• Mapping all the rivers in the United States

    July 1, 2013  |  Mapping

    All Rivers - California

    Inspired by Ben Fry's All Streets map, which showed every road in the United States, Nelson Minar mapped every river to similar effect. As you'd expect, the geography of the United States emerges without actually mapping locations.

    We saw a similar map from National Geographic, which showed the rivers of the world and took home an award for best map of 2010 at Malofiej. So Minar's map isn't especially new, but the good bit is that Minar posted a tutorial and his code on github, so that you can see how such a map is made.

    Most of the actual cartography is being done in Javascript, in the Leaflet and Polymaps drawing scripts. This tutorial code does very little, mostly just drawing blue lines in varying thicknesses. In addition the Leaflet version has a simple popup when rivers are clicked. With the actual vector geometry and metadata available in Javascript a lot more could be done in the presentation; highlighting rivers, interactive filtering by Strahler number, combination with other vector data sources, etc.

  • Atlas of literal place names

    June 25, 2013  |  Mapping

    USA

    We go places. They have names. What do these names mean though? The Atlas of True Names by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust can help you with that, replacing place names with the meaning of place names. California becomes the Land of the Successors, Texas is the Land of Friends, but forget all that. Who's up for a visit to Illinois, the Land of Those Who Speak Normally?

    See more detail for the United States here. There are also versions for the British Isles, Europe, and the world, all available for purchase to adorn your walls. [via Slate]

  • Contrailz: Detailed flight patterns at major airports

    June 24, 2013  |  Mapping

    Contrailz London flights

    Alexey Papulovskiy collected flight data from Plane Finder for a month, which essentially gives you a bunch of points in space over time. Then he mapped the data in Contrailz.

    Turns out, besides Flight Levels (FL) (which are indicated on my map by dots' color: red ones stand for lower altitudes and blue — for higher) planes have pretty specific "roads" and "highways" as well as "intersections" and "junctions". You can see this for yourself by taking a look at the Russian part of the map: it's less "crowded", so the picture is as clear as it gets. The sky above Moscow area looks particularly interesting: civil flights are allowed there only since March 2013 and only with an altitude of 27.000 ft or higher.

    Aaron Koblin's Flight Patterns always comes to mind immediately when I see flight data, and Contrailz of course looks similar, but the latter brings in European flight patterns, too, which makes it worth a gander.

    By the way, you should also check out Plane Finder if you haven't seen that yet. It shows planes currently in flight, and there's a lot of them. [Thanks, Alexey]

  • Mapping Twitter demographics

    June 20, 2013  |  Mapping

    Languages of Twitter

    MapBox, along with Gnip and Eric Fischer, mapped 3 billion tweets and a handful of variables.

    This is a look at 3 billion tweets — every geotagged tweet since September 2011, mapped, showing facets of Twitter's ecosystem and userbase in incredible new detail, revealing demographic, cultural, and social patterns down to city level detail, across the entire world. We were brought in by the data team at Gnip, who have awesome APIs and raw access to the Twitter firehose, and together Tom and data artist Eric Fischer used our open source tools to visualize the data and build interfaces that let you explore the stories of space, language, and access to technology.

    You'll probably recognize some of the maps, as they build on Fischer's previous projects, such as languages of Twitter and locals versus tourists. The originals were static images though. The interaction provides an exploratory view that lets you poke around the areas you're interested in, and maybe best of all, it was built with open source software.

  • A high resolution tour of the vegetation on Earth

    June 20, 2013  |  Mapping

    NOAA visualized global vegetation over a year, and the result is beautiful:

    We've seen forestry maps before, some quite detailed, but this is the first I've seen it at this granularity over a period of time.

    Although 75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth's surface is a dynamic green. Data from the VIIRS sensor aboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite is able to detect these subtle differences in greenness. The resources on this page highlight our ever-changing planet, using highly detailed vegetation index data from the satellite, developed by scientists at NOAA. The darkest green areas are the lushest in vegetation, while the pale colors are sparse in vegetation cover either due to snow, drought, rock, or urban areas. Satellite data from April 2012 to April 2013 was used to generate these animations and images.

    The changes are especially obvious as the season moves to summer, going from snow-covered to deep green.

  • Animation shows flow of attendees during a conference

    June 18, 2013  |  Mapping

    Visitor flow

    When you go to a conference, there are typically several talks going on at the same time, and you can always tell there's a popular paper coming up when you see people leave a bunch of rooms at once and head straight into one. There's also the unfortunate case when someone speaks, and there's only a handful of people in the room, all in the back staring at their laptops. Open Data City visualized this activity during the German internet conference re: publica.

