Thursday, December 12, 2019

How Big Are the Bushfires? Part Two

Last week the Guardian created a simple visualization showing the size of the Australian bushfires. The How big are the fires burning on the east coast of Australia? is a very simple map which consists of a square polygon overlaid on New York, Paris, London and a number of Australian cities. While the map is an effective visualization it is not exactly visually compelling.

This week Reuters has released a more interesting visualization of the current bushfires burning in Queensland and New South Wales. In How a Mega Fire Spread Towards Sydney Reuters has created an animated map which shows the spread of the New South Wales bushfires from October until December 8th. The area which has been consumed by the fire in that time is truly shocking.

Non-Australians, unfamiliar with the size of the country, may not truly appreciate the size of the New South Wales bushfires. Reuters has therefore created a very simple visualization of the Gospers Mountain and Carrai Creek fires, represented as scaled squares. These two squares are placed next to a third, much smaller, square representing the size of California's largest ever wildfire. A small outline map of Manhattan Island provides further context to the astonishing size of the Australian bushfires.

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