Archive for the ‘Maps’ Category

80 Maps that “Explain” the World

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Max Fisher, writing for the Washington Post, has two posts on maps that “explain” the world. Truly remarkable posts.

40 maps that explain the world, 12 August 2014.

From the August post:

Maps can be a remarkably powerful tool for understanding the world and how it works, but they show only what you ask them to. So when we saw a post sweeping the Web titled “40 maps they didn’t teach you in school,” one of which happens to be a WorldViews original, I thought we might be able to contribute our own collection. Some of these are pretty nerdy, but I think they’re no less fascinating and easily understandable. A majority are original to this blog (see our full maps coverage here)*, with others from a variety of sources. I’ve included a link for further reading on close to every one.

* I repaired the link to “our full maps coverage here.” It is broken in the original post.

40 more maps that explain the world, 13 January 2014.

From the January post:

Maps seemed to be everywhere in 2013, a trend I like to think we encouraged along with August’s 40 maps that explain the world. Maps can be a remarkably powerful tool for understanding the world and how it works, but they show only what you ask them to. You might consider this, then, a collection of maps meant to inspire your inner map nerd. I’ve searched far and wide for maps that can reveal and surprise and inform in ways that the daily headlines might not, with a careful eye for sourcing and detail. I’ve included a link for more information on just about every one. Enjoy.

Bear in mind the usual caveats about the underlying data, points of view represented and unrepresented but this is a remarkable collection of maps.

Highly recommended!

BTW, don’t be confused by the Part two: 40 more maps that explain the world link in the original article. The January 2014 article doesn’t say Part two but after comparing the links, I am satisfied that is what was intended, although it is confusing at first glance.

The case for big cities, in 1 map

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The case for big cities, in 1 map by Chris Cillizza.

From the post:

New Yorkers who don’t live in New York City hate the Big Apple. Missourians outside of St. Louis and Kansas City are skeptical about the people (and politicians) who come from the two biggest cities in the state. Politicians from the Chicago area (and inner suburbs) often meet skepticism when campaigning in downstate Illinois. You get the idea. People who don’t live in the big cities tend to resent those who do.

Fair enough. Growing up in semi-rural southeastern Connecticut, I always hated Hartford. (Not really.) But, this map built by Reddit user Alexandr Trubetskoy shows — in stark terms — how much of the country’s economic activity (as measured by the gross domestic product) is focused in a remarkably small number of major cities.

A great map, at least if you live in the greater metro area of any of these cities.

I could 21 red spots, although on the East coast they are so close together some were fused together.

It is also an illustration that a map doesn’t always tell the full story.

Say 21 or more cities produce have of the GDP.

Care to guess how many states are responsible for 50% of the agricultural production in the United States?

Answer.

Legendary Lands:…

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Legendary Lands: Umberto Eco on the Greatest Maps of Imaginary Places and Why They Appeal to Us by Maria Popova.

From the review:

“Often the object of a desire, when desire is transformed into hope, becomes more real than reality itself.”

Celebrated Italian novelist, philosopher, essayist, literary critic, and list-lover Umberto Eco has had a long fascination with the symbolic and the metaphorical, extending all the way back to his vintage semiotic children’s books. Half a century later, he revisits the mesmerism of the metaphorical and the symbolic in The Book of Legendary Lands (public library) — an illustrated voyage into history’s greatest imaginary places, with all their fanciful inhabitants and odd customs, on scales as large as the mythic continent Atlantis and as small as the fictional location of Sherlock Holmes’s apartment. A dynamic tour guide for the human imagination, Eco sets out to illuminate the central mystery of why such utopias and dystopias appeal to us so powerfully and enduringly, what they reveal about our relationship with reality, and how they bespeak the quintessential human yearning to make sense of the world and find our place in it — after all, maps have always been one of our greatest sensemaking mechanisms for life, which we’ve applied to everything from the cosmos to time to emotional memory.

