Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Best American Maps of the Week

Where Are the Jobs uses data from the 2010 census to map every job in the USA. Each dot on the map represents one job.

The dots are colored on the map by four different industries and sectors. The colors reveal some interesting patterns in the spatial distribution of jobs and types of jobs. Zoom in on a city on the map and you can not only see where jobs are concentrated but where the different sectors are located in the city.

The Where Are the Jobs map was inspired by Cooper Center's Racial Dot Map. The Racial Dot Map uses a similar methodology to map every person in the United States. This Cooper Center's map also uses data from the 2010 census and each dot on the map is color-coded by race and ethnicity.

In the United States most district schools on average receive half of their funding through local property taxes. A system of funding that seems almost designed to ensure that the children of the poor receive a worse education than the children of the rich.

Edbuild's Dividing Lines is a choropleth map of student poverty levels in United States school districts. What I really like about this map is that Edbuild has picked out some of the interesting patterns in the data. The map sidebar highlights a number of examples in cities across the United States where school district boundaries seem designed to enforce segregation between the rich and the poor.

The examples highlighted in the map are powerful evidence for Edbuild's central argument that tying "school finances to local property taxes incentivizes wealthy communities to wall themselves off, concentrating poverty in particular districts and creating school systems that have fewer resources to meet greater challenges".

The San Francisco Courier has also used a mapped visualization to try and inform its readers about a concerning social issue. Airbnb has started to attract investigations into the impact of the company's popularity on social housing. A couple of week's ago we reported on Airbnb vs Berlin, a data driven investigation into the popularity of Airbnb in Berlin. The San Francisco Courier has now published its own investigation into Airbnb's Impact in San Francisco.

The Chronicle's report includes a map measuring Airbnb activity in the city by neighborhood. The map includes three choropleth layers showing the number of Airbnb listings by neighborhood, the average price in each neighborhood and the number of reviews per neighborhood.

The Chronicle's investigation reveals that 4.8 percent of hosts in San Francisco have three or more properties. These power users may well be commercial landlords exploiting the service to make higher profits from short term rentals rather than from renting out their properties to long term tenants. The effect of this is to remove much needed housing stock from the market.

The Los Angeles Times has mapped over half a million pedestrian accidents in L.A. County in order to visualize the county's most dangerous intersections. Walking in LA uses data from the California Highway Patrol to provide a heatmap of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians.

The heatmap highlights more than 800 intersections which have a higher rate of pedestrian injury or death than the county averages. The 817 dangerous intersections are also available to be viewed in list form.

Map developers will be interested in this How We Did It article on how the map was created. The article explains how the data was collected, processed and mapped. The heatmap data was added to the map tiles using TileMill, which is an economic way to visualize a large amount of data on an interactive map.

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