Tag Archives: DEM

Where can you see the Bay Bridge Demolition?

Although they say the best way to see tomorrow’s (Nov 14 2015) implosion of the old Bay Bridge span (specifically “Pier E3”) is via TV or streaming at home, the event did get me thinking about where is the closest point to my condo that I can see the old span from?

I have mapping software that lets me use Digital Elevation Model (DEM) terrain data to calculate a “view shed” from a point.  Typically this is used by radio engineers to estimate the coverage area from a possible transmission tower site, but works just as well to answer my question of “where would one have line-of-sight to the old Bay Bridge span from?”  Here’s what I got:

Click to view larger image

The red shaded areas are where you should be able to see the bridge from.  This makes the assumption that there are no buildings in the way (the DEM I used uses the height of the ground, not what might be built on it) but at least shows a good estimate.

As expected Yerba Buena Island blocks a large part of the center and north of San Francisco from seeing it.  It should be visible from the top of Bernal Heights, McLaren Park, Potrero Hill and St Bruno Mountain.  Surprisingly not from Twin Peaks, again due to Yerba Buena Island.

It is visible from most of the southern waterfront, from just south of AT&T Park down through the Dogpatch to Hunter’s Point.

Hence the closest point to me will either be the fishing pier jutting out east from AT&T Park, or across China Basin by Pier 48 (right by The Yard biergarten, which sadly won’t be open that early).

Update Nov 14: My calculations were correct, and I was able to see the implosion from the Pier 48 corner:

Waiting for Bay Bridge implosion
Waiting for Bay Bridge implosion