Eco writes in the introduction:

Legendary lands and places are of various kinds and have only one characteristic in common: whether they depend on ancient legends whose origins are lost in the mists of time or whether they are an effect of a modern invention, they have created flows of belief.

The reality of these illusions is the subject of this book.

Definitely going to the top of my wish list!

I suspect that like Gladwell‘s Tipping Point, Blink, Flop (forthcoming?), it is one thing to see a successful utopia in retrospect but quite another to intentionally create one.

Tolkien did with the Hobbit but for all of its power, it has never, to my knowledge, influenced a United States Congress appropriations bill.

Perhaps it is more accurate to say that successful utopias are possible but it is difficult to calculate their success and/or impact.

In any event, I am looking forward to spending serious time with The Book of Legendary Lands.

PS: For the library students among us, the subject classifications given by WorldCat:

  • Geographical myths in literature.
  • Geographical myths in art — Pictorial works.
  • Geographical myths.
  • Art and literature.
  • Geographical myths in art.

I haven’t gotten a copy of the book, yet, but that looks really impoverished to me. If I am looking for materials on reality, belief, social consensus, social fabric, legends, etc. I am going to miss this book in your library?

Suggestions?

Linux Kernel Map

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Linux Kernel Map by Antony Peel.

A very good map of the Linux Kernel.

I haven’t tried to reproduce it here because the size reduction would make it useless.

In sufficient resolution, this would make a nice interface to usenet Linux postings.

I may have to find a print shop that can convert this into a folding map version.

Enjoy!

ViziCities

Monday, February 17th, 2014

ViziCities: Bringing cities to life using the power of open data and the Web by Robin Hawkes and Peter Smart.

From the webpage:

ViziCities is a 3D city and data visualisation platform, powered by WebGL. Its purpose is to change the way you look at cities and the data contained within them. It is the brainchild of Robin Hawkes and Peter Smartget in touch if you’d like to discuss the project with them in more detail.

Demonstration

Here’s a demo of ViziCities so you can have a play without having to build it for yourself. Cool, ey?

What does it do?

ViziCities aims to combine data visualisation with a 3D representation of a city to provide a better understanding what’s going on. It’s a powerful new way of looking at and understanding urban areas.

Aside from seeing a city in 3D, here are some of the others things you’ll have the power to do:

This is wickedly cool! (Even though in pre-alpha state.)

Governments, industry, etc. have had these capabilities for quite some time.

Now, you too can do line of sight, routing, and integration of other data onto a representation of a cityscape.

Could be quite important in Bangkok, Caracas, Kiev, and other locations with non-responsive governments.

Used carefully, information can become an equalizer.

Other resources:

ViziCities website

ViziCities announcement

Videos of ViziCities experiments

“ViziCities” as a search term shows a little over 1,500 “hits” today. Expect that to expand rapidly.

…Open GIS Mapping Data To The Public

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Esri Allows Federal Agencies To Open GIS Mapping Data To The Public by Alexander Howard.

From the post:

A debate in the technology world that’s been simmering for years, about whether mapping vendor Esri will allow public geographic information systems (GIS) to access government customers’ data, finally has an answer: The mapping software giant will take an unprecedented step, enabling thousands of government customers around the U.S. to make their data on the ArcGIS platform open to the public with a click of a mouse.

“Everyone starting to deploy ArcGIS can now deploy an open data site,” Andrew Turner, chief technology officer of Esri’s Research and Development Center in D.C., said in an interview. “We’re in a unique position here. Users can just turn it on the day it becomes public.”

Government agencies can use the new feature to turn geospatial information systems data in Esri’s format into migratable, discoverable, and accessible open formats, including CSVs, KML and GeoJSON. Esri will demonstrate the ArcGIS feature in ArcGIS at the Federal Users Conference in Washington, D.C. According to Turner, the new feature will go live in March 2014.

I’m not convinced that GIS data alone is going to make government more transparent but it is a giant step in the right direction.

