Animation of the Projected Path of Hurricane Sandy

by Eimar Boesjes on November 3, 2012

in Bing Maps, Census Data, Florida, New York, Uncategorized

As a hurricane develops The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publishes the projected path of the hurricane every day as a “Cone of Uncertainty”.  Below is an animation of the projected path for Hurricane Sandy.  When the cone makes landfall we show the age distribution and number of people affected in the US:

Animation of the Projected Path of Hurricane Sandy Hurricane Sandy Cone of Uncertainty Animation

The NOAA publishes both a 72-hour and a 120-hour projected path.  The projected path has the shape of a cone since it is less certain where the hurricane will go the further in the future it is.  We took the 72-hour projected path of Hurricane Sandy for 30 days and superimposed it over the population of the United States inside of Bing Maps.  The result is the animation.

This animation was created in the following way.  We mapped the population data from the 2010 US Census in Bing Maps.  We then superimposed the NOAA forecast cones over the population data and we created 32 images.  Once the projected path goes over the US we show the number of people in the path.  Every purple dot in the image represents a US Census Block.  The animation gives a rough impression of the population centers in the path of the hurricane since census blocks are displayed brighter the more people they contain.  In the right top corner we show the age distribution of the people in the path of the hurricane.   We do not have population data on Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas or Canada so we were not able to show those population numbers.

You can play with the underlying data and visualization technology yourself on the following interactive website:

This site allows you to create your own images of the US population in the projected path of Hurricane Sandy at any zoom level for any part of the population on the East Coast.

Here are some hints on creating images and visualizing the data:

1. Boundaries:  In the side panel on the right click on ‘Boundaries’ to view all available line files for Hurricane Sandy.  The boundaries of the 72-hour and 120-hour Cone of Uncertainty are included for Day-1 through Day-31.  Check any of the boundaries to turn them on.  You can click on the color icon to change their color.

2. Filter Data:  Open any of the data categories in the side panel such as ‘Age’, ‘Gender’, ‘Race’ or ‘State’.  Under ‘Age’ click 








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