Here are some maps portraying random information about American States that you may or may not find interesting.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 11, 2021. It has since been updated.
How confident are you in your geographical knowledge about the United States of America? Do you know the lay of the land like the back of your hand? Did you have all the state capitols memorized before you even learned how to tie your shoelaces? If yes, the r/MapPorn Reddit community is sure to be an absolute treat for you. Created in May 2011 by Patrick McGranaghan, a land surveyor in Colorado, the community has since grown to over 1.4 million members who flood the subreddit with all kinds of maps.
A while ago, McGranaghan recognized the wealth of information accumulated in the subreddit and did an analysis of its most popular posts from an 18-months period to determine their common traits. Tagging them based on the content, style, and subject matter, he found that the most popular subject was history. "In this category, the most popular maps were about World War II," McGranaghan told Bored Panda. "Another popular category was natural science. Especially popular are maps about wildlife, such as those that use tracking data to show animal migration patterns. Other topics included geology and astronomic maps."
"Another topic that I grouped together is 'political re-alignments'. These are maps that deal with boundaries," he continued. "Subjects like separatist movements, re-drawing borders, and user-created idealizations. Many of these are satirical and funny. I think the data is a bit noisy, but it's interesting nonetheless. Users sometimes want a magic formula to make their maps go viral and I don't think there is one. The tastes of the masses are fickle and change over time. All maps are generalizations, some good, some bad. They are not true representations and a good 'reader' should know that. I think good data visualization will take disparate datasets and find meaningful connections that weren't known before."
Content specialist Matt Shirley, who "[tries] to make a chart every day" according to his Instagram bio, has made several interesting maps over the years. From a map portraying the best city in every state to one showing every state's least favorite Thanksgiving food, he's come up with many unique maps by asking his 400k followers what state they live in and their opinion on some particular question. Although it is very much not a definitive or scientific survey approach, Shirley's maps are quite popular online for this very reason.
Here are 22 such not-entirely-scientific maps of the US from Shirley and other Redditors that you might find interesting: