Posts Tagged ‘grouping’

Who Supports Health Care Reform (NY Times)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

[Editor's note: Op-Art from the New York Times showing who (which states) supports and opposes health care reform grouped by age and income. Data from 2004, so not current but still informative. Thanks Martin!]

Republished from the New York Times. Nov. 18, 2009.

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Industrial-Strength Carbon Footprints (NY Times)

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

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[Editor's note: Carbon dioxide emissions charted by ton, economic sector, and revenue.]

Republished from the New York Times. Dec. 28, 2009.

Emissions Disclosure as a Business Virtue

Cupping their hands near holes drilled for cable routing, workers at the Boeing Company’s four-acre data processing site near Seattle noticed this year that air used to keep the computers cool was seeping through floor openings.

Mindful of the company’s drive to slash electricity consumption by 25 percent, they tucked insulation into holes there and at five similar sites. The resulting savings are projected at $55,000, or some 685,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year.

Yet Boeing’s goal is not just to save money. The hope is to keep pace with other companies that have joined in a vast global experiment in tracking the carbon dioxide emissions generated by industry.

Boeing and other enterprises are voluntarily doing what some might fiercely resist being forced to do: submitting detailed reports on how much they emit, largely through fossil fuel consumption, to a central clearinghouse.

The information flows to the Carbon Disclosure Project, a small nonprofit organization based in London that sifts through the numbers and generates snapshots by industry sectors in different nations.

By giving enterprises a road map for measuring their emissions and pointing out how they compare with their peers, experts say, the voluntary project is persuading companies to change their energy practices well before many governments step in to regulate emissions.

Scientists estimate that industry and energy providers produce nearly 45 percent of the heat-trapping emissions that contribute to global warming. While some governments are convinced that reining in such pollution is crucial to protecting the atmosphere, a binding global pact is not on the immediate horizon, as negotiations in Copenhagen showed this month.

Until broad regulation is at hand, many investors and company executives say, voluntary reporting programs like the Carbon Disclosure Project may be the best way to leverage market forces for change.

Continue reading at the New York Times . . .

Analyze this, Tufte! Movie Narrative Charts (XKCD comic)

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

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[Editor's note: Thanks Jo!]

Republished from XKCD.

These charts show movie character interactions. The horizontal axis is time. The vertical groupings of the lines indicates which characters are together at a given time. On the LoTRs up and down roughly correspond to northwest and southeast.

View larger, legible version at XKCD . . .

Political prerogative in the embassies (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

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[Editor's note: I created this bivariate Dorling cartogram for Al's column on Friday. The bubbles are grouped by geographic region show number of total ambassadors and the subset (in red) who have been political appointees the last 49 years. The subset is aligned bottom middle instead of sharing the same center point as the total bubble. If you haven't seen our Head Count interactive database tracking all Obama's federal appointments, check it out!]

Republished from The Washington Post. Reported by Al Kamen.

Just after the election in November, we wrote that an Obama administration was likely to eschew “the traditional sale of most ambassadorships, so aptly carried on during the Bush administration.” The chatter was that the new team would pick political types, but with some foreign policy cred — as the Clinton administration tended to do — and maybe reduce the percentage of politicals in favor of more career Foreign Service officers.

Yeah, well, we must have been eschewing something. The fat-cat contributors naturally got the plum postings, as usual.

But judging from data compiled by the American Foreign Service Association, the career employees union, it appears that Obama is on track to reduce, at least marginally, the percentage of jobs going to contributors and cronies. While there are still a lot of vacancies, AFSA officials project that Obama is likely to end the year appointing fewer political folks than either Bush or Clinton to the 181 ambassadorial postings — but still too many, as far as the career diplomats are concerned.

About 30.1 percent of Bush’s ambassadors during his eight years were political folks, AFSA found. Clinton’s average, 33 percent politicals, was higher, but Clinton’s folks were a mix of non-career people who actually knew a lot about the countries or regions to which they were named and pure cash types — our favorite was hotelier Larry Lawrence for Switzerland, the guy whose body was exhumed from Arlingon National Ceremony when it turned out he lied about being in the Merchant Marine.

If Obama’s first-year total ends up slightly lower than Bush’s, then Obama’s eventual four-year — or eight-year — percentages will probably be clearly lower than his immediate predecessors’, we’re told, because the first round of appointments tends to skew more to paying off politicals than do the later rounds.

