• What your favorite map projection says about you

    November 13, 2011  |  Mapping


    For the map nerds. xkcd says what your favorite map projection says about you. Mercator? "You're not really into maps."

  • A month of swearing in 90 seconds

    November 7, 2011  |  Mapping

    Potty Mouth

    A fun map by Jamie Popkin of Little Earth that animates the use of the F-bomb, C-word, and "regular swear word" over a month. There isn't much information about where the data comes from, but I'm guessing Twitter. Each circle represents the use of a swear word, and the intensity grows as time passes. Too bad it doesn't cover the world or the entire United States.

    [PottyMouth via @awoodruff]

  • 7 billion people in the world: past, present and future

    October 31, 2011  |  Mapping

    World population

    According to estimates from the United Nations Population Division, there are now over seven billion people in the world. That's enough people to fill, like, an entire room. Yeah. Visualization firm Bestiario, for The Guardian, shows this growth by country, using their home-brewed visual programming language, Impure.

    There are a few options to play with. You can click on the bubble for a country to see the time series on the bottom for population from 1950 to 2010, through a projected 2100 population. Life expectancy for the same range is also shown. To compare geographically, you can also choose the year filters in the bottom right to compare, say, population in 1950 to that of 2010.

    India and China of course pop out in that range, whereas many African populations are expected to increase a lot, percentage-wise, during the next century.

    [The Guardian]

  • Horrors coming to each state this Halloween

    October 31, 2011  |  Mapping

    Horror coming to get us

    So many movies, so many creepy crawlies that go bump in the night. Very Small Array continues its ongoing run of charts about movies with this map, just in time for Halloween. Watch out Indiana. Daylight Saving Time is coming to get you.

    Speaking of Halloween, my wife bought two bags of handout candy from Costco this year. I predict ten pounds will be going in my stomach next month.

    [Very Small Array]

  • Language communities of Twitter

    October 27, 2011  |  Mapping


    Eric Fischer maps language communities on Twitter using Chrome's open-source language detector. Each color, chosen to make differences more visibly obvious, represents a language. English is represented in dark gray, which is used just about everywhere, so it doesn't obscure everything else.

    The emergence of borders without actually drawing them in is interesting. There's a little bit of blending, but the splits are pretty well-defined. Especially in the Netherlands, where the tweet dispersal seems to be abnormally dense in that area. What's going on over there?

    There's also a world version, but Europe is where all the action's at.

    [Language communities via @enf]

  • NASA maps a decade of fires, a global tour

    October 24, 2011  |  Mapping

    Using satellite data that goes back to 2002, NASA maps tens of millions of fires worldwide in this global tour.

    The tour begins by showing extensive grassland fires spreading across interior Australia and the eucalyptus forests in the northwestern and eastern part of the continent. The tour then shifts to Asia where large numbers of agricultural fires are visible first in China in June 2004, then across a huge swath of Europe and western Russia in August. It then moves across India and Southeast Asia, through the early part of 2005. The tour continues across Africa, South America, and concludes in North America.

    Bright shades of yellow indicate hotter fires, and darker shades of green represent higher levels of vegetation. Analyses show that 70 percent of fires occur in Africa, whereas only two percent occur in North America. Fascinating to watch vegetation grow and burn each year.

  • Racial divide mapped with spacial rifts

    October 21, 2011  |  Mapping

    Kansas city divided

    Jim Vallandingham maps racial divide in major cities using Mike Bostock's implementation of force-directed maps:

    Data is from the 2010 Census, at the tract level. The links are hidden, but each tract is connected to each of its neighbors. The lengths of these connections encode the disparity between racial make-up between neighboring tracts. So, if a ‘mostly white’ tract is connected to another ‘mostly white’ tract, then the connection is short. If a city had uniform proportions of races in each tract, the map would not move much. However, longer connections occur where there is a sharp change in the proportions of white and black populations between neighboring tracts. These longer connections create rifts in the map and force areas apart, in some ways mimicking the real-world effects of these racial lines.

    Compare Jim's maps with the catalyst — choropleth maps by Salon. Which do you think works better?

    [Visualizing the Racial Divide via @dwtkns]

  • Geographic data doesn’t always have to be mapped

    October 18, 2011  |  Mapping

    Matthew Ericson, deputy graphics director at The New York Times, talks maps and when you should try something else:

    Maps also a terrific way to let readers look up information about specific places. On election night, they answer questions like like "Which seats did the Republicans gain?" or "Who won all the seats in Oregon?" or "Who won my Congressional district?" You don’t have to remember the number of the House district you live in — you can just look at the map, zero in on the area that you’re interested in, and see if it’s shaded red or blue.

    And obviously, when the story is completely based on the geography — "How far has the oil spill in the Gulf spread?" — there’s nothing more effective than a map showing just that.

    But sometimes the reflexive impulse to map the data can make you forget that showing the data in another form might answer other — and sometimes more important — questions.

    The full post is worth a read, chock-full of examples.

  • Where people don’t use Facebook

    October 12, 2011  |  Mapping


    Remember the Facebook connections map from a while back? It showed digital friendships around the world by connecting locations with arcs. Visual arts graduate student Ian Wojtowicz mashed that with NASA's well-known map showing Earth at night, and the above is what you get.
    Continue Reading

  • Submarine cable system connecting the world

    October 3, 2011  |  Mapping

    Submarine cable map

    TeleGeography maps underwater cables that connect countries and continents:

    TeleGeography’s free interactive submarine cable map is based on our authoritative Global Bandwidth research, and depicts 188 active and planned submarine cable systems and their landing stations. Selecting a cable route on the map provides access to data about the cable, including the cable’s name, ready-for-service (RFS) date, length, owners, website, and landing points. Selecting a landing point provides a list of all submarine cables landing at that station.

    Just imagining cables that stretch that far seems pretty amazing.

    [Thanks, Harvey]

  • Rectangular subdivisions of the world

    September 22, 2011  |  Mapping

    Binary subdivision by Eric Fischer

    Eric Fischer, who continues his string of mapping fun and doesn't even do it for his day job, maps the world in binary subdivisions. Each bounding box contains an equal number of geotagged tweets. Continue Reading

  • World population densities mapped

    September 16, 2011  |  Mapping

    World of Seven Billion

    National Geographic has a look at where and how we live:

    The map shows population density; the brightest points are the highest densities. Each country is colored according to its average annual gross national income per capita, using categories established by the World Bank (see key below). Some nations — like economic powerhouses China and India — have an especially wide range of incomes. But as the two most populous countries, both are lower middle class when income is averaged per capita.

    It's interesting, but the map is a little wonky, because the income levels and population densities differ in granularity. It kind of works. Kinda doesn't. There seems to be a lot of missing data — or does population density in northern Africa really drop off that quickly (it is desert land, albeit)? A little more explanation in the description or the legend would have been useful.
    Continue Reading

  • The United Kingdom of McDonald’s

    September 14, 2011  |  Mapping

    McDonald's of UK-Ireland

    In a follow-up to his ever popular McMap that showed distance to the nearest McDonald's in the United States, Stephen Von Worley does the same for the United Kingdom and Ireland.
    Continue Reading

  • Five years of Kiva lending and borrowing

    September 7, 2011  |  Mapping

    Kiva, the microfinance site, lets you give small loans to people around the world to help them get their small business up and running. This animated map shows how 620,000 funded 615,000 borrowers, from the start of Kiva in 2005 up until now. Watch in full-screen for maximum effect.

    Colors indicate loan type, which confused me at first, because I thought the map was saying that specific loan types were only given out during each time of year. It's actually cycling through the loan types though, so you can see the breakdowns as the animation plays through, and then it shows all loans at once at the end of each year.

    The only thing that's missing are some counters for the amount of money passing hands. It's been an impressive $240 million in loans around the world with a repayment rate of almost 99 percent.

    [Thanks, Andy]

  • Getting around Chicago in 30 minutes or less

    August 30, 2011  |  Mapping

    Get there inThirty

    When you're deciding on a place to live in a new place, it's always good to know what's in the area. After all, a house close to conveniences and things to do is usually more desirable than a house that is out of the way. InThirty, by Brian Lange of Datascope Analytics, provides some insight, starting with Chicago. Enter an address and see what libraries and parks (restaurants to come) are within 30 minutes of walking, biking, or public transit.

    It's stil fairly basic in what it does. You just get markers on the map for places that are within 30 minutes. The heat map on the layer underneath only changes as you change mode of transportation or between libraries and parks. Colors relative to your entered address could be more useful.

    Still though, like with Mapnificent, I like the idea of searching for things by travel time over distance. If a couple of places are 10 miles versus 20 miles away, I don't really care, if it takes the same amount of time to get there.

    [inThirty | Thanks, Bryan]

  • Price of weed

    August 29, 2011  |  Mapping

    Price of weed

    I was raised to always find the best deal whenever I bought anything. Wait for the sales, and then stock up. Drive an extra mile for the cheaper supply of gas. So thank goodness floatingsheep has mapped the price of weed across the country. The more yellow, the more expensive the weed gets and the darker the green the lower the price.
    Continue Reading

  • Generic terms for streams mapped

    August 26, 2011  |  Mapping

    Stream Names

    The names of places can say a lot about a geographic area. Derek Watkins maps the most common term for a stream across the country. You've got branches and bayous in the south, brooks and streams in the northeast, and washes and arroyos in the southwest.
    Continue Reading

  • Growth of newspapers across the United States

    August 24, 2011  |  Mapping

    Growth of Newspapers

    The Rural West Initiative and the Bill Lane Center for the American West explore the growth of newspapers across the United States:

    With American newspapers under stress from changing economics, technology and consumer behavior, it's easy to forget how ubiquitous and important they are in society. For this data visualization, we have taken the directory of US newspaper titles compiled by the Library of Congress' Chronicling America project — nearly 140,000 publications in all — and plotted them over time and space.

    To see the distribution of papers over the years, simply click and drag the slider on the top. Context for each decade is displayed on the right. Each circle represents papers in a city, and the larger the circle the more papers.

    Catch the animated version below. They start in the east and make their way west.
    Continue Reading

  • Google Map Maker edits in real-time

    August 16, 2011  |  Mapping

    Google Map Maker edits

    Google Map Maker is a simple tool that lets you draw your own map and share that map with others. The Pulse view lets you see how people are making use of that tool in real-time. On top is the Google Earth view. On the bottom is a zoomed in view of the actual edit. Just press play, and see how people around the world are using Map Maker.

    It's a simple map that is of the same likeness as the Zappos sales map and the even older Twittervision, but somehow it's still fun to peek in to see what people are doing.

    [Google Map Maker via @johnmaeda]

  • Find popular places to stay with Google Hotel Finder

    August 11, 2011  |  Mapping

    Google hotel finder

    When you're picking a hotel to stay at in an area you don't know well, the place you end up at can be arbitrary. With most travel sites, you get a list of hotels with ratings, which is helpful, but still feels confusing at times. Sites like Hipmunk aim to make the search easier. Most recently Google launched a new experiment called Hotel Finder.
    Continue Reading

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