Amazing Map Is Made Up Of Everyone in the U.S. and Canada

by Jason Major on January 14, 2013

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 4.46.09 PM

 

Zoomable map of the US and Canada pinpoints everyone with a dot. (Credit: Brandon Martin-Anderson/Census Dotmap)

Now this is something different: an interactive and zoomable map of the United States and Canada, made not from political boundaries or geographic landforms but rather of tiny dots — 341,817, 095 of them, to be exact — each one representing an individual person counted in the 2010 (US) and 2011 (Canada) censuses. There’s no other feature on this map except those dots, each randomly placed within the regional blocks used by the census, yet we still end up with a very recognizable structure.

So if you were listed in either of these censuses, you helped to make this map!

The Census Dotmap is a project by Brandon Martin-Anderson, who wanted an image of human settlement patterns that didn’t use political boundaries. He wrote a script that organized all the census data into points that got drawn into the block-level counts… well, you can see more about how he made it here.

(Just how accurate are population counts? According to the US Census Bureau, the 2010 count was “exemplary”… although renters and certain minority groups are traditionally undercounted.)

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 5.13.18 PM

 

Dotmap of the Vancouver, BC area

The bottom line is that this is really interesting to explore… if you live in a somewhat remote area, and you see a dot there, most likely that’s you! (It’s a little harder to determine who’s who in the more populated areas… the dots don’t pinpoint specific street addresses.)

And yes, Alaska and Hawaii are on there too… they just didn’t fit in the screenshot above. In fact all of northern Canada is there too, the dots are just very few and widely spaced out. But it’s not blank.

Check it out… you can even buy a print of the entire map, or a particular region or city. Now that’s leaving your mark on the world!

Credit: Brandon Martin-Anderson. Tip of the hat to Inkwell Communications.

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Patrick Scheible January 14, 2013 at 10:37 PM

This is a cool map! Nice that there’s also a basemap with labels you can turn on if you want it.

Jason Major January 14, 2013 at 10:44 PM

A complete world version would be very cool too, although quite a project and probably not terribly accurate for many regions.

TheVeganarchist January 15, 2013 at 7:12 AM

looks like in my city, there are a lot of people living in the river. who knew?

newSteveZodiac January 15, 2013 at 3:58 PM

It’s like someone has drawn a line down the eastern state lines of Dakota, Nebraska , Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and not many people stepped across it.

Patrick Scheible January 15, 2013 at 5:47 PM

That’s geography. Not enough rain to grow crops without irrigation.

Tim McDaniel January 15, 2013 at 5:52 PM
Albert Cornelius Doyle January 16, 2013 at 12:05 AM

It’s eerily reminiscent of the electoral map, probably closer if you go county by county. Actually, I’d be interested in an overlay or regression analysis of just that.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: