Posts Tagged ‘topology’

UK Addressing, The Non Golden Rules of Geo or Help! My County Doesn’t Exist (Yahoo!)

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

489px-gray1824middlesex1

[Editor's note: Amusing and practical example of geographic taxonomy, topology with the example of England versus United Kingdom.]

Republished from Yahoo! Geo.
By Gary Gale, Head of UK Engineering, Yahoo! Geo Technologies

George Bernard Shaw once said the golden rule is that there are no golden rules and at Geo Technologies we understand that there is no one golden rule for Geo and so we try to capture and express the world’s geography as it is used and called by the world’s people. Despite the pronouncement on golden rules, a significant proportion of the conversations we have with people about Geo lend themselves to the Six Non Golden Rules of Geo, namely that:

  1. Any attempt to codify a series of geo rules into a formal, one size fits all, taxonomy will fail due to Rule 2.
  2. Geo is bizarre, odd, eclectic and utterly human.
  3. People will in the main agree with Rule 1 with the exception of the rules governing their own region, area or country, which they will think are perfectly logical.
  4. People will, in the main, think that postal, administrative and colloquial hiearachies are one and the same thing and will overlap.
  5. Taking Rule 4 into account, they will then attempt to codify a one size fits all geo taxonomy.
  6. There is no Rule 6, see Rule 1.

I codified these rules after a conversation last week, via Twitter and Yahoo! Messenger, with Andrew Woods, a US based developer who was, understandably, confused by the vagaries of the how addresses work in the UK. Andrew’s blog contains the full context but can be distilled into three key questions:

  • If the country is The United Kingdom, how come the ISO 3166-2 code is GB?
  • If the country is The United Kingdom, is England a country?
  • If England is a country, do I use it in an address?

As a US developer, Andrew is naturally fluent with the US style of addressing, with all of its’ localised and regional exceptions. This is a good example of both Rules 3 and 4 in the real world; most people in the US will use number, street, city, State and ZIP for specifying an address. But how does this transfer to the UK? What’s the equivalent of a State … England, Scotland or Wales? Let’s try to answer some of these problems:

Continue reading at Yahoo! Geo . . .

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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Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes (Corcoran in Washington, DC)

Friday, June 12th, 2009

[Editor's note: If you travel to DC this summer, check out this installation from renowned contemporary artist and architect Maya Lin of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial fame. There is a fee to enter the private museum.]

Republished from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Run dates: March 14, 2009 — July 12, 2009

This spring, the Corcoran Gallery of Art will present Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes—a dramatic installation of major new works by this renowned contemporary artist and architect.   On view from March 14 through July 12, the exhibition addresses contemporary ideas about landscape and geologic phenomena.  Lin’s second nationally-traveling exhibition in 10 years, Systematic Landscapes explores how people perceive and experience the landscape in a time of heightened technological influence and environmental awareness.

Lin (b. 1959) came to prominence in 1981 with her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. and has since achieved a high degree of recognition for a body of work that includes monuments, buildings, earthworks, sculpture and installations.  Traversing Lin’s constructed landscapes in this exhibition—moving around, under, and through them—we encounter a world that has been mapped, digitized, analyzed, and then reintroduced by Lin as actual, physical structures.  Her work blends a typology of natural forms, from rivers to mountains to seas, with a visual language of scientific analysis represented by grids, models, and maps.  In doing so, Lin merges an understanding of the ideal and the real, encouraging an encounter with conceptual, sculptural and architectural modeling.

Systematic Landscapes is centered on a trio of large-scale sculptural installations: 2×4 Landscape (2006), Water Line (2006) and Blue Lake Pass (2006).  Each sculpture offers a different means for viewers to engage with and comprehend a schematic representation of landscape forms.  In these projects, Lin examines how people’s modern relationships to the land are extended, condensed, distorted and interpreted through new computer technologies.  She translates a series of dramatic landscape environments selected for their inspiring beauty and connection to life-supporting habitats into spatial environments where viewers can engage with them in an art gallery setting.

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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.

Malofiej 17 “Subway” Map; Upcoming SND in Buenos Aires

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

m17programokfeb09

[Editor’s note: One big news design conference already in 2009  (Malofiej) and another coming up (SND in Buenos Aires). The “subway” map above (view PDF) shows the presenters at Malofiej thru the years and the topological relationships between “lines” and presentors (nodes). The video and text below preview the SND conference.  Thanks Larry!]

