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Philadelphia - Maps and Geographic Information


General and Political Maps of Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Spatial Access Data (PASDA)
PASDA is Pennsylvania's official geospatial information clearinghouse. For Philadelphia, it includes shapefiles of census, political (municipal, state, and federal), and geological boundaries. It is the largest depository of spatial data for Philadelphia and the first place to look for any Philadelphia geographic information.
The Committee of Seventy -- Political Maps
Includes current and some historical political maps. State legislative maps, ward and division maps, city council maps, police district maps, etc.
Philadelphia NIS NeighborhoodBase
NBase allows users to display maps and data at a variety of geographic levels and using data from various city agencies plus the US census.
Philadelphia Geohistory Network
Includes real estate atlases from the 19th and 20th century, and online copy of the genaeology of Philadelphia Subdivisions, and other useful historic maps and geographic information.
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Map Guide
DVRPC is the joint planning commission of the nine county region. They provide various regional maps and network maps. They also provide an online mapping function for looking at various regional programs (transportation, development, etc)
The Greater Philadelphia Regional Transit Map
The best map of the city I know of. This site includes Septa on google maps, and a beautiful Transit map of the region.
SEPTA Official Philadelphia Transit and Street Map. 2001.
Available at the Refererence Desk at Van Pelt Library and also on sale for $9 at bookstores and SEPTA offices, it's the best genral map of the Philadelphia area.
Interactive Campus Map, University of Pennsylvania - Division of Facilities Management, University of Pennsylvania.
Includes links to a 3-D map of the campus.
Daly, John Edward and Allen Weinberg. Genealogy of Philadelphia County subdivisions. 2nd edition. Philadelphia: Department of Records, 1966.
[Van Pelt Reference Desk, Fine Arts Reference: G3824 .P5 1966 D3]
Historical maps of Philadelphia's political geography.
The political and community service boundaries of Philadelphia: a guide. Philadelphia: Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 1994.
[Van Pelt Reference Desk, Fine Arts Reference: JS1272 .L7 P45 1994]
Pennsylvania geography: a collection of reference maps. Middletown, Pa.: Pennsylvania State Data Center, 1998.
[Van Pelt Reference: G1260 .P454 1998]
Maps of Pennsylvania US. congressional districts, state senate and house districts, ZIP codes, counties, municipalities, metropolitan areas, 1990 census tracts. Accompanying CD-ROM provides boundary files in ArcINFO export format.
Pennsylvania explorer [CD-ROM]. Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access, 1998.
[Van Pelt Information Desk: G1261 .G3 P46 1998]
ESRI shape file-format floodplain, physiographic regions, watersheds, streams mapping data, with county, minor civil division, and school district boundaries and road centerlines, and terrabyte satellite images.

Census-related Maps and Geographic Information

  • 1790 Census - 1960 Census
    Prior to the 1970 Census, Philadelphia's decennial census geography was tied closely to its political ward geography. Consult Daly and Weinberg's Genealogy of Philadelphia County subdivisions for historic ward boundary changes.
             [Van Pelt Reference Desk, Fine Arts Reference: G3824 .P5 1966 D3]

  • 1880 Census
    Stock, Walter D. and Nesheena Pickron. An urban finding aid for the 1880 federal population census of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Free Library of Philadelphia, 1993.
    [Van Pelt Reference: HA 730 .P5 S76 1993]
    Hand-drawn outline maps depicting enumeration district boundaries as described in Census descriptions of geographic subdivisions ... (below).

  • 1890 Census - 1920 Census
    Census descriptions of geographic subdivisions and enumeration districts, 1830-1950. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1978.
    [Van Pelt Microtext: National Archives T-1224]
    Printed tables describing boundaries of decennial census enumeration districts. Philadelphia EDs are listed on reels 15 (1890), 37 (1910), and 56 (1920). 1900 Census ED descriptions are in process.

  • 1910 Census
    Cross index to selected city streets and enumeration districts, 1910 census. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1993?.
    [Van Pelt Microtext: in process]

  • 1930 Census
    Census tract index to Philadelphia streets and house numbers. Joint Committee on Research of the Community Council of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania School of Social Work, 1937.
    [Van Pelt Reference: HA730 .P45 C46 1937]

  • 1940 Census
    Census tract map, northeast Philadelphia
    Census tract map, northwest and north Philadelphia
    Census tract map, Center City, western and southwestern Philadelphia, and south Philadelphia
    Census tract index to Philadelphia streets and house numbers. Philadelphia: Joint Committee on Research of the Community Council of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania School of Social Work, 1937.
    [Van Pelt Reference: HA 730 .P45 C46 1937. Also Lippincott: HA 37 .U7 P4]
    16th census of the United States, 1940. Housing. Analytical maps: Philadelphia, Pa. block statistics. New York: New York City WPA War Services, n.d.
    [Van Pelt Reference Oversize: HD 7293 .A5 1940m v.7]
    "A graphic summary of the block statistics presented in the city supplement to the First Series Housing Bulletin". The city is covered by 18 individual map sheets; seven map sets show average rent, major repairs and bathing equipment, year built, nonwhite households, persons per room, owner occupancy, and mortgage status.

