Weekend Open Thread (Belated): A Map of OC’s Population in Just the Dots

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I found something sort of cool that I thought worth sharing in this weekend’s (belated) Open Thread.  Pretending that you haven’t already seen the headline above, see if you can figure out what it is.

Dot Map of OC's population

Can you find your dot? (It’s easier if you live in the canyons than in Santa Ana.)

It’s (most of) Orange County, with the top tilted about 45 degrees to the left so that I-5 and the shoreline look more or less horizontal.  But it may be unlike any map you’ve seen — like Soylent Green, it’s made of people.  And it’s not the entire map — the entire map from which I extracted this includes every person in the U.S. and Canada, based on the most recent census census.  Zooming out at far as possible, and leaving out anything north of Calgary, east of the Canadian Maritime Islands, and west of Washington’s San Juan Islands, it looks like this:

Population Map of US

Territories not included.

Sure, you’ve probably seen a population map before.  But this one’s different: it zooms in.  A whole lot.  I gave South County short shrift before, so here’s maximum magnification (with a true north orientation) of San Clemente.  (The white diagonal stripe is, I presume, I-5.)  Some readers might, quite seriously, be able to find their own dots.

San Clemente "Census Dot" map

(OJB apologizes for the inclusion of a portion of northern San Diego County.)

And you can do this for all of North America north of the Rio Grande.  As the author writes: “The map presents one dot for every person counted by the 2010 US and 2011 Canadian censuses.”  In case you’ve lost count, that’s 341,817,095 dots.

This amazing time-sink can be found at this website.  The map is the work of Brandon Martin-Anderson, based on block level data.  He wanted “an image of human settlement patterns unmediated by proxies like city boundaries, arterial roads, state lines, &c.”  Yes, it was computerized; he wrote the script and a friend provided extra server capacity.  You can read more at the link.

Talk about this or talk about something else, as you please.  This is 2013’s first Weekend Open Thread.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)