Natural Earth v2.0.0 Released

Via James I learned that earlier this month was released Natural Earth v2.0.0. A quick reminder: "Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software." We mentioned this dataset in the past quite a few times.

From the 2.0.0 release notes: "The 2.0.0 release focuses on 7 major areas and is available to download today à la carte at NaturalEarthData. ZIP combo downloads of all vectors: SHP (279 mb) or SQLite (222 mb) or QuickStart kit for ArcMap and QGIS (165 mb). [What's new:]

  • Economic geography
  • Remastered geometries
  • Introduc Gray Earth rasters
  • New file name and field name schemas
  • Address user submitted bug reports
  • Moved to GitHub
  • Adopt semantic versioning"

Sandy/Sable Island "undiscovered" by research scientists

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy on one side of the world is the gradual disappearance from maps of Sandy Island (Sable Isle in French, apparently) on the other side of the world. Richard Chirgwin notes that amateur radio "DXers" had concluded a decade ago that there was no good evidence for the island's existence. 

Seeing that navigation charts claimed depths of 1400 m at the location of the supposed island, Dr. Maria Seton of the University of Sydney directed the research ship she was on to travel right over the coordinates of the island, and the popular press has taken this as proof that there never was or will be a Sandy Island.

A site excerpts maps which cover the area in question. While popular accounts state that even modern navigational charts include this island, no examples seem to be readily apparent.

Sound Around You

I came across the Sound Around You website which asks users to contribute sound-bites of the everyday world around them to create a "sound map". The website explains it better than I do...

"The Audio and Acoustic Engineering Research Centre at the University of Salford is building a sound map of the world to investigate how sounds in our everyday environment make us feel.

We’re calling people across the world to use their iphone (or any other audio recorder) to record clips of around 30 seconds in length from different sound environments, or ‘soundscapes’ from a family car journey to a busy shopping centre, and to upload them to our virtual map, along with their opinions of them and why they chose to record it."

The project aims to raise awareness of the soundscape around us and its influence - the project indicates that it may have implications for groups such as home buyers and planners. I could see something like this being quite useful when doing an initial search for a house. Streetview may give you a visual impression of a location but not the whole picture?

Geomapping Racism With Twitter

That's the name of a story discussed over Slashdot, Geomapping Racism With Twitter.

Their summary: "Megan Garber writes that in the age of the quantified self, biases are just one more thing that can be measured, analyzed, and publicized. The day after Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States, a group of geography academics took advantage of the fact that many tweets are geocoded to search Twitter for racism-revealing terms that appeared in the context of tweets that mentioned 'Obama,' 're-elected,' or 'won,' sorting the tweets according to the state they were sent from and comparing the racist tweets to the total number of geocoded tweets coming from that state during the same time period. Their findings? Alabama and Mississippi have the highest measures followed closely by Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee forming a fairly distinctive cluster in the southeast. Beyond that cluster North Dakota and Utah both had relatively high scores (3.5 each), as did Missouri, Oregon, and Minnesota. 'These findings support the idea that there are some fairly strong clustering of hate tweets centered in southeastern U.S. which has a much higher rate than the national average,' writes Matthew Zook. 'But lest anyone elsewhere become too complacent, the unfortunate fact is that most states are not immune from this kind of activity. Racist behavior, particularly directed at African Americans in the U.S., is all too easy to find both offline and in information space.'"

2012 U.S. Election Maps Wrap Up

Interactive U.S. election 2012 maps were unsurprisingly everywhere. Here's some of them and related content.

More Sandy Simulations

Internet monitoring company Renesys has graphed server uptime for the east coast during the week of Hurricane Sandy. The blog entry has details, but it is notable that they have divided the map into a grid squares of one tenth of a degree. I like the map, but dark/light would help as would weather animation. Also, some indication of server density in a grid cell would be welcome!

[Disclaimer: I do not work for FlightStats, but I have met some of them.] FlightStats has put up a heat map animation of airport disruptions during Hurricane Sandy. This map does have weather, but I think it could use some shading for day/night. Sometimes the flight data looks a bit like the hurricane data, but I think it's a noble effort to summarize complicated information.

To me, both maps show how interconnected modern society is and how data streams can be used to understand the scope of an event.

Hurricane Sandy: Tracking the Storm, Crisis Response Maps, Sandy in 3D, and More

Here's a last minute entry on what you'll find about Hurricane Sandy on the geoblogs.

It's obviously not the first time we talk about hurricane data and maps. From MapBox:

Batch Geonews: SotM US 2012, GIS Interview Questions, Verizon Tracks Customers, U.S. Election Map, and much more

Here's the recent geonews in batch mode.

On the open source / open data front:

On the Esri front:

On the Google front:

On the Microsoft front:

Geo-related Slashdot discussions:

In the everything else category:

In the maps category:

Real-Time Cyber-Attack Map

Just published over Slashdot, a Real-Time Cyber-Attack Map.

Their summary: "In October, two German computer security researchers created a map that allows you to see a picture of online cyber-attacks as they happen. The map isn't out of a techno-thriller, tracking the location of some hacker in a basement trying to steal government secrets. Instead, it's built around a worldwide project designed to study online intruders. The data comes from honeypots. When the bots go after a honeypot, however, they're really hacking into a virtual machine inside a secure computer. The attack is broadcast on the map—and the researchers behind the project have a picture of how a virus works that they can use to prevent similar attacks or prepare new defenses."

GWHAT: Global World History ATlas

Maybe Twitter is useful after all ;-) Through it I learned about the GWHAT 'Global World History ATlas' project.

Their vision: "GWHAT's goal is to improve the world's understanding of how we arrived where we are by providing an animated, map-based, storytelling environment. The web is full of wonderful map content provided by amazing map producers. GWHAT aims to make this content easier to find, easier to contrast and compare, and easier to customize. Historic information should not be captive to data formats, copyrights, or subscription barriers."

They don't seem to offer much map storytelling content yet.

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