One Racial Dot Map Closes, Several New Ones Appear

Maps Mania reported last month that the University of Virginia’s Racial Dot Map has been taken offline. The proximate causes: the 2020 census, which rendered the map obsolete (it was based on 2010) data; the increased complexity of the 2020 census’s racial data (more people IDing as multiracial or other); and insufficient resources to bring the map up to date given that complexity. But Maps Mania points to a number of new racial dot maps, such as CNN’s and Ben Schmidt’s All of US, which operate despite the caveats identified by UVa; plus see the following previous posts: Census Mapper: An Interactive Map of U.S. Population Changes; Mapping Racial Population Shifts in the United States.

Amazon, Race, and Same-Day Delivery

Last month Bloomberg story looked at the racial implications of Amazon’s same-day delivery service, which, the story demonstrated in a series of maps, tended to exclude predominantly black ZIP codes.

Atlanta (Bloomberg)

The exclusions were basically driven by the data: where their customers were, driving distance to the nearest fulfillment centre, that sort of thing. But the issue, it seems to me, is that the demographics behind the data are not racially neutral (something that Troy Lambert’s analysis for GIS Lounge, for example, fails to address): Amazon basically failed to ask its data the next question. Be very careful of why your data is the way it is. In the event, Amazon has since announced that excluded neighbourhoods and boroughs in Boston, New York and Chicago will get same-day service.

(Full disclosure: The Map Room is an Amazon associate.)