Interactive: Racial Dot Maps via: University of Va.

The Racial Dot Map

One Dot Per Person for the Entire United States

Created by Dustin Cable, July 2013

Access and Use Policy

Link to Full Screen Map

Download a High Resolution Image of the U.S. Racial Dot Map (33 MB)

Please read the Access and Use Policy, which describes how this map can be used and how it should be cited.

NEW: You can see the new Congressional Dot Map project with election results here.

The Map

This map is an American snapshot; it provides an accessible visualization of geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people in every neighborhood in the entire country. The map displays 308,745,538 dots, one for each person residing in the United States at the location they were counted during the 2010 Census. Each dot is color-coded by the individual’s race and ethnicity. The map is presented in both black and white and full color versions. In the color version, each dot is color-coded by race.

All of the data displayed on the map are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Summary File 1 dataset made publicly available through the National Historical Geographic Information System. The data is based on the “census block,” the smallest area of geography for which data is collected (roughly equivalent to a city block in an urban area).

The map was created by Dustin Cable, a former demographic researcher at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. Brandon Martin-Anderson from the MIT Media Lab deserves credit for the original inspiration for the project. This map builds on his work by adding the Census Bureau’s racial data, and by correcting for mapping errors.

The Dots

Each of the 308 million dots are smaller than a pixel on your computer screen at most zoom levels. Therefore, the “smudges” you see at the national and regional levels are actually aggregations of many individual dots. The dots themselves are only resolvable at the city and neighborhood zoom levels.

Each dot on the map is also color-coded by race and ethnicity. Whites are coded as blue; African-Americans, green; Asians, red; Hispanics, orange; and all other racial categories are coded as brown.

Shades of Purple, Teal, and Other Colors

Since dots are smaller than one pixel at most zoom levels, colors are assigned to a pixel depending on the number of colored dots within that pixel. For example, if a pixel contains a number of White (blue dots) and Asian (red dots) residents, the pixel will be colored a particular shade of purple according to the proportion of each within that pixel.

Different shades of purple, teal, and other colors can therefore be a measure of racial integration in a particular area. However, a place that may seem racially integrated at wider zoom levels may obscure racial segregation at the city or neighborhood level.

Take the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area as an example:

While Minneapolis and St. Paul may appear purple and racially integrated when zoomed out at the state level, a closer look reveals a greater degree of segregation between different neighborhoods in both cities. While some areas remain relatively integrated, there are clear delineations between Asian, black, and white neighborhoods.

Lightly Populated Areas

Toggling between color-coded and non-color-coded map views in lightly populated areas provides more contrast to see differences in population density. Take North and South Dakota as illustrative examples:

In the black and white version, it is easier to see the smaller towns and low-density areas than in the color-coded version. Different monitor settings and configurations may make it harder or easier to see color variations in lightly populated areas, but the non-color-coded map should always show differences in population density fairly well.

Dots Located in Parks, Cemeteries, and Lakes

The locations of the dots do not represent actual addresses. The most detailed geographic identifier in Census Bureau data is the census block. Individual dots are randomly located within a particular census block to match aggregate population totals for that block. As a result, dots in some census blocks may be located in the middle of parks, cemeteries, lakes, or other clearly non-residential areas within that census block. No greater geographic resolution for the 2010 Census data is publicly available (and for good reason).

A more accurate portrayal of the geographic distribution of residents is possible if data is available on the location of parks, buildings, and/or physical addresses. Individual dots could therefore be conditionally placed based on this data.

The following is an example of using additional data to improve the dot density map for the City of Charlottesville, Virginia:

No Extra Data

Using Additional Address and Park Data

By conditioning the location of dots based on physical address and excluding locations with parks or commercial property, the dot map for Charlottesville becomes a more accurate portrayal of the population distribution of the city. However, the City of Charlottesville is unusual in that this data is made publicly available. There are no nationwide datasets for all parks or physical addresses. As a result, the national-level Racial Dot Map does not make these adjustments.

