Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oakland neighborhoods map

For some time, I've been wanting a neighborhood map of Oakland. A while back Google Maps added tags for the neighborhoods, and Yahoo Maps even marks them with colored polygons at some zoom levels. But I'm a fan of Google Maps (not just because K works for Google), so I wanted something like that in Google Maps. That works at all zoom levels. And includes some of the lesser known and unofficially designated neighborhoods like Dogtown. Not too much to ask, right?

I found one Google Map that someone had created with data from the city, but it doesn't always load properly, and it only had the 'official' neighborhoods. The Oakland Department of Public Works has a good map showing some of the alternate names, but it's not in Google or Yahoo Maps and doesn't have boundaries.

So after poring over various maps, including the Oakland Museum's Neighborhood Search, the aforementioned DPW map, Wikipedia, and others, I created my own. Besides including various unofficial neighborhoods, it can be layered with other Google Map layers like Transit, Traffic, etc. or my map of Oakland signs. You can even view it in Google Earth, and lay it over 3D terrain, with 3D buildings, etc.


View Larger Map

I'll be the first to admit the map isn't perfect. Any outright errors are likely mine, not from the source maps. And neighborhoods don't usually begin and end exactly on street boundaries (except sometimes freeways that cut a swath through them), so it's bit arbitrary to begin with. But hopefully you'll find it useful and/or interesting for your explorations of Oakland.

26 comments:

Colburn said...

Nice work. I often wonder about some of the neighborhood names that I see on Google Maps and other places, and whether anyone who lives there actually uses them. For instance, I used to live right on the border of the neighborhood labelled "Lynn," but I don't think I ever heard anyone refer to that neighborhood as "Lynn." Similarly, I've never heard anyone mention Hawthorne or Oak Tree or some of the other neigborhoods around near Jingletown and Fruitvale.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not claiming that the neighborhood names are incorrect or unused, just because I've never heard of some of them (I'm no expert in Oakland geography or history). It would be interesting, however, to talk to longtime residents of some of these places and find out how they refer to their own neighborhoods. (On the flip side, neighborhood names that I do regularly hear, such as "Ghosttown" or "Dogtown" or "Fruitvale," don't appear on the map.)

Colburn said...

Oops, I see that Dogtown does appear on the map. Sorry about that. Also, I should have mentioned that some of the confusion might be caused by the difference between districts and neighborhoods. This might explain why Fruitvale, for instance, doesn't show up as a "neighborhood" on the map, even though it's a much more commonly used term than a lot of the names that do appear on the map. Anyway, nice project.

Gene said...

Yeah, I wonder about the names people use, too. There was an interesting sounding project called Mapping Oakland that was going to address that, but there haven't been any updates to the website.

Re: Lynn, the other name I have on my map for the area is Highland Park. The real question is: what do you call your neighborhood?

Re: districts, it seems like people use some of those (e.g., West Oakland, Fruitvale) more than neighborhoods, probably because a lot of people don't know where the specific neighborhoods are. Someone named Mathew has a nice Oakland districts map, which is interesting to overlap with the neighborhoods map. (BTW, his neighborhoods map which is based on the Oakland Street Tree Selections Map of 1982 is similar to mine, but doesn't always load and is a little rougher on the boundaries.)

Peter VT said...

As an Oakland native and one who is generally disappointed with most oakland maps (that don't include what residents of the neighborhoods call them), I have to say that this is FANTASTIC! Is there anyway to download it?

Colburn said...

Gene: "The real question is: what do you call your neighborhood?"

I don't live in "Lynn" anymore, but I honestly didn't know what to call my neighborhood. When people asked what neighborhood I lived in, I used to just tell them that I lived near Highland Hospital, because a lot of people know where that is. I would sometimes say I lived off 14th Avenue, or in San Antonio, because as you point out, people were more likely to know roughly where that was.

I now live closer to Lake Merritt, sandwiched between Ivy Hill and Cleveland Heights on your map, but if people ask what neighborhood I live in, I just tell them I live east of the lake, or near Park Boulevard, or near the Parkway Theater, depending how familiar they are with Oakland geography.

Carolyn said...

How does one get a printed copy of your neighborhood map?

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Gene said...

I'm still trying to figure out a way to get a higher resolution version of the map, but you can download a version here.

MDH said...

Very cool.

artemis said...

Very, very nice! So glad someone finally took this on!

A few bits and pieces in North Oakland (the only area I really know): Fairview Park is an historic/MLS name, but the residents there just call it Lower Rockridge now. Ditto for Shafter. Both are included in the Rockridge Community Planning Council's "official" boundaries, which go down to 51st.

- Near MacArthur and Piedmont, Glen Echo is its own neighborhood (own nbhd organization)---maybe too little to map separately but could be listed as a sub-neighborhood in Harrison/Oakland (which is also sometimes called Westlake, the historic/MLS designation). Glen Echo is bounded roughly by B'way, WMac, 30th, and Richmond Blvd.

