Lots of great questions making it harder already to come up with new ones.
Edit - a summation of the answers by Caspian in today's chat have been included.
1) I know there are going to be maps, but will there be a "map" to look at in game for the "known" area for your character?
(I'm assuming the known home area will be mapped in the characters head, like I don't need a map to get to the grocery store.)
No minimap or actual game map interface, but you do get a family map which can be stolen like any other item. Just like real life if you don't make a map, it is in your (the player's) head of remembering how to go. Good thing I'm good at this even in games where I can look at maps where I use the map more to jog my memory or when fast tracking something for a PvE crew in one of those standard non-dynamic worlds.
2) Expanding on #1 - So my character is not a cartographer, but decides to go check out things beyond her "known" home area will it go back to like a fog of war deal on whatever general map we can look at for the area we are in if they do not continually go into that area? For instance the character travels a few days away and then comes back, but doesn't go back for awhile. I'm assuming some of that will change since this is a dynamic world.
No again and either you have a map or you don't. If you don't update the map it will go out of date.
Liking the idea of the reality of map making and finding your way around. It will be interesting to see what family map each of us starts with based on what family we wind up in or what we have as a ward. Even wards will at least know their general area, too, it just might not be as fancy as say a well established family. Family maps exist, some of my comments here are still speculation of how good they will be based on the family. =)
3) To what extent will NPCs be available to help with writing contracts and other things until players have characters that can take over to keep a well rounded experience and availability of things?
We do have to assume there may be some holes in places because you can never guarantee what a player is going to create and what they will want to do, let alone where their character shows up. After all, I foresee a lot of younger people in the world as the player characters for the initial start and then over time it should mix and more things would become player based rather than NPC based. Of course, the answer could be if it ain't there, it won't be until a player does it themselves, contracts (maybe even simply convinces) another player to move there with that skill then helps them set up "shop", or hires an NPC to come do it. It does make it rather mind boggling with all the choices. =)