To have even partial transparency in government, not only would you need GIS data but to have that correlated with property sales and purchases going back decades, along with tracing the legal ownership of property past shell corporations and holding companies, to say nothing of the social, political and professional relationships of those who benefited from various decisions. For a start.

Still, the public may be a better starting place to demand transparency with this type of data.

Build your own [Secure] Google Maps…

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Build your own Google Maps (and more) with GeoServer on OpenShift by Steven Citron-Pousty.

From the post:

Greetings Shifters! Today we are going to continue in our spatial series and bring up Geoserver on OpenShift and connect it to our PostGIS database. By the end of the post you will have your own map tile server OR KML (to show on Google Earth) or remote GIS server.

The team at Geoserver has put together a nice short explanation of the geoserver and then a really detailed list. If you want commercial support, Boundless will give you a commercial release and/or support for all your corporate needs. Today though I am only going to focus on the FOSS bits.

From the GeoServer site:

GeoServer allows you to display your spatial information to the world. Implementing the Web Map Service (WMS) standard, GeoServer can create maps in a variety of output formats. OpenLayers, a free mapping library, is integrated into GeoServer, making map generation quick and easy. GeoServer is built on Geotools, an open source Java GIS toolkit.

There is much more to GeoServer than nicely styled maps, though. GeoServer also conforms to the Web Feature Service (WFS) standard, which permits the actual sharing and editing of the data that is used to generate the maps. Others can incorporate your data into their websites and applications, freeing your data and permitting greater transparency.

I added “[Secure]” to the title, assuming that you will not hand over data to the NSA about yourself or your maps. I can’t say that for everyone that offers mapping services on the WWW.

Depending on how much security you need, certainly develop on OpenShift but I would deploy on shielded and physically secure hardware. Depends on your appetite for risk.

Stunning Maps of World Topography [In 3 Lines of R]

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Stunning Maps of World Topography by James Chesire.

From the post:

Robin Edwards, a researcher at UCL CASA, has created these stunning topographic maps using the high resolution elevation data provided by the British Oceanographic Data Centre. The transitions from black (high areas) to blue (low areas) give the maps a slightly ethereal appearance to dramatic effect.

The maps are truly impressive.

BTW, the maps really required “3 lines of R.”

Middle Earth Maps

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

If Middle-Earth Were Real, These Exquisite Shots Would Be Its Vacation Brochure by Peter Rubin.

From the post:

While Westeros is making a run for it, JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth is still the undisputed champ of fantasy worlds beloved by cartographers. Several projects over the years have tried to map the land of Lord of the Rings—some great, some unrealized. Now, however, the most ambitious among them has joined forces with a videogame middleware company to transcend simple drawings and create the most stunning shots thus far.

Peter covers the results of a collaboration between Outerra and the ME-DEM (Middle-earth Digital Elevation Model) Project. Quite stunning.

To see the demo at ME-DEM, I need to install a newer version of Windows on a VM. Windows 8.1 Pro? Need to see if it is compatible with a NVIDIA video card.

I’m as confused as you are about Peter saying “…were real…” with regard to Middle Earth.

The stories of Middle Earth have influenced more people and events than many things thought to be “more real.”

Map of Preventable Diseases

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

preventable disease

Be sure to see the interactive version of this map by the Council on Foreign Relations.

I first saw this at Chart Porn, which was linking to Map of preventable disease outbreaks shows the influence of anti-vaccination movements by Rich McCormick, which in turn pointed to the CFG map.

The dataset is downloadable from the CFG.

Vaccination being more a matter of public health, I have always wondered by anyone would be allowed an option to decline. Certainly some people will have adverse reactions, even die, and they or their families should be cared for and/or compensated. But they should not be allowed to put large numbers of others at risk.

BTW, when you look at the interactive map, locate Georgia in the United States and you will see the large green dot reports 247 cases of whooping cough for Georgia. The next green dot which slightly overlaps with it, reports 2 cases. While being more than half the size of the dot on Georgia.

