6 Cool, Chocolate-Scented, or Otherwise Interesting Maps of Chicago

Sure, maps can tell us how to get where we’re going and where we are now, and that’s great. But maps can also be much more than highways and intersections—they can surprise and intrigue, anger and educate. Maps can show not only the ins and outs of a place, but of their people as well. And if you think you completely know a city, you might be looking at the wrong map. Here are a few maps that might make you look at Chicago a little differently.

1. The Daily Chicago Chocolate Smell Map

Sometimes, the Windy City’s wind smells like chocolate. This is thanks to the Blommer Chocolate factory—which has been operating in downtown Chicago since 1939—blessing the air with a glorious smell that’s somewhere between hot cocoa and slightly burnt brownies. With the Daily Chicago Chocolate Smell map, you can get day-to-day updates on the spread of the aroma based on the surrounding weather patterns and Smell Reports from committed citizens. 

2. An Interactive Before-and-After

About 143 Octobers ago, the Great Chicago Fire ended its two-day siege on the city, leaving in its wake at least 300 dead, 100,000 homeless, and several million dollars worth of property destroyed. All in all, the fire leveled about 3.3 square miles of Chicago, leaving an unforgettable mark on the city both in the resilience of its citizens and the planning and reorganizing of the new metropolis that would spring from the ashes. To truly understand how the Great Fire—and subsequent rebuilding—shaped the Chicago we know today, one only has to look at this cool interactive map, courtesy of the Smithsonian. 

3. A Cautionary, Cartoonish Gangland Map

“A Map of Chicago's gangland from authentic sources: designed to inculcate the most important principles of piety and virtue in young persons, and graphically portray the evils and sin of large cities, 1931.” Though ostensibly a stern lesson to keep kids out of dangerous ‘hoods in mobster-era Chicago, this restored 1930’s map gives a hilariously detailed look at the gangland, including such tidbits as “Death Corner,” just off the North Branch of the Chicago river and situated, ominously, between Little Italy, Little Sicily, and famed Irish boss Dion O’Banion’s “district.” Other points of interest: On the South Side, a little cartoon citadel of the University of Chicago near the lake, where a top-hatted man exclaims “My my, this won’t do—the water’s wet!” just northeast of a “Filling Station (Not Gas).”

4. The Pothole Time-Lapse

Winters in the Windy City are harsh, and every year its streets take a beating, leaving Chicago with a rash of potholes that the city can barely keep up with. To illustrate the sheer scope of Chicago’s pothole problem, a user on the data-mapping site Cartodb created this time-lapse of all of Chicago’s reported potholes (the yellow dots) over the past year. It may seem mundane, but when you see the way the city essentially becomes one giant pothole in February, you’ll understand the true toll of a Chicago winter.

5. Cubsland and Soxland

Chicago’s baseball culture is a fascinating one, wherein the many legends, scandals, and marketing disasters between the city’s two professional teams might just outnumber winning seasons. But in order to delve into the vast mythology surrounding Chicago baseball, you must first get a grasp on the Midwest’s quintessential crosstown rivalry, that of the north side Cubs and south side White Sox. Though they compete in two different leagues, the fans are fierce and teams divisive. So if you’re worried you might be in enemy territory, this map will be useful. It roughly outlines the reign of each team’s fan base: White Sox supporters are typically born and bred within the city limits, heavily on the southern side, while Cubs fans generally reside in the northern suburbs and surrounding Illinois and Indiana. If you zoom out, you can also get a look at the fan territories for teams across the country. 

6. Neighborhood Name-calling

It’s often said that Chicago is a city of neighborhoods—over 200 of them, all with a unique flavor, feel, and personality. Often, these quirks turn into stereotypes which are then hurled between neighborhoods like bickering siblings. That’s exactly what’s illustrated in this playful map by Justin Kaufman for Time Out Chicago: Uptown says to college bar-heavy Lakeview “Go back to Purdue”; Albany Park calls the gentrified Lincoln Square “Sellouts,” while Lincoln Square shoots back, “You’re just jealous.” The suburbs, in keeping with the family dynamic, are completely ignored.

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Here Are the Colleges In Each State With the Best Job Placement Rates
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In a tough economic climate, kids trying to figure out where to go to college might be more concerned with their future job prospects than the on-campus party scene. This graphic from the career search site Zippia, spotted by Thrillist, provides a surprising look at the universities that boast the highest post-graduation job placement rates in each state.

Zippia looked at job placement ratings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), a collection of surveys from the National Center for Education Statistics that any college or university that gets federal funding has to complete. (That includes private universities.) The company ranked universities based on their job placement ratings for students 10 years after graduation.

Here's what the results look like across all 50 states:

A yellow map of the U.S. labeled with the college that boasts the highest job placement rate in each state
Zippia

Some of the institutions on the list may be colleges you’ve never heard of. While prestigious universities like Vanderbilt University in Tennessee might be familiar, other entries are more obscure. The highest job placement rate for a college in Massachusetts isn’t from Harvard—it’s Endicott College, a school near Salem with about 2500 undergraduates.

These are the 10 colleges with the highest job placement rates across all 50 states, according to Zippia’s analysis. Each school has a job placement rate of more than 95 percent 10 years after graduation.

1. Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania
2. Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island
3. Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio
4. Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon
5. Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York
6. University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, North Dakota
7. University of Wisconsin – Platteville in Platteville, Wisconsin
8. Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts
9. Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska
10. Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut

That said, it's not entirely clear what kind of employment is covered by this data. It's possible that some of the graduates included aren't working in their desired field 10 years on or are otherwise underemployed but still working full time. The jobs these graduates have may have nothing to do with their major or what they studied in school. And since Zippia looked at data from people who graduated 10 years ago, that means the company likely looked at 2008 graduates, who left college at the height of the recession and may not have had a lot of great job options, potentially skewing the data toward very specialized schools, like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (the top choice in both Arizona and Florida).

The full list is below.

A list of the top colleges for job placement in each state
Zippia

[h/t Thrillist]

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What America's Average Take-Home Pay Looks Like Compared to Other Countries
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When you look at how much money people make around the world, salaries can only show part of the picture. In practically every country, workers give up a chunk of their paycheck to the government. So after taxes, which citizens get to hold onto the biggest slice of their pie? These graphics from the company relocation program CapRelo lay it out, analyzing what people making the average wage in a number of countries can expect to pay in taxes each year.

A map of the percentage of the average wage in each country that goes toward taxes
CapRelo

The countries with the highest tax rates in the world can all be found in Europe. In Belgium, workers give up 45 percent of the average wage, while in Sweden, they pay 52 percent, and in Denmark, they pay 56 percent. But not every nation on the continent follows this trend. In Switzerland, employees making the average wage pay just 2 percent in taxes, one of the lowest rates in the world. The only citizens that pay less are in India and Saudi Arabia, where the tax rates are 0 percent.

Lower taxes don't necessarily equal bigger paychecks. Though Denmark pays the most taxes, the average take-home salary ($28,227) is still higher than it is in Saudi Arabia ($21,720) and India ($1,670). But workers in Switzerland enjoy the biggest wages after taxes by far, with an average take-home salary of $84,006. The runner-up is the U.S., with an average take-home salary of $52,344.

A graph showing average salaries versus take-home pay
CapRelo

Of course, these figures don't take the cost of living into account. Citizens paying less in taxes are often forced to spend that money on benefits they would receive from the government in other countries. In Switzerland, for example, you have to pay to drive on motorways, while in the U.S., most highways are maintained using government funds. Meanwhile, the U.S. is one of the few developed nations that doesn't offer universal healthcare. And while Swedes may pay a lot in taxes, thanks to generous government subsidies, they also pay some of the world's lowest rates for childcare. So make sure you consider all the factors before picking a new place to live based on tax rate.

[h/t CapRelo]

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