Why we love it
Here we see fine-grained detail for every location along a Vermont roadway. It’s a lot of thematic data presented in a unique, intuitive way. If this were a traditional map, it would not be possible to visualize so much information without clutter from too many symbols. We love how this map, really a straight-line diagram, flattens the route into a series of categorized lines, stacked so each vertical cross-section connects multiple variables to one location on the road.
Why it works
Good decisions come when we integrate and relate many kinds of information to understand relationships between parts and the whole. This map facilitates that by showing 50 different thematic layers for a single highway. It solves an age-old cartographic problem of how to show lots of data in a limited, static display. Each vertical cross-section paints a clear and complete picture of the complex conditions for any location along Vermont’s transportation corridor.
Kerry Alley is a Mapping & GIS Specialist with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). Her expertise includes using Python scripting to automate map production, creating custom ArcMap tools, and generating Straight Line Diagrams.