Wednesday, September 07, 2016

North Dakota's Oil Boom & Bust


Boom to Bust is a fascinating animated map visualization of the rise and fall of North Dakota's oil & gas industries. The map shows the amazing growth in North Dakota's oil & gas revenues beginning in 2006 and the subsequent fall in revenues since 2015.

The map animates through the years from 2006 to March 2016. The scaled circular markers on the map show the location of individual oil wells. As the animation plays out you can see the huge explosion in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota. This is especially clear in the early years in the timeline.

I think the size of the markers on the map indicate the monthly revenues from each well. I assume it doesn't show the production rates of each well. The map sidebar explains that production rates have continued to rise. The smaller circles at the end of the timeline are therefore presumably to do with the falling oil prices in recent years.

The data on the map was animated with CARTO's Torque.js library. Torque visualizations often get a lot of criticism for being nothing more than flashing dots on a map. In Boom or Bust, however, the animated data is used really well to tell the compelling story of North Dakota's oil economy over the last decade.
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