MapCarte 24/365: The Racial Dot Map by Dustin Cable, 2013


Click image to view the online web map

Dot maps have always provided a way of overcoming some of the limitations of the choropleth map for mapping population based data. When constructed correctly, unpopulated places are devoid of symbols so we see the true structure of the populated places through dot density.

Here, Dustin Cable has made good use of the web map as a medium to create a highly detailed map which re-renders at each scale revealing increasing levels of detail. At its most detailed he assigns 1 dot to 1 person. Dots are inevitably placed randomly within the finest census geography available but with a dasymetric technique being deployed at larger scales he creates an accurate view of the racial diversity. Colour is used to differentiate between the main race types and user controls allow you to toggle between a simple monochrome representation to the coloured version which allows you to see structure more clearly in one; and diversity in another.

Cable allows the user to remove the UI controls to create an uncluttered viewing experience and also allows us to toggle basiv topographic detail (roads, place names etc). This is a great way of allowing us to orientate as well as seeing how geography acts to split the racial groups but also provides the flexibility to remove map content to give increased clarity to the data itself. Marrying a highly detailed map with simple display is the winning combination on this map.