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Visualizations
Jamais Cascio, 10 Dec 05

interactivemapgraph.jpgOne of the delights of data visualizations on the web is that they can be both interactive and dynamic. Static maps and graphs have their uses, to be sure, but controllable animated presentations are better able to highlight changes and differences. Here are two provocative examples.

Personal World Map shows how far one can travel from a given location in terms of both time and financial resources. Select a starting city (from a limited and not very well distributed set, unfortunately), tell it your flight time and money limits, and the map will display what's accessible, moving target cities closer or further away depending upon how they fall within your guidelines. It's interesting, but it's real value is what it suggests for future applications.

Imagine, for example, that instead of flight time limits, you could select carbon emission limits -- whether out of a sense of personal responsibility or a desire to remain within your tradable emissions quota. You may have enough money to go from Vancouver to London, for example, but only enough TEQs to get to New York. Of course, the next step would be to show how far you could go with your current TEQs, and then how much farther you could go if you bought TEQ credits on the open market -- with the result subtracting from your self-described cash limits.

Or, to steal from the Portland Transit Map design, how about a map that changes depending upon travel modes. Does it cost more to fly or drive cross-country? Which puts out more carbon? Interactive maps to show the answer shouldn't be too hard to make. (Via Protein Feed)

Alan told us about Gapminder last year, a resource for seductively well-designed datasets and graphs about human development, education, and economics. The site's been updated since we last looked, with a new presentation set on Human Development Trends 2005, with data from the UNDP. The graphs cover income distribution, poverty rates, global health, differences within countries, and more. Unlike some of their previous interactive offerings, this one is explicitly available for both Mac and PC.

Gapminder is useful both for showing where problems still remain and for demonstrating that success is possible. It's hard to avoid feeling a bit hopeful when you watch the masses of people in Asia move out of poverty over the last 30 years. (Via TEDblog)

Both Personalworldmap and Gapminder require Flash.

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Comments

Cool find Jamais,
I have been thinking of something very similar to this recently. I would be interested in seeing such tools put to use in an interactive website that allows one to calculate carbon emissions, full cost (environmental,social, etc.), and perhaps other valuable info pertaining to the production and distrubtion of products(/services?), and compare them with other products(/services?) based on a zip code or address. In particular I would like to have a site like this for the building industry. Make this info available to architects, builders, homeowners, etc. The building industry is wasteful, and it might actually find open ears considering changes in corporate awarness as pointed out in your recent post showing a growing number of business connecting the dots between lessening the carbon foot print and saving $$ (http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/003851.html).

If anyone knows of any current project working on something similar to this I would be interested in hearing about it and working on it. Even a web site similar to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch (http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp) but for building materials and delivery methods would be a good start compared to what I've seen (through brief searches) on the net. I would also be interested in a simple site for building materials like M.B.A's Seafood watch anyone has any leads...

If there isn't such an interactive materials sustainability site underway yet, I would like to work on one if anyone's interested. Perhaps a rough simulation could be tossed up for folks to try out and allow them to tweek it like a wiki.


Posted by: Luke Sires on 12 Dec 05



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