Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Supermarket Voronoi Map

I've been seeing a lot of Voronoi diagram maps lately, most of them created with D3.js. For example, Jason Davies has been creating some very interesting Voronoi maps with D3.js, including this much shared World Airports Voronoi.

However I haven't seen many attempts yet to use a Voronoi diagram with one of the main interactive mapping platforms. Chris Zetter has published a very cool tutorial on how you can go about Building a Voronoi Map with D3 and Leaflet. The tutorial is accompanied by a demo map of UK supermarkets.

The Supermarket Voronoi Map is a map which divides the UK into a number of regions. Each region contains one supermarket, where all the locations within each region are closer to that supermarket than any other.

Using supermarkets for the demonstration map is a great idea, as it really helps to convey the usefulness of Voronoi maps. Shoppers can use the map to find their nearest supermarket. You can even select an individual chain of supermarket to find the nearest branch. For example you could use the map to find your nearest Waitrose.

You can see how a Voronoi map could also be very useful to the Supermarket chains themselves. The larger regions on the map could be used (probably alongside a population layer) to identify untapped markets and possible areas for siting new stores.

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