MAP: San Francisco: The Literary City

San Francisco Literary Map

The San Francisco Chronicle created this map of The Literary City. Built on an Open Street Maps base layer, this map includes markers for booksellers; places that have literary interest, such as author’s homes; and locations that appear in written passages. When the map first loads, or after clicking The Literary City in the header, all the markers are visible. Selecting one of the options from the menu bar at the top left of the viewing area narrows the number of displayed locations.

When selected, each marker brings up information about the location, such as the book title and author along with a quote for passages. Users may also select locations from the floating sidebar on the left. Drawing on the Chronicle’s large archive of images, all the points also include photographs from the area, both old and contemporary. The images can even being expanded.

San Francisco is one of the most popular literary cities in the world with a range of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry describing the area. Authors have flocked to the Bay Area and left their influence on the city. While this map is in the same vein as the New York Times’ Literary Map of Manhattan, it has more content and a better presentation.

Another attractive feature of this map is its focus on authors. Using the menu bar again, users can reveal over 300 images of contemporary Bay Area writers, each with a brief bio and usually a link to a personal website. The list of authors is reminiscent of the Map of Kansas Literature, but again with more content.

While we have looked at several literary maps, the San Francisco Chronicle’s map of their home city distinguishes itself for its quality and thoroughness.

One of my first memories of visiting San Francisco was looking for the steep backside of Telegraph Hill, which I had read about in a poem by Robert Hass. Have you visited any of the locations on this map? Tell us about it in the comments below or by sending us an email at