• Open source mapping lab

    September 30, 2014  |  Mapping

    Tangram from Mapzen

    Mapzen focuses on building open source mapping components for developers.
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  • Flooding risk cartogram

    September 29, 2014  |  Mapping

    Flooding risk

    As you may or may not know, climate change could bring with it other effects besides our average days getting warmer. Flooding is one of these other things. Based on data from research by Climate Central, Gregor Aisch, David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy for the New York Times mapped flood risk by country with a cartogram.

    Globally, eight of the 10 large countries most at risk are in Asia. The Netherlands would be the most exposed, with more than 40 percent of its country at risk, but it also has the world's most advanced levee system, which means in practice its risk is much lower.

    Some countries in Asia may choose to emulate the Dutch system in coming decades, but some of the Asian nations are not wealthy and would struggle to do so.

    Each rectangle represents a country, and the size represents how many people are expected to experience regular flooding by the year 2100. Color indicates the estimated percentage of a country's population to feel the effects. So as expected, you see a lot of big rectangles and dark colors in the Asian countries.

    See also Stamen Design's flood maps, also in collaboration with Climate Central, from a couple of years ago.

  • Hand-drawn, detailed city maps

    September 23, 2014  |  Mapping

    Hand-drawn San Francisco map

    Maps can be about a lot of things, from strictly geography and location down to the individuals who reside in an area. Illustrator Jenni Sparks embeds herself in a city, takes copious notes, and draws detailed maps about what she learns. Her style lends to the community side of the spectrum.
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  • Old maps overlaid on Google Maps

    September 8, 2014  |  Mapping

    Old maps overlaid on Google Maps

    The British Library georeferencing project places old maps, as far back as the 16th century, on top of Google Maps for browsing and as a mode of comparison.

    The British Library began a project to crowdsource the georeferencing of its scanned historic mapping in 2011 by partnering with Klokan Technologies to customise its online georeferencing tool. There have been five public releases of maps since 2012, all of which met with tremendous success. In total over 8,000 maps have been "placed" by participants and subsequently checked for accuracy and approved.

    Has someone else done this? I feel like I've seen something like this project before, but the closest thing I can think of is Historypin, which overlaid images on top of Google Streetview.

  • Cosmic map shows Milky Way at the edge of a supercluster

    September 4, 2014  |  Mapping

    Nature highlights the research of R. Brent Tully et al, which defines a supercluster called Laniakea. A supercluster is like a network of galaxies, and according to this work, the Milky Way is at the edge of this one.

    From the abstract:

    Here we report a map of structure made using a catalogue of peculiar velocities. We find locations where peculiar velocity flows diverge, as water does at watershed divides, and we trace the surface of divergent points that surrounds us. Within the volume enclosed by this surface, the motions of galaxies are inward after removal of the mean cosmic expansion and long range flows. We define a supercluster to be the volume within such a surface, and so we are defining the extent of our home supercluster, which we call Laniakea.

    See the full paper here [pdf].

  • Segregated schools, still

    September 3, 2014  |  Mapping

    Share of white kids attending majority-white schools

    The map above by MetroTrends shows the percent of white kids who attended majority-white schools during the 2011-12 school year. Schools are still segregated in many areas of the country.

    From Reed Jordan for MetroTrends:

    The separation of races is most clearly seen in large metropolitan counties that hold the bulk of a state’s population and most of its students of color. For example, in Chicago (Cook County), the overall student population is about 25 percent white, 31 percent black, and 37 percent Latino, but 96 percent of black students attend majority non-white schools and 67 percent of white students attend majority white schools. In other words, white students tend to attend schools with other white students and black and Latino students attend schools with other students of color.

    Estimates are from the National Center for Education Statistics. [via @datatelling]

  • Louisiana is drowning

    August 29, 2014  |  Mapping

    Losing Ground by Propublica

    Louisiana is quickly losing much of its coast to the Gulf of Mexico. ProPublica and The Lens just launched an interactive project that shows you by how much and tells the story of those affected.

    In 50 years, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes — 16 square miles a year — due to climate change, drilling and dredging for oil and gas, and levees on the Mississippi River. At risk: Nearly all of the nation's domestic energy supply, much of its seafood production, and millions of homes.

    There is a lot to look at and learn about, but the most telling is when you zoom in to specific regions indicated by squares on the map. Use the timeline that appears at the top of the map to see how the coastline, based on satellite imagery, has diminished since 1932. It's disconcerting.

  • Introvert’s heart mapped

    August 22, 2014  |  Mapping

    Introvert's heart

    Cartoonist Gemma Correll mapped the introvert's heart, from recluse corner to the town of online ordering. Seems about right.

    It's also available in print, so that you can decorate your cave.

  • Mapping plastic in the ocean

    August 21, 2014  |  Mapping

    In research efforts to understand marine debris, Andres Cozar Cabañas et al recently published findings on plastic debris in the open ocean. National Geographic and geographer Jamie Hawk mapped the data.

    Extent of ocean plastic

  • Everywhere Jonny Cash went, man

    August 20, 2014  |  Mapping

    Everywhere

    Johnny Cash says he went to a lot of places in his song, "I've Been Everywhere." Iain Mullan had some fun with the location list for Music Hack Day London and mapped each place as the song plays.

    Also related to songs and location: where Ludacris claimed to have hoes.

  • Talking Ferguson on Twitter and localness

    August 18, 2014  |  Mapping

    Ferguson tweets

    For trending topics, Twitter likes to show an animated map of how a lot of people talked about something at once. They pushed one out for Ferguson tweets. Naturally, the map looks a lot like population density. So instead, Eric Huntley aggregated and normalized for a more useful view.