Disproportionate scaling of icons reduces the accuracy of the information conveyed by the map. Unfortunate because this is an important public health issue.

Easy data maps with R: the choroplethr package

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Easy data maps with R: the choroplethr package by David Smith.

From the post:

Choropleth maps are a popular way of representing spatial or geographic data, where a statistic of interest (say, income, voting results or crime rate) are color-coded by region. R includes all of the necessary tools for creating choropleth maps, but Trulia's Ari Lamstein has made the process even easier with the new choroplethr package now available on github. With couple of lines of code, you can easily convert a data frame of values coded by country, state, county or zip code into a choropleth like this:

us map

This sounds like a great tool for the General Social Survey data in Social Science Dataset Prize!

My Mind

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

My Mind by Ondřej Žára.

From the webpage:

My Mind is a web application for creating and managing Mind maps. It is free to use and you can fork its source code. It is distributed under the terms of the MIT license.

Be sure to check out the Mind map features version. (Check out the documentation for basic commands.)

I first saw this in Nat Torkington’s Four short links: 22 January 2014.

Euler’s Seven Bridges X Seven Minus 2

Monday, January 13th, 2014

We Used New York City’s 47 Bridges To Solve An 18th Century Math Puzzle by Andy Kiersz.

From the post:

The George Washington Bridge isn’t the only way to get from one landmass to another in New York City.

NYC is built on an archipelago, and consequently has a ton of bridges. There are 47 non-rail-only bridges in New York City that appear on Wikipedia’s list of said bridges.

In this exercise, we answer: Is it possible to get around NYC by crossing every bridge just once?

This is more than just a fun math puzzle. The process for answering this question eventually led to modern-day, real-world applications that couldn’t have been imagined when a similar question was first posed nearly 300 years ago.

A highly entertaining examination of how to solve the Seven Bridges of Koenigsburg for the “47ish Bridges of NYC.”

Profusely illustrated with maps to help you follow the narration.

Good introductory material on graphs.

Would need supplementing to strengthen the cases for graphs being important. For example, “relationships between people on social networking sites” can be modeled as a graph, doesn’t really capture the imagination.

Whereas, your relationships to other people in high school, college, work and on social network sites can be represented in a graph, might provoke a more visceral reaction.

Topological maps or topographic maps?

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Topological maps or topographic maps? by Dave Richeson.

From the post:

While surfing the web the other day I read an article in which the author refers to a “topological map.” I think it is safe to say that he meant to write “topographic map.” This is an error I’ve seen many times before.

A topographic map is a map of a region that shows changes in elevation, usually with contour lines indicating different fixed elevations. This is a map that you would take on a hike.

A topological map is a continuous function between two topological spaces—not the same thing as a topographic map at all!

I thought for sure that there was no cartographic meaning for topological map. It turns out, however, that there is.

A topological map is a map that is only concerned with relative locations of features on the map, not on exact locations. A famous example is the graph that we use to solve the Bridges of Königsberg problem.

A useful reminder.

Although I would use even topological maps of concepts, establishing relative locations, with caution. Concepts have no universal metric and therefore placement on a topological map is largely arbitrary.

Military footprint

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Military footprint by Nathan Yau.

Nathan has found a collection of aerial photographs of military bases around the world. Along with their locations.

Excellent information for repackaging with other information about military bases and their surroundings.

WARNING: Laws concerning the collection and/or sale of information about military bases varies from one jurisdiction to another.

Just so you know and can price your services appropriately.

Have You Been Naughty Or Nice?

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Maps Of Seven Deadly Sins In America

From the post:

Geographers from Kansas State University have created a map of the spatial distribution of the Seven Deadly Sins across the United States. How? By mapping demographic data related to each of the Sins.

Below are screenshots of the maps in standard deviation units; red naturally is more sinful, blue less sinful.

