Chicago Press gives away History of Cartography as PDF for free! If you are a cartography buff, you have to check out this offer. Topics span: Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient, and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies Cartography … Continue reading “History of Cartography” for free
After the last post I have to report about a movie again already: Part of the Off Book series by PBS Arts, the short documentary gives a glimpse into computer generative art. Computer generative art in the words of Luke Dubois (starring in the documentary) is
[art] where you surrender control over some aspect what’s going down to some [computer] process.
Generative Art: Computers, Data, and Humanity portrays three artists and their work.
In Turning Data Into Music and Stories Luke Dubois tells how he turned casualties, missing and refugees of 8 years of war in Iraq into an 8 minute musical piece. Dubois says the reason for him to do that was, that the Iraq war is the first conflict of the U.S. where we have more data than information. I am not sure whether this is true from the information side (i.e. whether people were better informed about other wars), but modern gizmos and equipment certainly do produce heaps of data and thus maybe, in fact, make us know or feel less about what is going on.
I also found myself agreeing to Dubois saying:
This century is the century of data. That’s gonna be the defining thing.
I would add to that: and how we approach that heap of data. We amass such amounts of data that turning it into valuable, actionable information is getting harder and harder. In some fields, where data was hard or expensive to get, the situation has changed and we now seek for ways how to filter and intelligently assess incoming data streams. This is certainly true for many fields in Geography.
Behold this HD timelapse video of the view aboard the International Space Station (ISS). I can’t find first-hand information on its author, but PopSci claims that it was created by a certain James Drake, who stitched together 600 publicly available images shot from the ISS. The cities’ lights look great, especially together with the frequent thunderstorms lighting up the clouds (watch in HD and full-screen)! Continue reading “Timelapse video lets you ride the ISS – Canada to Chile in a minute”
I don’t know how I managed to miss out on Historypin by an organisation called We Are What We Do. Historypin is a website that lets you overlay old photographs and other media on Google Street View imagery.
The New York Times’ Abstract Sunday of this week features the World Map of Useless Stereotypes by Christoph Niemann of I LEGO N.Y. fame. Obviously, the geography has been messed with a little. And New York and its five boroughs (minus Staten Island) are prominently displayed completely out of scale with the rest of the ‘map’. … Continue reading The World Map of Useless Stereotypes
A while ago I blogged about The Real Underground, a website which allows visitors to morph the current London Underground Map into the famous 1931/1933 design by Harry Beck and into a geographically accurate depiction of the Underground network. Now, The Economist presents a reworked version of the Harry Beck design by London-based Designer Mark … Continue reading A new take on London’s underground
The Urban Earth project by The Geography Collective aims at representing humanity’s habitat by walking across some of earth’s biggest urban areas. The motivation is critical of media and their portrayal of our living environments:
The media distorts the way we see our world(s) with stereotypical images highlighting the most extremes of places. Urban Earth aims to expose what our cities really look like away from the bias and spin of commercial agendas.
The recipe of Urban Earth is very simple: Walk across a city taking a photograph every 8 steps (roughly) and put them together sequentially into a movie. Photographs are always taken looking forward, without focusing on specific landmarks or ‘nice’ parts of the cityscape. The thing about an Urban Earth walk is that it tries to find normality within each city:
Geography is more important than many people think. A random route across a city may expose many things, but an Urban Earth walk is special because it attempts to reveal what a city is like for the people who live in it. Urban Earth is not about following the tourist trail or tracking down the most extreme places… it is about finding normality.
The net is abuzz with the news about Google+, Google’s newest attempt to counter Facebook’s dominance in the realm of social networks. Besides India and Brasil, where Google’s Orkut seems popular, the search engine giant has so far failed to successfully enter the social network ground.
Currently, Google+ is invite-only, so no hands-on testing. But what can be said already from one of the teaser videos is that the visual design of the newest Google product deviates somewhat from what we are acquainted with out of the Googleplex. Engadget has collected numerous trailers highlighting Google+ features, the one in question is The Google+ project: A quick look, embedded below: Continue reading “Google+ manifests new approach to Google interface design”
With the 2010 BP oil spill in the Golf of Mexico and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, environmental disasters have gotten big coverage in the mass media over last months. However, when the biggest shock and public outrage has passed the aftermath of such disasters tends to be less newsworthy to traditional media outlets.
“Big Energy has their communications war room. Counterspill.org is ours.”
This is the claim of Counterspill whose assumed mission is to “promote awareness about the impact of non-renewable energy disasters through a living archive that combines best-in-class reporting, research, social media and community engagement.” Basically, the idea behind Counterspill is to provide on a one-stop portal a counter-narrative to the non-renewable energy industry’s narrative. Counterspill has been launched in April 2011. Its sponsors and partners are primarily philanthropic and environmental organisations as well as NGOs.
The information in the disasters rubric on Counterspill’s website can be accessed directly from the front page. It features an interactive world map and timeline mapping accidents including gas, oil, nuclear and coal in space and time. The timeline can be dragged to select a time window. Using filters one can include only accidents of a certain kind, with a defined size of cleanup costs or involving certain companies. (I assume said cleanup costs also control the size of the circles on the world map, though, this is not explained anywhere)
Through clicking on one of the disasters in the world map, or directly in the disasters rubric, one can get information about individual accidents. The section is very well designed: The central element is an interactive timeline. Continue reading “Counterspill: The renewable energy communications war room”
In cooperation with local partners MIT’s Senseable City Lab has developed six real-time visualizations of the city of Singapore which is on display since April 8 in the exhibition LIVE Singapore!, co-curated with the Singapore Art Museum. Continue reading “Real-time visualizations of Singapore”
Recently, I was pointed to Typealyzer, a tool for analysing blog types or, actually, the personality types of the people behind the blog. The information is visualised in a spider chart with eight personality dimensions.
Typealyzer is the doing of Mattias Ostmar and Jon Kågström, the former being a (self-described) media and communication geek and Communication Analyst at Sweden-based PRfekt. Mattias specialises in psychological text analysis. Besides Typealyzer he has several other projects in that field. His website/blog is http://www.mattiasostmar.net and his Typealyzer profile looks like this:
A friend of mine discovered the Seattle Band Map (a.k.a. Cartographic Study of Musical Incest), a project by radio host Rachel Ratner, designer Keith Whiteman and computer scientist Golf Sinteppadon.
As Rachel Rutner describes in the project’s first blog post, she started the map as a nerdy personal project. The goal was to map out the bands she and her friends played in and which were interconnected by shared band members.
In the first draft (on paper) there were about 20 bands of the Seattle region: