## Archive for the ‘Mapping’ Category

### Google Map Redesign [Brain Buds]

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Google Map Redesign by Caitlin Dempsey.

From the post:

Googles Maps is preparing to debut its newly revamped Google Maps. Terming it “smart recommendations” the new functionality of Google Maps is intended to be more interactive and custom tailored to the specific user. The more you use the map to search for locations, favorite items by starring them, and write location reviews, the more unique the map becomes. Clicking a specific business or feature will result in the map features adjusting to show roads and locations related to that place.

(…)

Previewing the new Google Maps is currently only available by invite at the moment. You can request your invite via the Preview page.

Technology could be exposing you to a broader view of the world, perhaps even as other see it.

• Apple brought us ear buds that wall us off from ambient sound and others.
• Apple also brought us eye buds (iPhones) that wall us off from our visual surroundings.
• Google is building brain buds to wrap you in a customized cocoon of content.

Ironic if you remember the original MacIntosh commercial:

Timothy Leary today would say:

Turn on, tune in, unplug.

### Geography of hate against gays, races, and the disabled

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Geography of hate against gays, races, and the disabled by Nathan Yau.

Nathan reports on the work of Floating Sheep who relied on 150,000 tags to create this map.

More details at Nathan’s site but as Nathan says, read the FAQ before you get too torqued about the map.

If nothing else, this should be a good lesson in the choices made collecting and mapping “objective” data (the tweets) and what questions you should ask about that process.

I found it interesting that the sea coast along the Gulf of Mexico seemed to have less hate.

How would you defend the choices you make when making a topic map?

Some information, that is important to someone will have to be left out. Was that out of religious, political, social or ethnic bias?

You can’t avoid that sort of question but you can be comfortable with your own answers should it arise.

My stock response is:

“The paying client is happy with the map. Become a paying client and you can be map happy too.”

### The Map Myth of Sandy Island

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

The Map Myth of Sandy Island by Rebecca Maxwell.

From the post:

Sandy Island has long appeared on maps dating back to the early twentieth century. This island was supposedly located in the Pacific Ocean northwest of Australia in the Coral Sea. It first appeared on an edition of a British admiralty map back in 1908 proving that Sandy Island had been discovered by the French in 1876. Even modern maps, like the General Bathymetic Chart of the Oceans (the British Oceanopgraphic Dat Centre issued an errata about Sandy Island) and Google Earth, show the presence of an island at its coordinates. Sandy Island is roughly the size of Manhattan; it is about three miles wide and fifteen miles long. However, there is only one problem. The island does not actually exist.

Back in October 2012, an Australian research ship undiscovered the island. The ship, called the Southern Surveyor, was led by Maria Seton, a scientist from the University of Sydney. The purpose of the twenty-five-day expedition was to gather information about tectonic activity, map the sea floor, and gather rock samples from the bottom. The scientific data that they had, including the General Bathymetic Chart of the Oceans, indicated the presence of Sandy Island halfway between Australia and the island of New Caledonia, a French possession. The crew began to get suspicious, however, when the chart from the ship’s master only showed open water. Plus, Google Earth only showed a dark blob where it should have been.

When the ship arrived at Sandy Island’s supposed coordinates, they found nothing but ocean a mile deep. One of the ship’s crewmembers, Steven Micklethwaite, said that they all had a good laugh at Google’s expense as they sailed through the island. The crew was quick to make their findings known. The story originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and prompted a large amount of controversy. Cartographers were the most puzzled of all. Many wondered whether the island had ever existed or if it had been eroded away by the ocean waves over the years. Others wondered if the island mysteriously disappeared into the ocean like the legendary city of Atlantis. An “obituary” for Sandy Island, reporting the findings, was published in Eos, Transactions of the Geophysical Union in April of 2013.

Rebecca details the discovered/undiscovered history of Sandy Island in rich detail.

It’s a great story and you should treat yourself by reading it.

My only disagreement with Rebecca comes when she writes:

Maps are continually changing and modern maps still contain a human element that is vulnerable to mistakes.

