While today you might have to study Twitter, Facebook or peoples IP addresses to determine where they live and travel, this visualization of westward expansion in the US between 1700 and 1900 looks at the most popular social network of the day: the post office. To create the graphic, map obsessed Derek Watkins took data from the USPS Postmaster Finder and found latitude/longitude coordinates extracted from place names checked with the USGS.
What are some standout events that this look at US expansion reveals? For one, we see that right after the Revolutionary War of 1776 there is a splash of activity. In 1849 we see a jump in California as the gold rush kicks off. During the Civil War in the 1860′s we see no additional growth in the southern Confederate states. During the 1870′s there are distinct traces along railroads in Nebraska and Kansas. For more on this interesting project, the thoughts behind it and how it was created it, see derekwatkins.wordpress.com. This video is highly detailed… for the best view click over to Vimeo and see it in HD.