Tag Archives: Philadelphia

When it Rains…

Today’s interactive piece comes from Axis Philly and it looks at the total amount of rainfall in Philadelphia (1990–2013) to find both which months and what time of day receive the most rainfall.

When it rains…

When it rains…

As it turns out, evenings in the summer months receive the most rainfall. And since 1990, the most rain has fallen between 19.00 and 20.00 in July. A nice complementary piece would have been a small graphic showing total distribution of rain over the months, without segregating the data into hourly chunks. But again, that would have been a nice complement to the piece as it is far from necessary.

Credit for the piece goes to Jeff Frankl, Casey Thomas, and Julia Bergman.

Wawa vs. Sheetz…Wawa of Course…Was There Any Doubt?

Once when I worked at the Jersey shore as a kid a woman purchased her books and then asked me the location of the nearest ATM. I replied “Wawa”. She looked at me as if what I said was gobbledy-gook. She asked again. I replied “Wawa” again but with probably a look of confusion upon my face. It turned out she was from California and she thought I was mentally ill. I did not understand how anyone did not or could not know about the awesomeness of Wawa.

But for all of my upbringing in the Philadelphia suburbs/South Jersey loyalty to Wawa, I must confess to an unfortunate divide in Pennsylvania between we civilised folks near Philly and, well, the rest of the state. We in the Philadelphia metropolitan area are loyal to Wawa. The rest of the state swears allegiance to Sheetz. But how stark is this geographic loyalty? The New York Times mapped store locations with Wawa in blue and Sheetz in red to accompany an article about the “tribal loyalties” to the two chains.

The geographic footprint of Wawa (blue) vs. that of Sheetz (red)

The geographic footprint of Wawa (blue) vs. that of Sheetz (red)

For those more curious about this author’s loyalties, the author of the article, Trip Gabriel, included photos by Mark Makela of one of my local Wawas (the one near Malvern at 202 and 29 for my hometown readers) as the main image for the article along with photos of interiors in West Chester. And of course the Wawas where I grew up:

My Wawas

My Wawas

 

 

What Philadelphians Think About Philadelphia

Yo, Philly, apparently Pew did a survey on what Philadelphians think about Philadelphia. And what better way to talk about a survey than through an infographic. So thanks to the Inquirer, that is what we have.

Philadelphians on Philadelphia

Philadelphians on Philadelphia

The interesting bit is that while there is a black-and-white, presumably print version, the website broke the whole graphic into its components and made them larger for web viewing. But, if you look at this example from the segment on immigration and diversity, they ought to have left colour alone. The two segments Bad Thing and No Difference use the same colour when they clearly do not mean the same thing. The black-and-white version keeps those two as separate greys.

Survey results on immigrants and diversity

Survey results on immigrants and diversity

Credit for the piece goes to John Tierno.

Counting People

The Census Bureau has been releasing state population figures over the past several weeks and one means of accessing those figures is through a small, interactive map feature. Clicking through makes for some interesting observations—although not all states are currently available. In this screenshot, one can see an interesting story. Western Pennsylvania is shrinking whereas eastern Pennsylvania is growing. And, perhaps importantly, Philadelphia has perhaps reversed its long-term trend of population decline and saw a 0-5% increase in population while its further suburbs have seen increases in the 5–25% range.

census map feature

census map feature

If one is not viewing the piece in fullscreen mode, the navigation can be a bit small, especially for small counties. And the counties over which one rolls with the mouse cannot be selected, they are purely rollover functions that display census data from 1960 and the total population as of 2010. I would have liked the ability to select a particular county and then compare it to others by rolling over neighbouring counties. The colour choice, blues and a light, brownish-beige work rather well within the overall blue motif of the site. And by restricting the palette there, one gains the ability to use an altogether different colour, here green, to indicate which counties are rolled over along with differentiating the rollover box from the remainder of the map piece.

I wonder if more could not have done with the ethnic breakdowns on the right. Certainly the overall breakdown is effective, but it appears to lack a summary of sorts. What was the overall change for the state? And on a minor note, the person symbol is downright distracting.

To get to the first state, one clicks on said state from an overall map of the United States. States are blue if they have had their data released, grey otherwise. However, once looking at a state, there is no way back to the overall map as states are chosen from a small button in the upper-right. This works just fine, we are here to look at state data, not for a geography lesson. However, that they use the map at the beginning seems incongruent with the remainder of the experience. I wonder if they could not remove the map at the start, or keep the map but make it more useful. After all, it would be interesting to see the percentage change in the states displayed—the unpublished states could remain grey.

Further below the first map is a second map.

Census map 2

Census map 2

Here, one does have access to the state population change figures. Much of the critique above remains salient here, except the light brown for population loss in the first map is here replaced by a garish and obnoxious orange. An interesting addition is the range of historical data, from the 1910 census through the 2010 census and to see how those population changes affected the apportionment of seats in Congress. Another interesting story that one can glimpse is the ‘filling-in’ of the North American continent. Population density in 1910 was high only in the Northeast, but ever since, the people have spread, concentrating along the coasts and then moving inwards towards the vast centre of the continent.

Thomas the Tank Engine, Meet Señor Jose AVE

This comes from an older article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, but it is new to me. Anyway, it looks at a proposal for high-speed rail in the United States, specifically along the Northeast Corridor, the Washington to Boston route that includes Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, and New York. Anyway, go figure that we still have trains that run at a snail’s pace, even Acela has a low average-speed.

Comparing Routes and Modes of Travel

Comparing Routes and Modes of Travel

A proposal from a group out of Penn makes for an interesting debate, specifically in Philly a real high-speed route would require boring underneath most of Philadelphia to bypass 30th Street. Perhaps revitalising Market East—depending on how exactly the route would interact with the commuter tunnel currently in place.

The graphics are simple, basically an annotated map. But the variations in stroke weight and colour help bring contrast to the routes when looking at the entire proposal whereas the proposed route in Philadelphia has little overlap and could have made due with a single stroke. Another interesting piece is beneath in the comparison between travel times from Washington to Philadelphia, from Philly to New York, and New York to Boston. Without looking at cost—thought the article’s second page or graphics does that—we can clearly see that a dedicated high-speed rail system would make it even easier to travel between cities for short holidays or even day trips. Let alone business trips.

Show Me Some Love

(Based on a news story, this is sort of a non-designy post. More of a ranty post. So I beg your leave for a couple of words or two.)

I love Philadelphia. I wish I could say I was born and raised there, but I was born in the Lehigh Valley and raised in Chester County. But, I went there a lot. And then eventually went to university there. Like any city, it has its pros and cons. One of the cons, for me, was its creative economy. Or seeming lack thereof. (Hence the whole Chicago thing). With New York only a few miles up the road, most people head there. But there are still creative people living in Philly. And if they are anything like the whole youngish, 21st centuryish generation, they are probably blogging.

So seriously, Philly, what is with the blogging tax? Yeah, I know it is only on those blogs generating income (principally through ads). But I mean you already have the wage tax. How much more do you need to stifle innovation?