On the contrary, maps, even modern ones, are wholly human constructs.

Not just the mistakes but the degree of accuracy, the implicit territorial or political claims, what is interesting enough to record, etc., are all human choices in production.

To say nothing of humans on the side of reading/interpretation as well.

If there were no sentient creatures to read it, would a map have any meaning?

### OpenStreetMap Editor Designed by MapBox Goes Live

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

OpenStreetMap Editor Designed by MapBox Goes Live by Caitlin Dempsey.

From the post:

A new easy-to-use editor for OpenStreetMap has gone live. Called iD, the development of in-browser data editor was coordinated by MapBox and funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation. The Alpha version of iD was released in January of this year, but was only recently added as an option to the edit drop down menu on www.openstreetmap.org.

The new editor, codenamed ‘iD’, boasts an intuitive interface and clear walk-throughs that make editing much easier for new mappers. By lowering the barrier to contributions, we believe that more people can contribute their local knowledge to the map – the crucial factor that sets OSM apart from closed-source commercial maps.

You really need to see this to appreciate the ease of adding information to a map.

Excellent!

### Largest Coffee Table Book

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Largest Atlas in the World Created using ArcGIS by Caitlin Dempsey.

From the post:

Earth Platinum, the largest atlas ever printed, was released in February 2012 by Millennium House, Australia. Only 31 copies of the 330 pound, leather-bound book exist and each are priced at $100,000. The book measures 6ft by 9ft and has been recognized by Chris Sheedy of the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest atlas in existence. The book contains 128 pages and requires at least two hands, or in some case multiple people, to turn the pages. Earth Platinum has surpassed the previous holder of the world record for largest atlas, the famous Klencke Atlas (which measures about 5′ 9″ by 6′ 3″ when opened). The Klencke Atlas is housed in the Antiquarian Mapping Division of the British Library in London and held the title for largest atlas worldwide from 1660 until the publication of Earth Platinum. Published as a one-off over 350 years ago, the Klencke Atlas is reported to contain all geographical knowledge of that time, just as Earth Platinum does today. Amazon doesn’t have it listed so I can’t say if you get a discount and/or free shipping or both. Interesting but only as a publishing oddity. I would rather have a digital version that is a geographic interface into a general knowledge topic map. ### History of San Francisco street names mapped Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 History of San Francisco street names mapped by Nathan Yau. Nathan points to a project that has captured not only street names but the history of those names for part of San Francisco. You don’t have to be there to appreciate the map. Reminded me of a highway in a small town where I lived in Louisiana that was variously known as Hwy. 84, Winnfield Highway, “Front street” or simply the “front.” Each of those names had a history, had anyone cared to capture them. ### Mapping the News [Idea for a NewsApp] Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 NewsRel Uses Machine Learning To Summarize News Stories And Put Them On A Map by Frederic Lardinois. From the post: After 24 hours of staring at their screens, the teams that participated in our Disrupt NY 2013 Hackathon have now finished their projects and are currently presenting them onstage. With more than 160 hacks, there are far too many cool ones to write about, but one that stood out to me was NewsRel, an iPad-based news app that uses machine-learning techniques to understand how news stories relate to one other. The app uses Google Maps as its main interface and automatically decides which location is most appropriate for any given story. The app currently uses Reuters‘ RSS feed and analyzes the stories, looking for clusters of related stories and then puts them on the map. Say you are looking at a story about the Boston Marathon bombings. The app, of course, will show you a number of news stories about it clustered around Boston, then maybe something about the president’s comments about it from Washington and another article that relates it to the massacre during the Munich Olympics in 1972. In addition to this, the team built an algorithm that picks the most important sentences from each story to summarize it for you. No pointers to software, just the news blurb. But, does raise an interesting possibility. What if news video streams were tagged with geolocation and type information? So I could exclude “train hits parade float” stories from several states away, automobile accidents, crime stories and replaces it with substantive commentary from the BBC or Al Jazeera. Now that would be a video feed worth paying for. Particularly if for a premium it was commercial free. Freedom from Wolf Blitzer’s whines in disaster areas should come as a free pre-set. Just a small amount of additional semantics could lead to entirely new markets and delivery systems. ### Atlas of Design Monday, April 29th, 2013 Atlas of Design by Caitlin Dempsey. From the post: Do you love beautiful maps? The Atlas of Design has been reprinted and is now available for purchase. Published by the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS), this compendium showcases cartography at some of its finest. The atlas was originally published in 2012 and features the work of 27 cartographers. In early 2012, a call for contributions was sent out and 140 entries from 90 different individuals and groups submitted their work. A panel of eight volunteer judges plus the book’s editors evaluated the entries and selected the finalists. The focus of the Atlas of Design is on the aesthetics and design involved in mapmaking. Tim Wallace and Daniel Huffman, the editors of Atlas of Design explain the book’s introduction about the focus of the book: Aesthetics separate workable maps from elegant ones. This book is about the latter category. My personal suspicion is that aesthetics separate legible topic maps from those that attract repeat users. The only way to teach aesthetics (which varies by culture and social group) is by experience. This is a great starting point for your aesthetics education. ### The OpenStreetMap Package Opens Up Sunday, April 21st, 2013 The OpenStreetMap Package Opens Up From the post: A new version of the OpenStreetMap package is now up on CRAN, and should propagate to all the mirrors in the next few days. The primary purpose of the package is to provide high resolution map/satellite imagery for use in your R plots. The package supports base graphics and ggplot2, as well as transformations between spatial coordinate systems. The bigest change in the new version is the addition of dozens of tile servers, giving the user the option of many different map looks, including those from Bing, MapQuest and Apple. Very impressive display of the new capabilities in OpenStreetMap and this note about OpenStreetMap and ggmap: Probably the main alternative to OpenStreetMap is the ggmap package. ggmap is an excellent package, and it is somewhat unfortunate that there is a significant duplication of effort between it and OpenStreetMap. That said, there are some differences that may help you decide which to use: Reasons to favor OpenStreetMap: • More maps: OpenStreetMap supports more map types. • Better image resolution: ggmap only fetches one png from the server, and thus is limited to the resolution of that png, whereas OpenStreetMap can download many map tiles and stich them together to get an arbitrarily high image resolution. • Transformations: OpenStreetMap can be used with any map coordinate system, whereas ggmap is limited to long-lat. • Base graphics: Both packages support ggplot2, but OpenStreetMap also supports base graphics. Reasons to favor ggmap: • No Java dependency: ggmap does not require Java to be installed. • Geocoding: ggmap has functions to do reverse geo coding. • Google maps: While OpenStreetMap has more map types, it currently does not support google maps. Fair enough? ### Visualizing Biological Data Using the SVGmap Browser Thursday, April 4th, 2013 Visualizing Biological Data Using the SVGmap Browser by Casey Bergman. From the post: Early in 2012, Nuria Lopez-Bigas‘ Biomedical Genomics Group published a paper in Bioinformatics describing a very interesting tool for visualizing biological data in a spatial context called SVGmap. The basic idea behind SVGMap is (like most good ideas) quite straightforward – to plot numerical data on a pre-defined image to give biological context to the data in an easy-to-interpret visual form. To do this, SVGmap takes as input an image in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format where elements of the image are tagged with an identifier, plus a table of numerical data with values assigned to the same identifier as in the elements of the image. SVGMap then integrates these files using either a graphical user interface that runs in standard web browser or a command line interface application that runs in your terminal, allowing the user to display color-coded numerical data on the original image. The overall framework of SVGMap is shown below in an image taken from a post on the Biomedical Genomics Group blog. We’ve been using SVGMap over the last year to visualize tissue-specific gene expression data in Drosophila melanogaster from the FlyAtlas project, which comes as one of the pre-configured “experiments” in the SVGMap web application. More recently, we’ve been also using the source distribution of SVGMap to display information about the insertion preferences of transposable elements in a tissue-specific context, which as required installing and configuring a local instance of SVGMap and run it via the browser. The documentation for SVGMap is good enough to do this on your own, but it took a while for us to get a working instance the first time around. We ran into the same issues again the second time, so I thought I write up my notes for future reference and to help others get SVGMap up and running as fast as possible. Topic map interfaces aren’t required to take a particular form. A drawing of a fly could