The Data

All of the data displayed on the map are from the 2010 Summary File 1 (SF1) tables from the U.S. Census Bureau. Table P5, “Hispanic or Latino Origin by Race,” was merged with block-level state shapefiles from the National Historical Geographic Information System. Five racial categories were created based on the data in table P5: non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Asian, Hispanic or Latino, and a category for all other racial categories including the multiracial identifications. The sum of all five categories equals the total population.


Python was used to read the 50 state and District of Columbia shapefiles (with the merged SF1 data). The GDAL and Shapely libraries were used to read the data and create the point objects. The code retrieves the population data for each census block, creates the appropriate number of geographic points randomly distributed within each census block, and outputs the point information to a database file. The resulting file has x-y coordinates for each point, a quadkey reference to the Google Maps tile system, and a categorical variable for race. The final database file has 308,745,538 observations and is about 21 GB in size. The processing time was about five hours for the entire nation.

The database file was then sorted by quadkey and converted to a .csv format. SAS was able to do this within an hour without crashing.

Processing 2.0.1 for 64-bit Windows was used to create the map tiles. The Java code reads each point from the .csv file and plots a dot on a 512×512 .png map tile using the quadkey reference and x-y coordinates. The racial categorical variable is used to color-code each plotted dot. This process used the default JAVA2D renderer, but other platforms may work better using P2D. Map tiles were created for Google Maps’ zoom levels 4 through 13 to make the final map. A non-color-coded map was also produced to help add more contrast for lightly populated areas. In total, the color-coded and non-color-coded maps contain 1.2 million .png files totaling about 7 GB. Producing all of the map tiles in Processing took about 16 hours for the two maps.

The Google Maps API is used to display the map tiles. Map tiles with zero population are never created using the above method. Therefore, an index was used to tell the map application whether a tile exists in order to prevent 404 errors.

The entire code is up on GitHub and was adapted from code developed by Brandon Martin-Anderson and Peter Richardson in order to account for the racial coding and errors in reading the shapefiles.

Adventures in mapping | TED Playlist

See on Scoop.itAdvanced Human Geography

Maps don’t just tell you which street to turn left on. Maps convey information that shapes our lives, deepen our understanding of problems and our ability to create solutions, and whisk our imaginations to new lands. See what we mean, below.

TheHumanImprint‘s insight:

Contemporary cartography in practice.

See on

Everything is in China: The World’s Architecture Replicated in Chinese Copy Towns

Everything is in China: The World’s Architecture Replicated in Chinese Copy Towns.

Via: Atlas Obscura


Thames Town Chapel (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)


The canals of Venice, the monuments of Paris, the skyscrapers of New York, even the pubs of London can all be found in China. The replicas are part of a trend of copycat architecture that has brought the architecture of the rest of the world, particularly of Europe and the United States, into the new developments of China’s growing cities. In a book released earlier this year called Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China by Bianca Bosker, these cloned communities are examined both in their historical and cultural context.

There’s Thames Town where a statue of Churchill looms before guards dressed in uniforms inspired by the Queen’s foot guard; New Amsterdam in Shenyang where a copy of the Hague’s Peace Palace is alongside a traditional ship; and New York, New York, where a dwarfed Chrysler Building cuts above a pseudo-Times Square. Bianca Bosker told us more about this replica architecture and her first-hand experience exploring the mirror cities.

How did you first encounter the copy towns of China? 

During a visit to China a number of years ago, I was intrigued by billboard after billboard advertising homes in elaborate fantasy-villes with names like “Venice Gardens,” “Majesty Manor,” and “Top Aristocrat.” It was especially jarring to see these ads for old-fashioned-looking homes — with façades and ornamentation seemingly borrowed from the days of dukes and duchesses  — juxtaposed with the cutting-edge, modern architecture going up in China’s cities. Why the obsession with chateaux and mock-villas, I wondered?

