• If major environmental disasters happened in your neighborhood…

    August 24, 2010  |  Mapping

    Chernobyl radiation cloud map

    When major environmental disasters occur, thousands of people are often affected, but it's hard to put it all in perspective when it's not actually happening to you. When the BP oil spill was in full force we saw this simple mashup that placed the oil blob over your area. In the natural iteration to that, BBC Dimensions maps the outcome of other environmental disasters in your neighborhood, including Chernobyl explosion, the 2010 Pakistan floods, and Bhopal chemical accident. Enter your location, and put things into perspective.

    [via]

  • Design advanced online and interactive maps with Polymaps

    August 20, 2010  |  Mapping, Software

    Flickshapes map with polymaps

    In a collaboration between SimpleGeo, who makes location data easier to access, and Stamen, who does all kinds of wonderful with maps, announced Polymaps today. It's a free and open-source JavaScript library for image- and vector-tiled maps using SVG.

    Polymaps provides speedy display of multi-zoom datasets over maps, and supports a variety of visual presentations for tiled vector data, in addition to the usual cartography from OpenStreetMap, CloudMade, Bing, and other providers of image-based web maps.

    Because Polymaps can load data at a full range of scales, it’s ideal for showing information from country level on down to states, cities, neighborhoods, and individual streets. Because Polymaps uses SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) to display information, you can use familiar, comfortable CSS rules to define the design of your data. And because Polymaps uses the well known spherical mercator tile format for its imagery and its data, publishing information is a snap.

    The above is map using Flickr shapefiles. Here's a map of pavement quality in San Francisco.
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  • Bus movements in San Francisco animated

    August 19, 2010  |  Mapping

    Eric Fischer has been having a good bit of fun with maps lately. In his latest, he animates movements of the San Francisco MUNI (that's their bus system) over the month of June 2010. Each second of in the video represents about an hour in real life.

    As you might expect, traffic dwindles during the late/early hours from midnight to four in the morning. Then like clockwork, it picks up again. My knowledge of San Francisco geography has always sucked, so maybe a local can point out some of the interesting areas. If my orientation is correct though, that main street that runs from southwest to northeast and seems to stay lit through the night is Market.

    This of course is reminiscent of Stamen's Cabspotting, but much more raw, without any trails or ghostly footprints.

    [Thanks, Laurie]

  • Stamen makes experimental prettymaps

    August 16, 2010  |  Mapping, Software

    Los Angeles prettymap by Stamen Design

    Add another toy to Stamen's bag of tricks. The recently launched prettymaps by Aaron Straup Cope uses shapefiles from Flickr, urban areas from Natural Earth, and road, highway, and path data form OpenStreetMap, for an interactive map that's well, pretty.
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  • Animated map of earthquakes in Iceland

    August 16, 2010  |  Mapping

    Animated map of Iceland earthquakes

    I'm late on this, but remember that volcano eruption in Iceland a few months back, and all the European airports had to shut down because of the giant ash cloud? DataMarket mapped the Iceland earthquakes in 2010, leading up to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.

    This visualization shows earthquake activity leading up to eruptions in Eyjafjallajökull in South-Iceland in March and April 2010.

    Each bubble represents a measured earthquake and the size of the bubble represents its magnitude. Deeper earthquakes are represented with darker colrs while shallow earthquakes are brighter. An earthquake slowly fades out as time passes. Yellow stars indicate eruptions.

    Like you'd expect, it's a stagnant in the beginning, then rumble, rumble, and boom. Eruption. Watch it unfold in the clip below.
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  • Weeplaces visualizes your FourSquare movements

    August 10, 2010  |  Mapping

    Weeplaces maps FourSquare movements

    I'm still not comfortable sharing my location with strangers, and my friends are all really low-tech, so FourSquare has never appealed to me. But if you are an avid FourSquare user, you'll like this one. Geo startup, Movity, built Weeplaces over the weekend. It's a simple idea to visualize your movements via FourSquare check-ins.
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  • Designing an easier-to-read NYC subway map

