San Francisco Playground Map

San Francisco Playground Map

The Map

This map visualizes all of the playgrounds in San Francisco. It’s not #fictionalcartography and is in fact quite useful. I was surprised to find that no decent map of the SF playgrounds seems to exist. So here it is. Click here for a PDF version of the map that you can zoom deep into. Put this map to use!

My Process

I started with a data set from San Francisco’s Data SF website. Playgrounds (or “Children’s Play Areas” in the official government parlance) were included with the data along with all of the public lands in the city (like parks and swimming pools and government buildings). Once I broke out the playgrounds, I used QGIS to overlay them on a basic map of San Francisco. I exported the file into Illustrator, where the design was inspired by the original London Tube map (including the blue borders and a font called P22 Underground, which is as close as I was able to get to the actual London Tube font since that seems to be proprietary).

What took the longest was the data table on the left. I didn’t have the actual addresses for any of the playgrounds, just the longitude / latitude coordinates from DataSF. I entered each set of coordinates into Google maps, then manually selected the closest street address to the playground. Definitely time-consuming and a bit of an approximation in some cases, but I’m confident that the address for each playground will get you close enough to smell the sandbox.

What’s Missing?

No sooner had I posted an early version of the map to Instagram, than a colleague of mine from IDEO pointed out that I was missing his family’s favorite park (West Sunset, at 40th + Ortega). For some reason the DataSF was missing that playground. So I added it of course. But it does make me wonder if other playgrounds are missing. Please let me know! No map is ever complete.

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