The “duplitecture” developments seemed too strange to be real, and, curious to see how the illustrated Euro-towns pictured on the ads compared to the real thing, I set out to see them for myself. It turned out in most cases, the copies were even more bizarre in person than the over-the-top billboards had let on. That led to several years of research that took me into theme-towns all across China, and served as the basis for my book on China’s duplitecture movement, Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China.


Luodian Town, a Scandinavian-themed town (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

Is there an aspect of Chinese culture that you think most influences the amount of copies there are, not just in towns, but in other aspects of life as well? 

As I discuss in my book, China, at least traditionally, has viewed copying with far greater nuance and tolerance than we have in the West. This perspective has helped create a copy-friendly climate where knockoff White Houses and Monet-manufacturing centers can flourish.

article-imageSan Carlos (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)


San Carlos (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

In the United States, we have a total aversion to copying: replication of any kind sets off a panic attack and copycats are seen as cheats. Yet in China, where there’s a long tradition of replicating everything from architecture and artwork to natural landscapes, copying isn’t viewed with such hostility. Traditionally, people saw there as being many distinct types of copies, each with certain merits and purposes. Being able to copy well could actually be a sign of one’s skill or ability — a good copier would be celebrated as a talent, not a thief, and a well-done replica could be a testament to achievement.

China’s current government leaders are also strategically encouraging imitation across a number of fields as a way for China to gain a competitive edge. In 2001, for example, the Shanghai government decided to hire ten foreign firms to build ten themed cities around Shanghai, each built in the style of a different European country. The officials in charge of the project noted they hoped working with foreign architects would help domestic designers come away with a sharper skill-set  they could apply to helping the nation grow and urbanize. This is mimicry as a path to mastery.

article-imageLuodian Town, a Scandinavian-themed town (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

article-imageAnother view of Luodian Town (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

The range of what is copied is really impressive, from Paris to Austrian towns. Can you give us some insight into how these copy towns are designed and built? Are they more than just quick copies? 

There are copycat communities where the Western flourishes — a column here, a statue there — are slapped on like icing on a birthday cake. But in many cases, the Chinese developers will actually go to extraordinary lengths to be sure their copies are as faithful to the originals as possible.

article-imageSan Carlos (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

Chinese architects will sometimes travel abroad to study the town they plan to copy firsthand, on location, to be sure their replica is just right (interestingly, many developers I spoke with said they’d found that Chinese architects were far better able to create the look and feel of a European town than their Western counterparts — they apparently knew what elements would scream “French” or “Spanish” to potential Chinese homebuyers).

Not only are the façades of these copycat homes designed to have a Western look, but their floor plans will borrow from abroad, the layout of the town will frequently replicate the original’s, and major landmarks will be recreated to make the whole fantasy more believable. The townhouses in Hangzhou’s Venice Water Town look out over canals crisscrossed by gondoliers’ boats, and the residences are just a few steps away from a copy of Saint Mark’s Square. Bits of European culture are often imported along with the architecture to make the whole replica even more complete. The British-themed Thames Town, for example, boasts  a cathedral, statues of British historical figures, streets with English names and even pubs and cafes serving typical British fare.

article-imageHolland Village (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

What’s the experience of visiting or living in a place that is a reflection of another place?

It’s crucial to note that many of these duplitecture developments are not theme parks, but neighborhoods where people live out their lives, raise their kids, and grow old. The homeowners who’ve opted to live in a replica Paris or Palm Beach most often say that they’ve embraced the Western style because it helps them show off their success and sophistication. “Living here means we have a social identity at the upper level,” one resident explained to me.

I think it’s still too early to say for certain how a generation of Chinese raised in Baroque townhouses or Ye Old English surroundings might be shaped by these themed surroundings. Will these landscapes help inculcate foreign cultural traditions? Might they promote an interest in emigrating abroad, or rather lessen the desire to leave China? Could homeowners embrace more Western political systems along with their Beaux Art homes or Mediterranean villas? We’ll see, and I’m fascinated to see how this evolves.

I’d highly recommend going to explore these places, and people can find numerous examples of these copycat landscapes throughout China listed in my book. The whole experience of touring China’s duplitecture developments, to borrow from the motto of one Italian-themed community, is “out of expectation within common sense.”

Here are five of these “copy towns” that Bianca Bosker shared with us:



Thames Town (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

Real estate agencies in Shanghai’s British-inspired Thames Town lure potential buyers with the promise that they can “Dream of England. Live in Thames Town,” and its glossy brochures are written for those who consider themselves “fond of steeple chasing, Premier League soccer, and the Beatles.”  The property, which welcomes day trippers, but is also home to full-time residents, is a mix of Gothic, Tudor, and half-timbered buildings, and includes a brick-for-brick replica of Bristol’s gothic Christ Church cathedral.

article-imageThames Town (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

It was built as part of the Shanghai government’s “One City, Nine Towns” plan, a massive urban planning project that set out to build ten satellite towns around Shanghai, each in the architectural style of a different European nation. Thames Town has a small commercial area with coffee shops, a pub, and various shops, along with neighborhoods surrounding it. The winding streets of the town are patrolled by security guards wearing uniforms inspired by those of
 the Queen’s Foot Guard, and the town is a favorite for Chinese couples seeking wedding portraits.

article-imageThames Town (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)


article-imageVenice Water Town (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

Hangzhou’s carbon-copy of Venice offers Italian-inspired, la dolce vita living in townhouses overlooking a network of manmade canals on which gondoliers navigate gondolas under stone bridges. The crown jewels of Venice Water Town are the town’s replicas of Venice’s most iconic landmarks: the ornately-tiled Doge’s Palace and the bell tower of Saint Mark’s Basilica.

article-imageVenice Water Town (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)


article-imagePalais de Fortune (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

The gargantuan, luxurious villas at Beijing’s Palais de Fortune development have been built with materials imported from France and have each been named after prized symbols of French culture, from “Louvre” to “Versailles.”

The enormous homes, each between 1,400 and 1,600 square meters in size, offer a seemingly endless number of bedrooms, balconies and lounging areas, including multiple kitchens, and are decorated to the hilt inside and out with chandeliers and cherubs. Like many of China’s copycat developments, security is extremely tight: visitors have to pass through multiple check points, each manned by a team of security guards who patrol the gold-tipped wrought-iron fence.

article-imagePalais de Fortune (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)


article-imageTianducheng, with French-themed architecture (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

In the suburbs of Hangzhou, China, the greatest hits of Parisian architecture have been recreated in a sprawling residential development complete with churches and carriage rides. While the self-described “Oriental Paris” boasts detailed replicas of Parisian apartment buildings and its very own Champs Elysées Square, it’s a strange hodgepodge of French landmarks.

When I visited, I found a one-third scale replica of the Eiffel Tower just a little ways away from a copy of a fountain from the Palace of Versailles, which was in turn not far from an amphitheater modeled after the famous Arena of Nîmes, as well as a miniature medieval-style French town.

article-imageTianducheng Hilltop castle (photograph by Bianca Bosker/Original Copies)

Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China (2013) by Bianca Bosker is available from University of Hawai’i Press.  

Nomothetic research vs. idiographic research

Nomothetic vs. Idiographic research is not just for the psychology field, it is important to all fields of the Social Sciences, including geography. Here is a breakdown between the significance of studying geographic phenomenon NOMOTHETICAL or IDEOGRAPHICALLY; another blog did it best, so here is the repost!


A key debate, is the one between the two research methods: nomothetic and idiographic. The debate concerns which method of enquiry is more important and which would allow greater and more valid investigation into the field of psychology.

