Last week I reported on cool web-based virtual holograms. Based on motion sensing / sound sensing technology from your computer’s web cam and microphone, the image can be manipulated by moving a paper with a calibration image on it. This week along comes the promise of a control-free gaming system from Microsoft. With sensors built in, this system appears to detect hand, feet, and full-body gestures to control game action. This is slightly different than using a printed image for calibration like the web version (though I viewed a funny virtual hologram demo that used hand gestures). I love our Wii, and reporting about gaming systems isn’t my forte. But for me the interest is in the technology. What are the mapping applications? Who knows, maybe there aren’t any. But the environmentally-friendly thought of not having to constantly replace our remote’s batteries has plenty of allure.
I’m looking forward seeing the first mapping application using virtual digital holograms. What is a virtual digital hologram you ask? It is very cool technology that creates a 3-d image you can move around via tracking from your webcam. The best place to check it out is GE’s fantastic implementation Plug Into the Smart Grid.
Think of the pieces that might be used for a mapping implementation – it may be aerial photography, digital elevation models, Sketchup and other 3-d models of buildings and cities. And now FLARToolkit is available as a free non-commercial license to pull those pieces together to create virtual digital holograms viewable by anyone with a webcam, printer, and Internet connection. Due to the novelty aspect of the technology, its biggest potential may be its use for marketing, communication, and education campaigns. If you’ve seen mapping or other fun uses of this technology, please share them!
NPR has produced a new interactive map of the U.S. energy grid and power sources. Included are several roll-over maps to see percent energy production by different states and by fuel type. It also includes an informative display of anticipated renewable (solar and wind) fuel sources incorporated into the grid over the next few decades. The maps are intuitive, well designed, and data sources are cited in the map’s footnotes. This is a good example of interactive map design for public education. It should serve as a terrific resource for educators to help students understand power production, renewable power supply, and power distribution in the U.S.
The interactive map is produced for NPR’s series, “Power Hungry: Re-Envisioning Electricity In The U.S.,” including over a dozen articles. One could easily imagine this series and maps being worked into the curriculum in middle through higher education, inviting students to explore questions about location, energy, and the future. From the site: “The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation’s electrical systems.”
It’s been a long time since I bought a geeky mapping t-shirt, but I think I’ll have to bone up for BeerMapping.com.
If you like beer and you like maps, then you’ll love beermapping.com. This site allows user submissions and currently has 7,591 locations, including brew pubs, beer bars, breweries, beer stores, and homebrew stores.
Based on the GoogleMaps API, I think this is the must-have site for any iphone (of course, whenever I get one Beermapping.com also has an API and helpful tutorial for adding beermaps to your own webpage or blog. Recommendation: bookmark this one.
Kuddo’s to Chick Mappers
See http://www.chickmappers.com/100miledietmap/ for a
wonderfully deliciously interactive food map.
The 100 Mile Food Map
The 100 Mile Food Map was inspired by a couple from British Columbia who challenged themselves to only eat food that was produced within 100 miles of their home. The Average American meal has traveled 1,500 miles to reach your plate. Eating locally is growning in popularity. This interactive map is a guide to help people in their ventures.
The Organic City is an interesting and successful application of community blogging (using WordPress) and flash-based mapping (Worldkit). Created in 2006 by the combined efforts of Seamus Byrne and Sarah Mattern, students in CSU East Bay’s Multimedia Graduate Program.
Organic City is a collaborative digital storyworld centered on the downtown Oakland areas surrounding Lake Merritt. The interactive map is a gateway to location-based stories told by local community members. The map is annotated with storypoints. Roll your mouse over a storypoint to display the title and author of a story. Click on a point to read a story. You can navigate the map using the in (+) and out (-) magnifying glasses and the directional arrows.
Using Storybase Filters
You can also access stories in the storybase by using the filters on this page. You can view stories by genre, title, author, or date. You can also use the search form in the menu bar above to filter the storybase by keywords.
A classical challenge for the cartographer is how to present and clearly communicate large quantities of information to their intended audience. Web mapping has opened new possibilities for creative solutions, but arguably effective presentation techniques are still few and far between. Watersheds present a perfect example of data intensive landscapes paired with the need to convey vast amounts of information to the general public.
In 2003, Chesapeake Bay “Watershed Profiles” was an effective interactive map for general public exploration. While some may consider it less sophisticated by todays web-map standards, there are features I still love and rarely see incorporated in interactive maps today. For example, as the user drills down, the maps change in detail and scale, and the well selected graphs and charts are automatically updated to reflect the sub-watershed view. Users can navigate among tabs to explore landscape, demographics, water quality, and more. The map view/scale remains consistent when users navigates among the tabs.
Its a good example for creators of interactive maps in which a lot of data need to be conveyed to a public audience.
While the Watershed Profiles is not currently available, I managed to find a screen shot of the site from my own archives.
Beautiful example of interactivity – clean map interface and intuitive design.
This map was created at the UW-Madison Cartography Lab by Rob Roth, Andy Woodruff, Joel Przybylowski under the supervision of Professor Bill Cronon and Professor Mark Harrower. Melanie McCalmont assisted with info window text and image production. Production: May-November 2006