Week 6 Blog Post: Flourish Data Map


Geospatial visualization and analysis can change how we look at historical questions by allowing for questions and their answers to be shown up as maps, data graphs, etc. It encourages the readers and the audience to look at it from a different standpoint as it may ask a question that many might not have an answer to. That answer may just be data that is slowly being collected throughout the years. For example, having a data census and use a map showing darker areas having more heavily denser populations, unlike the very lighter areas. The scales can be changed over time. The visual helps showcase the information in a simple, visual way. They can teach one about any and everything based on sizes, shapes, features, distances, and locations. Maps can be manipulated if not all the information is given. This can be related to slavery as you can show how enslaved people live in the south with a more dense color compared to the north being “free” and is lighter in color. These maps can use throughout history and visualize wars such as the American Civil War. It allows for patterns to be recognized and maps the interactions between the independent and dependent variables.

In my visualization, I focused on the population of freed African males in the 1830 Census. I focused on how many were nonwhites, male, and free compared to the overall population free. The map depicted how the darker purple areas up on the eastern coast had a larger population of free people, with some areas having half of that free population being nonwhite males. I noticed that areas in the west had very low free populations. I wanted to connect that with how the expansion of the west included the debate on whether or not the state would become a free or slave state. In 1830 there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. I think that shows up clearly on this map. It was interesting to see how the dark purple slowly gradients into an almost white as it gets lower into the south in areas such as what we now know as Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Overall I really enjoyed making this map and using the different columns to see the difference shown throughout the United States history.

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