  • 1950 Census
    Census tract map
    Census tract index to Philadelphia streets and house numbers. 2nd edition. Philadelphia: Health and Welfare Council, 1952.
    [Van Pelt Reference: HA 730 .P45 C46 1952]
    Census of housing[, 1950], taken as part of the seventeenth decennial census of the United States. Volume 5, part 143, Philadelphia, Pa. Washington, D.C.: U.S. GPO, 1952.
    [Van Pelt: HD 7293 .A4883. Lippincott: HD 7293 .A4883]

  • 1960 Census
    Census tract map
    Census of housing, 1960. Volume III, City blocks: Philadelphia, Pa. Final report HC(3)-344. Washington, D.C.: U.S. GPO, 1962.
    [Van Pelt: HD 7305 .N37. Also Van Pelt Microforms: Microprint 5, MoCat no. 1961-18322]

  • 1970 Census
    Census tract map
    Urban atlas: tract data for standard metropolitan statistical areas: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-New Jersey. Report GE80-6160. Washington, D.C.: U.S. GPO, 1974.
    [Van Pelt Reference Atlas Cases: G 3824 .P5 1974 U55. Also Fine Arts, Van Pelt]
    Choropleth maps presenting population and socioeconomic data.
    1970 Census of housing. Block statistics. Philadelphia, Pa.-N.J. urbanized area. Final report HC(3)-204 [= Volume III, number 204]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. GPO, 1972.
    [Van Pelt Reference Atlas Cases: HD 7293 .A512 1972 v.3 no.204. Also Van Pelt Microforms: Microprint 5, MoCat no. 1972-00134]

  • 1980 Census
    Census tract map
    1980 census tracts and blocks, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Philadelphia City Planning Commission, [1982].
    [Van Pelt Reference Atlas Cases: HA 730 .P45 N55 1982]
    Block statistics (maps) Philadelphia, Pa.-N.J. standard metropolitan statistical area. Washington, D.C.: U.S. GPO, 1982.
    [Van Pelt Reference Atlas Cases: HA 730 .P45 B56 1982. Also Van Pelt Microforms: US Docs Microfiche C3.224/5:PHC 80-1-283/maps]
    1980 census tracts and blocks, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Philadelphia City Planning Commission, [1982].
    [Van Pelt Reference Atlas Cases: HA 730 .P45 N55 1982]
    Census tract street index. 1980 census edition with zip code tables. Philadelphia, Pa.: Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 1980.
    [Van Pelt Reference Desk: F 157 .D4 D38 1980]

  • 1990 Census
    Census tract map
    P.L. 94-171 county block maps (1990): Philadelphia county. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of the Census, 1991.
    [Van Pelt Reference Atlas Cases: G 3824 .P5 E25 S4 U55a]
    Depicts block, block group, census tract, and voting district geography.
    Penn Library - Philadelphia Street Index
    Provides census tract (1990 Census), congressional district (103rd Congress), and ZIP Code (1992) numbering for 96% of Philadelphia's street addresses. Related resources are:
    TIGER/Census tract street index. Disc 1: CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT, NJ, NY, PA [CD-ROM]. Version 2. Washington, D.C.: Census Bureau, 1994.
    [Van Pelt Reference Moelis Room: HA214 .T54 1994 Disc 1]
    Census tract street index. 1990 census edition. Philadelphia, Pa.: Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 1991.
    [Van Pelt Reference Desk: F 157 .D4 D38 1991]

TIGER/Line data
Mapping data, not map images, for Philadelphia county. Data provide latitude/longitude information for streets, political boundaries, ZIP codes, and decennial census geography. Several versions of TIGER/Line data are available:
Van Pelt Library's Reference Department holds TIGER/Line data covering the U.S. states on CD-ROM.

Topographical Maps and Mapping Data

The U.S. Geological Survey produces multicolored topographic maps using contours to show the shape and elevation of terrain. These topographic maps also show and name prominent natural and cultural features. The largest scale topographic map series is 1: 24,000, known as the 7.5-minute topo quadrangle map series. Philadelphia County is covered by ten 7.5-minute topo quad sheets.

These image files, or digital raster graphics [DRGs], are faithfully reproduced digital images of original sourcemaps, scanned at a minimum resolution of 250 dpi. These files, produced by the USGS and distributed through Pennsylvania State University's Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access program, are TIFF-format images.

US GeoData. United States Geological Survey website.
FTP-downloadable mapping data, consisting of several data resources:
  • Digital Elevation Model [DEM] 1:250,000-scale and 7.5-minute
  • Digital Line Graphs [DLG] 1:2,000,000-scale, 1:100,000-scale, and Large Scale (1:24,000-scale)
  • Land Use and Land Cover [LULC] 1:250,000-scale and 1:100,000-scale

