Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Maps of the Week

The big interactive mapping news this week was the release of the Mapbox GL API. Mapbox GL has some very powerful options for dynamic styling and map interactivity on the client-side. I'm sure that in the near future we will see lots of Maps of the Week built on top of Mapbox GL.

Mapbox has begun to add some example maps to the API documentation. Among the most interesting of these maps is this satellite view map featuring video playback on a map.

While Mapbox GL may point to the future of interactive mapping CartoDB's Torque library is behind some of the impressive maps of the present. Torque powered maps have regularly featured in Google Maps Mania Maps of the Week posts over the last two years. Of late there has been too many Twitter data based maps created with Torque for my liking.

That's why I was pleased to see three Torque powered maps this week that used other, more interesting, data. Global Terrorism, 2013 was probably the most interesting of these three maps. This map uses Torque and CartoDB's Odyssey.js library to animate a year's worth of terrorist attacks around the world.

The other two maps were How INXS Conquered the World, a Torque powered Leaflet map which plots the touring schedule of the Australian band, and a series of animated maps of New York's Citibike data.

Another map which impressed me this week was from Taxi Stockholm. This heat-map of a year's worth of taxi trip data is combined with Google's Places library to provide an interesting insight into the city's hot-spots.

Taxi Trails has taken the data from all of Stockholm's GPS enabled cabs and used the Google Maps API to create a heat-map of taxi destinations in the Swedish capital. Taxi Stockholm believe that this heat-map is not only a beautiful data visualization but it can also be useful for tourists visiting the city.

If you are visiting Stockholm for the first time you can use the map to find popular hot-spots in the city. For example, if you are looking for somewhere to go on a Saturday night, you can refine the map to show the most popular destinations for Stockholm cabs in the evening on a Saturday night and then use the 'Explore this area' option to find bars and restaurants nearby.

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