    Open Data City used MAC addresses and access point connections to keep track of where devices went. So a person might be in a room connected to the nearest access point, disconnects as he leaves, and then reconnects as he reenters another room, which provides the flow.

    It's fun to watch the conference play out even if you didn't attend. Each dot represents an attendee, and as the animation plays the dots migrate from room to room. Click and drag over the dots to select specific people. [Thanks, Michael]

  • Easy mapping with Map Stack

    June 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    Map Stack example

    It seems like the technical side of map-making, the part that requires code or complicated software installations, fades a little more every day. People get to focus more on actual map-making than on server setup. Map Stack by Stamen is the most recent tool to help you do this.

    We provide access to different parts of the map stack, like backgrounds, roads, labels, and satellite imagery. These can be modified using straightforward controls to change things like color, opacity, and brightness. So within a few minutes you can have a map of anywhere in the world with dark green parks and blue buildings. You can get very precise with image overlays and layer effects, using layers as cut-out masks for other layers. Or just make a regular-looking map in the colors you want.

    The idea is to make it radically simpler for people to design their own maps, without having to know any code, install any software, or even do any typing.

    It's completely web-based, and you edit your maps via a click interface. Pick what you want (or use Stamen's own stylish themes) and save an image. For the time being, the service is open only from 11am to 5pm PST, so just come back later if it happens to be closed.

    See here for a taste of what others have done so far.

  • State of the OpenStreetMap

    June 11, 2013  |  Mapping

    OpenStreetMap Data Report

    OpenStreetMap, the free wiki world map that offers up high quality geographic data, has grown a lot in the past eight years. The OpenStreetMap Data Report shows all these changes. Says the report: "The database now contains over 21 million miles of road data and 78 million buildings."
    Continue Reading

  • Rise of craft beer

    June 7, 2013  |  Mapping

    Rise of craft beer

    The Brewers Association just released data for 2012 on craft beer production and growth. The New Yorker mapped the data in a straightforward interactive.

    As of March, the United States was home to nearly two thousand four hundred craft breweries, the small producers best known for India pale ales and other decidedly non-Budweiser-esque beers. What's more, they are rapidly colonizing what one might call the craft-beer frontier: the South, the Southwest, and, really, almost any part of the country that isn't the West or the Northeast.

    Most articles and lists on craft beer tend to focus on total production and breweries, so California, a big state with a lot of people, always ends up on top. And as a Californian, I'm more than happy with my access to all the fine brews around here, but clearly, there are many more states to visit. RV trip anyone? [via @kennethfield]

  • Map: Vernacular across America

    June 6, 2013  |  Mapping

    yall

    When you talk to different people across the United States, you notice small differences in how people pronounce words and phrases. Sometimes different terms are used to describe the same thing. Bert Vaux's dialect survey tried to capture these differences, and NC State statistics graduate student Joshua Katz mapped the data.
    Continue Reading

  • Map of London fire engine callouts

    June 5, 2013  |  Mapping

    Fire engine callouts

    Using data from the London Fire Brigade, James Cheshire mapped 144,000 incidents in London.

    This map shows the geography of fire engine callouts across London between January and September 2011. Each of the 144,000 or so lines represents a fire engine (pump) attending an incident (rounded to the nearest 100m) and they have been coloured according to the broad type of incident attended. These incident types have been further broken down in the bar chart on the bottom right. False alarms (in blue), for example, can be malicious (fortunately these are fairly rare), genuine or triggered by an automatic fire alarm (AFA). As the map shows, false alarms – thanks I guess to AFAs in office buildings – seem most common in central London.

    It looks a lot like a sky of fireworks in this view. I bet a map for each category might help flesh out different patterns.

  • Geography of tweets

    June 2, 2013  |  Mapping

    Geography of Twitter

    Twitter mapped all the geotagged tweets since 2009. There's billions of them, so as you might expect, roads, city centers, and pathways emerge. And it only took 20 lines of R code to make the maps.

  • A quarter century of satellite imagery

    May 21, 2013  |  Mapping

    Picture of Earth through time

    In collaboration between USGS, NASA and TIME, Google released a quarter century of satellite imagery to see how the world has changed over time.

    The images were collected as part of an ongoing joint mission between the USGS and NASA called Landsat. Their satellites have been observing earth from space since the 1970s—with all of the images sent back to Earth and archived on USGS tape drives that look something like this example (courtesy of the USGS).

    We started working with the USGS in 2009 to make this historic archive of earth imagery available online. Using Google Earth Engine technology, we sifted through 2,068,467 images—a total of 909 terabytes of data—to find the highest-quality pixels (e.g., those without clouds), for every year since 1984 and for every spot on Earth. We then compiled these into enormous planetary images, 1.78 terapixels each, one for each year.

    Be sure to check out the Timelapse feature on Time.

  • Coaches are highest paid public employees

    May 17, 2013  |  Mapping

    Coaches map

    Deadspin made a straightforward map that shows the highest paid public employee in each state.

    Based on data drawn from media reports and state salary databases, the ranks of the highest-paid active public employees include 27 football coaches, 13 basketball coaches, one hockey coach, and 10 dorks who aren't even in charge of a team.

  • Map of live Wikipedia changes

    May 14, 2013  |  Mapping

    Wikipedia change map

    On Wikipedia, there are constant edits by people around the world. You can poke your head in on the live recent edits via the IRC feed from Wikimedia. Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi are scraping the anonymous edits, which include IP addresses (which can be easily mapped to location), and naturally, you can see them pop up on a map.

  • Geography of hate against gays, races, and the disabled

    May 13, 2013  |  Mapping

    Homophobic tweets

    In a follow-up to their map of racist tweets towards Barack Obama, the folks at Floating Sheep took a more rigorous route to get around the challenges of sentiment analysis. Over 150,000 geotagged tweets against races, sexuality, and disabled were manually classified and mapped.

    All together, the students determined over 150,000 geotagged tweets with a hateful slur to be negative. Hateful tweets were aggregated to the county level and then normalized by the total number of tweets in each county. This then shows a comparison of places with disproportionately high amounts of a particular hate word relative to all tweeting activity. For example, Orange County, California has the highest absolute number of tweets mentioning many of the slurs, but because of its significant overall Twitter activity, such hateful tweets are less prominent and therefore do not appear as prominently on our map. So when viewing the map at a broad scale, it’s best not to be covered with the blue smog of hate, as even the lower end of the scale includes the presence of hateful tweeting activity.

    Hard to believe this stuff is still around. It looks like I might want to stay clear of some parts of Virginia. (The aggregation at the national level seems a bit aggressive. When you zoom in on the map, the polarity between the east and west doesn't seem so strong.)

    Update: Be sure to read the FAQ before making snap judgements.

  • Cicada insects out to play after 17 years

    May 10, 2013  |  Mapping

    Cicada

    This is my first time hearing about this, probably because it only happens every 17 years. After 17 years of development in the ground (getting nourishment from tree roots), the Cicada insects are starting to swarm on the east coast. Hundreds of millions of them mate, make a lot of noise, and then die. Adam Becker and Peter Aldhous for New Scientist mapped data maintained by John Cooley and Chris Simon from the University of Connecticut to show the cycles of the Cicada.

    There are 17-year broods, which is what's happening now, and there are 13-year broods, with the next one expected next year in Louisiana.

    Click the play button on the top right to see the various broods appear over time, and be sure to turn on the audio (in the left panel) for added flavor. [Thanks, Peter]

  • Exploration of how much geography is needed in metro maps

    May 9, 2013  |  Mapping

    Removing geometry by Fathom

    Terrence Fradet of Fathom Information Design ponders whether metro maps suffer or benefit by leaving out geography. Geographic accuracy is good, but sometimes it can confuse your audience.

    Just how important is it that metro maps represent geography? This piece came from an interest in how metro maps over the past century have tiptoed between geographic and topological representations—topological meaning to forgo all spatial integrity and instead represent the connectivity of a specific environment.

  • YouTube Trends map shows most popular videos by region

    May 7, 2013  |  Mapping

    YouTube Trendsmap

    I don't know about you, but when I go to YouTube, I check my subscriptions and then look at what videos are currently popular. Because you know, it's important to stay up to date on the most current news about kittens, people getting caught doing weird things, and movie trailers. The YouTube Trends Map is another way to see what's popular, but from a geographic and demographic point of view.
    Continue Reading

  • Map shows street quality in Los Angeles

    May 7, 2013  |  Mapping

    Los Angeles street grades wideview

    Nevermind the horrible traffic in Los Angeles, where it takes a several hours to get somewhere when it should only take thirty minutes. The road quality isn't so great either. Using data from the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services, which scores street segments on a 100-point graded scale, Ben Poston and Ben Welsh for The Los Angeles Times mapped road quality in the city.

    Red represents segments with an F grade, which means resurfacing or reconstruction is required, and green are segments with A grade, which mean no cracking and no maintenance required. Yellow is everything in between. Jump to a specific area via text entry and/or see the data in aggregate, by neighborhood or council district.

    The streets don't look great almost any way you look at it.

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