018 Technical Issues in GIS class
are reconstructing the urban geography of Indiana, Pennsylvania, using
historical maps and geographic information systems (GIS).
(geography-GIS major), Cody Kleffel (geography-GIS major), and Andrew Malhotra (Geographic
Information Science Certificate of Recognition) are utilizing Sanborn Insurance Maps (cartographic
products originally produced to determine the fire insurance liability in urban
areas across the United States from the mid-19th to the mid-20th
century), and ArcGIS 10.5 (GIS software with spatial data processing and
analysis capabilities) to analyze Indiana’s past urban structure.
are processing the Sanborn map series for Indiana, Pennsylvania from 1887, 1892, 1897, 1903,
1910, 1916, and 1936, by placing them in their accurate coordinate space and
extracting information on the location of businesses, industries, and the extent
of urban settlement during different time periods. Expected project results
include documentation of Indiana’s geographic pattern of expansion during the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, identification of past land
ownership and land use patterns, and spatial analysis of Indiana’s past and
present urban geography.