Finding illegal airstrips in Brazil

Using a combination of satellite imagery, crowdsourced databases, and analyses, The New York Times identified airstrips used for illegal mining in Brazil: To confirm these locations and connect them with illicit mining, Times reporters built a tool to help analyze thousands of satellite images. They examined historical satellite imagery to determine that 1,269 unregistered airstrips still appeared in active use within the past year. They documented telltale signs of mining...

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Indicators for a recession

People disagree whether the United States is in a recession or not, because there isn’t a generalized formula you can just plug some numbers into. Instead, the translation of of many economic indicators to a binary definition is more complicated. For The Washington Post, Alyssa Fowers and Kevin Schaul report on work from the National Bureau of Economic Research. A set of baseline charts show how indicators currently compare to...

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Mapping extreme heat

For Bloomberg, Marie Patino reports on the shifting design choices for mapping weather extremes. The rainbow color scheme and sunny icons aren’t cutting it anymore. Tags: Bloomberg, climate, color, heat

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Sequoia tree wildfire protection

For Reuters, Travis Hartman, Ally J. Levine, and Anurag Rao describe the measures taken to protect giant sequoia trees from wildfire. The trees have their own protections with thick bark and dropped branches. Firefighters help by watering the ground underneath and directing giant flames to other areas. I’m into the vintage-y illustration. It starts you at the top of the tree and guides you down the trunk to the ground,...

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Mapping the cool spots in hot cities

As city centers heat up, people search for cooler areas. For Bloomberg Green, Laura Millan, Hayley Warren and Jeremy Scott Diamond mapped the neighborhoods for a handful of hot cities that have something to cool the area: Satellite images produced by the European Space Agency, working in part with data from NASA and the US Geological Survey, now have a high enough resolution to allow for temperature variations to be...

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✚ Focus Change

Welcome to issue #200 of The Process, the newsletter for FlowingData members that looks closer at how the charts get made. I’m Nathan Yau, and this week I’m interested in how a few lines and a color fill can change how others see a dataset. Become a member for access to this — plus tutorials, courses, and guides.

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Amtrak train route explorer

This visual explorer by Rachel Binx lets you see Amtrak routes and stations in the United States. Click on a route. See the stations. Seeing the routes laid out like this kind of makes me want to take a ride? I rode Amtrak years ago, and it wasn’t my favorite, but maybe it’s different now. I don’t know, I’m still envying the train network in Europe. Tags: Amtrak, Rachel Binx,...

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More friendships between rich and poor might mean less poverty

Recently published in Nature, research by Chetty, R., Jackson, M.O., Kuchler, T. et al. suggests that economic connectedness, or friendships between rich and poor, could improve economic mobility. The researchers used Facebook connection data from 70.3 million users, along with demographic and income data. NYT’s The Upshot explains the relationships with a collection of maps and charts. You can find an anonymized, aggregated version of the data through the Social Capital...

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Most notable person, everywhere in the world

Who is the most famous person born in the place you live? This interactive map by Topi Tjukanov lets you answer that question for anywhere in the world. The pool of possible people comes from a cross-verified database of 2.29 million people, based on Wikipedia entries and Wikidata. You can also see the most notable person per category: culture, science, leadership, and sports. See also The Pudding’s U.S. map from...

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Mapping how far you can travel by train in five hours, from any European station

This European travel map by Benjamin Td shows how far you can travel in five hours, given a station location. Just hover over the map, and you see the areas, or isochrones that are reachable in five hours, assuming 20 minutes for interchanges. The project is based on data from Deutsch Bahn, and was inspired by a more dotty map by Julius Tens. It reminds me of Tom Carden’s (now...

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