Maps of Emotions

Visualizing human emotions on a map and investigating the human relationship with space is a relatively new component in cartography. Simple static thematic maps dealing with this topic have been around for a while. A known example is the “Map of World Happiness” by White (2007). I am not very happy with the cartographic layout however. The colour grey should be included in the legend (representing “no data” I suppose). The color black in the Caspian Sea and other big lakes is irritating.

Map of World Happiness

Web scraping and mobile technology have brought new opportunities to dynamically map emotions. The World Emotion Global Trend website by Maurice Benayoun analyzes various live online sources and maps 64 emotions in more than 3000 places around the world.

A similar approach is the global Twitter Hearbeat – Tweetbeat – analyzing twitter messages for emotions and creating a heatmap from the data. See below the heatmap during the event of hurricane Sandy:

SGI Global Twitter Heatbeat

SGI Global Twitter Heatbeat


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Filed under Disasters & Emergency, Environment, Humanitarian, Natural Resources, Oddity, public opinion, social affairs

Mapping the 2012 Olympic Medals

Esri’s map portal “story telling with maps” has come up with a visualization of the distribution of the London Olympic medals by country. They also offer ways to create your own story telling web map. I also recommend the article on “Telling Stories with Maps” on Esri Insider.

Source: Esri

Some interesting data sources in relation with the 2012 Olympics:

Guardian: London Olympics 2012: where does the money come from – and where’s it being spent?

Data from Transport of London:

Medals as JSON:

The official Hashtags for the Games:

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Transit of Venus

A rare transit of venus is happening on coming wednesday this week. The planet Venus moves across the sun visible as a small dot. Centuries ago this event was observed to calculate the distance earth-sun to be able to calculate for instance the longitude of a ship’s position while navigating on the ocean. The next transit of venus will be in december 2117, so last chance for most of us.

More info: wikipedia

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Dude, Where’s My Phone?

The loss of your smartphone can be painful nowadays. The people at Lookout who offer mobile security services have come up with some interesting interactive maps, visualizing how often and where people loose there mobile phone.

The value of phones getting lost every year is impressing but some other surprising things can be discovered: For instance in Moscow the second most likely place to loose your smartphone is the military base. Where in Seoul people tend to loose it at the Martial Arts Dojo and in Brussels it is the dentist who sits on a large amount of left behind smartphones.

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The Netherlands from above

A Dutch project called Nederland van Boven (Netherlands from above) shows beautiful interactive maps and visualizations.

The making of video on YouTube is particularly beautiful:

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Filed under Education, Environment, traffic, Uncategorized

Road fatalities visualised on a map

Not always is it meaningful to map everything that has a coordinate. Recently visualisations of road fatalities appeared on the web that used public data to show every death on every road in a relatively large period on a map. The amount of data concerned resulted in a map that looks similar to a visualisation of the traffic density, which highly correlates with the population density. Hence, this map does not really provide a new perception. I’ll give following map by the BBC as an example:


A smart but simple visualisation by FlowingData breaks the data down into seasonal variations instead of spatial ones. This way new interesting trends become visible like the higher number of accidents on weekends or through the summer months.


In case one wants to use the coordinates included in the data, it would make sense to combine it with other spatial information such as traffic density on certain road sections. This way spatial centers of gravity for road accidents could become visible.

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Visualizing spatial information with light painting

Following video can be found among the “Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011” on FlowingData. Light painting is used to visualize invisible wi-fi signal strength – a way of thematic mapping in the broader sense.


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