• 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 CabaƱas 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.
    Continue Reading

  • 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.

  • Test your geographic knowledge in Google map game

    July 7, 2014  |  Mapping

    Smarty Pins

    Smarty Pins is a simple, fun map game by Google. You get a trivia clue about some location, and the goal is to drop the pin as close as you can to the correct place. You start with 1,000 miles, and you get docked each time for how far your choice was from the actual location.

    For more on how little you know about where stuff is, see also the state matching game and the Mercator map puzzle.

  • Real-time lightning map

    June 26, 2014  |  Mapping

    Lightning map

    Blitzortung is a community of volunteers who install inexpensive lightning sensors and transmit their data to a central server. In return, those who run the sensors have access to the network's data. The map that runs on the site shows the data in near real-time, providing a view of lightning strikes around the world. Pretty neat that this exists.

  • Detailed UK census data browser

    June 26, 2014  |  Mapping

    DataShine

    DataShine Census provides a detailed view into United Kingdom 2011 census data. Population, housing, income, commute, and other variables are available.

    The DataShine mapping platform is an output from an ESRC Future Research Leaders Project entitled "Big Open Data: Mining and Synthesis". The overall project seeks promote and develop the use of large and open datasets amongst the social science community. A key part of this initiative is the visualisation of these data in new and informative ways to inspire new uses and generate insights. Phase one has been to create the mapping platform with data from the 2011 Census. The next phases will work on important issues such as representing the uncertainty inherent in many population datasets and also developing tools that will enable the synthesis of data across multiple sources.

    They're off to a good start.

  • New York City taxi trips mapped

    June 23, 2014  |  Mapping

    NYC taxi data artifacts

    While we're on the topic of NYC taxi data, Eric Fischer for Mapbox mapped all 187 million trips. Each observation contains the start and end location of a trip, so blue dots represent the former and orange represent the latter. My favorite bit is on the data collection artifacts, such as the map above.

    The patterns at JFK and LaGuardia airports show interesting artifacts of the data collection process. Almost all of the trips there must have really begun or ended right at the terminals, but many of them are attributed to the roads leading to and from the airports, where the last good GPS fix must have occurred.

    See also the New York Times animated map from several years ago that shows taxi activity during days of the week.

  • Watch the U.S. population center shift west

    June 19, 2014  |  Mapping

    Shifting population

    According to the U.S. census, the mean center of the population shifted west every decade since 1790. They show the change in a simple animation.

    The mean center of population, traditionally referred to as simply the center of population, is provided for the 2010 Census and each census since 1790. In 2010, the mean center of population was located at 37°31'03" North latitude, 92°10'23" West longitude in Texas County, Missouri, 2.7 miles northeast of Plato, Missouri.

    The inclination might be to read this as people moving west, which is partially true, but don't forget immigration increasing the populations too.

  • OpenGeofiction, the creation of an imaginary and realistic world

    June 16, 2014  |  Mapping

    Opengeofiction

    Sharing the same collaborative principles as OpenStreetMap, a wiki-based map for the real world, OpenGeofiction is an experiment in mapping an imaginary world.

    Opengeofiction is a collaborative platform for the creation of fictional maps.

    Opengeofiction is based on the Openstreetmap software platform. This implies that all map editors and other tools suitable for Openstreetmap can be applied to Opengeofiction as well.

    The fictional world of Opengeofiction is thought to be in modern times. So it doesn't have orcs or elves, but rather power plants, motorways and housing projects. But also picturesque old towns, beautiful national parks and lonely beaches.

    As you zoom in to the map, you can see many details, from roads, bodies of water, to greenery, have already been added. Some areas look like densely inhabited cities connected by highway, whereas others are miles of forest and nature.

    Winburgh-Willhed-Wearhead

    Browse long enough and you forget you're looking at a fake world.

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