• Patterns of daily life in Netherlands from Above

    February 22, 2012  |  Mapping

    In a similar fashion to their work in Britain from Above, CGI and animation group 422 South map the daily patterns of those in the Netherlands in VPRO's production of Netherlands from Above. It's hard to get a grasp on what exactly I'm seeing, since I know next to nothing about the Netherlands and the video narration is in Dutch, but the visuals are beautiful. Planes fly, cars drive, and patterns emerge. The technique never seems to lose its entertainment value.

    Check out the short making-of video, too, which also includes folks from Stamen describing their work with the interactive portion of the feature.

    [422 South | Thanks, Ben]

  • Abstract maps of the United States

    February 13, 2012  |  Mapping

    Cartogram of detail

    Esquire invited a handful of map-makers to represent the United States outside its borders.

    Red state, blue state, big state, small state, north and south and east and west: How we define our similarities and differences with each other often comes down to where we see ourselves on the map of America. But what if we threw out the standard-issue version and started over with something new?

    Esquire's online format doesn't do the maps justice though. A lot of the images are too small to see the details. In particular, don't miss Eric Fischer's high-resolution cartogram and Stamen's interactive on where the money went. Fischer's map shows density of geotags, but zoom in, and you can see major cities in detail. Stamen's map uses IRS data in a twist to the migration map, showing county-level monetary gains and losses.

  • Taxi migration in Manhattan

    February 8, 2012  |  Mapping

    While we're on the topic of things moving on a map of changing camera angles, class project Taxi, by Tom McKeogh, Eliza Montgomery and Juan Saldarriaga, shows the movements of said vehicles in Manhattan, over 24 hours.

    Geographic location data for the origin and destination of each ride is combined with waypoint data collected from the Google Maps API in order to generate a geographically accurate representation of the trip. We used data from taxi rides originating or ending in the neighborhoods of Lincoln center or Bryant Park. The visualization recreates a 'breathing' map of Manhattan based on the migration of vehicles across the city over a period of 24 hours, displaying periods of intensity, density and decreased activity.

    I hope they do another iteration of this project. I bet they could do a lot more on the temporal side of things.

    [Digital Urban via @kennethfield]

  • Animation shows national migration patterns

    February 8, 2012  |  Mapping

    Even Westvang uses tax return data to visualize migration patterns of 300,000 Norwegians.

    When running at full speed the visualization is clearly lacking in terms of salient features, yet I find it interesting. Then again, I like looking at Pachinko machines and waterfalls — processes comfortably stuck between the random and the ordered. When slowing the animation down and filtering for certain demographies it becomes more useful. At its best laymen, like myself, can visually perceive facets of the natioal Norwegian migratory process that before were only available through the statistical calculations of researchers in demography.

    As you might expect, each particle represents a person moving from one ZIP code to another. The more people moving from point A to point B, the faster the particles move.

    The most interesting bit, that I wish Westvan did more of, is closer to the end, when he shows a couple of demographic breakdowns. The older demographic tends to move shorter distances, and those with higher salaries shoot out from bigger cities. Hey Jon Bruner, something to keep in mind for your next iteration. Although I'm pretty sure the US doesn't make income data for every citizen publicly available like Norway does. What's that about?

    [Even Westvan via @mariuswatz]

  • Bird migration patterns mapped

    February 2, 2012  |  Mapping

    Bird migration

    Birds move. eBird shows us how.

    Understanding patterns of bird occurrence at continental scales has long been one of eBird's fundamental challenges. Only now, with 42 million records and ever more thorough coverage nationwide, is this becoming possible. Ongoing research at the Cornell Lab is currently producing cutting-edge graphics that we are pleased to share here. Day-by-day predictions of species occurrence allows these models to shine a spotlight on the most awe-inspiring of natural spectacles: the ebb and flow of bird migration.

    Cutting edge? No. They are thorough though, with maps (in the form of animated gifs) for a large number of species.

    [eBird | Thanks, Ed]

  • Mapping the drug wars in Mexico

    February 1, 2012  |  Mapping

    Drug War Map

    Diego Valle-Jones maps homicides and trafficking routes in Mexico.

    To unclutter the map and following the lead of the paper Trafficking Networks and the Mexican Drug War by Melissa Dell, I decided to only show the optimal highways (according to my own data and Google Directions) to reach the US border ports from the municipalities with the highest drug plant eradication between 1994 and 2003 and the highest 2d density estimate of drug labs based on newspaper reports of seizures. The map is a work in progress and is still missing the cocaine routes, but hopefully I'll be able to add them shortly.

