Libraries and Hours Ask a Librarian

Olin & Uris Libraries

Olin: Closed
Uris: Closed

Map Collection

The Map & Geospatial Information Collection houses a geographically comprehensive collection of over contains over 300,000 paper maps, and 1,000 books and atlases, and many other related research materials.

The Collection is a full depository library for federal government maps and digital spatial data. This core historic collection is supplemented by detailed international topographic mapping, historic and modern city plans, nautical charts of the world’s oceans and seas, geological maps, reproductions of rare or historic maps, aerial photographs, and globes.

Equipment for our users includes workstations with GIS software, and two 12″ x 18″ color scanners.  Staff are available to help scan larger items using one of our large-size (42″) color scanners.  An oversize color plotter is available at Mann Library. Oversize color digitizing is available at DCAPS. For further information about our collections and services, please contact us.

The collection consists of digitally reproduced images of paper maps from the Cornell University Library’s Map Collection and is located at the Shared Shelf Commons. Included are maps from locations around the world, ranging in date from the nineteenth century to the present. While this collection will continue to grow, it will still only represent a fraction of the 600,000 maps, atlases, and other forms of geospatial data that make up the Map Collection. Located in Olin Library, the Map Collection is open to the public. Inquiries can be sent to olinmaps@cornell.edu.

The Cornell University Library Digital Collections web site hosts a number of New York State aerial photographs from the Cornell Institute for Resource Information Systems (IRIS) Aerial Photograph Collection. This collection consists of a series of historical aerial photographs of the state of New York. Counties represented include Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga, Seneca, Tompkins, and Wayne. Photographs range in date from 1938 to 1991 (varies county to county). The collection was produced under a Cornell University Library Faculty Grant to Eugenia M. Barnaba, Program Leader, Resource Inventory Cornell Institute for Resource Information Sciences.

Land ownership maps and atlases are a special kind of map which emerged in Canada and the United States during the nineteenth century. These maps show the ownership of land parcels and emphasize the identities of individual residents in rural areas. In addition to land ownership information, the maps depict the main natural and cultural features of an area, the rivers, vegetation, hills, towns, roads and railroads. This new mapping offered far more detail and accuracy than had existed before. During that period of rapid population expansion and social change the maps were very popular with the local farmers and merchants. Nowadays, the maps have become a valuable source for reconstructing the rural landscape and cultural life of one hundred and fifty years ago.

The maps held in Olin Library have been copied from maps held in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress — hence LC G&M — and are reproduced on microfiche. At present our holdings include only those states lying east of the Mississippi River. Consult Land Ownership Maps : A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress (MAPS Z 6027 U59 U47) for further information about the maps held at the Library of Congress.

To locate the microfiche numbers for the sets of maps which are held at Cornell, try a keyword search in the CU Library Catalog using one of the following strategies. Within each state’s grouping, the microfiche are arranged alphabetically by county name, and then chronologically by date of the original map.

Keywords: county name and maps
e.g. Tompkins and maps Keywords: county name and LC
e.g. Steuben and LC Keywords: state name and land ownership
e.g. Ohio and land ownership

Sanborn fire insurance maps were produced by the Sanborn Map Company to provide accurate, current and detailed information to the fire insurance industry for risk assessment purposes. Between 1867 and 1970, the Company had mapped over 12,000 U.S. towns. The maps were revised periodically in order to be accurate and suitable for the intended use. This series of revisions provides the historical researcher with an invaluable series of neighbourhood snapshots.

The maps typically show a bird’s eye view of a community at the scale of one inch to fifty feet. At this scale, it is possible to show each building in outline. The original maps were color encoded to indicate each building’s exterior construction material.
A complex set of symbols – initials, numerals, an assortment of lines, circles and squares – are used to describe a building’s use, composition and appearance.

Digital Sanborn Maps was created from ProQuest Information and Learning’s microfilm collection of 660,000 Sanborn Maps, which were filmed from the Library of Congress’ collection. It is owned by ProQuest, LLC and is protected by copyright and other laws that recognize the rights of copyright holders. Access is available to authorized users at subscribing institutions only and therefore limited to members of the Cornell community.

Holdings

** Indicates extra information that is not included in the online version.

Entire United States
1867 – 1970. Coverage varies by place. Use Digital Sanborn maps
**Consult this guide in conjunction with the online maps. Fire Insurance Plans in the Library of Congress: A Checklist. Washington : Library of Congress, 1981. (MAPS +Z6026 I7 U58 1981)

District of Columbia
1888 – 1959. Film 5679. 4 reels. Also in Digital Sanborn maps
1984 – 1985. **Film 6670. 2 reels. District of Columbia INDEX to this film

Ithaca
1883. **MAPS DISK G3804 I7 1883 S19. From original held in RMC. Ithaca INDEX
1888, 1893, 1898, 1904, 1910, 1919, 1929, 1961. Film 5835. Also in Digital Sanborn maps
1971.  **Film 6671.

