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
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.
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:
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.
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.