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Go Geek Out on San Francisco Maps at SPUR

The Urban Cartography exhibition opens Thursday.

The routes of the tech buses.

(1 of 3)

Sea rise.

(2 of 3)

Tourists and locals.

(3 of 3)


Maps! They're awesome!

And here's a great chance to nerd out over them at a new exhibition, called Urban Cartography, opening at SPUR on Thursday. "It’s the ten-year anniversary of Google Maps next year," says Allison Arieff, SPUR's Editorial Director. "It’s a great opportunity to geek out."

She shared a few of her favorite maps from the exhibition above. The first one tracks the pathways taken by private tech shuttles into and out of San Francisco—the wider the line, the more buses that run. (That's actually the same design principle that MUNI is going to be using for its new generation of public bus route maps.) The second looks at what would happen to the city if the sea level were to rise 25 feet. (For one thing, San Francisco's Jackson Square offices would get very soggy). The third map tracks the movements of tourists (in yellow) and locals (blue and red).

Arieff says that one of the tensions in making maps is the twin pulls of functionality and aesthetics. "There are super ugly maps—as well a terrible proliferation of ones that look gorgeous but say absolutely nothing," she says. "You've got to find a middle way."

Urban Cartography opens October 23


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