Nomothetic research is about attempting to establish general laws and generalisations.  The focus of the nomothetic approach is to obtain objective knowledge through scientific methods. Hence quantitive methods of investigation are used, to try and produce statistically significant results. The subsequent laws that are created can be categorised into three kinds: classifying people into groups, establishing principles and establishing dimensions. An example of this from the world of psychology is the ‘Diagnostic and statistical Manuals of Mental Disorders’ (DSM), which provides the classifications for mental disorders, hence classifying people into groups.

The methods of investigation used by the nomothetic approach collects scientific and quantitive data. To do this, experiments and observations are…

View original post 679 more words

Doctors selling their practices – Jul. 16, 2013

A growing trend in the United States is to see less doctors practicing. We are seemingly suffering a brain drain of doctors who want to have their own private practice, but end up giving up their specialties to work for a hospital instead.

Top reasons that doctors are calling it quits:

1. Doctors are tired of the hassle of filing insurance claims

2.Doctors are tired of collecting payments from patients

3. Doctors want to only focus on medicine

4.The unknowns of Obamacare, though the problem of doctors bailing from their practice started long before the plan was put into place.

In a country that likes to tout itself as the most developed in the World, the United States is ranks 38th in the World for quality of health systems [World Health Organization 2000 report). Ironically, the United States also ranked 1st for expenditure per capita.  We spend the most but receive less care. Is it possible that a market driven health care system is the reason we are failing?


Doctors selling their practices – Jul. 16, 2013.

docotrs selling practices cobb

Dr. Patrick Cobb sold his private oncology practice in December 2012. “It just wasn’t feasible for us to stay in practice,” he said.


Doctors who own private practices are looking for a way out. Fed up with their rising business expenses and shrinking payouts from insurers, many are selling their practices to hospitals.

It’s happening nationwide and has picked up pace, said Tony Stajduhar, president at Jackson & Coker, a physician recruitment firm.

docotrs selling practices cobb

Experts say the number of physicians unloading their practices to hospitals is up 30% to 40% in the last five years. Doctors who sell typically become employees of the hospital, as do the people who work for them.

The reasons for the trend vary. Doctors are tired of the hassle of filing insurance claims and collecting payments from patients and want to only focus on medicine again, Stajduhar said.

Obamacare has also created more fear of the unknown. Doctors are worried that new regulations will add to their administrative work and require them to pour more money into their businesses, Stajduhar said.

Dr. Patrick Cobb, an oncologist in Montana, sold his 30-year group practice Frontier Cancer Center to a hospital in December. His practice was struggling for years even before health reform passed.

Changes in chemotherapy drug reimbursements badly hurt the business, he said. In cancer treatment, patients don’t buy the drugs themselves. Oncologists buy the drugs and then bill insurers for the cost. Medicare significantly reduced reimbursements in 2003 for chemotherapy drugs.

That was a turning point, said Cobb. “We spent millions on drugs that we bought directly from distributors. When reimbursements fell, our costs went up,” he said. Cobb and four other oncologists at the practice took pay cuts to offset declining revenues, but it wasn’t enough. In 2008, the practice closed one of its four locations.

Cobb and his partners looked for a buyer in 2012 and found one in Billings, Mont.-based St. Vincent Healthcare. The hospital system hired Cobb and the rest of the practice’s staff. “It just wasn’t feasible for us to stay in practice,” said Cobb.

The cycle of hospitals buying private practices has happened before. In the early 1990s, hospitals went on a buying spree as a way to get access to more patients, said Thomas Anthony, an attorney with Frost Brown Todd in Cincinnati. At the time, it was a sellers’ market and the deals were financially rewarding for doctors.

This time, the market dynamics are different. Doctors are eager to sell and might not be able to make as much as they did in the first wave of acquisitions, said Anthony.

But, for sure, hospitals are buying.

As more of Obamacare is put in place, hospitals are rushing to increase their market share in anticipation of millions more Americans getting access to health care. Buying practices is a quick way to do that, Anthony said. And more private practice doctors want to enjoy steady salaries and hours again as hospital employees.

Dr. Dwayne Smith, a bariatric surgeon, sold his group practice to a hospital two years ago. His practice was profitable but costs were creeping higher in recent years because of shrinking reimbursements.

