Ridgeline charts or frequency trails use parallel lines that overlap on the fluctuations, which creates a 3-D effect at the peaks. Andrei Kashcha used this method to show elevation around the world in an interactive map.

Click-and-drag to any location, and you get something like the above. You can also change parameters like maximum peaks, line density, and color. Even get your results printed on a mug.

Kashcha posted his code on GitHub.

See also James Cheshire’s population lines from 2014.

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Nathan Yau
http://flowingdata.com

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