Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Maps of the Week

The New York Times has created an amazing interactive map and timeline of NASA's Mars Rover. The Mars Curiosity Rover Tracker visualizes the track of the Mars Rover on a satellite image map of Mars.

You can click on waypoints along the Rover's track to view photos captured by the Rover on its year and a half journey into the Gale Crater. The surface of Mars is an alien landscape, unknown to most of us, the map therefore includes a timeline showing the location of interesting stops on its journey.

If you select a day from the timeline or click on the waypoints on the map you can view some amazing photographs from the surface of Mars. Many of the images have been stitched together to create some out-of-this-world panoramic shots of the Martian landscape or animations that help illustrate how the Rover navigates the Martian surface.

Back on Earth, this week Reporters Without Borders released the 2014 World Press Freedom Index. The Index ranks countries around the world on the amount of freedom they grant the media, based on a number of criteria.

The Index is accompanied by a mapped visualization of how countries rank. The map includes two views, a traditional 2d map view and an interesting 3d view which visualizes press freedom as a topographical map. The map also includes the option to view the Index results for previous years, so it is possible to view how press freedom may have grown or been restricted in countries around the world over time.

This week we have to feature a Winter Olympics related map. Luckily The Washington Post is conducting a survey into their readers' favorite winter sports.

What is Your Favorite Winter Sport? simply asks you to name your favorite sport, share your location and add why you like the chosen sport. At the moment ice hockey is leading the way with the figure skaters in hot pursuit.

A map allows you to view the results of the survey by location. You can select individual sports and visualize around the world where those sports have been chosen as readers' favorites.

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