Related Story: Why doctors can’t stay afloat

One big cost coming down the pike was tied to electronic medical records. Federal law gives physicians until 2015 to implement digital records technology or face a 1% reduction in Medicare payments.

“This would have been a very difficult investment for us,” said Smith.

Smith’s practice approached Cincinnati-based St. Elizabeth Healthcare in 2011 with an offer to sell. The hospital bought the practice and Smith became a hospital employee. He’s happy with the decision even though he has had to adjust to the loss of autonomy.

“My hours are better. I’m not spending hours on administrative work or worrying about my business,” said Smith.

The private practice model is very expensive to operate, said John Dubis, CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “That’s why it’s diminishing,” he said. Most of the 300 physicians employed by the hospital’s specialty physicians group have come from private practices.

Said Cobb, the oncologist: “We have a joke that there are two kinds of private practices left in America. Those that sold to hospitals and those that are about to be sold.”

Electoral Geography: How Growing Majority-Minority Districts Effect Elections

Voting BallotWhen talking about ELECTORAL GEOGRAPHY and the importance of analyzing the effects of a changing voting population, the 2012 U.S. Census revealed a change that probably does not shock most. ETHNIC groups are on the rise and non-white majority districts are decreasing. MAJORITY-MINORITY districts have the ability to impact REDISTRICTING of voting boundaries every ten years.  The ruling political party of the state conducts the redistricting, and if it can be proven to be done in their favor, it is known as GERRYMANDERING (illegal yet is still happens-Right…I don’t know either…).

Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article that explains how highly populated ETHNIC ENCLAVES can be dealt with and used for political advantage.

“So if Democrats are in charge of the redistricting process in New York in 2020, perhaps they can find a way to squeeze out another Democratic seat or two by splitting up minority voters. And if Republicans are in charge in Texas, perhaps they can avoid giving up as many seats to Democrats by diluting the minority vote in cities like Dallas and Houston.”

Basically, if there are too many minority voters who might have a tendency to vote for a Democrat in the district, they will have more votes than they need to win the district, so why not spread them out over more iffy ones?

Similarly, if a state losses or gains a larger portion of people due to MIGRATION or NATURAL POPULATION INCREASE, the 435 representative seats will need to be REAPPORTIONED (redistributed) across the states.  States such as California, Texas, New York, and Illinois who already have a large number of majority-minority districts, might earn themselves more fighting power on the FEDERAL level.


Repost from:

Since 1982, Minority Congressional Districts Have Tripled—GRAPHIC

By  and David Wasserman

Updated: May 29, 2013 | 9:33 p.m.
April 13, 2012 | 6:54 a.m.

In 1980, the nonwhite share of the U.S. population was 17 percent, and by 1982 there were 35 majority nonwhite districts. In the 2010 census, the nonwhite share of the nation’s population had ballooned to 28 percent, mostly fueled by Latino growth. But over the same time period, the number of nonwhite majority districts has more than tripled, to 106. For the first time ever, a majority of states–26–will contain majority nonwhite districts, in part thanks to new deliberately drawn minority-majority seats in Washington state where Asian-Americans are the largest minority group.

22 Maps That Show The Deepest Linguistic Conflicts In America – Business Insider

Topics: Language, dialect, pronunciation, accent, isogloss, thematic map

Everyone knows that Americans don’t exactly agree on pronunciations. 

Regional accents are a major part of what makes American English so interesting as a dialect.

Joshua Katz, a Ph. D student in statistics at North Carolina State University, just published a group of awesome visualizations of Professor Bert Vaux and Scott Golder’s linguistic survey that looked at how Americans pronounce words. (via detsl on /r/Linguistics)

His results were first published on Abstractthe N.C. State research blog.

Follow the link below to see some more of the coolest maps from his collection.

Read more:

22 Maps That Show The Deepest Linguistic Conflicts In America – Business Insider.