    Ultimately, despite the centrality of social media to the protests and our ability to come together and reflect on the social problems at the root of Michael Brown's shooting, these maps, and the kind of data used to create them, can't tell us much about the deep-seated issues that have led to the killing of yet another unarmed young black man in our country [5]. And they almost certainly won't change anyone's mind about racism in America. They can, instead, help us to better understand how these events have been reflected on social media, and how even purportedly global news stories are always connected to particular places in specific ways.

    You won't find answers to the more important questions on Twitter.

  • Map of military surplus distribution

    August 17, 2014  |  Mapping

    Spreadof military's surplus

    With the situation in Ferguson, the New York Times mapped the distribution of military surplus through Defense Department program. Equipment, especially assault rifles, have gone to most parts of the United States.

  • Interactive documentary takes you through space and orbits

    August 14, 2014  |  Mapping

    Interactive video for space

    Impressive work in A Spacecraft for All:

    This Chrome Experiment follows the unlikely odyssey of the ISEE-3, a spacecraft launched in 1978 to study the Sun, but better known for its amazing accomplishments beyond that original mission. "A Spacecraft for All" is an interactive documentary combining film and 3D graphics, allowing you to follow the spacecraft's story as you trace it along its entire 36 year journey.

    The combination of video and interactive sometimes feels gimmicky, but this feels like they belong together. The interactive portion lets you casually interact in space and look at orbit paths, and the video portion explains what you're looking at. Guidance comes when necessary.

  • Where the poor live, a decade comparison

    August 13, 2014  |  Mapping

    Poverty and race in America

    To better understand race and poverty, MetroTrends maps where people live whose income is below the poverty line.

    The history, geography, and politics of individual metro regions all matter profoundly, and any serious policy strategy must be tailored to local realities.

    To help take the policy conversation from the general to the specific, we offer a new mapping tool. It lets you explore changes from 1980 to 2010 in where poor people of different races and ethnicities lived, for every metropolitan region nationwide.

    Each dot, color-coded by race, represents 20 people. So when you slide between views for 1980 and 2010, you see how areas have grown more or less diverse, increased or decreased in covered areas, and perhaps areas in need of more attention.

  • Mapping the spread of drought, nationally

    August 11, 2014  |  Mapping

    Drought time series

    Although California has perhaps had it the worst, drought also affects other states, mainly the southwestern ones. Mike Bostock and Kevin Quealy for the New York Times have been updating an animated map weekly. It shows the spread of drought severity, across the United States. But, be sure to scroll down to also see drought levels over time, shown as stacked area chart.

    See also: NPR drought tracking from a couple of years ago.

  • Cultural history via where notable people died

    August 4, 2014  |  Mapping

    A group of researchers used where "notable individuals" were born and place of death, based on data from Freebase, as a lens into culture history. The video explainer below shows some results:

    From Nature:

    The team used those data to create a movie that starts in 600 bc and ends in 2012. Each person's birth place appears on a map of the world as a blue dot and their death as a red dot. The result is a way to visualize cultural history — as a city becomes more important, more notable people die there.

    Before you jump to too many conclusions, keep in mind where the data comes from. Freebase is kind of like Wikipedia for data, so you get cultural bias towards the United States and Europe. There are fewer data points just about everywhere else.

    Therefore, avoid the inclination to think that such and such city or country looks unimportant, focus on the data that's there and compare to what else is in the vicinity. From this angle, this is interesting stuff. [Science via Nature | Thanks, Mauro]

  • Explorations of People Movements

    July 30, 2014  |  Mapping

    Running

    In 2010, I surveyed visual explorations of traffic, and it was all about how cars, planes, trains, and ships moved about their respective landscapes. It was implied that the moving things had people in them, but the focus was mostly on the things themselves. Location data was a byproduct of the need of vehicles to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.

    Airplanes floated across the sky. Cabs left ghostly trails in the city. The visualization projects were, and still are, impressive.

    However, around the same time, it was growing more common for people to carry phones with GPS capability and these days, it's commonplace in areas where most people use smartphones. This new data source gave rise to similar but different visualization projects that were more granular.

    We see people. Movements.
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  • Misery index based on perceived temperature

    July 22, 2014  |  Mapping

    Misery index

    Late last year, Cameron Beccario made a wind map for earth, inspired by an earlier work by Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg. Beccario has been slowly adding overlays to the piece to show more dimensions of weather data around the world. The most recent overlay is what he calls a Misery Index, which is based on perceived air temperature.

    If you've seen the interactive globe already, it's worth revisiting. Click on the earth label on the bottom left to see the new stuff.

  • Flights around Ukraine

    July 18, 2014  |  Mapping

    Avoiding Ukraine

    The New York Times is covering Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 with a series of maps. The ones above show a sample of recent flights in the area. Some airlines, such as British Airways and Air France show a clear path around Ukraine, whereas others take a more direct route.

  • Geologic map of Mars

    July 18, 2014  |  Mapping

    The USGS released a more detailed geologic map of Mars, not just renderings based on rough models.

    The USGS-led mapping effort reveals that the Martian surface is generally older than previously thought. Three times as much surface area dates to the first major geologic time period - the Early Noachian Epoch - than was previously mapped. This timeframe is the earliest part of the Noachian Period, which ranges from about 4.1 to about 3.7 billion years ago, and was characterized by high rates of meteorite impacts, widespread erosion of the Martian surface and the likely presence of abundant surface water.

    Nice.

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