The 39-year-old Fischer, who lives in Oakland, developed his cartographic interest while at the University of Chicago, when he came across the windy city’s 1937 local transportation plan. (It was a “clearly insane plan” to replace the transit system with a massive freeway network, he recalls.) Until a few weeks ago Fischer worked as a programmer at Google, gathering the data that guides his projects in his spare time.
Over the years Fischer has rendered loads of raw numbers into informative and visually powerful maps on a diverse range of topics: from race tolanguageto the use of social media. The work is published in sets on Flickr (alongside an impressive collection of retro urban maps and street signs). His most popular set —“Locals and Tourists”— used geotagged photos from Flickr and Picasa to examine where visitors and natives take pictures in 124 cities.
“It’s a simple concept, but revealing about where the edges are where people turn back and stop exploring,” says Fischer.