Republished from Mauricio Gutierrez Deputy Design Director/Features, Detroit Free Press

If you’re thinking that SND Buenos Aires could be a good conference to attend in 2009, put in your vacation request ASAP! Buenos Aires is piping hot. Has anyone counted how many stories on the city have run in The New York Times lately? A lot.

And for a good reason. I went there a few weeks ago and can give you a sneak peek at what you may see while you’re there enjoying the Workshop.

First, clear your calendar for at least a week: you’ll need the time. After flying ten or more hours, you’ll want time to relax and stroll around the city’s many neighborhoods.

At first, the city’s charms underwhelmed me. It’s a big city with big city problems: pollution, traffic, dog poop. But look past all that and you’ll find a great place, one inspiring and show-casing design.

Just walking around the city, I saw some of the best use of color, particularly around the neighborhood of La Boca — (for soccer fans) home to the Boca Juniors stadium where Maradona played — with its multicolored homes and shops. And don’t forget the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s White House but in a nice pink hue. How great is that? An explosion of colors.

The amount of visual stimulation is surprising. From fantastic architecture to well designed stores, from colorful facades to ornate signs, there’s so much to take in. Among the amazing things I saw were hand-painted signs. Not your average signs, these were full of color, great typographical sense, and fanciful designs. They’re a unique artistic expression called “fileteado porteno,” an art form that started as a way to identify carts at the market. It was then transferred to other vehicles. Now you see it everywhere, from menus to McDonald’s. I love its naive simplicity and bought a sign painted by an artisan in San Telmo, an up-and-coming neighborhood with an art fair and flea market on Sundays. Though you can find many street vendors and artists selling signs in the fileteado style, each shows various skill levels. By far, the best sign painter was Marcelo Arias. His trace and color sense were fantastic. I also bought a book on the subject, “Fileteado Porteno,” by Alfredo Genovese to learn more about its history and current use. When you’re in Buenos Aires pick up a copy of the book, it’s an indispensable reference book for any designer.


SND Buenos Aires, 2009 from The Society for News Design on Vimeo.

Interactive San Francisco Airport Map (Kelso)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

sfairport

[Editor’s note: I happened on this interactive map from the San Francisco airport when I flew thru SFO this past weekend as I bid adieu to my California vacation. There is an airport overview and maps of each terminal. Gates, stores, food options, restrooms, and other features are located. Each feature is interactive with a tooltip and small description, including open hours for businesses, and full description in the bottom left corner. Category searches are available in the top left corner and the map will highlight with the appropriate location(s).]

Interact with the original at FlySFO . . .

sfairportsephora

Detail of map above shows result of a food and beverage category querry for the restraunt name.

Jump Starting the Global Economy (Wash Post)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

globaleconver_040209

[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:

Transit on Google Maps comes to a Town Near You (Kelso)

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

[Editor's note: When I've traveled to Paris or Beijing I like to take public transit both below and above ground. It gives me a good sense of the people and the place. And it reduces my carbon footprint. But sometimes figuring out transit systems can be irksome. I've got a great pocket atlas of Beijing that shows major bus lines and their stops which is helpful. And Paris offers some good printed material. But figuring out which station or stop is closest to the start and end of the trip is just the beginning. Which route is best? And when will I get there are two important questions. If you've missed it, Google Transit solves many of these challenges. New transit systems are being added monthly, check to see if your city participates.]

I live in metro Washington DC and our transit agency finally released their network topology, routing, scheduling in Google Transit format after a long petition drive. Now 3rd party developers, including Google, can use this to build out web apps or even mobile phone apps like iBART. DCist has coverage of both the recalcitrance of this public agency in giving out data we’ve already paid for as tax payers (sound familiar). Cartographers should use the station and bus stop locations included in these transit feeds to locate these features on their city maps.

Cartographers need to get on the mobile app development bandwagon and provide customers with tools that leverage these types of datasets. Imagine an app that has a proximity sensor / alert for nearby bus or transit stops or tells you the bus you want is coming in 5 minutes, time to pack up. And can do all the routing for you. And can be leveraged to provide the customer with, say, trail routing in the backcountry, too.

