Thursday, June 5, 2014

We've Moved!

More Fun With Maps can now be found on Pinterest, which is a lot easier for me to update. Please visit us at

While we're on the subject, you might also enjoy Dobson's Improbable History, a (more or less) daily blog on what happened on this day, at

For Dobson's Improbable Quote of the Day, also see us on Pinterest at

General essays appear on my Sidewise Thinking blog at

Miscellaneous links and weird stuff, formerly Dobson's Link Rot ( can now be found at All the Links That Fit (

See you there!

Friday, March 7, 2014

By Train from New York to Paris!

Join Russia and USA by Rail Tunnels under the Bering Strait? « Russia Watch

A fascinating, if somewhat unlikely project. Visit the link for additional maps showing the proposed Bering Strait tunnel and what it would take to link the rail systems of Russia, the US, and Canada.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

19 Trillion Maps!

All of the ways to make a map of the United States with four colors / fake is the new real

According to the four color theorem, you only need four different colors to color any map so that no two adjacent regions have the same color. Every time you refresh the map at the link, you'll see a different four color solution for the United States.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Carbon Footprint Maps

At the link, you'll find several interactive maps that allow you to look at any particular zip code. This is annual average household carbon footprint by zip code. Also at the link are average household energy carbon footprint by zip code and average vehicle miles driven by zip code.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Where You Live Suggests How You're Likely to Vote

Where you live has a lot to do with how you vote. I've suspected this for a while: Republicans are definitely a conservative party, but Democrats are not necessarily liberal — they're urban.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Every State's Favorite Band

Here's Every State's Favorite Band - Business Insider

Building on yesterday's map, here's a map of the US showing which artist "enjoys the most outsized support in each state."  For an overall summary of the study, visit the link; for a detailed breakdown and analysis, see the original study at Exploring regional listening preferences | Music Machinery.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The State of Music

Thanks to Allan Rothberg for bringing this to my attention. I don't know the original source.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Internet: A Map

I wouldn't go quite as far as "the most brilliant thing ever," but it's pretty cool. Thanks to Tracy Hickman for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Equal Population Earth

Thanks to Allan Rothberg, who brought this to my attention. I can't find a link to the creator or much background on this particular map.

The 124 States of America

Throughout American history, there have been numerous proposals to create new states or redraw state boundaries. What if every single one of them had succeeded? If so, there would be 124 US states today — and here they are. What state do you live in? (Visit the link for more of the story.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Live Here, But It Helps

Most of the United States is officially designated as a shortage area for mental health professionals. At the link, you'll find other maps showing areas with shortages of dentists, primary health care providers, and lots more.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

World Unemployment 1991-2018

A GIF of world unemployment since 1991 – Quartz

Unemployment in the United States is a matter of great concern to all of us in the United States...but the rest of the world has unemployment issues too, many far worse than ours. Here's a GIF of world unemployment since 1991, with projections out to 2018. Commentary and source information available at the link.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Unequal Inequality

The Geography of the American Dream - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic

Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South? - Matthew O'Brien - The Atlantic

How likely is it that a child born in the bottom 20% of the economy will rise into the top 20%? The degree of social mobility is a key indicator of the health of American society — without sufficient social mobility, we become a class-stratified society.

Overall measures of social mobility in the United States tend to disguise the fact that it varies tremendously from region to region. This map shows where social mobility is highest (pale yellow) and lowest (deep red). The first of the two links has several additional maps along with discussion of source information and methodology. The second link talks about what factors do (and do not) seem to matter in social mobility.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Moving Pictures

Bruce Townley shared this map of the top rated (by IMdB) movie set in each state. I didn't know that Silence of the Lambs was set in Maryland, but maybe that explains why all these restaurants offer menu item of liver with lava beans with a recommended Chianti pairing.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Show Me the Money!

America's Wealth Is Staggeringly Concentrated in the Northeast Corridor - The Wire

The median household income in the poorest county (Wilcox County, Alabama) was $22,126 in 2012. In Falls Church, Virginia, where highly educated defense contractors and federal government workers cluster, the median income last year was $121,250, more than five times higher. Here's a map of income by county for the United States.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Water, Water, Everywhere

Mapped: The World’s Water Crisis

Slate magazine provides this map showing water stress — the ratio of water withdrawals to supply. There's an interactive version here: Water Risk Indicators.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

...Said No Teacher Ever

How much teachers get paid — state by state

Here's the Washington Post on how much teachers get paid state by state. (Alaska is $65,468; Hawaii is $54,300.) The original source allows you to look at data over the years:

For comparison, I've added a map showing the highest paid public employee in each state. Can't find a reliable source for how much those highest-paid employees actually make.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Losing My Religion

Religion in America’s states and counties, in 6 maps

Here's a Washington Post article showing the demographic breakdown of religion in the United States. Map #1 is the largest single denomination in each county, map #2 is the largest non-Christian religion for each state, and map #3 shows the religious diversity by county. There are more maps at the link, including some interactive ones.

