Grad Research: A Map of Classic Arcades

Pinball Machines

Check out this fantastic and useful map of classic arcades in the United States, created by Ph.D. candidate Carly Kocurek, which was recently featured on Kotaku.

Here’s what Carly has to say about her ongoing cartographic project:

I created the map as a resource for researchers interested in classic games, and, of course, for gamers interested in tracking some of these places down. My intention is to continue updating it as best I can, so that it remains current.

Check out Carly’s original blog post about the map here.

5 Maps for the Visually Inclined

I spend an inordinate amount of time looking at, reading about, and – lately – making maps. No, this obsession with maps is not a new thing for me: I was totally the kid who pored over the AAA map on family vacations, the college student who lugged that same dog-eared AAA map on numerous cross-country treks, and the trucking dispatcher who tacked xeroxed, highlighted maps of Iowa and Michigan and Wisconsin over my desk.  When Google Maps finally unveiled their Bike Routes feature – well hey, there was at least one GPS-less bike hipster in Austin who took a victory lap around the neighborhood to celebrate.

One of the many things I love about maps is their ability to tell a story in a way that is somehow both totally objective and entirely personal. Certain elements of a landscape – the length of a road, maybe, or the location of a county line – are relatively fixed, but other elements – whether a road is safe to bike on, where the best barbecue is located, where the boundaries of a neighborhood are, how best to get from North Austin to the East side – are products of individual perspectives and ways of filtering and evaluating data. A really good map is one that visualizes the relationship between the objective and the personal in interesting ways; an awesome one makes a good argument or raises some good questions and has fun doing it. Here are five of my faves.

1. John Snow’s 1854 Cholera map

As Pete Warden points out, Snow’s map is the poster child for effective visualization of information, mostly because Tufte wrote so convincingly about it in The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Snow, who had been trying to convince NYC officials for some time that cholera was not just water-born but related to a particular pump, created this map to show the correlation between high numbers of cholera-related deaths and proximity to a contaminated well in SoHo. The details of the story might be the stuff of legend, but I still love this map: it is simple, clear, direct, and uses spatial information to make a compelling argument for the cause of a deadly disease.

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