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Urban Planning & Public Policy: Sanborn & Fire Insurance Maps

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Key Historical Insurance Maps

Significant contributions to the fire insurance map industry are exemplified in the following maps. They are listed in chronological order of creation and publication.

Sanborn Maps / Fire Insurance Maps

What is a Sanborn Map?

"The Sanborn map collection consists of a uniform series of large-scale maps, dating from 1867 to the present and depicting the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of some twelve thousand cities and towns in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property and therefore show the size, shape, and construction of dweillings, commercial buildings, and factories as well as fire walls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler systems, and types of roofs.
The maps also indicate widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. They show the locations of water mains, giving their dimensions, and of fire alarm boxes and hydrants."

Fire insurance maps in the Library of Congress: plans of North American cities and towns produced by the Sanborn Map Company: a checklist

Largest local collection of Sanborn maps is at CSUN and holdings are noted.

FIMo - the Fire Insurance Maps Online - Issued by Historical Information Gatherers this collection of California maps provides access to a digital collection of historical color fire insurance maps, real estate atlases, and similar land use maps for North America. High definition, color and gray-scale images display important historical details not visible on black and white map scans. Includes map research tools and search tips to make finding maps for a specific location easy. Maps include publications by Sanborn, Perris, Hexamer, Whipple, Baist, Bromley, Hopkins and others. Content and functionality will continue to be added.

ProQuest Digital Sanborn

The UCI Library does not currently have a subscription to the Digital Sanborn product from ProQuest. Anyone with a current and valid Los Angeles Public Library card may access the Proquest product form their home computer.

Spatial Analysis and Spatial Data

Southern California/LA Area Mapping

UCI Sanborn

Sanborn Holdings at other Area Libraries

California State University Northridge Map Library: The largest print collection of local Sanborn maps, holdings are catalogued in Rees, Gary W. A catalogue of Sanborn atlases at California State University, Northridge. [Santa Cruz, Calif.]:Western Association of Map Libraries, [1973]; located in the YRL Reference Collection, Call Number Z6028 .R259c

Los Angeles City Planning Department: Limited volumes, holdings are listed in Sanborn index at YRL Reference Desk. Contact number is 213-978-1259

Los Angeles Central Public Library: microfilm copies of the Library of Congress holdings for the state of California (see catalog listed below), plus digital Sanborn maps from 1867-1970 for the state of California (LAPL library card required).

Center for Research Libraries: CRL holds the complete microfilm set for all 50 states and the District of Columbia which includes approximately 10,000 cities and towns. UCLA faculty, students, and staff may obtain microfilm copies of these maps by requesting them through the Library’s Interlibrary Loan service. Search the CRL Catalog for holdings information to make an ILL request.

Liaison Librarian

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Julia Gelfand
Office: Science Library 228

Phone: 949-824-4971