The Unscientific Bay Area

The Unscientific Bay Area

23 August 2016

Originally this was supposed to be the start of a line of posters, but it failed to gain traction, despite overwhelmingly positive reactions. Nonetheless, below’s the original post for posterity.

I was really inspired by all the positive reactions and support that I got for the original Bay Area map. So I decided to completely redesign and vectorize everything, making it crisp enough to give people the prints they were asking for.
Buy a print of the map here. (unfortunately, the Kickstarter failed.)
Below is the Story from the Kickstarter page:

I love maps. To me, the experience of looking through a particularly good map is uniquely captivating—something I want to share with people.

I wanted a different kind of map.

We’ve all tried typing our hometown or neighborhood into Urban Dictionary. Personally, I was excited at how much information was on that site, and others like it all over the Internet. I saw this abundance of data as something that could be used to create an interesting map.

Mapping today is dominated by data freaks, obsessed with being scientifically rigorous and statistically significant. But as a data freak I’ve come to realize that not all maps have to involve equations. I want to take a break, be a little unscientific, and put the human element back on the map. Ultimately, cities and neighborhoods are collections of people, and I wanted to map their experiences. As it turns out, these unscientific maps are just as charming, thorough and thought-provoking as any other.

A small project became a research endeavor.

My friends from the Bay asked me to make a map along those lines. What started as a small project turned into a massive, thorough undertaking. I combed through Internet pages and badgered local residents. Hints from crowdsourced platforms like Urban Dictionary and testimony from both natives and newcomers means that this map takes accuracy seriously. Eventually, I came up with a creation that I posted on my blog and shared through Reddit.

Within days I received a stream of comments and emails: “Can I buy a print of this?”

Detail of San Jose inset

Detail of San Jose inset

Well—Kevin, Chris, Justin, Amy, and others—now you can! Taking my original blurry image to a whole new level, I’ve made a crisp, high-res image beautifully optimized for print.

I’ve already gotten in touch with several local (I live near DC) printers, the process is not yet finalized but I will keep you posted. This is a high-quality, four-color process offset print, thick paper. Exact details to come.

Please help me with initial printing costs.

I’ve spent many hours designing and testing this poster, and am talking to several local printers. I’d love to make this poster possible for you guys, but currently the cost of making an initial print run is prohibitive. I want to make sure there’s decent interest in this poster. If this one is successful I would be happy to do some more cities—your support means a lot to me.

Nah, not Memphis or the Chesapeake. We’re talking about the Bay Area. A striking collection of natural beauty, cultural diversity, human talent and hyphy fools the likes of which have never been seen. Every town’s got a nickname (except Concord, apparently) and a unique experience that I want to celebrate and satirize.

Detail of SF inset

Detail of SF inset