Posts Tagged ‘kelso’

PREVIEW Natural Earth Vector: First Order Admin Units

Monday, July 13th, 2009

We shipped off the 1:15,000,000 scale first-order administrative units for Natural Earth Vector to University of Wisconsin @ Madison to be attributed with country and province names and alpha-numeric codes last week. There are only 3,000+ of these around the world so this is no small task! Kudos go to Tom for doing the heavy lifting on this data theme. Props to Kevin and Ben @ UW-Madison for undertaking the attributing.

Some units are super tiny (see Slovenia in the Europe detail at bottom, almost equivalent in scale to municipalities in the USA). We ignore some small, mostly island nations (see the Caribbean image below) but will include a general admin_0 polygon for the entire country instead. First order administrative units are composed what most people call “provinces” and “states” (not to be confused with countries aka “states”). For some countries, we will also include 1st order admin “regions” that group smaller 1st order units into larger statistical areas (eg: the United Kingdom’s England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland).

If you have 10 to 20 hours to spare, we need your help to complete Natural Earth Vector. Please email me at nathaniel@kelsocartography.com to find out more.

admin_1_world

admin_1_africa

admin_1_asia_se1

admin_1_australasia1admin_1_central_america_caribbean1

admin_1_south_america1

admin_1_europe1

admin_1_europe_detail1

First Look at Natural Earth Vector

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Tom Patterson and I collaborated on the precursor to his first Natural Earth Raster project several years ago and we now preview Natural Earth Raster + Vector, a new free product due Fall 2009 that complements and expands on the previous work by providing detailed GIS linework at the 1:15,000,000 (1:15 million) scale and new versions of the raster product (including cross-blended hyspometric tints). The Washington Post, where I work, is contributing 2 more vector GIS base maps at the 1:50m and 1:110m scales and new versions of Natural Earth Raster will be released for those scales. This is a NACIS and mapgiving co-branded product with assistance from the University of Wisconson-Madison cartography lab, Florida State University, and others.

Please attend the October NACIS 2009 map conference in Sacramento, California for the unveiling.

More description and preview images after the jump.

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Ocean Dots: The Island Encyclopedia

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

oceandotsscreengrab2

[Editor's note: I've enjoyed using this photo-based encyclopedia the last couple weeks working on the Natural Earth Vector island features, which includes many small specs of land out in the deep blue. Natural Earth Vector will be released at the 2009 NACIS map conference in Sacramento, Calif. Related posts: 1, 2, 3, and 4)]

oceandots.com is an image-based encyclopedia of the world’s islands and reefs, using a mix of satellite imagery and user-contributed images.

You can now upload you own island photographs to share with other visitors to the oceandots.com site. If you’d like to upload images, visit the image upload page.

Continue exploring at OceanDots . . .

INTERACTIVE: In Search of Health-Care Reform (Kelso via Wash Post)

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

[Editor's note: This panel-based audio narrative tracks the debate over reforming the United States health-care system, one of the most expensive in the world. The interactive was conceptualized in tandem with a large, full page print graphic and related article.]

Republished from The Washington Post. June 9, 2009

President Obama campaigned on promises to improve the nation’s health system. This summer, Congress will attempt to deliver on the pledge. Remaking a sector that represents one-fifth of the nation’s economy won’t be easy. Here’s a look at the present health system and its challenges, along with some of the solutions under consideration.

Screenshot below. Interact with the original . . .

health-care-reform-screenshot

SOURCES: Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of Management and Budget, Kaiser Family Foundation, Alliance for Health Reform, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Senate Finance Committee, Commonwealth Fund

Interactive by Karen Yourish, Laura Stanton, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Sarah Lovenheim and Ceci Connolly — The Washington Post

SND Multimedia Award: Head Count – Tracking Obama’s Appointments

Friday, June 5th, 2009

My group interactive Head Count – Tracking Obama’s Appointments from March 2009 received an award from the SND: The Best of Multimedia Design Competition Q1 2009 in the 2a “news” category. This makes it eligible for the annual contest. Not bad for a project that’s gotten over 500,000 page views in 3 months!

Judges Comments:
An incredible set of data coupled with innovative presentation, tracking mechanisms and layers of detailed biographic and editorial information.Comprehensive, sophisticated example of a database-driven graphic. So much information, so many ways to explore it. The cross-linking and interconnectedness of the information is impressive. All in all, an impressive database graphic.

See my earlier post about this project.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Impacted U.S. GM Plants (Kelso via Wash Post)

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

[Editor's note: This interactive from Tuesday shows plants set to close under G.M.'s restructuring plan in the context of all of G.M.'s manufacturing facilities. Checkboxes allow different types of facilities to be filtered and zoom presets make it easier to zoom into clusters of markers. A reset button allows the display to return to it's original state. A table below the map contains some of the same information.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Under GM’s restructuring plan, the automakers’s manufacturing facilities will be reduced to 33 by 2012. Three distribution centers will also be eliminated.

Click on map icons for plant name, location, number of employees and more. Screenshot below.

Interact with original version at The Washington Post . . .

gm_plant_closures_map

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: The Post 200 Database (Kelso via Wash Post)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

gr2009051202461

[Editor's note: Uses the Flare visualization API in Flash ActionScript 3 to display data about the Post 200 companies in a treemap format. A vexing and il-documented API, but powerful. We considered showing the data with a graduated circle map but the company locations were too clustered for that to be effective.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
13 May 2009. By Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Terri Rupar – The Washington Post

Use our interactive graphic to explore data — including revenue and employment — for the top companies in the Washington area.

Boxes represent individual companies grouped together by sector, size based on data.

View the interactive version at The Washington Post . . .

post200interactive

Award for Taxi Fare Estimator (Kelso)

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Washington Post won 5 bronze awards in the Malofiej Infographics competition (SND Spain), including one for my interactive graphic District Taxi Fare Estimator published in January 2008.

Full list of Washington Post winners (all print except mine):

  • Karen Yourish and Laura Stanton for U.S. History of Black Politicians
  • Brenna Maloney and Todd Lindeman for Recession 101
  • Brenna Maloney and Todd Lindeman for explanation of the high price of oil/gas
  • April Umminger and Laura Stanton for the fireworks preview page
  • Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso for the District Taxi Fare Estimator interactive

Read my post on how the interactive was created . . .

Interview: 1st Custom Map App Developer for the iPhone (Kelso)

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

[Editor's note: An exciting development as Chris Leger @ Earthrover Software has partnered with Tom Harrison to release several of Tom's California-focused recreation maps the iPhone and iPod Touch, the first such for the platform. Other efforts have wrapped poor functionality around terrible maps and in a couple cases decent gov't National Park Service maps, not original custom cartography. Chris was kind enough to give me an email interview about the product.

As hand held GPS units, mobile platforms like the Apple iPhone and Amazon Kindle all converge, delivering custom maps to these devices will become a more important business opportunity for cartography shops. I see two classes of mobile map applications: (a) raw map with GPS and (b) enhanced map with GPS. Earthrover's maps are a good example of the former while PacMaps's Acadia National Park map app shows how a flat map can be enchanced with a placename index to search locations on the map and possibly even routing information.

So far examples of both solutions use just one map scale. It would be nice to see developers work with cartographers to offer additional custom maps at the zoomed out scales since the raw map isn't legible when zoomed out.

An app that satisfies one or more of these seems destined to do well: (1) pre-trip planning and routing, (2) on-trail location, waypoints, and tracking, and (3) post-trip display show and tell.]

Q: Kelso’s Corner
Who contacted who about developing this app oriented around the recreation maps? I first saw your Mt. Tam Trail Map app ($5 each) and was entranced. Additional titles include: Angeles Front Country Trail Map, Mamoth High Country Trail Map, Point Reyes Trail Map, and San Diego Backcountry Trail Map.

A: Earthrover Software
I contacted Tom [Harrison] about it, and he was willing to give it a try.  I’ve used his maps in the past for trips in California, and my main interest in writing iPhone apps is for field guides and reference information to take into the field.  Having Tom’s maps available was one of the first things to come to mind–his maps are great and are well known, so they’re the obvious choice to have on a mobile device.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
I assume you did the development of the app? How much design review went into the app and it’s functionality?

A: Earthrover Software
Right; I wrote and designed the app.  I spent some time thinking about which features would be worth the complexity of implementing them, did some research to figure out what format to use for the data (PDF versus SVG versus PNG versus …), made a prototype to focus on smooth scrolling and zooming, then kept refining it until there wasn’t anything left on my to-do list.  Since Tom’s underlying map data is of such high quality, I could focus on keeping the user interface fast and tight–there’s not much screen real estate to play with, so every button counts.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
What have your initial sales been like?

A: Earthrover Software
With a few titles out and no advertising apart from our websites, I’d guess we’re averaging about 3-5 sales a day.  This will go up as we add more titles, and hopefully there will be a broader audience for some of the upcoming maps of National Parks.  While it would be nice to have a blockbuster project and pay off the mortgage, I don’t see that in the cards for the types of apps I enjoy writing–which is important since I’m doing this in my spare time, rather than on someone else’s dime.  I’m more interested in expanding sales by taking the underlying engines I now have for maps and field guides, and applying them to more products to appeal to a broader audience.  This has worked well for field guides.  The second one, Wildflowers of the Western Plains, was released today, and five more are in the works.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
Do you anticipate future titles (you must be experiencing some success to keep coming out with titles)?

