Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Saints & Sinners of America

Having explored the spatial distribution of towns and villages named for saints, in my Saints Of Europe interactive map, I was intrigued to see which towns in the USA have been given the names of saints.

Saints and Sinners shows the location of towns and villages in the USA which include the prefixes 'St', 'Saint', 'San' or 'Santa'. To add a little spice to the map I also added the location of all roads which include 'devil' in their name. There don't appear to be any towns or cities in the U.S. which have the word 'devil' in their name - but there are a few streets which have been inspired by the devil.

Towns starting with the words 'St' or 'Saint' are mostly found in the eastern states.

As you might expect there is a distinct difference in the spatial distribution of towns with the Spanish prefixes of 'San' and 'Santa' and those with the English prefixes 'St' and 'Saint'. Towns and cities which start with 'San' or 'Santa' can be found almost exclusively in California and in states bordering Mexico (particularly Texas and New Mexico). Towns and cities starting with the words 'St' or 'Saint' are mostly found in the eastern states.

All the data for the map comes from OpenStreetMap. To get the data I used Overpass Turbo. I queried Overpass Turbo to find towns and cities in the USA which included the words 'St', 'Saint', 'San' and 'Santa'. You can see how the Overpass Turbo query is formed in the example below:

area["name"="United States"]->.boundaryarea;
node(area.boundaryarea)[place=town] ["name"~"Santa "];
node(area.boundaryarea)[place=city] ["name"~"Santa "];
// print results
out body;
out skel qt;

To search for roads named devil you just need to change the word 'node' to 'way' in the query and delete the filter to search for towns and cities (e.g. delete '[place=town]').

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