Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Love #maps and #datavisualization? Please join me at NACIS this year in Greenville!

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

[Editor’s note: The call for proposals is now open! As NACIS vice president and program chair for this year’s conference, I cordially invite you to attend and please present.]

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NACIS 2013

Greenville, SC
October 9-11, 2013
Hyatt Regency Greenville

CFP2013

Talks, Posters, Demonstrations, Round Tables, Panels, and Workshops

There are many ways you may participate! You are invited to submit proposals to organize custom sessions, panels, discussions, and workshops. Talks, papers, posters, and demonstration proposals are welcome until June 15th. We will entertain all creative ideas!

ABOUT NACIS

Our enduring passion is to render our social, economic, political and natural world intelligible and actionable through visual story and cartographic design.

We are a creative design-oriented group that for over thirty years has provided a forum spanning the diversity of the mapmaking, geospatial & data visualization communities. We are specialists from government, commercial, and not-for-profit fronts along with academics, scholars, map/GIS librarians, artists, and students. Be there for the dynamic discussions rich in techniques, theory, history, and the state of our art. Please join us!

CARTOGRAPHY AND GEOGRAPHIC DATA

This year’s theme is data and data-driven map stories. Cartographers rely more than ever on technology and data science to craft engaging and informative narratives. As geographic data gets bigger, how can we find and follow the story arc? How can we use technology to make the humble spreadsheet or personal narrative interactive and read just as well online as in print?

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

In addition to the main Thursday and Friday conference, we offer several special programs.

  • Practical Cartography Day  Join professional cartographers and scholars for this popular all-day session. Come prepared to share in their insightful solutions to everyday cartographic conundrums.Mamata Akella and Andy Woodruff pcd@nacis.org
  • Cartographic and Geographic Data Collections  This all-day session will focus on innovative ways cartographic and geographic data collections are being managed and disseminated. Abraham Kaleo Parrish and Tsering Wangyal Shawa pmld@nacis.org
  • Exhibits Gallery - Display your latest creation for all to ponder throughout the events. Daniel Huffman posters@nacis.org

Read more at NACIS »

Antrophogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

[Editor’s note: The new “anthropocene” age has been detailed by the likes of The Economist, National Geographic Magazine,  The New York Times, and Wired. While much has been made of miles of road and general interconnected transportation network,  population density, and other measures,  I’m most captivated by this newish map showing “years of intensive use”. Get your Jared Diamond out and study this map. Thanks Hugo! More maps at Ecotope, thanks Andrew!]

Perhaps the most obvious mark we’ve made to the planet is in land-use changes. For millennia, humans have chopped down forests and moved rock and soil for agriculture and pastureland—and more recently, for construction.

Antrophogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere

CREDIT: ERLE ELLIS, ADAPTED FROM E. ELLIS, PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY A, 369:1010 (2011) From the Science article “A global perspective on the anthropocene” DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6052.34

2012 Mountain Cartography Workshop presentations from New Zealand

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

The 8th ICA Mountain Cartography Workshop was held in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (map) during 1-5 September 2012. A couple dozen participants gathered to talk about maps, mountains & enjoy outdoor recreation. Martin, Tom, and I joined from the United States and other participants ranged from Argentina to Norway and the usual contingent from Switzerland and Austria. We had wonderful hosts in New Zealand organizing committee.

I’ve gathered our presentations together here as a reference, enjoy.

