Sunday, November 30, 2008

On Busiest Travel Day of the Year, USA Today Shows Airport Delays

USA Today used its regularly published interactive map of the flight delays to highlight where travelers may find slow going today. The map uses a simple, colored dot to show which airports are experiencing delays. The map is "powered" by FlightView.com a company that has several products for travel information. (Image used with permission)

CNN, Washington Post Provide Interactive Map of Mumbai Terrorist Attack

Both CNN and the Washington Post have developed excellent online maps of the Mumbai terrorist attacks of the last week. CNN used a simple satellite image-map of the Mumbai peninsula and then used simple symbols to mark the location of the attacks but use a tool-tip approach to allow the reader to drill down for more information. The Washington Post used Google Maps mashup with much more annotation to the location of each attack such that it indicated the time of the terrorist invasion. Unfortunately, repeated attempts to articles at the Times of India met with server errors. The Telegraph (Calcutta) did not have much in the way of maps to support news reporting.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New York Times Maps Super-Computing Power

If you can suspend your geographic sensibilities for a moment, the New York Times has created a graduated symbol map of the world's fastest supercomputers in the world. The map is a bit skewed in the sense that the locations of these supercomputers are not exactly in their correct locations on the map though the Times tries their best to balance size of the symbol with geographic correctness. While the locations of the supercomputers are easier to place geogrpaphically in Europe because they are smaller in computing-power, the largest supercomputer in the U.S. lands smack dab in the middle of the map that the Times created giving the illusion that Los Alamos, New Mexico, is somewhere in the middle of the country and Oak Ridge, Tennessee is near the border with Canada. Anyway, I think I would have preferred that the Times try a little harder to maintain some semblance of geographic location. Don't we have enough trouble with geographic literacy in this country?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baron Services: Weather Technology for TV is Going to Change

Today at our Rocket City Geospatial Conference in Huntsville, Alabama, Bob Baron, CEO and founder of Baron Services (also of Huntsville) gave our attendees a glimpse of TV weather forecasting in the future. OMNI, is a "Google Earth-like" interface that will allow TV weather broadcasters a visualization platform, well, like Google Earth but with stylistic changes that offer greater depth of displaying weather patterns, storms and tools to help TV forecasters. Using high resolution 3D terrain data, 3D building models, and text displays that will turn heads, Baron is delivering a new paradigm that leverages geospatial technology to the media weather forecasters.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

LA Times Maps Fire Damage

The Los Angeles Times has created several maps of fire-damaged homes, locations of where the fires began, and animal safe shelters as the region is once again fighting fires in heavily residential areas. The maps are reminiscent of those produced by the Times during last year's devastating fires in the region. More and more, the media is utilizing mapping technology to get the news out and is in many ways becoming the primary source of information to which citizens turn to get updated and near real-time news.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chicago Trib Points to Geography Week Resources

The Chicago Tribune has set up a page with some great resources to take help readers take part in National Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 16-22).

NBC Chicago Launches Beta Website for Traffic, Live Camera Feeds


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

Google Dribbles out Flu Map; The Media Exhibits Flu-like Symptoms

Many local and national news media contracted the "ga ga fever" by fawning over the story about Google's Flu Map. And while Google's search technology and their ability to spot trends in an unusual, highly Web 2.0 fashion is nothing to sneeze at, I cringe at the media's fevered pitch over Google.org's map. Let's face it, what was the bigger deal? That is was a map of potential flu outbreaks, or was it because Google was able to geolocate based on IP address? I just think that everyime Google cough's up another cool map that the media faints.

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

WSJ-It's "the Big One"...SoCal Prepares for Huge Earthquake

The Wall Street Journal reported today on plans for the Great Southern California ShakeOut...a huge preparedness drill in the LA area staged by the USGS and sponsors like the Home Depot and State Farm Insurance. Accompanying the article is an interactive map that is a history of some of the more major earthquakes in California. Be sure to click on the "Maps" tab of the WSJ article and don't miss the second map which shows the zones of the greatest earthquake hazards. The image at right is a hazard zone map prepared by the USGS. It is similar to the one shown by the WSJ.

Mortgage Mess

The New York Times illustrates just where the mortgage crisis has taken its toll. Yesterday, the Times reported on the percentage of homes within each state that have negative equity. The source of the data is from First American CoreLogic. California with 29% and Florida with 27% are the highest.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

USA Today's "Behind the Results" Map...awesome

If you love to slice and dice the demographics, you'll love USA Today's "Behind the Results" map. And the slickness by which you can "drag and swipe" the "map squeegee" window that allows the viewer to compare the percentage of voters in that demographic category with how that demographic voted for president is just awesome. The demographic options are older voters (65+), younger voters (18-29), Blacks, Hispanics, and median household income. Kudos to USA Today.

