map bliss

Untitled.jpgI’ve always been a map geek. My elementary school projects always involved me drawing some type of map to help illuminate some point or another. I remember fondly an agriculture/industry map of France. In college one of my electives was Cartography. In those days we had to cut pieces of colored sticky-backed vellum and carefully lay them on a drawn map. I did a nice map of the percentage of local students in colleges in Massachusetts from some data that was published in the Boson Globe. The map of Massachusetts had circles on the location of each of the major colleges and universities. The circles were pie charts showing the percentage of Mass residents to noon and the diameters were proportional to the size of the school. It was a fun visualization. But these days one can do amazing things with this type of visualization. Gapminder has to be one of the most fun web pages I have ever found. It has a number of rich data sets that you can plot for different countries around the world, either on a map or on a multi-dimensional graph. I could play with this for hours. The other recent find is the contextual data that Google is providing on Google maps. Search for your favorite location and select “More” from the menu where Street View appears. You can now get direct links to Wikipedia entries or photos from the places on the map. Pure bliss for a map geek.

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