07/20/2012 06:46 pm ET

Mission Possible Map Project Explores The Mission District Using Gang Territory, Cupcakes, Lunar Cycles And Craigslist (PHOTOS)

Indie rock hero Jeff Tweedy once sang that "distance has no way of making love understandable."

While this may be true, knowing the distance between things often gives the necessary context to put said things in perspective. Take, for example, San Francisco's Mission District.


The geography of the busting working-class Latino neighborhood turned world-famous hipster haven is as chaotic and impenetrable as anywhere in the Bay Area. However, hyper-local blog Mission Local has teamed up with students and faculty members at U.C. Berkeley's Geography Department to create "Mission Possible"--an extraordinary collection of 22 maps delving deeply into that myriad aspect of the Mission experience.

Each map in what the non-profit site calls a "neighborhood atlas" explores the area from a slightly different angle. The cartographers behind one map used decimeters to show the volume and sound sources at each Mission intersection; another map charts the location of Craigslist "missed connection" postings; a third overlays gang territory with places to purchase cupcakes; a different one shows the cost of a cup of coffee in relation each block's percentage decrease in its Hispanic population.

"One's perception of a place is guided or framed by the thing they're looking at. So if you're looking at the coffee map, that's what you think is going on in the Mission, because that's the map you have in front of you," project organizer Professor Darin Jensen told the Atlantic.

"We did what we wanted to do. That doesn’t mean that this is an exhaustive atlas," he added. "There are innumerable subjects that we could have addressed."

Jensen explained that each map is oriented with west at the top as a way to challenge the conventional, northern hemisphere-centric view of the world that most maps traditionally take.

All of the maps are available for sale here.

Check out this slideshow featuring some of them:



Mission Possible