Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Which way did they go: Flowing data

Image: Visualisation of traffic in the English Channel

Related links to Spatialworlds  
Spatialworlds website

Australian Geography Teachers' Association website    

Where am I??  

Mount Gambier, Australia: 37.82° S /140.78° E

Books are where data goes to die!

An earlier Spatialworlds posting on data visualisation reflected on the quote; "Books are where data goes to die!"  The following data visualisations certainly highight the interactivity, attractiveness and efectiveness of digital technology to tell a geographical story using spatial data.

Background video on visualising data

The site contains a very useful video as an introduction to the area of data visualisation.

* Explorations of real-world traffic

Traffic visualisations, mostly in the form of geographic maps are popular as a result of governments and organizations  releasing lots of GPS data. As a result, we get to see some impressive animations and explore some slick interactives. We don't often get to see how cars, trains, subways, airplanes, etc move in physical space, because usually we are in them, so it's always interesting to see the big picture. The activity feels very organic as traffic peaks during rush hours and slows down during the night, taxis provide service to and from the airport, and air traffic continues into the late hours. The maps pulsate with energy. Here are just a few of the outstanding ones:

* World flight patterns
* Buses in Melbourne
* Cabs in New York
* UK traffic
* Britain from above
* San Francisco cab spotting
* Cars in Madrid

* Bars versus grocery stores in the US and around the world

* Explorations of People Movements  

Today it is more common for people to carry phones with GPS capability - it's commonplace in areas where most people use smartphones. This new data source has given rise to similar but different visualisation projects - we can see peoples movements. Data for people movements has been around for a while. It's just that it came as aggregated estimates — now it is much more accurate and detailed. Don't forget the ever so popular Minard chart of Napoleon's March showed people moving.
 Here are just two of the people movement visualisations on the site: 
* The Refugee Project
* Global Migration data

* A great example of mapping culture

This visualisation maps cultural history via where notable people died .A group of researchers used where "notable individuals" were born and place of death, based on data from Freebase, as a lens into culture history.

* A more visual world data portal from the OECD   

One of the most annoying parts of downloading data from large portals is that you never quite know what you're gonna get. They often list datasets with vague or unhelpful titles with links to download. This OECD portal, which maintains and provides data on the country level, takes steps towards a more helpful portal that makes data grabs less of a headache through a simple search engine.
A chart or map accompanies each dataset, so that you can quickly gain a sense of what's there.There's also a convenient and obvious button to download the data.

* Learning on how to do data visualisation

Interestingly the site also contains a 'how to do' section for those willing to register.

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