15 Sep

We Made It to Chile – A Small Tale of Three Continents

As I hinted this (northern hemisphere) summer, we decided a few months ago to relocate to Chile, the most stable, secure and less corrupt country in Latin America (see for instance recent coverage in The Economist). Well, now it’s done as of last Sunday. We’re in Renaca on the Pacific coast, 90 minutes from Santiago and less than three hours from pretty good ski options. Not only does Chile have great geography and climate to offer, but it seems one of the rare countries these days that hasn’t decided yet to melt down into a police nanny state. Since all we want is to be left alone, that’s an attractive value proposition. The best resource to prepare such a relocation ended up being the All Chile forum.

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19 Jul

Who’s Going to Take Online Real Estate to the Next Level?

Combine Realtor‘s MLS-based national (i.e. US) search with HousingMaps UI (because who cares for Craigslist housing listings?), including smart ideas such as a history of past sales as featured by Redfin (who is not alone in overlaying local MLS data on maps). Mix with itinerary (by foot or car) and transportation applications

08 Feb

Sports Illustrated: From Swimsuits to Maps? The Making of the SI Sports Atlas

Direction Maps:

"But the challenge was to combine the data in such a way to make not only good looking maps, but ones that made sense. Mr. Tait said, “We always started with the data and often had two interesting variables or two variations of a single variable (density and number of or per capita and number of) that we wanted to show. They often get two different aspects of a phenomenon. For example, quarterbacks by state is shown in the cartograms as size equals per capita but it is also interesting to know number of so we colored them that way. For the bivariate choropleth maps (Golf and Olympic athletes) the desire was to get at economic factors helping explain golf course distribution in the one case and physical geographic factors helping explain athlete distribution in the other.""

19 May

Freakingly Detailed Survey of a Single NYC Block

One Block Radius is fascinating:

"One Block Radius, a project of Brooklyn artists Christina Ray and Dave Mandl [known collaboratively as Glowlab], is an extensive psychogeographic survey of the block where New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art will build a new 60,000 square foot facility beginning in late 2004. […]
While the block is bit-size in relation to the surrounding metropolis, the changes it is about to undergo are massive. One Block Radius plays with this idea of scale, aiming to zoom in and physically data-mine the tiny area for the amount of information one would normally find in a guide book for an entire city. This feature-rich urban record will include personal perspectives from diverse sources such as city workers, children, street performers, artists and architectural historians. Engaging a variety of tools and media such as blogs, video documentation, maps, field recordings and interviews, Glowlab will create a multi-layered portrait of the block as it has never been seen before (and will never be seen again)."

07 Apr

Mapping Country References in the News

Douwe Osinga keeps playing with Google News and a world map. Now he maps how many references to each country are made at a given time. Douwe also points out this would be interesting to track and animate over time to see the moving hotspots and cold zones. Time is the data axis missing from most charts and maps, which really should be animations.
01/05/04: This conflict map at the Nobel peace prize web site is a very good showcase of what I mean.

05 Apr

Another Media Social Network

What Flickr does for pictures, TuneCircle wants to do for music libraries. I’d be more interested in seeing that kind of functionality embedded into file sharing apps than having to go to a separate environment, and the site is rather sparse at this point (at least the part you can read without creating an account).
04/06/04 update: Webjay (meets Kinja).
04/13/04 update: musiCompass, Audioscrobbler browser.

05 Apr

Putting 40,000 Readers, One by One, on a Cover

NYT:

"When the 40,000 subscribers to Reason, the monthly libertarian magazine, receive a copy of the June issue, they will see on the cover a satellite photo of a neighborhood – their own neighborhood. And their house will be graphically circled. […] Rodger Cosgrove, president of Entremedia, a direct marketing firm and a member of Reason’s board, assisted in coming up with a program that allows the subscriber list to be integrated with satellite photographs. He also worked with Xeikon, the manufacturer of the printer that made the endless customization possible."

You watch movies like Enemy of the State and can’t help thinking, "come on, gimme a break, tin foil hat man!" or "suspension of disbelief plot alert" when they show you the super-sophisticated ways secret services are supposed to be able to watch you. Then things like Reason’s clever gimmick remind me that, by and large, this stuff is indeed a lot more possible than I’d be comfortable with. The good news is, making anything out of oceans of data is about as hard as not working with any data. Watch what tax services worldwide will start doing with that kind of technology.

31 Mar

Google News Turned Into Map

Here’s an interesting Flash app that maps news to rectangles of various sizes, a la Smartmoney. It’s not very legible even at 1600*1200, but that’s a limitation of the treemap format anyway. It’s fun to see the local obsessions in each country, but syndication of news agency articles hugely distorts the whole picture (which is a byproduct of how Google News is built, Newsmap only makes it more obvious). Google News have also been mapped to… a world map.
11/11/04 update: 10 by 10.

26 Mar

MapQuest System Architecture

Directions Mag:

"All MapQuest Advantage Enterprise and API customers can use custom SQL WHERE clauses to limit database queries. Use database connectivity to:

  • Find and/or display locations within a specified radius.
  • Find and/or display locations within a specified rectangle.
  • Find and/or display locations within a specified polygon.
  • Find and/or display locations around a path, such as a route (suggested driving directions).
  • Search with a simple database record MapQuest API, new in version 3.0. You can even access non-MapQuest-specific database fields.
  • Integrate location data sets with other corporate databases. For instance, an application could filter bookstore proximity search results based on book availability determined through dynamic database searches."

Looks like a quite thorough API. We also learn that MapQuest.com "receives more than 26 million visitors every month and serves up over 10 million maps and directions each day."

09 Mar

Yahoo Maps Launches SmartView

IDG News Service:

"The offering lets users view local points of interest such as hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and ATM locations on a map. Users can then click on icons to access expanded information, including phone numbers, user ratings for hotels, driving directions and Web site addresses."

Here’s for example a map with indian restaurants in Austin. Click on the red and yellow dots to get links to more info.
03/18/04 update: here’s Pizza in Austin with the new Google Local.
02/08/05 update: same query with the new Google Maps.
02/16/05 update: The Technology Behind Google Maps.