- And Uptown's borders are constantly in flux as that neighborhood develops (no one had ever heard of it ten years ago!) but I think it's fair to include the area between Broadway and the lake, since the businesses in that area are part of the Uptown/LM BID and many self-identify as being in Uptown (and definitely not DTO, as the map shows it). FWIW, the BID defines itself as bounded roughly by 17th, the lake, Telegraph, and 24th. (I would absolutely stretch it out to meet San Pablo as you did, though.)

Anyway, very psyched that you took the time to put this together!

V Smoothe said...

Thank you so much for putting this together, Gene! This is awesome!

Gene said...

@artemis - thanks for the info! I've updated the map, but I'm still trying to figure out how to get Google Maps to uncache the old version. I think this will be an ongoing process as I refine the map.

studiodeb333 said...

It's already been said several times, but this is AWESOME. Thank you Gene!!

rbehs said...

I've been wondering about the borders of Fremont/Fairfax/Melrose. I know Melrose used to be a separate town that covered much of the area, and I find what's called Fairfax on the map is often still called Melrose. For example the NCPC is called Melrose High Hopes, and the subdivision above Foothill in Fairfax is Melrose Heights. Adding to the confusion, a lot of realtors call anything above Foothill Lower Maxwell Park.

The Copland Team said...

The design you have worked on is pretty cool. I have been working on an Oakland District/Neighborhoos map on and off for a year or so now. I am now in full throttle and it is so interesting to see the different version and views.

I am in real estate and have lived here for many years and it amazing how many names, versions and thoughts people have on their areas names or designations.

Good Luck with the project too.

Gene said...

@rbehs - Is Melrose Heights the same as what's shown as Fairfax? Or is it only part of it? (and if so, what part?)

Kimra said...

The Friends of Sausal Creek, www.sausalcreek.org, is working on a new Kids Pages extension to our website. It has an interactive map and we came across your neighborhoods map and are interested in incorporating it but would like your permission, please. Our programmer writes, "I was able to download the source file with the neighborhood coordinates, thus making it possible to import this neighborhood map." Would it be possible to use your work? Thanks!

Gene said...

Certainly. No guarantees it's 100% accurate, but you're welcome to use it for the FOSC website.

rbehs said...

I believe Melrose Heights is a portion of what you have as Fairfax--approximately the region bounded by Foothill, Congress, Monticello and Trask.

Gene said...

@rbehs - thanks for the additional info. I've added Melrose Heights, though it will probably take a while for Google Maps to uncache the old version and show the new one.

@The Copland Team - any updates to your map project?

markdej said...

Excellent work. For some reason it won't save to 'my maps' in my google my maps as a created by others map. (But I can save your signs maps.) I can save the nbrhood map by creating a new map and importing http://www.designsinlight.com/oakland/neighborhoods.kml
but it then imports 3 or so pages thus all nbrhoods don't show up on pg 1.
I'd like to save to my maps as a created by others map; and be able to save as an import and be able see all mapped items on pg 1 (as scene on your map) and so as to be able to save my own items on it, currently I can but my saved items go to pg 3 or so and don't show up unless you go to pg 3.
Any help?
Thank you.

Gene said...

@markdej - I saved it as a separate KML file as a work-around to the 3 pages thing. I can't save it to 'my maps' either, but I always figured it was because I have one of that name already (the 3-page version). Maybe it being a separate KML file precludes it from being saved to 'my maps'?

brad said...

this is nice, but I sure would like a printable map (pdf)

Monte said...

very fun - i too would dig a printable map.

Spike said...

Nice work man! Noticed folks been asking for printed versions- try this image for a very hi-res option:"http://www.infoalamedacounty.org/images/stories/maps/oakknh.jpg"
I imported your kml into google earth pro- you can dump out large hires files from that version. I couldn't resize your labels though, would have been preferable. I tried to convert to a shapefile and publish it from ArcGIS with a better background and custom labels but the import didn't handle the file very well and it lost some nhoods. If you have original data/files I'd be happy to clean it up in Arc and export a custom PDF map for anyone to print at poster size- and make a few available if people want them too. Then I could dump out a cleaner version of the kml for you to republish too!

We're slowly pushing our data up into the new repo at http://data.openoakland.org and have a few dif neighborhood versions up there now- it's a messy issue. We have a CEDA version from 2002, and the larger region/hoods also, along with the new Zillow nhoods which are nice and clean but less locally respected. Check out the other options by searching or this link:"http://data.openoakland.org/en/dataset?q=neighborhood"

Gene Anderson said...

@Spike thanks! Are you familiar with the work that the Oakland Wiki folks are doing? I'm just learning about it myself.

They recently made a GIS version of my neighborhoods map. But as I told them, there are some tweaks that still need to be made. Some fine-tuning on a lot of borders, and the border between Rockridge/Fairview Park/Bushrod and Berkeley is a little off.

Spike said...

Gene- sure am. I hosted Code for Oakland... and am leading the OpenOakland Brigade effort too. The wiki is awesome stuff so far! Check out the brigade- we're meeting next week.