Of course, the politically connected still get the finer spots in the Caribbean and Western Europe. As the accompanying chart shows, the career diplomats head to somewhat less delightful (even nasty) postings in Central Asia (100 percent career since 1960), the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Since 1960, no Foreign Service officer has ever run the embassy in Dublin and only one, Ray Seitz, has gone to the Court of St. James’s in London. On the other hand, no political appointee has ever gone to Chad and only one has gone to Bulgaria.

See AFSA’s full data at http://www.afsa.org/ambassadors.cfm.

SOURCE: American Foreign Service Association, data 1960 through today. | Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Karen Yourish/The Washington Post – October 23, 2009

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Why We Travel: Readers’ Photos (NY Times)

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

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[Editor's note: This interactive from the New York Times allows the user to filter a large set of user submitted vacation photos from around the world by country both by map and list interface. Topics like "beaches" and "road trip" focus in farther. Editor's Picks offers quick way to highlight the "best of". Filtering is a little slow on display of matched photos for me, but fun concept.]

Republished from the New York Times.

Browse hundreds of summer photos submitted by our readers, then start sharing your favorite photographs of Europe.

Credit: .

Interact with the original at New York Times . . .

Water Measured From the Sky: Satellites Track Land’s Consumption (Wash Post)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Republished from The Washington Post.

In Idaho, scientists are using remote imaging to study evapotranspiration, the loss of water to the atmosphere by evaporation from soil and water, and by transpiration from plants.

Water management is serious business in the American West, where precipitation is scarce, irrigated agriculture is a major industry, new housing subdivisions spread across arid landscapes and water rights are allocated in a complicated seniority system.

Related story from The Washington Post »

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Travellr: Behind the Scenes of our Region-Based Clusters (Google GeoDev)

Monday, July 6th, 2009

[Editor's note: The age-old rule for cloropleth mapping that suggests aggregation by multi-scale areal units based on the map's zoom level is slowly seeping into "clustering" for the point-based mashup geo community. This overview from Travellr published on the Google GeoDevelopers blog includes two illustrations that show the power of this technique. I used such a technique (different implementation) on The Washington Post's recent swine flu mapping.]

Republished from Google GeoDevelopers Blog.
Monday, June 22, 2009

Recently, there has been a lot of interest in clustering algorithms. The client-side grid-based MarkerClusterer was released in the open source library this year, and various server-side algorithms were discussed in the Performance Tips I/O talk. We’ve invited the Travellr development team to give us insight on their unique regional clustering technique.

Travellr is a location aware answers service where people can ask travel-related questions about anywhere in the world. One of its features is a map-based interface to questions on the site using Google Maps.

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Figure 1. An example of the Travellr Map, showing question markers for Australia.

Clustering for usability
We learned that the best way to display markers without cluttering our map was to cluster our questions depending on how far you zoom in. If the user was looking at a map of the continents, we would cluster our questions into a marker for each continent. If the user zoomed-in to France we would then cluster our questions into a marker for each region or city that had questions. By clustering our data into cities, regions/states, countries, and continents, we could display relevant markers on the map depending on what zoom level the user was looking at.

Optimizing for Clustering
Our next challenge was how to extract clustered data from our database without causing excessive server load. Every time the user pans and zooms on the map, we need to query and fetch new clustered data in order to display the markers on the map. We also might have to limit the data if the user has selected a tag, as we’re only interested in a questions related to a topic (ie: “surfing”). To execute this in real-time would be painstakingly slow, as you would need to to cluster thousands of questions in thousands of locations with hundreds of tags on the fly. The answer? Pre-cluster your data of course!

Step 1. Structure your location data
When a question is asked about a city on Travellr, we also know its region/state, country and continent. We store more than 55,000 location points as a hierarchy, with each location “owning” its descendent nodes (and all of their data). Our locations are stored in a Modified Preorder Tree (also called Nested Sets). Modified Preorder Trees are a popular method of storing hierarchical data in a flat database table, having a focus on efficient data retrieval, and easy handling of sub trees. For each location we also keep a record of its depth within the tree, its location type (continent, country, region/state, or city), and its co-ordinates (retrieved using the Google Maps geocoder).

