So many cities…

So many cities…

The final infographic can be seen here.

If you’ve ever lived in New England you know that while the region is quite creative with the pronunciation of city names, it’s conspicuously uncreative when it comes to selecting names in the first place. Cities named Manchester, Concord, and Salem (among others) run rampant in the region. That got me thinking, “Is this purely a New England thing?” I smell a side project.

Having recently discovered the power of D3.js and how easy it is to create an interactive map, I wanted to see what else I could throw together.

Up first was the map – basically the same as the Target map. Next I downloaded city data from GeoNames, removed a pesky entry for Wake Island that is not in the U.S., and processed the text file for later use. To make the map interactive, I added a search bar and used a little jquery to take the search input and plot matching cities.

Typing in a word searches for that word anywhere in the city name. Put it in quotes and it will search for an exact match. If you search for a single letter, it finds cities that start with that letter.

Next I processed the data to find some basic stats, like the top 10 city names and the number of cities starting with each letter of the alphabet. Finally, a bubble chart showing common words in city names and some handy tooltips to finish it off.
City Names

It’s worth noting that there are some cities missing. A search for “shaker” (without the quotes) brings up no results, but I’m sure the city of Shaker Heights, Ohio would beg to differ.