Geography and Regional Planning Students Reconstruct Local Urban Geography

Posted on 3/22/2018 9:45:02 AM

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).

Nicholas Belinsky (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.

The students 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.  

sanborn perris map ind 750