04/12/17 12:45pm

Super Bowl Alcohol Sales Boost Map

“I can’t explain how a Chili’s got on the list, but that Chili’s must have been pretty lit,” writes engineer and bar aficionado Ian Wells. Wells just wrapped up his latest data-crunching escapade: a dive into how much extra alcohol sales revenue was actually pulled in by Super Bowl LI (as well as where that boost was distributed and who bagged most of the excess). The map above gives an idea of how the $8.9 million in extra alcohol sales (plus or minus a couple million) were spread out around town during February; Wells notes that probably only 5% of establishments saw more than a $25,000 boost above what they would have made in a normal February, though there’s lot of uncertainty in modeling any given bar’s expected “normal” revenue.

So who got the biggest percentage sales bumps? Here’s the rundown through the top 10, and some highlights from the top 100, plus more on where all those numbers come from:

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Crunching the Numbers
03/29/17 9:30am

Houston Heights Run Resembling the Shape of Texas

Swamplot reader Brendan Mahoney, an Aussie transplant, writes in to report a discovery he and his running partner made just a few weeks ago while out on a run in the Heights area: “The new 2 mile section of the White Oak Bayou Greenway that opened recently looks like the great state of Texas.” Mahoney’s kinda-familiar path (and split times) are visible in the screenshot of his running app, above. Here’s a closeup:

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Heights Lone Star-ish Lap
12/22/16 12:00pm

Texas RRC orphaned wells, by Luke Whyte for the Texas Tribune

Texas RRC orphaned wells, by Luke Whyte for the Texas TribuneThe map above (a snap from Luke Whyte’s click-and-zoom-able original version, published this week by the Texas Tribune) shows the abandoned oil and gas wells scattered in and around the Houston area, per the official accounting of the Texas Railroad Commission. The state agency (which has had nothing to do with railroads since 2005) regulates pipelines, oil, and gas, and keeps tabs on so-called “orphaned wells” whose original owners have stopped keeping tabs on them for one reason or another, writes Jim Malewitz this week — the ones that were reported in the first place, that is. Kerry Knorpp, formerly on a defunct state committee overseeing oilfield cleanup efforts, also tells Malewitz that “there is about to be a tsunami of [newly] abandoned wells — wells were drilled at $110 oil that you would have never completed otherwise.”

The shaded hexagons above are meant to help show the density of those holes, not the degree to which they might pose a pollution hazard (though the agency ranks each well by its hazard potential, too, to help it decide which ones to plug up first, of the more than 10,000 currently on the docket).

Just what kind of hazards can a bunch of abandoned holes pose, anyway?

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Boom and Bust
12/07/16 2:30pm

from Boomtown, Floodtown (Texas Tribune and ProPublica)
from Boomtown, Floodtown (Texas Tribune and ProPublica)

From some of the same folks who brought you those fun-with-worst-case-scenarios hurricane flood maps earlier this year —  Neena Satija and Kiah Collier of the Texas Tribune, and Al Shaw of ProPublica — comes a fresh set of animated maps of a few of Harris County’s most flooded and floodable places, along with a bit of investigation into how they got that way (and whether that might change any time soon). The new illustrated presentation shows off the spread of properties that took a dip during some of Harris County’s last few citywide submersion events (flooded properties from Tax Day 2016 are shown in yellow above, along with the Memorial Day 2015 flooded properties in orange).

Texas A&M Galveston researcher Sam Brody tells the authors that “more people die here than anywhere else from floods. More property per capita is lost here. And the problem’s getting worse.” In sorting through some of the whos, whats, and hows of Harris County’s flood infrastructure and chronically soggy residents, the article juxtaposes the recent flood damage data with the likes of FEMA-mapped 100- and 500-year flood zones (shown above), a visual tally of the land area developed last decade, and a view of what’s left of Houston’s coastal prairie (as of 2010):

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Harris High Water
11/28/16 10:45am

Jeff Reichman's Map of 2016 BARC service calls

Where do Houston’s furrier residents tend to congregate? Jeff Reichman’s latest city data tinkering provides some clues — the clickable heatmap above highlights the areas where the city’s BARC program got the most calls this year for services like stray pickups and code enforcements related to domestic animals. BARC is currently in the middle of a 3-month push for a 90-percent no-kill rate of its collected and surrendered menagerie, after a successful 1-month push for that rate last November; the average euthanization rate for the program reportedly flipped from about 80 percent euthanized to about 80 percent released alive between 2005 and 2015.

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Hot Dog Neighborhoods
11/14/16 9:15am

Update, November 22: The finalized county precinct data has been incorporated into the map above; a layer showing voter turnout has been added as well.

