Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Best Five Maps of the Week


Hubcab is a mapped visualization of 170 million taxi trips over one year in New York City. Using the map it is possible to view all pickup and drop-off points in the city and to view the number of trips taken between two separate locations.

Locations that were used as taxi pickup points in the city are shown as yellow dots on the map and drop-off points are shown as blue dots. It is also possible to refine the results displayed on the map by time of day.

You can view the number of taxi journeys between two different location by dropping two markers on the map. After you place the markers on the map you can see the number of taxi journeys taken in one year in both directions between the two locations. You can even refine the results by time of day to explore when the most journeys between the two points are made during the day.


During the peak rush hour period on the morning of March 11th 2004 ten explosions occurred aboard four commuter trains in Madrid. The bombs, planted by an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell, killed 191 people and injured 1,800.

To mark the ten year anniversary of the Madrid bombings Cadener SER has released a sound map, Los sonidos del 11M, which features a number of recordings of the bombs and from journalists and politicians as they react to the news of the bombings.

The map begins with the harrowing voice message of a passenger on one of the trains, during which one of the bombs can be heard exploding. The map automatically animates through the mapped recordings but includes forward and back arrows so that you can manually navigate to the next and previous recording.


This week we had the amazing opportunity to watch a live broadcast from the International Space Station. National Geographic broadcast their program around the world and in the UK Channel 4 ran a similar television program.

To celebrate this week's launch of Live from Space National Geographic also released a very nice Google Map showing the live position of the International Space Station. Live from Space provides a satellite view of the Earth, showing the current position of the ISS. The map includes live data of the ISS's altitude and velocity and also tells you which country it is currently flying over.


This Worldwide Population map is a gorgeous mapped visualization of global population. The map uses d3.js to create a map of the world which represents population density by latitude.

The map uses population data from NASA. You can select to view the population densities for a number of different years, which means that you can view how the global population has changed over the last twenty years. The map was inspired by James Cheshire’s Population Lines. If you find this type of population visualization as beautiful as I do you can buy prints of James' map from his website.


Urban Jungle is a fantastic Google Map that allows you to view city streets in Street View enhanced with some virtual jungle greenery. Drop Pegman on the map and you can view Street View with creeping vines and grass superimposed on Google's panoramic imagery.

These enhanced Street Views are very impressive. The effect is possible because of undocumented depth data stored in Street View. Urban Jungle is able to use that data to create a depth map which can be used to plot geometry and sprites in the 3d space of the Street View panorama.
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