• Map projections illustrated with a face

    January 13, 2014  |  Mapping

    Map projection with a face

    Most people, at least those who visit sites like FlowingData, know about map projections. You have to do math to get the globe, a thing that exists in this 3-dimensional world, into a two-dimensional space. The often-noted scene from the West Wing explains a bit, some demos help you compare, and there are map games that highlight distortions.

    But, it can still be fuzzy because most of us don't deal with the true shape and size of countries regularly. These figures from Elements of map projection with applications to map and chart construction, published in 1921, take a different route and place a face — something familiar — to show distortions. Foreheads get bigger, ears get smaller, noses change sizes, and projections are easier to understand. [via io9]

  • A visual exploration of refugee migrations

    January 9, 2014  |  Mapping

    Refugee project

    Hyperakt and Ekene Ijeoma visualized migrations over time and space in The Refugee Project. The interactive is based on United Nations data, which is naturally limited in scope, because it's difficult to count undocumented migrations, but there is plenty to learn here about major political and social events in history.

    The map starts in 1975, and with each tick of a year, the circles adjust to show outgoing numbers. Mouse over a circle, and you can see estimates for where people went, which is represented with extending lines.

    Document icons appear over major event locations which provide more context about what happened in the country. This is key. I just wish there were more of them. It'd provide an even better history lesson.

  • Military footprint

    December 19, 2013  |  Mapping

    Military footprint

    Similar to his collection of prison map snapshots, Josh Begley collected images of military bases around the world.

    In addition to the map -- which is built using MapBox, an open source and user-friendly publishing platform -- I've included snapshots of the earth's surface at various latitudes and longitudes. What does a military base look like from above? Which installations are secret and which can be viewed on the open internet? Running a small Processing sketch to query the Google Maps and Bing Maps APIs, I grabbed a satellite image for each point and am displaying the collection as a simple lightbox gallery.

  • Earth wind map

    December 17, 2013  |  Mapping

    Earth wind map

    Remember the wind map of the United States by Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viegas? Cameron Beccario made one for Earth, based on data from the Global Forecast System.

  • Uncertain cartographies

    December 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    Uncertain cartography

    Most people know the layout of their neighborhoods and some are good with the roads in their town. Zoom out farther though — to your city, state, and country — and the landscape grows fuzzy in your imagination. Cartographer Chris McDowall redrew his uncertainty of his native New Zealand with interesting, fuzzy results.

    The maps on this page are an attempt to translate my head landscapes into cartographic artefacts. I am trying to recreate of what I see when I close my eyes. They are rough approximations—the stuff in my head is far stranger and more difficult to pin down—but they feel honest. I share them because I find them beautiful and evocative.

  • What Antarctica looks like underneath the ice

    December 4, 2013  |  Mapping

    Based largely on satellite data and the results of an airborne data collection mission compiled by the British Antarctic Survey, Bedmap2 by NASA Goddard is a construction of what Antarctica looks like underneath the giant sheet of ice. This iteration of the map used 25 million more observations than the original Bedmap1, which was released in 2001, and provides a more granular view.

    [via Wired]

  • Climate change described visually

    December 4, 2013  |  Mapping

    A video from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme explains global warming and projected changes in the near future. I wanted them to provide more contrast to the data they showed over the globe, but the story itself is an interesting one.

  • MiseryMap of current flight delays and cancelations

    December 3, 2013  |  Mapping

    FlightAware MiseryMap

    FlightAware is a live flight tracker that lets you look up a flight to see where a plane is (and also provides a for-fee API). Their new MiseryMap focuses on delays and cancellations, a sore spot for all fliers and especially relevant given the holiday season and wintery weather. Donuts on the map represent on-time flights in green and delayed and canceled ones in red.

    They also show weather underneath, which is important context and a leading cause of misery. However, I wish there was a legend to tell me what those rainbow spectrum clouds mean.

  • Where the public radio is

    November 26, 2013  |  Mapping

    Public radio map

    Andrew Filer mapped the reach of public radio stations in the United Stations, based on data from Wikipedia and the station search from the Federal Communications Commission. Each circle represents a station and its coverage, and colors represent media outlets. For example, Capital Public Radio in Northern California is available across several stations in Sacramento, Modesto, Tahoe City, and others.

    So now you know where to go the next time you grow tired of the usual Billboard top 20.

  • Super ZIP codes

    November 25, 2013  |  Mapping

    Super ZIP codes

    The Washington Post looked at Super ZIP codes, a classification based on household income and education levels. It's a featured story, but it leads off with an interactive map so that you can see the ZIPs you're interested in.

    The ranks, ranging from 0 to 99, represent the average of each Zip's percentile rankings for median household income and for the share of adults with college degrees. Super Zips rank 95 or higher. This approach is adapted from one used by author Charles Murray.

    The map at top shows the nation's 650 Super Zips. Among them, the typical household income is $120,272, and 68 percent of adults hold college degrees. That compares with $53,962 and 27 percent for the remaining 23,925 Zips shown. Only Zips with at least 500 adults are displayed.

    I wonder what you get when you look at just education alone. Does it look the same? And, as usually is the case with these sorts of studies, how does cost of living play a role?

  • Global forest change

    November 20, 2013  |  Mapping

    Global forest change

    Hansen, Potapov, Moore, Hancher et al. produced high-resolution maps of global forestry to estimate change between 2000 and 2012.

