Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Prettiest Maps of the Week

For the second week running the Maps of the Week round-up includes a Dorling Cartogram - this week in the form of a mapped visualization of the world's top news stories. is an interactive cartogram of the world's news. The map provides a great way to explore which news stories are being reported each day around the world. visualizes the top 100 news stories from Google News for each country on the map. If you select a country's circle on the map the top news stories from the country will load in the map sidebar and the topics will appear in the circle.

The size of the words indicate the number of times the topic has been mentioned in the news. If you select a topic from the map the news stories relating to that topic will then appear in the map sidebar. A timeline will also appear which allows you to explore the news trends for that topic over time.

This week I was also really impressed with a beautiful new map of Mars. Google Mars was released ten years ago this week. Google Mars still exists but these days you can also access a 3d map of Mars by zooming all the way out in the main Google Maps (switch to 3d view and zoom all the way out - the option to switch to maps of the Moon or Mars should then appear in the 'Explore' panel).

Alternatively you can also explore Mars in a beautiful new topographical map of the red planet. Kenneth Field's (Is There) Life on Mars is a gorgeous relief map which allows you to explore the surface of Mars and learn about some of the planet's most striking geological features.

As well as being a beautiful looking map (Is There) Life on Mars includes a wealth of information about many of the craters on Mars and about human spacecraft landings on the planet. The map's information panel also intriguingly refers to a hidden element on the map.

Another beautiful looking set of maps is Empty Pipes's Isochrone Driving Maps of the World.

Using OpenStreetMap mapping data and the Graphopper open source routing library Empty Pipes has created a series of maps for towns and cites around the world. The maps visualize the driving times when starting from the center of each of the mapped cities.

Empty Pipes also makes a number of interesting observations based on his ischrone maps of driving times. For example he notices how many of the driving time maps for cities in the US have a distinctive pyramid shape. One result of the grid patterns of many American cities is that it takes much longer to drive 'along the diagonal than to travel straight north and south'.

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