Sunday, October 25, 2015

Maps of the Week

This week we all got to celebrate Back to the Future Day with this amazing Esri 3d map of Hill Valley

Jump into this 3d map of Hill Valley and you can stroll around the town square, where you will find the courthouse and the famous clock tower. If you search around the back streets you will even find your DeLorean, sitting ready to bring you back to the future.

I believe the 3d map is based on Universal Studio's Courthouse Square backlot set. The model includes five cameras, which appear to change the lighting effect on the current point of view. The model also includes a 'damage' mode which gives you a glimpse of the future Hill Valley and the fate that just might lie in store for some of the town's buildings,

This week I was also really impressed by National Geographic's Amazonia Under Threat, a detailed examination of the effect of people and human industry on the delicate ecosystem of the Amazon region.

This story map uses the Leaflet mapping platform to explore the extent of deforestation and the encroachment of people on the Amazon. Leaflet has also been used in the report to present some beautiful illustrations of life in the Amazon.

Using the Leaflet mapping library as an illustrative device is a clever idea. It allows readers of the National Geographic's report to explore the illustrations in detail using the panning and zooming controls which they are used to from the other Leaflet maps in the investigation.

The Carina Nebula

Astronomers at the Ruhr University Bochum in Germany have used the Leaflet mapping platform to create a Map of the Milky Way. The map is made from 268 individual images and consists of around 46 billion pixels, making it the largest astronomical image ever created. Using the map the university has been able to identify more than 50,000 new variable objects which have never been recorded before.

It took me a while to realize but the coordinates box, in the bottom left corner of the map, is actually a search box. This means that you can enter the name of individual stars to find them on the map. You can read more about the map in this press release from the Ruhr University Bochum.

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