Sunday, December 16, 2018

3D interactive map of population densities across the globe

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post showing where to find data on population estimates at high spatial resolution for the world. These are great sources of data if one wants to explore and visualize how population density varies across the globe, like in this neat interactive map created by Duncan Smith (CASA UCL).

I'm a big enthusiast of 3D density maps, as you might have noticed by so many of these posted on the blog before (such as this 1, this 2, this 3, this 4, this 5, ....). And apparently I'm not alone. A few days ago, Matt Daniels created a beautiful 3D interactive map of population densities and it went viral on the internet. You can procrastinate browse around the map and check your own region, but don't miss the story Matt published at The Pudding.



image credit: Matt Daniels (The Pudding)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Open position for a research assistant in the Access to Opportunities Project at Ipea, Brazil

This post will probably be of interest to only a small share of readers living in Brazil.

We have an open position for a research assistant to work with me in the Access to Opportunities Project at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea). The aim of the project is to estimate accessibility to employment opportunities as well as education and health services in the largest urban areas in Brazil. The project focuses on how social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities relate to urban transportation, housing and land use policies. We are estimating accessibility by public transport, walking and cycling at a high spatial resolution for all of the Brazilian major cities, what will generate a massive amount of data each year. My plan is to make the data outputs and results publicly available to policy makers and researchers, with whom we will be able to collaborate in the future to analzye particular case studies in Brazil but also to conduct comparative studies involving cities in Brazil and other countries.

The research assistant will be based in Brasilia (Brazil) and we are looking for someone with advanced skills in R. Applications will be open until the 20th of January 2019. More details can be found here (info in Portuguese only). Please, help spread us the word.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Chart of the Day and a Biographical note

I was given this birthday card by my partner yesterday. Isn't she lovely?! This is a great chart  and bit too honest .

I also received yesterday an email I wrote myself five years ago. There is this website FutureMe, which allows you to send an email to your future self. You just have to write a message, point to a destination email address and the date when the email will be received. The email I received yesterday was written right after I had moved to Oxford. It was written by a younger Rafa who was thrilled to start a PhD but also insecure if he belonged to that place, and someone who had lots of questions about how my life would unfold in the following years. I'm glad about the answers I have today for the questions I had back then.

I write these emails to my future self once every two or three years. I find it a great exercise to reflect about life and to keep track of how my thoughts, ideas, fears, plans etc change over time. You should give it a try,



ps. FutureMe is a free website and they didn't pay me to write this post.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Apply for the 2019 Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency

Since 2012, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities awards a young researcher every year with the 
Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship for Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency. This award was created to celebrate Lee Schipper, one of the founders of EMBARQ and an enthusiastic supporter of building closer links between rigorous research and policy-making. The Scholarship awards up to two candidates a maximum of $10,000 each to advance transformative research in efficient and sustainable transport. Applications are due by January 25, 2019.

I was honored along with Joanna Moody to receive this award in 2017, what allowed to organize a seminar to discuss my research with policy makers, practitioners, civil society and academics and to write a much stronger piece of research during my PhD and present it at two major conferences. It was a great and enriching experience and I would strongly encourage other researchers to apply for the Lee Schipper Award.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Assorted Links on mortality

  1. The case for monitoring life-span inequality, via José Manuel Aburto

  2. Mortality from road crashes in 193 countries: a comparison with other leading causes of death, ht Romulo Krafta

  3. The slowing pace of life expectancy gains since 1950

  4. How life expectancy in U.S. counties compares to other countries via Simon Kuestenmacher

  5. R package: mortAAR, for archeological demography. It provides functions for the analysis of archaeological mortality data See Chamberlain (2006). There is a vignette on Lifetables and an Extended Discussion

  6. R package: MortalityLaws, for downloading data from the Human Mortality Database and building parametric mortality models and life tables, by Marius Pascariu

  7. R package: MortCast, for estimating and Projecting of age-specific mortality rates, by Hana Sevcikova, Nan Li and Patrick Gerland (paper here) - via Adrian Raftery‏

  8. Beautiful Lexis-surface plot showing age and period specific mortality ratios of females and males, by Jonas Schöley (interactive version at the Human Mortality Explorer)


image credit: Jonas Schöley

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Visualizing transport mode share using a ternary colour scheme


This is also a great technique to visualize how transport mode share varies across different neighborhoods of a city. This chart below was created by Ignacio Pérez and it shows the mode split of different communes in Santiago (Chile).

image credit: Ignacio Pérez

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Academic Outreach

While many academics would like to (or are expected to) develop research with impact on the real world outside the ivory tower, this is how the academic publication process often look like. Via SAS.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Using GIFs to explain what various causal inference methods do to data and how they work

Nick Huntington-Klein (CSU Fullerton) has created a series of excellent gifs to illustrate what various causal inference methods do to data and how they work. The whole thread on Twitter is worthwhile, specially because learning these econometric methods becomes much easier once we have a solid understanding of the concepts and intuitions behind them. (Thanks Bernardo Furtado for the tip).

obs. Nick created these gifs in R using the gganimate package and the code is available here.


Here's the gif that shows the intuition behind difference-in-differences


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Widening roads to reduce congestion is like loosening the belt to tackle obesity

A gentle reminder that widening roads to reduce congestion is like loosening the belt to tackle obesity *


Related links:


* UPDATE: Apparently, this metaphor was originally used by the urban planner Lewis Mumford in 1955. “Building more roads to prevent congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity”.