Skip to main content

Elevation Ridgelines

A minimalist view of global elevation.

In 1979, on the cover art of Unknown Pleasures, the rock band Joy Division inadvertently popularized a data visualization chart type: the ridgeline plot. For the band, the layered lines peaking in stark black and white conveyed a sense of the power surging sound they embodied. Recently, in the data visualization world, there's been a resurgence in this chart's popularity. Applying the ridgeline style to land elevation data of U.S. states, continents, or even Middle Earth, creates intuitive, minimalist, topographical maps. I'd like to extend these ridgeline maps to display a few different styles. Enjoy the maps below!