• How Much Junk Orbits Around the Earth?

    February 23, 2009  |  Mapping

    You might not realize it, but there's a lot of junk that orbits around the Earth. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks anything in orbit that's bigger than a softball and then disseminates that information in the form of an orbit descriptor called a Two Line Element (TLE). Matthew Kozak visualizes this data on an interactive 3D globe. It's implemented in Processing, and maybe best of all, the source code is available.

    [Thanks, @Dan]

  • New York Times Maps Twitter Chatter During Super Bowl

    February 3, 2009  |  Mapping

    Twitter and maps just go well together. The New York Times maps Super Bowl-related tweets over the course of the game. A control timeline is provided up top and several categories are provided so that you can view certain types of tweets e.g. Steelers vs Cardinals and chatter about the ads. It looks like Doritos, Budweiser, and especially Careerbuilder were big hits. I guess Hulu got some buzz too. Press play and watch who's talking about what as the game unfolds.

    [Thanks, William]

  • Visualizing Twitter as Barack Obama Became the 44th President

    January 22, 2009  |  Mapping, Projects

    inauguratino

    On Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12pm, Barack Obama officially became the 44th president of the United States of America. As we all watched Obama being sworn in front of the massive crowd, Twitter was abuzz with excitement. Just how excited was the Twittersphere? Watch for yourself. The map starts early Monday morning. As the day moves on more people wake and tweet at a steady rate with increasing volume as the time comes nearer. Europe gets in on some of the action when the US goes back to sleep. Tuesday morning comes in with a new beginning in the air. Then boom, it's time, and Twitter bursts with excitement.

  • Animated Map Shows One Year of Edits to OpenStreetMap

    January 8, 2009  |  Mapping

    open-street-map-edits

    I admit it. I'm a sucker for animated maps - especially when there's music playing in the back. I'm not exactly sure what it is about them. It's data visualization over time and virtual (or physical?) space fast forwarded and rewound. It's like I'm a supreme being looking at changes over time, peering down from above. It's intuitive. It's very visually linked with the real world, and that's probably why I chose Britain From Above as the best visualization of 2008.

    ANYWAYS, check out this animation by ITO that shows the edits to OpenStreetMap, a wiki-style map of the world, over the last year.

    Find high resolution pics at the Flickr photo pool.

    [via visual complexity]

  • 9 Ways to Visualize Consumer Spending

    consumer_spending

    GOOD Magazine's most recent infographic (above and below) on consumer spending got me to thinking about all the other approaches I've seen on the same topic. The number of ways to attack a dataset never ceases to amaze me, so I dug a little. Yeah, there are a bunch - but here are some of the good ones. Got some more? Leave a link in the comments.
    Continue Reading

  • Budweiser Maps Drinkabilty of Bud Light Beer

    December 28, 2008  |  Mapping

    Yes, watered down and flavorless beer has high drinkability. You know, sort of like water. The difference is shade of yellow.

  • Urban Heartbeat of European Cities – Urban Mobs

    December 22, 2008  |  Mapping

    During major events, people use their mobile phones to share their emotions: the euphoria of a football match in Spain or Romania, World Music Day in France, or Saint John's night in Poland. We want to share our excitement, so we call up our close friends and family. Urban Mobs allows us to see this activity in four major European cities - this "urban heartbeat" so to speak.

    So when is someone going to do something for the United States?

    [Thanks, @MacDivaONA]

  • Because It’s Friday

    December 19, 2008  |  Mapping

    Have a good weekend all. I'll be getting buried in the expected 12 inches of snow here in Buffalo in the meantime :).

    [via superpoop | Thanks, Georgina and @tarheelcoxn]

  • Navigate Articles, Photos, and Video from Around the Globe

    December 9, 2008  |  Mapping

    The Washington Post recently put up TimeSpace: World, which is an interactive map that shows articles, video, photos, and commentary as they happen around the world (through the Washington Post's eyes). Similar to Trulia Snapshot, by Stamen Design, news items are arranged with a force-directed graph and can be filtered by time with a timeline at the bottom. Adjust time range to find news stories from a given time of day. You get a breakdown of number of images, articles, etc. Photos seem to dominate. Here is the embedded version (which seems a little buggy):

    One thing that I really liked about Trulia Snapshot, which isn't included as a part of TimeSpace: World is a play button. It'd be like watching the news unfold over time - or even better, make TimeSpace self-updating. Maybe in the next iteration.

