Buffalo - Everyone's Favorite Big City?

Source: www.city-data.com

Source: www.city-data.com

In case you missed it, Buffalo NY was just ranked #1 in Travel+ Leisure's America's Favorite Places survey

We love Buffalo. John went to high school there, which is also where he met Mrs. Everydata. The city has come a long way in recent years, thanks to Canalside, the Medical Campus and other developments. 

But is Buffalo really #1? It depends how you look at the data.

  • The rankings were based on publicly available online survey, which meant that anyone with Internet access could cast a vote. Presumably, this also means that all votes are equal. A vote from the top travel writer in the country would count just as much as a vote from your Uncle Joe. 
  • Cities were defined as "governed bodies with a population over 100,000" according to Travel+Leisure. So if your favorite city was smaller than that, it wasn't eligible. 
  • Voters could rank cities based on more than 65 categories, and then "each entry was ranked according to an average score." As you know, an average can hide variation in the data. For example, if everyone ranked Buffalo highly on 60 out of 65 categories, and poorly on the other 5, Buffalo would still likely have a very high average score—a score that effectively hides the low scores in 5 categories.
  • Another question to ask: were all categories treated the same in the average, or were some categories weighted more heavily than others?  

This all comes back to something we stress in our book: Are you asking the right question to get the answer you want? In this case, are you asking which city is ranked the highest by travel experts? Or are you asking which city is the most popular with people who answer online surveys?

Was Jonas Really a $3 Billion Dollar Blizzard?

As the East Coast digs out from the Blizzard of 2016, a recent report from Moody's Analytics estimates the cost of the Blizzard to be between $2.5 and $3 billion dollars. When there are major weather events of this nature, we often see these types of estimates calculated and widely reported in the media.

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Mapping Great Literary Trips

Source: atlas Obscura
Source: atlas Obscura

In this terrific WONKBLOG from the Washington Post, Anna Swanson highlights these fascinating maps of road trips from Great American Literature:

"Richard Kreitner pays homage to this institution in a new interactive map of the most famous roadtrips in American literature.  With the help of mapmaker Steven Melendez, Kreitner traced the trajectory of road trips taken in 12 famous works of literature, all of which are either non-fictional or told in the first person."

Atlas Obscura has the more detailed map and the original story, The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature's Most Epic Road Trips, by Richard Kreitner and Steven Melendez.

London in Spring Time

Source: http://sosyalinsan.deviantart.com/
Source: http://sosyalinsan.deviantart.com/

"Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.  for there is in London all that life can afford."     - Samuel Johnson

Over the last few weeks, I have stumbled upon a surprising number of data related visualizations that capture various aspects of the city of London.   Unlike some of our other posts, there is no particular statistical theme, but rather just a range of different data snapshots of a great European city.

Source: http://willgallia.com/content/images/tubebeg.jpg
Source: http://willgallia.com/content/images/tubebeg.jpg

First, a "living breathing transit map" found on the City Lab website and created by Will Gallia. This map is based on "562,145 journeys on the London Underground network" druing a single week in 2009.   Along the same lines, here is a traffic visualization for London created by 422 South CGI and Visual FX.

Next, a series of interactive maps of London brought to you by the beta website Place I Live. One can configure the map to show a wide range of things, including population density, bagel shops, and in this example, air pollution density.

Finally, if you are in the mood for more London data visualizations, the book London, The Information Capitalby James Chesire and Oliver Alberti is for you.  I stumbled upon this in preparing this blog, and it looks terrific.  I also suggest this blog by one of the authors, James Cheshire (@spatialanalysis) called spatial.ly.  In this particularly relevant post, he describes how London continues to be at the forefront of open data initiatives.