Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Top World Cup Players on Facebook, Day by Day (NY Times)

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Kudos to Sean Carter and the New York Times graphics team. Most of these types of visualizations are done using Twitter's API, unique for Facebook? My only wish is for the timeline to have a play button.]

Republished from the New York Times.

Millions of people around the world have been actively supporting – or complaining about – their favorite teams and players. Below, players are sized according to the number of mentions on Facebook during each day of the World Cup.

Interact with the original at the New York Times . . .

You’ve seen one block, you’ve seen them all

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

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Ever look close, I mean real close at the imagery you seen in Google Earth and other online map providers? You’ll notice most of it, in the United States at least, comes from the USGS or USDA Farm Service Agency. But have you noticed they sometimes doctor the imagery to remove clouds or other collection artifacts? Well, look at the above image again ;) Here’s the Gmaps view in Tybee Island, GA. Thanks Andrew and Geoff!

New City Landscapes – Interactive Tweetography Maps (UrbanTick)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Series of maps showing twitter tweet density in New York, London, Paris and Munich (some but not all tweets are tagged with geographic coordinates) with hypsometric tints, contours, and placenames (with some literary license). A little more refined than those San Francisco crime maps floating around earlier this month. Thanks Andy!]

Republished from @UrbanTick

Over the past few months we have been harvesting geospatial data from Twitter with the aim of creating a series of new city maps based on Twitter data. Via a radius of 30km around New York, London, Paris, Munich we have collated the number of Tweets and created our New City Landscape Maps.

Continue reading at UrbanTick . . .

The 21st Century Grid: New Lines on the Horizon (National Geographic)

Friday, June 25th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Interactive map shows proposed renewable energy power plants and transmission lines in the United States and Canada. The print version by Martin Gamache and Sam Pepple is worth a look –– it composites the multiple themes into a single view, and compares with the current state of the power system in a separate map.]

Republished from National Geographic Magazine.

Can we fix the infrastructure that powers our lives?
By Joel Achenbach. Photograph by Joe McNally

We are creatures of the grid. We are embedded in it and empowered by it. The sun used to govern our lives, but now, thanks to the grid, darkness falls at our con­venience. During the Depression, when power lines first electrified rural America, a farmer in Tennessee rose in church one Sunday and said—power companies love this story—”The greatest thing on earth is to have the love of God in your heart, and the next greatest thing is to have electricity in your house.” He was talking about a few lightbulbs and maybe a radio. He had no idea.

Juice from the grid now penetrates every corner of our lives, and we pay no more attention to it than to the oxygen in the air. Until something goes wrong, that is, and we’re suddenly in the dark, fumbling for flashlights and candles, worrying about the frozen food in what used to be called (in pre-grid days) the icebox. Or until the batteries run dry in our laptops or smart phones, and we find ourselves scouring the dusty corners of airports for an outlet, desperate for the magical power of electrons.

Continue reading at National Geographic Magazine . . .

German TanDEM-X satellite seeks 3D view of Earth (BBC)

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

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[Editor's note: Second of a pair of new satellites, now operational, will build higher resolution (with more vertical precision) view of Earth than prior SRTM efforts (90m free, 30m restricted). Graphic shows the same area in different DEM (DTM) resolutions. The 12 meter pixel size of the new commercial project is global, but inconsistent with the 10 meter DEMs available in the United States. Thanks Thierry_G!]

Republished from the BBC.

The TanDEM-X satellite has blasted into orbit on a mission to acquire the most precise 3D map of the Earth’s surface. The German radar spacecraft will fly in formation with an identical platform called TerraSAR-X launched in 2007. Together, the pair will measure the variation in height across the globe to an accuracy of better than two metres. Their digital elevation model will have myriad uses, from helping military jets fly ultra low to showing relief workers where an earthquake’s damage is worst.

“Our aim is to generate a model at a resolution and a quality that doesn’t exist today,” explained Dr Vark Helfritz, from satellite image-processing company Infoterra GmbH. “This will be a truly seamless global product – not a patchwork of datasets that have been fitted together,” he told BBC News. TanDEM-X was carried into space atop a converted intercontinental ballistic missile from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Continue reading at the BBC . . .

“A super sophisticated mashup”: The semantic web’s promise and peril (Nieman Lab)

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

[Editor's note: Journalism, and the web in general, is finally catching up to GIScience and the transition from static paper maps to rich, digital maps that included data attributes (rather than graphically encoded attributes) and, more importantly, linking attributes. From Nieman Report's latest issue focusing on digital journalism.]

Republished from Nieman Journalism Lab.
By Andrew Finlayson
. June 17

In the movie Terminator, humanity started down the path to destruction when a supercomputer called Skynet started to become smarter on its own. I was reminded of that possibility during my research about the semantic web.

Never heard of the semantic web? I don’t blame you. Much of it is still in the lab, the plaything of academics and computer scientists. To hear some of them debate it, the semantic web will evolve, like Skynet, into an all powerful thing that can help us understand our world or create various crises when it starts to develop a form of connected intelligence.

