Matthew Gray, a software engineer at Google, used data from the company’s Book Search project to map the world based on how often each point on the planet is mentioned in books.
Similarly, Aaron Koblin at UCLA designed a U.S. map based on FAA air-traffic data. His 3-minute Video Documentation (sound alert) is stunning.
Most art seems created top-down from a big-picture concept.
But these developed from the details up.