A Foot by Any Other Name

Measurement systems are important. They allow us to compare objects, buy and sell goods, and get from Chicago to Philadelphia. The latter, according to Google, is 759.6 miles. Or 4,010,688 feet.

But what feet?

In this piece from the New York Times we get a look at the two different foot measurements used in the United States. The article provides insight into the history of why we have a standard system of measurement.

Accompanying the wonderful article is an illustration showing how those two feet differ. It’s a simple, scaled illustration. But it does the job.

Of course we would all be better off if the United States joined the rest of the world in using the metric system. Like that time we lost a space probe because we failed to convert from English imperial to metric.

Credit for the piece goes to Eleanor Lutz.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

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