Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Maps of the Week

Can you run faster than a tiger? This new WWF Tiger Challenge map lets you compare your running data with that of a real tiger.

The Worldwide Wildlife Fund are tracking the daily movements of a tiger in Russia. His daily track is visualized on a Google Map and shows the total distance traveled and his average speed over the course of the day.

To find out if you could beat the tiger in a running race you can connect your own data from a number of sports tracking apps (including Runkeeper, Nike+, Strava & Map My Run). Once you've added your data you will then discover whether you are as fast as a tiger or not. My advice is to cheat and at least use a bike when racing a tiger.

A few weeks ago CartoDB released CartoDB Heat Maps. This new heat maps option in CartoDB leverages the power of the Torque library, which allows developers to efficiently render and publish very large datasets to the client.

CartoDB Heat Maps can also be used with Torque to create animated heat maps. Where this could be particular useful is in visualizing weather data and patterns. For example, check-out this map of historical Hurricane and Tropical Cyclone Track Density. The map animates the track density of hurricanes and tropical cyclones from 2000-2013, using data from the National Climatic Data Center - NOAA.

Not to be outdone Mapbox has been playing with the latest update of Turf.js to create animated heat maps of historical U.S. hail data. Turf now includes powerful new functions to aggregate dense point data into grids and heat maps. Mapbox has created a demonstration of this new heat map ability in a blog post, Animated Heatmaps and Grids with Turf.

The map not only shows an animated heat map of historical hail data but also allows you to view the data as animated hexbins, triangles, squares and points. The map also includes the option to view the animated data in three different speeds.

Recently I've spent a lot of time creating vintage map browsers with the Leaflet mapping library. I used the New York Public Library's map collection to put together a map of New York Vintage Maps. I then used the amazing David Rumsey Map Collection to create a map of San Francisco Vintage Maps.

Well it turns out that Vestiges of New York has created a better collection of New York vintage maps, also using vintage maps from both the NYPL and the David Rumsey collection of historical maps. Their NYC Time Machine is very similar to my map, except it has far more vintage maps of New York maps for you to browse through.

The NYC Time Machine includes 27 vintage maps of New York, ranging in date from 1660 to 1924. The map includes a neat option to quickly switch between your chosen vintage map and a modern map, allowing you to compare the vintage map to the modern streets of New York.
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