I’m not vouching for the accuracy of these maps. ;-)

I could not find the original project, which was apparently a presentation at a geography conference in Las Vegas.

Has anyone mapped the levels in Dante’s Inferno to a U.S. map?

Based on crime and other socio-economic data?

That would be a real interesting map.

Although not the sort of thing you would find at the tourist bureau.

Google Map Overlays

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Google Map Overlays by Dustin Smith.

From the post:

National Geographic is adding 500 of their classic maps to the Google public data archive. Basically, these are layers mapped onto Google’s existing map engine. The press release contained two examples, but bizarrely, no link to the public gallery where the NattyG maps will eventually appear.

My experience with press releases and repeated press release sites is that they rarely include meaningful links.

I don’t have an explanation as to why but I have seen it happen too often to be by chance.

Some sites include off-site links but trap you within a window from that site with their ads.

Updating OpenStreetMap…

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Updating OpenStreetMap with the latest US road data by Eric Fisher.

From the post:

We can now pull the most current US government index of all roads directly into OpenStreetMap for tracing. Just go to OpenStreetMap.org, click Edit, and choose the “New & Misaligned TIGER Roads” option from the layer menu. “TIGER” is the name of the US road database managed by the Census Bureau. The TIGER layer will reveal in yellow any roads that have been corrected in or added to TIGER since 2006 and that have not also been corrected in OpenStreetMap. Zoom in on any yellow road to see how TIGER now maps it, verify it against the aerial imagery, and correct it in OpenStreetMap.

This could be very useful.

For planning protest, retreat, escape routes and such. ;-)

Global Forest Change

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The first detailed maps of global forest change by Matt Hansen and Peter Potapov, University of Maryland; Rebecca Moore and Matt Hancher, Google.

From the post:

Most people are familiar with exploring images of the Earth’s surface in Google Maps and Earth, but of course there’s more to satellite data than just pretty pictures. By applying algorithms to time-series data it is possible to quantify global land dynamics, such as forest extent and change. Mapping global forests over time not only enables many science applications, such as climate change and biodiversity modeling efforts, but also informs policy initiatives by providing objective data on forests that are ready for use by governments, civil society and private industry in improving forest management.

In a collaboration led by researchers at the University of Maryland, we built a new map product that quantifies global forest extent and change from 2000 to 2012. This product is the first of its kind, a global 30 meter resolution thematic map of the Earth’s land surface that offers a consistent characterization of forest change at a resolution that is high enough to be locally relevant as well. It captures myriad forest dynamics, including fires, tornadoes, disease and logging.

Global map of forest change: http://earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest

If you are curious to learn more, tune in next Monday, November 18 to a live-streamed, online presentation and demonstration by Matt Hansen and colleagues from UMD, Google, USGS, NASA and the Moore Foundation:

Live-stream Presentation: Mapping Global Forest Change
Live online presentation and demonstration, followed by Q&A
Monday, November 18, 2013 at 1pm EST, 10am PST
Link to live-streamed event: http://goo.gl/JbWWTk
Please submit questions here: http://goo.gl/rhxK5X

For further results and details of this study, see High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change in the November 15th issue of the journal Science.

These maps make it difficult to ignore warnings about global forest change. Forests not as abstractions but living areas that recede before your eyes.

The enhancement I would like to see to these maps is the linking of the people responsible with name, photo and last known location.

Deforestation doesn’t happen because of “those folks in government,” or “people who work for timber companies,” or “economic forces,” although all those categories of anonymous groups are used to avoid moral responsibility.

No, deforestation happens because named individuals in government, business, manufacturing, farming, have made individual decisions to exploit the forests.

With enough data on the individuals who made those decisions, the rest of us could make decisions too.

Such as how to treat people guilty of committing and conspiring to commit ecocide.

Geocode the world…

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Geocode the world with the new Data Science Toolkit by Pete Warden.

From the post:

I’ve published a new version of the Data Science Toolkit, which includes David Blackman’s awesome TwoFishes city-level geocoder. Largely based on data from the Geonames project, the biggest improvement is that the Google-style geocoder now handles millions of places around the world in hundreds of languages:

Who or what do you want to locate? ;-)

Map: Where the People Are

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Map: Where the People Are by Joshua Keating.

Maps created by Radical Cartography (yes, that is how I found the site) that show the distribution of the world population by latitude and longitude. Data for the year 2000.

Would be interesting to see latitude/longitude maps like this for every ten (10) years starting in about 1800.

Did the population increase in place or expand to new places? Or were there spikes of expansion followed by spikes of increased density?

Radical Cartography

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Radical Cartography

A very rich site with examples of cartography that I find hard to describe.

Rather than an inadequate description, here is an example of a custom map that the site generated at my request:

2013 Calendar for Atlanta

For best viewing, save the image to your computer and view in a browser.

See Your Calendar if you want to generate a custom calendar for yourself.

Don’t skip exploring the other projects at this site.

Are crowdsourced maps the future of navigation? [Supplying Context?]

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Are crowdsourced maps the future of navigation? by Kevin Fitchard.

From the post:

Given the craziness of the first two weeks in September in the tech world an interesting hire that should have gotten more attention slipped largely through the cracks. Steve Coast, founder of the OpenStreetMap project, has joined Telenav, signaling a big move by the navigation outfit toward crowdsourced mapping.

OpenStreetMap is the Wikipedia of mapping. OSM’s dedicated community of 1.3 million editors have gathered GPS data while driving, biking and walking the streets of the world to build a map from the ground up. They’ve even gone so far as to mark objects that exist on few other digital maps, from trees to park benches. That map was then offered up free to all comers.

Great story about mapping, crowd sourcing, etc., but it also has this gem:

For all of its strengths, OSM primarily has been a display map filled with an enormous amount of detail — Coast said editors will spend hours placing individual trees on boulevards. Many editors often don’t want to do the grunt work that makes maps truly useful for navigation, like filling in address data or labeling which turns are allowed at an intersection. (emphasis added)

Sam Hunting has argued for years that hobbyists, sports fans, etc., are naturals for entering data into topic maps.

Well, assuming an authoring interface with a low enough learning curve.

I went to the OpenStreetMap project, discovered an error in Covington, GA (where I live), created an account, watched a short editing tutorial and completed my first edit in about ten (10) minutes. I refreshed my browser and the correction is in place.

Future edits/corrections should be on the order of less than two minutes.

Care to name a topic map authoring interface that easy to use?

Not an entirely fair question because the geographic map provided me with a lot of unspoken context.

For example, I did not create associations between my correction and the City of Covington, Newton County, Georgia, United States, Western Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere, Earth, or fill in types or roles for all those associations. Or remove any of the associations, types or roles that were linked to the incorrect information.

Baseball fans are reported to be fairly fanatical. But can you imagine any fan starting a topic map of baseball from scratch? I didn’t think so either. But on the other hand, what if there was an interface styled in a traditional play by play format, that allowed fans to capture games in progress? And as the game progresses, the associations and calculations on those associations (stats) are updated.

All the fan is doing is entering familiar information, allowing the topic map engine to worry about types, associations, etc.

Is that the difficulty with semantic technology interfaces?

That we require users to do more than enter the last semantic mile?

Cartographies of Time:…

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Cartographies of Time: A Visual History of the Timeline by Maria Popova.

Maria reviews Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline by Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton.

More examples drawn from the text than analysis of the same.

The examples represent events but attempt to make the viewer aware of their embedding in time and place. A location that is only partially represented by a map.

I mention that because maps shown on news casts, particularly about military action, seem to operate the other way.

News maps appear to subtract time and its close cousin, distance, out of their maps.

Events happen in the artificial area created by the map, where the rules of normal physics don’t apply.

More troubling, the maps become the “reality” for the viewing audience rather than a representative of a much bloodier and more ambiguous reality on the ground.

Just curious if you have noticed that difference.

40 Maps…

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

From the post:

If you’re a visual learner like myself, then you know maps, charts and infographics can really help bring data and information to life. Maps can make a point resonate with readers and this collection aims to do just that.

Hopefully some of these maps will surprise you and you’ll learn something new. A few are important to know, some interpret and display data in a beautiful or creative way, and a few may even make you chuckle or shake your head.

If you enjoy this collection of maps, the Sifter highly recommends the r/MapPorn sub reddit. You should also check out ChartsBin.com. There were also fantastic posts on Business Insider and Bored Panda earlier this year that are worth checking out. Enjoy!

A must see collection of maps!

I’m not vouching for the accuracy of any of the maps.

After all, 20. Map of Countries with the Most Violations of Bribery shows none for the United States. Must have an odd definition of bribery.

United States Senators are paid $174,000 per year.

It cost $10.5 million on average to win a United States Senate seat.

Let’s see, six year term at $174,000 per year = $1,044,000. And you are going to spend more than 10X that amount to get the job? Plus that amount to retain it for another six years?

Or some public spirited person is going to give you > $10.5 million with no strings attached.

If you believe that last statement, please log off the Internet and never return. You are unsafe. (full stop)

Exploring LinkedIn in Neo4j

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Exploring LinkedIn in Neo4j by Rik Van Bruggen.

From the post:

Ever since I have been working for Neo, we have been trying to give our audience as many powerful examples of places where graph databases could really shine. And one of the obvious places has always been: social networks. That’s why I’ve written a post about facebook, and why many other graphistas have been looking at facebook and others to explain what could be done.

But while Facebook is probably the best-known social network, the one I use professionally the most is: LinkedIn. Some call it the creepiest network, but the fact of the matter is that professional network is, and has always been, a very useful way to get and stay in contact with other people from other organisations. And guess what: they do some fantastic stuff with their own, custom-developed graphs. One of these things is InMaps – a fantastic visualisation and colour coded analysis of your professional network. That’s where this blogpost got its inspiration from.

As Rik points out, you can view InMaps but you can do much else.

To fix that, Rik guides you through extracting data from InMaps and loading it into Neo4j.

For extra credit, try merging your data with data on the same people from other sources.

Could give you some insight into the problems faced by the NSA.

Interactive Surveillance Map?

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Interactive crime map of London (Map by James Cheshire.)

An interactive map of crime in London, May 2012 – April 2013.

Which should be titillating for tourists, etc.

A better interactive map would be of the London surveillance cameras and their fields of view.

In case you didn’t know, the number of surveillance cameras is increasing.

Ginny Sloan writes in Will More Video Surveillance Cameras Make Us Any Safer?:

In the wake of the Boston marathon bombing, Boston Police Commissioner Davis has called for more surveillance cameras, and press accounts report new calls for cameras from Richmond, Virginia to San Francisco. Mayor Emmanuel has said Chicago will keep adding cameras, and Mayor Bloomberg is warning New York City residents that more cameras are coming, scoffing at complaints that this will be “Big Brother,” and telling New Yorkers to “Get used to it!” But does the Boston investigation really teach us that what our major cities need is more cameras?

True, it was video surveillance footage from a department store camera that provided the first important clues leading to the suspects in the marathon bombing. Additional video footage from members of the public also helped police identify and apprehend the suspects. The law enforcement officials who sought and examined the video footage, and the businesses and individuals who provided their videos in response, all deserve our praise and gratitude.

But we must be careful in identifying lessons from this use of video evidence. Most importantly, we should recognize that video cameras did not, and cannot, prevent an attack like the Boston marathon bombing. Nor did the ubiquitous cameras in London, the most-surveilled city on the planet, prevent the devastating bombing attacks in that city in 2005. This is not to discredit the important role that surveillance footage has played in identifying suspects after the fact in these cases and others. Yet increasing the number of cameras in cities like Boston, or Chicago — which already has over ten-thousand cameras — would not convert the cameras into a terrorism-prevention tool. Nor is there any indication that Boston investigators were hampered by having too little video footage to examine.