be topic map interface. Useful for people studying flies, less useful (maybe) if you are mapping Lady Gaga discography. What interface do you want to create for a topic map? ### Map Projection Transitions Sunday, March 31st, 2013 Map Projection Transitions by Jason Davies. A delightful world map that transitions between projections. How many projections you ask? 1. Aitoff 2. August 3. Baker 4. Boggs 5. Bromley 6. Collignon 7. Craster Parabolic 8. Eckert I 9. Eckert II 10. Eckert III 11. Eckert IV 12. Eckert V 13. Eckert VI 14. Eisenlohr 15. Equirectangular (Plate Carrée) 16. Hammer 17. Goode Homolosine 18. Kavrayskiy VII 19. Lambert cylindrical equal-area 20. Lagrange 21. Larrivée 22. Laskowski 23. Loximuthal 24. Mercator 25. Miller 26. McBryde–Thomas Flat-Polar Parabolic 27. McBryde–Thomas Flat-Polar Quartic 28. McBryde–Thomas Flat-Polar Sinusoidal 29. Mollweide 30. Natural Earth 31. Nell–Hammer 32. Polyconic 33. Robinson 34. Sinusoidal 35. Sinu-Mollweide 36. van der Grinten 37. van der Grinten IV 38. Wagner IV 39. Wagner VI 40. Wagner VII 41. Winkel Tripel Far more than I would have guessed. And I suspect this listing isn’t complete. By analogy, how would you construct a semantic projection for a topic map? Varying by language or names of subjects would be one projection. What about projecting entire semantic views? Rather than displaying Cyprus from an EU view, why not display the Cyprus view as the frame of reference? Or display the sovereignty of nations, where their borders are subject to violation at the whim and caprice of larger nations. Or closer to home, projecting the views of departments in an enterprise. You may be surprised at the departments that consider themselves the glue holding the operation together. ### gvSIG Saturday, March 30th, 2013 gvSIG I encountered the gvSIG site while tracking down the latest release of i3Geo. From its mission statement: The gvSIG project was born in 2004 within a project that consisted in a full migration of the information technology systems of the Regional Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport of Valencia (Spain), henceforth CIT, to free software. Initially, It was born with some objectives according to CIT needs. These objectives were expanded rapidly because of two reasons principally: on the one hand, the nature of free software, which greatly enables the expansion of technology, knowledge, and lays down the bases on which to establish a community, and, on the other hand, a project vision embodied in some guidelines and a plan appropriate to implement it. Some of the software projects you will find at gvSIG are: gvSIG Desktop gvSIG is a Geographic Information System (GIS), that is, a desktop application designed for capturing, storing, handling, analyzing and deploying any kind of referenced geographic information in order to solve complex management and planning problems. gvSIG is known for having a user-friendly interface, being able to access the most common formats, both vector and raster ones. It features a wide range of tools for working with geographic-like information (query tools, layout creation, geoprocessing, networks, etc.), which turns gvSIG into the ideal tool for users working in the land realm. gvSIG Mobile gvSIG Mobile is a Geographic Information System (GIS) aimed at mobile devices, ideal for projects that capture and update data in the field. It’s known for having a user-friendly interface, being able to access the most common formats and a wide range of GIS and GPS tools which are ideal for working with geographic information. gvSIG Mobile aims at broadening gvSIG Desktop execution platforms to a range of mobile devices, in order to give an answer to the needings of a growing number of mobile solutions users, who wish to use a GIS on different types of devices. So far, gvSIG Mobile is a Geographic Information System, as well as a Spatial Data Infrastructures client for mobile devices. Such a client is also the first one licensed under open source. I3Geo i3Geo is an application for the development of interactive web maps. It integrates several open source applications into a single development platform, mainly Mapserver and OpenLayers. Developed in PHP and Javascript, it has functionalities that allows the user to have better control over the map output, allowing to modify the legend of layers, to apply filters, to perform analysis, etc. i3Geo is completely customizable and can be tailor to the different users using the interactive map. Furthermore, the spatial data is organized in a catalogue that offers online access services such as WMS, WFS, KML or the download of files. i3Geo was developed by the Ministry of the Environment of Brazil and it is actually part of the Brazilian Public Software Portal. gvSIG Educa What is gvSIG Educa? “If I can’t picture it, I can’t understand it (A. Einstein)” gvSIG Educa is a customization of the gvSIG Desktop Open Source GIS, adapted as a tool for the education of issues that have a geographic component. The aim of gvSIG Educa is to provide educators with a tool that helps students to analyse and understand space, and which can be adapted to different levels or education systems. gvSIG Educa is not only useful for the teaching of geographic material, but can also be used for learning any subject that contains a spatial component such as history, economics, natural science, sociology… gvSIG Educa facilitates learning by letting students interact with the information, by adding a spatial component to the study of the material, and by facilitating the assimilation of concepts through visual tools such as thematic maps. gvSIG Educa provides analysis tools that help to understand spatial relationships. Definitely a site to visit if you are interested in open source GIS software and/or projects. ### i3Geo Saturday, March 30th, 2013 i3Geo From the homepage: i3Geo is an application for the development of interactive web maps. It integrates several open source applications into a single development platform, mainly Mapserver and OpenLayers. Developed in PHP and Javascript, it has functionalities that allows the user to have better control over the map output, allowing to modify the legend of layers, to apply filters, to perform analysis, etc. i3Geo is completely customizable and can be tailor to the different users using the interactive map. Furthermore, the spatial data is organized in a catalogue that offers online access services such as WMS, WFS, KML or the download of files. i3Geo was developed by the Ministry of the Environment of Brazil and it is actually part of the Brazilian Public Software Portal. I followed an announcement about i3Geo 4.7 being available when the line “…an application for the development of interactive web maps,” caught my eye. Features include: • Basic display: fix zoom, zoom by rectangle, panning, etc. • Advanced display: locator by attribute, zoom to point, zoom by geographical area, zoom by selection, zoom to layer • Integrated display: Wikipedia, GoogleMaps, Panoramio and Confluence • Integration with the OpenLayers, GoogleMaps and GoogleEarth APIs • Loading of WMS, KML, GeoRSS, shapefile, GPX and CSV layers • Management of independent databases • Layer catalog management system • Management of layers in maps: Change of the layers order, opacity change, title change, filters, thematic classification, legend and symbology changing • Analysis tools: buffers, regular grids, points distribution analysis, layer intersection, centroid calculation, etc. • Digitalization: vector editing that allows to create new geometries or edit xisting data. • Superposition of existing data at the data of the Google Maps and GoogleEarth catalogs. Unless you want to re-invent mapping software, this could be quite useful for location relevant topic map data. I first saw this at New final version of i3Geo available: i3Geo 4.7. ### MapEquation.org Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 MapEquation.org by Daniel Edler and Martin Rosvall. From the “about” page: What do we do? We develop mathematics, algorithms and software to simplify and highlight important structures in complex systems. What are our goals? To navigate and understand big data like we navigate and understand the real world by maps. Suggest you start with the Apps. Very impressive and has data available for loading. You can also upload your own data. Spend some time with Code and Publications as well. I first saw this in a tweet by Chris@SocialTexture. ### A map of worldwide email traffic, created with R Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 A map of worldwide email traffic, created with R by David Smith. The Washing Post reports that by analyzing more than 10 million emails sent through the Yahoo! Mail service in 2012, a team of researchers used the R language to create a map of countries whose citizens email each other most frequently: Some discussion of Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, but I have a different question: If a map is a snapshot of a territory, can’t a later snapshot might show changes to the same territory? Rather than debating Huntington and his money making but shallow view of the world and its history, why not intentionally broaden the communication network you see above? A map, even a topic map, isn’t destiny, it’s a guide to finding a path to a new location or information. ### eSpatial launches free edition of mapping software Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 eSpatial launches free edition of mapping software From the post: eSpatial, leading provider of powerful mapping software today announced the launch of a free edition of their flagship mapping software, also called eSpatial. eSpatial mapping software lets users convert spreadsheet data into map form, with just a few clicks. This visualization provides immediate insights into market trends and challenges. The new free edition of eSpatial is available to anyone who signs up for an account at www.espatial.com. Once logged on, users can create maps from their existing data and then post them on websites as interactive maps. Since it launched last year, eSpatial has made strong inroads into the sales mapping and territory mapping software market, especially in the United States. Paid editions (including Basic, Pro and Team) of the application with greater functionality – including the ability to handle increased amounts of data, reporting and sharing options – start at$399 for an annual subscription.

