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visual data
learning, conceptualizing + communicating data with infographics, visualizations, etc...
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What The Internet Would Look Like As A World Map

What The Internet Would Look Like As A World Map | visual data |
An artist has created a hand-drawn map of the Internet, where Google, Apple, and porn are continents.

The world of the Internet mirrors the real-world in myriad ways: there are members (we call them populations), websites (destinations to visit), acquisitions of companies (redrawn political boundaries). So what if the Internet could be visualized like our global politics?

That’s exactly what designer Martin Vargic did in this cartographic experiment which treats mega-companies such as Google, Microsoft, HP, and Apple like empires, on a classic world map. To explain the dominance and relationships of these entities, Vargic created a visual hierarchy that gives prominent treatment to companies with the most users (or sites with the most visitors), surrounding them with smaller states and townships named after adjacent businesses.

More details at the link...

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See A Beautiful, Data-Enriched Map of New York City

See A Beautiful, Data-Enriched Map of New York City | visual data |

Londoner Marcus Kirby was bored with traditional maps and pastel-colored countries, so he started a company to revive the age-old business of cartography. 

The Future Mapping Company uses traditional map-making techniques (lithographic instead of digital) to create colorful, intricate city representations. Most recently, the company has created a map of New York City, to be released later this month.

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The Intersection of Geography & Data: 2012's Best Maps

The Intersection of Geography & Data: 2012's Best Maps | visual data |

It's been an eventful year for cartography.

Development and disaster continue to mold the physical world, but for mapmakers, keeping up with geographic changes is busy work -- a tweaked direction here, a freeway exit there. It's very important busy work, as we learned this September when Apple reminded us not to take a good map for granted.

The intersection of geography and data, though, is just beginning to fill out. Together with interactive functions like sliders, timelines, and embedded information, the best new maps resemble Rand McNally's about as much as movies look like photographs. Creating an accurate representation of geography and infrastructure is only the tip of the iceberg.

What happens when you integrate statistics about rising seas, gang affiliations, metaphors and beer?

A whole new understanding of the way the world works. And some pretty sweet maps. Without further ado, the top favorite maps of the year...

(visit the article link for the maps and associated links)

Lauren Moss's insight:

A gallery of different approaches to visualizing topics covering a broad range of data through cartography and mapping...

Examples are supplemented with a summary of the intent, process + graphics of each map, noting the elements that make for successful representations of specific concepts, ideas + data.

From urban issues to voting trends to navigation apps and software, maps are tools that can be highly effective in data visualization, as evidenced in this cartographic collection curated by the Atlantic Cities.

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How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything

How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything | visual data |
An exclusive look inside Ground Truth, the secretive program to build the world's best accurate maps.

Behind every Google Map, there is a much more complex map that's the key to queries but hidden from view. The deep map contains the logic of places: their no-left-turns and freeway on-ramps, speed limits and traffic conditions. This is the data that Google uses to navigate you from point A to point B.

Last week, Google showed me the internal map and demonstrated how it was built- the first time the company has let anyone see how the project it calls GT, or "Ground Truth," actually works.

Google opened up at a key moment in its evolution. The company began as an online search company, but then the mobile world exploded. Now, where you're searching from has become almost as important as what you're searching for. Google responded by creating an operating system, brand, and ecosystem that has become the only significant rival to Apple's iOS.

And for good reason. If Google's mission is to organize all the world's information, the most important challenge -- far larger than indexing the web -- is to take the world's physical information and make it accessible and useful...

Read the entire article for a fascinating look at how Google utilizes mapping systems, geo data, mobile technology, and visual representation to manage massive amounts of data from varying sources, including one of the most important to the success of Google Maps- human intelligence.

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Beneath Every City Is A Labyrinth of Last Names

Beneath Every City Is A Labyrinth of Last Names | visual data |
Behind a city of data, an ocean of names.

This is what families look like in the age of big data. The cartographer James Cheshire has looked at over 900 different areas of London and graphed the most popular last names of each. He's then placed those over a map of the city, made it all zoomable and interactive, and highlighted which 15 last names -- and nationalities -- dominate each area...

Mariana Soffer's comment, August 8, 2012 5:41 AM
great post Lauren Moss
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Everything Sings: Making the Case for a New Cartography

Everything Sings: Making the Case for a New Cartography | visual data |
What Ira Glass has to do with atlas antagonism, or what plotting carved pumpkins reveals about place.

The most intimate infographics of all may be maps, those images that tell of our complicated relationships to place, bounded by time. Or at least, this is just one of the interesting arguments made by the book Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas, a beautiful exploration of a small North Carolina neighborhood that also provides a platform for much larger ideas.

