• Commute times in your area, mapped

    June 26, 2012  |  Mapping

    Commute map

    When you look for a place to live, there are outside factors to consider other than price and square footage. You want to know what the area is like. How's the crime? Are the schools nearby good or bad? Housing search site Trulia provides this information with Trulia Local. Using data from OpenStreetMaps and General Transit Feed Specification feeds, it just got better with their most recent addition that maps commute times.

    Commuting sucks. It’s stressful, and no amount of Sirius radio can make a traffic jam fun. Because of this, we know that commuting is an important consideration when choosing where to live, whether you’re in Los Angeles or Boston. So, launching today is Trulia’s first iteration of the Commute Map, a way to visualize driving and public transit times. With this new product, we aim to give Trulia users a better understanding of commute times to work or anywhere important, to help them find the best place to live.

    Put in your location, and the heatmap indicates areas you can get to in less than thirty minutes. If you want to see places farther away, you can use the slider to adjust the time, up to an hour away.

    I found myself just punching in addresses for fun and emphatically dragging the slider back and forth. The map is responsive, and most importantly informative, especially if you're planning a move.

  • Endangered languages project

    June 25, 2012  |  Mapping

    Endangered languages

    Google, in collaboration with Vizzuality, are trying to catalog endangered languages before they are gone forever in the Endangered Languages Project.

    Humanity today is facing a massive extinction: languages are disappearing at an unprecedented pace. And when that happens, a unique vision of the world is lost. With every language that dies we lose an enormous cultural heritage; the understanding of how humans relate to the world around us; scientific, medical and botanical knowledge; and most importantly, we lose the expression of communities’ humor, love and life. In short, we lose the testimony of centuries of life.

    A map on the homepage gets the most attention. Each small dot represents a language, and they are color-coded by endangerment risk. Click on one to get more details about the language or add information yourself to improve the records. Zoom out and the counts aggregate for an overview.

  • World sentiment mapped, based on Wikipedia

    June 20, 2012  |  Mapping

    Kalev H. Leetaru animated world sentiment over time, based on Wikipedia entries.

    See the positive or negative sentiments unfold through Wikipedia through space and time. Each location is plotted against the date referenced and cross referenced when mentioned with other locations. The sentiment of the reference is expressed from red to green to reflect negative to positive.

    Sentiment stays green for the most part, with the exception of major wars, and I'm not so sure that a world map is a good way to show the relationships. For example, when the animation hits 2000, the map is basically a green blob. It's a good start though and touches on maybe the next step of the coverage maps we've seen lately.

  • Road trip planner with weather forecasts

    June 19, 2012  |  Mapping

    Trip Planner for SF to Phoenix

    Online maps have made it easy to find directions from point A to point B, but when you're going on a long road trip, you want to know more about where you're going. What will the weather be like? What is there to do at each stopped? Design and technology studio Stamen made a travel planner in work for the Weather Channel that tells you. Put in your origin and destination and when you will leave, and you get a map with weather icons along the way.

    So let's say you're driving from New York to San Francisco, and you're trying to decide whether to go straight across or loop up or down a bit; this will give you a sense for whether it's going to be rainy or sunny when you plan to be in the middle of Nebraska. You can drag around the rainy bits if you like, and also along the way maybe you'd like to stop for a bite to eat, so we're hitting the Yelp API to give you a sense of where to go and what to see.

    Give it a try here. It's kind of awesome.

  • Toronto subway map, Super Mario 3 style

    June 18, 2012  |  Mapping


    Dave Delisle mapped the Toronto TTC Subway in the style of Super Mario Bros. 3. Adorn your walls with the print. [via Boing Boing]

  • Geography of the basketball court, interactive edition

    June 12, 2012  |  Mapping

    Miami Heat vs OKC Thunder

    Remember geographer Kirk Goldsberry's analysis of shot efficiency on the basketball court? Jeremy White, Joe Ward, and Matthew Ericson give it the New York Times treatment in this interactive version for this season's finals teams, the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder. Like Goldsberry's maps, the shooting area of the basketball court is treated as the region of interest where bin size represents shot frequency and color represents efficiency. Roll over the regions to see the exact numbers.
    Continue Reading

  • Income inequality seen in satellite images from Google Earth

    June 6, 2012  |  Mapping

    Income inequality

    Researchers Pengyu Zhua and Yaoqi Zhang noted in their 2008 paper that "the demand for urban forests is elastic with respect to price and highly responsive to changes in income." Poor neighborhoods tend to have fewer trees and the rate of forestry growth is slower than that of richer neighborhoods.

    Tim De Chant of Per Square Mile wondered if this difference could be seen through satellite images in Google Earth. It turns out that you can see the distinct difference in a lot of places. Above, for example, shows two areas in Rio de Janeiro: Rocinha on the left and Zona Sul on the right. Notice the tree-lined streets versus the not so green.