www.espatial.com

Just starting playing with this but it could be radically cool!

For example, what if you mapped a particular congressional district and then mapped by zip codes the donations to their campaign?

I need to read the manual and find some data to import.

BTW, high marks for one of the easiest registrations I have ever encountered.

### D3 World Maps: Tooltips, Zooming, and Queue

Monday, March 4th, 2013

D3 World Maps: Tooltips, Zooming, and Queue

From the post:

D3 has a lot of built in support (a powerful geographic projection system) for creating Maps from GeoJSON. If you have never used D3 for maps, I think you should take a look at this D3 Map Tutorial. It covers the essentials of making a map with D3 and TopoJSON, which I will use below in more advanced examples. TopoJson encodes topology and eliminates redundancy, resulting in a much smaller file and the GeoJSON to TopoJSON converter is built with NodeJS.

Thus, I encourage you all to start using TopoJSON and below, I will go over a couple examples of building a D3 World Map with colors, tooltips, different zooming options, plotting points from geo coordinates, and listening to click events to load new maps. I will also use Mike Bostock’s queue script to load the data asynchronously.

Creating geographic maps with D3? This is a must stop.

What I need to look for is a library not for geo-coordinates but one that supports arbitrary, user-defined coordinates.

The sort of thing that could map locations in library stacks.

Suggestions/pointers?

### VFR MAP

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

VFR MAP

Here you will find

• Seamlessly stitched VFR and IFR aeronautical charts
• A searchable Airport / Facility Directory
• Terminal Procedure Publications
• Real-time weather

VFR MAP is optimized for mobile devices. Try us on your Android phone, iPhone, or iPad (or click here to see some screenshots).

Plus Google maps for terrain, satellite and roads.

Quite a remarkable site.

What would you want to combine with these maps?

### Mapping the census…

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Mapping the census: how one man produced a library for all by Simon Rogers.

From the post:

The census is an amazing resource – so full of data it’s hard to know where to begin. And increasingly where to begin is by putting together web-based interactives – like this one on language and this on transport patterns that we produced this month.

But one academic is taking everything back to basics – using some pretty sophisticated techniques. Alex Singleton, a lecturer in geographic information science (GIS) at Liverpool University has used R to create the open atlas project.

Singleton has basically produced a detailed mapping report – as a PDF and vectored images – on every one of the local authorities of England & Wales. He automated the process and has provided the code for readers to correct and do something with. In each report there are 391 pages, each with a map. That means, for the 354 local authorities in England & Wales, he has produced 127,466 maps.

Check out Simon’s post to see why Singleton has undertaken such a task.

Question: Was the 2011 census more “transparent,” or “useful” after Singleton’s work or before?

I would say more “transparent” after Singleton’s work.

You?

