• Who drinks the most around the world?

    February 23, 2011  |  Mapping

    Alcohol consumption

    What and how much people drink depends a lot on what country you're in or what culture you're exposed to. Personally I grew up in a low-alcohol family. It's not that we thought it was bad, but just because, well, it didn't really occur to us to do that. The Economist shows these differences via this world map on average alcohol consumption, according to a recently released report by the World Health Organisation.

    The world drank an average of 6.1 liters per person in 2005, but it was significantly more in Europe and the Soviet states. Hey, you gotta stay warm somehow, right?

    Have a look at this map for legal drinking age. Is there any relationship? Doesn't seem to be a very strong case.

    [Economist | Thanks, Elise]

  • Components of the global water cycle

    February 21, 2011  |  Mapping

    NASA briefly explains the water cycle:

    Water regulates climate, predominately storing heat during the day and releasing it at night. Water in the ocean and atmosphere carry heat from the tropics to the poles. The process by which water moves around the earth, from the ocean, to the atmosphere, to the land and back to the ocean is called the water cycle.

    The three animations above show hourly evaporation, water vapor, and precipitation, based on "data from the GEOS-5 atmospheric model on the cubed-sphere, run at 14-km global resolution for 25-days." I'm not even going to pretend like I know what I'm talking about, but it is fun to watch the simulated global water movements. Remember, these are based on actual data. They are not closeups of lava lamps.

    [Video Link via Data Pointed]

  • England crime map comparisons

    February 17, 2011  |  Mapping

    Crime maps

    After a sluggish launch by police.uk to unleash local crime data, the Guardian and Doug McCune teamed up to provide a tool that lets you compare crime rates in different England cities:

    The government's recent launch of police.uk saw a phenomenal public reaction. Within hours of going live, millions of users had attempted to gain access to maps permitting street-level scrutiny of crime incidents across the UK. Dogged by "technical problems", the site was reported by many to have failed in the face of public interest. Although the servers now seem much more capable of dealing with ongoing demand, we couldn't help but wonder if we could offer people some alternative ways to compare and contrast crime levels around the country.

    Turnaround time: four days, completely with SpatialKey.

    [Guardian | Thanks, Doug and Simon]

  • National Broadband Map shows how connected your community is

    February 17, 2011  |  Mapping

    Consumer broadband and population

    To encourage the integration of broadband and information technology into local economies, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (with some help from Stamen) now provides an exploratory tool for broadband in your community:

    The National Broadband Map (NBM) is a searchable and interactive website that allows users to view broadband availability across every neighborhood in the United States. The NBM was created by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and in partnership with 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. The NBM is a project of NTIA's State Broadband Initiative. The NBM will be updated approximately every six months and was first published on February 17, 2011.

    There's a lot of data to look at, but you can search for the city or zipcode that you're interested in, and get information on what's available, as shown below. You can also see how your city compares to other locations in the country.
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  • City traffic visualized as blood vessels

    February 14, 2011  |  Mapping

    Traffic hotspots

    Pedro Cruz puts a twist on the traditional map approach to visualize traffic in Lisbon as blood vessels:

    In this work the traffic of Lisbon is portrayed exploring metaphors of living organisms with circulatory problems. Rather than being an aesthetic essay or a set of decorative artifacts, my approach focuses on synthesizing and conveying meaning through data portrayal.

    Vessels swell and wiggle as traffic picks up during the rush hour and then relax and shrink as traffic goes down. More useful than an actual map? Probably not. Fun and engaging? Yes. Catch the short animation below.
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  • Adults with college degrees, over time

    January 31, 2011  |  Mapping

    Adults With College Degrees in the United States, by County

    The Chronicle of Higher Education lets you explore the percentage of adults with college degrees from 1940 up to present, by county. Press play and watch the national average go up from 4.6 percent to 27.5, or select a county for breakdowns and a time series.
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  • What your state is the worst at – United States of shame

    January 30, 2011  |  Mapping


    In a survey of rankings from a variety of sources, Pleated Jeans maps the United States of Shame. Because all states must be bad at something. Go, California. If we're the worst at air pollution, does that mean we actually have really clean air? Must be.
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  • Map: United States of surnames

    January 27, 2011  |  Mapping

    Surnames map

    Mina Liu and Oliver Uberti for National Geographic examine the most common surnames across the country:

    What's in a Surname? A new view of the United States based on the distribution of common last names shows centuries of history and echoes some of America's great immigration sagas. To compile this data, geographers at University College London used phone directories to find the predominant surnames in each state. Software then identified the probable provenances of the 181 names that emerged.

    The most common surnames are then placed geographically and colored by origin. Browse the full-sized map here. Is your name in there?

    [National Geographic via Map of the Week]

  • Map of scientific collaboration between researchers

    January 27, 2011  |  Mapping

    Science research collaboration

    In the spirit of the well-circulated Facebook friendship map by Paul Butler, research analyst Olivier Beauchesne at Science-Metrix examines scientific collaboration around the world from 2005 to 2009:

    I was very impressed by the friendship map made by Facebook intern, Paul Buffer [sp] and I realized that I had access to a similar dataset. Instead of a database of friendship data, I had access to a database of scientific collaboration.

    From an extensive database of academic citations:

    I extracted and aggregated scientific collaboration between cities all over the world. For example, if a UCLA researcher published a paper with a colleague at the University of Tokyo, this would create an instance of collaboration between Los Angeles and Tokyo.

