Tag Archives: Data Viz

Stuff in the news 7/20/2013 – Technology


  • Pew Internet have released a study that determined specific pros and cons of using digital technology in a classroom environment. According to the survey, the majority of middle school and high school educators believe that digital tools increase student collaboration with applications such as Google Docs, and help them share their work through social media platforms…. Read more
  • I’m picturing Radar O’Reilly as a cyborg here…  The Cognitive Desktop: From Siri’s Creators, A Predictive Digital Personal Assistant
  • Just in case you want to really mitigate your Sharknado risk: SAMS wetsuits make surfers look less tasty
  • National Geographic has a fascinating piece up now about how forensic linguistics led to revealing J.K. Rowling as the actual author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. OK, so it’s not TIME magazine publishing about natural language processing but still great to see it being discussed mainstream. read about it here
  • Drones – use them only for good.
  • Did you sign a petition to stop phone record surveillance? Oh, well. Secret court renews controversial NSA phone data harvest program (Denver Post). John Perry wrote today in IEET that he likens this practice to piracy: “…there’s a way the NSA debate is like the piracy debate. The problem with a file sharer isn’t that he or she copied, but that the copy was done without permission. The NSA can be characterized as doing the same thing: copying data without permission. In both cases, a fundamental quality of digital technology — frictionless, nonrivalrous copying — enables the behavior. In both cases, the authority to grant permission is the key issue.”
  • And, to close out today’s SITN for Tech, two interesting things on mapping. The first is a project in London, ON, to map social good endeavors. The mapathon (next Thursday, the 25th) is open to the public.
  • The second is a new Coursera online class that actually started on the 17th (for 5 weeks), so you’ll have to play a bit of catch up for credit, I think:  Maps and the Geospatial Revolution The short description reads, “Learn how advances in geospatial technology and analytical methods have changed how we do everything, and discover how to make maps and analyze geographic patterns using the latest tools.” Hat tip Robert Dunne for the course link.

Stuff in the news 6/30/2013 – Wildfires

Fire Danger Level Meme

“…the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is working on a kinder and gentler approach. Though some people are calling it “Whopper Junior,” the BLM pointedly is not. In a preliminary planning document released this month, the BLM’s state director, Jerome E. Perez, said the new approach will be based on what the public wants, science, the law and on the goals of healthy forests, not board feet of timber.”

Stuff in the news 6/21/2013 – Wildfires

Fire Danger Level Meme

  • I’ve heard this weather referred to as a new dustbowl many times. I don’t think it’s quite that yet but it surely is a drought and something about which we should be concerned. Cross-posted from today’s New Mexico news. 8 Images to Understand the Drought in the Southwest
  • As if a fire weren’t scary enough on its own…  At Chernobyl, Radioactive Danger Lurks in the Trees: For 26 years, forests around Chernobyl have been absorbing radioactive elements but a fire would send them skyward again – a concern as summers grow longer, hotter and drier
  • And elsewhere on the international front, Wildfire training for African locals
  • According to Mammoth Times, Eastern Sierra and other areas of California are really in for it this year (as if it’s been a cakewalk so far)…  Fire season could be ‘worst in 100 years’
  • ESRI Wildfire Activity Map
    ESRI has a current wildfire activity map up. It says that it’s US but it also shows some activity in Canada and in Central America. I believe it is a worldwide tool.
  • Staci Matlock has a good piece in today’s New Mexican about the Jaroso fire and how the IMT is managing it. It was good to see the inclusion of Luke Sheehy’s passing at the beginning of the piece.
  • In Colorado, a Fireworks Company Says They Can Still Shoot Off Displays Safely
    • ““I hate to go there, but I think that a lot of times, these decisions are made and they aren’t thought out, it’s just ‘Hey, we’ve got fire, we’ve got smoke and this is a good story,’ ” Diaz said.”
      • Yeah, given the fire situation in Colorado, probably you don’t want to go there….

Stuff in the news 6/18/2013 – Tech

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Cat tracking – what better use of cameras and GPS, really? Secret life of the cat: What do our feline companions get up to?
  • Be one with the storm. “Our vehicles don’t fight the hurricane; we use the hurricane to take us places,” said [Kamran] Mohseni, the W.P. Bushnell Endowed Professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the department of electrical and computer engineering.” Disposable Drones Will Collect Data by Surfing Along with Hurricanes
  • The Vasisala Lightning Explorer site depicts 20-minute delayed strikes on a map and refreshes every 20 minutes.
  • Ushahidi co-founder, Julia Rotich, gives a TED talk on developing resilient connectivity in Africa:
  • Given that I was just stranded by United Airlines overnight in Denver and couldn’t find more than about three outlets at the gate, it’s good to know that NYC is planning to Offer Free Phone-Charging Stations in Parks
  • The U.S. Government Wants Your Input on Human Spaceflight
    • “What good is human spaceflight?This is the question being posed by the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) on behalf of The National Academies, and they want your answers….Submissions, which have a four-page limit, should answer three guiding questions:
      1. What are the important benefits provided to the United States and other countries by human spaceflight endeavors?
      2. What are the greatest challenges to sustaining a U.S. government program in human spaceflight?
      3. What are the ramifications and what would the nation and world lose if the United States terminated NASA’s human spaceflight program?”

Stuff in the news 6/11/2013 – Tech

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Cat Ideology


So you’re MAD about something on the Internet…


How Google Maps is changing the face of data

Already incredibly useful for helping us get directions, find the nearest grocery store and find out our state capital, Google Maps is now becoming the hot way to display enterprise or organizational data that’s associated with particular places. As a data visualization method, the timing of this trend isn’t surprising. The concept of big data has opened organizations’ eyes to the value of their myriad data sources — many of which are tagged with geo-location information — and now is opening up new ways to process and display that data.

IBM’s Jeff Jonas described the importance of geospatial data at our Structure: Data conference in March, calling it “prediction super-food.” You can watch the video below to get the full (and rather entertaining) explanation, but here’s a summation: geospatial, or space-time, data adds context to the information we already have, allowing us to make better decisions. Using a puzzle analogy, lots of data without context is like a pile of puzzle pieces, but lots of data with context is like those same puzzle pieces coming together to complete the picture.

Geospatial adds an incredible amount of context. It allows for complex tasks such as tracking of people as they go about their business to help determine who’s connected to whom, or predicting where someone might go next and what’s the best route to get there. If we’re talking about a spreading disease, Jonas explained, geospatial data helps us determine its vector and velocity.

Read the rest at gigaom.com

Satellites in Google Earth – Chart Porn

Real-time mapping of ~13,000 satellite in Google Earth (updated every 30 seconds). Completely ridiculous.


AfDB and AidData launch interactive aid map

children school cameroon credit bookaidinternational

AfDB and AidData launch interactive aid map


Published: 17/06/2011

ADB and AidData launch interactive map

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched an interactive map detailing the exact locations of its projects in several countries. Development Loop, a partnership between the AfDB and AidData, maps projects in Cameroon, Morocco and Tanzania. These geocoded AfDB activities, which represent a subset of nearly 2,040 activities from the Bank, cover school builds, health clinics and roads, amongst others.

The value of this new project is that is makes the Bank’s work more transparent, enabling people to see where their projects are based and decreasing the chance of overlap.

Simon Mizrahi, manager of AfDB’s Results and Quality Assurance Department says:

The map makes it easy to see where the Bank is working, not just in which countries, but in which regions or towns. Through this partnership, we’ve been able to efficiently translate information which existed primarily in long documents into a simple visual tool for decision makers and the public at large to quickly understand what we do, and where. This is a critical step toward being able to ask the right questions about whether aid is going to the right places and what impact it has.

It will also help the AfDB to evaluate their current programmes and plan for future ones. What’s more, it enables citizens and other aid agencies to better understand where aid is going, whilst also allowing feedback from those affected by projects.

For more information about the maps and to find out how they were created visit Development Gateway’s website.