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NYC's Innovative New Map System Won't Leave You Lost

NYC's Innovative New Map System Won't Leave You Lost | visual data |

Even for the most direction-savvy New Yorker, emerging from the dark pit of the subway can be a disorienting experience. New York City streets are bright, they’re loud, oftentimes they’re smelly, and worst of all, maps are virtually non-existent. Or at least that used to be the case.

Just this week, the Department of Transportation unveiled its WalkNYC initiative, a program that will bring comprehensive pedestrian maps to all five boroughs. In a city where an estimated 30 percent of all trips are made by foot and one out of every three locals can’t tell north from south, they’re probably going to come in handy.

Though NYC’s public transportation is top-notch and we are technically on a grid, it’s easy to get lost or overwhelmed when traveling by foot. That’s why the DOT enlisted the help of PentaCityGroup, a consortium of urban planners, engineers, designers, cartographers and geographical information specialists, to solve the problem.

Their goal? To create an information-packed map that would orient pedestrians and help them find the gems each NYC neighborhood has to offer. The first of these new information kiosks was installed earlier this week in Chinatown (they’re already located at every Citi Bike station), and it’s expected that others will be popping up in midtown Manhattan, Long Island City in Queens and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn this summer

luiy's curator insight, July 3, 2013 8:49 AM

If the style of these maps looks familiar, that’s because it is. The design team wanted to marry the current design to the graphic language that was was established for the subway system in the late 1960s. The typeface is still Helvetica (albeit with a slight twist–the type’s square dots are now round) and it uses the same organizational conventions (white type on a dark background). “All of this was deliberately echoing the way the subways look,” Bierut explains. “We wanted people to be able to ride the subway, come out and orient themselves.” Bierut says the design of the maps is meant to be accurate, trustworthy and friendly. But not too friendly—this is New York City, after all. “We wanted these things to be beautiful in a way, but also characteristic of the best of New York.”

ParadigmGallery's comment, July 8, 2013 4:02 PM
great...can't wait to try these...
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Why Historical Maps Still Matter So Much, Even Today

Why Historical Maps Still Matter So Much, Even Today | visual data |

With 150,000 or so old print maps to his name, David Rumsey has earned his reputed place among the world's "finest private collectors." He continues to expand his personal trove as well as the digitized sub-collection he makes open to the public online — some 38,000 strong, and growing.

He's created a series of interactive maps that layer old prints onto the Google Earth and Google Maps platforms, and this summer he plans to launch a geo-referencing tool (similar to one recently introduced by the British Library) that lets users get involved in the digital mapping process themselves.

While preparing for this next expansion of his online map empire, Rumsey remains fascinated by "the power of putting these images up and letting them go," he says.

"Maps have a way of speaking to people very straightforward," he says. "You don't have to have a lot of knowledge of map history or history in general. To me they're perfect tools for teaching history to the public."

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Map as Art

Map as Art | visual data |

There are many amazing examples of artists who turn to cartography and geography for inspiration. Whether through the lens of a camera, paint, or sculpture, these artists have turned to creative ways to express themselves through maps.

This series of cartographically-inspired art works changes how we look at maps.  Some of these artists also make us think of places that are on the Earth as explicitly "mappable" features.  I think the Google Maps push-pin in the city center is my favorite.  Which do you prefer? 

Tags: art, mapping, place, cartography

Via Seth Dixon
GeoMapGames's curator insight, March 4, 2014 12:47 AM

Amazing map art! I like Google Maps push-pin in the city center :)
Which do you prefer?  #geomapgames

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11 of the Most Influential Infographics of the 19th-Century...

11 of the Most Influential Infographics of the 19th-Century... | visual data |
We live in a world steeped in graphic information. From Google Maps and GIS to the proliferation of infographics and animated maps, visual data surrounds us.

While we may think of infographics as a relatively recent development to make sense of the immense amount of data available on the Web, they actually are rooted in the 19th century.

Two major developments led to a breakthrough in infographics: advances in lithography and chromolithography, which made it possible to experiment with different types of visual representations, and the availability of vast amounts of data, including from the American Census as well as natural scientists, who faced heaps of information about the natural world, such as daily readings of wind, rainfall, and temperature spanning decades.

But such data was really only useful to the extent that it could be rendered in visual form. And this is why innovation in cartography and graphic visualization mattered so greatly...

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Accurate Maps vs. Useful Maps

Accurate Maps vs. Useful Maps | visual data |

“The aim of the cartographer is to give a graphic expression to the features of the landscape.” You wouldn’t want to use his maps to trek through the Sierras, but in recognizing how our understanding of the natural world is intimately and inextricably linked to the confines of our manmade constructs, Rangel’s work strikes me as true, which might not be as practical as a traditional map, but it certainly might be more useful...

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