    After that, Beauchesne used a similar mapping scheme that Butler used, and behold the results above. The brighter the lines, the more collaborations between a pair of universities.
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  • Where people swear in the United States

    January 25, 2011  |  Mapping

    Twitter and swearing

    Cartographer Daniel Huffman has a look at swearing in the United States, according to geocoded tweets:

    Isolines are based upon an interpolated surface generated from approximately 1.5 million geocoded public posts on Twitter between March 9th and April 12th, 2010. These data represent only a sample of all posts made during that period. Isolines are based upon the average number of profanities found in the 500 nearest data points, in order to compensate for low population areas.

    The brighter the red, the more profanities used in the area, and the more black, the less swearing. Words looked for were (pardon my language): fuck, shit, bitch, hell, damn, and ass, and variants such as damnit. Honestly, I never swear like this. Unless some idiot pickup truck tailgates me going 80 on the highway in the middle of the night. That doesn't count though.
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  • Open thread: Is this map too confusing?

    January 18, 2011  |  Discussion, Mapping

    Reading, writing, and money

    This map, a collaboration between Good and Gregory Hubacek, shows three metrics from the most recent American Community Survey by the US Census: high school graduates, college graduates, and median household income. The goal was to see if there's a correlation between education and income. Does it work?
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  • Haiti’s earthquake in context

    January 12, 2011  |  Mapping

    Earthquakes in 2010

    Haiti's earthquake in 2010 was by far the most devastating in a long time. There were an estimated 222,570 casualties as a result. However, as Peter Aldhous shows in this graphic, the Haiti quake was not the most powerful.
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  • Aerial photos of destruction in Haiti, one year later

    January 12, 2011  |  Mapping

    Haiti then and now in maps

    In memory of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti one year ago on January 12, 2010, the New York Times shows aerial photos of Port-au-Prince from GeoEye and Google in this interactive. See views form before the earthquake, a few days after, and now.
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  • Mapping and documenting a year of travels

    January 12, 2011  |  Mapping, Self-surveillance

    Year of travels

    Cartographer Andy Woodruff documents all the places he goes, resulting in the pretty map above.
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  • Football supporter map of London

    January 11, 2011  |  Mapping

    London football supporter map

    Map of London colored by what team the majority supports. Not much of a soccer... ahem, sorry, football fan. Accurate? [QPRdotorg via We Love Datavis]

  • Our changing world in cartograms

    January 10, 2011  |  Mapping

    Cartogram of richest countries

    In this series of interactive cartograms, FedEx shows our changing world (and I guess, how they are changing with it) through a variety of worldwide demographics such as access to mobile Web, growth, and happiness. Above is the cartogram for richest countries i.e. GDP. Choose a topic, press play, and the cartogram changes accordingly to match the current metric.
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  • Map of North American English dialects and subdialects

    January 5, 2011  |  Mapping

    American English Dialects

    Rick Aschmann has made a hobby out of studying and mapping North American English dialects:

    This is just a little hobby of mine, that I thought might be interesting to a lot of people. Some people collect stamps. Others collect coins. I collect dialects.

    Aschmann goes on to explain the map:

    There are 8 major English dialect areas in North America, listed below the map at left. These are shown in blue, each with its number, on the map and in the Dialect Description Chart below, and are also outlined with blue lines on the map. The first 6 of these begin at the eastern seaboard and proceed west, reflecting western settlement patterns.

    There are even several hundred YouTube links clickable through the map that serve as subdialect samples. What dialect do you speak?


  • Old map shows slavery in the United States

    December 29, 2010  |  Mapping

    Chropleth map of Slavery in the US

    In 1864, drawing on the most recent 1860 Census data, the United States Coast Survey issued this choropleth map depicting counties with relatively high slave populations. President Lincoln was seen looking over the map so often that it was included in Francis Bicknell Carpenter's painting "President Lincoln Reading the Emancipation Proclamation to His Cabinet."

    Carpenter spent the first six months of 1864 in the White House preparing the portrait, and on more than one occasion found Lincoln poring over the map. Though the president had abundant maps at his disposal, only this one allowed him to focus on the Confederacy’s greatest asset: its labor system. After January 1, 1863—when the Emancipation Proclamation became law—the president could use the map to follow Union troops as they liberated slaves and destabilized the rebellion.

    How's that for a powerful map?

    [New York Times | Thanks, Justin]

  • MacGyver guide on how to use a map

    December 20, 2010  |  Mapping

    Macgyver map

    You might think that the only use for a map is to find directions to where you want to go. Or since you're a FlowingData reader, you know they can be used for a bit more — like displaying large amounts of data. But if you think all they're used for, then you've got some learning to do my friend. Learn the steps from the all-knowing MacGyver in the video below.

    The best company you could have in a strange place is a map.

    Words to live by. A map just might save your life several times as you run away from people shooting at you.
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  • Mapping demographics of every block and city in America

    December 16, 2010  |  Mapping

    Mapping America

    Government data technology has felt behind the times the past few years with outdated Java applets and such, which makes it tedious to look at all the data that is offerred. For example, if anyone understands the makeup of the United States, it's gotta be the people at the Census Bureau, but the tools for public access are rough around the edges.

    Luckily, we have the New York Times to move things along. Matthew Bloch, Shan Carter and Alan McLean apply their cartography skills to US Census data and let you explore a variety of demographics. It's like a demographic buffet. There are multiple maps across four topics: race and ethnicity, income, education, and housing and families.
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