Mapped: The State of Facial Recognition Around the World


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of this infographic.

Facial Recognition World Map-1200px

Mapping The State of Facial Recognition Around the World

View the high resolution version of this infographic by clicking here.

From public CCTV cameras to biometric identification systems in airports, facial recognition technology is now common in a growing number of places around the world.

In its most benign form, facial recognition technology is a convenient way to unlock your smartphone. At the state level though, facial recognition is a key component of mass surveillance, and it already touches half the global population on a regular basis.

Today’s visualizations from SurfShark classify 194 countries and regions based on the extent of surveillance.

Facial Recognition Status Total Countries
In Use 98
Approved, but not implemented 12
Considering technology 13
No evidence of use 68
Banned 3

Click here to explore the full research methodology.

Let’s dive into the ways facial recognition technology is used across every region.

North America, Central America, and Caribbean

In the U.S., a 2016 study showed that already half of American adults were captured in some kind of facial recognition network. More recently, the Department of Homeland Security unveiled its “Biometric Exit” plan, which aims to use facial recognition technology on nearly all air travel passengers by 2023, to identify compliance with visa status.

Facial Recognition North America Map

Perhaps surprisingly, 59% of Americans are actually in favor of implementing facial recognition technology, considering it acceptable for use in law enforcement according to a Pew Research survey. Yet, some cities such as San Francisco have pushed to ban surveillance, citing a stand against its potential abuse by the government.

Facial recognition technology can potentially come in handy after a natural disaster. After Hurricane Dorian hit in late summer of 2019, the Bahamas launched a blockchain-based missing persons database “FindMeBahamas” to identify thousands of displaced people.

South America

The majority of facial recognition technology in South America is aimed at cracking down on crime. In fact, it worked in Brazil to capture Interpol’s second-most wanted criminal.

Facial Recognition South America Map

Home to over 209 million, Brazil soon plans to create a biometric database of its citizens. However, some are nervous that this could also serve as a means to prevent dissent against the current political order.

Europe

Belgium and Luxembourg are two of only three governments in the world to officially oppose the use of facial recognition technology.

Facial Recognition Europe Map

Further, 80% of Europeans are not keen on sharing facial data with authorities. Despite such negative sentiment, it’s still in use across 26 European countries to date.

The EU has been a haven for unlawful biometric experimentation and surveillance.

—European Digital Rights (EDRi)

In Russia, authorities have relied on facial recognition technology to check for breaches of quarantine rules by potential COVID-19 carriers. In Moscow alone, there are reportedly over 100,000 facial recognition enabled cameras in operation.

Middle East and Central Asia

Facial recognition technology is widespread in this region, notably for military purposes.

Facial Recognition Middle East and Central Asia Map

In Turkey, 30 domestically-developed kamikaze drones will use AI and facial recognition for border security. Similarly, Israel has a close eye on Palestinian citizens across 27 West Bank checkpoints.

In other parts of the region, police in the UAE have purchased discreet smart glasses that can be used to scan crowds, where positive matches show up on an embedded lens display. Over in Kazakhstan, facial recognition technology could replace public transportation passes entirely.

East Asia and Oceania

In the COVID-19 battle, contact tracing through biometric identification became a common tool to slow the infection rates in countries such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. In some instances, this included the use of facial recognition technology to monitor temperatures as well as spot those without a mask.

Facial Recognition East Asia Oceania Map

That said, questions remain about whether the pandemic panopticon will stop there.

China is often cited as a notorious use case of mass surveillance, and the country has the highest ratio of CCTV cameras to citizens in the world—one for every 12 people. By 2023, China will be the single biggest player in the global facial recognition market. And it’s not just implementing the technology at home–it’s exporting too.

Africa

While the African continent currently has the lowest concentration of facial recognition technology in use, this deficit may not last for long.

Facial Recognition World Map

Several African countries, such as Kenya and Uganda, have received telecommunications and surveillance financing and infrastructure from Chinese companies—Huawei in particular. While the company claims this has enabled regional crime rates to plummet, some activists are wary of the partnership.

Whether you approach facial recognition technology from public and national security lens or from an individual liberty perspective, it’s clear that this kind of surveillance is here to stay.

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The post Mapped: The State of Facial Recognition Around the World appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

Mapped: The Geology of the Moon in Astronomical Detail


This post is by Nicholas LePan from Visual Capitalist

View the medium resolution version of this map (9mb) | View the full resolution version of this map (47mb)

Geology of the Moon Map

View the medium resolution version of this map (9mb) | View the full resolution version of this map (47mb)

Mapped: The Geology of the Moon in Astronomical Detail

If you were to land on the moon, where would you go?

Today’s post is the incredible Unified Geologic Map of the Moon from the USGS, which combines information from six regional lunar maps created during the Apollo era, as well as recent spacecraft observations.

Feet on the Ground, Head in the Sky

Since the beginning of humankind, the moon has captured our collective imagination. It is one of the few celestial bodies visible to the naked eye from Earth. Over time different cultures wrapped the Moon in their own myths. To the Egyptians it was the god Thoth, to the Greeks, the goddess Artemis, and to the Hindus, Chandra.

Thoth was portrayed as a wise counselor who solved disputes and invented writing and the 365-day calendar. A headdress with a lunar disk sitting atop a crescent moon denoted Thoth as the arbiter of times and seasons.

Artemis was the twin sister of the sun god Apollo, and in Greek mythology she presided over childbirth, fertility, and the hunt. Just like her brother that illuminated the day, she was referred to as the torch bringer during the dark of night.

