Not unlike other super­stores around the world, Costco’s pres­ence has had some­what of a pro­found impact on our con­sumeris­tic lives. The abil­ity to pur­chase goods at larger than nor­mal quan­ti­ties, some­times well below aver­age retail value, makes it an attrac­tive shop­ping expe­ri­ence. The first Costco opened in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia, 1976. It’s growth shows wildfire-like spread through­out the United States west coast. It is only in the mid-to-late 90’s which show remark­able expan­sion of Costco loca­tions to cen­tral and east­ern United States..

Mapping & Managing Time-Series Data

There are many ways to go about map­ping time-series data. One could cre­ate a video mon­tage of keyframes, show­ing store by store, the addi­tions of Costco loca­tions around the United States. There are a num­ber of tools included in GIS soft­wares that allow for time-series data explo­ration, includ­ing those for ArcMap and QGIS. Or if you are like me, and you want to explore web-mapping techn­l­ogy for this type of project, you can use Google Maps API. By manip­u­lat­ing the exam­ple code shown here, I was able to cre­ate a web map that loads all 417 Costco loca­tions and drops them on top the map using cus­tom mark­ers (Costco colours!) to rep­re­sent the growth of Costco over time.

The Costco data is avail­able in CSV for­mat from Loca­tions Com­plete. It requires a lit­tle bit of mas­sag­ing to work with the Google API… lucky for you, by vis­it­ing this page, you can view and copy/download my code if you wish.

I have to admit, I draw much inspi­ra­tions from Flow­ing Data and his growth of Wal­mart ani­ma­tion, and sim­i­larly, the growth of Costco ani­ma­tion.

Click on the map ↓ to view the animation!

For those that might have any tips on inte­grat­ing the drop() func­tion and the mark­er­Clus­terer tool, please get in touch!


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Thank you!

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