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Maps In Modern Web Design: Showcase and Examples from Smashing Magazine

In a world where digital mapping is exploding, Zach Dunn offers an excellent review of different types of web maps and their various purposes.

His article, Maps In Modern Web Design: Showcase and Examples (Smashing Magazine) explores existing trends, conventions and the possible future of interactive maps online.

This isn’t a lesson in cartography, rather a review of the important purposes that maps can serve in modern web design. Three main areas seem to represent the majority of tasks:

  1. Navigation and directions,
  2. Show relationships and trends geographically,
  3. Show points of interest.

Geared primarily toward a web-designer audience, this article is good review for GIS specialists and cartographers preparing maps for online content. Zach describes the different ways to navigate online maps (drill down for information, timeline, zoom, before-and-after, and points of interest), looks at future trends, and provides a nice showcase of maps for inspiration.

Is IT Suffocating GIS?

In an article “Why Geo Will Embrace The Cloud in 2010” in Direction MagazineBrian Timoney of the The Timoney Group looks at the emerging cloud computing arena and poises the question, fad or not? Putting that question aside for the moment, part of Brian’s article really struck a chord with me – “IT is suffocating GIS.” As a former statewide GIS coordinator, I’ve seen all too many enthusiastic GIS professionals sucked down this path. Brian articulates something rarely discussed – issues like burn-out in the long since changed role of GIS managers. Are we properly preparing GIS professionals for this aspect of their GIS career? Here is an excerpt of Brian’s article: Read more

Interactive Map of U.S. Oil Imports Since 1973

RMI (Rocky Mountain Institute) provides a timeline-based interactive map depicting the U.S.’s historical imports of oil since 1973. Map controls can slide to specific dates and highlight five periods by major oil crises, including history briefs in the sideline. Map units can be displayed in oil or U.S. dollars. Map can also be put on auto-play. This is a well-done interactive map and interesting visualization of the flow of resources over time.

Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources (from the RMI website).

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Visualizing the Grid: Interactive Web Map

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.
Visualizing the Grid

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.”

The Organic City

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.