PDFs are linked below. Original Powerpoints over there »

Aileen Buckley: NAGI Fusion Method
Download PDF (2.6 mb) »

Benjamin Schroeter: Glacier variations – Projects at the Institute of Cartography, TU Dresden

Download PDF (22 mb) »

Martin Gamache: Cartography beyond the Planimetric
Download PDF (40 mb) »

Nathaniel V. KELSO: Cartography at Stamen Design
Download the PDF (16 mb) »

Geoff Aitken: The Tramper’s Map of the Tararua Mountain System circa 1936
Download PDF (2.7 mb) »

Dusan Petrovic: Designing photo-realistic and abstract mountain maps for a 3d mapping study
Download PDF (3.7 mb) »

Martin Gamache: Americans on Everest – 50 year anniversary, mapping with the iPad
Download PDF (28 mb) »

Roger Wheate: Visualization of changes in the alpine glaciers in western Canada
Download PDF (8 mb) »

Lorenz Hurni: Glacier DEM reconstruction based on historical maps: A semi-automated approach
Download PDF (5.6 mb) »

Sebastian Vivero: A new digital terrain model for the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand, using digital photogrammetry techniques.
Download PDF (2.7 mb) »

Karel Kriz: User interaction and design issues for the Tyrolean AWC Portal
Download PDF (1.8 mb) »

Stefan Raeber: Panoramic Maps – Evaluating the usability and effectiveness
Download PDF (2.8 mb) »

Karel Kriz: Decomposing an exhibition map
Download PDF (1.4 mb) »

Roger Smith: Texture maps with Photoshop
Download PDF (1.9 mb) »

Georg Gartner: Putting emotions in maps – Towards supporting wayfinding
Download PDF (2.7 mb) »

Karel Kriz: Needs, concepts and realization of a mountain compliant smartphone app
Download PDF (2.5 mb) »

Antoni Moore: Multi-modal exploration of rugged digital terrain on mobile devices
Download PDF (0.5 mb) »

Martin Gamache: Relief approaches at National Geographic Magazine
Download PDF (70 mb) »

Roger Smith: Maps & geomorphology
Download PDF (8.8 mb) »

Geoff Aitken: New topographic mapping
Download PDF (2 mb) »

Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso: Create your own terrain maps
Download PDF (12 mb) »

Tom Patterson: Mountains unseen – Developing a relief map of the Hawaiian seafloor
Download PDF (5.7 mb) »

Martin Gamache: Yosemite National Park and El Capitan
Download PDF (7 mb) »

Martin Gamache: Animation of projections used in the National Geographic Mapping the Oceans supplement
(view video above)

Andrew Steffert: Lidar flood mapping
Download PDF (32 mb) »

Watercolor, Terrain, and Toner tiles from Stamen

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Reminiscent of hand drawn maps, Stamen’s new watercolor maps apply raster effect area washes and organic edges over a paper texture to add warm pop to any map.

We’ve launched maps.stamen.com to showcase these new maps as well as our Terrain and Toner map styles.

We’d love to see these maps used around the web, so we’ve included some brief instructions to help you use them in the mapping system of your choice. These maps are available free of charge but with attribution. Details at any of the links above.

When open data is not open: World Bank double speak on Google Map Maker?

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

[Editor’s note: Good news! The World Bank has listened and responded with a new blog post clarifying their stance on open data and backed away from Google Map Maker: ”If the public helps to collect/create map data, the public should be able to access, use & reuse that data.”]

By Nathaniel Vaughn KELSO

In their recent op-ed in the New York Times and on the official World Bank blog, Caroline Anstey* and Soren Gigler** made a compelling case for open data and open government that is fatally flawed. Unless fixed, it has dangerous implications for the future of open data globally. The World Bank’s new policy around map data is needlessly exclusionary: public data should remain publicly accessible.

Over the past two years, the World Bank has made great strides in making its processes more transparent and rethinking the international organization as a development platform and innovation bank.

However, on January 13th, Ms. Anstey and Mr. Gigler muddied that effort by partnering with Google on map data as an end game around many of those “open” goals. Let me be very clear:

The World Bank’s new agreement with Google is a neocolonial wolf handing out shiny blue Map Maker t-shirts.

Google Map Maker expressly prohibits citizen cartographers from using/sharing the very data they add to the map in ways that can help their own development efforts. Users are locked into the Google platform: they cannot export their data or create derivative work, especially commercial projects. Nor can they share that geo data with other online mapping efforts, especially critical during disaster relief.

