Inspiring Ingenuity

Alteryx, Bicycles and Teaching Kids Programming.

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Food Desert – Follow Up

28d23fa76b95f5bc445e0e5b37e5c928I had a few follow on requests from yesterday’s post…  The 1st was for a map of Alaska.  I feel a little guilty for not including it in the first place, but it is difficult to make an aesthetic  map that includes the contiguous states and Alaska and Hawaii (I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t include that too.)  I made them both pretty high resolution, so I changed the scale so 1 dot equals 50 people instead of 500 for the national map. Continue reading


Alteryx: Big Data and Current Events

Or a National Summary of Food Deserts

ba9b4a63ebf91e8f91c66f1ec3e4d397Food Deserts, areas that are a longer than normal distance to grocery stores, have been an ongoing topic in politics and demographics for a while now.  I first heard about the concept when Rahm Emanuel started talking about it in his run for mayor of Chicago.  I have continued to see articles and blog posts about it and every time I think that Alteryx would make it much easier to create a more nuanced analysis.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I wanted to start with a map.  As I explored in Dot Density Maps, mapping a phenomenon that without exaggerating rural areas can be very hard.  Look at some of the other maps online: here, here, here, etc…  They all show the problem seemingly as a rural problem.  To be fair, a lot of blogs are looking at it from a socioeconomic or health point of view and rural areas do play a large part.  In the map on the left (click for a larger version) each dot represents 500 people in a Food Desert.  It becomes clear that the issue is primarily a suburban issue.  There is a ring around almost every city of food desert.  From an environmental point of view, this is a disaster.  It becomes impossible to walk or ride a bike to get food, so that much more gas is burned and that much more time is wasted sitting in traffic.

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Alteryx: Dot Density Maps

As well as tips for writing reusable macros…

I have been continuing down my path of writing a general interest post about Food Deserts.  Most maps you find online of Food Deserts, or any other phenomenon that happens primarily in rural areas make the issue look much larger than it really is.  Looking at a map of the 2008 US presidential election, you would never guess that the blue team won.  Rural areas are a larger portion of the map than they are of the people and so it is very easy to create a misleading map.  I wanted to explore mapping methodologies that properly shows the scope of an issue – not exaggerating it by making it look bigger or smaller than it actually is.  You can click on all the maps in this post for a larger version.

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