The fine folks from Information Architects have done it once again. I love maps, all sizes and shapes the odder the subject matter the more obtuse the cartographic experience the better. There are two maps that hang in my office at work one is the project a long dormant project, last updated in 2005, last map from 2003 which attempted to map the Internet in one day. The chaos that was produced is beautiful static.


The other is last years version of the Web Trends Map from iA. A graphic playground of data mined from the popular impressions and practical uses of online entities. All of this mapped onto the Tokyo Metro train map. in iA’s own words. Why? Because it works beautifully. This year’s version has a new bold graphic style and the same great information. Each year the techniques used to create the map seem to be honed a bit finer and the result that much more stunning.

Web Trend Map from

Web Trend Map from

If you head on over to the iA site then you can order a professionally printed version. There is an online glimpse into the logic behind the decisions, from the cultural impression each station leaves on the people of Tokyo going into the decision for where different companies ended up. The sensitivity and the attention to detail it takes to map 333 leading companies onto one piece of paper is mind boggling.

Each entity has three different pieces of information attached to it. Height, width and position. The Height of the station is directly relational to the success of the company it represents. and the width is a relational marker for the stability and footprint online.

The position is a finely tuned piece of mupperty. On the first level it shows which branch of services and entities the company belongs to on the second deeper level it plays with the real world significance of the train stations. The New York Times, often referred to as the Old Gray Lady, was mapped onto a station know for a preponderance of stores frequented by hordes of shopping grandmothers in Japan. So head on over and enjoy.