Maps, They Don’t Love You like I Love You

I’m sorry, but if you don’t love maps, I don’t think we can be friends anymore. Maps are amazing. They are art and story. A representation of where we are and where we wish we could be. They’ve always had a power over me.

Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City, a new atlas of San Francisco maps, explores the poetry, beauty and arbitrary nature of maps to the fullest. The assembled cartographers, researchers, writers and artists have rendered twenty-two maps that tell strange and surprising stories about the Bay Area. Each point of fact and odd juxtaposition presents just one of the infinite possible visions of the city.

Ben Pease and Shizue Seigel were the main cartographers for Infinite City. They just released The Walker’s Map of San Francisco that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Above is the “Death and Beauty” map I reference in the episode, and below is one of the more talked about maps in the atlas: Monarchs and Queens. This map pinpoints the queer public spaces in the city along with drawings of all the butterfly species that call San Francisco home (at least seasonally).


This is the final 99% Invisible of the season. I may be uploading more audio from stories past, as well as outtakes from season 1 to bridge the gap between now and when new episodes arrive, so stay tuned. I’m going to be making the case for a second season to funders and supporters, so please spread the word, “like” the show on Facebook, tweet (I’m @romanmars, BTW), link to the show in your blog, and subscribe to the podcast. Every little bit helps. I’d love to keep making new shows.

  1. Andy Liggett

    I laughed out load, (in a room all by my self) when the song Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s came on at the end.

  2. listening to some old episodes… this episode is great. anyone know what the orchestral piece is in the middle? it is fast-tempo strings and a repeated figure. high energy and pretty kickass sounding. thanks.

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