Tasty Cartography

funny food photos - Food Map

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Google unleashed a beast when it gave the public access to the code for the Google Maps interface.
All of a sudden anything and everything could be turned into geography with a mash-up of data overlaying a map.

A Google Maps mash-up brought us a map of farm stands to shop for locally grown produce. A mash-up pinpoints every fast food hamburger from coast to coast, and another tells if a locality has more strip clubs, pizza parlors, or guns. There’s a map of happy hour specials for every day of the week, a  food truck location spotting map, and a map that can guide you through a multi-state burrito roadtrip, complete with reviews.

If it’s edible and mappable, it’s been mapped.
The challenge is to find the one you want, when you want it. To that end, we present a selective list of food maps—the useful, the enlightening, and sometimes the just plain curious.

Where to Eat:
13,642 McDonald’s; 6,171 Pizza Huts; too few In-N-Outs. It’s the ultimate fast food map. You can find the stuff everywhere, which of course makes us wonder how useful this could be.
There will be kung pao chicken when you get there: Chinese restaurants in all 50 states.
The foodie TripTik: plan your route and Wayfarer shows you the best places to stop along the way–with menus.

Locally Grown:
Whole Foods Market has put together Locally Grown, mapping local purveyors (bakeries, cheese makers, coffee roasters…)— and not just their own vendors.
Help yourself: Urban Food Maps shares the locations of fruit trees and edible plants that grow on or over public land. Coverage is spotty—they welcome your tips.
If it’s sustainably made, grown, or raised, Local Harvest can pinpoint its location anywhere in the U.S. The maps thoroughly blanket the nation with CSAs, farmers markets, and food coöps.
Wines and Times takes you on a national winery tour, and the United States of Beer has each state’s most representative brews–although not necessarily their best.

What We Learn:
You already know it if you live near a giant hen house. Let’s just hope you’re upwind and on a different water supply. For everyone else, Food and Water Watch brings us a map of factory farms—where they are and how they affect their communities.
The Daily Yonder uses government data to create a series of food-related maps that illustrate regional lifestyle differences.
The I Can Has Cheezburger folks took their eyes off lol cats long enough to bring us a map of unofficial state foods (interactive map appears above). Maine lobster, Hawaiian pineapple—those go down easy. Some foods are not so kind to their home states: green jello as Utah’s state food; fried things on sticks represent Minnesota; and Nevada has its buffets– not really a food, but we won’t quibble.

Stay Current:
Google Maps Mania scours the web for the latest additions to the mapping genre.
Eater produces a monthly Heat Map of where to eat right now.

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