Familiarity can be a good thing to leverage. In the information design vernacular, displays like pie charts will always have a place. In the same way, topography is a great common concept to play with… which is why I thought this crime topography of San Francisco was so ingenious.
In the same vein, I recently discovered a new tool that reveals this missing dimension from Google Maps. Given a start and end point, Geocontext Profiler will reveal the cross-sectional topography of your path. I used it to make this sectional view of Manhattan, but loved Stephen Coles’ even more poetic application. He used it to share the the hill he grew up on. So, lifting inspiration from Stephen, here’s the hill I used to slide down on bits of cardboard.