The map you see above contains no visual data except for the location of every street in the contiguous 48 states. No borders, no geographic demarcation, no coasts — nothing.
Created by MIT Media Lab graduate Ben Fry, it was originally intended
to organize street naming patterns by local flora, but as soon as he
began to collect the data, that became impossible. “Cookie cutter
suburban neighborhood developments seem to have obliterated any
causation. 'Magnolia' is such a nice-sounding, outdoorsy word; who
wouldn’t want it adorning their street corner? Local flora be damned,”
What we’re left with is the exact geographic location of the 26 million
individual segments that make up the American road network. Borders,
mountains, bodies of water and population density are visualized in
striking accuracy by the way the roads adapt to them. The result is a
visual realization of the experience you and I have every time we
set out for a ride.