• Great Britain recreated in Minecraft

    September 27, 2013  |  Mapping

    Minecrafting with OS OpenData

    The Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency for Great Britain, mapped 220,000 square kilometers of the mainland with 22 billion blocks in Minecraft.

    Each blocks represents a ground area of 50 square metres. The raw height data is stored in metres and must be scaled down to fit within the 256 block height limit in Minecraft. A maximum height of 2 500 metres was chosen, which means Ben Nevis, appears just over 128 blocks high. Although this exaggerates the real-world height, it preserves low-lying coastal features such as Bournemouth's cliffs, adding interest to the landscape.

    Just download the free archive, load it in Minecraft, and explore. [via NextWeb]

  • Searching for other Earths

    September 26, 2013  |  Mapping

    Searching for Earths

    In a step-by-step narrative, produced by Adam Becker, MacGregor Campbell and Peter Aldhous for New Scientist, is an exploration of possible Earths light years away. Possible planets are marked based on the amount of light they block from their parent star, and then those are filtered based on size and whether or not orbits are in a habitable zone, which leaves possible Earths.

    The Kepler telescope did this for a relatively small spot in the sky for four years and found a handful of possible Earths. When you extrapolate, there are many more. [Thanks, Peter]

  • Impressive exploration of projection mapping

    September 26, 2013  |  Data Art

    Projection mapping is the art of using physical objects as display surfaces and turning them into something else visually. This video of Box is an impressive demonstration of the technology.

    "Box" explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera. Bot & Dolly produced this work to serve as both an artistic statement and technical demonstration. It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform theatrical presentations, and define new genres of expression.

    I would've thought this was CGI if I didn't know any better.

  • Planet and moon resizer

    September 24, 2013  |  Infographics

    Moon resizing

    It can be difficult to imagine the scale of planets and moons, because (1) they're really big and (2) they're far away. From where we are, the stars look pretty small, but in reality, they shiny objects might be several times larger than our own planet. In this straightforward interactive, Brian Lukis shows how planet and moon sizes compare. Simply select between the apparent view and the absolute to see how perspective seemingly changes size.

  • Acetaminophen availability around the world

    September 20, 2013  |  Visualization

    Acetaminophen around the world

    Probublica has a detailed piece on the potential overuse of acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol. The photo above, which compares the maximum amount of acetaminophen allowed in a single package, caught my eye. I like the use of jars to provide a second dimension of comparison, versus the formless piles or incongruous containers that we usually see in these photo comparisons.

    Of course the next step is to look at dosage restrictions overall for the full comparison. [via @sisiwei]

  • OpenStreetMap, the work of individuals visualized

    September 19, 2013  |  Mapping

    OpenStreetMap contributors

    In the continued series of meta-data-driven maps, OpenStreetMap shows the work of individuals across the online community.

    OpenStreetMap is created every day by thousands of users logging in and improving the map. Here is a visualization of this amazing social fabric of individuals working together. We generated a color for each road segment from the user ID of the mapper who last edited it to show how many individual contributions large and small add up to a collaborative map of the world. Take a look at how many people have been mapping near you.

    Areas that resemble a Pollock painting represent many contributors in a single area, whereas more solid colors represent uploaded databases and more major contributors.

    Be sure to see the full-sized interactive version.

  • Sasquatch sightings

    September 17, 2013  |  Mapping

    Sasquatch sightings

    Josh Stevens, a PhD candidate at Penn State, mapped 92 years of sasquatch sightings, based on data from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. Before you furiously type that the map is just population density, Stevens addresses that.

    Right away you can see that sightings are not evenly distributed. At first glance, it looks a lot like a map of population distribution. After all, you would expect sightings to be the most frequent in areas where there are a lot of people. But a bivariate view of the data shows a very different story. There are distinct regions where sightings are incredibly common, despite a very sparse population. On the other hand, in some of the most densely populated areas sasquatch sightings are exceedingly rare.

    The bivariate view he mentions is the county map on the left. Bright purple is high sasquatch sightings and low population density, and light green is high population density and relatively low sassquatch sightings. So it's not all about population. More likely, it's the vegetation level of the terrain, because as we all know, sasquatches prefer dense bushes and trees with grainy overtones.

  • D.C. building heights study

    September 16, 2013  |  Visualization

    DC height

    Emily Chow and Gene Thorp for The Washington Post explored the change in D.C. skyline if buildings rose.

    The D.C. Office of Planning has paired up with the National Capital Planning Commission to explore the potential of altering the federal Height of Buildings Act of 1910, which has defined the District's skyline for nearly a century. With limited space for expansion and a growing population, the city is studying different ways to potentially change the height limit while preserving the distinct horizontality of the monumental skyline.

    The height toggling feature and smooth transitions make it easy to compare views.

  • Fashion fingerprints

    September 13, 2013  |  Visualization

    Fashion Fingerprints by NYT

    In a collaborative effort at The New York Times, a Fashion Week browser shows highlights of the event through thumbnails reminiscent of slitscans. These "fingerprints" are the zoomed out view of pixels and most dominant colors of each piece and designer. It's a quick sense of what each label showed off this year. Then you can select fingerprints to see the actual images. It reminds me of the old Flickr Clock from years back.

  • Game map from Grand Theft Auto 5

    September 12, 2013  |  Mapping

    Los-Santos

    With just five days left until Grand Theft Auto 5 is out, a map of the game's landscape was leaked, whatever that means these days. It's almost as detailed as Mario Brothers.

  • Treemap art

    September 11, 2013  |  Data Art

    Treemap art

    Ben Shneiderman invented the treemap in the 1990s to visualize the hierarchical contents of his hard drive. In the Treemap Art Project, Sheiderman approaches the tool from an artistic perspective. Each treemap in the 12-piece collection visualizes an actual dataset in a familiar artist's aesthetic.

    Colored rectangular regions have been a popular theme in 20th century art, most notably in the work of Piet Mondrian, whose work was often suggested to have close affinity with treemaps. Not all his designs are treemaps, but many are. His choice of colors, aspect ratios, and layout are distinctive, so simulating them with a treemap is not as trivial as you might think. Gene Davis' large horizontal paintings with vertical stripes of many colors were more easily generated with treemap layouts. The rectangles in Josef Albers “Homage to the Square” or Mark Rothko's imposing paintings are not treemaps, but generating treemap variants triggered further artistic explorations. Other modern artists such as Kenneth Noland, Barnett Newman, and Hans Hofmann gave further provocations to the images in this collection.

    [Thanks, Ben]

  • Where NFL quarterbacks throw

    September 10, 2013  |  Mapping

    Passing the ball

    Kirk Goldsberry, known for his basketball analysis and shot charts, has applied his talents to football passes relative to the line of scrimmage. (Football, a.k.a the sport that I might as well watch until basketball starts again.)

    More than 68 percent of the league’s passes are short throws that target receivers either behind the line of scrimmage or within 10 yards of it. Some may find it surprising that many of the league’s passes target players behind the line of scrimmage. But screen passes and checkdowns are relatively common. Regardless, the most common throws by far are those short positive-yardage attempts.

    I sense player-by-player pass maps in the works.

  • Crunching the wedding numbers

    September 9, 2013  |  Statistical Visualization

    Wedding crunchers

    Weddings are special events where friends and family come together to celebrate, and we encapsulate them in their special day. What if you looked at weddings over time though? Todd Schneider provides a view into wedding announcements in The New York Times in Wedding Crunchers, and although the announcements are mostly New York-based, you get a peek into events and social trends. Simply enter terms or phrases and see the trends over time.

    Be sure to check out Schneider's detailed description and highlights of the data. [Thanks, Todd]

  • Weather models, a visual comparison

    September 6, 2013  |  Statistical Visualization

    Forecast lines

    Forecast, one of the best if not the best quick-look weather sites, uses various weather models to predict temperature, wind, humidity, and pressure. Whereas the main result is an estimated map view along with highs and lows for the week, Forecast Lines shows you the the weather models that drive the site.

    Forecast works by statistically aggregating a number of different weather models into a single forecast. Because I can peek under the hood, I was able to take a look at all the raw models and see how many dipped below freezing. I saw that none of them did, which gave me confidence that my plants would be okay.

    Today we’re launching a new weather app that lets everyone “peek under the hood.” We’re calling it Forecast Lines.

    And like the main Forecast site, it works fine and dandy on your iPad or mobile device.

  • Age of city buildings

    September 4, 2013  |  Mapping

    Brooklyn age

    When we think about the age of cities, it's common to think of when it was founded or established. However, the growth of a city is often more organic, as buildings and homes spring up at different times and different areas. So when you map buildings by when they were built, you get a sense of that growth process. Thomas Rhiel did this for Brooklyn.
    Continue Reading

  • London to Brighton train ride, 1953-2013

    September 4, 2013  |  Visualization

    In 1953, the BBC filmed a train ride from London to Brighton and then did the same thirty years later from the same point of view. They did it again this year. The video below shows all three rides side-by-side.

  • WTF visualizations

    August 30, 2013  |  Ugly Charts

    thumbs up

    There are a lot of poorly conceived graphics that make little sense or do the opposite of what they're supposed to do. You know what I'm talking about. We see them often. You can either (1) get upset and overreact a bit; or (2) you can laugh. The latter is more fun, and that is the premise of the new Tumblr WTF Visualizations. Enjoy.

  • Etymology and word usage when you ‘define’ with Google

    August 30, 2013  |  Visualization

    Pro tip: When you Google "define <INSERT WORD HERE>" and open the information card, you can see the etymology of the word in flowchart form and word usage over time.

    Define hipster

    [via @wattenberg]

  • Playgrounds for everyone

    August 29, 2013  |  Mapping

    Playgrounds for everyone

    NPR digs into accessible playgrounds, because everyone should get to play.

    Remember running around the playground when you were a kid? Maybe hanging from the monkey bars or seeing who could swing the highest?

    It wasn't just a mindless energy burn. Many have called play the work of childhood. Play teaches children how to make friends, make rules and navigate relationships.

    But for kids whose disabilities keep them from using playgrounds, those opportunities can be lost.

    New federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act are changing the landscape for public playgrounds, requiring them to include equipment, materials and designs that provide children with disabilities the same play opportunities as typical children.

    Be sure to look at the app, which serves as both a way to find the nearest playground near you and as a way for you to help build a reference for parents. They've found over 1,200 playgrounds for kids to play at so far.

  • British relationships throughout history

    August 26, 2013  |  Network Visualization

    Degrees of Britain

    In Kindred Britain, Nicholas Jenkins, Elijah Meeks and Scott Murray provide a visual exploration of how thousands of well-known British people are connected through blood and marriage.
    Continue Reading

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.