Saturday, 24 May 2014

LyricMap: Where the Streets Have No Name

Inspired by the nonsense mapping of The Proclaimers 500 miles that I re-mapped, I was pondering a few other geographical lyrics and how they might be mapped. I'm going to call them LyricMaps ™ and there's a lot of them. First up -let's give U2's Where the Streets Have No Name a whirl and see what we come up with.

First, start with a nice healthy dataset of all streets in the contiguous USA and use some Geographical Information Systems savvy to process it. I'm fortunate to have access to the 2012 version of the Tom Tom data for North America which contains over 15 million street segments.

Second, apply a few of query analyses to extract any street segment without a name, discounting outliers like connectors, ramps, slip roads and such like. The result: a LyricMap of 3.5 million streets with no name, the beauty of which is that I don't need to worry about labelling because, well...there aren't any!

Finally, map each road segment with a huge dose of transparency so at the final scale the map shows areas that contain relatively few streets with no name as dark as the background. Where there are numerous streets with no name, the overlapping transparent symbols create a much lighter effect.

The map deserved to be styled as an homage to U2's classic 1987 The Joshua Tree which contains the track.

The overall pattern suggests that it's streets in rural areas that have no name. Pretty much all the major cities appear dark indicating a low number of streets with no name. This makes sense...the dataset contains every road in the U.S. and many of them would be dirt tracks. Despite there being over 3 million separate segments on this map there isn't much sense looking at the detail for a particular city...there are so few it makes the map sparse as the following larger scale map of California illustrates.

That said, if you want a giant 36 inch version at 300dpi then you can download one here. It's 12Mb.

Of course, there's more work that could be done to eliminate more categories of roads but hey - this is just a bit of fun. I've got plenty more geographically inspired LyricMaps planned so stay tuned!

Acknowledgments: Tom Tom data used and published under licence using Esri technology.


  1. And sometimes names streets have no name:

    No Way:

    No Name:

  2. Way cool. The largest black area is Maine where there aren't any streets to have no name.

  3. Here's a GLOBAL map of where the streets in OpenStreetMap have no name. OpenStreetMap data in North America was imported from TIGER data, which was pretty inaccurate, but reasonably accurate with regards names (or lack of names) so the results there are probably fairly similar (what d'you think?)

    Elsewhere in the world we see the same pattern of rural areas having unnamed streets. There's also pockets of data where the OpenStreetMap community have traced in whole cities from aerial imagery, but there's no active local on-the-ground community adding those names into the database yet.

    We see this in India and Africa. This is a shame, but obviously it's difficult to build up a community of hi-tech mapping folks in some of these places. In those countries many streets genuinely don't have names, but OpenStreetMap can be good place to capture informal locally used names. I was recently involved in mapping the city of Lubumbashi in the Congo. We got locals involved specifically in capturing street names, using an interesting new three-phased paper-based approach. So there, at least, are a few fewer streets with no name.

  4. While interesting at first glance what i take from this is nothing but a TomTom (navteq or teleatlas) data quality issue. We have dirt paths to oil rigs mapped as roads as well as alleys or driveways. There are also tons of roads that are represented which do actually have names but the data owner is too lazy or too inept to populate the attribute table. I am shocked that TomTom (navteq or teleatlas) allowed this out. This is the same data that they charge $150,000 to license!


    Is Your Computer Sluggish or Plagued With a Virus? – If So you Need Online Tech Repairs
    As a leader in online computer repair, Online Tech Repairs Inc has the experience to deliver professional system optimization and virus removal.Headquartered in Great Neck, New York our certified technicians have been providing online computer repair and virus removal for customers around the world since 2004.
    Our three step system is easy to use; and provides you a safe, unobtrusive, and cost effective alternative to your computer service needs. By using state-of-the-art technology our computer experts can diagnose, and repair your computer system through the internet, no matter where you are.
    Our technician will guide you through the installation of Online Tech Repair Inc secure software. This software allows your dedicated computer expert to see and operate your computer just as if he was in the room with you. That means you don't have to unplug everything and bring it to our shop, or have a stranger tramping through your home.
    From our remote location the Online Tech expert can handle any computer issue you want addressed, like:
    • - System Optimization
    • - How it works Software Installations or Upgrades
    • - How it works Virus Removal
    • - How it works Home Network Set-ups
    Just to name a few.
    If you are unsure of what the problem may be, that is okay. We can run a complete diagnostic on your system and fix the problems we encounter. When we are done our software is removed; leaving you with a safe, secure and properly functioning system. The whole process usually takes less than an hour. You probably couldn't even get your computer to your local repair shop that fast!
    Call us now for a FREE COMPUTER DIAGONISTIC using DISCOUNT CODE ( on +1-914-613-3786 or chat with us on

  6. Problem: HP Printer not connecting to my laptop.

    I had an issue while connecting my 2 year old HP printer to my brother's laptop that I had borrowed for starting my own business. I used a quick google search to fix the problem but that did not help me.

    I then decided to get professional help to solve my problem. After having received many quotations from various companies, i decided to go ahead with Online Tech Repair (

    Reasons I chose them over the others:
    1) They were extremely friendly and patient with me during my initial discussions and responded promptly to my request.
    2) Their prices were extremely reasonable.
    3) They were ready and willing to walk me through the entire process step by step and were on call with me till i got it fixed.

    How did they do it
    1) They first asked me to state my problem clearly and asked me a few questions. This was done to detect any physical connectivity issues with the printer.
    2) After having answered this, they confirmed that the printer and the laptop were functioning correctly.
    3) They then, asked me if they could access my laptop remotely to troubleshoot the problem and fix it. I agreed.
    4) One of the tech support executives accessed my laptop and started troubleshooting.
    5) I sat back and watched as the tech support executive was navigating my laptop to spot the issue. The issue was fixed.
    6) I was told that it was due to an older version of the driver that had been installed.

    My Experience
    I loved the entire friendly conversation that took place with them. They understood my needs clearly and acted upon the solution immediately. Being a technical noob, i sometimes find it difficult to communicate with tech support teams. It was a very different experience with the guys at Online Tech Repairs. You can check out their website or call them on 1-914-613-3786.
    Would definitely recommend this service to anyone who needs help fixing their computers.
    Thanks a ton guys. Great Job....!!

  7. Software Development Company offers on & offshore Software Development Services. Mag Web Enterprise IT services deliver excellence to new age IT businesses. Explore new possibilities of enterprise automation.


  8. I have read this post. collection of post is a nice one...........
    Registry Cleaner
    PC Optimizer
    pc repair