Category Archives: Natural Resources

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

Visualizing the Gulf Oil Spill

The Gulf Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is far away for many people but what if you could move it to your neighbourhood to better understand its dimensions? Following example does just that.

An interesting more comprehensive WebGIS platform that integrates community data can be found here:

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Filed under Disasters & Emergency, Environment, Natural Resources

Black coal and white coral

My heart just sank when I heard about the stranding of a Chinese coal ship near Gladstone in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Being a diver myself and having seen the beautiful reef in this area in 2005 I must say, that really hurts! But when passing through Gladstone in 2005 I saw already the other side of this paradise. Although being located near the UNESCO World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, Gladstone is one of the mayor industry locations in Australia, with the world’s largest Aluminum refinery, Queensland’s largest powerplant and Australia’s largest smelter. This way this rather bizarre picture of a coal vessel on a coral reef becomes more logic, especially since Gladstone is also the world’s fifth largest coal exporting port.

Having a closer look it becomes clear that Australia these days is THE world’s provider for mineral resources. It is the world’s largest exporter of coal and it is among the top five suppliers for nearly all other important mineral resources. It makes up for not less than 22% of the world’s uranium supply.  The map below from Geoscience Australia shows the numberless mining activities all over the country.

So the accident with the coal vessel is not a strange incident but seems rather the result of a calculated risk. It is like Australia is digging a whole for a pool in the backyard and is carrying the dirt out stepping with muddy feet over the carpet in the living room. One has to decide what is worth more, nature’s beauty or nature’s treasures.

Australian operating mines 2009

Powerplant in Gladstone

Lady Musgrave Island - Great Barrier Reef

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Filed under Economy, Environment, Natural Resources