The 9 Most Informative Maps Of 2014

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A map is much more than a place to give you directions to your next destination. Used well, a map offers a view of the world from above that can change the way you think about our geography and the people who inhabit it.


Some of the maps we’ve seen this year have been truly mind-altering, like the series of maps showing just how much of the state of Louisiana is sinking into the sea each year. Others have been more whimsical, showing the petty prejudices people around the world hold for each other.

And others will change the way you view the country–like the map breaking down our population by race–or our cities, like the map that abstracts cities based on their street grids.

So take a quick trip through all these maps that changed our perspective this year:

1: This Is What Your City Would Look Like If All The World’s Ice Sheets Melt

You’re going to need to learn the names of some new islands.


2: Louisiana Is Going To End Up Underwater Sooner Than You Might Think

This is really happening: A swath of a U.S. state—and an entire culture—is about to be lost underwater.

3: An Atlas Of The Human Body That Maps Where We Feel Emotions

Happiness uses your whole body, but anger is concentrated in your head.

4: This Atlas Maps Prejudice, Not Places


Americans think the French have smelly armpits. Swedes think Germans make bad cars. Here are the narrow-minded and hilarious ways that people around the world envision the map of Europe.

5: 10 Cities Visualized By How Cleanly Their Streets Are Laid Out

London’s streets run every which way, while Chicago is all north-south right angles. Can you find your city?

6: The Racial Profile Of Every Neighborhood In America, Mapped

These maps reveal the race and location of every single person in America. One dot for each person.


7: A Map Of The Carbon Footprint Of All 31,000 ZIP Codes In The U.S.

This massive interactive tool shows why cities rule, and suburbs are big emissions belchers.

8: This Map Shows How To Get Anywhere You Want In America Without Taking A Plane

Here’s how you could hack together a national transportation network. Hope you brought a good book.

9: Subway Maps For Cities Without Subways, Dreamed Up By An 8th Grader


Want to hop on a train in Austin or New Orleans? Take the orange line—and live inside Ivan Specht’s aspirational creations. Or at the very least you can buy a T-shirt.

Read more of our best stories of the year, in these categories: Most-read, photos, infographics, lists, videos, maps, buildings, robots, transportation, bikes, food, collaborative consumption, cities, energy, environment, health, education, crowdfunding, innovative workplaces, and privacy.

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Impact section, formerly Have an idea for a story? You can reach him at mclendaniel [at]