Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Maps of the Week


This week I was impressed by a couple of maps that repackaged previously mapped visualizations.

First-up - Esri has created a demo map using Windy-JS. Wind Animation allows you to view global wind conditions animated on a slippy map. I'm sure you have all seen earth.nullschool.net's gorgeous animated globe visualizing weather conditions around the world.

Esri has now taken the same weather data from the Global Forecast System used in the map and created Windy-JS.  Two Windy-JS re-purposes the weather data so that it can be overlaid in a canvas element on top of a variety of mapping APIs.

The Racial Dot Map was one of my favorite Google Maps of last year. It is now also possible to view the same data overlaid on an OpenStreetMap.

The Racial Dot Map is a fascinating visualization of the geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the USA. The map uses data from the 2010 US census, with each of the 308,745,538 dots representing the location of one American.


If you prefer your underlying map to be open-sourced then you can now view the data on a Leaflet.js OpenStreetMap, called the Racial Dotmap Site.


Now on to some new maps. The WWF Species Tracker is a Google Map dedicated to tracking the movements of a number of animals around the world. The map includes the tracks of a number of polar bears, marine turtles, yellowfin tuna, bowhead whales, jaguars and a narwahl whale.

You can select each individual animal on the map and not only view the animal's movements but read a journal of the animal's movement and behavior over the last few months. Each track includes time stamps along its path, allowing you to see when it passed through each location, and a number of 'information' markers providing analysis of the animal's progress.


The Transit Map of San Francisco MTA is a real-time simulated map of San Francisco's bus, streetcar, and metro services, based on the MTA timetables. The map animates the movements of the city's buses, streetcars and metro trains on a Google Map.

The vehicle movements on the map are determined by the timetables provided in the GTFS dataset of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The map works by plugging the city's  GTFS dataset into Vasile Cotovanu's Transit Map library.

Vasile has also released the code for the GTFS plug-in as well. The code converts a set of GTFS files into a SQLite database and the GeoJSONs needed by the Transit Map library. So if you want to create your own simulated animated map of a city's transit network all you need to do is to grab the city's GTFS dataset, use GTFS-viz to create the database and GeoJSON's and then plug the data into the Transit Map library. Voila you have your very own animated simulated transit map.
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