Nevada in Maps Nevada History in Maps
About the Collections



Sanborn Maps of Nevada

The Digital Project: Scope, Restrictions, Acknowledgements, and Participants

Project and Technical Aspects

This project is an effort to offer online a full-color set of Nevada Sanborn® and other town maps. There is no full set in any format or combination of formats available at any location in the state. This digital collection, as of the initial posting, totals 516 maps for 29 towns.

Most of the maps in this digital project were scanned from the original holdings in the Special Collections Department, Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno, and the Nevada Historical Society, Reno. This web presentation is limited to 1923 dated maps inclusive. Both locations cited above also hold microfilm for the Library of Congress holdings from 1885–1950's. A subscription from Proquest© to an online set is available in the University Libraries and may be viewed externally by University of Nevada, Reno, affiliated people. Please see the Inventory for a detailed listing.

Several maps dating through 1923 and not held by a Nevada institution were located at other sites and arrangements were made to obtain a digital copy. As indicated on the Inventory, these include the California State University Northridge and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. We appreciate their assistance.

The maps in this web collection from either the Special Collections Department, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno or the Nevada Historical Society, Reno, were scanned by graduate library assistants between March 2007 and July 2008 on an Ideal Magnum Wide Format FSCX050 scanner at 300 dpi to create high resolution, uncompressed TIFF images. Early in 2004 with financial assistance from the Mary B. Ansari Endowment, the library acquired this IDEAL/Contex Magnum XL 54" Plus Color Scanner. It scans at 24 bit color, up to 2400 dpi and will scan media up to 0.6 inches thick and up to 54 inches wide. The scanner was manufactured in Denmark and distributed in the U.S. by Ideal Scanners & Systems and is considered to be one of the best front-loading large format scanners available at the time acquired. At the time of scanning for this project, the scanner was housed in Special Collections, Getchell Library, University of Nevada, Reno.

The JPEG files were derived from the TIFF files. The TIFF files were also converted into the DjVu® format at a compression ratio of up to 220:1 using LizardTech's DjVu® compression software. The image files all live on the UNR Libraries' NAS server. The TIFF files are converted into JPEG 2000 deliverable files via the CONTENTdm™ digital collection management software, then metadata was created for each image including web links to the three alternate image file formats. Of these, Djvu files are most easily displayed on desktop computers of limited capability or connectivity. A one-time download of the free DjVu browser plug-in is necessary and provided for this purpose. The metadata provides detailed information on the original and digital map. The JPEG 2000 format is used to present many oversized images in the maps collection. JPEG 2000 is a published international ISO standard (ISO 15444). Based on newer wavelet compression technology, it offers both lossless and lossy compression and facilitates zooming, panning, and clipping without the need for a plug-in. More information about JPEG 2000 in CONTENTdm.

Digital Projects of the University of Nevada, Reno

Permission, Restrictions, and Sources

Use of this digital collection is restricted to personal, non-commercial applications.

Personal, including educational and academic use of this material is without restriction but acknowledgement of the site and the owner of the print original — either map or photo — scanned or presented for this site is requested whether the use is oral, web or in print. The print owner is designated within the metadata [description] for each image.

Please cite the Mary B. Ansari Map Library for acknowledgement of this Sanborn digital site.

Commercial use of any portion of this material requires permission from the owner of the original map or photo, in most cases:

The Nevada Historical Society, 1650 North Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89503, 775-688-1190

The Special Collections Department, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.

For use of Las Vegas photos from the Lied Library Collection, please consult the Photograph Collections site

Consult the page or document description for each map or map set for ownership of the original.


We are quite indebted to the Special Collections Department, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno; the Nevada Historical Society, Reno; and the Special Collections Department of the Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for their generous commitment to the project without which it could not exist. Very special thanks for their considerable assistance and expertise go to Kathryn Totton, photo curator (retired) and Nevada historian, Special Collections Department of the UNR Libraries; and Eric Moody (retired) of the Nevada Historical Society, Reno, a recognized authority on Nevada Sanborn maps.

The Nevada in Maps project team:
Linda Newman, Geoscience and Map Librarian Emerita, Coordinator
Vicki Toy Smith, Catalog Librarian Emerita
Glee Willis, Digital Projects Librarian
Araby Greene, Web Development Librarian Emerita
Justin Blum, Former Web Development Librarian

Historic Town Maps

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