Visualizing Geo Data

A session at Strata 2012

Thursday 1st March, 2012

1:30pm to 2:10pm (PST)

In an increasingly mobile world, we are each generating tons of geo-tagged data. Photo uploads to Instagram, tweets, Foursquare check-ins, local searches, and even real-time public-transportation feeds are commonplace. The companies that gather this data make a lot of it freely available. The people who work for these companies have many opportunities to learn from this data. But in order to learn, we must first figure out what questions to ask. Visualization is a tool that helps us think of questions and begin to answer them.

There are 3 different major ways to think about geodata:

  • Over time
  • Aggregated spatially (e.g. by county)
  • Aggregated by density (e.g. heatmap)

Additionally, creating tools that allow users to explore data on multiple scales (i.e. zoom) is important, but adds complexity: you have to find a tile source and perhaps even render your data to tiles.

Choice of projection is key. Most of us grew up with the Mercator projection, but an equal-area projection is often a better choice.

I will take one data set and walk through visualizing it using the 3 approaches described above.

The first example will use Processing and Tile Mill to generate a zoomable animated map, playing back a month worth of data. I’ll show how to render the map to a movie for easy distribution.

The second example will use d3.js to show the same data at a county level in a chloropleth map. I’ll discuss color schemes and interaction, and compare what can be done with d3.js to Fathom’s Stats of the Union project.

The last example will talk about how to make a heatmap with millions of data points.

About the speaker

This person is speaking at this event.
Jason Sundram

Where, Inc.

Next session in Ballroom AB

2:20pm Beautiful Vectors: Emerging Geospatial technologies in the browser by Mano Marks and Chris Broadfoot

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Strata 2012

United States United States, Santa Clara

28th February to 1st March 2012

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Time 1:30pm2:10pm PST

Date Thu 1st March 2012


Ballroom AB, Santa Clara Convention Center

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