New Show, Knife Raise O.J.’s Google Profile

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Crime, News

More than 20 years after his blockbuster murder trial, O.J. Simpson is back in the news — this time after Los Angeles police reportedly found a knife on the grounds of his former estate.

O.J. Simpson

O.J. Simpson

According to the Los Angeles Times, a retired police officer “has handed over a knife given to him by a construction worker who helped raze Simpson’s mansion in 1998.” The knife, which could have been used in the slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, is now being tested by the police.

The news comes a month after a new television show dramatizing his sensational trial began airing on FOX.

The renewed interest in Simpson, now serving a prison term in Nevada for an unrelated robbery and kidnapping case, is reflected in online search traffic, according to Google Trends.

This graph shows search volume since 2004. Traffic has been relatively dormant over the years except for spikes, like in September 2007, when Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas on multiple felony counts after an altercation over sports memorabilia. Another spike in late 2008 reflects his conviction at trial. He’s now serving out a 33-year-term but is eligible for parole next year.

Searches for his name spiked significantly after the new show, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., began airing Feb. 2.

Regional trends are also evident in the searches. This map shows that searches in Nevada and the Las Vegas metro area more common than in other parts of the country. That makes sense because of the location of his trial and incarceration.

Screenshot 2016-03-05 09.23.51

Someday O.J. Simpson will no longer capture the collective imaginations of Americans. Today is not that day, apparently.

Mapping Police Officer Slayings by State

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Crime, News

Newly sworn police officer Ashley Guindon, center, was killed responding to a 911 call on her first day working for the Prince William County (Va.) Police Department. She was 28. Image via Twitter.

Newly sworn in police officer Ashley Guindon, center, was killed responding to a 911 call on her first day working for the Prince William County (Va.) Police Department. She was 28. Image via Twitter.

A rookie Virginia police officer working her first official shift was shot and killed Saturday while responding to a domestic violence dispute, authorities say. The officer, Ashley Guindon, was killed a day after being sworn in to the Prince William County Police Department.

Guindon, 28, was the 22nd police officer killed in the United States this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which has among the most comprehensive and timely national statistics on the Web. It was the first such incident this year in Virginia.

Since 1791, according to the site, more than 22,000 police personnel — federal, state, local and tribal (and K-9) — have been killed in the line of duty. The country’s most populous states — California, Texas and New York — lead the nation in police killings. That’s no surprise given the size of their populations.

The map below, however, attempts to normalize the state totals by adjusting for the total number of police officers in each state as of 2011 — the latest data available from the FBI. (Police forces by state vary in size based on a number of factors, including density. The District of Columbia, for example, is among the least-populous “states” listed in the data, but it has the highest rate of officers per capita in the country. That’s because it experiences a huge influx of daily commuters from Virginia and Maryland each day — and because of the tourism and security that comes with being the nation’s capital).

By that crude measure, Kentucky has proportionally had the highest number of killings, with roughly 85 per 1,000 officers, followed by West Virginia (47) and Montana (42). Florida (11), Arizona (12) and New Hampshire (13) — states, incidentally, with older populations — have the lowest rates, respectively. Again, this rate isn’t perfect, but it’s better than viewing the raw totals (which looks like a population map).

Police killings per 1,000 officers: 1791-2016. Data source: Officer Down Memorial Page. Map by Matt Stiles/The Daily Viz.

Police deaths per 1,000 officers: 1791-2016. Data sources: Officer Down Memorial Page, FBI. Map by Matt Stiles/The Daily Viz.

Map: Where Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes Might Appear in the United States

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Weather

U.S. Health officials are investigating the possibility that the Zika virus could be spread through sex, The New York Times reports.

If confirmed, this development could seriously complicate efforts to control the spread of the disease, which health officials suspect causes birth defects in children whose mothers were infected during pregnancy.

