Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
As Adena Schutzberg pointed out in All Points Blog, the author deserves credit for recognizing the plethora of maps used by the media and that this was a noteworthy story to cover. I think the author, Drake Bennett, both captured and missed key points. What he got right was that the maps helped to distill the enormous volume of data that pores into news rooms and for that, maps provide an essential tool. What he missed was the sense of urgency and immediacy that readers seek when a breaking news story hits, and that maps and satellite imagery put the reader on the ground. Readers feel much more connected to the story if they understand location and context. Readers may not have been familiar with Mumbai or that it had been called "Bombay" previously, but a map showing its location on the subcontinent quickly orients their perspective. The satellite images of the Taj and Oberoi Hotels bring the reader even closer and puts context to the story by positioning the venues with respect to the street network, focale points of each attack, and movements of the terrorists.
What we can not yet do is provide real time remotely sensed data. I'm not sure the readers and media are quite ready themselves but when reporters can not get close to the sceen, another media form will find its way into use: real-time satellite imagery. So, who will be the first to launch a real-time sensor and will the government allow it?
Monday, December 29, 2008
There's not much "news" on the map and links from the "news tips" (clicking on one of the triangles indicating a news item) may bring you to a page that has a larger map window but not much additional news.
So, my advice to the Post is to make this a little more robust even before you launch this in beta because it is just not that informative and rarely indexes news of interest. I'd advise MetaCarta to work with the Post to get this into a form that truly exposes local content.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The map in the upper left hand corner underscores the importance of the Middle East and that fact that it is one additional crisis of the many that Obama faces as he takes office. Time could have used an image of a militant, terrorist or pirate but a map is the only way to depict the problems that impact a concentrated region of the world that continues in turmoil.
And yet somehow I think it speaks to our lack of geographic awareness, our lack of geographic knowledge both of juxtaposition and history. U.S. students continually under perform in a fundamental understanding of geography, culture and politics. It's time that those of us who live in and supposedly understand a world of digital geography where global communication is instantaneous that we take time to better understand cultural geography and teach those who don't.
Mr. Obama faces huge challenges in the Middle East, as every president has since Jimmy Carter. As a man whose expectations could not be greater to impact world opinion, he has an opportunity to impact an even more important audience...our elementary educators and the children they teach.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
First, let me say that this is exactly the type of geographical information that should be provided by your local news source. It's short, concise, well-layed out and informative. Spot on!
As this is in beta, there are obviously more features or changes to come. Let me offer a few suggestions:
- Aggregate more hyperlocal news such as from Topix or YourStreet. Sure, the NY Time is not the ultimate source but this type of aggregation is becoming more commonplace and it is a topic my editors are discussing as well.
- Should it be interactive? Right now, the Google Maps are static. For political and news purposes, using the map as a reference for news stories would be key, much like MetaCarta does now for Reuters.
- Filter the news by topic such as whether the news is city, state, or federally related. Since they've got those maps already generated just segment the news accordingly.
- Since this is a resource for residents, give them a way to "sound off" by allowing them a comments page about certain political issues.
- And if they have a gripe about a pothole, let them contact the city department directly by placing a "pin" on the map with a note about what the problem is at that location.
Monday, December 22, 2008
In fairness, I think the map enhanced the story. The problem was that you just could not read it. Once again, a shaded gray thematic doesn't really work for a print newspaper. Though the WSJ limited the gray tones to only four, the tones were too faded. And it took me almost five minutes to actually see that the rail line was overlayed on the map itself. It was not noted in the legend and I can only assume that they thought it was obvious. It was not.
