Wedding Geography

Several crafty types have created homemade moving compass wedding invitations for their weddings including a heirloom quality one made of recycled chip board, a super fun interactive one posted on Crafster with a great compass related poem, and some artistic hand drawn maps and compass invitations by Pier Gustafson. On the basic logistics side, many wedding sites are offering free wedding mapper tools to create wedding directions on-line or to insert into invitations such as a cute one from WeddingMapper, MapIcons which lets your replace standard Google icons with wedding related ones, and custom wedding maps by Natalie Michelle on Etsy. Of course there are a number of GIS people who have proposed spatially including Cathy & Brian’s heart shaped Finger Lakes, Leslie and Michael’s Street View proposal, and Derek & Kristen’s Garmand GPS proposal. I don’t personally know any of these people but congratulate them and offer my own compass related quote, “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery”.

Visualization of Tabular Data

FlowingData is a fun website created by a Ph.D candidate in statistics that “explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization”. If you think statistics is a dry topic, its probably because you haven’t seen this website. It’s amazing what decent data visualization does to make it easier to keep your eyes focused on data. He has a discussion of tables as visual obstacles to understanding data and an awesome quote, “Suppose that you are reading an article and the text refers you to a table on the next page. Before you turn the page, what are your expectations of the table? Chances are, you would like it to communicate trends and patterns. Chances are, too, that it will fail and simply deliver numerical minutiae.” I could reference some of the data he has explored in the past such as elevation data to show data but instead I want to focus on these fun visualizations — the history of the Beatles through their hair (time series) and How to win rock-paper-scissors every time (fun and educational). I think it would make a cool t-shirt like the rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock one at ThinkGeek.

NASA Earth Science Hurricane Katrina retrospective

To mark the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating landfall in the Gulf Coast, NASA Earth Science has released this short video retrospective of some of the imagery and analyses that were used to track and visualize Hurricane Katrina

Facebook Discovers Places Exist

Alright, I admit I stretched a bit for that headline.  However, the important bit is that Facebook has now added Places to it’s features.  Places allow you to tag where you’re at when you post status updates.  On the benign side of the coin (that’s the Harvey Dent one for you DC nerds reading), this will allow a richer connection between people’s status and their location.  You’ll be able to start getting a good feel for what places drive your friend’s positive or negative status.  There’s an associated iPhone update their iPhone app that automatically tags your location, should you opt into using Places.  Otherwise, you can ‘tag’ your location manually if your phone does not support LBS.  On the malignant side of the coin (Two Face side), this raises a whole host of privacy concerns.  Cyberstalking isn’t anything new, but the ‘scale’ of the problem given the popularity of Facebook just got a whole lot worse, I think.  On top of that, make sure you’re not updating Facebook status during ‘work’ time when you’re actually at the local watering hole.  Your boss might be able to find that information out and use it against you.  We already have plenty of reports of companies using Facebook updates and information against employees.  Take the warnings of Google’s boss Eric Schmidt – be careful what you put on the Internet!  You don’t want to have to change your name every couple dozen years to cover up past online sins.