The disease has spread in Brazil and other tropical climates, primarily through mosquito bites, including those by a species that thrives in the southern and western United States: aedes aegypti. It’s still winter in the United States, but some are readying for the day when the airborne pests move the disease north.

Still, experts believe a widespread outbreak across the United States is unlikely. They note that the mosquitoes only thrive in tropical areas, and that the prevalence of air conditioning, window screens and the expected abatement efforts by local governmental agencies will reduce their threat.

The mosquitoes’ habitat may seem small geographically compared the country as a whole, but it does includes about one in five American counties. They are home to roughly 80 million people, according to a Orkin Termite Control analysis of data released by the mapping company Esri and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The rough map below shows the species’ habitat (shaded in pink) and its respective counties’ population density (red dots represent 50,000 residents). The area includes roughly 29 million households — some of which, of course, will include pregnant women this summer.

Aedes Aegypti habitat in the United States.

Aedes Aegypti habitat in the United States. Credit: Matt Stiles/The Daily Viz.

Mapping GeoJSON On Github

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Social Media

I’ve been hoping to tinker with Github’s new mapping service since the company announced it earlier this month. Turns out it’s quite easy. You just commit a GeoJSON file to your repo, and voilà.

The points on this simple map represents the location of each car2go I’ve rented (excluding those in Austin, Texas). Surprise, they’re mostly clustered in our neighborhood:

car2go locations

This is a simple as it gets. The service also allows other data types, like polygons, for example. Tomorrow I’ll try a more interesting data set, maybe DC property parcels or 311 calls locations. And I’ll experiment with the Github docs to see how I can customize the icons and design. We’ll see…

BTW: Github is using MapBox to create its custom map base layer. Read more about that here. And thanks to my co-worker, Chris Groskopf, whose csvkit suite makes it super easy to convert basic data files into GeoJSON.

Mapping ‘Majority Minority’ Presidential Results

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Policy & Politics

Yesterday I mapped the more than 350 “majority minority” counties in the United States, breaking them down by race and ethnicity groups and geography. As promised, today I’ve looked at how these counties (in the contiguous United States) voted in the 2012 election.

Obama won about 70 percent of these counties. Here’s the map:

The Daily Viz

The Daily Viz

That map, of course, can be misleading — as often happens in elections. That because the area of the counties can distort their actual voting power. In this case, Obama won more “majority minority” counties with urban populations and many more voters, such as Los Angeles (Calif.), Cook (Ill.) and Kings (N.Y.) counties, among others. Romney carried rural Republican counties, largely in Texas and the west.

Obama received nearly 18 million votes in the “majority minority” counties he carried. Romney got 2 million votes in his “majority minority” counties. In the end, Obama received a net 10 million votes from “minority majority” counties — nearly double his national margin over Romney in the country as a whole.

The map below uses proportional circles on top of the choropleth map above to help visualize the total votes in each county. You can see how Obama won in many of the most-populous counties, increasing his national margin (though not necessarily helping with the Electoral College — except in critical purple states he carried, such as Florida and Virginia).

The Daily Viz

The Daily Viz

You can download the data here.

For more updates, follow me on Twitter.

Mapping ‘Majority Minority’ Counties

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

This week the U.S. Census Bureau released updated national population estimates, including a list of the counties that grew most rapidly from 2010 to last summer. I wrote about these counties in a political context this week for work.

Included in the release was a note that six more counties had flipped to “majority minority,” as the bureau calls them. These are counties in which non-Hispanic whites represent less than half the population.

With those six, the country now has at least 352 counties — about one in 10 of the total — in this category. Here they are on a map:

The Daily Viz

The Daily Viz

These counties exist largely because because of the relative size of the Hispanic and black populations (though Hawaii and Alaska have high Asian population rates), depending on geography. Western counties have higher percentages of Hispanic residents, and counties in the Deep South have higher rates of black residents. Of course there are some exceptions sprinkled throughout the country.

