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Map Library

Resources

Holdings

Contact:

Geography Map Library
171 Sierra Hall
CSU Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8249

Hours: M-Th (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m)
Closed on Friday
Phone: (818) 677-3465
Fax: (818) 677-7840

 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

Garson Studios Inc. - Silver Lake Area Los Angeles Volume 11 1919

 

These large scaled maps (1 inch = 50 feet) were produced by the Sanborn Map Company for fire insurance purposes. They show detailed building "footprints" of commerical and residential areas within close proximity to a city's central area. Most places were initially mapped in the late 19th century, but date and coverage varies. Detailed Description Catalog of Sanborn Atlases at California State University, Northridge Summer Hours: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Monday thru Thursday.

The Map Library has one of the largest collections of Sanborn Fire Insurance maps in the country. Coverage includes over 1,631 cities and towns primarily in the western United States.In the simplest terms these maps were conceived for, and throughout their history have been primarily used by, fire insurance underwriters to determine the risk involved in insuring individual buildings in urban areas against loss in a conflagration. D.A. Sanborn's Company founded 1867 in New York City, was not the first of the type, but since that time has monopolized the industry.

These maps represent the most detailed published information on urban land use for some 22,000 communities in the United States. They are compiled at the scale of 50, 100 or 200 feet to one inch, and presented on uniform sheets 24" x 26" or approximately 12" x 14" after 1951. Their chief advantages accrue from their extreme detail of building sites and construction information concerning the use of individual buildings, and the availability of comparable coverage at intervals spanning more than half a century in many instances.

Most of the maps' limitations derive from the limited purpose for which they were produced: underwriters have no interest in open space, so no land use information is given for land without buildings; activities which pose no special fire risk are frequently left unmentioned, so that a building may be used in both a commercial and an industrial capacity but be designated for only one or the other; residential subdivisions are rarely mapped because of their homogeneity, with the result that major portions of most urban areas have no coverage.

These maps are considered archival materials and access to the collection is limited.

Outside Requests

 

Sanborn Map Index