Chandra means the “Moon” in Sanskrit, Hindi, and other Indian languages. According to one Hindu legend, Ganesha—an elephant-headed deity—was returning home on a full moon night after a feast. On the journey, a snake crossed his pathway, frightening his horse. An overstuffed Ganesha fell to the ground on his stomach, vomiting out his dinner. On observing this, Chandra laughed, causing Ganesha to lose his temper. He broke off one of his tusks and hurled it toward the Moon, cursing him so that he would never be whole again. This legend describes the Moon’s waxing and waning including the big crater on the Moon, visible from Earth.

Such lunar myths have waned as technology has evolved, removing the mystery of the moon but also opening up scientific debate.

Celestial Evolution: Two Theories

The pot marks on the moon can be easily seen from the Earth’s surface with the naked eye, and it has led to numerous theories as to the history of the moon. Recent scientific study brings forward two primary ideas.

One opinion of those who have studied the moon is that it was once a liquid mass, and that its craters represent widespread and prolonged volcanic activity, when the gases and lava of the heated interior exploded to the surface.

However, there is another explanation for these lunar craters. According to G. K. Gilbert, of the USGS, the moon was formed by the joining of a ring of meteorites which once encircled the Earth, and after the formation of the lunar sphere, the impact of meteors produced “craters” instead of arising from volcanic activity.

Either way, mapping the current contours of the lunar landscape will guide future human missions to the moon by revealing regions that may be rich in useful resources or areas that need more detailed mapping to land a spacecraft safely .

Lay of the Land: Reading the Contours of the Moon

This map is a 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map built from six separate digital maps. The goal was to create a resource for science research and analysis to support future geologic mapping efforts.

Mapping purposes divide the moon into the near side and far side. The far side of the moon is the side that always faces away from the Earth, while the near side faces towards the Earth.

The most visible topographic feature is the giant far side South Pole-Aitken basin, which possesses the lowest elevations of the Moon. The highest elevations are found just to the northeast of this basin. Other large impact basins, such as the Maria Imbrium, Serenitatis, Crisium, Smythii, and Orientale, also have low elevations and elevated rims.

Shapes of Craters

The colors on the map help to define regional features while also highlighting consistent patterns across the lunar surface. Each one of these regions hosts the potential for resources.

Lunar Resources

Only further study will resolve the evolution of the moon, but it is clear that there are resources earthlings can exploit. Hydrogen, oxygen, silicon, iron, magnesium, calcium, aluminum, manganese, and titanium are some of the metals and minerals on the moon.

Interestingly, oxygen is the most abundant element on the Moon. It’s a primary component found in rocks, and this oxygen can be converted to a breathable gas with current technology. A more practical question would be how to best power this process.

Lunar soil is the easiest to mine, it can provide protection from radiation and meteoroids as material for construction. Ice can provide water for radiation shielding, life support, oxygen, and rocket propellant feed stock. Compounds from permanently shadowed craters could provide methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide.

This is just the beginning—as more missions are sent to the Moon, there is more to discover.

Space Faring Humans

NASA plans to land astronauts—one female, one male—to the Moon by 2024 as part of the Artemis 3 mission, and after that, about once each year. It’s the beginning of an unfulfilled promise to make humans a space-faring civilization.

The Moon is just the beginning…the skills learned to map Near-Earth Objects will be the foundation for further exploration and discovery of the universe.

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Incredible Map of Pangea With Modern-Day Borders


This post is by Nick Routley from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of this infographic.

pangea with modern borders

Incredible Map of Pangea With Modern-Day Borders

As volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occasionally remind us, the earth beneath our feet is constantly on the move.

Continental plates only move around 1-4 inches per year, so we don’t notice the tectonic forces that are continually reshaping the surface of our planet. But on a long enough timeline, those inches add up to big changes in the way landmasses on Earth are configured.

Today’s map, by Massimo Pietrobon, is a look back to when all land on the planet was arranged into a supercontinent called Pangea. Pietrobon’s map is unique in that it overlays the approximate borders of present day countries to help us understand how Pangea broke apart to form the world that we know today.

Pangea: The World As One

Pangea was the latest in a line of supercontinents in Earth’s history.

Pangea began developing over 300 million years ago, eventually making up one-third of the earth’s surface. The remainder of the planet was an enormous ocean known as Panthalassa.

As time goes by, scientists are beginning to piece together more information on the climate and patterns of life on the supercontinent. Similar to parts of Central Asia today, the center of the landmass is thought to have been arid and inhospitable, with temperatures reaching 113ºF (45ºC). The extreme temperatures revealed by climate simulations are supported by the fact that very few fossils are found in the modern day regions that once existed in the middle of Pangea. The strong contrast between the Pangea supercontinent and Panthalassa is believed to have triggered intense cross-equatorial monsoons.

By this unique point in history, plants and animals had spread across the landmass, and animals (such as dinosaurs) were able to wander freely across the entire expanse of Pangea.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Around 200 million years ago, magma began to swell up through a weakness in the earth’s crust, creating the volcanic rift zone that would eventually cleave the supercontinent into pieces. Over time, this rift zone would become the Atlantic Ocean. The most visible evidence of this split is in the similar shape of the coastlines of modern-day Brazil and West Africa.

Present-day North America broke away from Europe and Africa, and as the map highlights, Atlantic Canada was once connected to Spain and Morocco.

The concept of plate tectonics is behind some of modern Earth’s most striking features. The Himalayas, for example, were formed after the Indian subcontinent broke off the eastern side of Africa and crashed directly into Asia. Many of the world’s tallest mountains were formed by this process of plate convergence – a process that, as far as we know, is unique to Earth.

What the Very Distant Future Holds

Since the average continent is only moving about 1 foot (0.3m) every decade, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be alive to see an epic geographical revision to the world map.

However, for whatever life exists on Earth roughly 300 million years in the future, they may have front row seats in seeing the emergence of a new supercontinent: Pangea Proxima.

As the above video from the Paleomap Project shows, Pangea Proxima is just one possible supercontinent configuration that occurs in which Australia slams into Indonesia, and North and South America crash into Africa and Antarctica, respectively.

Interestingly, Pangea Proxima could have a massive inland sea, mainly made up of what is the Indian Ocean today. Meanwhile, the other oceans would combine into one superocean that would take up the majority of the Earth’s surface.

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Mapped: The State of Press Freedom Around the World


This post is by Nick Routley from Visual Capitalist

View a more detailed version of this map

press freedom ranking 2020

Mapped: The State of Press Freedom Around the World

View a more detailed version of the above map by clicking here

In many Western countries, it’s easy to take press freedom for granted.

Instances of fake news, clickbait, and hyper-partisan reporting are points of consternation in the modern media landscape, and can sometimes overshadow the greater good that unrestricted journalism provides to society.

Of course, the ability to do that important work can vary significantly around the world. Being an investigative journalist in Sweden comes with a very different set of circumstances and considerations than doing the same thing in a country such as Saudi Arabia or Venezuela.

Today’s map highlights the results of the 2020 Global Press Freedom Index, produced by Reporters Without Borders. The report looks at press freedom in 180 countries and territories.

A Profession Not Without Its Risks

Today, nearly 75% of countries are in categories that the report describes as problematic, difficult, and very serious.

While these negative forces often come in the form of censorship and intimidation, journalism can be a risky profession in some of the more restrictive countries. One example is Mexico, where nearly 60 journalists were killed as a direct result of their reporting over the last decade.

journalists killed around the world

There is good news though: the number of journalists killed last year was the lowest since the report began in 2002.

Even better, press freedom scores increased around the world in the 2020 report.

Press Freedom: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Here are the scores for all 180 countries and territories covered in the report, sorted by 2020 ranking and score:

Rank (2020) Country or Region Score (2020) Prev. Rank (2019) Change in Rank
#1 🇳🇴 Norway 7.84 1 0
#2 🇫🇮 Finland 7.93 2 0
#3 🇩🇰 Denmark 8.13 5 2
#4 🇸🇪 Sweden 9.25 3 -1
#5 🇳🇱 Netherlands 9.96 4 -1
#6 🇯🇲 Jamaica 10.51 8 2
#7 🇨🇷 Costa Rica 10.53 10 3
#8 🇨🇭 Switzerland 10.62 6 -2
#9 🇳🇿 New Zealand 10.69 7 -2
#10 🇵🇹 Portugal 11.83 12 2
#11 Germany 12.16 13 2
#12 Belgium 12.57 9 -3
#13 Ireland 12.60 15 2
#14 Estonia 12.61 11 -3
#15 Iceland 15.12 14 -1
#16 Canada 15.29 18 2
#17 Luxembourg 15.46 17 0
#18 Austria 15.78 16 -2
#19 Uruguay 15.79 19 0
#20 Suriname 17.50 20 0
#21 Samoa 18.25 22 1
#22 Latvia 18.56 24 2
#23 Namibia 19.25 23 0
#24 Liechtenstein 19.52 26 2
#25 Cape Verde 20.15 25 0
#26 Australia 20.21 21 -5
#27 Cyprus 20.45 28 1
#28 Lithuania 21.19 30 2
#29 Spain 22.16 29 0
#30 Ghana 22.26 27 -3
#31 South Africa 22.41 31 0
#32 Slovenia 22.64 34 2
#33 Slovakia 22.67 35 2
#34 France 22.92 32 -2
#35 United Kingdom 22.93 33 -2
#36 Trinidad and Tobago 23.22 39 3
#37 Andorra 23.23 37 0
#38 Burkina Faso 23.47 36 -2
#39 Botswana 23.56 44 5
#40 Czech Republic 23.57 40 0
#41 Italy 23.69 43 2
#42 South Korea 23.70 41 -1
#43 Taiwan 23.76 42 -1
#44 OECS 23.78 50 6
#45 United States 23.85 48 3
#46 Papua New Guinea 23.93 38 -8
#47 Senegal 23.99 49 2
#48 Romania 25.91 47 -1
#49 Guyana 26.63 51 2
#50 Tonga 27.27 45 -5
#51 Chile 27.31 46 -5
#52 Fiji 27.41 52 0
#53 Belize 27.50 53 0
#54 Madagascar 27.68 54 0
#55 Dominican Republic 27.90 55 0
#56 Mauritius 28.00 58 2
#57 Niger 28.25 66 9
#58 Bosnia and Herzegovina 28.51 63 5
#59 Croatia 28.51 64 5
#60 Georgia 28.59 60 0
#61 Armenia 28.60 61 0
#62 Poland 28.65 59 -3
#63 Seychelles 28.66 69 6
#64 Argentina 28.78 57 -7
#65 Greece 28.80 65 0
#66 Japan 28.86 67 1
#67 Bhutan 28.90 80 13
#68 Ivory Coast 28.94 71 3
#69 Malawi 29.32 68 -1
#70 Kosovo 29.33 75 5
#71 Togo 29.33 76 5
#72 Tunisia 29.45 72 0
#73 Mongolia 29.61 70 -3
#74 El Salvador 29.70 81 7
#75 Comoros 29.77 56 -19
#76 Panama 29.78 79 3
#77 Cyprus North 29.79 74 -3
#78 East Timor 29.90 84 6
#79 Maldives 29.93 98 19
#80 Hong Kong 30.01 73 -7
#81 Malta 30.16 77 -4
#82 Kyrgyzstan 30.19 83 1
#83 Haiti 30.20 62 -21
#84 Albania 30.25 82 -2
#85 Sierra Leone 30.28 86 1
#86 Lesotho 30.45 78 -8
#87 Gambia 30.62 92 5
#88 Israel 30.84 88 0
#89 Hungary 30.84 87 -2
#90 Peru 30.94 85 -5
#91 Moldova 31.16 91 0
#92 Macedonia 31.28 95 3
#93 Serbia 31.62 90 -3
#94 Guinea-Bissau 32.06 89 -5
#95 Liberia 32.25 93 -2
#96 Ukraine 32.52 102 6
#97 Mauritania 32.54 94 -3
#98 Ecuador 32.62 97 -1
#99 Ethiopia 32.82 110 11
#100 Paraguay 32.97 99 -1
#101 Malaysia 33.12 123 22
#102 Lebanon 33.19 101 -1
#103 Kenya 33.72 100 -3
#104 Mozambique 33.79 103 -1
#105 Montenegro 33.83 104 -1
#106 Angola 33.92 109 3
#107 Brazil 34.05 105 -2
#108 Mali 34.12 112 4
#109 Kuwait 34.30 108 -1
#110 Guinea 34.34 107 -3
#111 Bulgaria 35.06 111 0
#112 Nepal 35.10 106 -6
#113 Benin 35.11 96 -17
#114 Bolivia 35.37 113 -1
#115 Nigeria 35.63 120 5
#116 Guatemala 35.74 116 0
#117 Nicaragua 35.81 114 -3
#118 Congo 36.56 117 -1
#119 Indonesia 36.82 124 5
#120 Zambia 37.00 119 -1
#121 Gabon 37.20 115 -6
#122 Afghanistan 37.70 121 -1
#123 Chad 39.70 122 -1
#124 Tanzania 40.25 118 -6
#125 Uganda 40.95 125 0
#126 Zimbabwe 40.95 127 1
#127 Sri Lanka 41.94 126 -1
#128 Jordan 42.08 130 2
#129 Qatar 42.51 128 -1
#130 Colombia 42.66 129 -1
#131 United Arab Emirates 42.69 133 2
#132 C.A.R. 42.87 145 13
#133 Morocco 42.88 135 2
#134 Cameroon 43.28 131 -3
#135 Oman 43.42 132 -3
#136 Philippines 43.54 134 -2
#137 Palestine 44.09 137 0
#138 South Sudan 44.49 139 1
#139 Myanmar 44.77 138 -1
#140 Thailand 44.94 136 -4
#141 Swaziland 45.15 147 6
#142 India 45.33 140 -2
#143 Mexico 45.45 144 1
#144 Cambodia 45.46 143 -1
#145 Pakistan 45.52 142 -3
#146 Algeria 45.52 141 -5
#147 Venezuela 45.66 148 1
#148 Honduras 48.20 146 -2
#149 Russian Federation 48.92 149 0
#150 Congo (DRC) 49.09 154 4
#151 Bangladesh 49.37 150 -1
#152 Brunei 49.65 152 0
#153 Belarus 49.75 153 0
#154 Turkey 50.02 157 3
#155 Rwanda 50.34 155 0
#156 Uzbekistan 53.07 160 4
#157 Kazakhstan 54.11 158 1
#158 Singapore 55.23 151 -7
#159 Sudan 55.33 175 16
#160 Burundi 55.33 159 -1
#161 Tajikistan 55.34 161 0
#162 Iraq 55.37 156 -6
#163 Somalia 55.45 164 1
#164 Libya 55.77 162 -2
#165 Equatorial Guinea 56.38 165 0
#166 Egypt 56.82 163 -3
#167 Yemen 58.25 168 1
#168 Azerbaijan 58.48 166 -2
#169 Bahrain 60.13 167 -2
#170 Saudi Arabia 62.14 172 2
#171 Cuba 63.81 169 -2
#172 Laos 64.28 171 -1
#173 Iran 64.81 170 -3
#174 Syria 72.57 174 0
#175 Vietnam 74.71 176 1
#176 Djibouti 76.73 173 -3
#177 China 78.48 177 0
#178 Eritrea 83.50 178 0
#179 Turkmenistan 85.44 180 1
#180 North Korea 85.82 179 -1

Which countries stood out in this year’s edition of the press freedom rankings?

Norway: Nordic Countries have topped the Press Freedom Index since its inception, and Norway (Rank: #1) in particular is an example for the world. Despite a very free media environment, the government recently mandated a commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the conditions for freedom of speech. Members will consider measures to promote the broadest possible participation in the public debate, and means to hamper the spread of fake news and hate speech.

Malaysia: A new government ushered in a less restrictive era in Malaysia in 2018. Journalists and media outlets that had been blacklisted were able to resume working, and anti-fake news laws that were viewed as problematic were repealed. As a result, Malaysia’s index score has improved by 15 points in the past two years. This is in sharp contrast to neighbor, Singapore, which is ranked 158th out of 180 countries.

Ethiopia: When Abiy Ahmed Ali took power in Africa’s second most populous country in 2018, his government restored access to over 200 news websites and blogs that had been previously blocked. As well, many detained journalists and bloggers were released as the chill over the country’s highly restrictive media environment began to thaw. As a result, Ethiopia (#99) jumped up eleven spots in the Press Freedom Index in 2020.

The Middle East: Though the situation in this region has begun to stabilize somewhat, restrictions still remain – even in relatively safe and stable countries. Both Saudi Arabia (#170) and Egypt (#166) have imprisoned a number of journalists in recent years, and the former is still dealing with the reputational fallout from the assassination of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi.

China: Sitting near the bottom of the list is China (#176). More than 100 journalists and bloggers are currently detained as the country maintains a tight grip over the press – particularly as COVID-19 began to spread. Earlier this year, the Chinese government also expelled over a dozen journalists representing U.S. publications.

2020: A Pivotal Year for the Press

As the world grapples with a deadly pandemic, a global economic shutdown, and a crucial election year, the media could find itself in the spotlight more than in previous years.

How the stories of 2020 are told will influence our collective future – and how regimes choose to treat journalists under this atypical backdrop will tell us a lot about press freedom going forward.

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Exploring the Expanse: 30 Years of Hubble Discoveries


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of the infographic

Exploring the Expanse Hubble Discoveries

Exploring the Expanse: 30 Years of Hubble Discoveries

View the full-size version of the infographic by clicking here.

We’ve been fascinated by space for centuries, but telescopes truly opened our eyes to what lies beyond our frontiers.

For 30 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been our companion in helping us understand outer space, paving the way for many important scientific discoveries in the process.

A Window to the Universe

Hubble launched on Apr 24, 1990 and has been in our orbit ever since. However, it had something of a shaky start. Due to an error in its primary mirror, it returned many wobbly and blurry images—until a servicing mission in December 1993 fixed the issue.

Today’s incredible map was created by Nadieh Bremer of Visual Cinnamon, for the scientific journal Physics Today. It incorporates over 550,000 scientific observations, to show the diverse objects captured by Hubble between 1990-2019.

Certain constellations have been included to help place these findings, many of which are also visible to the naked eye. Here are the main color-coded categories found on the map:

  • Yellow: Star/ Stellar cluster
    Example: V838 Monocerotis, which includes a red star and a light echo.
  • Red: Galaxy/ Clusters of galaxies
    Example: Spiral galaxy M81, half the size of the Milky Way.
  • Green: Interstellar medium (ISM)
    Example: Eagle Nebula, a majestic spire of cosmic dust and gas, resembling pillars and spanning 4-5 light years.
  • Blue: Solar System
    Example: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a high-pressure storm in the planet’s atmosphere.
  • Pink: Calibration/Unidentified (e.g. Hubble Deep Field surveys)
    Example: Ultra Deep Field, which captured a view of 10,000 galaxies over 11 days—some which date back to the early billion years of the universe.

NASA considers the Hubble telescope the “most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo’s telescope” and not without good reason—its total observations top 1.3 million.

Hubble Observations, by Category

The journey doesn’t end there, either. Bremer also looked at the frequency of Hubble observations that occurred within each of these categories, ranging from 1,000-20,000.

Hubble Observation by Category

Source: Physics Today

Each category encompasses multiple distinctive descriptions. For example, galaxies can be broken down further into whether they are spiral, nuclear, elliptical-shaped and much more.

Hubble’s Growing Legacy

The images sent back by Hubble over these three decades are not just for aesthetic purposes. The telescope is also responsible for immense contributions to the astronomy field: close to 13,000 scientific papers have used Hubble as a source to date.

The biggest scientific breakthrough thus far? The realization that our universe is expanding at an accelerating rate—thanks to a force called dark energy.

Hubble really did open up the whole universe to us in a way that nothing else did.

—Colleen Hartman, Former Deputy Center Director, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

It’s clear that Hubble already has an impressive legacy, and it’s not expected to be retired until at least the year 2025. Soon, it will be joining forces with the new James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in March 2021. For the next generation of space enthusiasts, their eyes to the skies may well be the Webb instead.

For the true data viz nerds among us, here is an in-depth blog post detailing the sky map’s creation from scratch.

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Mapped: The World’s Ultra-Rich, by Country


This post is by Dorothy Neufeld from Visual Capitalist

Mapped: The World's Ultra-Rich, by Country

Mapped: The World’s Ultra-Rich, by Country

The global number of ultra-high net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) — those with over $30 million in assets — has continued to rise over the years.

Today’s infographic draws data from Knight Frank’s 2020 Wealth Report released in March, and it shows which countries have the highest number of UHNWIs, as well as how that number is projected to change in years to come.

No Ordinary Millionaire

To start, let’s look at where the world’s wealthiest could be found in 2019, which is both the peak of the decade-long bull market and the most recent year of data covered by the report.

Rank Country Ultra-High Net Worth Population 1-Year Change (%)
#1 🇺🇸 United States 240,575 5.9%
#2 🇨🇳 China 61,587 14.7%
#3 🇩🇪 Germany 23,078 0.8%
#4 🇫🇷 France 18,776 7.9%
#5 🇯🇵 Japan 17,013 17.0%
#6 🇬🇧 UK 14,367 3.6%
#7 🇮🇹 Italy 10,701 20.8%
#8 🇨🇦 Canada 9,325 5.3%
#9 🇷🇺 Russia 8,924 3.9%
#10 🇨🇭 Switzerland 8,395 3.0%
#11 🇪🇸 Spain 6,475 -1.1%
#12 🇮🇳 India 5,986 0.2%
#13 🇰🇷 South Korea 5,847 21.6%
#14 🇸🇪 Sweden 5,174 0.3%
#15 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia 5,100 0.0%

While the U.S. maintained its foothold, the ultra-rich in South Korea and Italy have grown over 20% each since 2018. An economic model focused on exports, conglomerates, and select manufacturing industries could likely be behind the UHNWI boom in South Korea.

Interestingly, the number of ultra-wealthy in Saudi Arabia increased by only one individual between 2018 and 2019.

Multi-Millionaire Next Door

Taking a closer look, what made up the wealth of this ultra rich population? Knight Frank found that 27% of UHNWI wealth was locked up in property investments:

Property as an Investment Equities Bonds/Fixed Income Cash Private Equity Collectables Gold/Precious Metals Crypto
27% 23% 17% 11% 8% 5% 3% 1%

In terms of more liquid assets, the average UHNWI held 23% of their wealth in equities, 17% in bonds, 11% in cash, and 3% in precious metals. It will be illuminating to see how, or if, this changes in the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 economic crisis.

The Future Destination Hubs

Fast-forward to 2024, and Knight Frank estimates that the global hotspots of the world’s wealthiest will remain consistent, with some notable winners over the decade.

UHNWI Population Growth (2014-2024)

The greatest difference will be the rising cohort of the ultra-wealthy in China and India, both projected to grow by triple digits between 2014 and 2024. This burgeoning middle class in China is driving domestic consumption and is transforming the consumer landscape.

Rank Country UHNWIs (Projected, 2024) 10-Year Change (Projected, %)
#1 🇺🇸 U.S. 293,136 67.0%
#2 🇨🇳 China 97,082 135.8%
#3 🇩🇪 Germany 26,819 45.0%
#4 🇫🇷 France 22,728 29.7%
#5 🇯🇵 Japan 19,110 63.3%
#6 🇬🇧 UK 18,818 36.7%
#7 🇮🇹 Italy 12,508 17.6%
#8 🇨🇦 Canada 11,928 54.8%
#9 🇷🇺 Russia 11,019 4.8%
#10 🇮🇳 India 10,354 238.3%

As the ripple effects of COVID-19 continue to take hold, experts pose differing opinions on how its impacts on the global economy will unfold.

Could the crash hasten the number of ultra-rich as inequality is laid bare, or will wealth be redistributed in response to the unprecedented crisis?

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The post Mapped: The World’s Ultra-Rich, by Country appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

At Risk: The Geography of America’s Senior Population


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist

U.S. Senior Population by State, Covid-19

At Risk: The U.S. Senior Population

The U.S. now has the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, and modelling predicts that the country could see about 100,000 to 200,000 total deaths. Unfortunately, adults aged 65 or older—about 16% of the U.S. population—are at much higher risk of both severe illness and death.

Today’s chart uses U.S. Census Bureau data to map the percentage of the population that is 65 years or older by state. It also outlines the urban areas that are most heavily skewed towards this older age group.

Proportion of Seniors by State

Below is the full breakdown of the U.S. senior population by state, using the latest available data from 2018.

Maine tops the list with 20.6% of its population comprising adults age 65 or older. At the other end of the scale, Utah’s seniors make up only 11.1% of its population.

Rank State 65+, % of Population 65+, Total Population
1 Maine 20.6% 276,069
2 Florida 20.5% 4,358,784
3 West Virginia 20.0% 361,216
4 Vermont 19.8% 123,875
5 Montana 18.8% 200,239
6 Delaware 18.7% 180,756
7 Hawaii 18.4% 261,467
8 Pensylvannia 18.2% 2,332,369
9 New Hampshire 18.1% 245,156
10 South Carolina 17.7% 899,754
11 Oregon 17.6% 739,611
12 Arizona 17.6% 1,259,103
13 New Mexico 17.6% 368,480
14 Rhode Island 17.3% 182,645
15 Conneticut 17.2% 613,147
16 Michigan 17.2% 1,720,453
17 Ohio 17.1% 1,996,163
18 Iowa 17.0% 537,818
19 Wisconsin 17.0% 986,483
20 Alabama 17.0% 829,663
21 Missouri 16.9% 1,035,074
22 Arkansas 16.8% 507,676
23 Wyoming 16.7% 96,557
24 South Dakota 16.6% 146,358
25 Massachusetts 16.5% 1,137,541
26 Kentucky 16.4% 731,392
27 New York 16.4% 3,212,065
28 Tennesse 16.3% 1,104,797
29 North Carolina 16.3% 1,688,574
30 New Jersey 16.1% 1,438,289
31 Idaho 15.9% 279,441
32 Kansas 15.9% 462,191
34 Mississipi 15.9% 474,423
33 Minnesota 15.8% 888,634
36 Nebraska 15.8% 303,998
35 Indiana 15.7% 1,051,146
37 Nevada 15.7% 475,120
38 Oklahoma 15.7% 619,601
39 Illinois 15.6% 1,990,548
40 Louisiana 15.5% 720,610
42 Virginia 15.5% 1,318,225
41 Maryland 15.4% 931,041
43 Washington 15.4% 1,163,987
44 North Dakota 15.3% 116,433
45 California 14.3% 5,667,337
46 Colorado 14.2% 807,855
47 Georgia 13.8% 1,456,428
48 Texas 12.5% 3,599,599
49 Alaska 11.9% 88,000
50 Utah 11.1% 351,297

Notably, Florida has the second highest percentage and number of seniors nationwide. Its governor just announced the state’s stay-at-home order on April 1st, after taking criticism for refusing to do so earlier.

New York, the current global hot spot of COVID-19, is close to the national average with 16.4% of its population aged 65 or older. However, with over 3.2 million seniors, the sheer volume of individuals needing hospitalization has already put a strain on the state’s healthcare system. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will run out of its current supply of ventilators in less than a week.

The Most Vulnerable Urban Areas

On a local level, which places have the highest proportion of seniors? Based on all urban areas* with a population of 250,000 or more, here’s how the top 50 looks:

Rank Urban Area 65+, % of Population 65+, Total Population
1 Bonita Springs, FL 38.2% 135,286
2 Sarasota–Bradenton, FL 33.2% 242,613
3 Barnstable Town, MA 29.4% 74,614
4 Palm Coast–Daytona Beach–Port Orange, FL 28.3% 110,355
5 Myrtle Beach–Socastee, SC–NC 27.3% 74,783
6 Cape Coral, FL 27.0% 175,483
7 Indio–Cathedral City, CA 26.0% 95,054
8 Port St. Lucie, FL 25.6% 110,883
9 Palm Bay–Melbourne, FL 22.9% 114,347
10 Youngstown, OH–PA 21.0% 78,739
11 Asheville, NC 20.9% 65,540
12 Pittsburgh, PA 19.6% 335,546
13 Canton, OH 19.6% 54,214
14 Scranton, PA 19.1% 71,876
15 Mission Viejo–Lake Forest–San Clemente, CA 19.0% 115,891
16 Tampa–St. Petersburg, FL 18.9% 516,269
17 Tucson, AZ 18.8% 165,399
18 Lancaster, PA 18.5% 77,538
19 Cleveland, OH 18.4% 324,707
20 Miami, FL 18.3% 1,117,926
21 Buffalo, NY 18.1% 168,121
22 Dayton, OH 18.0% 130,722
23 Harrisburg, PA 18.0% 83,201
24 Wilmington, NC 17.8% 45,457
25 Urban Honolulu, HI 17.7% 148,045
26 Akron, OH 17.6% 99,010
27 New Haven, CT 17.6% 97,888
28 Rochester, NY 17.5% 125,516
29 Peoria, IL 17.5% 44,722
30 Allentown, PA–NJ 17.4% 119,508
31 Concord, CA 17.4% 115,460
32 Chattanooga, TN–GA 17.4% 69,098
33 Flint, MI 17.2% 59,525
34 Santa Rosa, CA 17.1% 55,094
35 Lakeland, FL 17.1% 51,107
36 Davenport, IA–IL 17.1% 48,387
37 Providence, RI–MA 17.0% 204,148
38 Rockford, IL 16.9% 48,370
39 Springfield, MA–CT 16.8% 105,694
40 Knoxville, TN 16.8% 101,332
41 Albany–Schenectady, NY 16.8% 100,756
42 Albuquerque, NM 16.7% 126,081
43 Hartford, CT 16.6% 153,367
44 Toledo, OH–MI 16.6% 82,480
45 Pensacola, FL–AL 16.6% 62,216
46 Bridgeport–Stamford, CT–NY 16.5% 156,035
47 Syracuse, NY 16.4% 66,818
48 Detroit, MI 16.2% 608,427
49 St. Louis, MO–IL 16.2% 347,537
50 Trenton, NJ 16.2% 47,803

*Urban areas consist of a downtown core and adjacent territories

With 6 areas in the top 10, Florida is quite vulnerable at the local level as well. Other states with multiple areas on the list include Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

The Senior Population of Current U.S. Hotspots

To determine the vulnerability of current COVID-19 hotspots, we compared U.S. counties with a high number of cases per capita against their percentage of seniors.

Counties at the bottom left have low readings on both metrics. Conversely, counties in the top right have a dangerous combination: a high concentration of cases and vulnerable seniors.

senior population vs covid-19 outbreak

Multiple counties in New York occupy the top right quadrant, with Yonkers being the worst off. Los Angeles county, which has a similar population to all counties in New York City, has fewer cases and a smaller proportion of seniors.

To date, outbreaks have been mostly focused in urban areas where populations tend to be younger. However, as COVID-19 begins infiltrating rural areas, healthcare systems will need to contend with both older age groups and fewer resources.

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The Emissions Impact of Coronavirus Lockdowns, As Shown by Satellites


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

NO2 Emissions China Italy

The Emissions Impact of Coronavirus Lockdowns

There’s a high chance you’re reading this while practicing social distancing, or while your corner of the world is under some type of advised or enforced lockdown.

While these are necessary measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, such economic interruption is unprecedented in many ways—resulting in some surprising side effects.

The Evidence is in NO₂ Emissions

Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) emissions, a major air pollutant, are closely linked to factory output and vehicles operating on the road.

As both industry and transport come to a halt during this pandemic, NO₂ emissions can be a good indicator of global economic activity—and the changes are visible from space.

These images from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), as well as satellite footage from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), show a drastic decline in NO₂ emissions over recent months, particularly across Italy and China.

NO₂ Emissions Across Italy

In Italy, the number of active COVID-19 cases has surpassed China (including the death toll). Amid emergency actions to lock down the entire nation, everything from schools and shops, to restaurants and even some churches, are closed.

Italy is also an industrial hub, with the sector accounting for nearly 24% of GDP. With many Italians urged to work from home if possible, visible economic activity has dropped considerably.

This 10-day moving average animation (from January 1st—March 11th, 2020) of nitrogen dioxide emissions across Europe clearly demonstrates how the drop in Italy’s economic activity has impacted the environment.


Source: European Space Agency (ESA)

That’s not all: a drop in boat traffic also means that Venice’s canals are clear for the time being, as small fish have begun inhabiting the waterways again. Experts are cautious to note that this does not necessarily mean the water quality is better.

NO₂ Emissions Across China

The emissions changes above China are possibly even more obvious to the eye. China is the world’s most important manufacturing hub and a significant contributor to greenhouse gases globally. But in the month following Lunar New Year (a week-long festival in early February), satellite imagery painted a different picture.

no2 emissions wuhan china
Source: NASA Earth Observatory

NO₂ emissions around the Hubei province, the original epicenter of the virus, steeply dropped as factories were forced to shutter their doors for the time being.

What’s more, there were measurable effects in the decline of other emission types from the drop in coal use during the same time, compared to years prior.

China Coal Use FInal

Back to the Status Quo?

In recent weeks, China has been able to flatten the curve of its total COVID-19 cases. As a result, the government is beginning to ease its restrictions—and it’s clear that social and economic activities are starting to pick back up in March.


Source: European Space Agency (ESA)

With the regular chain of events beginning to resume, it remains to be seen whether NO₂ emissions will rebound right back to their pre-pandemic levels.

This bounce-back effect—which can sometimes reverse any overall drop in emissions—is [called] “revenge pollution”. And in China, it has precedent.

Li Shuo, Senior climate policy advisor, Greenpeace East Asia

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The post The Emissions Impact of Coronavirus Lockdowns, As Shown by Satellites appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

Where Are the Oldest Companies in Existence?


This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of this infographic.
Oldest Companies in Existence

Where Are the Oldest Companies in Existence?

View the high resolution version of this infographic by clicking here.

In just a few decades, it’s possible that some of today’s most recognized companies may no longer be household names.

Corporate longevity, or the average lifespan of a company, has been shrinking dramatically.

In the 1960s, a typical S&P 500 company was projected to last for more than 60 years. However, with the rapidly transforming business landscape today, it’s down to just 18 years.

The Companies With the Strongest Staying Power

Even with companies skewing younger, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Luckily, many companies around the world have stood the test of time, and today’s detailed map from Business Financing highlights the oldest company in existence in each country.

For centuries, here are the world’s oldest corporations which have made their mark:

Year Company Name Country Industry
578 Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. Japan Construction
803 St.  Peter Stifts Kulinarium Austria Service Industry (Restaurant)
862 Staffelter Hof Germany Distillers, Vintners, & Breweries (Winery)
864 Monnaie de Paris France Manufacturing & Production (Mint)
886 The Royal Mint England Manufacturing & Production (Mint)
900 Sean’s Bar Ireland Service Industry (Pub)
1040 Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli Italy Manufacturing & Production (Bell foundry)
1074 Affligem Brewery Belgium Distillers, Vintners, & Breweries
1135 Munke Mølle Denmark Manufacturing & Production (Flour Mill)
1153 Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House China Service Industry (Restaurant)

Whether they were born out of Continue reading Where Are the Oldest Companies in Existence?

Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Jeff Desjardins. The original is [linked here]

The True Size of Africa Map

Mapped: The True Size of Africa

Take a look at any map, and it’s clear that the African continent is a big place.

However, despite the common perception that Africa is a large landmass, it’s still one that is vastly underestimated by most casual map viewers.

The reason for this is that the familiar Mercator map projection tends to distort our geographical view of the world in a crucial way — one that often leads to misconceptions about the relative sizes of both countries and continents.

A Geographical Jigsaw

Today’s infographic comes from Kai Krause and it shows the true size of Africa, as revealed by the borders of the countries that can fit within the continent’s shape.

The African continent has a land area of 30.37 million sq km (11.7 million sq mi) — enough to fit in the U.S., China, India, Japan, Mexico, and many European nations, combined.

Country Land Area (sq. km) Land Area (sq. mi) % of Africa
Total 30.33 million sq. km 11.71 million sq. mi 99.9%
🇺🇸 United States 9.83 million 3.80 million 32.4%
🇨🇳 China 9.60 million 3.71 million 31.6%
🇮🇳 India 3.29 million 1.27 million 10.8%
🇲🇽 Mexico 1.96 million 0.76 million 6.5%
🇵🇪 Peru 1.29 million 0.50 million 4.2%
🇫🇷 France 0.64 million 0.25 million 2.1%
🇪🇸 Spain 0.51 million 0.20 million 1.7%
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea 0.46 million 0. Continue reading Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa

Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Visual Capitalist

The True Size of Africa Map

Mapped: The True Size of Africa

Take a look at any map, and it’s clear that the African continent is a big place.

However, despite the common perception that Africa is a large landmass, it’s still one that is vastly underestimated by most casual map viewers.

The reason for this is that the familiar Mercator map projection tends to distort our geographical view of the world in a crucial way — one that often leads to misconceptions about the relative sizes of both countries and continents.

A Geographical Jigsaw

Today’s infographic comes from Kai Krause and it shows the true size of Africa, as revealed by the borders of the countries that can fit within the continent’s shape.

The African continent has a land area of 30.37 million sq km (11.7 million sq mi) — enough to fit in the U.S., China, India, Japan, Mexico, and many European nations, combined.

Country Land Area (sq. km) Land Area (sq. mi) % of Africa
Total 30.33 million sq. km 11.71 million sq. mi 99.9%
🇺🇸 United States 9.83 million 3.80 million 32.4%
🇨🇳 China 9.60 million 3.71 million 31.6%
🇮🇳 India 3.29 million 1.27 million 10.8%
🇲🇽 Mexico 1.96 million 0.76 million 6.5%
🇵🇪 Peru 1.29 million 0.50 million 4.2%
🇫🇷 France 0.64 million 0.25 million 2.1%
🇪🇸 Spain 0.51 million 0.20 million 1.7%
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea 0.46 million 0. Continue reading Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa

Maps for Unity: Location Based Games and Mapbox

This morning’s launch of Maps for Unity brings the full stack of location tools to the world’s most popular game development platform and shows that location and maps are the new building blocks for AR and VR games.

We think the maps look amazing and are insanely fast.



Bringing location and maps to game developers is a big deal. Pokemon Go had maps because Niantic, the game’s creators, started as part of Google and the company is run by John Hankey — the former CEO of Google Maps. The maps in Pokemon Go were customized because John secured special access to Google’s proprietary datasets. No one else could have maps like that, until now.

Today’s Mapbox release is not about just maps but is about location and how the gameplay matches the real world around you.

“In this one, the spaceships are different sizes, so we built an API that only

Continue reading Maps for Unity: Location Based Games and Mapbox