Aerial Photographs and Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles

Penn Library - Philadelphia County (and some surrounding region) DOQ Data
Digital images of aerial photographs, black and white, 1-meter ground resolution, covering one-quarter of a 7.5.-minute USGS quadrangle. Also, merged images of 7.5-minute quadrangles.
Map Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia.
In addition to Philadelphia Planning Commission / Delaware Valley Planning Commission aerial photo atlases from 1975, 1985, and 1990, the Map Collection holds the Dallin Aerial Survey atlas (1930) and the Aero Service Corporation atlas (1945-1950).
Brightbill, George D. (comp.) Aerial negatives of Philadelphia & surrounding areas. Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University, 1985.
[Not at Penn.]
"Comprises a list of all aerial photographic negatives which were found in the Bulletin Library, now a part of the Photojournalism Collection [Urban Archives, Paley Library] at Temple University"


Building Outline Maps and Fire Insurance Maps

Penn Library Microforms - Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps - Philadelphia
Microfilm reproductions, available at Van Pelt Library, of fire insurance maps produced by Sanborn Map Company, 1916-1980 covering Philadelphia county, Pennsylvania. The two microfilm sets represent building outlines and hydrant access for structures in Philadelphia through several revisions of Sanborn maps. The original maps also indicate building construction materials through coloration. The original maps were drawn at 1:600 or 1":500' scale
"Graphic map of volumes"
Online Sanborn Maps
[Van Pelt Microforms: Microfilm 3839 (covering 1919-1951) and Microfilm 4333 (covering 1964-1980)]
Hexamer general surveys: 1866-1895. 29 volumes. Philadelphia: E. Hexamer & Son, 1866-1895.
[Van Pelt Microtext: Microfilm 4379]
Plans and, in some case, birds-eye views of industrial site plans for Philadelphia industries and those of the surrounding region. Microfilmed from originals at the Free Library of Philadelphia . The table-of-contents for each volume identifies sites illustrated. An important finding aid for the entire collection is:
Post, Joyce A. A consolidated name index to the Hexamer General surveys. Philadelphia: Post, 1974.
Online Scans of the Hexamer Surveys through Philaelphia Geohistory
[Fine Arts Locked Case: HG9771 .P68]
Manufacturers Mutual Fire Insurance Company industrial site maps: 1894-1954. Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991.
[Van Pelt Microtext: on order]
Similar to the Hexamer general surveys, but covering Philadelphia and the United States.
Map Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia.
"The library retains the largest collection in the country of fire insurance atlases for Philadelphia and vicinity, including Sanborn (1916-date) and Hexamer (1880-1920) Insurance Maps. Complementing these sources are historical industrial site plans (Hexamer General Surveys, 1865-1895 and the Manufacturer's Mutual Fire Insurance Company Surveys, 1895-1954)."
Building Outline Maps. Philadelphia City Planning Commission.
Current building outline maps or, for peripheral areas, land use maps, 1:200 scale, 36" x 48", revised by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, may be viewed at the Municipal Services Building. Full-size reproductions of individual sheets are sold through Philadelphia Graphics (1311 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, 215/546-3454) at $1.89 per sheet. The city is covered in 111 sheets.
City of Philadelphia Index to Zoning [and Building Outline / Land Use] Maps

Geological and Environmental Maps

Search Franklin under the subject heading: Geology --Pennsylvania --Maps

Pennsylvania State University's Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access program includes a wide range of geologic and environmental data on Philadelphia.Included are habitat data for various species, toxic chemical maps, watershed and floodplains, soil surveys etc.
Description of the Geology of Philadelphia County Pennsylvania from: A geological hand atlas of the sixty-seven counties of Pennsylvania :embodying the results of the field work of the survey, from 1874 to 1884. By J. P. Lesley. (Report of progress (Geological Survey of Pennsylvania), v. X ) Harrisburg, PA : Board of commissioners for the second geological survey, 1885.
Jenner, Carol B. and Harry F. Lins. 1991. Climatic atlas of the Delaware River basin. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1392. Washington, D.C.: GPO.
[Van Pelt Reference Desk: QC 984 .D3 J46 1991]
Hall, Charles E. 1881. The geology of Philadelphia county and of the southern parts of Montgomery and Bucks. Second Pennsylvania Geological Survey, Report of Progress C6 and C7.
[Van Pelt: 557.48 P381.1 vols C6 and C7]
The first serious report on Philadelphia's geology, extremely dated. Maps in the atlas section were constructed from 1887 Philadelphia Water Department surveys.
Tompkins, Edward A. 1975. Soil survey of Bucks and Philadelphia Counties, Pennsylvania. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Soil Conservation Service, 1975.
[Fine Arts: S599 .P4 T643]
At present, the USDA's National Resources Conservation Service, successor to the US SCS, has not digitized this soil survey for its SSURGO database. State-level soil mapping is provided through STATSGO (also available from PASDA, but lacks the detail provided in this report.
Paulachok, Gary N. 1991. Geohydrology and ground-water resources of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. U.S. Geological Survey Water-supply paper W-2346. Washington, D.C.: USGS.
[Van Pelt: TC 801 .U2]
Prepared in cooperation with the Philadelphia Water Department.
Paulachok, Gary N. and Charles R. Wood. 1984. Water-table map of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1976-1980. U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic investigations atlas HA-676. Washington, D.C.: USGS.
[Van Pelt: G 3824 .P5C34 1984 P38]
Prepared in cooperation with the Philadelphia Water Department. Scale: 1:50,000.