A Map Of America Drawn By Cellphone Connections [Video]

A Map Of America Drawn By Cellphone Connections [Video]

MIT's latest project creates an image of the United States based on how people make contact with one another.

Stephen Fortune
  • 5 july 2011

MIT’s Senseable City Lab continues to confound established cartography with their interactive illustrations of how information sharing defies traditional borderlines. Not content with simply contending that Wales doesn’t exist, the Lab has now trained its sights on better understanding the vast expanse of America.

The latest project helmed by Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT Senseable City lab, looks at relationships between regions based on on mapping phone data.The project begins with the assumption that social connections between peoples and communities are what allow larger bodies of people to adhere into some form of meaningful structure:

The social connections woven across the United States can be used to define communities. One can ask whether the communities defined purely by social interactions coincide with the administrative boundaries, for example state boundaries? Remarkably, this is not always the case!

According to the Connecting States of America project, sister states include Alabama and Georgia—at least in terms of telephone calls. The data changes when you look at SMS–suddenly Mississippi and Alabama are kissing cousins.

Watch the video below to appreciate the rationale, but to really get a feel for this new mapping of the United States it’s best to check out the interactive maps available here.

MIT SenseABLE City Lab: Connected States Of America


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