Posts Tagged ‘andy’

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 . . .

Value-by-Alpha Maps, Cartograms, and More (Cartogrammer)

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Best practices on accounting for area-distortions normally present in conformal map projections by using cartograms and value-by-alpha alternatives. Check out the paper. Thanks ChartPorn!]

Republished from Cartogrammer.

The latest issue of the The Cartographic Journal (of the British Cartographic Society) contains a paper written by Robert Roth, me, and Zachary Johnson entitled “Value-by-alpha Maps: An Alternative Technique to the Cartogram.” The value-by-alpha map is something I have touched on here several times over the past year and a half (as has Zach on his blog), and about which I spoke at last year’s NACIS conference in Sacramento. With the publication of this paper, it’s high time I explained what it’s all about.

Value-by-alpha maps (hereafter shortened to VBA), like everything noble and good, have their roots in somebody complaining about something on the internet—me, about election cartograms. Seeking an alternative to what I think are ugly and unreadable election results cartograms, I worked with my Axis Maps dudes to create a 2008 U.S. election map that used transparency rather than size to vary the visual impact of map units, thinking that avoiding the distortion of these units into unrecognizable sizes and shapes would make the map easier to read.

Rob Roth, a stellar Ph.D. candidate and shameless county collector at Penn State (studying under The Beard himself, the illustrious Alan MacEachren) became interested in further developing the idea academically and enlisted my Axis Maps partner and radical raw milk zealot Zach Johnson (who wrote his master’s thesis on cartograms) and I to collaborate on the now-published Cartographic Journal article. We were all graduate students at Madison together once upon a time, and we make a good team—striking a perfect balance between study, practice, and chili-eating.

Enough backstory. I’ll summarize at moderate length the idea and what we wrote.

Continue reading at Cartogrammer . . .

Visualizing Indieprojector (AxisMaps)

Friday, September 18th, 2009

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[Editor's note: IndieProjector lets users approach map projection as a Web 2.0 task. Anyone can upload data and reproject into a number of useful presets. This visualization shows the geographies popular with users, their data coverage. Most users are mapping the US and parts there of. But a few things stand out to me. Iran, a couple places in Africa, and the surprising number of people who think the world ends at the Rio de la Plata, Capetown, Melbourne, and Fairbanks. Are people using a cylindrical projection for their world maps, ahem, and it's just getting too tall for the page? None the less, a neat tool. Keep up the good work!]

Republished from IndieMapper / AxisMaps.

After a few months of indieprojector, we thought it’d be interesting to see how it’s being used. Two questions sounded particularly fun to visualize: what geographic areas being mapped with indieprojector, and what projections are the most/least popular? So I grabbed some data and generated some maps, which Mark turned into snazzy visualizations.

Continue reading at IndieMapper . . .

Simple shapefile drawing in ActionScript 3 (Cartogrammar)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Shapefile + magic = map in Flash!

[Editor's note: Andy Woodruff explains how to use his quick and easy implementation of Edwin van Rijkom's AS3 classes for loading SHP files and their DBF attributes into Flash/Flex. This library DOES NOT PROJECT your shp files, you might consider doing that first.]

Recently I’ve heard two friends independently inquire about some sort of basic guide for loading and drawing a shapefile in Flash. The only real tutorial/example I can recall is here, dealing with Google Maps. But these guys are looking for something more bare-bones. Being a regular user of Edwin van Rijkom’s invaluable code libraries for reading shapefiles, and usually forgetting the process myself, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a very simple set of AS3 classes that load a shapefile and throw a map on screen.

So to get those jerks off my back, I wrote a little thing called ShpMap, which supplements van Rijkom’s classes by loading and drawing a shapefile. It’s nothing fancier than that. Sometimes all you need is to get your base map on screen. (Update: just to round it out a little more, I’ve added basic loading and parsing of a shapefile’s accompanying DBF file, which contains attribute data. This also uses classes by van Rijkom.)

I hope that this class (and the several associated classes) can both be directly usable for some projects and serve as a basic guide to using van Rijkom’s classes to load shapefiles.

Dig it:

  • An example that loads and displays a US states shapefile (and then puts a square on my house and colors the state of Wisconsin green). View the source code here.
  • Download the source code. (My classes plus van Rijkom’s, as well as a demo US States shapefile.)

Don’t make me search! (Cartogrammar)

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

[Editor's note: Allowing multiple access points to browse into a dataset using spatial ideas from cartography (see also GeoName's post on the relational ontology / the semantic web).]

Republished from Cartogrammar. June 1, 2009.

Searching Google Maps for

There’s a lot of information on the internet, if you haven’t noticed. Far too much for any mere human to wade through. And that’s why we find simple beauty in Google. Instead of overwhelming us with links and content, its home page provides a single search field. “Remain calm,” it says in a soothing but vaguely sinister voice, “just tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll bring it to you.” But God help you if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Okay, it’s not that bad. Research and debate about searching versus browsing behaviors have played out over centuries (assuming that measurement of time in this information age is something akin to dog years), and it seems safe to say that most of the time information can be accessed by either means. Back in the wild days of the 1990s, web usability guru Jakob Nielsen found that “half of all users are search-dominant, about a fifth of the users are link-dominant [browsing], and the rest exhibit mixed behavior” and argued that “[d]espite the primacy of search, webdesign still needs to grounded in a strong sense of structure and navigation support” for the sake of not only those link-dominant users but everyone else too (link). Most of the web seems to adhere to that principle, but it’s a search-based world out there.

And I kind of hate it.

Sure, it’s obviously crucial to be able to search for what I’m looking for, but I’m not always looking for anything in particular. I want to explore or, to frame it (perhaps more accurately) in terms of mental lethargy, to avoid having to think of something to look for. It’s like Christmas shopping for all my relatives: as torturous as it already is, if I weren’t able to browse store shelves and instead had to think of specific gifts to ask the shopkeeper for, I’d probably collapse and bust into tears. (I titled this post after Steve Krug’s wonderful “common sense” book on web usability Don’t Make Me Think, not that I’m quite what he was talking about.) It bugs the hell out of me whenever I go to check out the newest Coolest Web Tool or Visualization Ever, only to find that I must think of something to search for in order to see it in action.

Continue reading at Cartogrammar . . .

Sparkmaps? (Cartogrammar)

Monday, June 1st, 2009

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Andy Woodruff has a neat post over at Cartogrammar about Sparkmaps, a riff on Tufte’s sparkline concept (1, 2).In essence: “Tiny, non-intrusive supplemental maps … As a sparkline provides at a glance a reasonably clear picture of numerical data, so can a small map provide context and clarify otherwise confusing or vague text.” We’ve started to include small Google Maps mashups in the sidebar of some Washington Post articles the last month. We occationally use another tool that allows a Google Maps mashup to appear on hover of a hyperlinked placename. Less discoverable, so effective only when the geography is completely anciliary to the story.

Read his post at Cartogrammar . . .