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Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of North Carolina: Reading Sanborn Maps

Reading Sanborn Maps

Sanborn maps may seem difficult to use, but researchers with the right tools will find it much easier to interpret them. The following resources are particularly helpful:
  • Sanborn map legends (color and black and white)
    These keys, produced by the Sanborn Map Company, will help researchers understand the maps' color-coding, abbreviations, and symbols.
  • Reading Sanborn Maps
    This PDF guide, produced by Environmental Resources Incorporated, includes a comprehensive list of all Sanborn map abbreviations and symbols.  It is a great quick-view resource for researchers of all levels.
  • Description and Utilization of the Sanborn Map
    North Carolina Reference Collection, Call number: GA325.S3 1960
    This guide, also produced by the Sanborn Map Company, was intended to help professionals who might need to use the maps as a part of their jobs. In addition to information about the maps and their creation, it includes a history of the company.