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UIX Blog: Planning our future coverage using a heat map


There is a lot of information available in our archive of UIX articles, not the least important of which is geographical. Here we've mapped our coverage with the help of an online tool.
There is a lot of information available in our archive of UIX articles, not the least important of which is geographical. We have already looked at our coverage from the angles of race and industry, so creating a map will hopefully shed new insight to our coverage trends.

When it comes to mapping software, there are several options available, some fancier than others. What is required of all of them is a database of varied location and description information.

It wasn't hard to isolate this data from the past assignments in the UIX editorial calendar using Maptive. For this application, we tagged each article with a city, zip code, title, and link to its original story. As you can see, when it's translated into plots on a dot-distribution or a heat map, it shows where our coverage has been heaviest, and where it's lacking.


 
Immediately obvious in our map is a concentration of most articles within the urban area of Grand Rapids, with a lighter concentration around the city in Byron Center, Kentwood, Cascade, Walker and the Rockford Area. The different zip code zones in West Michigan aren't massive, but they do result in a more simplified map. Eventually, as we update the zip codes with more specific address data, the points will slide apart and we will see more trends developing.

While stories from Zeeland Charter Township, Caledonia and Lowell don't come by the UIX editorial desk often, it was surprising to see little representation from Wyoming, Grandville and other parts of southern Kent County. We will make more of an effort to find stories of innovation in those areas in the future. And, speaking of future, if you ever have recommendations for data visualization tools you'd like to see, we would love to hear about them.

Urban Innovation Exchange highlights the people and projects transforming West Michigan through sustainable efforts. To see more UIX stories, you can check out the entire series here. Have thoughts or ideas about UIX? Contact UIX Grand Rapids Editor Matthew Russell at matthew@uixgrandrapids.com.
 
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