    De Chant notes:

    It's easy to see trees as a luxury when a city can barely keep its roads and sewers in working order, but that glosses over the many benefits urban trees provide. They shade houses in the summer, reducing cooling bills. They scrub the air of pollution, especially of the particulate variety, which in many poor neighborhoods is responsible for increased asthma rates and other health problems. They also reduce stress, which has its own health benefits. Large, established trees can even fight crime.

    Okay, I don't now about that last part about fighting crime. Without seeing the data, I think that sounds like a correlation more than anything else, but still. Trees. Good.

    [via Boing Boing]

  • Geography of incarceration

    June 6, 2012  |  Mapping

    Geography of incarceration

    New York University graduate student Josh Begley grabbed 4,916 satellite images of prisons via the Google Maps API and put them all in one place. It's called Prison Map.

    The United States is the prison capital of the world. This is not news to most people. When discussing the idea of mass incarceration, we often trot out numbers and dates and charts to explain the growth of imprisonment as both a historical phenomenon and a present-day reality.

    But what does the geography of incarceration in the US actually look like? Prison Map is my attempt to answer that question.

    Most are isolated boxes surrounded by a lot of field, but oddly there are some in close proximity to residential. There's one towards the bottom that actually does look like a residential area. Either it's a blip or grandma is running a prison in the basement. Probably the former.

  • Political allegiance via wireless network SSIDs, mapped

    June 5, 2012  |  Mapping

    Obama and SSIDs

    Wireless network SSIDs in residential areas are typically left on default router names like Belkin or LinkSys, but some people use them as a subtle way to broadcast a message. Sometimes it's simple like "DontStealMyInternet" or "Big Bob's playhouse." Others use their SSIDs to make a political statement. With that in mind, James Robinson, a developer for OpenSignalMaps, wondered if political allegiance could be inferred from assigning sentiment to SSIDs.

    According to this eccentric measure of sentiment Obama is much more popular outside of the US than within. Why is this? It may be that Obama is genuinely more popular in the rest of the world but maybe it is because outside of the US people are less likely to express negative sentiments towards politicians in this manner. We can't answer this definitively but looking at Argentina, at least, does suggest this is the case.

    I'm surprised it was so evenly split in the US between negative and positive since in a way it's like putting a sign up on your lawn. Usually you see signs in support of a candidate rather than one that says an opposing candidate sucks.

    Anonymity probably plays the main role in this case. You can't put up a mean sign in front of your house and pretend it's not yours, but you can make an insulting SSID, and no one would be the wiser.

  • America Revealed on PBS

    May 30, 2012  |  Mapping

    I'm not sure how I missed this, but PBS's America Revealed, which has apparently been running since last month, is the American version of the popular Britain From Above. Four episodes have aired so far on transportation, electricity, and manufacturing, along with a making-of episode. Here's a clip from the transportation episode.

    The series airs on Wednesdays at 10/9c. Although it looks like the full series ran already. It wouldn't make much sense to go over the making-of in the middle. On the upside, four episodes are available online.

    Had I known this existed, maybe I wouldn't have subjected myself to the monstrosity of a show in United Stats of America.

  • Sky map

    May 29, 2012  |  Mapping  |  Kim Rees


    I'm a little dense when it comes to astronomy, but I think I understand this image. Simply entitled "Sky Map," it was created by Polish designer, Paulina Urbańska. It shows various constellations and where their stars begin in the early evening. It then follows the path created by the earth's rotation, illustrating where the same stars end up in the morning. Colored areas of the paths are daylight hours.

    This map is just begging for some interaction to make it more useful, but it's beautiful as is. Be sure to check out all of Paulina's other lovely works.

    [via @visualloop]

  • Tornado tracks

    May 26, 2012  |  Mapping  |  Kim Rees


    John Nelson of IDV Solutions put 56 years worth of tornadoes on a map. John plotted each tornado's path and used brightness for its F-scale (level of intensity). He also added secondary charts for deaths and injuries and frequency by F-scale.

    It makes a gorgeous map. I would love to see the data incorporated into the wind map.

    So... practically speaking, if you live in the Midwest or Southern US, you should probably put this on your reading list.

  • Image compositing in TileMill

    May 24, 2012  |  Mapping  |  Kim Rees


    TileMill is a tool that makes it easy to create interactive maps. Soon they will be adding some new features that will treat maps more like images in terms of modifying the look and feel. This will allow you to apply blending to polygons and GIS data.

    AJ Ashton made these examples that are quite compelling, beautiful, and just touch on the possibilities. I can envision many different types of data being drawn with blending techniques as opposed to simply flow diagrams and the like. It will be interesting to see what comes out of these new features.

