Where We Live

An interactive map of every building in America, created by the New York Times:

“These images are drawn from a huge database that Microsoft released to the public this year. The company’s computer engineers trained a neural network to analyze satellite imagery and then to trace the shapes of buildings across the country. Such information has been available before in some places, but this is the first comprehensive database covering the entire United States.

We found fascinating patterns in the arrangements of buildings. Traditional road maps highlight streets and highways; here they show up as a linear absence.

Where buildings are clustered together, in downtowns, the image is darker, dense. As suburbs stretch out with their larger lawns and malls, the map grows lighter. Your eye can follow the ways that development conforms to landscape features like water and slopes.

You can read history in the transition from curving, paved-over cow paths in old downtowns to suburban sprawl; you can detect signals of wealth and poverty, sometimes almost next door to each other. It all reveals what Andy Woodruff, a cartographer, calls ‘the sometimes aesthetically pleasing patterns of the built environment.’

These images don’t just reveal cityscapes; they reveal ourselves.”

 This interactive map illustrates every building in the United States. Click on the image to find a place and explore the country’s structures..   Source: Tim Wallace, Derek Watkins and John Schwartz in: New York Times, October 12, 2018.

This interactive map illustrates every building in the United States. Click on the image to find a place and explore the country’s structures.. Source: Tim Wallace, Derek Watkins and John Schwartz in: New York Times, October 12, 2018.