I think Ginny is missing the point. Cameras are cheaper than police officers, don’t get sick, have insurance, paid vacation or retirement. No, cameras are not ever going to prevent any crimes, but then that isn’t the point.

The point is that cameras are an easy way to appear to be doing something, even if the something is ineffectual and an invasion of your privacy.

If you want to protect your privacy and the privacy of others, take pictures of surveillance cameras with a GPS enabled cellphone.

That won’t give you field of view but just having all of them located will be a major step forward.

Chicago has approximately 2.7 million residents. With 10,000 cameras, one out of every 270 people could take an image of one camera and all of their locations would be captured.

Hardly a secret, the cameras are in public view.

The freedom you regain may be your own.

GraphHopper Maps…

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

GraphHopper Maps – High Performance and Customizable Routing in Java by Peter Karich.

From the post:

Today we’re proud to announce the first stable release of GraphHopper! After over a year of busy development we finally reached version 0.1!

GraphHopper is a fast and Open Source road routing engine written in Java based on OpenStreetMap data. It handles the full planet on a 15GB server but is also scales down and can be embedded into your application! This means you’re able to run Germany-wide queries on Android with only 32MB in a few seconds. You can download the Android offline routing demo or have a look at our web instance which has world wide coverage for car, bike and pedestrian:

GraphHopper Java Routing

The trip to the current state of GraphHopper was rather stony as we had to start from scratch as there is currently no fast Java-based routing engine. What we’ve built is quite interesting as it shows that a Java application can be as fast as Bing or Google Maps (in 2011) and beats YOURS, MapQuest and Cloudmade according to the results outlined in a Blog post from Pascal and with tests against GraphHopper – although OSRM is still ahead. But how can a Java application be so fast? One important side is the used algorithm: Contraction Hierarchies – a ‘simple’ shortcutting technique to speed up especially lengthy queries. But even without this algorithm GraphHopper is fast which is a result of weeks of tuning for less memory consumption (yes, memory has something to do with speed), profiling and tweaking. But not only the routing is fast and memory efficient also the import process. And it should be easy to get started and modify GraphHopper to your needs.

Contraction hierarchies are a very active area of graph research.

Contraction Hierarchies at Wikipedia has a nice coverage with a pointer to Robert Geisberger’s thesis, Contraction Hierarchies: Faster and Simpler
Hierarchical Routing in Road Networks
.

You may also be interested in:

Efficient Route Planning by Prof. Dr. Hannah Bast. A wiki for a 2012 summer course on route planning. Includes videos, slides, exercises, etc.

DC Conference Swag

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Sketching D.C. Crime Data With R by Matt Stiles.

From the post:

A car burglar last week nabbed a radio from our car, prompting me to think (once again) about crime in Washington, D.C., where I live.

I wanted to know if certain crimes were more common in particular neighborhoods, so I downloaded a list of every serious crime in 2012 from the city’s data portal. The data contained about 35,000 reported incidents of homicides, thefts, assaults, etc., with fields listing the date, time and neighborhood associated with each case.

I used the statistical programming language R, which is great for quickly creating small multiples to examine data, to make some rough visual sketches.

First, since we’re talking about cars, the first grid shows thefts from vehicles, by hour and “advisory neighborhood commission“. These commissions are the small groups of officials who represent their respective D.C. neighborhoods on issues like real estate development and alcohol sales, among other things. (I live in Brookland, which is governed by ANC 5B). You can find your ANC here.

(…)

Matt charts a variety of crimes in DC and is sure to get your attention.

Occurs to me that a map of DC, color coded by crime and time of day, would be great conference swag for conference tote bags.

With the subway system marked with “Do Not Exit” here signs.