Now, unless you are faily familiar with thematic maps and you can discern spatial patterns, the fact that the rail line does indeed meander through some of the high income ZIP codes, you'd miss the entire point of the map. Neither were some of the more recognizable high income towns denoted on the map like Lake Forrest and Barrington, which would have help me understand where the rail line was routed. So, the town names were missing, the political boundaries of the thematic were not explained, and the rail line itself was fading into the background. Why bother with the map at all?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
So, traffic is, as some at deCarta are prognosticating, "the next killer app." And at NBC Chicago, they have launched a beta website for just such real-time information. I think this is a perfect application for TV stations to deploy. You expect to get your weather info from them; why not traffic? Radio stations have been doing it for years, but there is nothing like a picture to show the way. And with more people purchasing cell phones that are really Internet browers, like the iPhone, NBC Chicago is making the right move. Microsoft Virtual Earth is the mapping app they are using and they have integrated traffic and live roadway camera feeds as well. According to the MSFT VE blog, the app was developed by MyWeather LLC and is getting the traffic info from their "own traffic flow/incident overlay." The thumbnail maps of the 5 highest traffic zones is a nice touch and sure to be clicked on alot.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It was even more telling that only passing mention was given to the work of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CNN specifically mentions in their coverage how Google predicated flu concentrations two weeks sooner than the CDC. But the CDC is constantly updating the number of cases of influenza and reports the results in a weekly report...with maps included. The media seems to be looking to minimize the work of the CDC by pointing to the cool technology of Google.
I would however recommend to the CDC that they look into more interactive mapping technology. Their website is lacking in the ability to injest some real-time information that could be updated on web maps.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Silver explains his map to Keith Olbermann on MSNBC...
Monday, November 3, 2008
Uh, Charlie, George...you'll have to do better than that tomorrow night as it's just not that informative. The "telestrator" is just a little too "1970's."
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Hello Chron! I can't read your weather map...it's just...gray! There are no shades of gray...just light gray that is impossible to read...with a whole lot of text that is equally hard to read. I think they try to show terrain features but that's a wasted attempt. You can't distinguish roads from county boundaries. And then there are these oblong dots on the map to show air quality. Again...just gray; not a graduated symbols which would be a marked improvement...no, no, they went for a gray dot.
Here's a suggestion. Use color, cut down on the number of cities listed, and try to accentuate the geographic boundaries. If you want to show air quality, use a graduated sympbol...with color. You may even get subscribers to actually read your weather forecasts.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
As for the map, the patchwork thematic favors pastel colors that are difficult to discern when compared to the legend. The map itself is fine but to match the thematic map to the legend color is problematic. If you choose the option to remove the county boundaries, you can begin to perceive the lifesytle patterns that are associated geogrphically. I think it is useful for readers to understand these demographic patterns and try to associate them with the potential political outcome.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
So, try it and see if you can guess how the percentage of the Catholic vote would affect the election. What percentage of the black vote does Obama need to obtain in order to truly swing the election. Will women turn to McCain because Palin is on the ticket? It is truly fascinating to see just how little the vote can swing based on demographic leanings. It's a great way to understand what the history is of each group and the impact each can have on the election. You can deduce why candidates focus a specific message on one group or another and perhaps why you would identify with a certain candidate based in your personal background. Kudos to the Globe.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
UPDATE: Farallon Geographics contacted me today to say that "There is no mapping of name or personal information to location. Farallon did not have access to any personal data – just geocoded points with precinct information (not actual addresses)."
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I like MSNBC's county level detail map on contributions by candidate. The supporting bar chart provides perspective to the level of spending as does the thematic map of each county on a state level basis. The map is supported by information on each candidate's campaign schedule in that state. MSNBC's map also allows predictions by the user like other media maps have done. Unique to the MSNBC map are the supporting demographics, simple population, age, race, education, etc. thematics from the 2000 census. It's a nice touch for basic research purposes. In addition, another nice touch is the ability to "magnify" the regions where the smaller states can be seen more clearly.
Monday, October 6, 2008
If you can get by the fact that this is a quasi-soap opera, the map is quite good. It familiarizes the user with the neighborhoods of Manhattan and they've done a nice job of pinpointing the location of various scenes of the program along with photos and notes from the show.
There are no interactive tools to predict electoral vote counts like at other news media websites. There is no way to thematically map the red vs. blue states. A box at the bottom of the screen allows the user to insert your zip code. I tried and it brought me to the county of that zip code. No zip boundaries; no election results from that zip code; not even 2004. In short, there is no purpose to that zip code box other than to get you to the county in which it is located.
Clicking on either the House or Senate races usually brings up a "No Data" notation at the bottom of the page except for some counties reveal 2004 race results. My only conclusion about this horrendous map is that it's in beta. That would be the comforting thought. Otherwise, my suggestion to Fox News is to take it down and start over.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Was there any spatial pattern, any thread of commonality of the voting pattern? I couldn't find any. If you do, let me know what you see!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Don't forget to check out the map on the independent groups that have garnered contributions. USAToday does not give their affiliation. For example, the Fund for America is affiliate with Democratic causes.
