It should come as no surprise that we love maps around here. Our oddly shaped, but nicely constrained little city looks handsome in map form. Plus, maps and infographics are an easy way to take a couple jabs at people who live in that neighborhood that you don't like walking through. In this week's installment in our ongoing series with the Tenderloin Geographic Society, we're walking through history - except by looking at maps. It's like Reading Rainbow, you kind of have to use your imaginations a little.

By: The Tenderloin Geographic Society

To conquer the earth, to put lines upon the land and name it in accordance with God, Country, or our own brute will: the imperative of cartography is at one with the imperative of empire. This we know to be true, as surely as we know that Muni maps make for thoughtful giftwrap.

Maps are very popular, such that the public's interest in them is perhaps only slightly less inscrutable than the passion shown by non-graphic designers for typography. But whereas each typeface carries its own cabalistic history, most maps are easily deciphered by the layperson.

But what can be learned from a map of a town that had scarcely existed a few years prior?