Mapping the drug wars in Mexico

Posted to Maps  |  Tags: , , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Diego Valle-Jones maps homicides and trafficking routes in Mexico.

To unclutter the map and following the lead of the paper Trafficking Networks and the Mexican Drug War by Melissa Dell, I decided to only show the optimal highways (according to my own data and Google Directions) to reach the US border ports from the municipalities with the highest drug plant eradication between 1994 and 2003 and the highest 2d density estimate of drug labs based on newspaper reports of seizures. The map is a work in progress and is still missing the cocaine routes, but hopefully I'll be able to add them shortly.

There's lots to look at and interact with here. To start, there are bubbles that cluster homicides by region and major highway routes in black.

Click on any bubble and you get a time series for the corresponding area, going back to 2004. Or if you like, draw your own polygon to see the time series for specific regions. Pointers on the time series highlight significant events. There's also a slider that lets you see numbers on the map for different years. A layer underneath the bubbles lets you see high density areas for marijuana, opium, and drug labs.

Take a look at the full map for yourself. This is nice work by Valle-Jones.

[Diego Valle-Jones | Thanks, Diego]


  • What program was used to make this map? I need to make a spoke and hub style map (origin – destination) asap, and I don’t know what program is the best.


Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.

How We Spend Our Money, a Breakdown

We know spending changes when you have more money. Here’s by how much.

Top Brewery Road Trip, Routed Algorithmically

There are a lot of great craft breweries in the United States, but there is only so much time. This is the computed best way to get to the top rated breweries and how to maximize the beer tasting experience. Every journey begins with a single sip.