OK, calling it a benchmark is a bit of an overstatement. It's taking two different database libraries for a quick spin, and seeing how fast they can write a bunch of integers to disk. A second benchmark checks how fast we can read them.
In this mini-test, I'm running leveldb against a new embedded database library, let's call it system_x. The purpose is really just so that I can remember some rough numbers regarding these useful database libraries.
Browsing stackoverflow, the matplotlib homepage, and other resources, I eventually came by this stackoverflow post, which mentions BaseMap. Since the data that I'm plotting is inherently geographical, it makes sense to show the data on a map.
I like to install 3rd party Python libraries using pip. Pip and easy_install can automatically download and install Python code from PyPi (also known as The Cheese Shop). This is how to publish your own Python code on PyPi, so people can do this: