Tag Archives: maps

The American Empire

The United States has a long history of deploying troops overseas. How long? And where to? Well, ABC (as in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) mapped out every US deployment dating back to 1798. I captured the year 2014, but if you are curious, you should check it out for yourself.

US Deployments Abroad

US Deployments Abroad

A neat little bonus, watch the growth of the borders of the United States from 1798.

Credit for the piece goes to Simon Elvery.

Mapping Equal Populations

After a week of some depressing material. Let’s lighten things up. Since, you know, it is a Friday.

Two weeks ago we looked at comparisons of actual geographic area. These are sometimes useful comparisons. But more often than not we are talking about the people that live in said areas. And speaking as someone who has lived in either suburbs of big cities or within big cities my entire life, comprehending the not-do-dense rural flyover states is a bit hard to do. Thankfully Ben Blatt over at Slate put together a nice interactive piece that allows you to get a better sense of just how empty the middle of the country really is. (Hint, it is empty.)

Here we take a look at comparing the East and West coasts to Chicago. Turns out you have to go pretty far from the shores of Lake Michigan to equal the population of the two coasts. That’s a lot of flyover.

Coasts vs. Chicago

Coasts vs. Chicago

Credit for the piece goes to Ben Blatt.

Drawing Down America’s Presence in Afghanistan

The United States and its allies are slowly beginning to pull out of Afghanistan. While several thousand troops will remain, the total will be nowhere near the peak figure a few years ago. This graphic from the Washington Post details just how this transition has been occurring.

The anti-surge

The anti-surge

Credit for the piece goes to Richard Johnson.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But with the reunification of Germany a year later, has the former East Germany been able to catch up to what was West Germany? The Economist looks at the results in this graphic and the answer is yes. And no.

East vs. West. 1989 vs. 2013.

East vs. West. 1989 vs. 2013.

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist’s graphics department.

The Libyan Revolution’s Results So Far…

The Libyan Revolution that removed Gaddafi from power was just over three years ago. Unfortunately, if we have not learned by now, the process of building Western-like liberal democracies is clearly a messy process. Because Libya is far from it as this graphic from the Economist shows.

So how's that revolution working out for you?

So how’s that revolution working out for you?

Credit for the piece goes to P.J.W. and L.P.

Chinese Nuclear Submarine Navy

This weekend the Wall Street Journal published an article that combined my interest in data visualisation with my interest in naval ships. The article looks at the growth of the Chinese nuclear submarine programme. And alongside the article are maps, charts, illustrations, and a narrated video that support the written word.

Choke points for the Chinese navy

Choke points for the Chinese navy

Credit for the piece goes to Alberto Cervantes and the Wall Street Journal’s graphics department.

The Swedish Submarine Hunt

Today you are going to get two posts. The first is this, which is a break from the week’s theme. But news stories happen. The second will be back to regular programming at the regular time. Basically, the Swedish government is reporting that a foreign submarine is operating within its waters and the available evidence points to Russia. I have seen some ridiculous claims that one of Russia’s largest submarines is in trouble there. But I highly doubt that. And here is why.

A look at Sweden's submarine hunt

A look at Sweden’s submarine hunt


I really enjoy reading articles where graphics accompany the text and not just for the want of graphics. While the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is tragic, the data allows for some nice visualisation pieces. Additionally, one could say that the United States is victim to quite a bit of scaremongering as a result of a few isolated cases of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. Spoiler, an Ebola outbreak is not really a threat to the United States or Western Europe. Perhaps to relieve some of said scaremongering, the New York Times has a nice article titled Ebola Facts that outlines just that, the facts about Ebola. And guess what? The article is accompany by a number of useful inline graphics.

Ebola outbreaks

Ebola outbreaks

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times’ graphics department.

Wakey, Wakey

It’s time to get up. Whether or not you hear the explicitly Monday morning or if’s meant by your alarm shouting at you, who really enjoys waking up Monday? A lot of the reluctance to wake up may have to do with when one goes to bed. One of my colleagues sent me a post over on Huffington Post that looks at Jawbone’s data visualisation of bedtimes across America.

Cities stay up late—not surprising. What I do find interesting is that in the rural and suburban, i.e. principally non-major city counties, there seem to be some interesting things going on. In particular, look at the shift in bedtime across the Eastern–Central and Central–Mountain time zones in particular. It’s a pretty clean break. And then within the Central timezone we have another shift. I wonder how much of this has to do with the needs of farming daylight hours. And that because the sun does not really set according to our clocks, the later sunset times in the western portions of timezones shift those bedtimes later. Like I said, interesting.

Then from the data side of things, I wonder if “thousands of users” across the 3000+ counties of the US are distributed sufficiently to achieve meaningful samples in many of those rural/suburban counties. And then what about those who have to work night shifts? How does that impact the data set?

Nighty, night

Nighty, night

Credit for the piece goes to Brian Wilt.

Comparing Geographic Area

Sometimes we need to compare the sizes of things. For Americans, this is obviously best done by comparing everything to America. Thankfully for geography, we now have Comparea to get a better sense of scale. Though, I am highly suspicious about this particular comparison. I think they have it backwards.

These numbers are clearly reversed

These numbers are clearly reversed

Credit for the piece goes to Comparea.