Sunday, March 10, 2013

Context Matters

Take a look at the graphic below. What do you think it is? A modern art piece you might have caught at the Hirshorn? A network of power lines?

Of course this blog is about creative ways to display data, especially maps, that people can easily digest. It's impossible to figure out exactly what it is we're looking at, even if I did provide a scale bar and north orientation, without key pieces of context. 
Let's add another layer, in this case, just a basemap, and a few other key pieces of context.

So what was a basically worthless layer of lines, is now an interesting look at the network of walking trails maintained by the National Park Service. Another key piece of context: It's 60 degrees today. Go out and get some sunshine.