A recent Nature of Things episode about urban raccoons featured a GPS system displaying the movements of two families of raccoons on Google Earth. The animals were in Riverdale and the Beaches.
It’s not all that easy to fast-forward in the CBC’s video format, but the maps appear toward the end, around the 38-minute mark. The researchers found that raccoon family territories are highly local and quite small – just a few blocks.
Between being out of the country and starting a new job, I’ve been fairly delinquent about updating this blog. Here’s an attempt at catching up.
First, Cedric Sam mashes up 2008 political donation data to create a map of political contributors by party based on full (six-character) postal codes.
There were also some cleverly hidden public data that consists in the postal code of a single contributor. Using a Web browser, it was impossible to compile this data into a database. But using simple scripts with a command-line tool like curl, it was possible to know the location that a donor used to make its donation, including private residence. It might be of questionable good taste to reveal those on a map, but in an era of data mashups and visualisation, it makes perfect sense for what is after all public data.
A man after my own heart. Another way of presenting this data would be to sum totals for each party at all levels by FSA, then map a rate (dollars per 1,000 of population, something like that.)
From the University of Toronto map library: a visualization of Toronto’s afternoon rush hour, 1915.
From the Guardian: maps of teen pregnancy rates and child poverty in Britain.
twitterdots.posterous.com maps 24 hours of a term on Twitter across the globe:
24 Hours of Good Morning on Twitter from Rio Akasaka on Vimeo.
The Map Room points to a map of profanity on Twitter, in which the coastal South glows bright red:
Daniel P. Huffman has created a map of profanity on Twitter (original PDF here). It takes a sample of 1.5 million geocoded tweets in March and April 2010 and maps the percentage of words in said tweets that are profanities. Salt Lake City never swears, apparently.
In the Times, a followup of sorts to our baby name maps:
A new study finds that parents in newer, “frontier” states choose less-common baby names than parents in older states (like the original 13).
And the Norwegian paper Bergens Tidende maps a decade’s worth of road accident data for that country.
The British Home Office released a remarkably detailed set of crime maps for England and Wales recently, giving at least some data about reported crime down to the level of individual blocks.
The project has come in for criticism:
The newly released crime maps site are a fundamentally unreliable source of information, because they are subject to unreported changes by the police forces compiling them both before and after they are displayed, and the data will not be stored on the site for comparison over time, observers say.
There is also growing concern among developers who want to use the data to paint a picture of the UK’s crime and policing strategies that the maps will give a distorted picture of crime in neighbourhoods – and that the apparent transparency in publishing them instead hides behind-the-scenes decisions about what crimes to report.
Adrian Short, a Sutton-based developer, says that “what we’re looking at here isn’t a value-neutral scientific exercise in helping people to live their daily lives a little more easily, it’s an explicitly political attempt to shape the terms of a debate around the most fundamental changes in British policing in our lifetimes.” He accuses the maps of being “pseudo-transparency”, and says that the site is “worse than useless”.
Crime mapping is a treacherous business. The two best I’ve been involved with were the Star’s murder map, which was maintained from 2005 until last July, and a visualization of violent crime by census tract, calculated in such a way as to try to figure out a rate of reported crime related to the number of people in theory vulnerable to crime, including residents and people working in the area (which IIRC counted as a third of a person). The advantage of the murder map was that after several years worth of data had been gathered, patterns of homicide could be seen in a great deal of very local detail: