Thank you thank you!
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Thank you thank you!
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
I'm happy to share two further iterations of my recent slavery mapping.
First, a collaboration with Matt Daniels (of Polygraph fame) on the historical-geographic relationship between slavery and mass incarceration. Besides showing a remarkable overlap between the two (especially for prisons, but also for short-term jails), this was also an opportunity to put my new bubble-grid mapping technique to good use in an interactive narrative. Because the bubble grid doesn't rely on jurisdictional shapes, it's great for comparing data over very long time spans (200+ years) and for showing urban and rural population at the same time. This project is the second installment of The Pudding, a series of weekly visual essays for 2017. ("The proof of the pudding...")
Second, Michael Ralph and I have published an expansion of our slave-insurance map in the January issue of Foreign Policy. The size of our database increased from about 700 policies (in version 1) to over 1300 policies; the new policies are mostly from the archives of Baltimore Life. The overall pattern is similar — steamboats on the Ohio River, coal mines in Virginia, and skilled labor in Atlantic port cities — but the new data also includes more industrial occupations and information about slave values and premiums.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Three tree-related projects. First is a relatively simple (but data-intensive) rethinking of tree distributions. Instead of the usual species-level blob maps, I've made a series of maps showing the actual distribution of major tree types, plus some interesting higher-level patterns.
I've then used this same data as a starting point for a new kind of bioregionalist mapping: instead of a few discrete forest regions, I'm defining "arborregions" based on the similarity between a specific place and its wider surroundings. If bioregions are really meant as an alternative to the arbitrary lines of political jurisdictions, they should challenge not just the specific boundaries, but the hardness of those boundaries as well.
Finally, I've also taken a close look at every street tree in New Haven. After the ravages of Dutch elm disease, it turns out that Elm City doesn't actually have that many elms. Instead the city is a weave of a half dozen major tree types, with dozens of others scattered throughout.
And a quick bonus map, too: the apizza region of central Connecticut!
Friday, July 1, 2016
After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century has just been published by the University of Chicago Press. More info — along with high-res images, raw data, and a bibliography — is available on the book's website, www.afterthemap.info. I've spent almost a decade researching, writing, and revising this thing; I hope you like it!
To buy the book, the best prices are listed on bookfinder.com.
Monday, May 23, 2016
I also found some additional data for the early decades of American slavery: 1790 data for what's now Tennessee, plus small tweaks to coastal South Carolina and Indian lands in Kentucky before 1820.
Friday, May 6, 2016
The main task of this project was getting the data, but I'm also trying some new techniques for blending interactive and static mapping. Town-level data has always been available for the north (at least after a bit of math), but it has never before been mapped or digitized. Not surprisingly, disaggretating 90 counties — many huge and unhelpful — into 1,600 towns means that new patterns emerge, and it's possible to connect broad trends with local reality in a new way. The interactive map gives detailed information about every town, but I've also made sure that the project can be downloaded as a stand-alone digital poster.
Friday, April 22, 2016
The project also includes a map of "peak slavery" that shows the maximum number of slaves that ever lived in an area, along with the year of the peak. In the vast majority of the south, slavery was booming right up to the Civil War; only in Delaware, Maryland, and eastern Virginia was slavery in natural decline.
Monday, April 11, 2016
First is a collaboration with Michael Ralph on the history of slave insurance in the US. Most insured slaves were highly skilled, and they were disproportionately urban. They were usually rented to others — especially on Ohio River steamboats, in Virginia coal mines, and in skilled trades in Atlantic port cities. In many ways, what we see on the map is an unfree version of the emerging relationship between life insurance and wage labor in the north. And we know their names.
Second is a new version of my map of world railways, updated with new data and a much-higher-resolution download!
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
In the meantime, I had some fun with hemispheres.
1. Following up on my graphs of population by latitude and longitude from a few years ago, I got curious about other ways to divvy population besides the usual hemispheres of Northern/Southern and Eastern/Western. The big discovery was the Human Hemisphere, which is the hemisphere (out of all the infinitely many possibilities) that contains the most people. But we can also go one step further and calculate the population of every possible hemisphere — including your hemisphere!
2. The other hemispheric enjoyment was a slightly ironic update to Richard Edes Harrison's iconic "One World, One War" map from 1942. Instead of showing a global war of convoys and transcontinental bombers, my version — "One World, One Market" — shows global capitalism interconnected by ships, railroads, and container ports.