    [via @bonnie]

  • Montana can’t sleep

    May 17, 2012  |  Mapping  |  Kim Rees

    What's Wrong US?

    Help is a drug company that offers you less. Less active ingredients, less waste, less confusion, less greed. Its tongue-in-cheek website has a map of its latest sales data called "What's wrong U.S.?" A bar chart for each state shows how many people are buying products for particular maladies.

    So why are the inner northwest states having problems sleeping? My guess they're up late worrying about gay marriage.

  • What is missing?

    May 16, 2012  |  Mapping  |  Kim Rees

    What is missing

    What is Missing? by Maya Lin seeks to raise awareness about the mass extinction of species. It has a beautiful interface. The world map is black on a sea of black. Your mouse acts as a sort of flashlight layered between land and water, showing you glimpses of familiar coastlines and allowing you to select dots that tell the stories of extinction.
    Continue Reading

  • Global shipping network

    May 14, 2012  |  Mapping

    Shipping arcs

    Nicolas Rapp dives into the patterns and growth of worldwide shipping in a six-page spread for Fortune Magazine.

    Nearly 90% of all goods traded across borders travel, in part, by sea. Typically a ship will undertake six voyages a year. The fastest-growing routes are between ports in Asia, while goods moving out of that continent account for 43% of all maritime trade, according to IHS Global, an economic forecasting firm. Today the most heavily trafficked sea route is between China and the West Coast of the U.S. The total value of goods that travel from China to the U.S. is four times that of those on the return trip—a clear symbol of America's trade deficit.

    Despite a gap of a few centuries, the routes today still look a lot like the ones from the 18th century.

  • Neighborhood boundaries based on social media activity

    May 8, 2012  |  Mapping


    Researchers at the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University investigate the structure of cities in Livehoods, using foursquare check-ins.

    The hypothesis underlying our work is that the character of an urban area is defined not just by the the types of places found there, but also by the people who make the area part of their daily routine. To explore this hypothesis, given data from over 18 million foursquare check-ins, we introduce a model that groups nearby venues into areas based on patterns in the set of people who check-in to them. By examining patterns in these check-ins, we can learn about the different areas that comprise the city, allowing us to study the social dynamics, structure, and character of cities on a large scale.

    It's most interesting when you click on location dots. A Livehood is highlighted and a panel on the top right tells you what the neighborhood is like, related neighborhoods, and provides stats like hourly and daily pulse and a breakdown location categories (for example, food and nightlife). Does foursquare have anything like this tied into their system? They should if they don't.

    There's only maps for San Francisco, New York City, and Pittsburgh right now, but I'm sure there are more to come.

    Want more on the clustering behind the maps? Here's the paper [pdf].

  • An era of human-affected Earth

    May 7, 2012  |  Mapping

    Welcome to Anthropocene:

    Scientific concepts like the Anthropocene, planetary boundaries and planetary stewardship have heralded a profound shift in perception of our place in the world: a growing evidence base of scientific observations show we have become the prime driver of global environmental change. These new concepts are powerful communication tools as we move towards global sustainability.

    There's also a non-narrated version, but I like the narration. It helps you better appreciate what you're seeing. Oh yeah, and ooohh, purdy.

    [via infosthetics]

  • Minecraft server connections

    May 7, 2012  |  Mapping

    Minecraft server connections

    I've never played Minecraft, but maybe this map showing live server connections means something to those who do. "A dot is a server or a client. Lines are traced from clients connecting to servers. Lone dots are local servers." They also have raw hardware data available for download. [Thanks, Erik]

  • Extreme ice time-lapse

    May 2, 2012  |  Mapping

    Glaciers are big, slow-moving objects, and it might seem that not much is happening if you stare at one for a while. The Extreme Ice Survey, founded by James Balog in 2007, aims to provide the ice with a "visual voice" using time-lapse photography.

    One aspect of EIS is an extensive portfolio of single-frame photos celebrating the beauty–the art and architecture–of ice. The other aspect of EIS is time-lapse photography; currently, 27 cameras are deployed at 18 glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, the Nepalese Himalaya, Alaska and the Rocky Mountains of the U.S. These cameras record changes in the glaciers every half hour, year-round during daylight, yielding approximately 8,000 frames per camera per year. We edit the time-lapse images into stunning videos that reveal how fast climate change is transforming large regions of the planet.

    Some of the videos span four years, from 2007 to 2011, and it's amazing to see the sped-up dynamic of the ice. I like this one, which Balog refers to as the cat's paw. It looks like a big paw of ice reaching into the ocean.

    [via Boing Boing]

Copyright © 2007-2014 FlowingData. All rights reserved. Hosted by Linode.