Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The happenstance art of maps

I showed recently how CLIWOC weather data from ships captains logs dating 1662 to 1885 totalled almost 1/2M points. It started with a 1/4M ships tracks, and combining look-up tables from four maritime agencies they yield numeric wind force and direction...

But wait! Let's leave trad posters in favour of rad palettes, shall we?
Although not evenly scattered, they created a rather arresting visual effect. I coded the Beaufort (wind strength) readings by colour as well as size - ROYGBIV and large => small, respectively, from high to low Beaufort or wind strength - posting the smaller weaker wind values over the larger stronger ones, not only reduced symbol overlap & hiding, but it also created a pseudo 3D effect. And orienting them to wind direction helped avoid over-posting.

Here it is with a simple continent mask backdrop:

click to enlarge

Here it is against Rumsey's 1812 world map to match the vintage of the data:

click to enlarge

Geolicious liked my white-on-black static map on AWS, so I tried inverting too:

click to enlarge

So who said maps cannot be art? And does this not remind you of starling flight clouds?