3. I also made some quick maps of the land and water hemispheres for Wikipedia.
Finally, on a notably unhemispheric note, I added a quick graph showing the changing demographics of New Haven since 1790. This has likewise found its way to Wikipedia.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
But I'm really pleased to have three of my maps appearing in The Best American Infographics 2014 — just released today! And I'm not at all ashamed to admit that being in a book with an introduction by Nate Silver makes me unreasonably excited. One of those childhood dreams I never knew I had?
Also, as a follow-up to Aaron Reiss's interview–profile of me for The Atlantic's CityLab, where I discuss my five favorite maps, I have posted the full set of ten maps that I originally chose for my "long list," before Aaron and I eventually whittled it down to the final five. Enjoy!
Thursday, October 3, 2013
This afternoon I'll be taking part in a live chat with the moderator. It would be great to have the conversation be as lively as possible — take a look and join us! Come one, come all! The chat will be at 2pm Eastern.
On a completely unrelated note, I also made a quick map of the alphabets of Europe.
Monday, July 29, 2013
The take-away isn't just that humans had already spread around the world by the time that Europeans started looking for new trade routes and tropical riches. There's also an important lesson about the ability for non-Europeans to navigate vast distances and reach most of the world's islands first.
(Note that the research for this map was not always straightforward, as it required integrating present-day anthropology with sometimes-vague historical material. If you know something that I don't know, please let me know!)
Friday, May 24, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
I picked four of the flattest areas I know (and love) and decided to make their flatness sing with the power of a thousand mountains. The result: a series of unfamiliar and wondrous microtopographical landscapes.
Now let's go climb some imperceptible cliffs!
Monday, April 29, 2013
What's the biggest city in the United States — New York? Los Angeles? How about ... Anchorage! After spending an evening exploring the politics of metropolitan annexation and city–county mergers, I made a quick series of maps of the inkblot patterns of municipal limits — all in comparison to Rhode Island, naturally.
I've also been interested in the contrast in identity-space between the geographically large cities of Texas, Arizona, or Southern California and geographically small cities like San Francisco, Boston, or Washington DC. The contrasts can often be striking: only 8% of the residents of the Boston metro area actually live in Boston proper, while almost two-thirds of the metro residents of San Antonio live within the city limits. Do geographically larger cities enjoy more civic-mindedness, in addition to a wider tax base? My gut says yes, but I'm afraid I don't have any actual evidence yet.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
1. Where's the Midwest? I went searching, and the results are in.
2. Where's my family from? After a few months of getting dorky with old governmental records, I have some answers.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
The sensibility here is similar to my other dot maps, but by doing a bit of math I found a way for ArcGIS to make smooth pointilist color mixes. The result is a hybrid of dot map and choropleth that seems quite promising for this kind of discrete data.
Monday, November 26, 2012
I'm very pleased to present a project by Daren Keene, who has been drawing a magical sprawling imaginary city using only a pencil and dozens of 8½" × 11" sheets of paper. Appropriately enough, he's named his city Pencilvania. Daren's maps share a sensibility with the well-known project by Jerry Gretzinger, but the aesthetic is quite different. Daren's maps mix high-tech, organic, and topographic forms into an incredibly detailed landscape that seems to oscillate between cartographic verisimilitude and pure abstraction. Start exploring!
I've also added several maps of my new home, New Haven:
Maps of age, race, and income.
Maps of foreclosures since 2008.
A map of public housing.
A map of wonderful things to do, contributed by Aaron Reiss.
Working with my fellow historian Sarah Potter, I made some historical maps of segregation in Chicago. These maps have appeared in Sarah's article in the Journal of Urban History and will also appear in her forthcoming book.
Would you like some simple wall maps of housing development in the DC/Baltimore area? They do a nice job showing the transitions between urban, suburban, exurban, and rural.
Friday, May 13, 2011
First, I made some similar maps for the Bay Area showing race and ethnicity, poverty, and education. Standard solid-color statistical maps are especially problematic in areas where there's a huge contrast between sparsely populated and dense areas, as is in many western American cities.
Monday, February 7, 2011
First, Andrew and Brian Jones have done an amazing thing. After Brian saw my astronomical calendar for New Haven, his brother Andrew decided to write a program that could make similar calendars for any place in the world. It's great! I've helped with some of the code and written a front-end interface to put the script on the web — now you can make your own calendar with just a few clicks. We've included all sorts of options, including the option to just let the script do everything automatically. Enjoy! (And please let me know if you run into any bugs.)
Second, I'm very pleased to host a project from Roberto Casati, Magda Stanová, and Stéphanie Roisin on the typologies of blocks and islands in Venice. It's a simple idea taken far beyond the ordinary. And the colors! Signor Nolli would be proud.
