Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Most Dangerous Place to Live Project

For the project I worked on with Buster, Dan and Joe, we made a map of the worst place to live in the U.S by state.  First we researched things that kill people, like murders, and lung disease. Then we made individual maps for each category, which were murders, heart disease, lung cancer, influenza/phenomena, traffic deaths, hurricanes, and earthquakes. After we made all the graphs, we created a z-score for each factor and then used these z-scores to create a ranking formula, which allowed us to create one big "Mega Graph", that showed the most dangerous and most safest states in the U.S.

This project taught me a lot of things, and by far the most beneficial thing that this project taught me was how to create info graphic maps using hard data. Creating the maps was actually pretty easy because of the the Google spreadsheets, which was  a lot more efficient than excel, because we could all be typing in data at the same time. The Piktochart website we used was also something new that none of us had used before, but once we figured it out it too was easy and very helpful to use. This project helped teach me how to make something decently interesting out of boring statistical data about traffic deaths, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. This project also taught me how to work better in a group, because this is one of the first group projects that we've had to come up with things on our own and decide what we want to do, usually the teacher will tell you exactly what they want. This new approach really challenged us to actually think and be creative, which seems like one of the main goals of this class.

I thought that our project turned out well, but if I had to improve it, I would of tried to get even more death factors included. I would want everything big or small to be considered when deciding on what factors to use, like air quality, crime rates in general, proximity to nuclear reactors. Also I thought our maps could of looked more detailed, because the shading of the colors told you what the most dangerous and safest places were with ease, but trying to tell the difference of states in the middle was hard to do. We couldn't really find anything better, so we just used Google spreadsheets. It would of also been nice if we could of included some sort of interface with our info graphics, like being able to click on each individual state and having important information pop about relating to our death factors, but we had no idea how to do that.

Below is the culmination of all of our work, which is a map of the most dangerous states to live in. The darker the shade of red, the more dangerous the state is.

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