This map shows the rate of “minority” residents by county:

The Daily Viz

The Daily Viz

This map shows the percentage of Hispanic residents by county:

The Daily Viz

The Daily Viz

This map shows the percentage of black residents by county:

The Daily Viz

The Daily Viz

You can download the data here. Tomorrow we’ll examine how these counties voted in the 2012 presidential election.

For more updates, follow me on Twitter.

Mapping ‘Your Warming World’

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Weather

New Scientist has published a fascinating interactive map related to increasing global temperatures over time:

The graphs and maps all show changes relative to average temperatures for the three decades from 1951 to 1980, the earliest period for which there was sufficiently good coverage for comparison. This gives a consistent view of climate change across the globe. To put these numbers in context, the NASA team estimates that the global average temperature for the 1951-1980 baseline period was about 14 °C.

Users can change the map, made by Chris Amico and Peter Aldhous, by time period and see an interactive chart with time series data. Here’s the global view for the last two decades:

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 2.32.37 PM

And users can also zoom to their location (and the time series chart changes):

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 2.32.50 PM

Mapping ‘Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks’

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics

Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks” allows users to get information about income in their neighborhoods, using the 2006-2010 American Community Survey estimates* compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a map of Washington, D.C., which — as I’ve noted before — is segregated by race, educational attainment and income:

Source: Rich Blocks, Small Blocks

Source: Rich Blocks, Small Blocks

* These data have high margins of error in small geographic units like Census tracts, which this service uses, so don’t take the figures literally. Still, the estimates can be useful for spotting broader trends about communities.

Thanks to the wife for sharing this discovery.

Mapping Obama’s Election Performance By County In 2012 Vs. 2008

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Policy & Politics

The Washington Post over the weekend published an interesting story about President Obama’s southern support in the election:

The nation’s first black president finished more strongly in the region than any other Democratic nominee in three decades, underscoring a fresh challenge for Republicans who rely on Southern whites as their base of national support.

This map compares Obama’s performance in 2008 to this year’s election in the lower 48 states. Darker blue shades represent higher percentage point increases, and darker red shades represent decreases in percentage points. It’s clear he performed better this time in parts of the Deep South:

The Daily Viz

But why? One likely explanation for Obama’s stronger showing in the parts of the South could be that those counties have a high proportion of black voters, and Obama turned them out. According to the Post, “black voters came out in droves on Election Day and voted overwhelmingly for Obama — near or above 95 percent in most parts of the South.” Here’s a map of the black population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. See a correlation?

U.S. Census Bureau

Notice too that Obama did worse in Coal Country than he did four years ago, perhaps because the region has higher unemployment rates than the national average, or because the Romney campaign wooed voters in this region, especially in Virginia. Here’s a map of coal production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. This is less clear, in part because the map shows all coal-producing counties, not just those in which it’s a key part of the economy now (the red and pink areas in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia):

USGS

And, finally, it’s no surprise that Romney did better than McCain in 2008 in Utah. Romney, of course, is a Mormon and he led the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. But if you want to compare it with the election results, here’s a map of the Mormon population, again from the U.S. Census Bureau:

U.S. Census Bureau

I’m generally not a huge fan of county-by-county election maps because counties as a unit of geography are largely meaningless in national elections. But in this case maybe it’s useful. Meanwhile, check out the Post’s nice map gallery of the 2012 electorate.

Humidity, Sunshine Across The U.S.

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Weather

With summer winding down, I wondered: How much does the amount of sunshine and humidity vary among U.S. cities?

First, this map shows the average percentage of possible sunshine by city. (Yuma, AZ, has sun about 90% of the year; Juneau, AK, gets it about 30%). Larger bubbles represent higher percentages of sunshine (click the images for larger, interactive versions):

This map shows (a slightly different) list of cities and their annual average relative humidity in the afternoon:

I’m not sure whether these maps are effective — or whether they should be maps at all. But I wanted to try another quick experiment with CartoDB.

Data source: NOAA | Download: Sunshine, Humidity