With all 1,012 precincts shaded in by civic data whiz Jeff Reichman, the interactive map above of last week’s election results shows both stark splits and gray areas in blue-swung Harris County, which gave only 41.8 percent of its vote to Wrestlemania hall-of-famer and historically litigious president-elect Donald Trump. The red-to-blue shading shows who won by what percentage, with results ranging from count-’em-on-one-hand margins to total blowouts for one major candidate or the other. You can click on each precinct to see the breakdown of votes and turnout (though Stein, Johnson, and McMullin voters will have to look elsewhere for the details on those candidates’ spreads).

On the east side of town, the red-blue divide runs roughly along the track of Beltway 8; the border of that central dark blue zone stretches north to include Greenspoint and then runs east along FM 1960 to 290. The split gets murkier on the west side of the Inner and Outer Loops, with many precincts showing much closer margins. More noticeably red areas inside Beltway 8 show up near Memorial, River Oaks, Bellaire, and Shepherd Park Plaza — plus spots like tiny Precinct 0830 on S. Main, where Trump took a total of 3 votes to Clinton’s 1.

Map of presidential election results by precinct: Jeff Reichman

Post-Election Breakdown
10/31/16 12:00pm

Houston Map of risk management plan facilities from UCS/tejas

The little and not-so-little red dots on the map above show off sites on the EPA’s list of plants and refineries required to have a Risk Management Plan due to their potential for accidental hazardous chemical releases — with the larger dots showing the places that have already had an accident (or, in some cases, as many as 43). Clicking each dot will tell you what the facility’s name is, as well as how much toxic or flammable material it stores on site (to the nearest thousand pounds or so).

The Union of Concerned Scientists and t.e.j.a.s. put together the interactive map as part of a report released late last week, which compares the EPA’s data on air quality and cancer rates in a few neighborhoods on the west side of town (specifically in Bellaire and in the West Oaks and Eldridge area, just inside Hwy.6 near the Barker reservoir) with the same data in a couple of east side spots (Galena Park and Manchester).

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Sniffing It Out
10/12/16 11:30am

AirBnB Mapping Tool Showing Nightly Income as Percentage of Average Area Rent

This patchy map of the Houston region, from the national tool released last week by Airbnb, shades the area’s zip codes by what percentage of monthly rent could purportedly be covered by a single night of Airbnb rental. The map is the DIY-hotel company’s submission to this spring’s federal call for more public data tools related to housing and economics. And the rental rates used for the comparison come from the so-called small area fair market rates set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which this summer proposed breaking up the flat city-wide rates currently used for Section 8 housing voucher payouts into smaller pieces (with the intent that offering higher subsidy rates in higher income areas might reverse a trend of concentrating housing voucher recipients into already-high-poverty neighborhoods).

Topping the company’s list in Houston is 77018, the quasi-trapezoid covering much of the Garden Oaks and Oak Forest area; the tool says the federal market rental rate for the zone is $830 per month, but that earnings for renting out a private room in the area via Airbnb average around 22 percent of that amount, or $179 a night:

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AirBnB R&D
10/04/16 5:00pm

Jan 2017 FEMA Special Flood Hazard Zone classification changes

The areas in red above mark some of the new additions to the legally-gotta-buy-flood-insurance zones on FEMA’s recently revised flood maps. The agency’s interactive online viewer lets you mix-and-match a few data sets for Harris County (as well as Galveston, Fort Bend, and Wharton), compare the old mapped flood zone boundaries to proposed new ones, or look only at what would change — a FEMA spokesperson told Houston Public Media that about 8,000 properties have been added to the list in Harris County, while only about 400 were dropped.

Those acid-green highlights are areas that have been removed from the special flood hazard zone by the updated map (while blue shows areas that have just changed floodplain classification some other way. Bits of brown and yellow in other areas of the map show places added or removed (respectively) from the floodway. The updates above to the mandatory flood insurance zone (legally called the Special Flood Hazard Area) are set to go into effect in January, as shown above. Buffalo Bayou and its tributaries are pretty marked up:

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Flood Insurance Ebb and Flow
09/13/16 1:15pm

Some of the bloggers and photographers at clothing and trendy-places-to-go blog Wear+Where+Well (based in but not exclusively on Houston) have pulled together a long list of the mural walls found around town, complete with titles, artist names, photos, and the interactive map above. The list is annotated with an eye for photography conditions, as well as info on parking and on the likelihood of “indigents asking for spare change” nearby. The authors say the list will be updated frequently; info on how to submit new spots you think should be included can be found at the bottom of the document.

