Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving with D3

I've been studying bits and pieces of D3.js for the past few weeks.  Although I've struggled with data binding in the data-driven nature of the framework, the library comes with a large number of interesting features like support for Voronoi diagrams and dozens of geographical projections.

The creator of the library, Mike Bostock, has made a mind-boggling number of examples available on, and there's also a text by Scott Murray that O'Reilly makes available for free online.

Since it's almost Thanksgiving, I thought I'd try making some choropleths about turkey production and consumption in the US.  As it turns out, this is fairly straightforward using D3: download some free SVGs of blank maps from Wikimedia Commons; find the relevant US Census and USDA data to create CSV files; and link up the two with a few lines of code.

  • Top = turkey production by state in 2010[1].  Minnesota and North Carolina produce by far the most turkeys, with a combined total of over 2 billion pounds.
  • Bottom = per capita meat consumption by county in 2011[2].  The relative uniformity of the data isn't surprising, but I wouldn't have guessed the pockets of above-average consumption in the Northeast and California (perhaps a positive correlation with income?).  

[2] USDA, Food Environment Atlas Data, 2011.  This was the closest proxy I could find to turkey consumption.  No data available for Alaska and Hawaii.

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