Ars Technica has a pretty nice summary article on a few crime mapping and mashup sites around the web. We’ve reported one or two of these in the past, but there are a few I hadn’t heard about. It’s interesting to see Toronto releasing all if its homicide information on the web for all to see. It isn’t real accessible for sucking up into a subsequent mashup, but it would be interesting to see someone do the translation. London did a better job this summer by going ahead and linking crime data to the map. This type of stuff is full of potential for participatory GIS type work and more responsive government. If anyone know of any others like this (crime or otherwise), please make note in the comments, as its a particular interest of mine!
Scientists have figured out how to predict cholera outbreaks by looking at sea life. The idea pioneered at the University of Maryland is a rise in sea temperatures lead to the production of Phytoplankton, which are the root cause of cholera. As these phytoplankton get into the water supply, cholera pathogens are released and can lead to outbreaks. Obviously fore warned is fore armed, so this is will certainly help public health officials cope with these devastating outbreaks.
Via BBC News
You may remember back to our earliest episodes of VerySpatial TV where we each took part in the Genographic project and talked about our results. We may (or may not) have mentioned that the “Out of Africa” theory has been the predominate view for our (humans or Homo sapiens sapiens) distribution around the globe. Apparently researchers have found evidence that the route assumed by most researchers may not have been the only route through northern Africa, but there have been waterways that existed 100,000 years ago that have left channels in the bedrock under the Sahara. Early humans could have taken advantage of these waterways, which would have of course provided not only water, but would have been surrounded by vegetation and would have attracted game animals.
Stories like this always excite me as they connect my two degree areas of Anthropology and Geography. Be sure to check out the BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | ‘New pathway’ for African exodus article to read more
This is a great tool for those interested in the US Presidential Election – make your own electoral map! The idea is that pundits tells us over and over why they think a certain state might lean a certain way. You’ve undoubtedly got your own theories about how, say, Wisconsin is going to vote. Well now you can click right on Wisconsin and change whether the state is strongly one way or the other, leaning one way or the other, or just a flat out toss-up. It’s a fun exercise and gets you thinking about the electoral college.
Also, head over to google maps voting registration page to see if your state’s registration deadline has passed. Just type in your address, and Google will let you know if your deadline has passed or not and how you can get registered in your state. If you haven’t registered, make sure you get out and register to vote before the deadline!
If you have any mild interest in genealogy, then check out this name checker application. You enter in your surname and it reports back to you the places in the world where your last name is most popular. Mine showed some surprising results – for a French last name, there aren’t any listed in any French speaking places! The US has the lion’s share, which wasn’t exactly unexpected. However, apparently there are a lot in the UK and Argentina. Who knew? If you click on the map and drill down, you can ultimately get to county level data (or equivalent) for much of the world.
Be warned, however, their data is questionable. They say the data comes from telephone directories or election registers from 2000-2005. However, there are no people listed with my last name living in the place I’ve lived for the last 8 years! So at least one data point is missing!
I was catching up on the day’s news, and saw this cool post at GOOD Magazine’s site called Wanderlust, which features an interactive map and multimedia about great journeys that have been undertaken throughout history, from real-life journeys like Magellan’s trip around the world to fictional adventures like Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. All of these journeys are amazing in their own way, and I think this site is a cool way to present these stories.
At least the good people at Wanderlust would say. That site shows you the travels of famous journeys throughout the world. It’s kinda fun to trace the routes of, say, Amelia Earhart or Marco Polo and see where they overlapped. The site traces the routes at the world level, then allows you to zoom in for deeper views of specific places around the world. Its a nice flashy interface and a good way to explore geography and history and the journeys those created.
And it was really, really, really, really hard for me to NOT put a Journey song quote as the title instead of the Chinees proverb I chose.
I find it fascinating to think about the places human’s choose to call home. Some places are clearly understandable – like along a river – while others are rather perplexing. What might be even more fascinating than that are places we choose to vacate. That’s the topic of this blog post: 20 Abandoned Cities from Around the World: Deserted Towns and Other Derelict Places. It’s interesting to look at these cities and towns and why they no longer exist. Many are due to economic changes, while others are environmental related (note the one town that coated it’s streets in a component of Agent Orange to combat excessive dust!) While the images are brief and the descriptions more so, the list has moved me to examine a few more of these places in detail. Coming from a small (ish), decaying town that’s lost half of its population in under two decades, I can see that the subject is certainly relevant even today.
…. but you’re too lazy to train? Well the helpful people at Google feel your pain! Google has outlined the route of the Tour in their Street view application. You can “ride” the path using Street View and “experience” the Tour third hand! It’ll be just like you’re there, but only without the wind and the sun and the massive coronary someone like me is likely to have inside of 15 minutes after the first big hill.
If you drove anywhere of note in the US this weekend, you couldn’t help but note the uptick in gas prices yet again. If you were wondering where might be the best place to travel in the future, gasbuddy.com has a nice heat map of gas prices in the US broken down by county (there’s also a link for a Canadian version as well).
Of course if you’re just plain fed up with the whole gas price issue, you could look into immigrating to this Danish island. The island has converted itself to 100% renewable energy sources through a combination of on and off shore wind (my personal favorites!), solar, and biofuels. I’m sure you could get an electric car over there if you wanted to chuck fossil fuels completely!