### User evaluation of automatically generated keywords and toponyms… [of semantic gaps]

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

User evaluation of automatically generated keywords and toponyms for geo-referenced images by Frank O. Ostermann, Martin Tomko, Ross Purves. (Ostermann, F. O., Tomko, M. and Purves, R. (2013), User evaluation of automatically generated keywords and toponyms for geo-referenced images. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci.. doi: 10.1002/asi.22738)

Abstract:

This article presents the results of a user evaluation of automatically generated concept keywords and place names (toponyms) for geo-referenced images. Automatically annotating images is becoming indispensable for effective information retrieval, since the number of geo-referenced images available online is growing, yet many images are insufficiently tagged or captioned to be efficiently searchable by standard information retrieval procedures. The Tripod project developed original methods for automatically annotating geo-referenced images by generating representations of the likely visible footprint of a geo-referenced image, and using this footprint to query spatial databases and web resources. These queries return raw lists of potential keywords and toponyms, which are subsequently filtered and ranked. This article reports on user experiments designed to evaluate the quality of the generated annotations. The experiments combined quantitative and qualitative approaches: To retrieve a large number of responses, participants rated the annotations in standardized online questionnaires that showed an image and its corresponding keywords. In addition, several focus groups provided rich qualitative information in open discussions. The results of the evaluation show that currently the annotation method performs better on rural images than on urban ones. Further, for each image at least one suitable keyword could be generated. The integration of heterogeneous data sources resulted in some images having a high level of noise in the form of obviously wrong or spurious keywords. The article discusses the evaluation itself and methods to improve the automatic generation of annotations.

An echo of Steve Newcomb’s semantic impedance appears at:

Despite many advances since Smeulders et al.’s (2002) classic paper that set out challenges in content-based image retrieval, the quality of both nonspecialist text-based and content-based image retrieval still appears to lag behind the quality of specialist text retrieval, and the semantic gap, identiﬁed by Smeulders et al. as a fundamental issue in content-based image retrieval, remains to be bridged. Smeulders deﬁned the semantic gap as

the lack of coincidence between the information that one can extract from the visual data and the interpretation that the same data have for a user in a given situation. (p. 1353)

In fact, text-based systems that attempt to index images based on text thought to be relevant to an image, for example, by using image captions, tags, or text found near an image in a document, suffer from an identical problem. Since text is being used as a proxy by an individual in annotating image content, those querying a system may or may not have similar worldviews or conceptualizations as the annotator. (emphasis added)

That last sentence could have come out of a topic map book.

Curious what you make of the author’s claim that spatial locations provide an “external context” that bridges the “semantic gap?”

If we all use the same map of spatial locations, are you surprised by the lack of a “semantic gap?”

### Maps in R: Plotting data points on a map

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Maps in R: Plotting data points on a map by Max Marchi.

From the post:

In the introductory post of this series I showed how to plot empty maps in R.

Today I’ll begin to show how to add data to R maps. The topic of this post is the visualization of data points on a map.

Max continues this series with datasets from airports in Europe and demonstrates how to map the airports to geographic locations. He also represents the airports with icons that correspond to their traffic statistics.

Useful principles for any data set with events that can be plotted against geographic locations.

Parades, patrols, convoys, that sort of thing.

### CartoDB makes D3 maps a breeze

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

CartoDB makes D3 maps a breeze

From the post:

Anybody who loves maps and data can’t help but notice all the beautiful visualizations people are making with D3 right now. Huge thanks to Mike Bostock for such a cool technology.

We have done a lot of client-side rendering expirements over the past year or so and have to say, D3 is totally awesome. This is why we felt it might be helpful to show you how easy it is to use D3 with CartoDB. In the near future, we’ll be adding a few tutorials for D3 to our developer pages, but for now, let’s have a look.

Very impressive.

But populating a map with data isn’t the same as creating a useful map with data.

Take a look at the earthquake example.

What data would you add to it to make the information actionable?

### Map Projections

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Map Projections by Jason Davies.

If you are interested in map projections or D3, this page is a real delight!

Jason has draggable examples of:

• Butterfly Maps
• Retroazimuthal Projections
• Miscellaneous Projections

Along with various demonstrations:

OK, one image to whet your appetite!

Follow the image to its homepage, then drag the image. I think you will be pleased.

### Let’s Make a Map

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Let’s Make a Map by Mike Bostock.

From the post:

In this tutorial, I’ll cover how to make a modest map from scratch using D3 and TopoJSON. I’ll show you a few places where you can find free geographic data online, and how to convert it into a format that is both efficient and convenient for display. I won’t cover thematic mapping, but the map we’ll make includes labels for populated places and you can extend this technique to geographic visualizations such as graduated symbol maps and choropleths.

