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Data Map Shows How Diverse (And Segregated) Our Cities Really Are

A single, color-coded dot for every U.S. resident offers a unique way of looking at America’s complex ethnic tapestry.

Image Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)

Maps are so much more than simple tools to tell us where to go and how to get there. Cartography can peel back the layers of the world around us, showing us new ways to understand the places and people with which we interact on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s light and whimsical, and sometimes it’s serious enough to make us reexamine our lives beyond the borders of the map itself.

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Explore Your City’s Urban Smellscape With Scent-Based Smelly Maps

Smell your way around town with a new project that merges “olfactory” with “cartography.”

While scent may be the most powerful of our five senses, it’s usually not the one most of us think of when it comes to how we navigate our way through cities both familiar and foreign. Save for instances when we get a nose-full of some extreme scent both good (roasting coffee, fresh cut grass) or bad (hot garbage, pee), we probably don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about the role our olfactory glands play in our day-to-day lives.

As it happens, though, our sense of smell can actually play a significant role in our spacial understanding of urban centers. Now, thanks to artist, designer, and informational experience design Ph.D candidate Kate McLean, we can begin to fully explore just how our noses shape our understanding of the cities in which we live. McLean heads the team behind Smelly Maps, a new project that blends cartography, urban planning, and social media to present cities as we’ve never seen—or smelled—them before.

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This Instagram for Maps Will Make a Cartographer Out of You Yet

Good-looking maps used to be the domain of experts. That’s been changing quite a bit in the last few years, and it’s easier than ever now for...

Good-looking maps used to be the domain of experts. That’s been changing quite a bit in the last few years, and it’s easier than ever now for developers to access mapping data (the recent State of the Map US conference was a great place to hear about this). Never content to leave well enough alone, we thought we’d kick this sideways a bit and make it easy for the rest of us to make some great stuff.

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Grassroots Mapping: How You Can Create Aerial Cartography for Under $100, and Use It to Do Good

How to capture your own aerial imagery that's higher resolution than NASA's, for about $100.

Historically, aerial mapmaking has been handled by governments and businesses alone. Who else could afford to put satellites in orbit or hire planes for private flyovers?

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Amtrak As Subway Map

See Amtrak's entire passenger rail system laid out like a subway map.

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