MapFrappe

Curious to know what the Champs-Elysees might look like in Midtown Manhattan? Forget the square footage and just put it there.

Measurement is all right, but nothing expresses a geographic comparison like putting two objects next to each other. Curious to know what the Champs-Elysees might look like in Midtown Manhattan? Or the Pyramids of Giza in Chicago? Forget the square footage and just put them there.

That is the gist and the genius of MapFrappe, Kevin Thompson's cartographic mixing engine. Users outline a place -- like, say, Brooklyn -- and drag it all over the world.

I took Kings County to Paris:

To Washington, D.C.:

And to San Francisco:

That's fun, but it's also something that can be shown with easily accessible statistics. For a second course, I actually did take the Champs-Élysées to Midtown:

From the Franklin Roosevelt roundabout to the Arc de Triomphe is almost exactly four crosstown blocks. Remarkably, the orientation is nearly the same! But lest you think that the world's most famous street isn't all that, consider its width: with its massive sidewalks taken into account, the Champs-Élysées is as wide, if not wider, than an entire north-south Manhattan block. (It also has more trees than all of Midtown Manhattan's streets put together.)

It would make quite a splash in Rome:

Mapfrappe also allows you to save your outlines in URLs that make them easily shareable. (If you want to take the Champs-Élysées to your hometown, here's the link.)

Once you get tired of outlining your own interests -- your walk to work in London, or Buckingham Palace on your block -- you can check out Drew's MapFrappe blog, which has hundreds of preset outlines to choose from. Napoleon may have brought the obelisks to Paris, but I put the Pyramids in Central Park (note their perfect north-south orientation):

It also comes with some neat outlines that you might otherwise not have thought of, including the footprints of dammed lakes and strip mines. Here's what Chile's Chuquicamata Copper Mine looks like compared to Washington, DC:

And while Google Maps uses a Mercator projection, which distorts the shape and size of territories at different latitudes, MapFrappe adjusts for this. (The blog has a series of these comparisons.)

Here's what South America looks like on top of North America:

All images courtesy of MapFrappe. H/T UrbanPhotoBlog.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Smoke from the fires hangs over Brazil.
    Environment

    Why the Amazon Is on Fire

    The rash of wildfires now consuming the Amazon rainforest can be blamed on a host of human factors, from climate change to deforestation to Brazilian politics.

  2. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  3. Fishing boats, with high rises on the banks and a mosque in the distance.
    Environment

    Will Sea-Level Rise Claim Egypt’s Second-Largest City?

    Al-Max village in Alexandria was ruined by floods in 2015. Yet, despite climate change’s growing threat to the city, critics say it has scarcely been addressed.

  4. A photo of high-rises in Songdo, billed as the world's "smartest" city.
    Life

    Sleepy in Songdo, Korea’s Smartest City

    The hardest thing about living in an eco-friendly master-planned utopia? Meeting your neighbors.  

  5. a map of London Uber driver James Farrar's trip data.
    Transportation

    For Ride-Hailing Drivers, Data Is Power

    Uber drivers in Europe and the U.S. are fighting for access to their personal data. Whoever wins the lawsuit could get to reframe the terms of the gig economy.

×