Massachusetts
1884 – 1950s. Film 5879. 48 reels. Also in Digital Sanborn maps

New York State
1884 – 1950s. Film 5835. 109 reels. Also in Digital Sanborn maps
1950s – 1990.**Film 6671. 32 reels. New York State INDEX to this film

New York City – includes Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhatten, Queens, Staten Island
1880s to 1950s. Film 5835. Also in Digital Sanborn maps
1960s – 1990.  **Film 7034. New York City. 78 reels. New York City INDEX to this film
1975 – 2002. ** MAPS G++1254 N52 S19 Sanborn Manhattan Land Book of the City of New York. Covers Manhattan only. Issued annually. Current edition received 2004.

Pennsylvania
1884 – 1950s. Film 5666. 73 reels. Also in Digital Sanborn maps

1790 – 1940

Before the development of the current census geography (tracts and blocks), the Census Bureau used city voting wards as census divisions. Therefore, in order to use the schedules (name lists) for the censuses between 1790 and 1900 most effectively, it is necessary to know the ward boundaries of major cities.

The Library of Congress compiled a Ward Maps of United States : A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress. (MAPS +Z 6028 .U575 W2) The Map Collection has microfiche copies of the 232 maps described in this list (OLIN MICROFICHE 1546). There are also photographic copies of each map available for New York State — Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, New York City and Rochester. These are located in the catalog under the subject heading: City name–Administrative and political divisions–Maps.

For maps of cities and towns not listed in this bibliography, consult Cartographic Records of the Census Bureau (MAPS CD 3026 A32 no. 103). This lists enumeration district maps available for the 1880-1940 Censuses . If no maps are shown as being available, it means that even the National Archives cannot help. If listed, the Archives can be contacted to purchase a photocopy of the map (http://www.nara.gov).

CD-ROM

HUSCO 1790-1999 : historical United States county boundary files.
ArcView shapefile format county boundary files for the contiguous United States from each decade from 1790 through 1990 (also 1999). Files include county and state names as well as FIPS identification numbers and county area estimates. Territories enumerated by the U.S. Census are also included.
Olin Library Maps Disk G3701.S1 H87x 1999

ONLINE

Historical Census Browser (University of Virginia)
The data presented here describe the population and economy of U.S. states and counties from 1790 to 1960.

National Historical Geographic Information System


1940

CITIES

Volume 1 of the 1940 Census of Population includes maps of Metropolitan Districts and Census Tracts for each state. Metropolitan districts were set up for the 1940 Census in each city of having 50,000 or more population in 1930, and for each Borough in New York City.

Volume 2 includes maps of urbanized areas by state. The exact external boundaries of the Urban areas are described, segment by segment.

Minor civil divisions are reported by wards.

A series of volumes of Analytical Maps show housing characteristcs for each city, by blocks.


1950

CITIES

Volume 5 of the 1950 Census of Housing provides block level statistics for the 209 cities which had a population of 50,000 or more. Tract and block level maps for each of these cities are in the volume.

Minor civil divisions are reported by county, town, village and wards.


1960

CITIES (SMA’s)

The maps which were issued by the Bureau of the Census with volume 3 of the 1960 Census of Housing were given to the Map Room when the 1960 census was retired to the stacks. They are found in the catalog under the subject heading: City name–Administrative and political divisions–Maps.

COUNTIES

County maps were not made generally available for the 1960 census.

STATES

State maps for the 1960 census may be found in the catalog under the subject heading: State name–Administrative and political divisions–Maps.


1970

CITIES (SMA’s)

The maps which were issued by the Bureau of the Census with volume 3 (block statistics) of the 1970 Census of Housing were given to the Map Room when the 1970 census was retired to the stacks. These maps show blocks and enumeration districts, and are meant to accompany the block statistics sent to the stacks. They are found in the catalog under the subject heading: City name–Administrative and political divisions–Maps.

TRACTED (SELECTED) AREAS

For the first time, areas outside SMSA’s could contract with the Census Bureau to be tracted and counted separately. This means, for example, that Ithaca could be counted by itself as well as being considered as part of Tompkins County.

COUNTIES

For the first time, counties were assigned enumeration districts. These county maps were purchased for New York State only. They are found in the catalog under the heading : County name–Administrative and political divisions–Maps.

STATES

State maps for the 1970 census showing all political and census subdivisions may be found in the catalog under the subject heading: State name–Administrative and political divisions–Maps. All states were received in paper copy.

