Posts Tagged ‘us’

Historical Metropolitan Populations of the United States (Peakbagger)

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

[Editor's note: Chart shows US populations since 1790. I especially enjoy the appendix table: Peak Years for Cities that have Declined in Rank.]

Republished from Peakbagger.com

The graph and tables on this page attempt to show how the urban hierarchy of the United States has developed over time. The statistic used here is the population of the metropolitan area (contiguous urbanized area surrounding a central city), not the population of an individual city. Metropolitan area population is much more useful than city population as an indicator of the size and importance of a city, since the official boundaries of a city are usually arbitrary and often do not include vast suburban areas. For example, in 2000 San Antonio was the 10th largest city in the U.S., larger than Boston or San Francisco, but its Metro Area was only ranked about 30th. The same thing was happening even back in 1790: New York was the biggest single city, but Philadelphia plus its suburbs of Northern Liberties and Southwark made it the biggest metro area.

Continue reading at Peakbagger . . .

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Review of Essential Geography of the United States of America wall map

Friday, August 27th, 2010

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Will print maps survive Google Maps and the iPad? If Dave Imus’s new Essential Geography of the U.S. is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes!

Wall maps are large, physical artifacts that evoke our love of place. Indeed, they are the trophy mounts of the mapping world. They offer fond remembrance of the thrill of adventure, help dream up new trips, and effect a sirens call over friends and family with their proud display of  geography. Custom cartography reminds us place is not the sum of a street network but a overlay of cultural story and physiographic pattern. As OpenStreetMap, NavTeq, TeleAtlas, and the like duke it out in the PND and 1:10,000 scale road-map-as-a-service space, this map shows our discipline at it’s best.

Now for the specs. This beautiful wall map is drawn at 1:4 million scale (36″ tall by 48″ wide, ~65 miles to the inch). That’s twice the detail you get from Natural Earth’s raw GIS data. I was sent a preliminary copy for review and several attentions to detail catch my eye:

  • Major airports are located and labeled with their 3-character code (SFO, LAX, LGA, etc).
  • Attractions are listed for most metropolitan cities (Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, fisherman’s warf in San Francisco).
  • A compilation of small, mid, and large size cities nestle between named mountain ridges, settle the green forests, and line the coast. Some even have their elevation noted (“mile high” Denver at 5280 feet).
  • This human geography is connected by a road network with shields indicating relative lane widths, but still showing small rural routes when they are the only access thru town.
  • National parks and other sites are outlined and named.

The map is fittingly dedicated to William Loy, long time geography professor and coauthor of the award winning Atlas of Oregon (University of Oregon Press, 2001) who passed over in 2003. The map goes on sale this fall, perfect for the gifting season. Available soon at Imus Geographics »

Here’s another preview:

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The Variety of American Grids (Greater Greater Washington)

Friday, June 4th, 2010

[Editor’s note: Geeky urban geography with map diagrams! See related post discussing cultural background for US grids and the example block sizes in the Washington DC metro.]

Republished from Greater Greater Washington.
By Daniel Nairn   •   May 31, 2010 9:54 am

I wanted a nerdy planning-related poster for my wall (other than the periodic table of city planning), so I made one this week. I scoured Google Earth and measured that quintessentially American grid in about a hundred downtowns around the country.

Of course, there are variations in block proportions within downtowns, but I tried to pick cities that had more uniformity than average to come up with a single prototype. (Washington, DC has very little uniformity.)


Click for the poster-quality version (large PDF).

Exploring these grid proportions messed with my preconceptions. I assumed the more western and newer cities would have larger grids than the more eastern and older cities, but no obvious pattern is discernible to me. Mobile, AL, settled by French colonists in the early 18th century, Tulsa, OK, a 19th century farming town, and Anchorage, AK, a 20th century frontier town, all share the same 300′ x 300′ internal block (street widths vary a little). What compelled the early settlers of these towns to choose, say, 220′ over 440′ lengths? I can’t say I have any idea right now.

Manhattan is also a curious story. According to Witold Rybczynski, the expanding nation unequivocally chose the 1811 Commissioner’s Grid of New York City over L’Enfant’s baroque-influenced plan for Washington, DC as the model for new towns. While this is surely true, it begs the question: why are New York’s long and skinny blocks not found anywhere else in the country? You would think at least one group of western settlers would seek to emulate their home town of New York more exactly.

I’m leaving aside the interesting value questions around block size. Ever since Jacobs, conventional wisdom has held that smaller blocks are preferable for walkability, but urban designer Fannis Grammenos challenges the grid somewhat in a Planetizen post.

MAP: Campaign 2010 – Congressional Races, a closer look at the 435 House races (WaPo)

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

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[Editor’s note: Just in time for the midterms, The Washington Post has relaunched our online politics section, including a nifty interactive map by Kat Downs (lead), Dan Keating, Karen Yourish and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso. The map starts off on House races but also tracks Senate and Governor races. It’s zoomable, panable, has a time slider for past election results. The original linework was generalized using MapShaper.org with manual adjustments to blend in detailed urban districts with more generalized rural districts, resulting in smaller file size, quicker load time, and less ambiguity on which district is which. Please email us with questions or suggestions.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Will Republicans take control of the house in 2010? Use this map to track all 435 House races, analyse past election results, and drill down to district level data. Post reporters Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza will weigh in regularly on the 25 races you need to know about. SOURCES: Federal Election Commission, U.S. Census Bureau.

Interact with the original at The Washington Post . . .

Two more screenshots, showing generalized urban area linework in the Washington, DC, metro area with thematic attribute “details” panel open and then the advanced filtering options, in this case to pull out swing districts that have rate more than 21% uninsured.

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Who Supports Health Care Reform (NY Times)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

[Editor’s note: Op-Art from the New York Times showing who (which states) supports and opposes health care reform grouped by age and income. Data from 2004, so not current but still informative. Thanks Martin!]

Republished from the New York Times. Nov. 18, 2009.

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Adding new rivers and lakes to 10m Natural Earth in North America

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Tom and I have been busy adding 4 times the rivers and 3 times the lakes we had for North America. This adds in many “missing” hydro features that one might normally find on a 1:10,000,000 hydrologic reference map.

Why were they missing from the first version of Natural Earth? It’s hard to wade thru 1:1,000,000 features to figure which to add and an even tougher job to attribute them with the correct name and scale ranks. There’s another factor: these extra features are great if you’re making a watershed map, but can be a little noisy when used as a background layer in say a political reference map.

Cody Rice, now of the EPA but formerly of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) send along an amazing link last week. The CEC is a joint agency between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Specifically: USGS, Natural Resources Canada, INEGI-Mexico. Each country contributed base data for a 1:10,000,000 digital atlas. The data is available in many popular formats and is in the public domain. Better yet, it includes GIS data attributes like river name!

We’ve compared with our existing Natural Earth linework and identified which features were missing. For those we’re adding, we’ve adjusted the new linework a nudge here and there so it lines up with SRTM relief and our existing linework. We’ve also gone thru and created lake centerlines and applied scale ranks to all in three new steps (10, 11, and 12). We have some final polishing but will be releasing, along with some slight adjustments to the original data, by the end of January.

Do you have time to donate? Unlike ranks 0 to 9 (the original data), this new data will NOT come tapered. We’d like it to be and can show you how.

Know of a similar, attributed with name, 1:10,000,000 regional dataset we could adapt into Natural Earth to build out our coverage? Please let me know at nathaniel@kelsocartography.com.

Preview images below:

Red = new at rank 10. Blue = new at rank 11. Black = new at rank 12. Grey = old at ranks 0 to 9.

Click images to view larger sizes.

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Chinese Evade U.S. Sanctions on Iran (Wall Street Journal)

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

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[Editor's note: This world map from the Wall Street Journal uses map symbols that reinforce the thematic color coding of countries. The symbols all feature a hand (common gesture for "stop"), and shape and color differences further differentiate the symbols. This graphic overloading of visual variables (using more than just shape, or just color, or just size) ensures a larger number of readers will comprehend the map's visual message. In this case, color between the symbols and the choropleth map colors links the symbols with the countries. All countries are directly labeled with their name and explanation. I like this map for a second reason: the Wall Street Journal is using a new CMS (content management system) that the Washington Post is also working to adopt and it shows how graphics can be flowed inside the article text instead of getting lost in a tab, link, or thumbnail. Many eye tracking studies show that readers spend more time on graphics than on article text but online, graphics are often hard to find (if they are found at all). This new CMS puts graphics back in the natural flow of reading.]

Republished from the Wall Street Journal.
By PETER FRITSCH

Chinese companies banned from doing business in the U.S. for allegedly selling missile technology to Iran continue to do a brisk trade with American companies, according to an analysis of shipping records.

A unit of state-owned China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp., for example, has made nearly 300 illegal shipments to U.S. firms since a ban was imposed on CPMIEC and its affiliates in mid-2006, according to an analysis of shipping records by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a nonprofit proliferation watchdog.