    Quantification of global forest change has been lacking despite the recognized importance of forest ecosystem services. In this study, Earth observation satellite data were used to map global forest loss (2.3 million square kilometers) and gain (0.8 million square kilometers) from 2000 to 2012 at a spatial resolution of 30 meters. The tropics were the only climate domain to exhibit a trend, with forest loss increasing by 2101 square kilometers per year. Brazil’s well-documented reduction in deforestation was offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, and elsewhere. Intensive forestry practiced within subtropical forests resulted in the highest rates of forest change globally. Boreal forest loss due largely to fire and forestry was second to that in the tropics in absolute and proportional terms. These results depict a globally consistent and locally relevant record of forest change.

    Be sure to select the various data products and zoom in on example locations via the dropdown menus on the right of the map.

  • Running traces

    November 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    Copenhagen

    The Endomondo app lets you keep track of your workouts, namely running and cycling, so it records your location, and then estimates your speed, calories burned, and elevation changes. And workouts are set to public by default. Nikita Barsukov used the public traces to make some quick and dirty maps of workouts in major European cities. Above is Copenhagen.

    I'm curious about how these compare to car traffic or social media usage. Are they opposites or are they roughly the same, corresponding to number of people who live in an area? And, of course, I want to know what this looks like for American cities.

  • Estimated coastlines if the ice melted

    November 6, 2013  |  Mapping

    If all the ice melted

    National Geographic imagined new coastlines (and the cities that would go under) if all the ice melted, raising sea level by 216 feet.

    There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we'll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58.

    The light blue borders represent present day, and the land shows estimates. London, Venice, Bangladesh, and all of Florida would be submerged, and Australia would gain a new inland sea. Of course, estimates assume not much else changes. [via kottke]

  • Six decades of U.S. migration

    November 4, 2013  |  Mapping

    Net migration patterns

    We know that millions of Americans move to different counties every year, and when you look at the net totals, you see a pattern of people migrate from the midwest to the coasts. However, look at migration across demographic categories, and you see more detailed movement. This was the goal of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and they recently released their estimates, in map form.
    Continue Reading

  • Digital attack map

    October 25, 2013  |  Mapping

    Digital Attack Map

    A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack attempts to disable a site or web service by sending a ton of requests from multiple sources. Essentially, the server buckles under the pressure. Sometimes this is done to silence sites that the attackers disagree with, or they might try to take advantage of business backends.

    The Digital Attack Map, a collaboration between Google Ideas and Arbor Networks, shows current attacks and serves as a browser for past attacks around the world. Color and size indicate the type of attack and movement represents origins and destinations.

  • Most popular girl names by state

    October 22, 2013  |  Mapping

    Most popluar girl names by state in 2012

    Reuben Fischer-Baum looks at the most popular girl names by state, over the past six decades.

    Baby naming generally follows a consistent cycle: A name springs up in some region of the U.S.—"Ashley" in the South, "Emily" in the Northeast—sweeps over the country, and falls out of favor nearly as quickly. The big exception to these baby booms and busts is "Jennifer", which absolutely dominates America for a decade-and-a-half. If you're named Jennifer and you were born between 1970 and 1984, don't worry! I'm sure you have a totally cool, unique middle name.

    Like the trendy names and unisex names explorations, this series of maps is based on data from the Social Security Administration, which is surprisingly formatted and ready to use. If you're looking to play around with time series data and simple state geography, the SSA site is worth a bookmark. [Thanks, John]

  • Regional personality

    October 21, 2013  |  Mapping

    Regional personality

    Peter J. Rentfrow, et al. studied personality clusters across states using data from five surveys, totaling responses from about 1.6 million people. They recently published their results in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology [pdf].

    There is overwhelming evidence for regional variation across the United States on a range of key political, economic, social, and health indicators. However, a substantial body of research suggests that activities in each of these domains are typically influenced by psychological variables, raising the possibility that psychological forces might be the mediating or causal factors responsible for regional variation in key indicators.

    They found three main clusters, mapped above: friendly and conventional, relaxed and creative, and temperamental and uninhibited.

    The maps suggest that states belong only to specific clusters, but I suspect it's a more continuous scale. For instance, a state might be partially part of cluster 1 and 2, not really 3, as opposed to just cluster 1. Still though, it's an interesting start. Now if only the data they used were more easily accessible.

  • Super duper full-featured paper map

    October 15, 2013  |  Mapping

    Check out this awesome new thing called MAP. It's made of 100% sustainable material, easy to share, unbreakable, fits in your pocket, and most importantly, shares none of your information.

    Pre-ordered.

  • Maritime traffic in the Baltic Sea, animated

    October 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    Digital artist Lauri Vanhala animated a day of maritime traffic in the Baltic Sea.

    Here's a marine traffic and accident visualization that I created for the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission. The video was shown last week in a conference where the ministers of environment in the region of Baltic Sea and a bunch of other professionals were discussing how to protect the vulnerable and polluted sea in the future.

    The background music feels cinematic but not surprising given the audience. I particularly like the highlighting and annotation sync around the one-minute mark.

    See also: Britain from Above and Netherlands from Above. Oldies but goodies.

  • Map of median home listing prices

    October 10, 2013  |  Mapping

    Median home listing prices

    In their continued efforts to help potential home buyers find out all they can about the neighborhoods they want to live in, Trulia added median listing prices to their set of local maps. In the zoomed out view, you get prices per county, at medium zoom it's per ZIP code, and zoomed in all the way it's per block. You can also see sale price and sale price per square foot.

    With this, supplemented by crime data, commute, schools, and natural hazards, Trulia's maps are a required stop for home buyers.

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.