Intrigued? I was. Particularly when I asked computer scientists about how this concept could change journalism in the next five years. The true believers say the semantic web could help journalists report complex ever-changing stories and reach new audiences. The critics doubt the semantic web will be anything but a high-tech fantasy. But even some of the doubters are willing to speculate that computers using pieces of the semantic Web will increasingly report much of the news in the not too distant future.

Continue reading at Nieman Reports . . .

Where I’ve been clicking (IOGraph)

Friday, June 18th, 2010

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[Editor's note: See where you've been clicking and moving your mouse thru the day with this nifty utility. Thanks Kat!]

Republished from IOGraph.

IOGraph — is an application that turns mouse movements into a modern art. The idea is that you just run it and do your usual day stuff at the computer. Go back to IOGraph after a while and grab a nice picture of what you’ve done!

First of all it’s a cross-platform program. It captures all your mouse movement and draws them on a blank canvas. You can use your computer desktop as canvas optionally.
That’s really simple. «I» stands for input, «O» stands for output. And «Graph» comes from Greek “γραφικoς” which means drawing or painting. And here we are — IOGraph made by IOGraphica.

Flickr Shapefiles browser (MapToPixel)

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Also check out Aaron's WOE ID browser (the geography behind Flickr). The Flickr API returns both ESRI format shapefiles and XML / JSON. The monster dump of all Flickr shapes is just XML, however. Thanks GeoPDX!]

Republished from MapToPixel.

Flickr Shapefiles are a set of polygons generated from the geo-tags of photos on Flickr. Using the names assigned by people to their own images the dataset offers boundaries of loads of places around the world. The code.flickr blog has more info and details of their generation. The idea is that using people’s tags of locations to form boundaries gives a large dataset of where people think particular places are.

The Boundaries project uses Flick Shapefiles to show neighbourhoods and their neighbouring places. Other than that there isn’t a huge amount of examples on the web.  I’ve put together an example that uses ModestMaps and the Flickr API to display the Shapefiles in Flash. The polygons are retrieved using a bounding box query to the Flickr API, decoded from JSON, drawn and may be identified with a mouse hover.

Continue reading at MapToPixel . . .

The Dictionary of American Regional English (WSJ)

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Geography of vernacular language in the United States of America. Check out this post about regional names for drainage features like stream, creek, run and more. Thanks Chrys!]

Republished from the Wall Street Journal.
By DALE BUSS

DARE to Be Finished—Maybe Next Year

The Dictionary of American Regional English gets ready to close the book on its already 45-year-old project

It’s axiomatic that even on the East Coast long sandwiches go by a host of names: hero (especially New York City), grinder (chiefly in New England), hoagie (mainly in Pennsylvania and New Jersey) and submarine (everywhere). Only if you’re an aficionado of the Dictionary of American Regional English are you likely to know that when kids still play hopscotch, they may call it “potsy” in Manhattan—but it’s “sky blue” in Chicago.

And it’s surprising how many different names Americans have for that strip of ground between the sidewalk and the street: “boulevard,” “grass plot,” “parkway” and “tree bank” are among them. So after a child abductor in the ’90s left a note demanding that ransom be deposited in a trash can “on the devil strip” at an intersection, a forensic linguist used this dictionary to help solve the crime—because the term was common only in a small part of Ohio.

For 45 years, DARE has been documenting America’s geographically variant vocabularies. Despite the conforming effects of air travel, television and the Internet, neither mobility nor media seem to be able to erase regional patois.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal . . .

Resolving the iPhone resolution (Discover)

Monday, June 14th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Good overview of scale (for eyes, and for maps) with remote sensing principles applied to tackle pixel density and the eye's ability to resolve that resolution. See also post on smart phone screen sensor accuracy. Thanks anonymous twitter user!]

Republished from Discover Magazine.

With much bruhaha, Steve Jobs and Apple revealed the new iPhone 4 yesterday. Among other features, Jobs said it has higher resolution than older models; the pixels are smaller, making the display look smoother. To characterize this, as quoted at Wired.com, he said,

It turns out there’s a magic number right around 300 pixels per inch, that when you hold something around to 10 to 12 inches away from your eyes, is the limit of the human retina to differentiate the pixels.

In other words, at 12 inches from the eye, Jobs claims, the pixels on the new iPhone are so small that they exceed your eye’s ability to detect them. Pictures at that resolution are smooth and continuous, and not pixellated.

However, a display expert has disputed this. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Industries, was quoted both in that Wired article and on PC Mag (and other sites as well) saying that the claims by Jobs are something of an exaggeration: “It is reasonably close to being a perfect display, but Steve pushed it a little too far”.

This prompted the Wired article editors to give it the headline “iPhone 4’s ‘Retina’ Display Claims Are False Marketing”. As it happens, I know a thing or two about resolution as well, having spent a few years calibrating a camera on board Hubble. Having looked this over, I disagree with the Wired headline strongly, and mildly disagree with Soneira. Here’s why.

First, let’s look at resolution*. I’ll note there is some math here, but it’s all just multiplying and dividing, and I give the answers in the end. So don’t fret, mathophobes! If you want the answers, just skip down to the conclusion at the bottom. I won’t mind. But you’ll miss all the fun math and science.

Continue reading at Discover Magazine . . .