    There's lots to look at and interact with here. To start, there are bubbles that cluster homicides by region and major highway routes in black.

    Click on any bubble and you get a time series for the corresponding area, going back to 2004. Or if you like, draw your own polygon to see the time series for specific regions. Pointers on the time series highlight significant events. There's also a slider that lets you see numbers on the map for different years. A layer underneath the bubbles lets you see high density areas for marijuana, opium, and drug labs.

    Take a look at the full map for yourself. This is nice work by Valle-Jones.

    [Diego Valle-Jones | Thanks, Diego]

  • Geographic connectedness via Twitter locations

    January 24, 2012  |  Mapping

    San Francisco connectedness

    Eric Fischer has mastered the art of making use of geotagged things from social sites like Twitter and Flickr. In his most recent set, Fischer maps connectedness via geotagged tweet density (using Dijkstra's algorithm). I just got back from Berkeley a few hours ago, so the map of East Bay travels is of most interest to me.

    The main implication, as far as I am concerned, being that because of its traditional focus on downtown commuters, BART does not do a very good job of serving the most promising corridor in Berkeley and North Oakland, which would run approximately under San Pablo, University, the UC Berkeley campus, Telegraph, a jog over to College, Broadway, 40th/Linda, Grand, and some sort of route from the Grand-Lake district crossing Park Boulevard to near 14th and Foothill. Some of this, especially at the south end, would be difficult because of topography, but it could probably be approximated. Needless to say, if this were to be constructed, it would have to be pretty much entirely in subway to avoid tearing down the neighborhoods it would intend to serve.

    There are also maps for New York and Chicago.

  • High resolution biomass map, at management scale

    January 18, 2012  |  Mapping

    Biomass detail

    In 2010, NASA released a map that shows world forest heights. Robert Simmon, using data from The Woods Hole Research Center, has produced an even higher resolution map, down to the management scale:

    In the end, the research team was able to construct a map with higher resolution and more precise detail than any large-scale map of forest biomass ever made. The map reveals the checkerboard patterns of logging in the old growth of the Pacific Northwest and the highly managed tree farms of the Southeast. In the Midwest, trees outline the rivers and the edges between farms, while forests re-emerge on land that was once cleared for crops. In the Mid-Atlantic and New England, lands that were stripped bare in the early years of the nation are now tree-covered again—though with many urban developments amidst the forest.

    [NASA | Thanks, Michael]

  • Find out what percent you are in

    January 15, 2012  |  Mapping

    What percent you're in

    Accompanying an article on the variations of the wealthiest one percent, The New York Times provides this interactive map to see what percent you're in. Simply enter your household income and see how you compare in metropolitan areas with over 50,000 households.

    Nation-wide, a household income over $383,000 puts you in the top one percent. However, a lower household income of $179,000 puts you in the top one percent in Flint, Michigan. The same wage in San Diego, California puts you only in the top eight percent.

    Also: what jobs the top one percent have.

    Update: There was also a fine print version.

    [New York Times]

  • World subway paths at scale

    January 13, 2012  |  Mapping


    Urban planner Neil Freeman maps the world's subway systems to scale in a minimal style resembling the scribbles or renderings of weird sea creatures by a two-year-old. I wish there were nodes to show stops, too, but the contrasts between the compact TRTA in Tokyo and RATP in Paris, and the spread out Seoul Metro and Transport for London is an interesting look.

    [Neil Freeman via @kennethfield]

  • Designing Google Maps

    January 10, 2012  |  Mapping

    New York redesign

    Google Maps is one of Google's best applications, but the time, energy, and thought put into designing it often goes unnoticed because of how easy it is to use, for a variety of purposes. Willem Van Lancker, a user experience and visual designer for Google Maps, describes the process of building a map application — color scheme, icons, typography, and "Googley-ness" — that practically everyone can use, worldwide.

    We have worked (and driven) around the world to create a "map" that is a collection of zoom levels, imagery, angles, and on-the-ground panoramas all wrapped into one. Through these varied snapshots of our world, we are attempting to sew together a more seamless picture of the Earth—from its natural beauty to the surprising (and often absurd) details that make it our unique home. As our work progresses, new technologies give us the opportunity to get away from the limitations and complexity of standard cartography to provide a much more approachable and easy-to-understand map, loaded with data and information.

    Remember when we had to refresh the page to see more of map?

    [Core77 via @awoodruff]

  • Map of Reddit

    January 9, 2012  |  Mapping

    Map of Redditland

    Reddit user Laurel Quade mapifies the wonderful world of Reddit. Each country represents an area of interest, and "cities" are sized by inhabitants. I'm not familiar enough with the communities to know how accurate it is, but judging by the comments, I'd say pretty good.

    [Redditland via @adamsinger]

  • Where people are looking for homes

    January 6, 2012  |  Mapping

    Trulia search growth

    In August 2006, real estate search site Trulia had 609,000 visitors. Five years later, there were 27 million. Trulia's most recent visualization shows this growth (bottom bar graph) and where people are searching for homes (map). Press play and watch it go. It's pretty much population density, but for me, the method is more interesting than the material in this case.

    The grass aesthetic is kind of nice. It looks like you have a one pixel blade of grass for each zip code with a significant search count (If only there was something to provide scale...), and where there's more search there's more grass.

    I also like the relatively simple tech behind the graphic. We usually see animated and interactive maps generating everything on the fly, but the maps and bar graphs for this are pre-generated for each month. Then each image is displayed one after the other chronologically like a flip book.

    [Trulia via @shashashasha]

  • Hand-crafted wall map of the United States

    January 3, 2012  |  Mapping

    Hand-made American map

    Seth Stevenson, for Slate Magazine, covers cartographer David Imus' hand-crafted wall map, which Stevenson calls the greatest paper map of the United States you'll ever see.
    Continue Reading

  • Mapped: Transportation check-ins on foursquare

    December 12, 2011  |  Mapping

    foursquare travels

    Transportation check-ins on foursquare. This is from this past Thanksgiving, but relevant again with Christmas around the corner. White represents check-ins on highways and roads (really?), orange is for trains, and blue is of course is same-day check-ins at airports. I guess no one takes Amtrak cross-country anymore.

    [foursquare via datavis]

  • Every death on the road in Great Britain

    December 7, 2011  |  Mapping


    As part of their series on road accidents, BBC News mapped every recorded death on the road in Great Britain, from 1999 to 2010. That's 2,396,750 road crashes. As you'd expect, the map looks a lot like population density, but check out the videos, which show twelve years of data compressed as if it were one week, played out over a few minutes. Each light represents an accident.

    Contrast with road fatalities in the United States.

    Update: The BBC headline and copy seem to conflict, but this seems to be just accidents, and I'm not sure when casualties enter the equation. At 2.4 million crashes over 12 years, that's about 455 per day.

    [BBC News via @aaronkoblin]

  • What seven billion people looks like

    December 5, 2011  |  Mapping

    dencity by fathom

    Form design intern at Fathom, James Grady, maps population density in Dencity:

    Dencity maps population density using circles of various size and hue. Larger, darker circles show areas with fewer people, while smaller, brighter circles highlight crowded cities. Representing denser areas with smaller circles results in additional geographic detail where there are more people, while sparsely populated areas are more vaguely defined.

    While we've seen population density mapped, both directly and indirectly, the circle approach adds a different aesthetic that seems to add something about what it's like to live somewhere. Compare to a broader country-level map or one that uses only color. Doesn't this version feel like more?
    Continue Reading

  • US road fatalities mapped, 9 years

    November 29, 2011  |  Mapping

    Road fatalities

    For The Guardian, ITO World maps about 370,000 road-related deaths from 2001 through 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The map is kind of rough around the edges, but it gets the job done. Easily zoom in to the location of choice either by clicking buttons, or type in the area you want in the search box. Zoom in all the way, and you'll notice each accident is represented by an icon indicating type of accident, the age of the person who died, and year of crash.

    As you might expect, accidents are more concentrated at city centers and on highways. What I didn't expect was all the pedestrians involved.

    [Guardian and ITO World]

  • American migration map

    November 17, 2011  |  Mapping

    American migration

    Overhauling his migration map from last year, Jon Bruner uses five year's worth of IRS data to map county migration in America:

    Each move had its own motivations, but in aggregate they ­reflect the geographical marketplace during the boom and bust of the last decade: Migrants flock to Las Vegas in 2005 in search of cheap, luxurious housing, then flee in 2009 as the city’s economy collapses; Miami beckons retirees from the North but offers little to its working-age residents, who leave for the West. Even fast-growing boomtowns like Charlotte, N.C., lose residents to their outlying counties as the demand for exurban tract-housing pushes workers ever outward.

    Compared to last year's map, this one is much improved. The colors are more subtle and more meaningful, and you can turn off the lines so that it's easier to see highlighted counties when the selected county had a lot of traffic during a selected year. Speaking of which, you can see map the data for 2005 through 2009 via the simple bar graphs in the top right.

    Update: Jon also explains how he built this map sans-Flash on his own blog.

  • 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."

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