Growing by the Bay

Category: orientation

Official city map

official sf map

Ditch that messy printed map. Now you can have a wrinkle-free map made up of pure recycled electrons, courtesy of Only in San Francisco. Yes, the official city map is available in pdf version, and if you don’t want to print it out you can just turn your laptop upside down to read the reverse (where you will find Larry Flynt’s Hustlers Club among the recommended attractions). San Francisco, open your golden gates!


1938 San Francisco map

1938 san francisco map

By 1938 the essential outlines of the city were filled in and established. Some names have changed — I didn’t know that Fort Point was called Fort Winfield Scott. The location of Funston Park was called Lobos Square. USF was the San Francisco College of Women. There were “bear cages” in the park, as well as “elk and deer corrals.” And so on.

A large (5800 x 4358 px) image of the map is here.

SF Neighborhoods: another view

san francisco neighborhood map from ork posters

This cool San Francisco neighborhood map is currently sold out from ORK posters, but I assume it will be back in print at some point. It’s much more sophisticated from a graphic design point of view than this version.

The typeface appears to be FF DIN Condensed.

(Note that the map is copyrighted by ORK design and should be purchased from them.)

San Francisco neighborhoods

san francisco neighborhood has a good overview of San Francisco neighborhoods, with some comment under the heading “a local’s guide.” Nice identification of SF neighborhoods, although the typography and color scheme would induce migraines. For the screenshot above I mellowed out the colors a bit.

Historical map of San Francisco Creeks

This great map from the 1890s shows creeks in blue and marshes in green, with modern landfill in magenta. A larger version is at the Oakland Museum of California site.

historic water featuers of san francisco

NOAA coast survey maps

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a series of excellent bay maps on the web. Although the NOAA cautions that the maps are not to be used for nautical navigation, they do show depth contours in considerable detail. This section shows the Bay Bridge where a South Korean vessel collided with the bridge, releasing an oil spill whose effects will likely be suffered for years.

noaa map of san francisco bay

The maps can be zoomed and dragged. In the following view I’ve zoomed in a little (but not nearly all the way) to show some of the detail that the maps contain.

noaa map of san francisco bay

As far as I can tell, the site does not as yet have a user-friendly overview page. You kind of have to go to a page — like this one for chart 18650 — and then back up a directory and hunt around — or you could just try entering contiguous numbers in the url. It’s worth the effort if you are planning on being out on the bay or if you have an interest in its shorelines.

San Francisco cable car lines, 1893

Some people don’t realize that cable cars were at one time a working transit system in San Francisco and not just an amusement ride for tourists. In fact, when I first came to the city I used a cable car for one leg of my commute. The cars cost the same as buses then.

Click on the detail below to see a full map of San Francisco cable car lines in 1893. The original could be better quality. I played with levels and curves to make this detail a bit more legible.

cable car lines in san francisco, 1893

1907 San Francisco Street Map

1907 sf street map

This 1907 street map from the San Francisco History website has great detail. Clicking on the sections of the map at that site enlarges them.

SF Viewer

sf viewer

Although I don’t think it has been much publicized, the city of San Francisco provides a web service called SF Viewer. It provides maps to any address, including options to view satelite photos, street sweeping times, property values, and other information.

Bay Area Maps Online

san francisco region mapsBay City Guide has posted a selection of useful Bay Area maps in pdf format.

Included are:

  • San Francisco street map
  • San Francisco MUNI map
  • Bay Area / Northern California map
  • Golden Gate Park / Union Square map (interesting concept)
  • Fisherman’s Wharf map
  • BART map
  • Ferry map

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