Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mapping California's Drought

I've been searching the arid desert valleys of the internet for a while, looking for a decent mapped visualization of the California drought. Ironically, just as the drought-stricken areas of Southern California look like they might get some welcome rain, a very good map has appeared from the clouds.

Unsurprisingly this informative map of the California Drought Visualized with Open Data comes from the United States Geological Society. As you scroll down the page this USGS map explains the effect of the drought on the water table and explores issues around water use due to the current drought.

The map visualization starts with a clever animated bar chart, synchronized to the map, showing California's reservoir volumes since 2011. As you progress the map goes on to explore the effect of the drought on snowpack and the knock-on effect on river flows and reservoir volumes.

The map concludes with an examination of water usage in the state, exploring the percentage of the state's water used in irrigation and for domestic & industrial use.

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