The Election in Hamilton County, Ohio

In its final issue before the U.S. presidential election, Time Magazine profiled Hamilton County, Ohio, a "red" county that had delivered impressive victories for the Republicans dating back to 1992. The article did a nice job of giving a demographic analysis of the county though it would have been helpful to dig deeper by zip code as to the true demographic composition. It was important to understand how much Cincinnati, with a different composition than the remainder of the county, influenced the vote. Time reported that the social conservative nature of the western part of the county and fiscal conservatism of the eastern part of the county formed a solid Republican toehold. On Tuesday, Hamilton County went to Senator Obama by a 52/47 percent margin. The county results are shown on a map compiled by the New York Times. There are no results posted yet by the Ohio Secretary of State for each Congressional District, but I will be watching.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

delicious bookmarks - US Elections

Here is a collection of bookmarks I've created on del.icio.us for reference.

In the End...Not Much New...NY Times, CNN Shine

As the results stream in, there is not much new with respect to any additional technology presented by the media. They had already developed their mapping platforms and utilized what they had without showing any add-on functionality; no imagery back drop which CNN tried to do during the primaries (annd didn't make much sense). However, the New York Times and CNN allowed highly user-friendly maps by which to drill down to the county level and view the vote county by percentage by candidate. CNN's map actually was far less visually appealing than what the Times put on their home page. While other sites provided drill down capapbilities (MSNBC), the Times put it on their home page and it was easy to zoom in/out and get the results by tool tip.

CNN goes Quasi "BIM" with Capital Building

At 6:15 p.m. EST, John King unveiled new technology on CNN using a 3D display of the Capital Building and a map of the seats held in the House and Senate by Democrats and Republicans. Though not true building information modeling (BIM), King was using display technology that looked quasi CAD-like. He did not drill down into the Capital Building itself but is that next?

CBS News: Half Telestrator, Half 'magic map'...Half as good?

Jeff Greenfield of CBS News thinks only Iowa, Colorado and New Mexico will put Obama over the top. The interactive map he is using is "half telestrator, half magic map." And yes...maybe only half as good as everyone else maps. I'll reserve more judgment until tonight's coverage.

Maps on FiveThirtyEight.com Fail to Impress

I guess Nate Silver didn't take a cartography course in college but he must have aced his stat class. The maps on FiveThirtyEighty.com serve simply as a guide to Silver's predictions where he now sees Obama capturing 348 electoral votes. Silver apparently also predicted the Tampa Bay Rays "last to first" showing so he's in demand to accurately call the electoral vote count for the presidential election.

Silver explains his map to Keith Olbermann on MSNBC...

Wall Street Journal - big on statistics, maps, analysis

Today's issue of the Wall Street Journal, page A5, breaks down the U.S. presidential election with maps and stats. The thematic maps in shades of gray continue to be less potent in terms of being able to effectively communicate the counties to which attention must be paid. However, the maps are comprehensive and useful. The online article does not have any maps but the analysis is worth reading.

New York Times Analyzes What States to Watch by Poll Closing Time

The New York Times offers a state by state guide according to closing hour of polls and what to watch. The video provides a brief demographic analysis of the statewide situation and looks a county level synopsis of the vote as well as a graduated symbol map of the expected voting blocks.

"Twittering the Vote"

A few news sources (O'Reilly, Poynter) are reporting how TwitterVoteReport (TVR) is collecting tweets on various issues or problems relating to today's voting. You'll need to know how to use "hashtags" to report your problems or information but it's fairly simple and there's a video by Twitter to show you how it works, but here's an example. If you want to tell TVR that everything is "ok" at the polls where you live, you log onto Twitter and tweet as follows: "#votereport everthing is ok in #21110" where #21110 is the zip code. For other hashcodes of interest, see the TVR website or O'Reilly's list.

Monday, November 3, 2008

ABC Warms Up by Playing Tic-Tac-Toe on their Map

Charlie Gipson and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News were just working at their version of the "magic map" and ended up playing what looked like tic-tac-toe...just placing "X's" and "O's" interactively on the states of most importance.

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

FOX News Political Map - Reevaluated

I wanted to check back with FOX News' election map to see if any improvements were made. What I see is that while the maps themselves are unimpressive, the ability to interact with the vote count at both the county and Congressional District (CD) level is useful. The map boundaries present the user with graphics that are much too big and "blank" as they over shadow the information that is useful in looking at the individual races for president, governor, senate or house seats. The user can change between each type of race that that will change the boundary designation. That is, if you are looking at the races for a house seat, you will be presented with the results by CD and this is a useful way to present the information. I doubt many viewers are familiar the the shape of their CD and its geographic extents. Other races are viewable only at the county level.

New York Times Map Illustrates Shift From "TossUps" to "Leaning"

On this Sunday before the U.S. Presidential election, the New York Times is projecting shifts in a new electoral map by taking some states out of the "tossup" column and placing them in the "leaning" column, mostly for Senator Obama. States that had been tossups such as Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire and Michigain, are now either leaning or solidly in the Obama camp. States that had been leaning toward McCain, such as Missouri, North Carolina and Florida are now in the "tossup" column. And states that were once solidly McCain, such as West Virginia and Louisiana, are now simply "leaning" toward the senator. The total electoral shift now puts 291 electoral votes into Obama's column thus giving him the election.