Third, I've created a response of sorts to Ben Fry's map of all the streets in the contiguous United States. By tracking down some good data for both the U.S. and Canada, I've made a map highlighting the real discontinuities of infrastructure policy on either side of the 49th parallel, rather than the data discontinuities that jump out in Ben's project. (This is no critique of his work; until recently, finding good road data was not easy.) The goal here is to see what kinds of questions we can ask once the data problem gets under control. This is especially relevant for understanding boundaries, since the idea of a boundary, the administration of geographic data, and the “ground truth” of geographic transitions are always intertangled.
Fourth, I had a short essay appear recently in the Boston Review, along with some more maps of race and income distributions in U.S. cities. I'm especially interested in challenging the “inner city” as a geographic euphemism, following up on those income donut maps I made a few years ago.
And finally, I added a link to the wonderful work of Armelle Caron. Lovely!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Astronomically, this calendar is valid for four points on the earth, all in the United States (in Connecticut, Illinois, Nebraska, and Nevada). With some easy modifications, however, it would apply to all points around the world at the same latitude, and could be used without much trouble a few degrees north or south as well.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
I also uploaded high-resolution files. Enjoy!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
In both projects I'm reacting in part against maps which show ethnic areas using solid homogeneous colors, often highlighting only the majority group — such as this Wikipedia map of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or this New York Times map of Pashtuns in the Sulaiman Mountains. Not only do these maps fail to show local diversity or ethnic overlaps, but they visually reinforce the all-or-nothing logic of national territorial statehood that made the conflicts in question so intractable in the first place. These cases are crying out for new forms of mapping — mapping which could directly provoke new ways of thinking. (In other words, radical cartography to the rescue!)
I have high hopes of using such alternative cartographies to make a comparative series showing the morphologies of segregation across all major U.S. cities (something similar to my income donut project), but alas, for now I'm working on a city-by-city basis. In the meantime, see my wall maps of Phoenix for a different version of this same sensibilty.
As always, comments heartily solicited, and much appreciated!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Drop me a line — I'd love to know what you think!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Like what you see? Why not drop Brett a line and let him know!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Most of my energy has been directed to paper maps and exhibition material of various kinds:
1, Here are some wall maps of Phoenix that I'm quite happy with; the goal was to push conventions about land management and social statistics in ways that ask new questions about stewardship and segregation. I presented these maps a few weeks ago as part of the "Remapping the Desert" series sponsored by the Future Arts Research program at Arizona State University.
2, In the May issue of National Geographic are some maps of mine accompanying an article about mapping and territorial claims in the Arctic Ocean. I've posted some unpublished studies of climate, oil, changing territorial claims, and revisions to the map of the Arctic seafloor. The biggest thing to notice here is that the traditional idea that countries are bounded by a "hard shell" of a single perfect boundary is being revised even as I type; under the UN Law of the Sea, there is now a feathered edge of different maritime rights at different distances from shore.
3, Another wall map, just for kicks: world railways! I'm also inching my way towards tackling a world map in earnest; this is my first foray into some of the thorny issues of distortion, continuity, and conventions at the global scale.
4, Last spring I renovated my maps of American agriculture for an exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design; they're a big improvement over the old ones, not least because data from the 2007 census is a lot cleaner than the 1997 data. I also made a quick animation of world cropland since 1700 for the same exhibit, based on data from agricultural geographers.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
1, I lived in Washington DC this summer, and made a series of demographic maps to help myself get oriented. Take your pick: race, poverty, income, education, violence, or theft! Although it does take a while to find them, there are indeed cracks in the dichotomies of white and black, rich and poor.
2, Some more cheap fun with histograms, this time for Mars and the Moon alongside the earth.
3, Everyone loves intermodal transport. I’ve posted part of a pamphlet I did for a longshore workers’ union showing the NAFTA intermodal network. And it's for sale! (All proceeds support the non-profits that sponsored the project.)
4, A train leaves Chicago heading north at 50 mph. A second train leaves Green Bay going south at 45 mph. They pass each other along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. Quick — how far away is the horizon?
Finally, I’m pleased to announce that a few of my maps have been included in Daniel Tucker’s traveling map archive, which is part of the Experimental Geography exhibition curated by Nato Thompson. Right now it’s on display at the DePauw University art museum, and will be moving around the U.S. through 2010. Included are poster versions of my cities, reservations, and The Cargo Chain. If you happen to be heading through central Indiana any time soon, stop by and check it out!