Rising Seas

Via the Guardian, Stamen Design has teamed up with Climate Central to create an interactive piece that maps the potential effects of rising sea levels. The user has control over the amount of the rise—this graphic says four feet—after which the coastline recedes to reveal the devastation. This is complemented by statistics of the land, including the population potentially affected along with the number of homes and total acres. In this case you see South Jersey, which is where I spent my summers. As you can see, the coastal beach towns I called home would be underwater. (And the little blue specks inland in Pennsylvania near my hometown, those are quarries; nobody lives there. No need to worry.)

Changing coastline
Changing coastline

The problem, of course, is that a large percent of the Earth’s population lives near the ocean. There are not, after all, many people living in the interiors of the continents. So receding coasts may very well be a problem in the coming years.

Cholera

Cholera. It’s more than just a disease on the Oregon Trail. It exists in the 21st century, though typically we do not experience it in the industrialised Western world. Where one does see it crop up are in places with poor sanitation, which is usually in the developing world. But, if one were to take a developing country and then in a few seconds wreck the national infrastructure in a devastating earthquake, one could see the creation of the right conditions for an outbreak.

Sadly, that is exactly what happened—and to a lesser degree is still happening—in Haiti. The New York Times wrote about the problem in an article in the Sunday edition. The article was accompanied by an infographic that mapped the spread of the outbreak geographically and then its intensity over time.

Cholera outbreak
Cholera outbreak

Credit for the piece goes to Joe Burgess and Lisa Waananen.

The First Rule Is You Don’t Talk About It

There are two things one is not supposed to discuss in mixed company, and let us face it, the internet is some rather mixed company. One of those things, politics, I frequently mention and bring up on this blog. The other, religion, I do not.

Until now. (I think.)

From the National Post comes this work on the size and distribution of the world’s religions.

World religions
World religions

Credit for the work goes to Richard Johnson.

21st Century Prohibition

This map comes from the BBC, which investigates prohibition in the 21st century at the local level, as the national policy ended in the early decades of the 20th century.

Dry vs Wet Counties
Dry vs Wet Counties

Credit for the map goes to John Walton, Harjit Kaura, and Nadzeya Batson.

Heritage Maps

From FlowingData comes a post to an interactive piece by Bloomberg that looks at the geographic distribution of different heritage—read heritage, neither race nor ethnicity—groups. (Its choice of groups, however, is slightly contentious as it omits several important ones, including African-Americans.)

I would say that a typical map like this would simply plot the percent of each county, state, or other sub-division for the selected heritage group. Much like below, as I chose the Irish.

Irish heritage
Irish heritage

Bloomberg’s piece is a bit more interesting than that because of the ability to compare two groups, to see where they overlap and where they diverge. In doing so, they created a divergent choropleth that can show the subtleties and nuances of settlement patterns.

Irish vs German
Irish vs German

Credit for the piece goes to David Yanofsky.

Bringing 19th Century Mapping Techniques to the 21st Century

Charles Booth was a 19th century social scientist living in Britain. He famously investigated poverty and mapped out which parts of London were teeming with vicious, lower-class criminals or well-to-do upper class folks. Today, one might use a simple choropleth style to paint whole swathes of London by postal districts or constituencies or some such. But, Booth went street-by-street and house-by-house colouring blocks of London’s residential areas until he arrived at a map far more complex—and thus ultimately more telling—of the intricacies of London’s social structure.

from Booth's original map
from Booth's original map

Oliver O’Brien has created a modern take on Booth’s approach to investigate the housing demographics of the UK, which ignores the large areas of the British countryside that are devoid of homes and thus focuses on the denser residential areas of the UK’s major cities.

Eastern London
Eastern London
Barking and Dagenham
Barking and Dagenham

Censuses seem to be a natural dataset for such work, but I wonder if in the future we will be able to apply such data visualisations to other geographically-tied data.

Busting Bunkers

There is quite a lot of talk these days about the possibility of Israel, either with or without American assistance, launching an attack on Iran to halt the further development of its nuclear programme. The trouble is that Israel may not have the weapons necessary to carry out a successful attack, but the US has quite the arsenal. And one of the most useful, for just such a task is the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The National Post created an infographic to look at the bomb and just how it might be used if the US should decide to use it.

Bomb options
Bomb options

Credit for the piece goes to Mike Faille and Richard Johnson.

Delivery Routes

Sunday in the New York Times, an article on bicycle delivery had an accompanying infographic. It detailed the dinner route of the article’s main individual. The piece is an interesting use of small multiples to provide a timeline of a route, while each new delivery maintains the old paths for reference. And from a data perspective, I found it good to acknowledge the one instant where the follower lost contact with the delivery man.

Delivery routes
Delivery routes

Fatal Passenger Train Derailment

Sunday afternoon in Burlington, Canada, a VIA passenger train—think Canada’s version of Amtrak—derailed shortly after switching tracks. The two engineers in the locomotive and their trainee died in the accident, which is still under investigation.

The National Post covered the story and included a few graphics to explain just what happened. Maps pointed out exactly where the train derailed. The graphic below details how a switch works for those unfamiliar with rail transport.

How rail switches work
How rail switches work

And lastly, a larger graphic attempts to explain what may have happened in lieu of the final accident report from the Canadian Transportation Safety Board.

How the derailment occured
How the derailment occured

Credit for the switches graphic goes to Andrew Barr and for the accident diagram credits go to Richard Johnson.