Here are the Amazon HQ2 finalists!


Amazon recently announced the 20 finalists in their search for a location to house their new 2nd headquarters (nicknamed 'hq2'). They showed a map on their web page, but I wanted to create my own map, with a few improvements ...

Here's their official map. It's not terrible, but it just doesn't really get me excited, from a mapping or visual point of view:

So I got out my trusty SAS software, and set about creating my new/improved version. I used the same basic color scheme and layout, but made several subtle changes. Can you identify the differences before I point them out? (Here's my SAS code if you'd like to see how I created the map.) Click the image below to see the full size interactive version of my map:

Here is a list of my changes (hopefully improvements!):

  • I used white city dot markers with a black border (rather than solid black markers). This helps make them more visible, and ties them in with the black and white 'amazon hq2' title.
  • I added borders around the states, to help you get a better feel for where these cities are located. Most of them are 'famous' cities, but not everybody knows their geography.
  • I added a little more explanation to the title - specifically 'January 2018 finalists'.
  • And, in the interactive version (click the above image to see it), I added mouse-over text and drill-down to the city markers and city names text.

Which city do you think will be chosen for the hq2 location? What do you think will be the deciding factors? (feel free to share your theories in the comments) Here are some of the factors I think will influence the decision ...

  • Since they already have a headquarters on the west coast, I think they hq2 will be located on the east coast.
  • Specifically, I think they will locate it somewhere in the EST time zone. That way, when the US wakes up, the Amazon hq2 employees will be up and ready to go.
  • I think they will choose a city with a reasonable cost of living, over one with very expensive housing.
  • I think it will be located in the southern half of the east coast, where there is less disruption from snow and ice. (this narrows it down to Raleigh, Atlanta, and Miami)
  • I think they will avoid coastal cities, to reduce exposure to hurricanes (this eliminates Miami).
  • And I think Atlanta's horrendous traffic will be the deciding factor between Atlanta and Raleigh - so Raleigh wins! :)



About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over a quarter century, and his specialty is customizing graphs and maps - adding those little extra touches that help them answer your questions at a glance. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University.

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  1. Alan Churchill on

    I am betting on 2 places.

    1. Denver due to the shorter commute between the cities, big airport, and a similar climate/culture to Seattle. Cost-of-living is also somewhat reasonable.
    2. Boston due to it being on the coast and roughly similar to Seattle (geographically) just on the opposite side of the country. That plus universities.

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