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Do It

Create a Map of Your Neighborhood

Adele Peters


How well do you know the streets in your neighborhood? Channel your inner cartographer and make a map. You can do it the old-fashioned way—walking around and constructing a drawing as you explore—or take advantage of free digital tools like Stamen's awesome new MapStack. If you want to test yourself, try to draw a map from memory and see how far you can get before you need to look up the next street. Get creative—if medieval maps can have dragons, so can yours—and include your favorite neighborhood haunts.

Illustration by Jessica De Jesus

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  • Paris Marron

    Yay! Totally inspired. I want to make a map of the best places to read in LA. If you know a great spot, send it my way!

    • Maria Papapanagiotou

      Greek to me ! How about being built (f.e. for each island) that way..!
      by interactive Tourists + Traveller's Notes!
      Im inspired!

    • Herschel Purvis

      When you finish it, will you share it?



  • Audrey Bellis

    Downtown LA'swebsite actually has several awesome interactive maps that are really handy. When I first moved into town, our doorman had printed pocket/ fold up versions for us and I still keep it in my wallet. I'm still going to try the challenge but having this helps for accuracy/as a guide.

  • lscavone

    I would love to make a map of my neighborhood but, like Howard, can not figure out how to import (??) the base map from Open Street Map. If anyone has figured it out, would you please describe how you did it?
    Thank you!!

    • Adele Peters

      Hi, please see my response to Howard below. Let me know if it doesn't work!

  • Howard Freeman

    iLike a lot, but I can't see how to create a map of my local area, Manhattan's Upper West Side. There's an image in the gallery, but not clear if it's editable. Is SF the only editable map area? Would love to use to document what kinds of businesses are in my neighborhood.

    • Adele Peters

      If you click on "Make a Map," there's a search button you can click on, and then type in the location you want to edit. Note that since Stamen is providing this just as a free service, they've limited the hours that it's available online (11am to 5pm PST).

  • Stef McDonald

    Can also be useful and fun: a friend created a great Google map of his neighborhood when he had a party, including pins for places to stop for gas, snacks, and drinks. And another made a map for her out-of-town wedding guests staying in Philly, including historic spots (where Ben Franklin was born, the steps Rocky ran) and where to get the best Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.

    • Howard Freeman

      Perhaps I'm missing something... where did your friend customize it for Philly? I can't seem to make NYC and only see SF as a template.

      • Stef McDonald

        Howard—my friend made the Philly map using paper (the old-fashioned way!)

  • Cameron Hanson

    Love this idea! When I hosted my Neighbor Day party back in April, I had all attendees submit hand drawn maps of their neighborhoods. I now have a fabulous collection of over forty maps, but I have yet to figure out how I will curate the submissions.

    I'm also a fan of the Stamen maps. I used the watercolor template for some personal maps.