Historical roads data

Aloha, I’m looking for data on roads in Hawai’i between 1950-2000. According to census.gov, some of the TIGER files are archived here and have been converted to modern shapefiles. I was searching through your data viewer, but could not find any mention of roads specifically. Do you store data on roads, and if so, could you please provide some help as to where I could find and download it?

Thank you!

Aloha Kevin,

While IPUMS NHGIS has converted the boundary data from 1992 and 2000 TIGER/Line files into modern shapefiles, this did not include any additional features such as roads. We hope to add road data to NHGIS some day, but there is no current timeline for such a project. You’re likely aware that the 2010 TIGER/Line shapefile with road data is available on the Census Bureau website, though this file only includes 2010 vintage road data. The 2000 and 1992 files are available zipped from the original CDs on this page as well. I wish that I could have shared better news, but I hope that this information is helpful for you in planning your research!

Thank you Ivan, have you personally ever worked with converting the CD files into a modern format? Do you think it’s even feasible or is it so much of a headache that you would recommend I avoid it?

Unfortunately 2010 data is too recent for my purposes. I’ve contacted the USGS and a whole bunch of local agencies, and it seems my only options for pre-2000’s roads is this TIGER data or georeferencing a scanned map, neither of which seem like easy tasks.

Dear Kevin,

We have converted the 1992 TIGER/Line files to more modern formats. I just looked at the Oahu county dataset and it contains all linear features (roads, rivers, municipal boundaries) in the county for ~1990. The major drawback to the 1992 TIGER/Line files is that they are substantially less precise than more recent versions of the TIGER/Line files. If you overlay them with more recent roads in Oahu county, they will align quite poorly.

The other bit that’s tricky is the undocumented datum used in the TIGER/Line 1992 Hawaii files. We believe the datum is Old Hawaiian, but that isn’t mentioned in the Census Bureau’s documentation.

We’re going to create the linear features for the remaining Hawaii counties, and then we can share them with you. Can you send an email to nhgis@umn.edu with your contact info?

Dave Van Riper

For my purposes, I’m not too worried if the roads are not very precise.

Thank you very much! I’ll send you an email shortly.