Friday, January 26, 2018

How Popular is Your Street Name?

Die Zeit has created an interesting interactive map which shows the popularity of German street names. If you enter your street name into the application you can view a map showing all the other streets in Germany which share your road's name.

Straßennamen: Wie oft gibt es Ihre Straße? reveals some interesting geographical patterns in the distribution of different street names. For example streets named after Ernst Thälmann, the leader of the Communist Party executed by the Nazis, are found almost exclusively in the former East Germany. The map includes a number of links to other street names which have a distinctive spatial distribution.

The map was made possible by creating a database of street names from OpenStreetMap. Using the database Die Zeit has discovered that the most popular street names in Germany are Hauptstraße, Schulstraße, Dorfstraße, Gartenstraße and Bahnhofstraße. They also discovered that the distribution of German street names reveals a lot about the country's history and culture. They explore this aspect of the map further in Straßenbilder: Mozart, Marx und ein Diktator.

If you live in Berlin then you can learn more about local street names with Straßenkrieg. Straßenkrieg is a fascinating map that reveals the history behind the many Berlin street names which have a military connection. The map highlights Berlin streets which have been named after battles, important military leaders or German army regiments.

All the military connected roads are highlighted on the map with colored lines. The colors indicate the historical period associated with the road's name, e.g. Prussian, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism or post-WWII. If you select a road on the map you can read a brief explanation of the military relevance of the road's name and click-through to read a more detailed account of the person or battle memorialized.

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