Don’t Front on the Streets.

Map of U.S. streets by Ben Fry

People in hip-hop say that the streets don’t lie, and that if you want to know what’s really going on, you’ve gotta take it to the streets. Well, if true, that should make data visualist Ben Fry rap’s go-to guy. As he announces on his web site, he’s created, above, a map of

all of the streets in the lower 48 United States: an image of 26 million individual road segments. No other features (such as outlines or geographic features) have been added to this image, however they emerge as roads avoid mountains, and sparse areas convey low population. This began as an example I created for a student in the fall of 2006, and I just recently got a chance to document it properly.

Alaska and Hawaii were initially left out for simplicity’s sake…. Unfortunately, the two states don’t “work” because there aren’t enough roads to outline their shape, so I left them out permanently.

You have to blow up a section to really get it, though. Take a look at this enlargement of the Great Lakes area, for example, or this one for San Francisco. See what I mean? Talk about keepin’ it real.




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