The social history of Rio de Janeiro's artisans is approached using an interdisciplinary methodology based on spatial data (GIS) and concepts of layers, flows, and intersections. Datasets regarding occupation, real property ownership, and slaveholding are intersected and social change experienced by artisans resident in the diverse neighborhoods of the city is analyzed. The story of one tinker in particular is pursued to illustrate the major changes affecting artisans in Rio during the second half of the nineteenth century as well as to illuminate the complex social and economic experiences of common people such as artisans in a new way based on spatial patterns and social networks. The experience of artisans in general was of gradual dispersion into more diverse and poorer neighborhoods as the city center became increasingly dominated by business and retail. This dispersion resulted in a different set of neighbors and changing social and economic environments for most artisans as they lost their hold on traditional zones in the city center.