Records Vault

Records Vault open with controlled access

The Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Records Vault is open Monday through Thursday, from 8 am to 3:30 pm.

To access the SPU Records Vault, visitors will need to obtain a guest pass from the main security desk, located on the 4th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower, inside the 5th Ave and Columbia St entrance. Visitors will be asked to leave their government issued ID at the security desk in exchange for their guest pass.

The SPU Records Vault research room will limit visitors to three small groups at a time. For questions regarding access, please contact

Information requestors may also access digitized SPU Engineering Records via our newly developed search tool called SeaDIR. To access these records, please apply for a free license using this form. Not all digitized records are available by default. Many records representing sensitive or Critical Infrastructure have been secured and require additional permission to access. If you are not finding what you’re looking for, contact for assistance.

About the Records Vault

The Engineering Records Vault (Vault) is an archive of City records documenting infrastructure installed within the public right-of-way.

The Vault contains plans, maps, as-builts, and other infrastructure focused records. Records Vault staff are currently scanning records in an effort to make all of our holdings digitally available, however many items have not yet been digitized and accessing them requires visiting the Vault in person.

Contributing departments include the Seattle Engineering Department (1873-1997), Seattle Water Department (1888-1997), Seattle Department of Streets and Sewers (1877-1936), Seattle Department of Transportation (1997 – present) and Seattle Public Utilities (1997 – Present).

The Vault’s digitized engineering records are now accessible to the public through an online platform called Seattle Digital Infrastructure Records (SeaDIR, pronounced “cedar,” like the tree). To access these records please apply for a free license using this form. Vault staff will grant access to SeaDIR within 2 business days of receiving a request.

Please review the videos below (when available) for a quick tutorial in searching and navigating in SeaDIR.

Digital Holdings Available

The Digital Holdings in SeaDIR represent what is available at this time in a digital format.  

Historic Engineering Quarter Section Maps

  • Aerial topography maps
  • Sewer and drainage topography maps
  • Basemaps
  • Various City maps produced by the Seattle Engineering Department

Survey records

  • Survey Control Plans
  • Historic and present-day survey drawings
  • Selected historic plat maps
  • Shoreland and tideland maps

Engineering Records

  • Capital Improvement Project construction plans
  • Franchise Utility Index Maps (10’ to 1” scale and 100’ to 1” scale, last updated 2004)
  • Franchise Utility Inspector Book pages
  • Historic Street Profiles
  • Paving plans
  • Private contract construction plans
  • Projects outside of City of Seattle limits that impact City of Seattle infrastructure
  • Side Sewer Cards
  • Street Improvement Permit plans
  • Utility Major Permit plans
  • Water Tap Cards

Physical Holdings at SPU Engineering Records Vault

(Physically located on the 47th floor of Seattle Municipal Tower (SMT) or in off-site storage.)

All the physical records corresponding to the digital records noted above, plus documents from many categories noted above that have yet to be digitized. The following categories have not yet been digitized and are only available in their physical formats.


  • City of Seattle Standard Specifications, current and previous editions
  • City of Seattle Standard Plans, current and previous editions
  • Henry Fitch / Works Progress Administration (WPA) drainage and landslide reports 

Survey records

  • Field books
  • Calculation sheets
  • King County plat books

Engineering and other technical records

  • Inspector notebooks
  • Geotechnical soil boring, piling, and slide reports

Aerial Photographs from the following years:

  • 1993
  • 1968
  • 1967
  • 1965
  • 1961 (only covers the Cedar River Watershed)
  • 1960
  • 1951-1952
  • 1946
  • 1936
  • 1934 (only covers the Cedar River Watershed and Seattle’s waterfront, incomplete)
  • 1930 (only covers the Cedar River Watershed)
  • 1929 (incomplete)

GIS Data

The City of Seattle's GIS data is an important resource for engineers, land planners, architects, utility designers, and others who consult or provide technical services to city departments. The GIS group fields hundreds of requests from city staff and the public who are looking for geographic maps and data in a variety of digital formats to support their work. We offer the following services:

Water and Sewer Research Map

Use the DSO's Water and Sewer Map to research existing Seattle water, drainage, and sewer infrastructure for new property purchases or development.

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.