• 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]

  • Icons of the Web scaled by popularity

    August 26, 2010  |  Misc. Visualization

    Icons of the web scaled by Alexa reach

    Nmap visualizes site popularity as scaled icons. Favicons, that is. They're that little icon that shows in your address bar or when you bookmark a site in your browser. If you're reading this on FlowingData, you should see a little red icon next to the URL. The larger the icon, the more popular the site is, based on Alexa traffic data. In whole, the image is a giant 37,440 by 37,440 pixels image. Google is 11,936 x 11,936 pixels. Facebook is 6,736 × 6,736 pixels. Yahoo is 6,544 × 6,544 pixels.
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  • How tax breaks could affect your bottom line

    August 26, 2010  |  Infographics

    Fight over tax breaks infographic

    Wilson Andrews and Alicia Parlapiano report for The Washington Post on how the fight over tax breaks affects your bottom line:

    Tax cuts enacted under former president George W. Bush are set to expire at year's end, and lawmakers are battling over whether to extend them before the November elections. Most Republicans want to extend all of the cuts, saying that any increase in taxes will hold back the economic recovery. President Obama and Democratic leaders would extend many of the cuts but say tax breaks for top earners should expire to pare down deficits. Each plan would affect average tax rates for income groups differently.

    Each row represents an income group, and you can flip between letting Bush's tax cuts expire, shifting to Obama's plan, and extending the current cuts. Bubbles on the right show the average tax change per taxpayer for each income group. Switch from the first option (letting all cuts expire) to the second (Obama's plan), and you'll notice some changes for top earners.
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  • Countries of the world ranked by stuff

    August 25, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Countries ranked by health and education

    What country has the best education? Health? Quality of life? Thomas Klepl and Adam Clarkson of Newsweek take a look at important metrics for the world's best countries. It's basically a parallel coordinates plot turned on its side. Each represents a metric, and each circle in a row is a country.

    Select a country from the list on the left or by directly interacting with the plot. If a country is top in all categories, like Finland, then all of the scores are going to be on the right. Burkina Faso, on the other hand, is all the way to the left. Of course, this is only the "top" 100 countries.

    You can also filter by geographic regions, income, and population groups.

    While I'm not totally sure about the ranking system and methodology, it's an interesting look.

    [Thanks, Adam]

  • Election night in Australia relived

    August 24, 2010  |  Infographics

    Australia election news graphic 2010

    It was election night a few days ago in Australia, and News.com.au ran this graphic to show results in real-time during the election:

    Instead of presenting the count as a map, we've made each electorate into a little ball, which pulses and swings and fights for position against 149 others.

    As the votes come in, the balls spring to life, changing colour and moving towards the larger ball representing the party leading the vote. The colour will get deeper as the percentage of the vote counted rises.

    At first it displays the primary vote, then when it's time to call the seat for that party it switches to the two-party preferred or two-candidate preferred vote.

    There's also a scroll bar and a speed option so that you can go back and forth in time. Enter a postal code to highlight specific areas.

    I lack the context to fully appreciate this, but several Aussies have sent me the link, so maybe someone can highlight some of the interesting points. It's easy to see though how this could be fascinating during any election in your country or city, even if the floating animation is more for flash. A lot of the time we don't care so much about the geography as we do the party splits and our particular area.

    [Thanks, all]

  • 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]

  • Pseudo-variety and ownership of the soft drink industry

    August 23, 2010  |  Network Visualization

    Soft drink industry - network diagram

    When you buy soft drinks and other beverages at the grocery store, most likely you're buying something that is part of a bigger brand. We know this. When you buy Powerade or Sprite, you're buying from the Coca-Cola brand. When you buy Gatorade or Mountain Dew, you're buying from Pepsi. Canada Dry and 7-Up come from the Dr. Pepper Snapple group. How far is this reach though?
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  • Understanding Shakespeare with visualization

    August 23, 2010  |  Misc. Visualization

    Understanding Shakespeare visualization

    Shakespeare literature is confusing. That's not even an opinion. It's a fact. Stephan Thiel, for his B.A. thesis at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, takes a wack at understanding Shakespeare through a series of visualizations.

    As a result, and based on data from the WordHoard project of the Northwestern University, an application of computational tools was explored in order to extract and visualize the information found within the text and to reveal its underlying narrative algorithm. The five approaches presented here are the first step towards a dicussion of this potentionally new form of reading in an attempt to regain interest in the literary and cultural heritage of Shakespeare’s works among a general audience.

    The above is a sample from an exploration of the most frequently used words for each character. The major characters' speeches are highlighted in yellow.
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  • 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]

  • Discuss: Driving is why you’re fat?

    August 18, 2010  |  Discussion, Infographics

    Obesity rates and exercise infographic

    In a collaboration between GOOD and Hyperakt, they come out with a bold statement: driving is why you're fat. They follow with a graphic that shows rankings by state for amount of driving, walking, biking, and use of mass transit.

    Each state is represented by a four-square grid, colored so that lighter indicates more physical activity. Each grid is complemented with a fat/skinny icon, which represents rank for obesity.

    I like how the grids are geographically-placed, but I'm not so sure about coloring by rank. Would it have been better to color by the actual metrics the ranks were based on? Does driving a lot really lead to obesity or do obese populations collectively prefer to drive more? Sound off with your constructive comments below.

  • Stacked area shows the Web is dead?

    August 17, 2010  |  Statistical Visualization

    Web is dead infographic - revised

    Wired has declared that the Web is dead in their September cover story, and they lead off with this stacked area chart showing the decline of browser-based consumption. Each layer represents a way to consume media via the Internet. Instead of the browser, the majority of US traffic, as estimated by Cisco, has shifted towards peer-to-peer, video, and tiny apps over browsers. Data accuracy questions aside, let's not forget though that the number of total users is still growing, and that smaller portion using the Web is still billions of people.

    My main concern is that the graphic only goes up to 2005. That's ages ago by Internet time. What do the numbers look like now?

    [via TechCrunch]

    Update: Graphic now has correct timespan labels. So now it's back to the debate of relative vs absolute values. [thx, Joanna]

    Update again: What if the article had been about the growth in the number of ways we can interact with online media? Would we see this distribution differently?

  • Illustrated guide to a PhD

    August 17, 2010  |  Infographics

    PhD Knowledge

    When I first got in to graduate school, I really had no idea what I was getting in to. I thought it'd be like undergraduate studies, but harder. Not really. You definitely do a lot more unguided, independent work. You don't have someone telling you what to do, so it's up to you to figure out what you need to read and what you want to work on.

    This illustrated guide to a PhD from computer science professor Matthew Might sums it up nicely.

    By the end of high school, you know a little bit, by the end of a bachelor's degree you start to specialize, and towards the end of a PhD, you've made it to the edge of human knowledge in a very small area of all there is to know in the world. Your job is to push that edge out some by the time you finish.

    It's all so clear to me now.

    [Thanks, Max]

  • 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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  • You + Me = Awesome

    August 13, 2010  |  Infographics

    you plus me equals awesome (venn diagram)

    I used this diagram to convince my wife to marry me (j/k).

    Buy the print by Nick Schmitz here. Have a good weekend!

    [via swissmiss]

    Update: Sheldon Comics has a slightly different take.

  • Back-of-the-napkin personal financial advice

    August 12, 2010  |  Misc. Visualization

    Back-of-the-napkin financial advice in charts

    Carl Richards, a financial planner and a regular on The New York Times' Bucks blog, uses graphs and diagrams to explain personal finance. And as you know, sketches are always twice as charming when they are on the back of a napkin. Together, the collection provides sound financial advice, so that you don't end up poor and bankrupt, chasing the next Google or investing in entertainment.

    [via Chart Porn]

  • Martin Wattenberg talks data and visualization

    August 11, 2010  |  Visualization

    Martin Wattenberg, who with his associate Fernanda Viégas, was just snatched up by Google, talks data and visualization in a lecture at MIT. For the most part, he focuses on past projects, which I am sure you've seen. However, even if you have seen all of Martin and Fernanda's work, it's still worth a watch as he highlights the interesting tidbits that each tool or piece can reveal. The rundown makes you appreciate the work that much more, in the same way you appreciate art when you know the story behind the picture.

    The great thing about Martin and Fernanda is that they're able to switch back and forth between art and science, which in turn gains the respect of the academic visualization world and attention from the masses.

    Watch the full keynote below. It's on the longish side, at about an hour, so you might want to bookmark it for later.
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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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