Here's the largest non-Christian religion for each state. South Carolina — who knew?

Blue counties have little religious diversity; red ones a great deal.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Geography of Hate

Hate Map

Here are geotagged tweets featuring homophobic, racist, and other nasty words, showing the areas where they are most used. Here are the maps for "nigger" and "fag" — many more at the link.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Nation Divided Over Mayonnaise

22 Maps That Show The Deepest Linguistic Conflicts In America - Business Insider

Does "mayonnaise" have two syllables or three? "Pa-jamma" or "Pah-jama"? And most importantly, is it "you guys" or "y'all"?

Here are heat maps showing concentrations of how people pronounce "crayon," address a group of two or more people, describe nighttime wear, eat pie with pecans in it, all courtesy of Joshua Katz of the statistics department at NC State University. And, of course, the uniquely Southern expression, "the devil is beating his wife."

For a hundred more examples, visit Katz's site, Dialect Survey Maps.

Americans can't even agree how to pronounce crayon.

This is the deepest and most obvious linguistic divide in America. It's also an example of how everyone in south Florida pronounces things in the northern U.S. style.

Some of the deepest schisms in America are over the pronunciation of the second syllable of "pajamas"

Okay, this one is crazy. Everyone pronounces "Pecan Pie" differently.

Seriously? Alabama and Mississippi that is terrible.

Seriously? Alabama and Mississippi that is terrible.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's a Rolls...It's a Mansion...It's SUPER ZIP!

Washington: A world apart | The Washington Post

A "Super ZIP" describes the most prosperous and highly educated demographic clusters. Washington, DC, has the greatest concentration of Super ZIPs, followed by East Manhattan, San Jose, Boston, and Oakland. There may not be any "there" there, but there's sure a lot of money.

Click the link to visit an interactive tool that allows you to enter a ZIP code or city and see how it lines up against the rest of the country. We're in 20817.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Watershed Down

A New Map Of The U.S., Created From Where We Get Our Water | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

If state lines reflected the watersheds that supply them, this is what the US would look like. 19th century explorer John Wesley Powell recommended (unsuccessfully) that western states be brought into the union based on these borders, which would have been of particular importance to the dry southwest.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Three Americas Based on Attitude

There Are Three Americas Hiding Inside Our Country--Which Do You Live In? | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

When Americans are sorted by five personality traits — openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism — it turns out they tend to live with others of the same temperament. Do you belong in the "Friendly and Conventional Region," the "Relaxed and Creative Region," or the "Temperamental and Uninhibited Region"?

The region is defined by moderately high levels of Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, moderately low Neuroticism, and very low Openness. This configuration of traits portrays the sort of person who is sociable, considerate, dutiful, and traditional...

The psychological profile of this region is marked by low Extraversion and Agreeableness, very low Neuroticism, and very high Openness... In general, the qualities of this region depict a place where open-mindedness, tolerance, individualism, and happiness are valued.

The psychological profile of the region is defined by low Extraversion, very low Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, very high Neuroticism, and moderately high Openness. This particular configuration of traits depicts the type of person who is reserved, aloof, impulsive, irritable, and inquisitive.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

Here's the United States covered by high-speed rail — but I don't know why they limited this to 220 mph rather than maglev at much higher speeds. If we're going to do this (alas, we aren't), we might as well do it right.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Where Did All the Money Go?

Using data from "Where's George," physicist Dirk Brockman created new internal borders for the US based on where dollar bills were and were not likely to cross. While in many cases they follow state lines, this isn't always true. Missouri and Pennsylvania are divided into east and west, and Chicago includes a large portion of both Indiana and Wisconsin. Where did your money go?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I Say Jabluko, You Say Jabloko

European Maps Showing Origins Of Common Words - Business Insider

Both "jabluko" and "jabloko" mean "apple," but the fruit is also known as "manzana," "omen," "milo," and (my favorite) "xnjor." (I think that's what Joe Btfsplk calls it — though that might be a bad omen.)

In addition to "apple," here are maps for "church," "bear," "beer," "orange," "rose," "pineapple," "tea," and "cucumber." Remember, a trandafir by any other name would smell as sweet.







Pineapple Map