Archive | November, 2012

Oakland has the 7th highest number of bike commuters nationally

20 Nov

I’ve become part of a profession where the U.S. Census Bureau’s data release dates are celebrated like mini-holidays. Each data product is a little wrapped gift, and size of the informational presents to be found within has little to do with how big the package is.  Mostly recently, my department reveled in the 2011 American Community Survey data. As I mentioned before, the ACS is the source of data on commute modes, among other things, so it was hardly surprising that the Bicycling and Pedestrian Facilities Program tore the wrapping off that package eagerly.

Take that, Tuscon!

And what a present it contained! According to the survey, bicycle commuting in Oakland is at an all-time high. Oakland now has the seventh highest rate of bicycling  of the 100 largest cities in the country. Take that, Tuscon! Five thousand Oaklanders commute by bicycle, and increase of over 250 percent since 2000. And remember, that’s only people for whom bicycling is the primary mode of transportation to work — it doesn’t include people who only bike in on Mondays, or bike to a bus stop or BART station, or drive to work but bike to shop.

After a flurry of emails, margin of error checks and hasty chart-making, we drafted a press release, which is available in its entirety here. Because what good is a present if you can’t show it off? It’s gratifying it see Oakland’s investment in bike lanes, boulevards, parking, racks, and other infrastructure pay off. Maybe if I can get a certain fellow MPP to tune up my bike, I can add a thousandth of a percent to next year’s mode share estimate.


Beautiful Moon Maps

6 Nov

It’s important to have aspirations. I’m still in the very first stages of learning things about GIS. So far, most of what I’ve done is make choropleth maps slightly better than an over-achieving 9th grader with  a big box of colored pencils. I’m excited to learn more though, and to that end I’ve started keeping a file of amazing maps. Some are obvious-in-retrospect simple, some are look-at-it-for-days complex and some, well,  some are just beautiful.

Check out this Geologic Map of the Near Side of the Moon:

Geologic Map of the Near Side of the Moon
by Don E. Wilhelms and John F. McCauley (1971)
(U.S. Geological Survey map I-703)

I mean, I have an affinity for moon maps*. My room is decorated with two pull-out maps from 1970’s National Geographics. But this one is worth ordering a print and then planning your room around it, at least to me. It’s not terribly informative without it’s legend (which  is another neat little piece of data visualization, all laid out in a table).  But it still manages to give a sense of the moon’s contours and elevations. But mostly, its just gorgeous.


H/T: Aubrey Drescher’s “Map Production” series

*It’s a long story, which starts with reading Veronica by Nicholas Christopher in a fit of quasi-megalomania. I highly recommend all his books.