World Births/Deaths Simulation - Adding World Cities

I've been tweaking on the World Birth/Deaths simulation a little bit more.  The (still beta) version is on googledrive at any of these sites:

https://googledrive.com/host/0B2GQktu-wcTicEI5VUZaYnM1emM/
https://googledrive.com/host/0B_n1OLMaOursX2hsRUhZNElwZmc/
https://googledrive.com/host/0B4G_4-zdiD1gU2NoX285dmxpTXM/

I have also wrapped this in a self-contained "Chrome Packaged App" that can run in Google's Chrome browser.  You can get the app on the chrome app store here.

I was able to round up world city names and locations, so that this could be included as well.  Specifically, I came across  Josh Smith's worldwide-city-database on github, which itself is based on the Maxmind WorldCities Database.  This is a tab-delimited ~130MB file of a more than two million world cities/places, their population, and latitude/longitude.  Since I already had US cities and their location, I parsed out just the non-us cities with a population of at least 10,000 via a sequence of awk commands (included for my future reference):
awk -F $'\t' '{if ($3!="us") {print $0}}' cities.sql > non_us_cities.tab
awk -F $'\t' '{if ($2>10000) {print $0}}' non_us_cities.tab > non_us_cities_with_population_10000.tab
This resulted in a file of about 1MB containing information on about 21,000 cities.  I then needed to convert it from ISO-8859-1 to UTF-8 via this command
iconv -f ISO-8859-1 -t UTF-8 non_us_cities_with_population_10000.tab > non_us_cities_with_population_10000_utf8.tab 
which resulted in the data file used in the visualization (I only realized I needed to do this conversion after some of the characters were not rendering correctly).

Here's an example record from the data file (with the header row included)
combinedpopulationcountry_coderegionlatitudelongitude
Andorra la Vella, Andorra20430ad0742.51.5166667
For a given non-US country, a random city is chosen by picking randomly based on the city's population as fraction of the sum of all of the cities for the country in this data file - this leaves out the smaller cities that might need to be included in some cases, and so I might return to this.

A recent screenshot is below.  Clicking on one of the cities in the lists will perform a google search on that city in a new window.  I still need to deal with the challenge of displaying the events on the map as they occur in a way that makes it easier to discern the specific places.



There are so many cities I just had no idea existed.  And seeing the simulated events in such specific geographic context as the simulation progresses adds a sobering poignancy.


Note: The simulation described here includes data created by MaxMind, available from http://www.maxmind.com/.



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