But, for those who are looking for a little more, I'd ask..."What are the best 'connected' cities in which to retire?" I will make the bold assumption that people in my generation (those 50+) will probably not retire outright but will look for communities that have a good business climate as well in addition to fine recreational facilities. They will want good transportation and telecommunications connectivity. I think Huntsville, is actually a good choice, given that criteria, but also, Knoxville, Cincinnati, and USNews choice, Asheville, NC.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I've never been to that area of Pakistan but I have been to the northern Pakistan and the areas north and west of Skardu as well as Indian Kashmir and the Ladahki Himalaya. Whether you draw a line on a piece of paper or not as the map in Time showed, there is no border. There are no fence lines or benchmarks or roads that mark these territories. These maps are so inaccurate due to the lack of cartographers willing to actually survey these areas that the borders are nearly non-existent. The regions are so vast and mostly uninhabited that it makes mapping them extremely difficult. The borders are but approximations. The recent news of U.S. military incursions into Pakistan caused a stir because there was some uncertainty that they actually crossed the border.
So, as you approach your reading of these areas of the world, know that many of these borders are disputed and sometimes inaccurately drawn. Watch out for the dashed-line in the sand as it can disappear with the next windstorm.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The BBC has set about to uniquely watch the globalization of the world's economy. They've set about tracking a container box around the world for one year. Readers can track the box via a map that the publication has created that shows the current location of the container. The container was launched on its journey on September 8th and contains a GPS device and transmitter.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Wall Street Journal exhibited one of the best illustrations of how a publication can segment its news for both its audience and medium. The weekend print edition of the WSJ (Sept. 13/14) showed a map sourced from both the National Hurricane Center and the National Coastal Development Center (NCDC) of Hurricane Ike's storm surge along the Texas Gulf Coast. The black and white thematic map showed a great deal of detail of the stricken areas and the shade gradation used in the maps was certainly adequate to differentiate the most afflicted regions. But online, the WSJ integrated imagery with these storm projects to illustrate just how much flooding would occur to the low-lying areas. (See graphic at right)
So, while in print, they decided to use just a thematic, the online version provided them a better medium to display imagery. Good choice because imagery never fares as well in black and white. And they surpased the NCDC website because after several tries to find the sourced map, I gave up.
Kudos to the WSJ on several fronts.
Now, in a mayoral elections, perhaps zip codes are the essential geographic level by which each candidate must understand their situation. At the presidential election, maybe not has much. However, as the Huntsville election has showed, it is possible to narrow the race by precinct and swaying the vote by targeting a specific neighborhoods. Would a presidential election have as much success at this geographic level? I submit that a good, grass roots campaign would be able to grasp the opportunities and selectively target precincts and neighborhoods and that wide margin of victory in key demographics could potentially sway an entire zip code.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
- Track GPS position in real-time and archive a course for playback
- Geo-tag videos to showcase the destinations where they took place
- Experience location specific factoids and feeds with a video broadcast
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Newsprint is not the most favorable medium for reproducing maps and the cartographic quality most often found lacks for a certain "understandability" as a result. As we head into this season of politics, here are some tips for newspapers just in case they haven't figured it out yet:
- If you have to use black and white for maps, limit the thematic categories to only three. While you think the human eye can differentiate more shades of gray, you would be hard pressed to convince an 70-year old lady of that fact.
- Even if you use three shades of gray, it might help to use a thicker black border on boundary or polygon data for that third category, just to make certain of the differentiation. (The Wall Street Journal used a map in today's edition (page A9) to show the Democrat's southern strategy and they were well advised to use this heavy black line when using just two themes.)
- Know your street classifications. Don't get carried away with too much detail on showing the finest details of residential streets. It just obscures other features especially if streets are only there for reference.
That's it for now...more to come in future posts.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
The BBC was first to cover in detail the announcement of OneGeology, a web portal that attempts to put the world's geological information onto a single, seamless map at the fingertips of policy-makers and the average citizen. Most news like this might go unnoticed but as the British Geological Survey was leading this project of which many of the world's geological surveys contributed, they had good reason to break the story. The OneGeology portal allows the users to drill down (though not literally!) to see the subsurface formations of about 36 different regions of the world.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008