The Detroit Free Press photo staff decided to jump into the deep end with Driving Detroit, a multimedia piece that uses Google Maps as a foundation and lays over it videos, sideshows, flip book panoramas, written stories, a public forum and infographics to explore the streets, the homes and the people that make the 11th largest city in the US what it is.

The idea was to get a unique view of Detroit, a short-term, street-level survey of Detroit’s 138 square miles, a once-in-a-lifetime snapshot of the city Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and others insist is coming back.

From downtown — where the comeback is evident — through the immense territory of Detroit’s neighborhoods — where the future seems less certain — the trip was never boring.

The 4-month project explores 2,700-miles through 2,100 streets and journeys from the ritziest of digs to the lowliest of slums.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a huge stride forward in community journalism and using the tools and code available to create something that serves the community and takes a historical snapshot of a city.