Why is transit on Google Maps a big deal? From WorldChanging:

[Including transit on maps and routing] make public transit more accessible and easier for everyone to understand; and in doing so, it will certainly increase transit ridership and reduce driving.

One of the big barriers to public transit use is the knowledge required to use the system: where to wait, when to wait, where to transfer, how much to pay, etc. Some readers may remember that two years ago we helped cause Google Transit to happen, but it’s taken off far beyond what we had suggested, and they keep getting better. What’s more, they’re doing it at no charge to the transit agencies (a perpetually under-funded sector of local governments). More cities are coming on board, as well; if you live in one of the eleven cities now participating, enjoy! If you live elsewhere, consider writing to your local transit agency and telling them to join the 21st century. (ahem… San Francisco, right in Google’s back yard, no excuse… ahem.)

What are these tools? In addition to being able to type in your route and get comprehensive directions (including walking to stations, showing the bus or train route, walking directions between stations, how much it costs, etc.), you can plan trips by departure or arrival time and see when the next couple buses come if you miss the one you’re aiming for. Now, if you zoom in enough on any Google map in the right city, all the transit stops appear, with different icons for bus, light rail, etc.; click on a bus stop and up pops a list of the buses or trains that stop there; click on the bus number, and up pops the timetable for the next several buses stopping there.

Want to get your transit data on the map? Aaron Antrim, who heads Trillium Transit Internet Solutions helps smaller agencies get online with Google Transit, in particular, those small-to-midsized transit agencies that don’t have dedicated IT staffs (ref). Aaron went to the same university as me and is quite active in transit circles.

There’s a petition to add “By bike” like there is “Walking” and “Transit” to Google Maps (ref). See this in action at byCycle.org as seen at Treehugger.

Mental Map: How China Sees the World (Economist)

Monday, March 30th, 2009

[Editor's note: "Illustration by Jon Berkeley with apologies to Steinberg and The New Yorker". Map illustration shows China's world view / mental map with Tiananmen Square central, the US in the distance, and Europe but a spec on the horizon. This mental map is a good example of a network topology based projection.]

Republished from the March 21st, 2009 print edition of The Economist.

And how the world should see China

IT IS an ill wind that blows no one any good. For many in China even the buffeting by the gale that has hit the global economy has a bracing message. The rise of China over the past three decades has been astonishing. But it has lacked the one feature it needed fully to satisfy the ultranationalist fringe: an accompanying decline of the West. Now capitalism is in a funk in its heartlands. Europe and Japan, embroiled in the deepest post-war recession, are barely worth consideration as rivals. America, the superpower, has passed its peak. Although in public China’s leaders eschew triumphalism, there is a sense in Beijing that the reassertion of the Middle Kingdom’s global ascendancy is at hand (see article).

China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, no longer sticks to the script that China is a humble player in world affairs that wants to focus on its own economic development. He talks of China as a “great power” and worries about America’s profligate spending endangering his $1 trillion nest egg there. Incautious remarks by the new American treasury secretary about China manipulating its currency were dismissed as ridiculous; a duly penitent Hillary Clinton was welcomed in Beijing, but as an equal. This month saw an apparent attempt to engineer a low-level naval confrontation with an American spy ship in the South China Sea. Yet at least the Americans get noticed. Europe, that speck on the horizon, is ignored: an EU summit was cancelled and France is still blacklisted because Nicolas Sarkozy dared to meet the Dalai Lama.

Continue reading at The Economist . . .

Transit Time Maps from Walk Score (via Google Maps Mania)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Detailed maps help understand transportation time between point A and B. Network topology routing provided by open source software and then pushed out as a Google Maps mashup. WalkScore was previously featured here for their “walkability” maps which both help people figure out where to live.]

Republished from Google Maps Mania and Walk Score.

WalkScore have produced a Google Map mashup that can show you how far you can travel in San Francisco, Portland or Seattle on public transport in 15, 30 and 45 minutes. The map can show you how far you can travel on public transit from a given location and at any time of day.

How it Works

Transit schedules are downloaded in GTFS format and the XML street data is fetched from OpenStreetMap. These are compiled into a graph for use by the Graphserver trip planner. Street intersections are graph vertices and streets are graph edges.

Graphserver calculates the shortest path tree for a given location. The time of arrival at all street intersections is cross-referenced with a table of street intersection locations to create the contours for different travel times.

Go to Walk Score to try out the Transit Time map . . .