Archive for the ‘Geography’ Category

A realistic map of Louisiana

August 22, 2016
Walkable, inhabitable land area of Louisiana

Walkable, inhabitable land area of Louisiana

Southern Louisiana, like the Netherlands, is inhabitable because of the actions of humankind.  Just as the Dutch live behind their ocean dikes, Louisianans live behind their river levees.

Inadequate maintenance of the levees by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005 worse than it might have been.

map-of-louisiana-citiesThere is a problem with the levees.  Southern Louisiana is part of the Mississippi River delta, built up of topsoil from a huge drainage area stretching from the Appalachians to the Rockies.  The wandering course of the Mississippi deposited this soil over a wide area.  With the levees, the Mississippi is confined to a narrow channel.  This prevents floods, but also prevents replenishment of the delta.  As a result, much of southern Louisiana, including New Orleans, is slowly sinking, creating a need for even higher levees.

There is a good side to this.  Sinking replaces dry land with swamps and wetlands.  Although swamps and wetlands are not walkable or inhabitable, they provide a buffer against ocean flooding by absorbing the water.

It’s complicated.  Global climate change will generate more floods, and make things even more complicated.

LINKS

Louisiana Loses Its Boot by Brett Carrington for Medium.  The source and explanation of the top map.  Also a good explanation of the need for accurate maps.

Taming the Floods, Dutch-style by Damien Carrington for The Guardian.

A realistic map of the Middle East

August 22, 2016

truemapofmiddleeastThomas_Map-01

This map of the Middle East, showing which entities actually control what territory, was published by Frank Jacobs on the Strange Maps web site.  Here’s Jacobs’ key to the map.

  • The Syrian central government (in light grey), based in Damascus, controls a coastal strip of territory in a patchwork shared with a number of rebel forces. The interior of the country is lost to government control, except a single light grey island in a sea of dark grey (for IS): the besieged city of Deir ez-Zor.
  • The ‘official’ rebels (in green) control a fragmented archipelago of territories, spread across the north, middle and south of the country – also concentrated in the east, but without coastal access.  Aleppo, in the north, is on the front line between government and rebel forces, with horrific consequences for the city and its people.
  • Large parts of northern Syria are controlled by the Syrian Defence Forces (in red): a contiguous zone in the northeast, and a smaller zone in the northwest.  Both are separated by the zone of contact between Turkey and Islamic State, although that zone has gotten a bit narrower since the takeover by the SDF of Manbij.  The SDF, by the way, are mainly Kurdish forces, and the area they control is often referred to as Rojava – Kurdish for ‘West’.
  • The Islamic State controls not only the largest part of Syria, but has also spilled over into Iraq, where it dominates mainly Sunni areas in the centre, up to and including the city of Mosul in the north.  The IS’s territory is surrounded by enemies, but has the advantage of being contiguous, with the exception of two exclaves, one in southwest Iraq, and another one in southeast Syria.
  • What remains of Iraq is controlled in the south by the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad (in light blue), and in the North by the Iraqi Kurds (in yellow).
  • The map also reflects the mainly unrecognised secession of Northern Cyprus (in dark blue) and the de facto secession of Hezbollah-dominated areas within Lebanon (in green) – both facts on the ground predating the Syrian conflict, and likely to survive it.

Source: Frank Jacobs | Big Think

(more…)

The geography of Donald Trump’s support

April 6, 2016

 

Republican_Party_presidential_primaries_results_by_county,_2016.svg

Winners by county: Trump, turquoise; Cruz, gold; Kasich, green; Rubio, red

Source: Wikipedia.

Trump-Cruz-3-16

Source: The New York Times.

The two maps above show the support for Donald Trump versus other Republican candidates in primaries so far.   The next chart shows support for Trump based on public opinion polls.

upshot_trump_ctr

Source: The New York Times.

None of this has any significance in deciding who to vote for, and little significance in predicting who will win.  It just reflects my addiction to looking at data on maps.

Below are some more maps with information that might help explain these three maps.  First, two maps showing American regional cultures, and then some more demographic information.  I leave it to you to find the correlations (if any).

(more…)

xkcd: Lakes and oceans

January 19, 2016
Double click to enlarge.

Double click to enlarge.

Source: xkcd

Randall Munroe is not just a witty cartoonist and effective explainer.  He is a master of the visual display of quantitative information.   Look at the Deepwater Horizon well on the display to get an idea of just what that was, for example.

A note on population density

December 3, 2015
bCY7Scu

Five percent of the world’s population lives in the blue area on the map. Another five percent lives in the red area. Double click to enlarge.

Source: Max Roser, creator of Our World in Data.

Hat tip to Wait but Why

The 50 United States sized by population

August 31, 2015

States-by-Area---Adjusted---FinalSource: Vox

I hadn’t realized how big New Jersey is in population.  Or Maryland.

Or how much of a disparity there is between Arizona and New Mexico.  And between Vermont and New Hampshire.