Census dotmap

January 4, 2013

(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Andrew Vande Moere points to this impressive interactive map from Brandon Martin-Anderson showing the locations of all the residents of the United States and Canada.

It says, “The map has 341,817,095 dots – one for each person.” Not quite . . . I was hoping to zoom into my building (approximately 10 people live on our floor, I say approximately because two of the apartments are split between two floors and I’m not sure how they would assign the residents), but unfortunately our entire block is just a solid mass of black. Also, they put a few dots in the park and in the river by accident (presumably because the borders of the census blocks were specified only approximately). But, hey, no algorithm is perfect.

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 7.39.50 PM

It’s hard to know what to do about this. The idea of mapping every person is cool, but you’ll always run into trouble displaying densely populated areas. Smaller dots might work, but then that might depend on the screen being used for display.

Please comment on the article here: Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science