Hamilton County Street Addresses

January 14th, 2013

I’ve been putting off doing any serious writing for a few days now, but the upside to my lethargy is that everyone gets treated to llamas and silly colorful maps. Here’s the latest:

hamilton county street address map

This is your county on drugs.

Yep, this is a map of average street addresses. It could be handy if you’re a postal worker trying to do your route quickly(and probabilistically) by dropping packages from space. “800 Main Street? Aim for the middle!

It’s interesting that there are such strong spatial patterns to things like this. The first settlers surely weren’t about to set up shop on the 10,000 block of Vine Street. Rather, they started in the hundreds and worked their way out. But the pattern doesn’t just radiate out from Downtown; there are other clusters of low addresses, so there’s definitely something else going on here. I’m inclined to guess we might be able to use street addresses as a proxy for settlement age, but I bet it may also correspond with a municipality’s general disagreeableness on the day they decided address schemes. Or perhaps it’s simply related to the average length of streets. If anyone can actually explain what’s going on here, I’d love to know hear your analysis!

6 responses to “Hamilton County Street Addresses”

  1. Mark Stegman says:

    Ahh, Like a riddle this map was. Very nice. Thanks for adding to the results your historical conjecture; I hope someone can elaborate on the formation pattern indifference. Very cool.

  2. You can see the boundaries of Loveland (with really low numbers) and Symmes and Sycamore Townships (really high numbers) in the northeast corner. All three communities have lots of cul-de-sacs, which you’d expect to yield lower numbers, but apparently a lot of these dead end streets have four-digit addresses.

    You can also see county routes branching out from Cincinnati, giving new meaning to the term “arterial road”.

  3. Kenneth Schoon says:

    Ooh! Let me explain! This is some really fun stuff.

    Typically, street numbers are based on two axes, N/S and E/W, with their origin at the center of the city. In Cincinnati, Vine Street and an imaginary axis at the river make up the origin. This makes navigating the city an exercise in Cartesian geometry.

    As E/W streets cross Vine Street, they take on an E/W designation, and their numbers go up about 100 for every block you move away from Vine Street. For example, 500 E 13th St would be 5 (major) blocks east of Vine Street at 13th and Pendleton (Walnut, Main, Sycamore, Broadway, then Pendleton). 100 W 13th St would be 1 block west of Vine Street at Race St. The axis continues to follow Vine Street’s curves through Corryville and around the Zoo. Addresses on N/S streets, then, tell you about how many blocks you are north of the river. For example, 1300 Vine Street is about 13th and Vine Street. 800 Main St would be at 8th St and Main.

    This is getting really long… to be continued.

  4. Kenneth Schoon says:

    Most of the suburbs use Cincinnati’s coordinate system, but others use their own, especially those that began with their own downtowns. From this map it looks like Wyoming, Reading, Milford, Loveland, Cleves, and a few others in red.

    I think your map must take an average. E/W addresses near the zoo, for example, would be very low, since they’re really close to Vine Street, but N/S addresses would be much higher. The highest average addresses are in the townships at the NE and NW corners of the county, since they are neither close to the Vine St axis nor the river. The varying colors in between probably have to do with whether the neighborhoods have E/W or N/S street grids, resulting in different averages even in similar parts of the county.

    • Nate Wessel says:

      Ken: You completely win. I never seem to remember what a storehouse of wisdom you are!

    • Nate Wessel says:

      And yes, btw, The map is an interpolation of all address values as points. For the size of the pixels in this, that would mean that most of them would only come through as averages since it’s likely that any given pixel would have a few addresses under it. Pixels that don’t have a value under them would derive their value from their surroundings.