Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Map of the Week - Stay Indoors!

I'm not a regular at NOAA's weather pages so I don't know how typical this is but today's weather map sure looks scary-and colorful too! The legend was hard to copy and paste and is hard to read anyway. You can click the image to get to their interactive map and see what you should be scared of in your back yard. We've got advisories on boats, wind, avalanches, floods, fire, gales, snow storms (I'm watching one as I type), cold and fog. Even Hawaii's in on the action with surf advisories. The ten plagues! One of the safest places to be today is Alaska.
Have a great New Year, stay warm and dry!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Map of the Week-Christmas Lights

With all the do it yourself map technology available it's surprising how few maps of Christmas lights I've been able to find. The best one for sheer volume is the Chicagoland Christmas Lights page.

The locations are color coded and you can click them for more information. Unfortunately no pictures come up but some of them have web links such as Nick's Lights. Thank you Nick Diaz. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Map of the Week-Are You Happy?

This map shows "subjective well being" and is based on data from Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss. So maybe you thought Disney World was the happiest place on earth but you're wrong! It's Denmark!

I have not read this book so I don't know what all the criteria are but the caption references Happy Denmark's free education and health care as well as spending on the elderly and children. I agree that governments should spend on the elderly and children but am a bit skeptical that spending = happiness.

The map was produced by a geography student at
the University of Oregon and appeared in their alumni magazine. Thanks to Michael5000 for another great submission. Yes it only takes me 5-6 months to get reader's submissions out!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Map of the Week-Filling Empty Space

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is being built on an empty desert landscape around the village of Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. They have put together this interactive map (takes a minute or two to load) as a recruiting tool. In their own words:
"Just launched this month, the map offers students, faculty, research partners and community members the opportunity to explore the university via an immersive and cutting edge digital map, highlighting everything from residential flats, lab and research facilities, sustainability features, community services, recreational facilities, flyover video and more.
Currently the interactive map's main purpose is that of a recruiting tool, something which differentiates it from virtually every other campus map. Rather than showing students how to get from point A to point B, however, the map serves to share the KAUST story with them. Also, KAUST is using the map to showcase its commitment to sustainability by highlighting the green aspects of every building."

The map allows you to switch between the plans for the university and an aerial view (left) and is "the only physical link to an entire institution which does not yet exist."

This empty piece of desert is rapidly being transformed as this recent photo shows.

Soon it will look like this:

Thanks to Jason Hellman of Fleishman-Hillard for the above comments.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Daily Masshole Obstacle Course

I frequently complain about my commute. Yes it's "only" 8 miles but 8 miles of stress. It is much more stressful than my job and probably the main thing that leaves me drained at night. In addition to the usual problems of heavy traffic, construction, bad roads and "Masshole" drivers, the route itself is a crazy serpentine pattern-there is no straight line to get me there.
Below is a map of my route through eastern Massachusetts. I've generalized it a bit and left off place names to make it less obvious where I live and work. Green text indicates southbound issues, purple northbound and black means the problem is in both directions.

The 8 mile route takes me 25 minutes with no traffic, 35-40 minutes typically and can be up to an hour in bad traffic situations. I can ride my bicycle there in 40-45 minutes when I don't get whacked. Public transit is a 3 bus system and takes an hour and 20 minutes. Walking? I haven't tried that one yet.