Tag Archives: 2016 maps and mappers

Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar: Jacqueline Kovarik

In our series “Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar” we will present throughout 2016 the mapmakers who submitted their creations for inclusion in the 2016 GeoHipster calendar.

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Jacqueline Kovarik

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I currently work as a GIS Developer at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), creating interactive web maps and data collection apps that assist with natural resource management. My BA in Environmental Studies and MS in Geographic Information Science are put to good use every day in a job that I truly enjoy.

Q: Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know).

A: This past year I had the opportunity to work with several amazing bee experts at the DNR, looking for an efficient way to collect data on native bees in Minnesota. There has been a shocking decline in bee population across the country, which prompted the DNR to research native bees and their habitat. After creating a data collection app for our bee researchers, we spent a day testing it in the field where I was amazed to learn there are over 400 native bee species in our state. Many of these species gather pollen from plants in only one plant family (known as “specialist” bees), but there has been little research completed on their habitat characteristics or range.

Through this data collection application development process I was inspired to investigate a few of Minnesota’s specialist bees, and wanted to create a map that would draw attention to the diversity of bees in our state while bringing awareness to bee population decline. I also wanted to highlight the need for increased data and analysis, which is an integral component of bee population preservation.

Over the past few years I’ve created a handful of watercolor maps based on personal areas of curiosity, including illegal animal trade, UFO sightings, modern day pirate attacks, etc. I have a passion for painting as well as map making, so it was only natural to combine my two interests. It’s been a great way to maintain my cartographic skills which I find little time for now as a developer.

Q: Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map.

A: Data collected from the mobile app I created was compiled along with plant specimen data from the Minnesota DNR and specialist bee location data from the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab. After mining and cleaning the datasets, I brought them into ArcGIS to identify areas of range overlap between 8 specialist bees and their 6 native host plants, and then used a hexagon tessellation tool to create generalized overlap zones. A plotted map of the state was transferred to watercolor paper using a graphite transfer method, then hand-painted with watercolors. Bee and plant species were hand-painted at an enlarged scale to show the unique differences in appearance.

'Planting for Pollinators' by Jacqueline Kovarik
‘Planting for Pollinators’ by Jacqueline Kovarik

Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar: Kate Staley

In our series “Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar” we will present throughout 2016 the mapmakers who submitted their creations for inclusion in the 2016 GeoHipster calendar.

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Kate Staley

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: My name is Kate Staley and I am a GIS Manager for the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). I graduated from the University of Utah in 2006 with a BS in Geography and a certificate in GIS. After graduating I started working with SITLA as an intern and recently became GIS manager this year.

Q: Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know).

A: SITLA currently manages approximately 4.5 million acres of land for the benefit of the public school children. At the time of Utah statehood, congress awarded Utah with sections 2, 16, 32 & 36 to help generate money to place in a fund for the public school children and other beneficiaries. Money is generated through leasing, sales, development and exchanges of land parcels.

I thought it would be interesting to create a map showing the percent change in the total amount of annual School Trust Land distribution by school districts between the 2003-2016 school years. I wanted to see which school districts saw the greatest change in the amount of funds they received from SITLA.

Q: Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map.

A: At first this map was going to be a simple choropleth map to show the variations between school districts. But after doing some research I discovered a tool created by Jacob Wasilkowski/Esri St. Louis & Jie Cheng/UMASS Medical School – Copyright(c) 2014 Jacob Wasilkowski and Jie Cheng (inspired by Stewart, James and Kennelly, Patrick J “Illuminated Choropleth Maps”). This tool is known as the choropleth hillshade tool (https://github.com/jwasil/choropleth-hillshade). It enables maps to have 3 dimensions and makes your map look pretty cool. The tool is very simple to use and is available on github.

'The State of Utah Trust Lands Administration School Fund Distribution' by Kate Staley
‘The State of Utah Trust Lands Administration School Fund Distribution’ by Kate Staley

Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar: Chandler Sterling

In our series “Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar” we will present throughout 2016 the mapmakers who submitted their creations for inclusion in the 2016 GeoHipster calendar.

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Chandler Sterling

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I work as a GIS Analyst for the City of Pasadena in Southern California. I really enjoy my role at the city as I get to work with each of the city’s departments which allows me to be involved in a myriad of projects and exposes me to many aspects of local government. I have a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin.

I also serve as Treasurer on the board of Guerrilla Cartography (www.guerrillacartography.com) which works to produce crowd-sourced thematic atlases. Twice a month I help run Los Angeles’s Maptime chapter, and have developed it into a local resource for both individuals and organizations throughout Los Angeles County.

I play guitar and piano in a band called Little Bones (www.littlebones.la). We released our first three-song EP in January and will have more music out this year, so follow us on social media if you like what you hear.

Q: Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know).

A: The map I submitted is a joke. It’s a static map in two ways — the area of earth’s continents are filled in with a static texture, and it is static in the sense that it is not interactive. I thought this brand of irony would be fitting for a geohipster calendar.

The idea came to me as I was exploring a recent update to Mapbox Studio back in 2015. I noticed other maps created in MS with interesting textures and used this idea to learn how to use textures in the application.

