Go West, Young Mailman: Cartographic Video Correlates U.S. Expansion with Post Office Establishment

A few days ago, I stumbled on this excellent video, Visualizing US expansion through post offices via www.fastcodesign.com, which correlates data charting the expansion of the U.S. post office with overall expansion in the United States. The author, Derek Watkins, uses data from the U.S. Geologic Survey’s Board on Geographic Names and the Postal Services Postmaster Finder.



Co.Design editor Suzanne Labarre makes the cheeky observation that “post offices are probably the best signboards of civilization this side of cemeteries and whorehouses.”

Watch it a few times (it’s a little hypnotic) and you’ll be able make observations about your favorite part of the
U.S. I noticed how densely populated (using post offices as indicators) New York State was before most of the country was even on the map... a testament to its early settlement and its history as the original Western frontier.


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