A: Earthrover Software
Yes, we have more coming.  I submitted the Yosemite Valley Trail Map to Apple today, and Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yosmite National Park, Death Valley, and Tom’s complete John Muir Trail map set are in the works.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
How long did it take to develop the app?

A: Earthrover Software
It was about a month of calendar time, I think, between me contacting Tom and getting the first app released.  That doesn’t sound like much, but I’m a pretty efficient programmer and put in  a lot of hours that month.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
What kind of testing have you done with it out in the field?

A: Earthrover Software
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I haven’t done any field testing with the apps yet.  I don’t have an iPhone (just an iPod touch), so I can’t really check out the GPS functionality except via IP localization.  Tom does field checks of his maps, so the underlying map data is known to be good, and I use Google Earth to fine-tune the map coordinates in the app.

Q: Kelso’s Corner
How do you see the iPhone 3.0 firmware making it easier to develop this type of product?

A: Earthrover Software
Easier integration with Google Maps will be interesting for many apps, and an obvious update to our apps is to allow the user to switch back and forth with a Google Maps view.  But Google Maps requires a network connection–ruling out use in the field on an iPod touch–and isn’t as fast in zooming and scrolling as our apps.

Conclusion: Kelso’s Corner
Thanks, Chris for sharing your development experience with us and good luck on future titles and projects! I’m sure the new iPhone 3.0 firmware will make it easier to sell a complete line of maps from within a single app instead of forcing users back to the iTunes store. Lots of potential :)

Interactive: Obama’s Appointments (Kelso via Wash Post)

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

[Editor's note: I did the Flash ActionScript 3 programming behind Head Count: Tracking Obama's Appointments. This ambitious, collaborative database-driven project tracks the Obama administration’s senior political appointments and will be kept up-to-date with the latest happenings. A look at some of the interactive features you can find at washingtonpost.com/headcount.]

Interactive graphic and database by Sarah Cohen, Karen Yourish, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Ryan O’Neil, Paul Volpe, Sarah Sampsel and Laura Stanton.

This project draws on concepts from these two blog posts in particular: It Ain’t Easy To Get A Newspaper To Provide Useful Data (TechDirt) and The New Journalism: Goosing the Gray Lady (NY Times).

Republished from The Washington Post

Heads Pop Up and Heads Roll: Let’s Keep Track.
By Al Kamen; Wednesday, March 18, 2009; Page A11

Today we launch Head Count, The Washington Post’s interactive database to help you keep a sharp eye on the people President Obama is appointing to the nearly 500 top positions in the federal government that require Senate confirmation. The new feature will not only tell you who they are but also help you count all the demographic beans — age, sex, ethnicity, education (elite schools or not), home states and so on.

At http://www.washingtonpost.com/headcount, you can search agency by agency to determine which jobs are still open, should your private-sector job be looking a little shaky these days. You can also search by individual to determine how many officials in this “change” administration are merely retreads from the Clinton days.

And Head Count will give some clues to help answer everyone’s perennial question: How did that fool get that great job? It will also tell you who paid good, hard money or bundled huge sums for Obama/Biden, who worked on the campaign, who had the coveted Harvard Law connection, hailed from Chicago or was a pal of Michelle Obama, Tom Daschle or Ted Kennedy.

The appointments that are tracked by Head Count do not include judges, ambassadors, U.S. attorneys or U.S. marshals. We’ll monitor those separately. Nor does the database include the many important officials who are not confirmed by the Senate. We’ll be tweaking the database as we go, adding new categories, such as veterans, and making other additions.

Loop Fans can help! If you’ve got information we could use or suggestions about how to improve the site, please submit comments and updates at the link provided on the Head Count Web site.

NOMINATING PARTY

The White House personnel logjam — also known as the Great Daschle Debacle — appears to have been broken. Team Obama’s nominations operation began at a record pace. But IRS problems sparked Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle‘s withdrawal on Feb. 3, leading to a general revetting of nominees that stalled everything.

The numbers are startling. Obama, by the end of his first week in office, had announced 47 nominees for senior-most jobs. He’d officially nominated 37 of them, according to data compiled by New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service Presidential Transition Project. (That number includes some holdovers.)

But in the month after Daschle’s withdrawal, the White House announced only 10 candidates for Senate-confirmed positions and formally nominated only six people.

In the next three weeks, however, the pace ramped up sharply, with 42 nominees named. Official nominations have been slower — only 27 during that time. But there were 15 last week, and we’re told there are plenty in the pipeline. As of yesterday, there were 39 Senate-confirmed individuals on the job. (That includes seven holdovers.)

The push now is to get as many nominees up to the Senate — and get confirmation for the three dozen or so already up there — before the Senate slithers out of town on April 3.

View the interactive at The Washington Post . . .