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Strip away the landmarks, the houses, even the streets, and you are left with a surprising and beautiful view of San Francisco.

I've lived in San Francisco my whole life, but I don't think I've ever been able to hold a complete image of it in my mind. My understanding of the city has changed as I grew and explored new neighborhoods, 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.

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

Closeup of Russian Hill, North Beach, and Telegraph Hill
Closeup of Russian Hill, North Beach, and Telegraph Hill

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. 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.

Closeup of Twin Peaks
Closeup of Twin Peaks

For an image as dense as this, a computer screen just isn't up to the task of properly displaying the detail and color-- It has to be seen in print! And as a print-based graphic designer, I know how to get the most out of the process. San Francisco Contours will be printed using offset lithography, with five ink colors and a full bleed, on heavy-duty 100lb matte-coated paper. Offset printing requires large print runs in order to be cost-effective, so I need your help to get these printed! To thank you for supporting my project, I'm making the posters available at substantially reduced prices. Once this funding cycle ends the posters will retail for $25.

I've worked on this map for months, gathering information from datasf.org, and building the whole map from scratch. It's a true labor of love.

Thanks so much for supporting San Francisco Contours.

Closeup of Lands End
Closeup of Lands End

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

As far as you are concerned, none! I've done all the work to ready the poster for printing, and will be working with a trusted printer to make sure the image looks exactly how it should.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    20 backers

    RINCON HILL LEVEL - To thank you for supporting this project, you'll receive a high quality digital version of the poster, suitable for digital printing or as computer desktop wallpaper.

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    265 backers

    LONE MOUNTAIN LEVEL - You'll receive one 16"x26.5" print in stunning color.

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    78 backers

    TWIN PEAKS LEVEL - One 16"x26.5" poster for you, one for a friend!

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    13 backers

    BERNAL HILL LEVEL - Popular people can get five 16"x26.5" posters to share with their vast social circle.

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    2 backers

    TELEGRAPH HILL LEVEL - Ten beautiful 16"x26.5" posters-- a great option for resellers.

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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    MT. DAVIDSON LEVEL - If you back at the level of San Francisco's tallest hill, you'll get a HUGE 36"x60" digital print, mounted on 0.5" Gatorfoam Board. SAN FRANCISCO PICKUP ONLY

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Funding period

- (30 days)