July 13, 2010, 3:20 pm

Information is Light

By Henry Woodbury

Look down from the sky at a city at night and it falls into two dimensions. In simple dark and light patterns you can see roadways, population centers, and other aspects of urban development.

Inspired by the view from a plane, data visualization engineer Doug McCune decided to use the appearance of city lights at night to present spatial data (just “for fun” he emphasizes). Using publicly available crime and city planning data, McCune has created a number of beautiful visualizations.  For example, the image below shows all the trees planted by the city of San Francisco since 1990:

Trees by the City of San Francisco since 1990 by Doug McCune

Click through to see more examples, all linked to larger versions.

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Filed under: Maps, Visual Explanation

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