7 Innovative online maps

The technology that is paired with online maps is constantly improving, which means the ways media organizations are using them have become more diverse. Check out a few online maps that are furthering what’s possible with map mashups.


Ratio Finder

This eye-catchingly designed map analyzes Foursquare check-ins and visualizes them by gender. Visitors can use the site to compare where male and female users check in and what type of businesses they are most likely to check in to. The site is available for San Francisco and New York.



This site allows the visitor to compare the standard of living in the United States to pretty much any other country around the world and see how they differ. For example, If Germany were your home instead of the U.S., you would statistically consume less oil, have fewer babies, and have lots more free time, according to the site. Each page includes a map that shows a scale image of the country overlaid on top of a map of the United States.


Home and Away: Iraq and Afghanistan Casualties

Behind CNN’s flashy interactive map is a sobering message: the large number of casualties in the two war-torn countries. The dual maps and accompanying charts show data like the hometowns of the deceased, where they were killed, and when.


Products of Slavery

This map of the locations where child labor happens around the world presents a complex issue in a way that is very simple and easy to understand. Site visitors can view the top 25 countries where products are made with child labor and also toggle between the map view and several graph views.



Much like the homicide databases produced by the Los Angeles Times and Stamen Design (here and here), MurderMap aims to visualize homicides in London. Visitors can toggle the map by murder weapon and click each marker to view more information about the victim.


Mapping America: Every City, Every Block

This New York Times map that displays census data on race in America is most notable for showing just how many neighborhoods are clearly divided by race. For example, Manhattan’s 95th street has mostly White residents on one side and Black and Hispanic residents on the other. Los Angeles’ Santa Monica Boulevard creates a similar divide — a large percentage of residents who live north of the avenue are White, while the majority of those who live south of the street are Hispanic, as evidenced by the colored dots.


What’s in a Surname?

National Geographic elevates the word cloud with this map that shows popular surnames by location. “Smith” is a popular last name in most of the country — especially in the eastern United States — while Garcia and Hernandez are popular in the West and Southwest, according to the map.