Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Escape from Alcatraz - The Map

The Washington Post has published an interesting account of the escape of three detainees from Alcatraz in June 1962. No one knows if the three prisoners survived their escape attempt or died while trying to navigate the strong currents of the San Francisco Bay,

The Washington Post's report, The Alcatraz Escapees Could have Survived, is based on the work of Dutch researchers who have been working on a model which simulates the movement of particles and detritus in bays. Based on this model the Dutch researchers have concluded that the three Alcatraz prisoners may have survived, but only if they left the island at the right time.

The report includes two animated CartoDB maps, one showing the worst case scenario and one showing the best case scenario. Both maps use tidal records to model the water-flow in the San Francisco Bay on the evening of the escape.

As the animation plays out on both maps you can view the likely track of the escapees based on the different times during the evening when they could have left Alcatraz. The animated boats on the map are colored to show the time of escape. In the best case scenario, as long as the escapees left before 1 a.m. and paddled north, they may have made it to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge and freedom.

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