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About Digital Sanborn Maps

ProQuest's Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 provides academic and public libraries digital access to more than 660,000 large-scale maps of more than 12,000 American towns and cities. In electronic form, Sanborn Maps take on much improved value over the microfilm versions of the same maps, allowing for greater flexibility of use and improved viewing possibilities. Users have the ability to easily manipulate the maps, magnify and zoom in on specific sections.

Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in both public and academic libraries. Sanborn maps are valuable historical tools for urban specialists, social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians, planners, environmentalists and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of American cities, towns, and neighborhoods. They are large-scale plans containing data that can be used to estimate the potential risk for urban structures. This includes information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. Seven or eight different editions represent some areas.

Textual information on construction details (for example, steel beams or reinforced walls) is often given on the plans while shading indicates different building materials. Extensive information on building use is given, ranging from symbols for generic terms such as stable, garage, and warehouse to names of owners of factories and details on what was manufactured in them. In the case of large factories or commercial buildings, even individual rooms and the uses to which they were put are recorded on the maps. Other features shown include pipelines, railroads, wells, dumps, and heavy machinery. Click here to access a key provided by the Sanborn Map Company. (Note: Because the key is a detailed file, it must be large so that you can view it completed. As a result, it may take a while for the key to load onto your computer screen.)

Founded in 1867 by D. A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years.

Scope of the Collection

Digital Sanborn Maps was created from ProQuest's microfilm collection of 660,000 Sanborn Maps, which were filmed from the Library of Congress' collection. The Library's Sanborn collection includes all maps submitted to the Library through copyright deposit and a set of maps transferred to the Library from the Bureau of the Census. Maps from the Bureau of the Census include corrections issued by the Sanborn Company that were pasted over the original map sheet. Maps acquired through copyright deposit remain in their original form.

Terms and Conditions
Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 is owned by ProQuest, LLC and is protected by copyright and other laws that recognize the rights of copyright holders. All Sanborn Maps are copyrighted © 2013 by Environmental Data Resources, Inc. Access to Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 is available to authorized users of subscribing institutions only. Subscribers are required to sign a User License. Please contact your ProQuest representative.

Non-Commercial Use Only
Digital Sanborn Maps are not suitable for legal or regulatory purposes. Digital Sanborn Maps may not be downloaded, clipped, printed, resold, retained or used for commercial or business research purposes, including but not limited to environmental, property or other land use evaluations. Digital Sanborn Maps are reproduced and distributed under license from Environmental Data Resources, Inc. For information on how to obtain maps for commercial and business research purposes, go to

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Copyright © ProQuest, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
All copyright in the Sanborn Maps are held by Environmental Data Resources, Inc. or its affiliates. Sanborn Map Company logo used with permission.