A Modern Statistical Atlas of the United States with an 1870s Twist

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

The last Statistical Atlas of the United States was produced in 2000 (although that atlas was called the Census Atlas of the United States). The 2010 edition was never created due to budget cuts.  

Nathan Yau from the FlowingData blog decided to produce his own atlas by pulling publicly available US government data.  Yau’s design inspiration was the first Atlas which was produced by Francis A. Walker in 1874 and based on 1870 census data.

Pulling data from the last 2010 census, Yau recreated the look and feel of the original 1870s atlas.  Yau’s atlas covers such areas as geology, weather, land cover, demographics, education, agriculture, and finances.

Visit Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data to see all the maps.  In each section, Yau has also hyperlinked the sources of data he used to create the maps.  He also mentions that with the exception of the text, the atlas was created using R programming.


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A few of the maps:

Map of Streams and Waterbodies of the United States

Map showing the streams and waterbodies of the US with data from the USGS, 2014. Map: Yau, FlowingData.
Map showing the streams and waterbodies of the US with data from the USGS, 2014. Map: Yau, FlowingData.

Map of the Distribution of Severe Hail in the United States

Map of severe hail distribution in the US. Data: National Weather Service, 2014. Map: Yau, FlowingData
Map of severe hail distribution in the US. Data: National Weather Service, 2014. Map: Yau, FlowingData

Related: Geography of Hailstorms in the United States

Map of Soybean Cultivation

Map showing soybean cultivation in the United States. Data: Department of Agriculture, 2014. Map: Yau, FlowingData.
Map showing soybean cultivation in the United States. Data: Department of Agriculture, 2014. Map: Yau, FlowingData.

Related: Monitoring Crop Production Via Satellite

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.