Monday, May 4, 2009

Mapping the 7 Deadly Sins

Here's an entertaining example of the GIGO principle: researchers have mapped the Seven Deadly Sins, by county, for the entire continental United States. You can see the maps here.


It turns out, according to the blog GIS Use in Public Health and Health Care, that each of the sins was assessed by a single proxy measure, and they chose rather shaky measures at that.* Gluttony was measured by the prevalence of fast-food restaurants, which will probably offend some of our most epicurean citizens. STD rates were taken as a measure of lust, rather than crappy sex ed - if you can stop to put on a condom, you just weren't horny enough, maybe. Pride was assessed by measuring the strength of all the other sins, which makes no sense at all - how many people do you know who are absolutely vain about their pious image?

So it's a lousy example of what can be done with data and a GIS program, but you can also see the possibilities in the methods.


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*I have to wonder why. If you're going to spend the time on a project like this, why do it in such an obviously half-assed way? It wouldn't have been much harder to combine a number of more applicable statistics.

1 comment:

pfanderson said...

I dunno. I don't see much in the way of trends for any of these maps, aside from population density distribution. Obviously, they have a poverty of good data.

Oh, speaking of poverty, and maps, and data ... I made my first map today for data visualization class!

http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/visualizations/usa-poverty-levels-2009-map

Was harder than it looks. Or maybe not, depending on who is looking, I guess.