• Evolving path of the Mississippi River

    September 15, 2010  |  Mapping

    Evolution of the Mississippi River

    We often think of rivers as following a given path for the course of its life, but really, the path changes over time as the flow cuts into the earth. The water flows through old and new and back again. In 1944, cartographer Harold Fisk mapped the current Mississippi River. It's the white trail. Then Fisk used old geological maps to display old paths. They're the old colored paths. And what you get is this long run of windy, snake-like things. [Twisted History | Thanks, Michael]

  • Where your neighbors commute to and from

    September 14, 2010  |  Mapping

    Mapping where people commute from

    Some people live in areas where a one-hour commute both ways is common, while others practically live across the street from their workplaces. Engineer slash designer Harry Kao has an interactive look at commuting by zip code:

    In Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), the author states that commute times throughout history have remained steady at roughly a half hour in each direction. Advances in transportation technology (our feet, horses, bicycles, trains, automobiles, flying cars, etc.) allow us to live farther from where we work. This got me thinking about my own commute from Berkeley to San Francisco, how it compares to those of my neighbors, and how commutes vary across the country.

    Using commute data from Census Transportation Planning Package and travel times from the Google Maps API, an interactive map lets you see where people in your area commute to or from. Enter your zip code and explore.
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  • Battle for Web supremacy

    September 12, 2010  |  Mapping

    Points of control - battle for network economy

    Blend Interactive maps points of control for the Web 2.0 Summit in the style of the Risk board game. Areas of the Web are shown as continents, and countries are the areas where major players have "claimed." Click on the movements button to see what areas each company has ventured in to, and click on icons to get more info. A more neutral-colored map might have benefited the paths and icons, but it's still fun to look at. And yes, the geography of the map is fake.

    [Web 2.0 Summit | Thanks, KM]

  • Social life of Foursquare users mapped

    September 9, 2010  |  Mapping

    Social life of foursquare

    Foursquare, the location-based social network, lets people share their location with others in the form of checkins. Map all of those checkins, and you get a sense of social hotspots across a city. This is what Anil Bawa-Cavia did in his project archipelago. Based on 845,311 checkins and 20,285 locations, he mapped activity for New York, London, and Paris.

    In these maps, activity on the Foursquare network is aggregated onto a grid of ‘walkable’ cells (each one 400×400 meters in size) represented by dots. The size of each dot corresponds to the level of activity in that cell. By this process we can see social centers emerge in each city.

    Here are the maps for each city.
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  • Mapping the moves of New York residents

    September 2, 2010  |  Mapping

    moritz.stefaner.eu - Map your moves

    A couple of months back, WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show asked listeners who have moved to or away from New York some questions. They asked current zipcode, previous zipcode, year of move, and some other questions. BLS then posted the data and let information and data folk have a go at it. Here are the results.
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  • Asteroid discoveries over past 30 years visualized

    August 27, 2010  |  Mapping

    Asteroid discoveries visualized

    This animation by Scott Manley of the Armagh Observatory shows a beautiful view of the past 30 years of asteroid discoveries, using data culled by Ted Bowell and company.

    As time passes, asteroids are highlighted white and then colored by how closely they come to our inner solar system. Earth crossers are red, Earth approachers are yellow, and all others are colored green.

    What you get is a view of the solar system's planets and asteroids orbiting the sun and these beautiful sparkles in sky. As automated sky scanning systems come online in the 1990s, we see waves of discoveries. Then starting at the beginning of 2010, we see a discovery pattern as a result of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which has been tasked with mapping all infrared light in the sky.

    Watch the full video below.
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  • Map of who owns the Arctic

    August 27, 2010  |  Mapping

    Map of who owns Arctic

    Do you know who owns the Arctic? As it turns out, it's a pretty messy subject:

    In August 2007 Russian scientists sent a submarine to the Arctic Ocean seabed at 90° North to gather data in support of Russia's claim that the North Pole is part of the Russian continental shelf. The expedition provoked a hostile reaction from other Arctic littoral states and prompted media speculation that Russia's action might trigger a "new Cold War" over the resources of the Arctic.

    Luckily things are at least a little more in control now though. Well, sort of. Canada, Denmark and the US still need to define their continental shelf limits. Keep in mind that the shelf can be more than 200 nautical miles from these countries' coastal baselines.

    The International Boundaries Research Unit provides this map [pdf] of claimed boundaries and areas that will potentially be claimed in the future.

    [via]

  • 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]

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