Step 2. Aggregate your data
We calculate aggregate data for every branch of our locations tree ahead of time. By storing aggregate data for cities, regions/states, countries, and continents, we provide an extremely fast and inexpensive method to query our locations database for any information regarding questions asked about a particular location. This data is updated every few minutes by a server-side task.

Our aggregations include:

  • Total question count for a location
  • Most popular tags for that location
  • Number of questions associated with each of those tags.

How we query our structured, aggregate data on the map
Whenever the user zooms or pans the map we fire off a query to our (unpublished ;) API with the tags they are searching for, the current zoom level, and the edge co-ordinates of the map’s bounding box. Based on the zoom level (Figure 2) we work out whether we want to display markers for continents, countries, states, or cities. We then send back the data for these markers and display them on the map.

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Figure 2. Clustering at different zoom levels (blue = continents, countries, pink = states, cities)

Everyone Wins
So what is the result of structuring and aggregating our data in such a way? It means that we have nicely organized, pre-clustered data that can be read from cheaply and easily. This allows us to provide a super-fast map interface for Travellr that puts minimal load on our infrastructure. Everyone is happy!

Comments or Questions?
We’d love to hear from you if you have any questions on how we did things, or suggestions or comments about Travellr’s map. This article was written by Travellr’s performance and scalability expert Michael Shaw (from Insight4) and our client-side scripting aficionado Jaidev Soin.

You can visit Travellr at www.travellr.com, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/travellr.

CIA World Factbook Relation Browser (moritz.stefaner)

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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[Editor's note: This interactive visualization browses the CIA World Factbook topology of geography by country. Featured edge relationships include neighboring countries, spoken language, and more.]

Republished from Moritz.Stefaner.

This radial browser was designed to display complex concept network structures in a snappy and intuitive manner. It can be used to visualize conceptual structures, social networks, or anything else that can be expressed in nodes and links.

The CIA Factbook demo displays the relations of countries, continents, languages and oceans found in the CIA world factbook database. Click the center node for detail information or click adjacent nodes to put them in the center. The arrows on the top left can be used to navigate your click history. Use the dropdown in the upper right to directly access nodes by name. The varying distance to the center node for nodes with many neighbors was only introduced to enhance legibility and does not have a special semantics.

Flow Mapping (Box Shaped World)

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

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[Editor's note: Flow maps have always ranked high on my radar but constructing them has always been tedious. This post and academic paper link detail how they can be automated with programatically, including edge routing (not directly from A to B, but with bends to not overlap other connections).]

Republished from Box Shaped World.

Getting a head start on a new project that is more cartographic. It will involve mapping migration/flows from Australia to the Northern Territory (probably smaller geographic units than states). I like making maps, and so I’m excited to do some cartography beyond standard ArcGIS layouts. There are different possibilities on how to map this. Initially, I think I will use something like this that creates a more trunk/branch flow map instead of the typical straight line between places (Tobler’s Flowmapper). The project lead doesn’t like this style too much, but thought the trunk/branch style might work. We might pursue other mapping techniques, which would be cool to try and apply different map techniques to this area…

Continue reading at Box Shaped World . . .

Republished from Stanford Graphics paper.

Cartographers have long used flow maps to show the movement of objects from one location to another, such as the number of people in a migration, the amount of goods being traded, or the number of packets in a network. The advantage of flow maps is that they reduce visual clutter by merging edges. Most flow maps are drawn by hand and there are few computer algorithms available. We present a method for generating flow maps using hierarchical clustering given a set of nodes, positions, and flow data between the nodes. Our techniques are inspired by graph layout algorithms that minimize edge crossings and distort node positions while maintaining their relative position to one another. We demonstrate our technique by producing flow maps for network traffic, census data, and trade data.

Continue reading past abstract, includes source code . . .

Jump Starting the Global Economy (Wash Post)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

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[Editor's note: Find the trends, group them together, and use that hierarchy (topology) as an access metaphor. And remember geography doesn't always need to mean map.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
Original publication date: March 29th, 2009.
By Karen Yourish And Todd Lindeman — The Washington Post.

The total amount of the stimulus packages approved by the G-20 countries amounts to $1.6 trillion. More than half of that comes from the United States.

Other maps and graphics that use grouping: