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.
Tag Archives: Mapping
I see weight gain in my future…
Waiting for your bus can sometimes seem like slowly dying in a desert as you watch vehicle-shaped mirages glimmer on the horizon. As a remedy for that transit-parched feel, Google is integrating live transit updates into Maps for mobile and desktop.
Before you get all excited, the update is only available in four U.S. cities (Boston, Portland, San Diego and San Francisco) and two European cities (Madrid and Turin), and for Google Maps for mobile on Android devices (although it will work on mobile browsers, and it doesn’t require any downloads to access).
Residents of those cities will be able to see delays and alerts when clicking on transit stations or planning routes, as well as “live departure times.”
Image courtesy of Flickr, Simon_sees
CHAMPAIGN, lll. — Researchers (and some cat-owners) wanted to know: What do feral and free-roaming house cats do when they’re out of sight? A two-year study offers a first look at the daily lives of these feline paupers and princes, whose territories overlap on the urban, suburban, rural and agricultural edges of many towns.
The study used radio telemetry and a sophisticated activity-tracking device to capture the haunts and habits of dozens of owned and un-owned cats living at the southern edge of Champaign and Urbana, neighboring cities in Central Illinois. Together, the 42 adult cats originally radio-tracked for the study ranged over a territory of 2,544 hectares (6,286 acres).
Of the radio transmitters used in the study, 23 had tilt and vibration sensors that tracked the animals’ every move.
“There’s no (other) data set like this for cats,” said Jeff Horn, a former graduate student in the University of Illinois department of natural resources and environmental sciences who conducted the study for his master’s thesis with researchers from his department and the Prairie Research Institute at Illinois. “Without these sensors, it would require a field team of 10 to 12 people to collect that data.”
As expected, in most cases the un-owned cats had larger territories than the pet cats and were more active throughout the year. But the size of some of the feral cats’ home ranges surprised even the researchers.
A lot of time when making plans to meetup with friends or family, you’re not so concerned with how far possible locations are than you are how long it takes together. Similarly, when deciding where to live relative to your workplace, you care more about how long it takes to get to work in the morning than you do how many miles away it is. Mapnificient lets you do this. Place the pin on the map, and see where you can get in a specified amount of time via public transportation or bicycle.