Of Schemes and Memes Blog

Mapping Science In The City: San Francisco

The latest map in our series tackles one of the true world capitals of science: San Francisco and the surrounding area. With centres such as Stanford, NASA Ames, Berkeley and UCSF few areas on the planet have such a rich concentration of top research facilities. As Jo Scott shows in her map, SF is also home to numerous museums and public spaces for science, as well as the inevitable Nature office.

View Science in San Francisco in a larger map

Jo has featured around 30 locations, with museums in red, institutions in green, universities in pale blue, publishers in purple, science cafes in blue and miscellaneous sites in yellow. She’s left off biotech companies and many private research institutes as there are simply too many. She’s also focused on SF city itself, but has included Stanford, Berkeley and one or two other major locations for interest. As UCSF and SFSU are campus universities, she’s listed every campus, but not every building within that. If you think Jo’s missed anything important, or you fancy having a go at adding all the biotechs, let us know in the comments.

We’re keen to build up a series of maps showing the scientific highlights of cities around the world. If you’d like to put one together for your own area, please do get in touch in the comments below. Making a Google map is really straightforward, and we’re happy to help.

Previous maps




  1. Report this comment

    Eva Amsen said:

    When I’m feeling nostalgic, I can start a Toronto one.

  2. Report this comment

    Akshat Rathi said:

    Great idea! I’d be happy to an Oxford map.

  3. Report this comment

    Lou Woodley said:

    Brilliant, Eva and Akshat. Let us know if you need any help.

    Any volunteers for East Coast US?

  4. Report this comment

    Jon Moulton said:

    “She’s left off biotech companies and many private research institutes as there are simply too many.”

    Alright, but it does seem odd to see a map titled “Science In The City: San Francisco” with no sites identified at Oyster Point. Non-Commercial Science in the City, perhaps?

  5. Report this comment

    Nature Network Team said:

    Akshat, Eva – maps of those places would be fantastic, thanks. Feel free to email me (i.am.mattbrown – at – gmail.com if you need any tips putting the maps together.

  6. Report this comment

    Joanna Scott said:

    @Jon – point taken and I did initially have several pins at Oyster Point, but eventually removed them for two reasons.

    1. The map would have been utterly unusable with all the local biotechs added, and I’m not sure how interesting a list of private company premises would be for most visitors.

    2. The map doesn’t cover the whole Bay Area but just San Francisco main. Perhaps I should have – and will, in the next iteration – include South San Francisco and the South Bay.

    I’m still not sure about (1) – it’s obviously interesting to list well known places like Genentech and 23andMe, for example, but how far should I go?

    @Matt – I wonder if one way round the legibility of a crowded map would be to have layers. Then readers could switch on or off categories of pins as they chose. Is that possible, do you know?

  7. Report this comment

    Matt Brown said:

    It is possible to do layers in Google Maps, but you kind of have to port the map into third-party software in order to get the necessary controls. It’s a bit of a faff, but could be done if there was a real demand.

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    Joan Starr said:

    I’d like to suggest the addition of 2 scientific facilities in the East Bay:

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    Oakland Scientific Facility

    415 20th St

    Oakland, CA 94612

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    7000 East Avenue

    Livermore, CA 94550

  9. Report this comment

    Tim Campbell said:

    I would say that it “bumps into” not “tackles” the area. There is so much more in the area that one wonders whether the exercise is really worth it, or worse, misleading.

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    Lou Woodley said:

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far and to everyone who has volunteered to create maps – there are plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks.

    Tim, the idea behind the maps is that they’re only a starting point and they can be evolved and improved as a community effort, so if you’ve got some more tips or want Jo to give you editing rights to the map, do get in touch and we can come up with version v2.0.

  11. Report this comment

    Don PIerce said:

    Great start…Science is everywhere…including at The Bay Model, Muir Woods, The Ft. Baker Bay Area Discovery Museum, and many more North Bay Sites as well…I urge everyone to add their favorites to the map…also visit the website bayareascience.org with details on ongoing science for kids and "young adults of all ages", sponsored by a grant to UCSF which will feature ongoing science assets in the Bay Area and a Festival Week this last week of November with Discovery Day Science Carnivals at Cal State East Bay, Infineon Raceway and AT&T Park….check it out

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