Sunday, August 4, 2013

Comparing Two Cities

Compare Two Cities

I like comparing city populations and sizes to see how they stack up against each other. You have to look beyond just the population to really gauge the size and how they compare. So I made a little web app to do it! It's written in JavaScript and currently only supports cities with a population of at least 50,000. Enter a city in the format "New York, NY" and Give it a try!

Enter two cities to compare:

1) I would like to transition the app to use the census API found here: http://www.census.gov/developers/

2) Eventually I would like to compare cities by taking the actual land area of one city and expanding/shrinking the city limits to the land area of a different city and measuring the population from those new city limits.

Some hurdles would potentially be: Expanding a city in an intelligent way so as to avoid uninhabitable area, getting the population of an area defined by a polygon and maybe getting the population to enough detail.

After some research I believe this may be theoretically possible by expanding/shrinking the city limits in the direction of population centers of the surrounding area. For example, if you looked at a choropleth map of population density you would easily be able to tell in what direction it logically made sense to expand or shrink a city while avoiding uninhabited areas. It also appears that census data is accurate down to the block, which should certainly be sufficient for these purposes.

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