Paint by Numbers – SF Addresses

Andy Woodruff has a great post called Paint by Numbers (go take a look!) on his Cartogrammar blog.  Patterns emerge based on addresses, hinting at some city planning at work.  Something he mentions is the idea of displaying all addresses in a city by number, color ramped.  The problem he talks about, and rightly so, is that the huge range of numbers assigned to different streets muddles the data, and makes it difficult to consistently visualize a city’s addresses all at once.  But I gave this a try anyway, to see what resulted for San Francisco.  I grabbed address data from DataSF (great resource), and set to work.  Actually, it makes a beautiful map, and where you don’t necessarily see citywide patterns, there are some fantastic neighborhoodwide patterns.  Click on the image below to see a larger version and a clearer view of these patterns.

One pattern that sticks out to me, is the influence of Market Street, the diagonal line in the northeast.  For streets that branch off to the west from Market (though at different western locations, because of the diagonal nature of Market, make sense?), each street starts at 1.  What this means, is that if you were to walk halfway down Market, then turn to the north, the cross streets will be different blocks.  So the addresses would be 1, followed by 100, followed by 200, etc.  Makes for some interesting navigating.


3 Responses to “Paint by Numbers – SF Addresses”

  1. Andy Woodruff Says:

    This is great – every bit as striking as I had hoped for! Excellent work. San Francisco sure has some interesting patterns.

    I think I got discouraged by trying to do this with Boston first, which (as you may have noticed in my post) has a ton of low street numbers and just a few high ones, which really suppresses any overall patterns; but at the same time there are just enough higher street numbers that trying to put more color classes on the low end still manages to have a similar effect. But now this seems worth revisiting. If only every city had such a good data resource! The individual address points here make for a better map than the block-by-block stuff from the Census.

    So glad you picked up the torch!

  2. Ghost in the Shell « Burrito Justice Says:

    […] Friberg kindly points out Tim Sinnot‘s SF adaptation of Andy Woodruff’s paint-by-numbers idea — “displaying all […]

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