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Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii. Build more roads.
May 2, 2008 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Two visualization projects: 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. And zipdecode, a unique map of US zipcodes.
posted by desjardins (23 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder how much heat that amount of black pavement sucks up compared to fields and trees (and yes, i know some of it is concrete). What kind of environmental effects would the result of that have? At any rate, that's a sweet visualization.
posted by Mach5 at 2:56 PM on May 2, 2008


It's a half-double! Does that make it a single?
posted by Plutor at 2:58 PM on May 2, 2008


Ben Fry is the man. You can read more detail about All Streets. Built in Proce55ing, naturally.
posted by Nelson at 3:00 PM on May 2, 2008


I live here. See it? That one road on the left hand side? No, you're looking too low. Up higher.

Yep, that one.
posted by quin at 3:17 PM on May 2, 2008


This is so cool. I'd love to be able to zoom in on the street view one.
posted by Science! at 3:31 PM on May 2, 2008


Are there two upper states? I mean, I know Alaska is "up", but I'm pretty sure Hawaii is "down". 48 lower, 1 upper, 1 lateral?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:38 PM on May 2, 2008


At this scale, a four lane highway is about 1/350th of a pixel, give or take.
posted by Flunkie at 3:41 PM on May 2, 2008


Mach5 - you might want to read up on urban heat islands.
posted by desjardins at 3:47 PM on May 2, 2008


48 lower, 1 upper, 1 lateral?

Hawaii is most definitely the southernmost state.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:48 PM on May 2, 2008


Where's the high-res version?
I must have this framed on my wall.
posted by madajb at 4:52 PM on May 2, 2008


48 lower, 1 upper, 1 lateral?

Alaska is the farthest North, West and East.
posted by stbalbach at 6:48 PM on May 2, 2008


Very cool.
posted by OmieWise at 7:06 PM on May 2, 2008


Why does America hate Alaska?
posted by rhapsodie at 8:13 PM on May 2, 2008


Is there an interactive feature that I'm missing?
posted by lukemeister at 8:30 PM on May 2, 2008


Not sure I understand what's going on here. The areas in the Northeast that are dense with streets look the same color as the ones that are pretty rural. Like CT is not a homogenous state. I think maybe that the West is so sparse that it throws off the scale entirely. Like he turned the contrast knob until he got a pretty picture.
posted by smackfu at 11:17 PM on May 2, 2008


hawaii is actually further north than even alaska...why is it so warm and tropical? volcanoes.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:22 AM on May 3, 2008


"Like he turned the contrast knob until he got a pretty picture."

Heh. You said 'knob' hehehehe.

Actually, back when I used to watch TV on a ..y'know.. TV... That's what I'd do. Turn up the contrast until the picture looked pretty. What's wrong wit dat? My very old TV with the poor contrast is currently off by the way. I prefer watching television on my computer.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:55 AM on May 3, 2008


Where's the high-res version?
I must have this framed on my wall.


Here is someone selling it as a poster, ready for your wall.
posted by Forktine at 6:41 AM on May 3, 2008


Nice find, Forktine, but that's a different map. Same idea though. It comes from the Pacific Biodiversity Institute. Unfortunately the linked DjVu of that map is only 50dpi, 2209x1711, so you can't see all the detail.

I was wondering where the zoomable version of Ben's map was, too. Then I realized we have one; Google Maps. I think what's interesting about the All Streets visualization is the subtle shading of the published images that suggest way higher resolution than the image file actually has. That shading is a hallmark of a lot of Processing visualizations and I always wonder how they do it. I don't think it's simple anti-aliasing or image reduction, the image looks too crisp for that.
posted by Nelson at 7:50 AM on May 3, 2008


I am being laughed at for playing with the zipcode map. I just think it's awesome enumerating locations on the map (with/out zoom) one digit at time. ****
posted by quanta and qualia at 9:27 AM on May 3, 2008


Yeah... the scale is way off on the roads, which makes this misleading, but it's interesting anyway.
posted by empyrean at 10:56 AM on May 3, 2008


Tasty! Thanks. The zipcode map is particularly amusing as I don't understand US zipcodes for the life of me; I plonk in numbers and lights appear. I'd like to say I'm learning, but I'm not sure.
posted by eponymouse at 2:46 PM on May 3, 2008


Nelson: I think what's interesting about the All Streets visualization is the subtle shading of the published images that suggest way higher resolution than the image file actually has. That shading is a hallmark of a lot of Processing visualizations and I always wonder how they do it. I don't think it's simple anti-aliasing or image reduction, the image looks too crisp for that.

I'm not sure what it's called - blending? - but I've seen it demonstrated in Viewpoints (example), where it would be a solid, detailless color without the, um, scaling palette mentioned.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:43 PM on May 3, 2008


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