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Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-NYC Street Grid-001

Artist and scientist Stephen Von Worley made these incredible “day glo” maps of a handful of the world’s major cities ostensibly to understand in his own words, “what other treasures I had missed.” The result from a data visualization standpoint is to give us an idea of how gridded a city is. A basic rundown of how these beautiful maps work: the roads that are oriented in the same direction have the same color. The thicker the lines, the more “grid-like” the area is.

Says Von Worley, “North-south-east-west streets map to red, those rotated 15 degrees clockwise to purple, 30 degrees blue, 45 degrees cyan, 60 degrees green, 75 degrees yellow, and back to red at 90 degrees (north-south-east-west again).” As you may recall, Manhattanhenge in New York City occurs off the solstice because it’s grid is oriented 29 degrees from due north explaining why most of Manhattan is in purple.

Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-Paris Arrondisements Street Grid-001The concentric arrondissement layout of Paris

As he writes of the visual process, “That’s every public street, colored by the predominant orientation of itself and its neighbors, thickened where the layout is most “grid-like” – to use an old-school woodworking metaphor, it’s as if we brushed some digital lacquer over the raw geographic transportation network data to make the grain pop.” And further on his blog, he explains the technicalities of producing the maps using programs like OpenStreet Maps Metro Extracts, Proximatic, and a custom k-NN engine.

Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-Chicago Street Grid-001Chicago sticks to its grid for most of the city

Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-Boston Street Grid-001Boston, though very organically laid out has its fair share of gridded city streets

Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-London Street Grid-001London 

Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-Washington DC Street Grid -001Washington D.C.

Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-Berlin Street Grid-001Berlin

Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-Los Angeles Street Grid-001Los Angeles

Day Glo Map-Steven Van Worley-Tokyo Street GridTokyo

To zoom in on these maps, check out Von Worley’s website. See more in our Fun Maps Column

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