    August 10, 2010  |  Mapping

    New York subway map

    There's a lot of history behind the New York City subway map, but despite all the revisions, people (especially out-of-towners) still find it hard to navigate the underground. Designer Eddie Jabbour took his frustrations and put that energy towards a heavy redesign. After the MTA rejected it, he put it up in the Apple Store as KickMap, so that people could at least make use of his map on their iPhone. So far, a quarter of a million of people have downloaded it.
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  • Browse street-side with Microsoft Street Slide

    August 4, 2010  |  Mapping

    streetslide by microsoft research

    When street view came out on all the the popular online map applications, we thought it was awesome. We were able to see photos of the actual buildings and people walking on the street. It's especially handy when you're looking for something in a brand new area. Street Slide from Microsoft Research is the next iteration of that.
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  • Afghanistan war logs revealed and mapped

    July 27, 2010  |  Data Sources, Mapping

    Afghanistan incidents from war logs

    This past Sunday, well-known whistle-blower site Wikileaks released over 91,000 secret US military reports, covering the war in Afghanistan. Each report contains the time, geographic location, and details of an event the US military thought was important enough to put on paper.
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  • Where all the BP oil could end up

    July 27, 2010  |  Mapping

    Where the oil could go

    Now that the oil flow has finally stopped, for now, the attention has shifted to the effects all that oil will have on wildlife and the ecosystem. Chris Wilson for Slate reports on where all of that BP oil could end up during the next 130 days, based on modeling data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. These models are based on how water flows in different areas of the Gulf.

    Three scenarios are presented. All end up with oil leaving the Gulf.

    Of course, these are all approximations, and the models can't possibly account for all the factors that play into oil drift (e.g. biological degradation of the oil), but it's an educated guess, so take it at that. Wherever all the oil ends up, one thing is for sure. There's still a lot of cleanup left to do.

  • Global forest heights mapped in detail by NASA

    July 21, 2010  |  Mapping

    Global forest heights mapped by NASA

    NASA has mapped the world's forest heights, based on satellite data, for a first-of-its-kind global view. While there are plenty of maps that show forest height regionally and locally, this is the first time it's been mapped globally with a single, uniform method.

    The new map shows the world’s tallest forests clustered in the Pacific Northwest of North America and portions of Southeast Asia, while shorter forests are found in broad swaths across northern Canada and Eurasia. The map depicts average height over 5 square kilometers (1.9 square miles) regions), not the maximum heights that any one tree or small patch of trees might attain.

    These heights range from 0 to 70 meters. The darker the green the higher the tree canopies.

    NASA believes the new map could help scientists with a new perspective on how much carbon forests store and more insight on carbon cycles within ecosystems.

    Click through to NASA for the high-res version.

    [via Boing Boing]

  • Maps that changed the world

    July 15, 2010  |  Mapping

    Be on guard russian map

    Peter Barber, head of Map Collections at the British Library reports for the The Daily Mail ten of the greatest maps that changed the world. The number one listed (above) is Be On Guard! from 1921:

    The infant USSR was threatened with invasion, famine and social unrest. To counter this, brilliant designers such as Dimitri Moor were employed to create pro-Bolshevik propaganda.

    Using a map of European Russia and its neighbours, Moor's image of a heroic Bolshevik guard defeating the invading 'Whites' helped define the Soviet Union in the Russian popular imagination.

    Others include Google Earth, Charles Booth's map of London poverty, and the earliest known Chinese terrestrial globe from 1623.

    [via @krees]

  • Geography of Lost island

    July 2, 2010  |  Mapping

    Geography of LOST

    GIS guy Jonah Adkins maps the geography of Lost (the tv series). It looks like I missed out on quite a bit. Unfortunately, I only got up to the point in the first season where they saw a dead person hanging in a tree. I could not deal with all the insane cliffhangers.

    I'm sure many of you were fans though, so you can stare at the maps for a while to temporarily fill the gaping hole in your life since the show ended.

    [via We Love Datavis]

  • Mapping what your neighborhood used to look like

    July 1, 2010  |  Mapping

    Getting young and old to hang out

    In part of their initiative to get young and old people to hang out, We Are What We Do, in collaboration with Google, built Historypin. The map application invites people to upload their pictures and pin them in street view. The effort creates something of a digital time machine where old and young can find common ground.

    Obviously, the more people who use it, the more useful it becomes. There doesn't seem to be ton of pictures yet, so all you get is Google street view in a lot of places.

    It's easy to see the potential though. Just imagine being able to watch the evolution of your city, town, or neighborhood, like a block-specific museum with people's personal stories and old photos with modern context.

    [via infosthetics]

  • What America spends on gas and auto

    June 22, 2010  |  Mapping

    Infographic Getting Around Cities

    In a follow-up to their graphic on what America spends on food and drink, personal finance site Bundle, with the help of Nicholas Felton, looks at money spent on gas and auto expenses in major US cities:

    The average household spent $5,477 on gas and auto expenses last year, according to Bundle data, an amount which accounts for about 14.5 percent of daily spending.* That's more than we spend on groceries or utilities, and more than we spend on travel, entertainment, clothes and shoes, and hobbies — combined.

    The sticking-out label thing doesn't really do it for me. The coloring makes the graphic worthwhile though, and the scaled two-section pie charts are pretty good too. What's going on down there in Austin?

  • Where Americans are moving

    June 15, 2010  |  Mapping

    Where Americans are moving

    Jon Bruner of Forbes reports that more than 10 million Americans moved from one county to the other in 2008, based on data from the IRS. The above interactive map show these moves in and out of nine major cities. Red lines represent moves out of the city and black lines show the opposite. The less opaque a line, the less people.

    The interaction is kind of clunky, and it's hard to see all the movement, even when you zoom in, simply because there are so many lines. Further moves, say from California to Florida, get more visual dominance too, when it's actually less than it looks, I think. Placing less emphasis on the lines, and coloring counties as you select the major cities might make this more clear. Nevertheless, it's still an interesting view.

    [Thanks, @jonbruner]

    Update: Check out data.gov and look for 'migration' to get your hands on the data behind the map.

  • Landscape chartspotting

    June 11, 2010  |  Mapping

    charts in landscape

    We saw math principles in nature. Now how about charts? Andy Woodruff does some sniffing around in Google Maps to find charts in rural landscapes. Above, you've got your polar area charts in Bolivia. It looks like an agricultural area. I have no idea how that kind of layout would be more efficient than squares though. Then again, I'm no farmer. Other chart types include pies, bars, and treemaps. Can you find anymore?

  • Find your booty with Bing treasure maps

    June 9, 2010  |  Mapping

    Find your booty with Bing treasure maps

    Maps on the major sites like Yahoo, Google, and Bing have a similar look. You've got your yellow roads, orange freeways, and green parks. Bing Destination Maps takes a different approach. Select your region of interest, and choose the style that you want. You have four choices: European, American, sketchy, and treasure map (above).
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  • Where the tourists really flock

    June 8, 2010  |  Mapping

    Tourist PIctures in San Francisco

    A couple of weeks ago you saw Eric Fischer's maps of Flickr photos in major cities. The inclination was to think of the maps as a representation of tourist hot spots. The more pictures taken in an area, the more people go there to visit. That's not necessarily the case though. Tourists might flock to an area and might completely neglect another, while locals might avoid the touristy areas.

    In Fischer's second run of maps, he makes an educated guess about the splits between tourists and locals:

    Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more).

    Red points are pictures taken by tourists (people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month).

    Yellow points are pictures where it can't be determined whether or not the photographer was a tourist (because they haven't taken pictures anywhere for over a month). They are probably tourists but might just not post many pictures at all.

    See the full set on Flickr. It's even better than the first. [via | thanks, Joe]

  • San Francisco crime mapped as elevation

    June 7, 2010  |  Mapping

    San Francisco crime mapped as elevation

    Doug McCune maps San Francisco crime in 2009 as if it were elevation. Peaks and valleys emerge with the rolling terrains of crime. The above is the map for prostitution:

    My favorite map is the one for prostitution (maybe “favorite” is the wrong choice of words there). Nearly all the arrests for prostitution in San Francisco occur along what I’m calling the “Mission Mountain Ridge”, which runs up Mission St between 24th and 16th. I love the way the mountain range casts a shadow over much of the city. There’s also a second peak in the Tenderloin (which I’m dubbing Mt. Loin).

    I love how realistic the 3-dimensional models look. They could almost pass for clay figures. Doug notes that the series of maps are more an art piece than they are information visualization, but these would be a great complement to your standard choropleth.

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