Category Archives: data & visualization

more examples of linking geography and history via maps, some digital

My friends at the UVa Scholar’s Lab shared with me their new Neatline project earlier this week. I don’t know much about Omeka, but I always trust these guys to do good work with a wide range of OS tools. I do like the interface, the rapid loading of georeferenced maps, and the additional interactive functionality on the main screen. If I can figure out more about this, I have a stack of projects ready to try!

In Time & Place is oriented to secondary school learning. This will be a good resource for my Spatial Literacy students, and I’ll see about modifying things for my higher ed students too.  Not sure how I wandered across this site this week. I need to click on fewer windows to make h/t’ipping easier.

Conflict History is a Google Maps mashup. I like the timeline and the thorough “info” available.  This interface and collection really highlights the disparity between how few military conflicts we’ve had on US soil versus the rest of the world, and how relatively high Europe and Asia are. Not news, but interesting to see it in this way.  H/t to Google Maps Mania.


data for mapping farmers’ markets

During a workshop today, I came across this USDA collection of data for farmers’ markets.  Easy to download, easy to map.  Don’t know how currently or accurately it’s maintained, but it’s enough to start with!   Somewhere this mashup image was already part of it too.

exploring tornado analyses and data

It’s that time of year, when small towns in the Midwest make headline news for the trailers that get upturned.  One of my favorite data visualization referatory sites, ChartPorn (unfortunate name, guys) , recently posted an overview of maps and data analysis sites for info back into the mid 20th century. I explored one of these sites further and came across NOAA’s National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.  This is a nice collection of GIS-ready data for those of you who want to make your own maps.

mesmerizing wind map of the lower 48 states

I’d like to make this my screen saver.

h/t to many on Twitter, including @ajturner and @mrgeog.

observing and representing migratory patterns

I came across two sites this week that used maps in well-designed ways to visualize migratory patterns.  I have an ongoing interest in finding clever and innovative ways to represent flow and movement.

The first was Geo-Mexico, and I first saw their simple-but-elegantly-effective Flash-based maps to link individual Mexican states to the areas in the US, based on registering with consulates.  Then I remembered helping my colleague Steve to map remittances so I smiled when I saw this nice overview and a lesson to boot! I’ll definitely follow this site more. Hat tip to Seth Dixon’s Geography Education for the find.

Much more mesmerizing are these animated maps of annual bird movements, from my local-but-still-unknown Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.  I’m not a birder myself and have great respect for those who can differentiate more than from amongst crows and starlings (i.e., my skill level). I checked out the patterns of birds whose names suggested they know their home, like the Kentucky Warbler and the Louisiana Waterthrush (what’s up with that little patch in southwestern South Dakota in April/May?  a particularly active citizen-science group or an interesting modeled anomaly?).  I love how the Indigo Bunting aligns with the Mississippi in July and August.  These maps represent the results of models: they don’t reflect actual observations at all of those locations. But they do show the power of visualization when ground truthed, primary data are combined with our large collections of other geospatial information.

geographic data represented unconventionally

Matthew Ericson, the deputy graphics director at the NY Times, posted recently about making wise mapping choices.  His explanations draw nicely from data visualization guidelines, and I remember showing those New Orleans maps to my students.  “When the interesting patterns aren’t geographic patterns” is what I’ve referred to in the past as “graphs and charts that display geographic data with alternative representations of space.”  I talked about this category earlier this month at Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship.  GapminderWorld’s chart is a classic example.  Their “map” tab is a bit of a bore…

I’m not sure whether she’s still at this job, but I liked this 2007 interview that mapmaker Erin Aigner gave about her work at the NY Times.

another reason to pay attention in your statistics classes

Media Oversimplifies New Study Linking Alcohol and Breast Cancer.  Cabernet may be the smoking gun, but it may not. Is there anything the media doesn’t over-simplify?  Isn’t that what we pay them to do?

Can the human body’s reactions to what it ingests and what it’s exposed to over its lifetime be linked to its responses with any certainty?  You could spend a bunch of time looking up diseases that you or your neighbor might possibly one day contract, or you could rely on statistics to tell you what’s more likely.  Know what I love about this graphic from the National Safety Council?  That “Total, Any Cause” is still 1 in 1.  Hah, I knew it!  Pass the cabernet.

Like my friend Phil always quotes, “If the brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t. ”  Emerson Pugh.