Friday, April 27, 2012

What raw data just can't show: geographical visualisations

Japanese Tsunami wave height map

Visualisation of Facebook traffic

Related sites to the Spatialworlds project
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 Translating data to the visual

Here is yet another great blog on maps and spatial visualisations.  This time from James Cheshire Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London and his blog is called Spatial  I must thank our geography colleague Bridget Fleming from South Africa for passing on this amazingly rich spatial blog.  Just enjoy and wonder at what the representation shows us that raw data never can.   

One of the really good things about many of these visualisations is their currency – of the latest phenomenon (Twitter, Facebook), events, disasters and daily commuting and happenings - all extremely relevant to the life’s of young people. Although very UK and to a lesser extent United States–centric, the maps are a great resource to get over the message about the power of visualisations to provide instant analysis.

The visualisation of a dataset which contains digitised information from the log books of ships (mostly from Britain, France, Spain and The Netherlands) sailing between 1750 and 1850.

Also have a look at the Map Gallery on the site and see fascinating maps of things such as the Twitter languages of London, travel distances on London Underground, Muslim populations by countries,

If you want to look at these maps and their background in more detail, the site provides that opportunity as shown below.

Brilliant maps of “generic” terms for rivers in the United States and UK. These map shows how different cultural and linguistic factors have influenced the naming of geographic. For example French settlers named the streams they encountered “bayous”.
On the topic of naming, settlement names also have a clear geography as they, like rivers in the US, reflect the different settlers (or invaders!) of the British Isles over millennia. The map below (taken from my thesis) shows the different naming influences on settlements in Britain.

Amazing visualisations produced for the BBC’s Britain from Above series. The taxis in London create a fantastic impression of the diurnal rhythms within the city. The air traffic over Britain animation (below) is just as impressive. I was especially taken by the amount of “stacking” that takes place over British airports.

* Best maps of 2011 according to the Spatial Analysis blog
Two other links of interest on the Spatial Analysis site.

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