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Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps  

An introduction and guide to finding and using Sanborn fire insurance maps at UM and elsewhere.
Last Updated: Jul 13, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Sanborn Maps Online

The ProQuest Collection of Sanborn Maps consists of "more than 660,000 large-scale maps of more than 12,000 American towns and cities." Users can manipulate the maps by magnifying and zooming in on specific areas.

This online collection is accessible to University of Michigan faculty, staff and students only.


Sanborn Maps Geo Edition

The ProQuest Sanborn Maps Geo Edition "provides digital access to thousands of large-scale maps of American towns and cities, searchable by address and GPS coordinates." Users can find Sanborn maps by clicking a location on a current Google map, which generates georeferenced Sanborn maps that cover that location.

This online collection is accessible to University of Michigan faculty, staff and students only.


Purchasing Sanborn Maps

You can purchase current Sanborn Maps though the Sanborn website.



Beginning in 1867, the Sanborn Map Company produced its fire insurance maps to provide uniform and detailed information about the built environment to insurance companies for the purposes of risk assessment. These large-scale color maps, indicate the dimensions, construction, and function of buildings, and also show features such as property boundaries, street names, and house and block numbers. Sanborn fire insurance maps are therefore an excellent source of information about urban development in American cities in the later 19th and the 20th centuries.

For more information on the history of fire insurance maps and the Sanborn Company as well as on the collection of the Library of Congress and other libraries with fire insurance map holdings, see the preface and introduction to Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress: A Checklist, found on the UC Berkeley Library website or in print at the UM Clark Library (Z 6026 .I7 U541).

Note: Most updated versions of Sanborn and other fire insurance maps are original editions with pasted-on correction slips. In such cases, the date of the information is usually a penciled date contained in a corrections box at the beginning of the set or volume, rather than the date appearing on the title sheet.



Scale: 1 inch : 50 feet (earlier maps) & 1 inch : 100 feet (later maps)
Size: 65 x 55 cm

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Timothy Utter
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