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Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Introduction to finding and using Sanborn fire insurance maps.

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Timothy Utter
240G Clark Library

734 647-0646

Fire Insurance Maps Online (FIMo)

The Fire Insurance Maps Online database (FIMo) contains historical maps and atlases of the US, including Sanborn maps and Baist Real Estate Atlases.

Users may search by selecting a place name from a drop-down menu, or navigate using an interactive map. The interactive map feature is a little easier to use than the ProQuest Geo Edition. It presents a whole map of the US right away, rather than making the user select a state, county, and city before seeing a map.

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