March, 2013 Archives

Voronoi Diagram of CaBi StationsI was introduced to Voronoi diagrams at today’s Data Visualization Hack Day, at Mobility Lab. Justin Grimes showed a Voronoi diagram of Capital Bikeshare stations he had overlaid on a map of the Washington, DC region: capital_bikeshare_voronoi_diagram.

The map plots each CaBi station. The boundaries are drawn at the half-way point between the closest two stations. When three or more cell boundaries meet, you are equidistant to them all. Inside the cell of a station, that station is the one that’s closest to you.

Justin showed me an interactive example of Voronoi Tesselation on GitHub. The interactive demo adds a new “seed” wherever your mouse is pointing. That point creates a Voronoi cell. » Continue Reading…

30,000 runners filled the streets of Washington, DC on a brisk Saturday morning, for the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon. I woke up early to take some photos in Rock Creek Park, Woodley Park, and Adams Morgan.

2013 Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon
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2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

A few days ago I animated a day of Capital Bikeshare trips using a new Java program I had written in Processing (see Animating Data with Processing). I wanted the program to be flexible enough to allow people to customize for their own uses, so I put it to the test myself by making slight modifications to its display.

For the first customization, I wanted to zoom into Dupont Circle. It turns out that at this scale, drawing a frame every 60 seconds means bikes disappear from view without giving an impression of movement. So, I had to slow down the speed. The video below samples the data every 5 seconds (12 times slower than before), so you can follow individual bikes. The video displays 30 frames per second. The data is from October 5, 2012, from 8am to 8pm.


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Want to create an animation from a set of data? If the data has spatial and chronological components, you can view it as a map-based movie. I’ve been making short animations from Capital Bikeshare data using Processing, a mini Java development tool. Here are steps you can follow to try making your own movies.


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Much like the proverbial stripper who works to save for college, the Team DC Fashion Show strutted out a dozen male models to raise funds for their scholarship fund. Team DC is an umbrella organization for the many gay sports teams in Washington, DC. Their student-athlete college scholarship supports local gay students whose participation in sports make a positive contribution to the community. The sporting spirit of competition also applied to the models, with a panel of judges and online voters picking their favorite, who would win a raft of prizes at the end of the night. Local fashions were on display, with an emphasis on swimwear, underwear, and one fashionable dog leash. The event was hosted by local drag queens Athena Ducockis and Barbara Ann Bushwacker (who bears an uncanny resemblance to “Silver Fox” Barbara Bush). Enjoy the photos below.


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Team DC on the Runway

HeatmapperI’ve made a few different programs that display Flickr photos, but this is the best one yet. Give Heatmapper a try and see what you think.

The program searches only photos that have been geotagged. You control the boundaries of the search by moving the map before starting the search. You can pan and zoom the map, or just type a description of a place and use the built-in auto-complete geocoder.

You can narrow your search by matching for a word, or limiting the search to a specific user or group. If you leave both fields blank, you’ll see only photos added in the last 12 hours. » Continue Reading…

Can a blog make enough money to recoup the cost of supporting it? The main goal of my blog is to showcase my projects, but a little revenue on the side would be pretty darn awesome.

I monetize my web site using two methods: Google AdSense and the Amazon Associates program. It’s not enough to live off of, and in fact it doesn’t even pay for a cup of coffee each day, but it does cover the web-hosting costs.

My expectations were set by an article about Nomadic Matt in the New York Times, back in 2009. He said his blog alone made $3,000 per month, from Google AdSense, affiliate sales, and direct advertising. He advised that “1,000 visitors a day would get you enough traffic to generate a good-size income.” My Flickr site was getting thousands of hits per day, so I figured if I could somehow transfer my Flickr readership to my own blog, I could generate a good stream of income. So, in July 2011 I procured a web host, and the next month I set up WordPress and got started. » Continue Reading…

heatmapThe Trip Visualizer now lets you review the data using heat maps. I had introduced heat maps in the Stat Mapper (which maps points) and wanted to try the same thing for the Trip Visualizer (which maps vectors).

Because many of the visualizations are for bike data, for which I use Google Map’s green bike layer, I wanted to change the default red-yellow-green gradient of the heat map. Instead, I have a “blue flame” gradient (red-indigo-blue), hoping for a higher contrast.

One of the advantages of the heat map is it simplifies all the various data points into a smooth field. The Bixi Montreal Trip Visualizer shows 410 stations, and when each point has an arrow coming out of it, the resulting diagram can be too busy and too dense. » Continue Reading…