BTAA Geoportal


The University Libraries participates in a collaborative Big Ten Academic Alliance Geospatial Information Network (GIN). This network aims to promote connections among geospatial library professionals. The BTAA-GIN aims to “support the geospatial research community by building and maintaining a collective open-source spatial data infrastructure featuring metadata optimized for spatial discovery platforms.” (from the BTAA-GIN Guiding Principles)

Collaboration of the BTAA-GIN grew from the Big Ten Academic Alliance geoportal project to “provide discoverability, facilitate access, and connect scholars across the BTAA to geospatial data resources.” The project began in Fall of 2015, has completed two years of development and is currently funded for two more years of planning and development through 2019. The portal itself aggregates metadata records for geospatial data and scanned map information resources that are downloadable or otherwise accessible online. By bringing together geospatial information resources from many organizations and institutions the geoportal is meant to be a “one-stop-shop” for users searching for geospatial data and scanned maps. Representation for Penn State occurs on the program team, and on committee participation.



The geoportal uses Geoblacklight and other web technology to support geographic and keyword information resource discovery in a user-centered interface. It went live in August of 2016 and now has twelve partner institutions that have contributed over 8,000 metadata records to the portal, of which Penn State has contributed 1,307. Current information resources span the globe and are concentrated in the BTAA geography of the Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic of the U.S. insurance maps, and geologic maps. Metadata records from PASDA are regularly ingested for greater discoverability.


Tara Anthony, Nathan Piekielek, Linda Ballinger, Paige Andrew, Karen Estlund, Sonia Kaufman, Connor Henderson, John Hamilton, Steve Kroger

Penn State Presentations

Piekielek, Martindale and O’Neal. (2017). North American Cartographic Information Society Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Andrew, Ballinger and Piekielek. (2017). Penn State University Libraries Dean’s Forum, University Park, PA, U.S.

Andrew. (2016). PA Libraries Association Annual Meeting, Poconos, PA, U.S.

Piekielek and Whitacre. (2016). North American Cartographic Information Society Annual Meeting, Colorado Springs, CO, U.S.

Andrew. (2016). PAGIS Conference, University Park, PA, U.S.


Funding is provided by BTAA library directors and coordinated through the BTAA Office of Library Initiatives.