Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Geographic Awareness Week

This week is Geographic Awareness Week, so I thought I would post some information about digital map resources (thanks to MHS interpretive historian Ellen Baumler, colleague extraordinaire, for the list.)

Find maps from the Montana Historical Society Research Center and The University of Montana Mansfield Library in this collection, which includes everything from territorial maps to present day topographic maps.

After going to the map collection homepage, you'll need to search "Montana" to find these resources. My favorite maps in this collection are the early panoramic maps (also known as birds-eye views), which they have digitized for several Montana communities including Butte, Helena, Livingston, and Missoula.

You will find a wealth of material on this site, including Montana Maps (ready made maps on all sorts of topics, from elevation to weather to political divisions), the Digital Atlas of Montana (where you can request specific information), Montana GIS portal, Montana Cadastral Mapping (which includes information about current property ownership), the Natural Heritage Map Viewer and the Animal Field Guides (range and other well-organized information about Montana’s birds, mammals, and amphibians).

How do I love the, Sanborn Fire Insurance Company? Let me count the ways. “Founded in 1867 by D. A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years.” Their maps “include information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.” These maps are available by subscription only, but the Montana Historical Society has paid for a subscription on behalf of all Montana residents. Feel free to email me for password to access this amazing resource.

Bakken Graphs and Maps

There are amazing map resources to learn more about the Bakken. The best way to find them is simply to type the phrase “Bakken maps” into your favorite search engine.

Other Tools and Resources



  1. I've begun adding Butte-Anaconda NHLD places, as well as Butte History blog articles and public domain images to HistoryPin in Butte: