This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.



February 2005

Spider Map

Ever since we moved into the new house, as I drove home from various places (mostly work) I have been envisioning in my mind what I am calling a Spider Map. When Google Maps came out a few weeks ago, it gave me a quick easy way to do it. I did a few arms of the spider each day at lunch or at the end of the day. Today the map had 20 arms, so I decided it was time to publish at least a first draft. I may add new arms later.


Just the small inline version for now. Maybe someday I will post a larger scale version. Maybe when I have 50 arms. The full size version is 1800 pixels square or so. (This one is 400 pixels square.)

Anyway, for those who can’t tell, this is a map showing the routes to my house from various test points. I used my Random Spot Tool to pick random spots within a 15 mile radius of my house. (The blue border is at the 15 mile mark, the blue dot is my house.) I then asked Google Maps to give me the best route from that spot back to my house. With points in the water or points that were not “near” a road Google refused to give a route. I threw out those points. Can’t drive home from those places anyway. Then I marked those routes in red (and the test points in green). Slowly I added arms.

With 20 test points (arms) it looks pretty cool. It shows all the basic approaches and some of the structure of the area. I want to do some more arms, because I want to explore exactly where the dividing lines are between the three main branches approaching my house. Especially the two northern branches, because I often find myself between them, and knowing where the boundary is would actually have a useful purpose in my daily life.

Of course though, usefullness had nothing to do with why I did this. It has just been driving me crazy every day on the drives to and from home wondering exactly what this would look like. So I had to do it.

And it looks cool.

I’ve saved the big photoshop file with the 20 arms. Think over the next month I’ll make 25 and 50 arm versions. Maybe even a 75 or 100 arm version. At some point it will get too cluttered to look pretty, but the dividing lines will stand out more. It will be fun though!

I might do a spider map centered on work too. Or maybe one at a 100 mile scale instead of a 15 mile scale… or any number of variations.

This was fun. I must do more.

10 comments to Spider Map

  • Brandy

    How about woodworking?

  • matt

    is there a way to add places you fly to, and all the driving you do to and from the departing and destination airport?
    that would blow this thing wide open and make arms all over the place. yes, i do think that it’s cool the way it is, but you just goota ask yourself, “waht else can make it cooler since it has no real application?”

  • matt

    i just took a look at Google Maps. It’s awesome! Among other things, I really like the ability to ‘drag’ your way around the map.

  • Brandy

    You too, Matt!


  • matt

    funny you should mention wood….
    i spent last weekend in my garage building a storage loft…using wood.
    but no whittling…just power tools.

  • Brandy

    Oh, well then you are excused. I guess it’s just Sam who needs a useful hobby.

  • Abulsme

    How about the whittling kind of woodworking? I can start on that. We have all kinds of wooden things.

  • Abulsme

    I’m not sure if you added places you could fly the map would still make much sense. But maybe.

  • Brandy

    I suggest you steer clear of whittling. It requires you having access to sharp knives, and I for onee find that idea frightening.

  • Abulsme

    I need to do a new Spider Map.

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