    [Thanks, Steven]

  • Explore and Analyze Geographic Data with UUorld

    December 8, 2008  |  Mapping

    united-states

    UUorld (pronounced "world") is a 4-dimensional mapping tool that lets you explore geographic data - the fourth dimension being time. The interface will remind you a bit of Google Earth with the map, pan, zoom, etc, however, UUorld isn't trying to replace Google Earth. In fact, it'll probably be better if you use it with Google Earth. Think of it as another tool to add to your box of mapping toys.

    UUorld's focus is on finding trends over space and time. Load your own data or import data from UUorld's data portal, and then play it out over time. Spatial boundaries undulate up and down as land masses look a bit like skyscrapers. Color and boundary lines are customizable. When you're satisfied with the results, record it as video or export as KML, and then import into Google Earth or whatever else you want.

    How effective is this method of visualization though? There's the usual argument of area perception, but does color-coding and vertical dimension make up for that? Discuss amongst yourselves.

  • Guess What State Searches for ‘Poo’ the Most – StateStats

    December 5, 2008  |  Mapping, Statistics

    StateStats is like Google Insights but on a state level. Type in a search term and get Google search levels with correlations to certain "metrics" like obesity or support for Obama. Any Web application that uses correlation tends to make me feel a bit iffy, but it's just for fun, so I guess it's okay.

    Being the immature man-child that I am, the first thing I type in the search field is poo. I thought it was hilarious interesting that Louisiana's relative search rate was so much higher than all the other states. Apparently, obesity correlates moderately.

    I'm sure all of you will search for more sophisticated terms.

    [Thanks, @Chimp711]

  • Visualization Projects from Database City – Visualizar’08

    December 2, 2008  |  Data Art, Mapping

    This is a guest post by Greg J. Smith, a Toronto-based designer and researcher. Greg writes about design, visualization and digital culture on his personal blog Serial Consign.

    A few weeks ago the second edition of the Visualizar workshop wrapped up at Medialab-Prado in Madrid. In curating the event this year, organizer José Luis de Vicente selected urban informatics as the focus of research and visualization development. Partially inspired by Cascade on Wheels (a project created at the workshop last year), the Visualizar mandate was in line with contemporary thinking about the city where the street is viewed as a platform and urban space is considered a DIY enterprise. Visualizar'08 brought together a range of programmers, designers, architects, illustrators and scholars to participate in a seminar on contemporary thinking about the city and then bunker down to "rapid prototype" seven visualization projects over a two-week period.
    Continue Reading

  • Neighborhood Boundaries with Flickr Shapefiles

    November 28, 2008  |  Data Sources, Mapping

    Neighborhood Boundaries by Tom Taylor uses Flickr Shapefiles and Yahoo! Geoplanet "to show you where the world thinks its neighbors are." Yahoo! provides access to the Where on Earth (WOE) database, which attempts to describe locations as a hierarchy. For example - a town belongs to a city, a city to a county, a county to a state. The Flickr API stores shape files identified by the WOE ID. Here's the punchline. The shapefiles are built using only the latitude and longitude from geotagged photos on Flickr. There's no GIS involved here.

    Why this matters, I can't really say. I think it's mostly to show how much data is stored in geotagged Flickr photos. I'm no GIS expert though. Anyone care to comment on the significance?

    [Thanks, @couch]

  • Facebook Friend Activity Seen Around the World

    November 24, 2008  |  Mapping

    Palantir, by Jack Lindamood, Kevin Der, and Dan Weatherford of Facebook, visualizes friend activity on Facebook. The three "hacked" together Palantir at Facebook's recent Hackathon, but I'd never guess that it was put together in just one night by looking at it. There are a few different views. One shows activity in the form of towers sprouting up from the ground and another visualizes interactions between Facebook friends with floating arcs and things that look like orbiting comets. The former reminds me of a visualization some Google folks did a while back but with search terms. I can't find a link to it now though (a little help, please?).

    Anyways, the pictures aren't really enough to understand what I'm talking about. Watch the video for more.

