Mapping Organizations

A number of organizations have created maps of garden and open space in New York City.

Open Area Spatial Information System (OASIS)

OASIS, is one of the earliest green space mapping systems in New York City. One of their early projects was a map of community gardens for the Council on the Environment of NYC completed by the CMAP project of the New York Public Interest Research Group in 1996. Today, OASIS is operated by the CUNY Spatial Data Center and maps open and green spaces all over New York City. The site also links to a great number of community garden resources at

OASIS uses a powerful GIS software package and OpenStreetMap data to display open space features throughout the City. The screenshot below is the result of a search for the West 104th Street Community Garden, which is the garden where I am a member.

OASIS Community Garden Search

OASIS Community Garden Search


GardenMaps was created by Mara Gittleman and Lenny Librizi as an update to the OASIS maps to support the GrowNYC and GreenThumb community gardening programs. In addition to the features available on OASIS, GardenMaps includes information about the types of plants and animals grown at each garden, structures such as rainwater catchment systems, chicken coops and gazebos, composting systems, partnership affiliations, volunteer opportunities, and whether the garden can be rented for public and private events, among many other data points.



Farming Concrete

Farming Concrete helps community gardens in the city measure their output to see how many of our gardens might actually be considered farms in the national agricultural census. Such farms would conceivably be entitled to take advantage of U.S. federal agriculture assistance. Farming Concrete provides weight scales and a logbook to member gardens for recording garden yield. Their interactive map allows you to explore the gardens and yields reported throughout the year.

Farming Concrete Interactive Map

Farming Concrete Interactive Map

YardMap: Cornell Ornithology Lab

YardMap is a project of the Cornell University Ornithology Lab that allows citizen mappers to produce maps of their backyards and green spaces to contribute to the University’s bird habitat studies. New York CIty has 235 yard maps in the system and counting. But YardMap is not limited to New York State or even the US. Thousands of YardMaps have been created worldwide.


Sanborn Maps

The Sanborn Map Company has produced maps from 1866 to the present day. Like Bromley’s maps these are created for fire insurance purposes, and include detail on building construction, lot dimensions, and occasionally ownership. Sanborn’s maps of New York City also contain features such as fire hydrants and the locations of sprinkler systems and openings in walls and roofs. Graphical references to pre-grid streets and property lines and ownership show what was there before the City’s master plan was enacted. These maps are particularly useful for tracking structures existing in a particular location over time. One drawback was the use of “paste-overs” to mark incremental changes to an edition. While it afforded the company the ability to keep maps up to date without requiring a full reprint, it obscures some data that may be of use to in historical research. In addition to Sanborn’s fire insurance maps, the company offers the following orthophotography, oblique aerial imagery, LiDAR, parcel mapping, land use/land cover mapping, Planimetric mapping and specialized services such as its Wildland Fire Risk Assessment System (WFRAS) and Change Detection Mapping.

Sanborn Map Company

Sanborn Map Company


Farming Concrete. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from

OASIS NYC. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from

Sanborn Map Company. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from

Sanborn Map Company. (1997). Fire insurance maps from the Sanborn Map Company Archives: New York City late 19th century to 1990. [Microform]. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America.

YardMap. (n.d.). Web. Retrieved from!/map/

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