Time Magazine called 2020 the worst year in a while for a reason. A lot happened that was beyond anyone’s imagination, including the pandemic. Aspecum has visualized all of 2020 on a single map to put it all into perspective.
As professionals in data visualization, we spot and keep track of all the happenings — from killer bees and locust invasions to wars and volcanic eruptions on a single map. We dive deep into 2020 and hand-picked the wildest and most dramatic events.
To start with, the coronavirus has been a huge force in driving events in 2020 across the globe. On January 7, the World Health Organization was notified of COVID-19 spreading worldwide. Countries hit the hardest include the USA, France, and the UK, which have so far registered the highest number of deaths. A lockdown was introduced in Wuhan province, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and nationwide lockdowns quickly spread, with Italy being the first to implement one.
Thankfully, vaccines are on the horizon. In early December, pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca confirmed that their vaccines are effective, and the UK is the first country to start mass vaccination programs.
This year, Australia made headlines for bushfires that raged across the east coast and ravaged over tens of millions of acres for over two months. Entire cities had to be evacuated and at least 1 billion animals are said to have perished, putting over 100 species in grave danger.
In addition, nearly 30 typhoons and tropical storms caused havoc across the globe, resulting in a total of 439 fatalities and damage worth $3.525 billion. The most notable events occurred during the 2020 Pacific typhoon season: Typhoon Goni(Rolly), which had winds of 220km/h.
There were numerous earthquakes this year as well: 8 quakes of magnitude 7.0 or above, and 107 quakes between 6.0 and 7.0. All in all, there were 131,786 earthquakes, including the magnitude 7.8 July 2020 Alaskan Peninsula earthquake.
The year continued to unfold like a badly written movie script, with the first nest of killer hornets popping up in Blaine, Washington, USA. Trained crews suited up to destroy around 200 hives of the deadly insects, which are common to the Asian continent.
Social media may have had a field day with WW3 memes, building off high tensions in the offline world — U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on the 2nd of January. But that’s not the end of the story, as, in the same month, Iran went on to launch ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq, and also accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which crashed in Tehran.
Taiwan’s Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Shen Yi-ming passed away along with eight others when a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter operated by the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) crashed in Taiwan. Other notable incidents include the Airbus A320 flying from Lahore to Karachi which crashed leaving ninety-seven dead and two passengers injured.
An explosion at a gas processing plant in Nigeria resulted in 15 fatalities and the destruction of more than 50 buildings. Another disaster occured when 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut, killing more than 200 people, wounding 5000 others, and leaving 300,000 residents temporarily homeless.
The United Kingdom is on its way to exiting from the European Union. Britons, however, are split between celebrations and protests that are rocking the country. In the U.S., protests by the Black Lives Matter protests even led to riots. There were police violence riots and protests in France as well, all adding to over 90 protests and riots around the globe.
Over 130 elections were held across the globe this year. Europe held the most, amounting to more than 40 elections.
Even with lockdowns in place, the death toll from the coronavirus hit 5,000 in April, and the pandemic has since killed a quarter of a million people. Uncertainty hit the economy and stock markets took a plunge. US stock indexes like Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2,997 points — the biggest drop since 1987. Some governments provided aid against slowing economic activity, though, in the U.S., debates are continuing about a new round of stimulus checks for citizens, who have so far only received a single-time transfer of $1,200..
The 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed to 2021. Japan is still set to host the much-anticipated event of the sporting community, now to be held in July next year. The sporting world came to standstill, with sporting associations everywhere shutting everything down — even the soccer calendar.
It appears conspiracy theorists might have a point after all. There is now solid proof of UFOs spotted on our planet. In April, the US government released UFO videos — the Pentagon is calling them “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
It’s not the end of the world yet, but just in case we are caught unaware, rest assured that Oreos, a popular brand of cookies, will survive the apocalypse. The brand built an asteroid-proof bunker filled with cookies and powdered milk above the permafrost line.
A silver lining for tech: with everyone staying at home, tech has had a great year, with Zoom gaining 265,400 customers overnight. Amazon hired 175,000 new employees during the pandemic and doubled profits to a whopping $88.9 billion. However, not everyone in tech won. Quibi, a new short-form streaming platform was launched but fell out of favor in just one week.
All in all, 2020 was a year to remember, but there is hope 2021 will lift the shadows on that the year has cast.
Aspectum is a California-based company focused on providing high-quality visualization and powerful analytics for business outcomes. It offers digital solutions for improved data visualization through geographic information systems. Aspectum partners with leading companies across industries in North America and Europe for enhanced mapping that makes data more available and valuable.