Unlike pretty much every map we’ve ever seen, this one is not made of roads, boundary lines, or any kind of topography. Instead, this map is made up of 308,450,225 dots, one for each American living in the continental United States.
Brandon Martin-Anderson and Kieran Huggins put together this explorable dot map of our population using data from the 2010 census. The map not only gives us an outline of North America,` but also shows us just how spread out we really are.
If this map look familiar at all to you, it might be because it lines right up with the series of nighttime photos that NASA released nearly a month ago. It’s really not too surprising considering wherever people go, they also need light.
Brandon and Kieran put the map together by first gathering the publicly available data for 2010 US census as well as the 2011 Canadian census. Then the two ran the information through a Python script to generate a dot based on the number of people living in a residence, along with its location. After that was done the pair ended up with a 17GB CSV file that they processed into map tiles and uploaded to Amazon’s S3 service. They then stuffed the whole thing into a Google Maps API.
If you want to make your own variant of Brandon and Kieran’s dot map, they posted an extensive guide on just how they did it.
This story, "This 308,450,225-dot map shows where every American lives" was originally published by TechHive.