Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The UK Broadband Speed Map Explained


The Financial Times has one of the best data visualization teams of any newspaper. Back in July that team created and released a great interactive map visualizing the average broadband speed in every postcode area in Great Britain. If you enter a postcode into the FT's Broadband Speed Map you can view the average broadband speed in your area and see how it compares to the national averages.

The team has now published an article on Source explaining how the map was made. In How We Mapped 1.3m Data Points Using Mapbox you can learn how the team used Mapbox GL, QGIS, React and Uber's React wrapper for Mapbox GL to make their impressive data visualization. The article includes a list of some of the major lessons the team learnt in making the map.

The article also explains how what started as a small downtime project quickly gained major project status at the newspaper and even began to direct on-the-ground reporting decisions. I guess there's another lesson to be learned here, that good data visualizations can reveal unexpected stories and turn small stories into major news.

If you want to learn more lessons learnt by data journalists about making maps then you should also check out Source's Better Mapping Guide. The guide is an ever growing list of articles published on Source which provide project walkthroughs and learning pieces focused on making maps.
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