MapCarte 200/365: Breathing City by Joey Cherdarchuk, 2014

Making maps is all about taking a dataset and making something meaningful from it – something that communicates a finding or a result, or something that speaks to an issue or an emotion. In our democratised mapping world, more people than ever are taking interesting datasets and attempting to produce something map-like. All too often the results leave us frustrated but every now and then a perfect storm creates something magical.

Using a detailed dataset of how Manhattan’s population occupies space during their at home and at work phases of the day, Joey Cherdarchuk could have just plotted it using a standard technique. That wasn’t enough. Using the shape of Manhattan as an inspiration he envisaged a lung…a breathing lung that inhaled and exhaled according to the time of day. The data is animated as the map remains static so we get a breathing city and a breathing map. Adding a simple line graph that mimics a cardiograph monitor simply tops off the combination of visuals, metaphor and thinking that makes this map something special. Using a black background and simple text components frames the work well.

The data is unremarkable…but the map produced makes it intriguing and brings it to life.

Details of how Cherdarchuk constructed it are on his blogĀ here.