Martin Wattenberg & Fernanda Viegas have just announced their latest project, an impressive interactive visualization of windflow across the United States.
Surface wind data from the National Digital Forecast Database. (For those of you chasing top wind speed, note that maximum speed may occur over lakes or just offshore.)
These are 1-hour forecasts, downloaded once per hour. So what you’re seeing is close to live data. We’d be interested in displaying data for the entire earth; if you know of a source of detailed live wind data for the entire globe, please let us know.
Another great piece on visualizations used to help the community is over at PhysOrg. They talk to David Flanders, a UBC research scientist who is creating visualizations of the impact of rising sea levels or storm surge effects on local communities near Vancouver, Canada.
“It can be hard to mentally grasp what rising sea-levels can mean on the ground but our visualizations give people a glimpse of what their future world will look and feel like in their own backyards. They help community members understand how their quality of life can be affected by climate change, and by the decisions they make to deal with climate impacts.”
Zebra Imaging is holding a contest, conveniently wrapping up just before the Esri Federal GIS event in Washington, D.C, that gives all of you Geospatial folks a chance to win your data frames in a 2-foot square holographic print.
Each entry will be reviewed by a panel of Zebra Imaging judges for the following:
Usefulness of application
Zebra Imaging will select three winners from the following industries: Public Safety, Planning, and Defense.
Winners of the challenge will receive a 24″ x 24″ 3D holographic print of their data and an illumination stand. The winning concepts will be displayed at the Zebra Imaging Booth at the Esri International User Conference the week of July 23, 2012 in San Diego, CA.
A veteran cartographer by the name of David Imus has just published a beautiful map of the United States, painstaking created by hand using dozes of visual rules and guidelines to create what might be the most pleasing and elegant map of the country ever made. It didn’t come without a cost tho:
By contrast, David Imus worked alone on his map seven days a week for two full years. Nearly 6,000 hours in total. It would be prohibitively expensive just to outsource that much work. But Imus—a 35-year veteran of cartography who’s designed every kind of map for every kind of client—did it all by himself. He used a computer (not a pencil and paper), but absolutely nothing was left to computer-assisted happenstance. Imus spent eons tweaking label positions. Slaving over font types, kerning, letter thicknesses. Scrutinizing levels of blackness. It’s the kind of personal cartographic touch you might only find these days on the hand-illustrated ski-trail maps available at posh mountain resorts.
Combing through the massive amounts of data regarding this year’s massive 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan, researchers have found mountains of useful information. Visualizing it all usefully has proven tricky, but some new techniques coming out of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks show promise.
“When the massive data set from Japan became available through the ARIA project of JPL-Caltech, I had to come up with a better way to look at all this information,” said geophysicist Ronni Grapenthin at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.
Check out the impressive video of the data below. Researchers hope that it will pave the way for new real-time GPS monitoring stations that can deliver these same results instantly, making for far more accurate predictions of earthquake strength in the future.
NASA has taken the extensive data from their MODIS satellites and created an impressive visualization of large fires across the world from 2002 to 2001, and combines it with snowfall and seasonal changes.
The tour begins by showing extensive grassland fires spreading across interior Australia and the eucalyptus forests in the northwestern and eastern part of the continent. The tour then shifts to Asia where large numbers of agricultural fires are visible first in China in June 2004, then across a huge swath of Europe and western Russia in August. It then moves across India and Southeast Asia, through the early part of 2005. The tour continues across Africa, South America, and concludes in North America.
Surprisingly, even with all the recent fires in the US MidWest, only 2% of the fires in the world occur in the US. Most fires occur in the African savanna from agricultural activity and lightning strikes.
An article at io9 covers a recent discovery from Ross A. Harley and his colleagues of a new continent off the coast of Scotland that now exists 2km under the water. In discovering how it appeared and disappeared, they discovered a “thermal anomaly” they call “Mantle plume”, with the visualization above.
Basically, as you can see in the image at left, superheated rock in the Earth’s mantle (near the core of the planet) can sometimes create giant plumes of heat that push to the surface of the planet. When this happens, radical disruptions can occur — such as huge chunks of the seafloor rising suddenly above the surface of the ocean. And that’s what probably created this short-lived landmass.
Now this is just too cool to pass up. The Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo has a new display from Mitsubishi Electric called “Geo-Cosmos” that combines 10,362 OLED display panels into a giant live-updating sphere 6-meters across.
The globe was installed to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the museum, as a result of Executive Director Mamoru Mohri “wanting to share with people the sight of our beautiful Earth as seen from space.” The display features constantly updated satellite images of the earth. There are also interactive “Geo-Scope” touch-screen panels which allow visitors to browse images and data collected from all over the world. Something particularly interesting was a simulation showing the point of origin and eventual dispersion of the March 11 tsunami following the great earthquake.
One of the first things you learn in any data visualization course is that displaying lots of information isn’t always useful, the biggest impact you can have as a visualization expert is presenting it in a clear and usable way. Overat NTen, the Nonprofit Technology Network, they have an article from Larry Orman that gets specifically into the problems of Data Maps.
But, while some of us may “ooh” and “ahh” over a particularly cool-looking map, most people have a hard time actually reading and understanding maps. Some of this is a general cognitive truth, but a good part of that comes from poorly designed maps.
If our data is that important – and it is – we have to create visual design that delivers our messages to people.
Researchers at the San Diego State University’s Immersive Visualization Center have been working with the US Department of Defense and the US Navy to analyze data from various high-altitude imaging systems (planes, satellites, etc) to create interactive tools for visualization of the data. Ofter many years of arguing over classifications and availability, the technology is finally available for use and opening up whole new avenues of situational awareness for emergency responders, military commanders, and the public in general.
“If you stretched the time scale out for weeks at a time, months at a time, and then even years at a time,” Hatoum said, “you could really see the pattern — how they knew what routes we were taking — the fact that they would concentrate on different sectors based on what was going on that week.”
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