Map of Houston murals: Wear+Where+Well

Mural Mapping
09/01/16 5:15pm

Map of Weed Arrests in Early 2016 by Home Address, Superimposed over Median Incomes Greater than $80k

Is there a connection between where you live and your likelihood of getting arrested for weed in Houston? A map from January Advisor’s (and Sketch City‘s) Jeff Reichman adds a few data points to that conversation this afternoon, though he doesn’t appear to push any specific conclusions in his how, what, and why writeup. Reichman gathered data on the folks that Harris County’s public jail records system says were arrested over the first half of this year for minor marijuana possession offenses (instead of just being given a citation for the same offense). The red dots on the interactive map show the arrestees’ home addresses (scootched around a bit to somewhere within the dot’s 300-meter radius, for the sake of anonymity).

The other data layer (in shades of blue) shows census blocks with median income over $80,000 (marking roughly the start of what the US census measures as the top quarter of household earnings in the US, Reichman notes). The blue areas, which get darker as income gets higher, appear relatively arrest-free, though a 2012 study from the NIH suggest that more frequent weed use may be linked to higher socioeconomic status.

Map: Jeff Reichman

Mapping the Green
08/29/16 5:00pm

The larger the dot in the interactive map above, the more frequently the surrounding ZIP code deals with sewage overflows, per to the city’s tally of sewage spills between 2009 and 2014. The map, put together by Rachael Gleason with data prepped by John Harden and Mike Morris, goes along with Morris’s update in the Chronicle this weekend on the city of Houston’s ongoing negotiations with the EPA over what to do about the city’s sewage-related water quality issues, with the estimated cost of required infrastructure upgrades and education programs on the horizon currently hanging out in the neighborhood of $5 billion dollars.

The Chronicle’s analysis also notes that most of the areas with above-average sewage spill rates are home to above-average poverty rates, as well as above-average proportions of black and Hispanic residents than the city as a whole. The map above allows readers to superimpose the spill numbers over each ZIP code’s median income and poverty rate (you’ll have to look elsewhere for maps backing up the other claim, though). Another map released earlier this summer pinpoints more precisely the spots where the sewage flows most freely — areas in purple below have seen a minimum of 45 documented sewage spills in the 5-year data period:

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Sniffing Out the Cause
08/18/16 1:00pm

Find Your Watershed map, 2016

This month the Galveston Bay Foundation and Houston Advanced Research Center released their second annual report card on the health of Galveston Bay, boiling down a wide range of measurements into a series of letter grades. The report card, which looks at the bay itself along with the bayous that drain into it, aims to be easy to understand for folks with or without scientific training. Each of the 6 main categories of grade — including subjects like wildlife population trends, pollution sources, and human health hazards — is broken down with explanations of what specific measurements that rating is based on (and more details in the full report, for those who want them).

The agencies have also put together a Find Your Watershed tool, which lets you check in on how your own part of town is affecting the bay’s GPA. (That’s Buffalo Bayou watershed’s report shown above; the bayou did exceptionally well in dissolved oxygen and nitrogen content this term, but failed wetlands.) You can look up any address and see how the surrounding runoff area measures up in some of the report’s subject categories. (Note that the search tool’s map doesn’t use the same color-by-grade scheme that the rest of the report employs — you’ll have to click on each watershed to see the actual marks).

So how did the bay do this year?

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Galveston Bay Schooling
08/09/16 10:30am

For at least the 3rd time this summer, the city is back in emergency heat plan mode in the face of the in-the-shade 105 to 110 heat indices forecast across the area yesterday afternoon (and again today, from 1 to 7 pm). The plan kicks in when indices hang around 108 for more than 1 day in a row. A chat with the folks at 311 will get you a ride to one of the nearest air-conditioned chillout centers, mapped above — the majority are public libraries (marked in yellow), with a few municipal multiservice centers thrown in for color (namely blue). The list of centers is also broken out by postal code on the city’s emergency website, along with each spot’s operating hours — in the process providing a quick review of how some of those turn-of-the-decade library hours cuts shook out.

Map of emergency cooling centers: City of Houston

Reading is Cool
06/27/16 5:30pm

Above is Rewire’s interactive map of what happened to most of the abortion clinics in Texas since the 2013 passage of  HB2, parts of which were struck down today by the Supreme Court. The 5-3 ruling this morning overturned a section of the law that would have required prohibitively expensive remodeling of many clinic buildings, as well as a section requiring that abortion providers make arrangements that let them personally admit patients to nearby hospitals.

The latter requirement alone, when it went into effect in November 2013, caused more than half of the state’s 41 abortion providers to stop offering the procedure (including 4 out of 10 inside the Grand Pkwy. at the time). The University of Texas says that the full law, had it gone into effect, would have left Houston with 2 providers (compared to 33 in New York City, 10 in Los Angeles, and 13 in Chicago). Those 2 — the geometrically questionable Planned Parenthood HQ near University of Houston’s main campus, and the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center in the Heights — show up on the map in green when the Ambulatory Surgical Center layer is activated:

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SCOTUS Rules on Texas