Sunday, April 10, 2016

Maps of the Week

My favorite map this week was Buzzfeed's Spies in the Skies map of US government spy planes. It really is great example of how a little known story can be illustrated and explained with a mapped visualization of publicly available data.

The map plots the flight-paths of FBI and Department of Homeland Security spy planes over American cities. Buzzfeed took a few month's worth of data from Flightradar24 and mapped the tracks of around 200 federal aircraft.

If you zoom-in on the map you can see the distinctive circular flight paths of the planes, presumably as they monitor a single location on the ground. If you zoom-out you can get an overall picture of where in the USA the FBI & DHS planes seem to be most active. The DHS appears  to be most active around towns and cities near the Mexican and Canadian borders. The FBI planes seem to regularly operate all over the USA.

The OSM Global Noise Pollution Map uses OpenStreetMap data to map the levels of noise pollution across the world. At the heart of the OSM Global Noise Pollution Map is the very clever but simple idea of assigning noise pollution levels based on OpenStreetMap tags.

The OSM Global Noise Pollution Map use OSM tags and values to assign a noise pollution level based on general assumptions about these mapped features. For example highway, trunk, primary and secondary roads are deemed to be noisier than normal street or service roads. The OSM Global Noise Pollution Map also assumes that railways and retail & industrial zones will also have a significant level of noise pollution associated with them.

This map of Miami's future skyline is another great example of how interactive maps can be used to visualize important news stories. The Miami DDA 3D Map shows you how the city's skyline will look once 116 building projects (proposed, under construction and recently completed) are constructed

The Miami DDA 3D Map used the Cesium mapping platform to present a 3d map of downtown Miami which allows you to explore the effect of the new buildings on the skyline from any angle. You can even click on the individual buildings on the map to learn more about its developer, construction status and building type.

The colors of the buildings on the map indicate whether the project is planned, proposed, under construction or already completed.

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