Tag Archives: maps

Understanding the Boston Subway System

Today’s post is the graduate work of Michael Barry and Brian Card of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The two looked at the available public data of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)—the T to those that know—to better understand the Boston area subway system. Here the subway system refers to the heavy rail lines, i.e. the Blue, Orange, and Red lines.

T stations

T stations

In short, the piece has a lot to look at that is worth looking at. This particular screenshot is an analysis of the stations across all times on average weekdays and weekends. You can see how in this particular selection, the size of the station markers pulse depending upon the time of day and the number of turnstile entries. Meanwhile the charts to the right show you the density through time of said entries and then compares the average number of turnstiles entries per day. Text beneath the system map to the left provides a short analysis of the data, highlighting work vs. home stations.

Credit for the piece goes to Michael Barry and Brian Card.

Blight, not Panic, in Detroit

A little old, but this graphic from the New York Times explores urban blight in Detroit. The interesting feature about the map is the blue, highlighted section. The designers used Google Streetview to show an actual blighted street.

Detroit blight

Detroit blight

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

Massimo Vignelli Dies

Massimo Vignelli died yesterday at the age of 83. Fastco has a much better article than I think I could read, this image is from their piece but is of Vignelli’s transit map for New York. I wrote about an interactive piece several years back that allowed you to compare Vignelli’s map to the new system map for the MTA.

Vignelli's subway map

Vignelli’s subway map

Credit for the piece goes to Massimo Vignelli.

The South China Sea

Over the last few weeks, tensions have been rising in the South China Sea. While most of the world has been focused on violence in Ukraine and Nigeria, fishing boats and other maritime vessels in the South China Sea have been clashing—thankfully without the use of guns or missiles. These clashes contribute to a growing fear that one day, one clash will spiral out of control and lead to something more than required paint jobs for fishing trawlers.

Thankfully, for those of you unfamiliar with who exactly owns what and what they think they own versus what they think others own—in short a mapped out version of the conflict—the New York Times has put together a nice map.

The South China Sea

The South China Sea

Credit for the piece goes to Derek Watkins.

How Africa Tweets

Today’s piece is hit and miss. It comes from the World Economic Forum and the subject matter is the use of Twitter across Africa. I think the subject matter is interesting; mobile communication technology is changing Africa drastically. The regional trends shown in the map at the core of the piece are also fascinating. Naturally I am left wondering about why certain countries. Does spending on infrastructure, GDP per capita, disposable income levels have any sort of correlation if even only on a national and not city level?

How Africa tweets

How Africa tweets

But what really irks me is the content that wraps around the map. First the donut chart, I think my objections to donuts—at least the non-edible kind—are well known. In this case, I would add—or sprinkle on—that the white gaps between the languages are unnecessary and potentially misleading.

Secondly, the cities are eventually displayed upside down. Thankfully the labels are reversed so that city names are legible. However, the continually changing angle of the chart makes it difficult to compare Douala to Luanda to Alexandria. A neatly organised matrix of small multiples would make the data far clearer to read.

In short, I feel this piece is a good step in the right direction. However, it could do with a few more drafts and revisions.

Credit for the piece goes to Allan Kamau.

Defining the Midwest

Last Friday, we looked at how one individual defined the state of Florida. Today, we look at how FiveThirtyEight attempted to get lots of people to define the Midwest.

Defining the midwest

Defining the midwest

Personally, as someone from Philadelphia I tend to side with the author of the article, Walter Hickey. He writes he’s “from New York, and [he] generally consider[s] anything west of Philadelphia the Midwest.” That’s pretty much the truth.

And if you like this piece, check out the subsequent piece on defining the South.

Credit for the piece goes to Allison McCann. 

Ukrainian Unity

In the votes held this past weekend, the separatists in Donestk and Luhansk claim they received a mandate for independent states. However, according to polls conducted by Pew a few weeks back, most of Ukraine, with the notable exception of Crimea, wants to remain united as a single country. In fairness, this poll was conducted after Russia annexed Crimea but before the deaths of pro-Russian separatists in Odessa and Mariupol. (Anecdotally, those events have driven some to the separatist camp.) The map below is part of the Pew report. However, I have an issue with it that, again in fairness, might not be solvable given whatever raw data with which Pew was working.

Who wants secession? Only Crimea.

Who wants secession? Only Crimea.

The map colours each oblast, roughly equivalent to a US state, according not to the results of the survey, but rather to which region the oblast belongs. For example, Kirovohrad is the same colour as Donetsk. Donetsk, however, is the epicentre of the unrest in Ukraine whereas I have at least seen no reports of unrest in Kirovohrad. Are they really reporting the same desire of unity or secession? Would the map not be clearer if each oblast was reported independently?

My guess is that results like these are clear to the Kremlin. And so I think while Donetsk and Luhansk will remain Ukrainian, Crimea will likely remain Russian.

Credit for the piece goes to the Pew Research Center’s graphics department.

Linguistic Empires

One of the main arguments used by Vladimir Putin to support any possible intervention in Ukraine is the suppression of the rights of Russian language speakers. The Economist wisely decided to wholeheartedly endorse the underlying principle of Putin’s logic and redrew the world map accordingly. You should read the article.

Linguistic empires of the world

Linguistic empires of the world

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