Excellent introduction!

### TopoJSON

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

TopoJSON

From the webpage:

TopoJSON is an extension of GeoJSON that encodes topology. Rather than representing geometries discretely, geometries in TopoJSON files are stitched together from shared line segments called arcs. TopoJSON eliminates redundancy, offering much more compact representations of geometry than with GeoJSON; typical TopoJSON files are 80% smaller than their GeoJSON equivalents. In addition, TopoJSON facilitates applications that use topology, such as topology-preserving shape simplification, automatic map coloring, and cartograms.

I stumbled on this by viewing TopoJSON Points.

Displaying airports in the example but could be any geographic feature.

See the wiki for more details.

### Majuro.JS [Useful Open Data]

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Majuro.JS by Nick Doiron.

From the homepage:

Majuro.JS helps you make detailed, interactive maps with open buildings data.

Great examples on the homepage but I prefer the explanation at Github.

This is wicked cool!

This type of open data I can see as the basis for “innovation.”

Resulting in a target for rich annotation by a topic map based application.

### Outing Gun Owners?

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Map: Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?

From the post:

The map indicates the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so.

Data for all permit categories, unrestricted carry, premises, business, employment, target and hunting, is included, but permit information is not available on an individual basis.

To create the map, The Journal News submitted Freedom of Information requests for the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. By state law, the information is public record.

The mapping has provoked considerable discussion (35,153 Facebook recommendations as of December 27, 2012).

Several additional or alternative mappings come to mind:

• Mapping the addresses of people arrested for gun related violence and intersecting those addresses with the gun permit addresses.
• Mapping the addresses of people arrested for drug offenses and intersecting those addresses with the gun violence addresses.
• Or using a topic map to create more detailed maps of associations (political contributions?) and other data.

Who do you want to “out” and on what basis?

I found this following this post by Ed Chi, which in turn lead to a post by Jeremiah Owyang here, who remarks: “Perhaps one of the most controversial things I’ve seen in tech.”

I fail to see the “controversy.” The permit owners did in fact give their addresses as part of public records.

What part of not disclosing information you want to remain private seems unclear?

### Maps in R: Introduction – Drawing the map of Europe

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Maps in R: Introduction – Drawing the map of Europe by Max Marchi.

How many lines of R code to draw a map of Europe?

Now follow the link to the original post.

Close? Far away?

### Asterank: an Accurate 3D Model of the Asteroids in our Solar System

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Asterank: an Accurate 3D Model of the Asteroids in our Solar System by Andrew Vande Moere.

From the post:

Asterank 3D Asteroid Orbit Space Simulation [asterank.com], developed by software engineer Ian Webster, is a 3D WebGL-based model of the first 5 planets and the 30 most valuable asteroids, together with their respective orbits in our inner solar system.

Asterank’s database contains the astronomically accurate locations, as well as some economic and scientific information, of over 580,000 asteroids in our solar system. Each asteroid is accompanied by its “Value of Materials”, in terms of the metals, volatile compounds, or water it seem to contain. The “Cost of Operations” provides a financial estimation of how much it would cost to travel to the asteroid and move the materials back to Earth.

Will you be ready as semantic diversity spreads from the Earth out into the Solar System?

### OpenTopography Project

Friday, December 14th, 2012

OpenTopograpy: A Portal to High-Resolution Topography Data and Tools

Which ironically has its “spotlight” on:

Discover Lidar Data Hosted by NCALM and USGS from OpenTopography

Which is summarized in the “spotlight” as:

The OpenTopography Find Data page is updated to display not only OpenTopography hosted-data, but also provides linkages to data hosted at the NCALM Data Distribution Center and USGS Center for Lidar Coordination and Knowledge (CLICK). The goal of this collaboration is to make it easier for lidar users to discover and link to online sources of data regardless of host.

Non-self referential and/or paid links that lead to additional content of interest to the reader.

If enough people did that, why we would have a useful WWW.