• Lessons learned from mapping millions of dots

    July 25, 2013  |  Mapping

    Mapping millions of dots

    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.

  • Soccer assists mapped

    July 24, 2013  |  Mapping

    Assists-source

    Using Opta data for assists in the Premier League, Kickdex made this straightforward chart to look at where assists typically come from on the field.

    It is clear that to rack up the assists, a direct style isn’t the way to go. Only 14% of all assists come from long balls, and 29% from crosses (many of which are also classified as long balls). Over two thirds of all assists are short, precision passes made from just in front of the box and wide within the box. - See more at: http://blog.kickdex.com/post/56157934804/the-perfect-assist#sthash.lwE8wHgc.dpuf

    As you might expect, most of the passes are aimed towards the goal. [via The Daily Viz]

  • Make your own US rivers and roads maps

    July 16, 2013  |  Mapping

    US rivers map

    Inspired by Nelson Minar's map of US rivers, Mike Bostock demonstrates how to generate your own TopoJSON from the same river data. As indicated by the name, the file format is a way to encode topology, and it does so in a compact way.
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  • Transit times in NYC

    July 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    Transit times NYC

    As more New Yorkers move farther away from Manhattan, transit times grow in importance. WNYC made a nice interactive map that shows how far one has to travel based on location. Simply click a location on the map and colors indicate how far it takes to get to your surroundings.

    It reminds me of Trulia's commute maps, which is the same idea but they estimate travel time for the entire country. Although I'm not sure if the data sources behind the maps are the same, the two maps seem to spit out similar results.

  • An eerie view of the linked city

    July 9, 2013  |  Mapping

    Watch_Dogs

    Watch_Dogs is a video game that imagines Chicago as a city where everyone and everything is linked through a central network. You play as a hacker who has access to all this information. This of course is fiction, but WeareData, also by the game makers, shows Paris, Berlin, and London, as if it were the Chicago in the game using real-world data.

    Watch_Dogs WeareData is the first website to gather publicly available data about Paris, London and Berlin, in one location. Each of the three towns is recreated on a 3D map, allowing the user to discover the data that organises and runs modern cities today, in real time. It also displays information about the inhabitants of these cities, via their social media activity.

    The ambient music, sound effects, and aesthetics provide a eerie feel to the view, as if you're spying on these cities from above. Although as you click items on the map, you'll see the data is not nearly as ominous.

  • Map shows how to say “beer” in Europe

    July 8, 2013  |  Mapping

    Eurobeer map

    Feòrag NicBhrìde provides a handy map on how to say beer in European countries. This is important. [via Boing Boing]

  • Yelp maps words used in reviews

    July 2, 2013  |  Mapping

    Yelp word map

    We typically think of Yelp reviews as aggregates on a restaurant or business-specific level. Search for restaurants on Yelp, and you have an overall rating for each result. But zoom out a level and aggregate over geographic areas instead of specific locations, and you get a better idea of the makeup of a city. This is what the Yelp Word Map provides.

    The Yelp Word Map shows where words such as hipster, pasta, and dim sum, are used in reviews, so you end up with a visual of where the pockets in a city are.

    The map above shows where pasta is often used in San Francisco reviews. Of course, the only maps that really matter though are the ones for dim sum and noodles. [via Waxy]

  • Mapping all the rivers in the United States

    July 1, 2013  |  Mapping

    All Rivers - California

    Inspired by Ben Fry's All Streets map, which showed every road in the United States, Nelson Minar mapped every river to similar effect. As you'd expect, the geography of the United States emerges without actually mapping locations.

    We saw a similar map from National Geographic, which showed the rivers of the world and took home an award for best map of 2010 at Malofiej. So Minar's map isn't especially new, but the good bit is that Minar posted a tutorial and his code on github, so that you can see how such a map is made.

    Most of the actual cartography is being done in Javascript, in the Leaflet and Polymaps drawing scripts. This tutorial code does very little, mostly just drawing blue lines in varying thicknesses. In addition the Leaflet version has a simple popup when rivers are clicked. With the actual vector geometry and metadata available in Javascript a lot more could be done in the presentation; highlighting rivers, interactive filtering by Strahler number, combination with other vector data sources, etc.

  • Atlas of literal place names

    June 25, 2013  |  Mapping

    USA

    We go places. They have names. What do these names mean though? The Atlas of True Names by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust can help you with that, replacing place names with the meaning of place names. California becomes the Land of the Successors, Texas is the Land of Friends, but forget all that. Who's up for a visit to Illinois, the Land of Those Who Speak Normally?

    See more detail for the United States here. There are also versions for the British Isles, Europe, and the world, all available for purchase to adorn your walls. [via Slate]

  • Contrailz: Detailed flight patterns at major airports

    June 24, 2013  |  Mapping

    Contrailz London flights

    Alexey Papulovskiy collected flight data from Plane Finder for a month, which essentially gives you a bunch of points in space over time. Then he mapped the data in Contrailz.

    Turns out, besides Flight Levels (FL) (which are indicated on my map by dots' color: red ones stand for lower altitudes and blue — for higher) planes have pretty specific "roads" and "highways" as well as "intersections" and "junctions". You can see this for yourself by taking a look at the Russian part of the map: it's less "crowded", so the picture is as clear as it gets. The sky above Moscow area looks particularly interesting: civil flights are allowed there only since March 2013 and only with an altitude of 27.000 ft or higher.

    Aaron Koblin's Flight Patterns always comes to mind immediately when I see flight data, and Contrailz of course looks similar, but the latter brings in European flight patterns, too, which makes it worth a gander.

    By the way, you should also check out Plane Finder if you haven't seen that yet. It shows planes currently in flight, and there's a lot of them. [Thanks, Alexey]

  • Mapping Twitter demographics

    June 20, 2013  |  Mapping

    Languages of Twitter

    MapBox, along with Gnip and Eric Fischer, mapped 3 billion tweets and a handful of variables.

    This is a look at 3 billion tweets — every geotagged tweet since September 2011, mapped, showing facets of Twitter's ecosystem and userbase in incredible new detail, revealing demographic, cultural, and social patterns down to city level detail, across the entire world. We were brought in by the data team at Gnip, who have awesome APIs and raw access to the Twitter firehose, and together Tom and data artist Eric Fischer used our open source tools to visualize the data and build interfaces that let you explore the stories of space, language, and access to technology.

    You'll probably recognize some of the maps, as they build on Fischer's previous projects, such as languages of Twitter and locals versus tourists. The originals were static images though. The interaction provides an exploratory view that lets you poke around the areas you're interested in, and maybe best of all, it was built with open source software.

  • A high resolution tour of the vegetation on Earth

    June 20, 2013  |  Mapping

    NOAA visualized global vegetation over a year, and the result is beautiful:

    We've seen forestry maps before, some quite detailed, but this is the first I've seen it at this granularity over a period of time.

    Although 75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth's surface is a dynamic green. Data from the VIIRS sensor aboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite is able to detect these subtle differences in greenness. The resources on this page highlight our ever-changing planet, using highly detailed vegetation index data from the satellite, developed by scientists at NOAA. The darkest green areas are the lushest in vegetation, while the pale colors are sparse in vegetation cover either due to snow, drought, rock, or urban areas. Satellite data from April 2012 to April 2013 was used to generate these animations and images.

    The changes are especially obvious as the season moves to summer, going from snow-covered to deep green.

  • Animation shows flow of attendees during a conference

    June 18, 2013  |  Mapping

    Visitor flow

    When you go to a conference, there are typically several talks going on at the same time, and you can always tell there's a popular paper coming up when you see people leave a bunch of rooms at once and head straight into one. There's also the unfortunate case when someone speaks, and there's only a handful of people in the room, all in the back staring at their laptops. Open Data City visualized this activity during the German internet conference re: publica.

    Open Data City used MAC addresses and access point connections to keep track of where devices went. So a person might be in a room connected to the nearest access point, disconnects as he leaves, and then reconnects as he reenters another room, which provides the flow.

    It's fun to watch the conference play out even if you didn't attend. Each dot represents an attendee, and as the animation plays the dots migrate from room to room. Click and drag over the dots to select specific people. [Thanks, Michael]

  • Easy mapping with Map Stack

    June 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    Map Stack example

    It seems like the technical side of map-making, the part that requires code or complicated software installations, fades a little more every day. People get to focus more on actual map-making than on server setup. Map Stack by Stamen is the most recent tool to help you do this.

    We provide access to different parts of the map stack, like backgrounds, roads, labels, and satellite imagery. These can be modified using straightforward controls to change things like color, opacity, and brightness. So within a few minutes you can have a map of anywhere in the world with dark green parks and blue buildings. You can get very precise with image overlays and layer effects, using layers as cut-out masks for other layers. Or just make a regular-looking map in the colors you want.

    The idea is to make it radically simpler for people to design their own maps, without having to know any code, install any software, or even do any typing.

    It's completely web-based, and you edit your maps via a click interface. Pick what you want (or use Stamen's own stylish themes) and save an image. For the time being, the service is open only from 11am to 5pm PST, so just come back later if it happens to be closed.

    See here for a taste of what others have done so far.

  • State of the OpenStreetMap

    June 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    OpenStreetMap Data Report

    OpenStreetMap, the free wiki world map that offers up high quality geographic data, has grown a lot in the past eight years. The OpenStreetMap Data Report shows all these changes. Says the report: "The database now contains over 21 million miles of road data and 78 million buildings."
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  • Rise of craft beer

    June 7, 2013  |  Mapping

    Rise of craft beer

    The Brewers Association just released data for 2012 on craft beer production and growth. The New Yorker mapped the data in a straightforward interactive.

    As of March, the United States was home to nearly two thousand four hundred craft breweries, the small producers best known for India pale ales and other decidedly non-Budweiser-esque beers. What's more, they are rapidly colonizing what one might call the craft-beer frontier: the South, the Southwest, and, really, almost any part of the country that isn't the West or the Northeast.

    Most articles and lists on craft beer tend to focus on total production and breweries, so California, a big state with a lot of people, always ends up on top. And as a Californian, I'm more than happy with my access to all the fine brews around here, but clearly, there are many more states to visit. RV trip anyone? [via @kennethfield]

  • Map: Vernacular across America

    June 6, 2013  |  Mapping

    yall

    When you talk to different people across the United States, you notice small differences in how people pronounce words and phrases. Sometimes different terms are used to describe the same thing. Bert Vaux's dialect survey tried to capture these differences, and NC State statistics graduate student Joshua Katz mapped the data.
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  • Map of London fire engine callouts

    June 5, 2013  |  Mapping

    Fire engine callouts

    Using data from the London Fire Brigade, James Cheshire mapped 144,000 incidents in London.

    This map shows the geography of fire engine callouts across London between January and September 2011. Each of the 144,000 or so lines represents a fire engine (pump) attending an incident (rounded to the nearest 100m) and they have been coloured according to the broad type of incident attended. These incident types have been further broken down in the bar chart on the bottom right. False alarms (in blue), for example, can be malicious (fortunately these are fairly rare), genuine or triggered by an automatic fire alarm (AFA). As the map shows, false alarms – thanks I guess to AFAs in office buildings – seem most common in central London.

    It looks a lot like a sky of fireworks in this view. I bet a map for each category might help flesh out different patterns.

  • Geography of tweets

    June 2, 2013  |  Mapping

    Geography of Twitter

    Twitter mapped all the geotagged tweets since 2009. There's billions of them, so as you might expect, roads, city centers, and pathways emerge. And it only took 20 lines of R code to make the maps.

  • A quarter century of satellite imagery

    May 21, 2013  |  Mapping

    Picture of Earth through time

    In collaboration between USGS, NASA and TIME, Google released a quarter century of satellite imagery to see how the world has changed over time.

    The images were collected as part of an ongoing joint mission between the USGS and NASA called Landsat. Their satellites have been observing earth from space since the 1970s—with all of the images sent back to Earth and archived on USGS tape drives that look something like this example (courtesy of the USGS).

    We started working with the USGS in 2009 to make this historic archive of earth imagery available online. Using Google Earth Engine technology, we sifted through 2,068,467 images—a total of 909 terabytes of data—to find the highest-quality pixels (e.g., those without clouds), for every year since 1984 and for every spot on Earth. We then compiled these into enormous planetary images, 1.78 terapixels each, one for each year.

    Be sure to check out the Timelapse feature on Time.

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