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Brewing Better Charts and Maps 28

Frosty P writes: Cindy Brewer chairs the geography program at Penn State, and has devoted much of her career to helping other people make better maps. By bringing research on visual perception to bear on design, she says cartographers can make maps that are more effective and more intuitive to understand. Many of the same lessons apply equally well to other types of data visualization. A big reason people run into trouble with their color schemes, Brewer says, is the way color picking is done in many software programs. Take the RGB cube (or sliders) many programs use to display colors along red, green, and blue axes, for example. 'That's not the least bit perceptually scaled,' Brewer said. 'In some parts of the cube a tiny step gives you a huge perceptual difference. In other parts it all looks the same.' Brewer's best-known invention is a website called Color Brewer, which helps mapmakers pick a color scheme that's well-suited for communicating the particular type of data they're mapping.

Virtually Climb El Capitan With Google's First Vertical Street View 32

mpicpp writes: Google Maps is incorporating its first vertical Street View by allowing users to virtually climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. To capture the 3,000-foot ascent up El Capitan Google relied on the skills of mountain climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. "People around the world will now be able to virtually experience the unique act of ascending a 3,000-foot cliff by going on a self-directed, vertical climb," the Mountain View, Calif., company said.

Google Shuts Down Map Maker Following Hacks 37

Errorcod3 writes: Google has temporarily shut down Map Maker while it works on a way to stop people from inserting pranks into its maps. A statement from Google explains that the service isn't going away, just shutting down while a new moderation system is worked on. "Given the current state of the system, we have come to the conclusion that it is not fair to any of our users to let them continue to spend time editing. Every edit you make is essentially going to a backlog that is growing very fast," Google's Pavithra Kanakarajan wrote. "We believe that it is more fair to only say that if we do not have the capacity to review edits at roughly the rate they come in, we have to take a pause. We have hence decided to temporarily disable editing across all countries starting Tuesday, May 12, 2015, till we have our moderation system back in action."
United States

The US Redrawn As 50 Equally Populated States 642

First time accepted submitter Daniel_Stuckey writes "Bam! For anyone that's paid a speck of attention to the tedium of political redistricting, which happens while a state grows unevenly, (and must dynamically respond to density, electorate disparity, natural resources and ridgelines, etc.), this is straight out of some psychedelic dream. For Democrats, it could be straight out of a nightmare. That's because Freeman's map necessitates 50 equally populous United States. His methods for creating the map are explained thusly: 'The algorithm was seeded with the fifty largest cities. After that, manual changes took into account compact shapes, equal populations, metro areas divided by state lines, and drainage basins. In certain areas, divisions are based on census tract lines... The suggested names of the new states are taken mainly from geographical features.'"

Google Backs Down On Maps Redirect 240

Dupple writes "A few days ago Google blocked access to its maps on Windows Phone 8, claiming that it 'worked best' on WebKit-based browsers — effectively excluding WP8 users. This, despite Google Maps working fine on desktop versions of IE that use the same rendering engine and users being able to spoof the user agent string on their WP8 devices to gain access. Now it appears that Google has backed down and is now allowing WP8 users access."

Google Outs 3D Maps For iOS Ahead of Apple 197

hypnosec writes "Apple announced during WWDC 2012 that it is going to ditch Google maps and bring out its own under iOS 6. So, Google started working and in fact raced ahead of Apple in providing 3D maps for iOS. Through a blog post, Google announced that it has now made 3D imagery available on its Google Earth for iOS app. Users of iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or new iPad, while using Google Earth for iOS app, will feel that they are virtually flying over cities.The feature, as of now, works only for 12 regions. Cities for which the 3D imagery is provided are from US with an expectation of a city in Rome. The U.S. cities include: Boulder, Colo., Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Lawrence, Kan., Long Beach, Calif., Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., San Diego, Santa Cruz, Calif., Tampa, Fla., Tucson, Ariz., and San Francisco, plus its East Bay and Peninsula neighbors, notes the blog post."

Google Maps Introduces 8-Bit Quest Maps 123

AbsoluteXyro writes "Today users of Google Maps will notice a new mapping option — 'Quest' — alongside the usual 'Map' and 'Satellite' views. Quest view renders the planet in a retro 8-bit fantasy video game style, including renders of famous landmarks such as the White House and the Eiffel Tower. Even Pegman gets in on the game, now taking on the appearance of a sword wielding 8-bit adventurer, allowing you to witness Street View through 8-bit eyes. Basically, imagine a fully functioning Google Maps on an NES."

Mapping a World of Human Activity 36

misterbarnacles writes "A Cartography of the Anthropocene maps the various ways that global humanity connects and is interdependent. From the article: 'Using data gathered from U.S. government agencies, anthropologist Felix Pharand-Deschenes has created a collection of maps that illustrate the various circulatory systems that connect humanity: cities, roads, railways, power lines, pipelines, cable Internet, airlines, and shipping lanes. The maps are remarkable cartographic documents of our current age, but also serve deeper research and educational purposes.'"

Google's Bangalore Streetview Project Stalled 108

GillBates0 writes "The Bangalore Police have objected to the collection of data by Google's cars, which were criss-crossing Bangalore city taking high definition images to give users 360 degree views of streets. Talking about the security concerns in an earlier interview with CNN-IBN, Google India Product Head Vinay Goel said, 'We are only driving on public roads and taking publicly available imagery so what we are not doing is going into a specific installation and taking private pictures and obviously we are working with the authorities so if there are certain locations they don't want us to be there we won't go there, we are happy working with the authorities here.'"

Future of 3D Street View To Include Live Video 55

An anonymous reader writes "3D textured cityscapes are nothing new to Google Earth users: international cities such as New York have displayed this type of imagery for a while now. But now Google has made a critical change to Google Earth — adding high-resolution Street View imagery to existing city textures, effectively creating a semi photo-realistic 3D sim city you can fly through on your PC. As this article and videos show, it's only the tip of some very fancy features coming to online maps, with Microsoft demonstrating the ability to see Flickr images of your surroundings as you fly through cities (including the bizarre possibility of seeing horses and carriages on the streets), look up at the sky and see the stars through Worldwide Telescope, the ability to go inside buildings thanks to backpack cameras, and see live video streams from a friend's phone, turning the static map image into a live video."

The first version always gets thrown away.