Disseminating junk
Knowing what one is doing

Colorful maps

Bernard L. loved the recent NYT take on immigration in America.

The very pretty maps are found here.


An amazing amount of data is being visualized here.  Mousing on the map will pick up the specific data for each county.  There is a bar up top for discovering the evolution over time.  It would be great if there is an animation button so the map can be played out without clicking.  An animated gif will also do (similar to the disease map we featured some time ago).

Nyt_imimigrants_scale The colors on the first map represent the origin of the top ethnic group in each county.  Within each group, the tint of the color further displays the percentage of the population that group accounts for.  The subgroups appear to be 0-2%, 2-5%, over 5%.  The last subgroup is very wide.

Not so keen on the second map with all those bubbles.  They show the number of people from each country by county.  The bubble size is proportional to population.  Every version of this map looks the same because the population is concentrated in the cities and the interior is sparsely populated, no matter what ethnic group.

Regardless, this is another laudable effort by the crew at the Times.

Reference: "Immigration Explorer", New York Times, March 10 2009.


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Mousing over the graphic nicely shows the famous weakness of choropleth maps. In California, Los Angeles County had 3,448,622 immigrants in 2000, predominantly from Latin America, while the green rectangle in Montana shows Daniels County experiencing the Canadian horde of... 95.


Sorry, that's not meant in any way as a criticism of yet another stunning piece of explorable data from the New York Times. That I was able to get those facts quickly and easily is itself a testament. Well done to them.

Bubble maps have weaknesses of their own, and both together don't quite cover those weaknesses when reproduced as static paper. But choropleth plus bubbles plus interactivity is a killer combination.

Bernard Lebelle

Totally agree with derek and kaiser on the effectivness of bubble maps.

What really got me excited was the overall simplicity of the user interface and the visual impact of change over time. Really thought we should share this one between junkcharts fans.

Haven't got through putting all this in a "video" format but we would have a good "gapminder" approach with this excellent material.


This is stunning. It's fascinating to look at the waves across time -- e.g. to look at, say, Norwegians across the time span as they increase and then decrease as the immigrants age off.

And, as Bernard said, the user interface is particularly well designed.


Nice. But the programmers/designers have still to learn a little bit of geography: Germany is not a Central/Eastern European country!!


anyone know if there are any tutorials around for creating interactive graphs? is there a relatively simple way, or is it a case of messing around with java for a couple of hundred hours

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