The World Bank has successfully partnered on map data before, most notably in Haiti with OpenStreetMap (OSM) in response to the major earthquake and the following humanitarian crises.

The Haiti experience shows that crowd sourcing map data works. Most developing countries do not have basic local map data. Timely, accurate geo data showing roads, schools, fresh water sources, health facilities, and more help save lives during an emergency, and in the meantime we all enjoy with up-to-the-minute maps. Regardless if you are in Washington, D.C. or Nairobi, Kenya.

I agree the Bank’s core mission is advanced by improving access to geo data for humanitarian response and development planning. This serves to make development more effective and inclusive by expanding access to basic geo information.

It is appropriate to engage citizens in the Bank’s client countries by inviting them to participate (via mapping parties and online portals) and strengthen the capacity of civil society to “put them selves on the map”. That is an inalienable right and a noble effort by the Bank to facilitate.

But this new agreement falls down on close inspection of the Google Map Maker terms of service. The corporate legalese is contrary to another Bank core principle:

“the right to use that same open data to empower citizens in effective development.”

The Google partnership proposes a new digital serfdom. The Bank should instead embrace the OpenStreetMap model: a system of micro-data grants that empowers a self-sustaining wave of economic development as more data gets added to the map. The citizen map maker should have an ownership share.

I urge the Ms. Anstey and Mr. Gigler to emphasize to the World Bank’s local offices and partner organizations (including the United Nations) that this new agreement with Google is *non-exclusive*, meaning the Bank can and must open data by sharing local geo data with other organizations, like OpenStreetMap.

When the Bank partners to allow citizens to draw their own map, the resulting map data must be free and open. Indeed, open mapping tools and civil society organizations like OpenStreetMap (who innovated first with mapping parties and their online map editor) should be leveraged and grown as much as possible.

Instead, the current agreement allows Google to use local citizens to collect information for free and make exclusive profit. The agreement, specifically the general Map Maker terms or special ODbL terms for the World Bank project, should be rewritten as Patrick Meier*** suggests, to ”allow citizens themselves to use the data in whatever platform they so choose to improve citizen feedback in project planning, implementation and monitoring & evaluation.”

Terms of use like Open Database License (ODbL) promote circulation of geo data for the most good and Google has been receptive in the past to opening up parts of their Map Maker data for humanitarian relief. Let’s complete the circle so this type of license is a core part of a revised World Bank “open” data agreement and have it in place before the next disaster.

The World Bank must reiterate its commitment to truly open data with due speed.

—–

The author is chief cartographer for the Natural Earth, a public domain map database. His maps have been published in The Washington Post and National Geographic and he is a design technologist at Stamen Design.

—–

* Caroline Anstey is a managing director of the World Bank.
** Soren Gigler is Senior Governance Specialist, Innovation at the World Bank.
*** Patrick Meier is director of crises mapping at Ushahidi.

Related reading

PR: World Bank and Google Announce Map Maker Collaboration

Open Aid Partnership:

Patrick Meier, Ushahidi’s director of crisis mapping

RWW coverage

Directions Magazine coverage

Google’s Official LatLong Blog

Global Integrity

Does a Google-World Bank Deal On Crowdsourcing Ask Too Much of the Crowd? (TechPresident)

“What Gets Measured Can Be Changed”: World Bank Turns Its Data Catalog Public (TechPresident)

The World Bank Responds to the Google Map Maker Deal (Global Integrity)

 

VPRO: Custom Cartography and The Netherlands From Above (Stamen)

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

[Editor's note: My first big project at Stamen is live! Team includes: Geraldine, Eric, Mike, Shawn, Sean, and Zach with Jasper and Frederik at VPRO providing the data. Pretty labels powered by Dymo in zooms 7 to 10, open source auto label power!]

Republished from Stamen.

