We include this resource under ‘Defense’ due to the usefulness illustrating population density. If things go bad in a high population area (i.e. Hurricane Katrina, etc.), your security risks are minimized the further you are from those population centers.

Or, suppose you’re considering rural Tennessee as a good place for a retreat. While that area has its positive features, if you’re concerned about being close to population centers then one look at this map will have you looking at the Northwest US instead.

Sample Image Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)

If demographics matter to you, this same tool will show you that info as well, as of 2010 census data down to the level of ‘census block’.

Sample Image Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)

Check out the full tool here.

Also check out the nearly identical version showing 2008 voting results and congressional districts (click on first image in link). Also, if you ever wondered how election results turn out the way they do, read the full linked article to see some hilariously bizarre gerrymandered districts with comic descriptions.

Sample Image Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)

We link to both tools because the original dot map has an option to toggle the racial color coding on or off (and off shows the rural population density better), while the congressional dot map does not. However, the congressional dot map allows a toggle between the color-coded census data and the 2008 voting data, with district overlays for both (a layer not available on the original tool).

For a quick comparison, check out these sample images. To explore the map as you like, go to the source, here.

2010 Census data.
Sample Image Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)

2008 Voting data.
Sample Image Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)

2008 Voting data with districts.
Sample Image Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)