Digital Maps and Geospatial Data Portal (PULMap)

Table of Contents

What is the Digital Maps and Geospatial Data Portal?

Princeton’s Digital Maps and Geospatial Data Portal (PULMap) provides users the opportunity to discover a selection of datasets and scanned historical maps from our collections, as well as the collections of other partner institutions. Patrons may easily search for and browse online content in a variety of ways, including a user-friendly spatial search, to find relevant data on a particular location on earth. The Library regularly purchases digital maps and geographic data from around the world in the service of our students, researchers, and the global community. While much of the content is freely available in our portal, some maps and datasets are restricted to Princeton University-affiliated patrons or “on-site only” use. If you need help with discovery of or access to materials, please contact Tsering Wangyal Shawa, GIS and Map Librarian, via the Contact Us page.

What is there to discover in the portal?

The portal is ideal for users who are interested in discovering geospatial content, including GIS datasets, web services, and digitized paper maps.

Scanned Maps

Scanned Maps are print maps that have been digitized. Many of these maps are historic, allowing researchers to compare past geographic boundaries and names with their modern counterparts. Princeton University Library has a strong commitment to scanning our print maps collection, so scanned maps are added to the portal on a regular basis.

Sanborn Maps

The Sanborn Map Company, founded in 1866, created detailed building maps of cities and towns all across the country, primarily for use by the insurance industry. These maps also have been used extensively by local government agencies for over a century in conducting their daily operations efficiently. Approximately 12,000 American cities and towns are chronicled in the company's collection of over one million maps. As a result of its history, the name "Sanborn" has become synonymous with this kind of map. Princeton University Library holds the entire collection of the company’s New Jersey volumes. Genealogists, local history buffs, city planners, architects, and countless others have been drawn to the quality of detail found in them.

Vector Data

Vector Data is one model of GIS data where geospatial data is represented in three different geometry types such as points, lines, and polygons and all the attribute values associated with the data are linked to each geometry. For example, locations of bus stops, schools, and other points of interest could be represented by points, road networks and rivers could be represented by lines, and property, country, city, and census boundaries could be represented by polygons.

Raster Data

Raster is another model of GIS data where geospatial data is represented as a matrix of cells and each contains an attribute value. Satellite image, elevation, land cover data, etc. are usually stored in raster data format. The spatial resolution of data depends on pixel/cell size. Higher resolution raster data has smaller pixels and a larger file size.

Subject Areas

The maps and data in this collection may be used for many areas of scholarship, but highlights include:

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry
  • Geophysics
  • Climatology
  • Natural Resources
  • Land Use
  • Soils
  • Water Resources
  • Remote Sensing
  • Topography
  • Political and Cultural Geography
  • Physiography
  • Bathymetry
  • Transportation
  • Navigation
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Public Policy
  • Research Support

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