A Wall Street Journal review of the records and interviews with officials at some of the American companies indicate that the U.S. firms likely were unaware they were doing business with banned entities, and in many cases were tripped up by altered company names.

The CPMIEC shipments, worth millions of dollars, include everything from anchors and drilling equipment to automobile parts and toys. In many cases, CPMIEC acted as a shipping intermediary — activity also banned under a 2006 presidential order.

The ability of CPMIEC and other foreign companies to continue doing business in the U.S. despite the sanctions comes as the Obama administration considers fresh economic sanctions against Iran. The illegal shipments suggest that U.S. sanctions have become so numerous and complex that they have become difficult to enforce.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal . . .

How to Make a US County Thematic Map Using Free Tools (FlowingData)

Friday, November 20th, 2009

[Editor's note: If you don't have an expensive GIS license but still want to make pretty maps, Flowing Data has a tutorial to get you started. They even use ColorBrewer when setting up the data classes!]

Republished from Flowing Data.
Posted by Nathan / Nov 12, 2009.

There are about a million ways to make a choropleth map. You know, the maps that color regions by some metric. The problem is that a lot of solutions require expensive software or have a high learning curve…or both. What if you just want a simple map without all the GIS stuff? In this post, I’ll show you how to make a county-specific choropleth map using only free tools.

The Result

Here’s what we’re after. It’s the most recent unemployment map from last week.

Unemployment in the United States

Step 0. System requirements

Just as a heads up, you’ll need Python installed on your computer. Python comes pre-installed on the Mac. I’m not sure about Windows. If you’re on Linux, well, I’m sure you’re a big enough nerd to already be fluent in Python.

We’re going to make good use of the Python library Beautiful Soup, so you’ll need that too. It’s a super easy, super useful HTML/XML parser that you should come to know and love.

Continue reading at Flowing Data . . .

Embeddable US Demographics Map (ESRI via FreeGeoTools)

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

[Editor's note: This was demo'd at NACIS earlier this month. Raster thematic map tiles delivered via Flash API that are still interactive. ESRI's solution to Google mashups.]

Republished from Free Geography Tools.

As a demo of the ArcGIS API for Flex, ESRI has a new page that lets you create an embeddable/shareable map of demographic data by US county. Only seven datasets available now:

  • Median Household Income
  • Population Change 2000-2009
  • Population Density (per sq. mile)
  • Median Home Value
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Average Household Size
  • Median Age

Map creation is trivially easy – select the demographic dataset from a dropdown, zoom the map to the desired extents, set a map size in pixels, and you’re done; links to a map with your parameters, and code for an embeddable map, are generated automatically. Here’s an embedded map, scrollable and zoomable; unemployment rate is the default dataset, but you can choose other sets with the dropdown menu at upper right:

More datasets would be nice, as would control over colors and ranges …

Interact with the original at Free Geography Tools . . .

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Simple shapefile drawing in ActionScript 3 (Cartogrammar)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Shapefile + magic = map in Flash!

[Editor's note: Andy Woodruff explains how to use his quick and easy implementation of Edwin van Rijkom's AS3 classes for loading SHP files and their DBF attributes into Flash/Flex. This library DOES NOT PROJECT your shp files, you might consider doing that first.]

Recently I’ve heard two friends independently inquire about some sort of basic guide for loading and drawing a shapefile in Flash. The only real tutorial/example I can recall is here, dealing with Google Maps. But these guys are looking for something more bare-bones. Being a regular user of Edwin van Rijkom’s invaluable code libraries for reading shapefiles, and usually forgetting the process myself, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a very simple set of AS3 classes that load a shapefile and throw a map on screen.

So to get those jerks off my back, I wrote a little thing called ShpMap, which supplements van Rijkom’s classes by loading and drawing a shapefile. It’s nothing fancier than that. Sometimes all you need is to get your base map on screen. (Update: just to round it out a little more, I’ve added basic loading and parsing of a shapefile’s accompanying DBF file, which contains attribute data. This also uses classes by van Rijkom.)

I hope that this class (and the several associated classes) can both be directly usable for some projects and serve as a basic guide to using van Rijkom’s classes to load shapefiles.

Dig it:

  • An example that loads and displays a US states shapefile (and then puts a square on my house and colors the state of Wisconsin green). View the source code here.
  • Download the source code. (My classes plus van Rijkom’s, as well as a demo US States shapefile.)