These sexy topographic maps show San Francisco stripped bare

San Francisco is renowned for its winding roads, stunning Victorian architecture, and, of course, its sprawling bridges. But the City by the Bay is also known for its hilly terrain — a geological feature that's often obscured by its landmarks. These new maps show the city's sensual contours in all their glory.

These maps were produced by graphic designer Abe Bingham, who says he created them because he was never able to hold a complete image of San Francisco in his mind.


"My understanding of the city has changed as I grew and explored new neighborhoods," he writes, "but it never felt close to complete. Traditional maps have always felt similarly incomplete, since they tend to leave out the most central experience of this city: its hills."

He's been working on these maps for months, drawing data from and constructing the maps from scratch.


"I made San Francisco Contours to take a new look at my home."


"By stripping away the man-made places — neighborhoods, landmarks, streets — we're left with an enduring portrait of the land. Each of us may have our own particular vision of San Francisco, but at the heart of our personal maps are the same hills and valleys. The land is the essence of this place, and it tells a remarkable story."


Bingham built his maps in full 3D, exaggerating the altitude by 2.5 times to simulate a view of a pedestrian rather than a flyby. He says this makes the maps easier to decipher, and is an improvement over traditional topography.


"Looking at the shape of what we call San Francisco, we can see the work nature has done — sculpting valleys where rivers once ran, and the work humans have done — flattening hills and carving out streets. We get a new look at the city we love."

If you like prints of the top map, you should contribute to his Kickstarter.

[ Via FastCo. ]

Related: Naked Antarctica.


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