Lessons learned from mapping millions of dots

Posted to Maps  |  Tags:  |  Nathan Yau

Eric Fischer, known around these parts for his dot maps, describes the lessons he learned (along with practical tips) from mapping millions of tweets to be visible on many devices. The views above show what you get when you vary dot size when you zoom in to a dot-filled map.

The first thing that becomes clear when you start drawing the same dots at different scales is that it doesn’t look right if you just scale the dots proportionately as you scale the area. Each time you zoom in on a web map, only a quarter of the area that was visible before is still visible, but if you match that and draw the dots four times as big as you did at the previous zoom level, the image is very crowded and fuzzy by the time you get zoomed in all the way. The Gnip maps instead double the area of the dots for each level you zoom in. Here’s what it looks like to zoom in on Times Square with dots that quadruple, double, or don’t change size at all with each zoom level.

Favorites

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.

The Most Unisex Names in US History

Moving on from the most trendy names in US history, let’s look at the most unisex ones. Some names have …

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

Divorce Rates for Different Groups

We know when people usually get married. We know who never marries. Finally, it’s time to look at the other side: divorce and remarriage.