CD-ROM

CensusCD 1970 (Olin Ref DISK HA201 1970 .C46 2001) has long form data and mapping at the tract level. CensusCD Neighborhood Change Database (NCDB) (Olin Ref HA181 .C46 2001) selected variables for US Census tracts for 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and software to select, report, and map this data too.


1980

CITIES (SMSA’s and CMSA’s)

Block maps were issued to libraries on fiche. (HA 201 1980 A8). There are also maps, on fiche, for all non-blocked enumeration areas in the United States. Paper copy maps for some SMSA cities were issued to libraries. Olin Library purchased paper blocked maps for New York State. These are shelved at MAPS HA 201 1980 A8. “Selected areas” are arranged alphabetically by state, and cities are arranged alphabetically by SMSA name.

TRACTED AREAS

The Census Tracts series consists of an individual report for each SMSA and for each state in which tracts had been delineated outside SMSAs. The reports, filed at Olin +HA 201 1980 A8, also contain information on the comparability of 1970 and 1980 geography. Maps which show the boundaries and identification numbers of census tracts are bound with the reports. . The 1980 U.S. Census Tract Map Book (Encinitas, CA : National Decision Systems, [1984?]) provides maps for all SMSA and non-SMSA 1980 tracts. See MAPS G1201 E25 N27++.

COUNTIES

Only the maps for Tompkins County were purchased in hard copy.

STATES

Paper copies of all state maps showing administrative and census divisions to be used in the 1980 census were received. They may be found in the catalog under the subject heading: State name–Administrative and political divisions–Maps.

CD-ROM

CensusCD 1980 (Olin Ref DISK HA201 1980 .C46) offers the results of the 1980 US census, down to tract level. It includes a full set of 1980 maps, along with mapping software. CensusCD Neighborhood Change Database (NCDB) (Olin Ref HA181 .C46 2001) selected variables for US Census tracts for 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and software to select, report, and map this data too.


1990

As a depository library, the Library received all editions of the TIGER/Line files on compact disk. These files contain digital information for all 1990 census map features. Census blocks, block groups, and census tracts for all areas of the country are available as TIGER/Line data.

Library has: Entire country. (MAPS DISK HA 201 1990 T56 1992 #–)

Census Tract/Block Numbering Areas (1990) are county based and show census tract/BNA boundaries. Ground features which lie under the boundaries are named. Some counties are filed with their MSA – i.e. Broome with Binghamton. Library has:

New York State.(MAPS ++HA 201 1990 A54 CPH3 #–)
Entire country. (FICHE 1315)

County Block Maps (1990) show the greatest detail and the most complete set of geographic information. They display block numbers, tabulation area boundaries, and ground features such as roads and streams. Library has:

Tompkins County (MAPS G3803 T6 E25 svar U5 #–)
Rest of the country — machine readable files in various locations. Use ArcGIS software with Geography Network data or American FactFinder, for example.


2000

Selected ONLINE sources

NATIONAL

American FactFinder
Census Bureau map products
Census questionnaires (1990 & 2000)
Geographic changes for the 2000 Census
Geography Network
Tract relationship files tables

NEW YORK STATE

New York State Geography & Mapping – (from New York State Data Center)
New York State Population & Housing data – (NYS Data Center)
Tract comparability tables – NYC (from Columbia)
2000 & 1990 Ithaca demographic data – (from City of Ithaca)

Selected CD/DVD-ROM sources

United States Census Bureau. 2010 Census Summary File 1. Disk HA201 2010 C46 2012. Located in the Electronic Text Center, Olin Library.
Data from GeoLytics – CDs located in the Electronic Text Center in Olin Library
CensusCD 2000. long form SF3. Release 2.2. Disk HA201 2000 .C4672x 2004
CensusCD 2000 : short form. Release 1.0. Disk HA201 2000 C456 2001
CensusCD neighborhood change database (NCDB) : 1970-2000 tract data. Disk HA181 .C46 2002


REFERENCES

Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Ward maps of United States cities: a selective checklist of pre-1900 maps in the Library of Congress. Washington : Library of Congress, 1975. (MAPS+ Z 6028 U575 W2) Before 1900, census-taking was generally organized by ward. Lists ward maps for the 25 most populous cities found in the 1880 decennial federal census plus 10 other cities which are frequent subjects of population or genealogical research. Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. LC G&M ward maps. Washington : Library of Congress Photoduplication Service, 1984. (MICROFICHE 1546) Microform reproductions of the maps listed in Ward maps of United States cities: a selective checklist of pre-1900 maps in the Library of Congress. National Archives. Preliminary inventory of the cartographic records of the Bureau of the Census (Record group 29) Washington : National Archives, 1958.(MAPS+ CD 3026 A32 no. 103) For each state, a list of the counties, cities and other urban areas for which one or more enumeration district maps are on file at the National Archives. Covers 1880 through 1940. Maps and More: Your Guide to Census Bureau Geography. [Washington] : Bureau of the Census, 1994. (MAPS HA201 1990 A119 1994) This brochure describes and illustrates the various products that are/will be available for the 1990 census.

Since the late 19th century, the United States Geological Survey has been producing topographic quadrangle maps. These detailed maps show the shape and elevation of the land, transportation networks, drainage patterns, vegetation, and buildings. These maps are used for a variety of purposes, including industrial site selection, highway planning, and recreation, and they are also a valuable source for local history.

7-1/2 Minute Quadrangles
Shelving Location
The 7-1/2 minute topographic quadrangle maps, or topo quads, for each state are filed around the perimeter of the Map Room, starting on the left as you enter. They are arranged alphabetically by state, and then alphabetically by quadrangle name. Labels on each drawer show the alphabetic range within.

Quadrangle Names
Index maps are filed at the beginning of each state’s maps. Each small square on the index map is identified by a quadrangle name. If you already know approximately where the area is for which you want a map, simply locate the quadrangle on the state index map. If you are looking for a map of a particular place, but are not sure where the place is, consult an indexed road map or use the Omni Gazetteer CD-ROM to find the place’s location.

Date of Situation
Maps are revised or replaced periodically to keep them accurate, complete and suitable for the intended use. The Olin Library Map Collection tries to retain one copy of each edition of each U.S.G.S. topographic map for the entire United States. The actual date that the air or ground survey of the area took place will be printed at the bottom of the map, along with other information about that map’s publication history.

Historical Editions
The microfiche set Map and chart information system provides a record of all historical editions of large- scaled topographic mapping of areas in the United States. It is indexed both alphabetically by quadrangle name and geographically by latitude and longitude. (MAPS G 3701 A2 1993 M37)

Symbols
Brochures which explain the symbols on topographic maps are available in the Map Room.

Intermediate & Small Scales
Two other important U.S.G.S. topographic map series are the 1:100,000-scale and the 1:250,000- scale quadrangle maps. These are cataloged as G3700s 100 U5 and G3700s 250 U5 respectively. Index maps are filed at the beginning of each series.

For more information:
Moffat, Riley Moore. Map Index to Topographic Quadrangles of the United States, 1882-1940. Santa Cruz: Western Association of Map Libraries, 1986.
(MAPS GA 405 M68)

Thompson, Morris Mordecai. Maps For America: Cartographic Products of the U.S. Geological Survey and Others. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey, 1988.
(MAPS GA 405 T47 1987)

Before the development of the current census geography, the Census Bureau used city voting wards as census divisions. Because these maps identify in which ward a particular street address was located when a given census was taken, they provide a key for locating and interpreting the information gathered in early federal and state censuses.

The Library of Congress has published Ward Maps of United States Cities : A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress(OLIN MAPS + Z6028 .U575 W2 ) The selection includes the 25 most populous cities found in the 1880 decennial federal census, plus 10 other cities which are frequent subjects for population or genealogical research. The checklist describes 232 maps dating from 1790 through 1899. All of these maps have been reproduced on OLIN MICROFICHE 1546. Maps are available on fiche for the following cities:

  • Albany, NY
  • Allegheny
  • (Pittsburgh), PA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boston, MA
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Charleston, SC
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Denver, CO
  • Detroit, MI
  • Hartford, CT
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Louisville, KY
  • Memphis, TN
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • New Haven, CT
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Newark, NJ
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Providence, RI
  • Richmond, VA
  • Rochester, NY
  • St. Loius, MO
  • St. Paul, MN
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC

Cities in New York State:
Photographic copies of all of the maps for New York State cities are also available in the Map Collection. Consult the catalog under the subject heading [City name]–Administrative and political divisions–Maps.

Manhattan from 1900:
City wards were not used as the geographic base for the 1900 census in Manhattan. To identify Enumeration District (ED) numbers in Manhattan for the 1900, 1920, 1930 or 1940 census, consult OLIN MAPS G 3804 .N4 : 2M3 E25 [year]. These maps are photocopies of originals held in the Cartographic and Architectural Branch, National Archives and Records Administration.

Other United States cities:
Cartographic Records of the Census Bureau (OLIN MAPS CD 3026 A32 no. 103) lists enumeration district maps for the censuses of 1880 through 1940. If no maps are shown as being available, it means that even the National Archives lacks these cartographic records.