National Geographic Channel has ordered a new series produced and hosted by Kal Penn exploring the ways information, data and maps provide insight into the world around us. Mapology will launch in the spring. Here’s NatGeo’s announcement timed to today’s TCA session at the Beverly Hilton:

Image (2) Natgeochannel6__140501171557-575x204.png for post 738876With the explosion of infographics and big data, maps aren’t just about geography anymore. They can tell us all kinds of things about the human experience. National Geographic Channel’s (NGC’s) new series Mapology (W.T.) is all about finding the unexpected — and sometimes surprising — realities in both the world at large and our own backyard, revealed by crunching the numbers and finding new ways to visualize data. Produced by National Geographic Studios, Mapology is slated to air Spring 2015 on NGC, and will air internationally on National Geographic Channel in 170 countries and 45 languages.

Host and producer Kal Penn will take viewers on a journey to understand how things like money, sex, food, sports, crime, weather and even animal migrations influence our daily lives. Exploring and generating infographics from information banks and data analysis, Mapology will investigate different themes through the mapping of new data, the creative visualization of information and in-depth personal stories with fascinating characters.

“We continue to develop new series that demonstrate our commitment to producing cool smart programming that is fun, entertaining and accessible,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Channel. “With Mapology, we’re stripping down the layers of the world to discover hidden connections that will enhance our audience’s views of what’s really happening, not only the world at large, but in their small world. And we’re thrilled to have Kal, not only as a credited producer, but also the driving force in the storytelling.”

Infographics, big data visualizations and maps are not the only tools used to bring the world alive. Documentary vignettes will tell stories that make the connections personal, introducing the real people who live and work at key intersections of each theme being explored. And Penn will serve as our guide, making the information relatable to the everyday viewer.

“I’m excited to be the viewer’s gateway to cartography and statistics,” said Penn. “National Geographic has a legacy of transporting people to amazing places and with Mapology, we’re going to establish connections made through statistics and data, and reveal how the bigger picture affects the real world, throughout history, across societies and into our hearts and brains.”

“Freakonomics” meets “Vice” as National Geographic Channel explores the hidden ways in which information, data and maps help us understand our world or how little we know about it.