Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Maps of the Week

Geneticists at Oxford University have been studying 95 populations around the world to examine the effects of historical events on genetic makeup. The results of this study are now being visualized on a fascinating Google Map, called A Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History.

The map allows you to select populations and view inferred admixing in the population's DNA and the date that the admixing took place. For example, the Silk Road appears to have brought Europeans to 1200 CE China. The DNA of the Tu people in modern China suggests that at around this time the Tu were in contact with Europeans similar to modern Greeks.

If you select a labelled population on the Google Map you can view details of past admixture events which have been inferred, from the population's DNA. Colored circles or pie charts on the map depict the inferred genetic make-up of admixing sources in the population and a timeline indicates the period when the admixing is likely to have happened.

The map is a fascinating insight into the effects of historical events on distinct populations. Using the map it becomes clear how historical events like the Arab Slave Trade or the Mongol invasions led to changes in the genetic makeup of other populations.

It is a little late now but I love this illustrated map created for the Sochi Winter Olympics. The Sochi 2014 Interactive Map was created using the MapBox platform by Fiasco Design.

The map includes some great animated landmarks (check out the ski lift). It also includes information about the venues of the Winter Olympics games. If you mouse-over features on the map you can read about Sochi and the different venues being used in the games. You might also find information about Sochi's two gay bars and some hidden underwater machine-guns.

Since the year 2000 the world has lost more than 500 million acres of forest. Global Forest Watch is a new Google Map from the World Resources Institute and over 40 other global partners designed to map the world's forest coverage and loss.

Global Forest Watch is attempting to establish a global forest monitoring network. The launch of this new map is part of an initiative to provide the tools for anyone to explore forest loss and forest gain across the globe. The map includes a number of layers, including forest cover and loss since 2000, worldwide tree height data, tropical forest carbon stocks and data about global forest use.

The map also includes links to forest-related stories. The links to the stories are embedded on the map at specific locations and the stories include photos, video, and explanatory text.

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