This map is getting a lot of buzz, and rightly so. Creator Stephen Von Worley was inspired by a trip down California's I-5, when he was startled (back into consciousness?) by the appearance of a strip mall out in the middle of nowhere. His goal - and I think he achieved it - was to answer the question, "Just how far can you get from a generic convenience?"
Using McDonalds as the handy stand-in for "generic convenience," he gets an answer: 145 miles. That's in the contiguous US, of course.
Cool on so many levels. First - pretty. I'm all about the visual representation of this data. It's fantastic. But I'm even more about the cultural statement that this makes. There's a lot of talk about the homogenization of America (which has both its good and bad points) - this is fantastic fodder. Food availability is an excellent way to talk about culture and behavior.
I wish there was a simple way to create a partner map - something that shows the concentration of family-owned, non-chain casual dining establishments in the U.S. That would be nearly impossible to create, and certainly impossible to keep current, but it would offer a great contrast to this map - it would really add to the discussion.
(via Strange Maps)