Sunday, March 13, 2016

Maps of the Week



The Wall of Birds is a brilliant use of the Leaflet mapping library to create an interactive map out of a beautiful image. Not only can you zoom in and out on this hand painted map you can also interact with all the birds that feature on the map.

Cornell Lab hired artist Jane Kim to paint a huge mural of birds on the largest wall in the Cornell Lab’s Visitor Center. The mural depicts species from all surviving bird families on a map of the world. Each of the 243 birds featured in the mural is painted on the map in a country where that species can be found.

If you want to study the mural in close-up you don't actually need to visit the center. You can also explore the painting in detail on Cornell Lab's beautiful Wall of Birds Leaflet map.

The Leaflet powered map not only allows you to explore the exquisite detail in Jane Kim's painting it also allows you to learn more about each of the featured species of bird. Click on a bird on the map and a side panel opens with information on the selected species. You can even hear the song of each bird by clicking on the embedded audio recording from the Macaulay Library.


The Huffington Post and Stamen Design also created an exceptional interactive map this week. which features a great animated transition from a map view of the United States into a Dorling Cartogram.

The map is designed to support Choose.org's BestSchoolDay campaign, The campaign is asking members of the public to donate to classroom projects across the USA. Select the 'bubbles' button and the map transitions to a Dorling Cartogram visualizing the number of BestSchoolDays projects being held in each state.

If you want to know more about Dorling Cartograms then there is a really great description on the ArcGIS website. If you want to make your own map that transitions into a Dorling Cartogram you could start with d3.js. Mike Bostock has created a nice example of a Shape Tweening map in which the state of California transitions into a circle.


The US News Map from Georgia Tech allows you to search for keywords in historical American newspapers and then view the results across space and time. The map searches for words in the Library of Congress' database of historical newspapers, which includes American newspapers from 1836 to 1922 (a database of more than 10 million newspaper pages).

The application is an amazing resource for visualizing the frequency that words or names appeared in American newspapers over this period. The map helps visualize where newspapers were writing about any given subject and how interest in that subject might have changed over time.

For example you can search for mentions of 'Abraham Lincoln' in nineteenth century newspapers. After you enter 'Abraham Lincoln' into the search box a timeline appears on the map showing the frequency of Lincoln's name appearing in newspapers from 1836 to 1922. Press play on the map and you can watch the map add instances of Lincoln's name appearing in newspapers over the course of the nineteenth century.

You can even click on the markers that appear on the map to read the original newspaper articles. For example, one of the earliest mentions of Lincoln to appear on the map comes from the New York Daily Tribune on June 20th, 1860. Clicking on the article's marker you can read about the "Speech of Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, at the Cooper Institute, New York."
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