Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Ah, Halloween. That special time of year (and my personal favorite holiday) where people don costumes and eat far more candy than they should. An occasion for spending time with friends and frightening off the evil spirits, and carving jack-o'-lanterns to remind us of the souls trapped in Purgatory. Or just because it's a fun tradition. 

In honor of Halloween tomorrow, here is a map created by Esri showing where the most money in America was spent on children's Halloween costumes last year.

Unsurprisingly, urban areas tend to spend more money, though sometimes they are outshone by the folk in suburban areas, which is shown by doughnut-like shapes of darker color-- for examples, look at the ones around Minneapolis, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Orlando, Floria.

I hope you all dress up and have a happy and safe Halloween!

Here is a larger version of the map.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Watersheds in Michigan

Watersheds, or drainage basins, are areas of land where all the water under it and all the water that drains off of it ends up in the same place. Oftentimes sediment, pollution, and fertilizer runoff can be deposited and concentrated in their watersheds, which is why it's important to remember to be cautious when dealing with substances that may end up in the groundwater.

The Hydrologic Studies Unit of the Land and Water Management Division in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality made this helpful map to let people know which major watershed they were in.

Washtenaw County is mostly in the Huron watershed, but fairly large parts of it are also in the Raisin and Stony Creek watersheds.

See a larger and more complete version (including the U.P. and the legend) of the map here, and read more about watersheds here or here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall foliage maps

The Weather Channel has kindly provided an interactive map for those who want to know when the peak colors of fall will be gracing the branches of trees in their area.

Here we can see that, in early October, the Ann Arbor region (as well as most of the rest of the mitten) was still a little short of its peak:

Stay tuned, folks! The best is yet to come!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oil Spills by county

Since 1990, over 110 million gallons of crude oil and petroleum products have spilled from pipelines across America. The New York Times maps it all out by county here.

More than half of the spills occurred in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, where there are more pipelines and thus more potential for equipment failure and corrosion, two of the more prevalent causes for oil spills.