I’m obsessed with maps.  As I write this from my living room, there is a map of Mahoning County on the wall to my left and one of Ohio to the right.  I’m completely fascinated by them, and this fascination is the main reason I chose geography as one of my specializations (think minor).

It’s no surprise that I was amazed when I found Eric Fischer’s study of racial breakdowns in America’s largest cities.

Fischer was inspired by a map created by Bill Rankin in 2009 that shows Chicago’s racial breakdown by community.  The map is simplistically elegant and informative, showing the stark racial boundaries between neighboring communities in an easy-to-interpret design.

The map that started it all

Fischer maps follow Rankin’s lead, breaking down over 100 American cities into White (red dots), Black (blue dots), Hispanic (yellow dots) and Asian (green dots) populations.  He covers a wide range of cities, from Seattle to Miami and San Diego to Portland, Maine.  Even Honolulu and Anchorage are represented.  It’s interesting to see how divided some cities really are.  Some, like Chicago and New York, have made me realize that racial divisions are nearly as visible and distinct as the neighborhood boundaries drawn on a map.

NYC: Hispanics really do live in Spanish Harlem.

Others, like Salt Lake City and Cleveland, the city I’m most familiar with, have cemented what I already believed was true.

Salt Lake City: Yeah, it's white.

Don't slow down in East Cleveland or you'll die.

Check out Fischer’s entire set for 100 more of these stunning images.  They are prime examples of how art, information and technology can come together to create something as unique and beautiful as it is interesting and educational.