Secretary Haaland Takes Action Against Derogatory Place Names

We’ve seen efforts to replace racist and offensive place names in the past, but in general they’ve happened at the state or provincial level. But on Friday U.S. interior secretary Deb Haaland took action at the federal level. She issued two orders designed to speed up the replacement of derogatory place names, the process for which to date has been on a case-by-case, complaint-based basis. One order declares “squaw” to be an offensive term and directs the Board of Geographic Names to change place names on federal lands that use the term; the other establishes a federal advisory committee on derogatory geographic names.

Previously: Maine Reviews Registry Containing Racist Place Names; Racist Place Names in Quebec, Removed in 2015, Remain on Maps; Washington State Senator Seeks Removal of Offensive Place Names; Review: From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow.

A Redistricting Roundup

The New York Times (screenshot)

Gerrymandering in Texas

The New York Times and Texas Monthly look at the bizarre shapes in the new congressional electoral map of Texas, which gains two new representatives. Texas Monthly’s Dan Solomon: “Across the state, there will be one more majority-Anglo district than under the prior map, and one fewer majority-Hispanic one. The two new seats Texas was awarded for its booming population will be placed in Austin and Houston—and even though non-Anglo newcomers made up 95 percent of the state’s population growth the last decade, both districts will be Anglo-majority.” Kenneth Field has some thoughts. [Maps Mania]

Making Redistricting More Fair

A Surge of Citizen Activism Amps Up the Fight Against Gerrymandering (Bloomberg): “From North Carolina to Michigan to California, voting rights groups, good government advocates, data crunchers and concerned voices are finding new ways into the fight for fair representation, via informational meetings, mapping contests, testimony workshops and new technologies.”

Can Math Make Redistricting More Fair? (CU Boulder Today): “Clelland doesn’t advocate for any political party or for any particular redistricting proposal. Instead, she and her colleagues use mathematical models to build a series of redistricting statistics. These numbers give redistricting officials a baseline that they can compare their own maps to, potentially identifying cases of gerrymandering before they’re inked into law.”

Previously: The Washington Post Examines Proposed Congressional District Maps.

COVID-19 in the U.S. in 60 Seconds

Another time-lapse map of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, this one from David A. West, who posted the above to r/dataisbeautiful on Reddit. This one shows new cases per capita on a county-by-county basis.

Previously: COVID-19 Spreading Across the United States.

The Washington Post Examines Proposed Congressional District Maps

The Washington Post (screenshot)

Redistricting—and gerrymandering—is one of the blacker cartographic arts. With the release of data from the 2020 U.S. Census, and the changes in state congressional delegations—some states gain a seat or two, some states lose a seat, others are unchanged—new congressional maps are being drawn up for the 2022 elections. The Washington Post takes a look at proposed congressional district maps in Colorado, Indiana and Oregon, and what their impact may be.

FCC Releases 4G/LTE Availability Map

Last month the U.S. Federal Communications Commission released an interactive map showing 4G/LTE cellular voice and data coverage in the United States from the four major providers. This is the first FCC map released under the 2020 Broadband DATA Act, which mandated better maps than the FCC has been producing in the past (previously). [The Verge]

Mapping ICU Capacity During the Delta Wave

New York Times map of ICU capacity in the United States
The New York Times (screenshot)

Thanks to a combination of low vaccination rates and the COVID-19 Delta variant, intensive care wards are filling up across the United States. The New York Times maps one of the more disturbing metrics of the pandemic: the percentage of occupied ICU beds by hospital region.

CDC Vaccination Maps

Screenshot of CDC Covid Data Tracker map showing county-level vaccination equity in the United States
CDC (screenshot)

Maps tracking the progress of the U.S.’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker (now) include an interactive county-level map showing first and second doses among 12+, 18+ and 65+ populations and a map of vaccine equity (above): a bivariate choropleth map showing the relationship between vaccination coverage and social vulnerability (housing, vehicle access, general poverty).

River Runner

Sam Learner’s River Runner is an amazing visualization that traces the path of a raindrop falling anywhere in the contiguous United States to where it reaches the ocean or leaves U.S. territory. “It’ll find the closest river/stream flowline coordinate to a click/search and then animate along that flowline’s downstream path.” It’s a tad resource-intensive, and if you end up in the Mississippi basin it will take a while (and make clear just how big that river system is), but it’s absolutely transfixing.

Mapping NOAA’s New Climate Normals

This month NOAA updated the official U.S climate normals. You know how in a weather forecast a meteorologist talks about normal temperatures or normal amounts of rain? The climate normals define what normal is: they take into account weather over the past 30 years, and are updated every 10 years. As you might expect, the normals do reveal the extent of climate change.

NOAA

NOAA compares the new 1991-2020 normals period with the one that came before (1981-2010): “Most of the U.S. was warmer, and the eastern two-thirds of the contiguous U.S. was wetter, from 1991–2020 than the previous normals period, 1981–2010. The Southwest was considerably drier on an annual basis, while the central northern U.S. has cooled somewhat.” (Bear in mind that there’s a 20-year overlap between the two normals.)

The New York Times (screenshot)

The New York Times has created a series of animated maps showing how 30-year normals compare with 20th-century averages for temperature and precipitation. “The maps showing the new temperature normals every 10 years, compared with the 20th century average, get increasingly redder.”

The data is available from NOAA’s website.

U.S. COVID Vaccination Rates and Active Cases

Screenshot of an interactive bivariate choropleth map showing COVID vaccination rates and active cases in the United States.
McKinsey & Company (screenshot)

This interactive map compares U.S. COVID vaccination rates with active cases at the county level. Created by McKinsey and Company’s COVID Response Center, it’s a bivariate choropleth map that shows two variables at once. (If this confuses you, the legend helps.) It’s a good way to see where low vaccination rates correlate with lots of COVID cases (red on this map), or high vaccination rates with few cases (teal); the map lets you explore other variables as well. [Maps Mania]

Mapping Broadband Access (or Lack Thereof) in America

Map showing U.S. counties where less than 15% of U.S. households access the internet at broadband speed
The Verge

The Verge maps the gaps in U.S. broadband coverage. “This map shows where the broadband problem is worst—the areas where the difficulty of reliably connecting to the internet has gotten bad enough to become a drag on everyday life. Specifically, the colored-in areas show US counties where less than 15 percent of households are using the internet at broadband speed, defined as 25Mbps download speed. (That’s already a pretty low threshold for calling something ‘high-speed internet,’ but since it’s the Federal Communications Commission’s standard, we’ll stick with it.)” They’re using anonymized Microsoft cloud data rather than the FCC’s numbers (which don’t have a good track record reflecting real-world speeds).

Previously: The FCC’s Broadband Map ‘Hallucinates’ Broadband Access.