Archive for February, 2012

Big Data (Articles) Everywhere

A little while ago I wrote about how demand for GIS analysts may be on the rise (Demand for GIS Analysts on the Rise?). It referenced a report from the McKinsey Institute called Big Data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. Here are a few more articles that are referencing that report:

The Age of Big Data – New York Times
Big data is likened to a microscope. We can now see things that we couldn’t before – such as how political beliefs spread.

Data scientist: the hot new gig in tech – CNN Money
This article notes that there’s a course at Stanford on data mining that five years ago had 20 students but that most recently had 120 students. It also notes that there are now blogs about big data as well as a data scientist summit.

Big Data prep: 5 things IT should do now – PC Advisor
This article points out that big data refers to more than just the structured data that organizations collect for specific purposes. Indeed, big data is also about the data that is now available via social networks and other means, which the organization isn’t collecting itself, but which could have implications for how the organization does business if people know how to harness it and what to use it for.

No Comments

Freshy Map

Their tagline is may the powder be with you. There’s been some buzz about this interactive Web map of late. Interestingly, yesterday it had some widget type of things on the bottom of the page, but today they don’t seem to be there. (The screenshot is from yesterday.)

The main point of this map is to show the relative snow conditions of various ski resorts in Colorado, as indicated by graduated circle sizes. It also reports on their “Freshy Factor” via mouseover, which is explained in their About tab as being a combination of snow reports, social media input, and other things such as the time of day when the snow fell/is falling. There appears to be a real-time precipitation layer shown on the map as well.

It’s simple, it looks good, and if their conditions factor, ahem…Freshy Factor, has credence, it’ll become a much visited site.


Design Inspiration Series Part III: Japanese Garden

This is the third part of a four part series that supplies design tips for cartographers inspired by landscape genres. The first three posts go over these three types: French Formal Garden, English Garden, and Japanese Garden. The fourth post will depart from this by seeking inspiration from the natural (non-cultivated) landscape.

A Japanese Garden is the closest to mapping design of all the genres because in its essence, the Japanese Garden is a miniature world, just like a map. This means careful attention must be paid to directing the user’s attention to certain elements, scale, and architectural integration. These concepts are discussed below.

1) DIRECTING FLOW The path as garden feature is an important part of this garden type. A path can lead you to vistas and helps keep the rest of the garden from being trod on. So to is the element of emphasis in map design. Emphasis can be achieved in many ways in map design from making the main-point a bold color, to a larger size, to setting it off from the rest through masking. The map shown here is an example of masking out the background information (context) so that while it hasn’t quite disappeared, it is obviously not the location that the map reader focuses on. Photograph taken by Clifton Olds, Bowdoin, map by PetersonGIS

2) SCALE The Japanese Garden is usually built within a small space. in it, the designer wants to give the illusion of a larger space. To create the illusion, the size of objects that are even slightly further away from focal points will be much smaller, so that they seem further away than they really are. In mapping, this scale distortion is needed when a lot of information needs to be depicted for a very small space, while outlying information is also needed. A common technique in subway maps, for example, is to make the scale larger in the dense areas and smaller in the outlying locations so that the whole system can be shown on one map in a clear way. Photograph by Melissa Wilmot, map by Jake Berman

3) ARCHITECTURE / ICONS Japanese Gardens often feature buildings or small tea houses that blend in to the landscape from the perspective of the garden walker and that incorporate the landscape when visualized from within the building. In map design, we can use this principle to ensure that the structured elements that are imposed on the maps (think of icons and labels) blend well while still being visible and maintaining their importance. In the map shown below, the icons have a definite structure but their color and rounded corners serve to integrate them into the trail and hillshade graphics surrounding them. Photograph of Ritsurin Park by wiiii, map by core GIS


Newish Open Source Extensions to ArcGIS

If you do GIS analysis with ArcGIS you might be interested in a couple of open source extensions that add toolbox tools to ArcGIS. Karsten Vennemann is an expert on open source GIS solutions. He recently gave a presentation to the King County GIS Center User Group and posted his slides for everyone to benefit from. This is a great way to get a good overview of what these powerful extensions can do.

1 Comment

Map Products

If you are shopping for map-related home furnishings, here’s a couple of items for sale at Ikea, last seen this past weekend while shopping at Ikea Centennial:

This world map poster is also shown on their site.

This pillow is also shown on their site here.

*No, I don’t have any affiliation with this store.

No Comments