Working closely with Dutch broadcasting heavies VPRO, yesterday we launched Nederland van Boven (“Netherlands from Above”), an interactive map of the Netherlands to accompany the forthcoming broadcast of a series of shows about this fascinating tiny country. As my friend Ben Cerveny is known to say: “New York started gentrifying in the 1970s, but Amsterdam started gentrifying in the 1790s,” and the opportunity to design custom maps for a country that’s essentially all infrastructure was one that we leapt at gladly.

The show runs in a series of episodes starting later this month, each addressing a different aspect of life in Holland. It starts with mobility, answering questions like “where can I live, if I work in Amsterdam and want to be able to finish the newspaper by the time I get to work on the train?” or “How far can I travel in two hours by public transport from Vlissingen?”

Upcoming episodes will deal with other ways of looking at the environment around you: examining the natural environment by comparing distances from buildings, open space, and the density of wild animals, the landscape of danger by examining rates of lightning strikes, flammable locations and the arrival times of ambulances, and the contours of the air around the country, looking at the density of birds, flght paths of planes and the highest places in the Netherlands.

The cartography for the project is custom-made for VPRO, designed to complement the channel’s rich visual branding. Cities fill in based on a custom compilation we derived using a combination of NaturalEarthData and GeoNames sources, and and at lower zoom levels roads become visible and are drawn using data sourced from OpenStreetMap. On the most detailed zoom all roads are drawn and the arterial streets receive names. With roads come more place labels, now from OpenStreetMap and sized by population. Water bodies (black) are drawn using data from VPRO, as are park lands (black stipple pattern), airports, farm locations, pancake restaurants, neighborhood names, and zipcode shapes (the locations of pancake restaurants being as important to the Dutch as the locations of airports and farms, apparently).

The highlight layers are orange, because that’s the national color of the Netherlands. Also, did you know that carrots are orange because that’s the national color of the Netherlands; “in the 17th century, Dutch growers are thought to have cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange – who led the the struggle for Dutch independence.” So: orange maps over custom OpenStreetMap cartography, a client who wanted to tell a story and was willing to stretch what it means to design a map, and a country made of canals and land claimed from the sea. Hoera!

Technical bits:

We used open source software, some authored by Stamen, to draw the reference cartography and cache the data files. Web maps are made of small, 256 px by 256 px images, stacked next to each other in a grid and displayed in the browser as a slippy map, allowing the user to pan and zoom. The application logic in Flash allows us to speedily update the map (using the GPU) when the data filters are adjusted. Software utilized includes TileStache, Cascadenik, Dymo, ModestMaps, Mapnik, QGIS, OGR, and GDAL. Much of the data provided by VPRO was generated in ArcGIS in-house and and partners. The place search is powered by the Yahoo! geocoder.

Interact with project »

WhereCampDC ignite spatial videos

Friday, June 24th, 2011

wherecampdc_video_start

I helped organize WhereCampDC in Washington, DC, earlier this month on the 10th and 11th of June, 2011. Hosted at National Geographic and The Washington Post, around 275 geo nerds came together to talk about the latest technology and techniques to build maps and engaging spatial storytelling. Big thanks to both organizations for sponsoring, as well as our many other sponsors including the USGIF.

The key to the event’s success, like Practical Cartography Day during the NACIS annual meeting, was focusing on practical tools and workflows to help solve everyday problems; bringing people looking for solutions together with the programmers who build them in a social environment where making lasting personal and professional connections is emphasized to grow the community.

All told, we had 375 attendees (some overlap between Friday and Saturday but still ~275 uniques). That’s $60 a head for costs, all paid thru sponsorships and in-kind donations. We had generous sponsors and splurged on a few budget items. My guess is you could hold one of these for as cheap as $30 a head. The attendance and sponsorship logistics was managed thru EventBrite. The president of NACIS (my professional association), Tanya Buckingham (U. Wisc. at Madison), attended and it looks like we’ll hold another of these where camps in Madison with our annual meeting and in Portland in 2012.

