I’ve been fascinated with choropleth maps for a long time now. Choropleth maps for the uninitiated are maps which have various areas coloured according to a particular value. The gradation in shades shows the gradation of the value. Sort of like a heat map. I love how easy these are to read and how well they communicate the data contained in a short span of time. These maps take advantage of the fact that human eyes are very sensitive to colours and change of colours.
I come from Vidarbha, an area which repeatedly suffers low rainfall. Being majority agrarian, the low rainfall results in poor harvest. This in turn leads to inability of paying back debt for the farmer. A large number of farmers every year succumb to this pressure and commit suicide. I was curious to see whether this was an issue faced in my area only or whether it was a problem spread over the country ( agriculture is our biggest employer). I am also aware that this problem has existed for a long time now. So I wanted to see if the problem had reduced over time, with repeated attention being drawn to it every monsoon end, year on year.
So I drew up a choropleth map of India showing the number of suicides. I made two maps, one for 2001 and one for 2014 and allowed comparison between the years for a particular state on mouse hover. Sadly, the number of suicides is highest in Maharashtra across the country in both these years. What is more shocking is that while the number has reduced in other states, more farmers are committing suicide in 2014 than that in 2001 Maharashtra.You can find the visualisation here.
As you must have noticed, it takes a considerable while to display the maps. This is due the geoJSON files being used to draw the map. The files are 16MB+ and thus take time to load. I tried using topojson files to draw my map (topojson files are usually half the size of geojson) but the topojson file has only coordinates. It does not contain state names or any other identifier for which state the coordinates correspond to. So, the file does not work while creating a choropleth. I am still looking for a better alternative to geoJSON, but for now, I hope you enjoy the viz 🙂