Hat tip to the Map Room: a global map video of 2,053 nuclear explosions from the American desert tests in 1945 ('I am become death, the destroyer of worlds') to 1998. It is supposed to run at a rate of one second a month, but the 1945 segment is slowed down for some reason. As Jonathan Crowe points out, the pace picks up from the late '50s or so.
The UK only recently got a North American-style access to information system
(the new New Yorker has a quick summary of this) and journalists and others have been taking advantage of the sudden opening of what was until recently a very closed official culture.
The British parliamentary expense scandal, in which taxpayers found they had unknowingly picked up the tab for, among other things, an MP using a moat-cleaning service, was one legacy of this. Another is the wonderful Guardian Data Blog, which has earned its place in my RSS reader many times over.
A post today on gun ownership, which lists absolute numbers of registered firearms by police jurisdiction (Hampshire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire and so forth) was a good example of what we try to to with online interactive widgets of one kind or another - tied to a news event, created quickly, locally customizable and so forth.
It's also a good example of why I often find the blog frustrating. Without knowing the populations of the areas involved and therefore a rate, we really don't learn anything about the pattern of gun ownership in England and Wales. Dorset has about half the number of firearms that London does, which offhand I would assume means Dorset, with a much lower population, has a much higher rate, which would make sense, being a rural area. But why not add a population column and show the reader the math?
The (Peel) municipalities provided the map data - the GIS and web folks collaborated with the urban planners. What you have here are all known trails, bike lanes, and paths in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. And similar to using Google Maps, the user interface is the same regardless of which municipality you search an address for. This is not like most cycling maps (with the exception of Google’s upcoming efforts) where if you do a search in another city, it’s a totally different user interface, or the results are different.
You can enter an address, and out comes all the trails, bike lanes in the area. You can also select some of the named-trails (i.e. Waterfront Trail, Caledon Trailway, etc.) and the maps will show you where the trail is. Hover your mouse over the trail lines, and you’ll receive info about the trail. Hover your mouse over the trail-types in the legend and a description of that that trail-type is displayed.
There are advance features in the Advance section where you can plot/draw your route, and it will calculate your distance. There’s also a calculator to estimate how long it might take to cycle that route you drew.
Peel's planners are looking for feedback - feel free to leave some here.
A colleague points out a much better version of the map we linked to earlier letting you visualize the size of the Gulf oil spill elsewhere in the world. This iteration detects your IP address and generates a map for your location (or the address of your ISP) automatically.
The map is also a good teaching tool for how the Mercator projection distorts area. The difference between a shape of the same size at our latitude and Louisiana's is visible at left - try putting in quito ecuador and inuvik nwt to see a much more extreme contrast.
A reader points out a large number of very detailed public health-related maps published in the last few days by Statistics Canada. These follow 'health region' boundaries, which in southern Ontario mostly means county/regional/megacity boundaries (Toronto, Peel, Middlesex, Brant and so forth).
All are worth a look. Here is a regional map of where it is more (or less) accepted to smoke in a house.
There is a sharp regional difference between south-central Ontario and Quebec, with the upper Ottawa Valley more tolerant. In the West, an area of the prairies in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba west of Brandon stands out, while in the Maritimes Cape Breton and an area in northern New Brunswick more people smoke in their houses.
The map project I've been working on this week isn't finished - it will appear early next week.
A reader passes on a link to a wonderfully detailed map project at the Modern Languages Association site showing distribution of languages in the United States down to the county level.
I've been short on original maps lately (there are several interesting ones in the pipeline). The available time has been spent on other interactive map projects. Here are two:
Graphics editor Catherine Farley obtained very detailed spreadsheets of average assessed property values in Toronto broken down to the census tract level. This creates a very fine-grained map, with the city represented in over 500 areas. I produced five maps for the Web based on this data: all properties, detached houses, semi-detached houses, townhouses and condos.
Another project used Google Maps to look at the pattern of burglaries Col. Russell Williams is accused of committing. At left is a suburban Ottawa neighbourhood, with the house icon on Williams' own house, and the numbers showing the number of burglaries at each address. The addresses came from the documents in which Williams was charged with 82 separate counts of breaking and entering.
The Guardian has some maps up from the British election, much like the ones we have done for elections here breaking out each party individually. What this sort of thing really needs is a simple animation for each party showing change over several elections. All the maps but the last one could be set up well beforehand.
Hat tip to the Google Lat Long blog: a widget that will show an overlay of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in its real size anywhere on the earth. Toronto is shown at left. You may need the Google Earth browser plugin.
Mike Pegg at Google Maps Mania points out that this is the fifth anniversary of the first Google Maps mashup, announced in a post on Craigslist:
Keep in mind that an API for Google Maps did not yet exist. This was the first act of its kind to mash data up and add it to a Google Map and as far as record keeping goes, is, the first Google Maps hack, or mashup. I've always tended to call it a hack since it's just more bad-ass and disruptive than a "mashup" sanctioned by a proper API. :)
I think we can hold our heads up as reasonably early adopters - our first serious project, a homicide map backdated to the beginning of the year, launched in mid-2005, a collaboration between editors Brett Smith, Chris Carter and me.
Case in point: I'm not convinced that the above suggestion of using Davenport to get from Christie and Dupont to Bloor and Bedford is optimal. From both a safety and speed standpoint, I tend to think it makes more sense to cross through the Annex to U of T using Barton and other side streets. Not only is such a route less trafficked, but it involves less elevation gain, a factor Anderson says Ride the City tries to take into account when recommending routes.
A route planner favouring residential back streets would be useful. I used to have a similar route to the one described (Christie and Dupont to downtown) and also ended up weebling though Seaton Village.
Designing a really useful bike route planner is a lot harder than making one for drivers or pedestrians, since cyclists' preferences vary so much. Some people ride on Lakeshore (which I tried once for a block and found terrifying) and others will ride only on empty streets on nice days.
I don't know much about the back-end programming of this kind of thing, or whether this would be horrendously difficult, but it would be useful to have an option that favoured local streets while respecting one-way rules, while also crossing main streets at lights or pedestrian crossings, where possible.
Next from Steve Munro and blogto: nextbus.com now covers some TTC routes - I only see the Queen's Quay/Spadina streetcars, but several others, including the King car, are promised.The data for this comes from GPS units on buses and streetcars reporting their positions. The main use seems to be for mobile devices, but there is a Google Map-based app as well.
3) Just south of Withrow Park, the map shows a Riverdale neighbourhood attraction. Make of it what you will.
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