Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Animated Heat Maps

CartoDB has released CartoDB Heat Maps. The new heat maps option in CartoDB leverages the power of the Torque library, which allows developers to efficiently render and publish very large datasets to the client.

Torque is probably best known for its temporal capabilities, which power all those very popular animated Twitter maps that you have no doubt seen (for example this Super Bowl Twitter map). The new CartoDB Heat Maps options can also use Torque's temporal abilities to create animated heat maps.

These new animated heat maps are of course very visually engaging. However, the best example of a map using CartoDB Heat Maps that I've seen so far is this Placenames Heatmap. The map allows you to view a heat map of words used in United States place names.

Type a word into the map and it searches US placenames and creates a heat map of the results. In the screenshot at the top of this post you can see the results of searching for placenames, including the words 'silver' and 'gold'.

You can view an example of an animated heat map on the Chicago Sun Times. The Times has taken data from the use of Chicago's snow plows during the recent blizzards to create an animated heat map showing Chicago's streets being cleared on the 1st and 2nd February.

Another example of an animated heat map is Farmer Heatmap. This one lets you watch an animated heat map of a farmer plowing, sowing or harvesting his fields (I'm not sure which).

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