The U.S. national historical geographic information system

Robert B. McMaster, Pétra Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


There has been a rapid growth in the area of geographic information systems (GIS) and the related creation of spatially addressable data-sets over the past twenty years. Increasingly, researchers are attempting to use the census geographic base files for geo-demographic analyses. The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS), a five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation will result in a comprehensive US census database levels for both geographical and attribute data from 1790 to 2000. A significant part of the project involves the creation of several versions of the database corresponding to the different scales included in the NHGIS. Preliminary work has identified three scales as potentially most useful. One scale is at 1:150,000 for detailed tract-level mapping while another is at 1:1400,000 for county-level mapping. The third one is at 1:1,000,000 for regional and national mapping. The NHGIS is being developed at the University of Minnesota's Population Center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-136
Number of pages3
JournalHistorical Geography
StatePublished - 2005

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