Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Maps of the Week

This week I was impressed with a number of applications that make creative use of Google Maps Street View. The Keyhole Conundrum and A Town Called A Paradise are both impressive games and the Point & Click Street View Browser is an interesting experiment in creating a new way to navigate Google Maps Street View. However my favorite Street View application this week was the frightening World Under Water.

Do you want to see what your house will look like once global warming causes an inevitable rise in sea levels? Just type in your address into World Under Water and you can, thanks to the glory of Street View.

World Under Water is a very powerful campaign from Carbon Story which uses Google's panoramic imagery to give you a glimpse of your home under water. There are a number of Google Maps that can give you a map view of rising sea levels. However World Under Water has a far greater visual impact, simply because you can actually take a glimpse of your own home sinking under the rising seas on Street View.

One of my favorite maps of the weeks is tracking outbreaks of MERS. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus called MERS-CoV. The infection can cause severe acute respiratory illness, fever and shortness of breath. Currently the infection has a mortality rate of around 27%.

MERS has so far largely been confined to the Arabian Peninsula but a few cases have also been reported in Europe and last week the first case was reported in the United States. The MERS Corona Map is tracking occurrences of the infection around the world.

The map uses data from the World Health Organization and health ministries to track the spread of the infection. Colored circular map markers show the number of people infected in cities. You can click on the markers to view the total number of infections and the number of deaths caused by the virus.

The map also allows you to filter the map to show the latest cities to report infections or to view the cities that have reported the most infections.

One of the most viewed maps on Google Maps Mania this week was this animated map the growth of Ikea, showing the opening of Ikea stores around the world over the last 50 years.

The map of Ikea Store Openings has an ingenious scroll bar control which I like. Essentially Ikea Store Openings is an animated time-line and mapped visualization of the growth of Ikea over time. As you scroll down the page the time-line moves and the corresponding store openings appear on the map.

The map includes a clever auto-scrolling function. Click the play button and you can give your mouse finger a rest as the time-line automatically scrolls down and the stores magically appear on the map.

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