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About the Collection

Brief History

The map images delivered by this site are derived from the holdings of the University of Georgia Libraries Map Collection. The Sanborn Map Company® originally gave the maps to the Library of Congress as a part of the copyright deposit process. Between 1955 and 1978, the Library of Congress Geography and Map Collection withdrew duplicate sets of Sanborn® maps offering them to libraries in various states. The University of Georgia applied for and was granted copies of the Georgia Sanborn® maps.

The University of Georgia Libraries Map Collection holds Sanborn® maps of Georgia towns published between 1884 and 1935, and it holds microfilm copies for maps dated 1935-1985. For a complete list of the University of Georgia Libraries' Sanborn® map holdings, see the Sanborn® Maps at the University of Georgia Libraries page.

What are Sanborn® Fire Insurance Maps?

The Sanborn® maps are large-scale maps of U.S. cities and towns. Originally designed for purposes of fire insurance assessment, the maps are highly detailed, showing not only the location and size of buildings and streets, but also the placement of water mains, fire walls, and other urban features.

Each city or town is mapped on one or more sheet that includes the downtown region, some housing areas, and local mills. Outlying mill sites and small populated centers in the country near a town are sometimes included as insets.

What are Sanborn® Maps used for?

Perhaps the most frequent use is to acquire a copy of a section of a Sanborn® Map, showing a structure which is being presented for addition, for inclusion with an application to have that structure added to The National Register of Historic Places.  It is one of the proofs requested, to provide justification for adding the property. In addition, they may also be used:

  • by people engaged in bottle collecting or metal detecting to research sites.
  • to study/research sequential occupance changes in a building, a block, or a section of town.
  • in some aspects of environmental research (e.g. whether an old service station may have ever occupied the property with the gas tanks possibly never having been dug up).
  • to attempt to ascertain the original plan of a structure or the arrangement of structures on a property.
  • to obtain some information related to genealogical inquiry.