    [via TechCrunch | Thanks, John]

  • US Oil Doesn’t Come From Where You Think it Does

    November 21, 2008  |  Data Sources, Mapping

    Where do you think the US imports the most oil from? Most of us would probably say somewhere in the Middle East, but Jon Udell does some number crunching and shows that misconception is false. Canada supplies us with the most oil (according to the US Department of Energy).

    This realization however, isn't the post's punchline. It's how easy it was for Jon to figure this stuff out. With some help from Dabble DB (an app that lets you easily use a database without too much technical fuss), Jon was able to parse the data and map it by region with a few swift clicks.

    We’re really close to the point where non-specialists will be able to find data online, ask questions of it, produce answers that bear on public policy issues, and share those answers online for review and discussion. A few more turns of the crank, and we’ll be there. And not a moment too soon.

    We're gettin' there.

    [Thanks, Tim]

  • Cotton Picking Correlates to President Picking

    November 19, 2008  |  Mapping

    The U.S. election is over. The post-election analyses begin. The above map shows presidential voting at the county level. The more red a county is, the stronger the support for John McCain and similar for Barack Obama and blue. Below is cotton production in 1860. Each dot represent 2,000 bales. That's some strong correlation. In fact, here is the election map with the cotton overlay:

    This of course is a case of strong correlation - not causation. That is to say, if you get your county to grow more cotton, it doesn't mean that you're increasing the probability that voters will sway towards Democrat. As Strange Maps points out, it is in fact a correlation to African-American population (of which 91% voted for Obama). There has been some migration during the post-slavery area, but families have largely settled in the areas their families before them grew up in.

    [via Strange Maps | Thanks, Albyn]

  • Alternative to Cartograms Using Transparency

    November 13, 2008  |  Mapping

    Alpha map

    The thing about cartograms is that it's hard to make out what you're seeing. You lose most sense of geography and size comparison is near impossible. They're more of a pretty picture than an analytical tool. Axis Maps proposes an alternative to cartograms, and the example of course uses presidential election data.

    Instead of morphing counties so that they are sized by area, Axis uses transparency or more accurately, alpha levels. Uh, wait, is that more accurate? Oh I dunno. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Anyways, as a result, counties with higher populations glow brightly and those with smaller populations fade into the darkness that is oblivion. I like it. More importantly though - what do you think?

    [via Cartogrammar]

  • Maps and Cartograms of 2008 Presidential Election

    November 10, 2008  |  Mapping

    Cartograms got a lot of coverage in 2004 when Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman used them to show the Bush/Kerry election results. Naturally, they've put together a similar series of (very red) maps and cartograms for the just past 2008 election.

    In case you're unfamiliar with cartograms, they're essentially maps with morphed areas according to some metric. The election series for example are adjusted for population, so that states are sized by population instead of physical area. The drawback of course is that after a certain point, the image starts to look a lot like a Pollock painting.

    [Thanks, Sara]

  • European Economic Weather Map – Sudden Change in Outlook

    October 31, 2008  |  Economics, Mapping

    In this map from the Financial Times, the state of Europe's economy is shown like a weather map. A cloud with a lightning bolt represents a "sudden change in outlook, outlook uncertain." There's nothing but gray skies ahead, I'm afraid. Oh, but wait, what's that? Cyprus has some sun peaking out over the cloud: "Clouds over growth with some sunny prospects." There is hope.

    [via The Big Picture | Thanks, Michael]

  • Map Shows Newspaper Endorsements in US Presidential Election

    October 29, 2008  |  Mapping

    newspapers

    Philip, from infochimps, maps newspaper endorsements using data from the Editor & Publisher's list. Circles with the blue radial gradient are newspapers that endorse Obama and John Kerry in 2004 while the red ones show McCain/Bush endorsements. The lighter blue circles are newspapers that endorse Obama, but actually endorsed George Bush in 2004. It's a similar encoding for the John McCain endorsements except in red and the flip being John Kerry. Circle size is newspaper's circulation.

    The only thing I found a little weird was that the Dem to Rep or Rep to Dem endorsements were represented with all blue or all red. It certainly makes the circles stand out - which was the point - but doesn't really indicate a flip. I had to mouse over the circle to find that out.

    [via FlowingData Forums | Thanks, mrflip]

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