Playing the spirit of WhereCampDC forward, a new DC meetup has formed and already has 85+ members who plan to meet regularly the upcoming year. Since both Kate Chapman and I are now moved out of the DC area, it’ll be up to the meetup folks to organize the next unconference ;) Check them out at: http://www.meetup.com/GeoNerds-DC

Powerpoint and keynote slides from the Ignite Spatial are up, as well as short video clips: http://www.wherecampdc.org/2011/04/friday-ignite-spatial/

Pictures from Saturday’s unconference are here: http://www.wherecampdc.org/2011/04/saturday-unconference-scene/

Here’s one of the videos featuring Javier de la Torre of Vizzuality talking about crowd sourcing “Old Weather”:

Donate your iPhone location logs anonymously

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

[Editor’s note: Apple and the other big smart phone players have been harvesting your location data to help your phone’s GPS locate you faster. There was a big hubub a couple weeks ago about the insecure nature of the iPhone log database. A new website, CrowdFlow.net is crowd sourcing the federation of individual users location files so we get a complete picture. By pooling our logs, we can visualize patterns among these location beacons. Act now as the next update from Apple will remove this ‘functionality’. Image above shows the locations around the world so far. Want to view your own tracks without sharing them? Check out Pete Warden’s original iPhoneTracker.]

What’s the idea?

You probably know by now that your iPhone collects the position data of wifi and cell networks near by. Google Android devices as well. More background info herehere and here.

We would like to combine as many of these log files as possible, create an open database of wifi and cell networks and thus visualize how these networks are distributed all over the world.

So please contribute your iPhone log files and help us to create an open wifi und cell database.

You can find out more on this project on [their] blog.

How can I contribute?

We are starting with the iPhone.
If you would like to contribute your log file – and you can do that entirely anonymously -
follow these two simple steps:

Continue reading at CrowdFlow.net . . .

Please join me in June for WhereCampDC

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

picture-8

WhereCampDC is an unconference on June 10th and 11th, 2011 for people fascinated by place and the intersection of geography and technology. Please join us for our first event in the nation’s capital hosted at National Geographic and The Washington Post! We are an eclectic crowd ranging from geospatial professionals, open source developers, imagery analysts, urban cartographers, open data/gov hackers, locative media artists, augmented reality developers, and modeling theorists. The event is free to attend and participation is strongly encouraged.

Please RSVP your attendance to one or both days:

An unconference is a conference planned by the participants and created on the spot. It’s about having a low threshold for participation, bringing ideas into the open, and hearing all voices. It is like the 20% of a traditional conference where the best parts happen. You meet people, make relationships, and get down to what’s important to you. Please share your ideas!

Friday’s evening’s Ignite Spatial lightening talk session is an open-mic style opportunity to share your latest work and interests. We will also announce a special keynote speaker.

Saturday morning we’ll gather at 10 am to plan the day’s topics, demos, activities and start having fun. Sessions are held in multiple breakout rooms simultaneously. Lunch is provided thanks to our sponsors.

Find out more over at WhereCampDC.org . . .

A recap of Where 2.0: The conference for all things location-aware

Friday, April 29th, 2011

[Editor’s note: Expanded version of my post for The Washington Post’s @innovations blog.]

We use maps to show readers the “where” in our stories. But beyond simply locating the places mentioned in text, maps can create a larger narrative by adding context and showing trends (or animating the path of Friday’s royal wedding parade).

Krissy Clark, a reporter for KQED Public Radio in Los Angeles, summed up the “where” from the journalist’s perspective in her plenary talk at the Where 2.0 Conference last week in Santa Clara, Calif., “Stories Everywhere”:

The Where 2.0 Conference bills itself as a source for all things location-aware, or geo. Sessions explored the intersection of location technologies and trends in software development, business strategies and marketing.

The buzzword this year was “serendipity” — using customers’ locations, especially with mobile apps, to create experiences that delight them by providing them with relevant, unexpected information based on their locations (to paraphrase Jeff Jarvis).

More nerdy details after the jump.

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