Map Kit for 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami

For much of the world, Japan is a very distant land whose basic scale, geography, geology, etc. is very poorly understood abroad. In the incessant news coverage of the first weeks after March 11’s earthquake, we’ve seen small details blown to huge proportions and issues being misrepresented, due in part to geological unfamiliarity. Also, it is very difficult for anyone outside major news organizations to access basic map data and tools.

Why we’ve built this kit

  • Map some of the basic data points around the disaster and bring a better understanding of the scale of the event.
  • Provide visual assets to citizen journalists and bloggers to supplement their coverage.
  • Help independent designers around the world build new data visualizations around the disaster to spread understanding and support for the rebuilding phase.

This project came to life after Tomomi bemoaned a decided lack of resources for maps during a frantic period of writing and coordinating coverage for the citizen media project Global Voices. Rather than offer our version of a map or inforgraphic, we created a visual tool in the hopes that you’ll take it one step further and use it to empower your message about Japan.

Download and License

» Download the kit (1.6 MB)

If you use, reuse, mix, remix, build upon, share this kit, please send us links to your creations so we can share them on our blog.

This Japan Map Kit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Details of the Map Kit

This map kit is an Adobe Illustrator file with the following information mapped as separate layers.

  • Devastated Cities (15 most devastated along NE coast)
  • Main Cities of Japan (North-East coast + international cities)
  • Aftershocks (location of first week of aftershocks - 1 layer per day)
  • Shaking Intensity
  • Exclusion zone around the Fukushima Nuclear Plants
  • Nuclear Power plants (North-East coast only)
  • Distances (rough km distance between main disaster areas and main cities)
  • Prefectures (North-East coast only)
  • Japanese Territory and neighbouring countries

If you don’t have Illustrator, download a month-long trial version in your language.

Other infographics

For a curated list of interesting Japanese and English infographics, data visualization or data source around the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident:

Map Kit for 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami

Credits and Disclaimer

Base Japan Map by Open Street Map

Earthquake & Aftershocks by Japan Quake Map

Shaking intensity by PASCO

The data shown here is accurate to the best of our knowledge but should not be relied upon for anything else than educational purposes.

Please make sure to double check the data and your sources before republication.

April 25, 2011