Can you find your dot?
January 5, 2013 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Census Dotmap is the visual representation of all persons counted in the 2010 US and 2011 Canadian censuses (via).
posted by hat_eater (22 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
This says someone lives in the middle of a lake.

The census reported that someone lives in a block which includes a lake, and that's where their dot was randomly placed. Also, some people live in the middle of lakes.


Like jessamyn!
posted by desjardins at 12:33 PM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Merpeople may not have the vote, but they still deserve our respect.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:39 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The streaks through the Appalachian Mountains are interesting. Almost like someone took their finger and started drawing lines through the dirt.
posted by suckerpunch at 12:41 PM on January 5, 2013


It would be fascinating to have this done with Census data from previous decades, to see how populations have migrated from rural to urban areas over time.
posted by ambrosia at 12:45 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing that gets me every single time with this sort of thing is the east/west split where the east is cluttered with small towns and rural population, and the west is so much sparser. You can draw a line from Winnipeg to San Antonio, and it's just two different patterns of settlement on either side.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:50 PM on January 5, 2013


This says someone lives in the middle of a lake.

Yeah, looking at Toronto (e.g.) it does a pretty good job at placing the six hundred or so souls at the eastern end of the Toronto Islands (the residences there) and then cryptically scatters another hundred through the parkland on the rest of the islands and sprinkles a few dozen into the harbour that separates the island from the city.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:51 PM on January 5, 2013


It's easier to find yourself if you wave your arms around while looking at the map for movement.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 1:02 PM on January 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


It would be pretty cool if we could generate an actual map of everyone in the Census, wouldn't it? Each black dot could be an actual person at an actual address, instead of a random dot. Yeah, the privacy issues stagger the mind, but it would be neat.

Totally doable, too. The actual database of people probably isn't that enormous.... 300 million people, call it 10K of data each, would be about three terabytes. Even if you add in geolocation data, a single powerful desktop-class PC, with a lot of storage, could probably generate the map in a reasonable amount of time.

If things keep going the way they're going, in 2020 you'll be able to do it on a cheap crappy desktop, and in 2030, you'll probably be able to do it on your telephone.... load basic data for everyone in the entire US, and accurately map them down to individual houses, on a small, self-contained, handheld device.
posted by Malor at 1:10 PM on January 5, 2013


Looking at the almost continuous arc of dense development from Atlanta to Boston kind of makes me want to start buying up property in that deserted-looking area between Richmond and Raleigh.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:26 PM on January 5, 2013


The detail here is stunning. I'm always blown away by these kinds of people-or-their-connections maps that leave out political borders and geographic edges while still managing to include them anyway.
posted by Chutzler at 1:31 PM on January 5, 2013


Re: the Appalachian streaks: I bet that mirrors the ridges and valleys. If you look on a satellite map there are similar patterns in the geography.
posted by ghharr at 1:39 PM on January 5, 2013


Homeboy Trouble: "ou can draw a line from Winnipeg to San Antonio, and it's just two different patterns of settlement on either side."

Well, what I really see on this map is how crucial transportation is to cities. The big cities are either on lakes, oceans, or the confluence of two rivers. And in the midwest, you can see the dots along the highway system that connects the major cities.
posted by pwnguin at 2:21 PM on January 5, 2013


You can draw a line from Winnipeg to San Antonio, and it's just two different patterns of settlement on either side.

That's pretty much the line delimiting where there's enough water to grow food.
posted by hattifattener at 2:44 PM on January 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I assume none of the head Republicans are acquainted with this.
posted by notreally at 7:19 PM on January 5, 2013


I assume none of the head Republicans are acquainted with this.

They aren't stupid, they're evil. They know their constituencies, they just choose to ignore them.
posted by JimmyJames at 7:37 PM on January 5, 2013


This says someone lives in the middle of a lake.

The fellow that did this is a college friend. He mentioned on Facebook that dot locations are placed uniformly at random within a small district given by the census data. I assume these oddities are related to the census geography units then.
posted by Schismatic at 7:55 PM on January 5, 2013


I love this so much. It looks like he is missing data for Versailles, Ky. though (between Frankfort and Lexington there's a big blank patch where Google satellite shows a builtup town).
posted by gubo at 9:10 PM on January 5, 2013


Hey, I see myself! But I am worried about the three people living in the cemetary behind my house...
posted by saucysault at 10:27 PM on January 5, 2013


That's pretty much the line delimiting where there's enough water to grow food.

I literally said "Holy shit" when I saw this map. Exactly correct. Why didn't I think of that?

And in the midwest, you can see the dots along the highway system that connects the major cities.

Those are actually the railroads. But as a guy who works on transportation and land use interaction models, transportation is so much of what makes cities work and where cities go. (But not everything; I always see the transportation and was blind to the climactic data.)
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:14 AM on January 6, 2013


Someone needs to place this over the NASA US at night and where the are way too many lights for people, explain what's happening.

I'd do it, but it's the last day of my two week vacation like thing, and I'm really busy!
posted by DigDoug at 6:26 AM on January 6, 2013


DigDoug: "Someone needs to place this over the NASA US at night and where the are way too many lights for people, explain what's happening. "

In short, the census dotmap only cares about where someone lives, not where they work. A hospital with it's parking lot, or an oil refinery, or even a cluster of four 24-hour truckstops around an interstate exit are going to take up decent chunks of real-estate footprint and throw off light pollution all night long, but no one actually lives there for the purposes of the census.

(Ok, hospitals might have resident doctors, but the nighttime light output of the property is still going to be disproportionate per capita.)
posted by radwolf76 at 1:26 PM on January 6, 2013



I can see my dot! Yay!
posted by Jalliah at 7:27 AM on January 7, 2013


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