Q: Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map.

A: The process was pretty simple: I used Mapbox Studio and OSM linework for the continents (to be honest I can’t remember if it was OSM or Natural Earth) and then searched for a high-resolution image of static. The challenge was finding an image that repeated nicely and did not pixelate too much. The result was a pretty basic map, and since geohipsters are certainly not basic, it makes sense that it was not included in the final cut of the calendar.

'Static Map' by Chandler Sterling
‘Static Map’ by Chandler Sterling

Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar: Mario Nowak

In our series “Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar” we will present throughout 2016 the mapmakers who submitted their creations for inclusion in the 2016 GeoHipster calendar.

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Mario Nowak

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I studied geography at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and did a Master in Geographic Information Science. I also studied land-use planning at ETH Zurich. Now I’m working for sotomo, a company based in Zurich specializing in political surveys, data journalism, and data visualization.

Q: Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know).

A: The map shows the rental prices for a flat in every municipality in Switzerland. We did this map on assignment for the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. They used it for an article on rental prices in Switzerland.

It is the remake of a similar map my boss made in the nineties, but with newer data. In fact, this map is an animated map (see here): The temporal dimension is perceptible in the GIF version. The map also hints at the fact that Switzerland is a country of mountains, but in this map, the highest peaks are where the prices are the highest.

Q: Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map.

A: The data comes from Wüest & Partner. It has a price value for every municipality (around 2,500[CHF]) for every year from 2000 to 2015. I only needed to extract the centroid of each municipality from a shapefile (done in QGIS) and match it to the data.

The map was then completely done in R. Two packages were particularly important: automap with its autokrige function, and the package plot3d (and the PDF file 50 ways to draw a volcano).

I did a lot of kriging interpolations to get a smooth surface. I also did linear interpolations between every time-step to make the growing of the mountains smooth. Otherwise, the GIF would have consisted of only 15 images. Finally, I produced high resolution raster image files and stitched them together using a tool called GIF animator.

Of course, there was a lot of trial and error involved in making this map, but now I am quite pleased with the result. It was, by the way, also nominated for the German reporter prize (however, it did not win 😉 ).

'Monthly rental prices for 4-room flats in Switzerland' by Mario Nowak
‘Monthly rental prices for 4-room flats in Switzerland’ by Mario Nowak

Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar: Ralph Straumann

In our series “Maps and mappers of the 2016 calendar” we will present throughout 2016 the mapmakers who submitted their creations for inclusion in the 2016 GeoHipster calendar.

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Ralph Straumann

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I’m a senior information management consultant with Ernst Basler + Partner in Switzerland as well as a Visiting Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) of the University of Oxford in the UK. In my day job I consult clients regarding effective and efficient data infrastructures, data processing, and information-centric workflows. With the OII, I work on various topics in the field of Information Geographies, e.g. who and where produces, disseminates, accesses, and reproduces information on the internet. Besides these topics, I have a strong interest in information visualisation, and cartography, obviously.

Q: Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know).

A: My map in the 2016 GeoHipster calendar is part of a small series of maps and visualisations in the Geonet project of the OII. My collaborator, Mark Graham (Senior Research Fellow at the institute), and I started the series with an updated version of the OII internet population map, or rather: cartogram. This was followed by an analysis of how internet access has evolved over time, both from a global and explicitly spatial, and a more regional perspective.

Further, we wanted to look specifically into those countries and territories that tend drop out of internet population maps because of their very low internet penetration rates. Thus, we mapped the places where internet penetration is below 10% (i.e. only 10% of the population have accessed the internet at least once over the last year) or for which the World Bank offers no data or estimates. Seeing the shape of it, we called this region the Archipelago of Disconnection.

To highlight this region and the implications to a wider audience, Mark and I came up with this very simple map design and a very subtle colour scheme. Because the message of the map itself seemed so powerful to us, it didn’t need much embellishment or emphasis. The Archipelago of Disconnection is geographically centred on Sub-Saharan Africa where 28 countries have internet penetration rates lower than 10%. To think that in these places very few people have access to all the vast online resources that much of the rest of humanity is so accustomed to! Effectively, these countries and their residents are largely barred from participating in the cultural, educational, political, and economic activities that the modern internet affords. This is what Mark and I wanted to draw attention to.

Q: Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map.

A: Quite simply, the data we used encompassed the World Bank’s Worldwide Development Indicators dataset and spatial data from Natural Earth (a fantastic resource!). The input data needed some work in order to make the identifiers of territories truly congruent (not all of them are well-defined and globally agreed upon).

Then we used ArcGIS 10.3 to design the map; the overall production involved clearly much less work than the aforementioned cartograms. I somewhat atypically opted for manual labelling as I found tweaking labelling placement rules did not give satisfying results with a sensible time investment.

All in all, the map which can be seen in full detail here (with accompanying text and the annotations the calendar team opted to remove) is a pure ‘GIS map’.

 

'Archipelago of Disconnection' by Ralph Straumann
‘Archipelago of Disconnection’ by Ralph Straumann