Urban Fold

Data Becomes Art in the Hands of this Cartographer

Eric Jaffe profiles the work of "self-proclaimed 'map geek'" Eric Fischer, whose remarkable renderings of urban data seek to uncover a deeper beauty, and truth, in the deluge of information.

The creator of what Jaffe finds to be "some of the most intriguing maps and spatial images found on the Internet," Eric Fischer, who until a few weeks ago worked as a programmer at Google, has a keen ability to convert the dull 1s and 0s of raw urban data into immediately understandable images.  

"Ultimately, almost everything I have been making tries to take the dim, distant glimpse of the real world that we can see through data and magnify some aspect of it in an attempt to understand something about the structure of cities," he says. "I don't know if that comes through at all in the actual products, but it is what they are all building toward."

Now creating his visualizations as an artist-in-residence at San Francisco's Exploratorium museum, Fischer describes his design philosophy thus: "When the maps succeed, I think it is when they can confirm something that the viewer already knows about their neighborhood or their city, and then broaden that knowledge a little by showing how some other places that the viewer doesn't know so well are similar or different."

Full Story: Mapmaker, Artist, or Programmer?

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