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24 maps that portray random lesser-known facts about the United States

With a little over one million members, the group is one of the most popular cartography communities online.

24 maps that portray random lesser-known facts about the United States
Cover Image Source: Reddit (L) some_dawid_guy (R) SwiftOryx

How well do you know the U.S.? Could you mark all 50 states on a map? Do you rattle off state capitals like they're family members? If yes, you'll probably love the r/MapPorn Reddit community that celebrates all things cartography.

Created by Patrick McGranaghan, a land surveyor in Colorado, in May 2011, the community currently has a little over 1 million members. With cartography fans flooding the subreddit with all kinds of maps, McGranaghan did an analysis of its most popular posts from the past year and a half to determine the common traits between them.

Tagging them based on the content, style, and subject matter, McGranaghan determined that the most popular subject was history. "In this category, the most popular maps were about World War II," he 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. Subjects like separatist movements, re-drawing borders, and user-created idealizations. Many of these are satirical and funny."

However, not all of these maps are strictly scientific. "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," said McGranaghan. "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."

Here are 24 such not-strictly scientific maps of the US that you might find interesting: 

1. US watersheds

Image Source: Reddit/u/MrAllOrNothing


2. Most commonly spoken language in the US after English and Spanish

Image Source: Reddit/u/AlpineEsel


3. Most common last name in the United States by state

Image Source: Reddit/u/some_dawid_guy

4. The United States of America: Alaskan perspective

Image Source: Reddit/u/Pariahdog119


5. States with a smaller population than Los Angeles County

Image Source: Reddit/u/SwiftOryx


6. Red and orange areas have equal populations

Image Source: Reddit/u/Cogo5646


7. United States population lines

Image Source: Reddit/u/AJgloe


8. The most efficient route between every Springfield in the United States

Image Source: Reddit/u/GreenMobius


9. The US mapped by residents’ desire to move to a different state

Image Source: Reddit/u/wibblesandbits


10. Most common country of birth for foreign-born residents, excluding Mexico

Image Source: Reddit/u/Farhan_Hyder


11. Every state's least favorite state

Image Source: Reddit/u/matts41


12. The states scaled proportionally to population density

Image Source: Reddit/u/StarboardCapsized


13. How much snow does it usually take to cancel schools?

Image Source: Reddit/u/etymologynerd


14. More people live inside the red area than the grey area

Image Source: Reddit/u/lex52485


15. How America utilizes its land

Image Source: Reddit/u/Al-Andalusia


16. Percentage of people born outside the US in each state

Image Source: Reddit/u/vyxegg


17. US education spending map

Image Source: Reddit/u/Flitterquest


18. Light pollution

Image Source: Reddit/u/there_is_no_try


19. Map of the United States' 8 million miles of roads, streets, and highways

Image Source: Reddit/u/SkyHawk2112


20. 'Garbage can' vs 'trash can' 

Image Source: Reddit/u/AJgloe


21. Date of creation of all 3,142 US counties

Image Source: Reddit/u/Bemily69


22. The average size of apartments by region

Image Source: Reddit/u/collectic


23. Tree cover map of the US

Image Source: Reddit/u/DrWendigo


24. Portion of each state that is federal land

Image Source: Reddit/r/MapPorn

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