Lansing’s IDV Maps Seattle Commuting Patterns

LANSING — The ways that Seattle commuters get to work and the length of those commutes are visualized in a new set of revealing maps created by John Nelson of data visualization company IDV Solutions.

Nelson’s infographics — posted today to his blog — show each of the city’s thousands of individual commuters as a color-coded dot, revealing patters in commute duration, public transit use, walking, biking, and, carpooling.

“Seattle has a pretty diverse set of transportation options,” Nelson said. “And I suspected the climate and culture would encourage bicycling and ride sharing. But this kind of visualization could be done in any urban area, to give you a quick read on the local commuting environment.  It could provoke discussions about encouraging carpooling, for example, or making commuting walkable or cycling-friendly.”

Nelson is the user experience manager for IDV Solutions, maker of the data visualization software Visual Fusion and Visual Command Center. He previously gained attention for his maps of hurricane and earthquake locations, tornado tracks, and the rates of alcohol-related car crashes across the U.S.

Nelson created the commuting maps using data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, which randomly selects about 3.5 million addresses each year to participate in the American Community Survey.  Information from the survey helps determine how federal and state funds are distributed. The survey data was extracted from census records by an IDV Solutions’ partner company, Applied Geographic Solutions, Inc., a leading supplier of demographic and marketing databases; other data came from public sources.

IDV Solutions is a data visualization software company that helps organizations discover opportunity, identify risk, and take action. By repeatedly solving key problems for customers in the Global 2000 and government, IDV and its products have earned a reputation for innovation, speed, and the highest quality user experience. For more information, visit


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