Green Map

March 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm (Uncategorized)

I used GPS to make a map of green resources within a several-block area.  We marked bike parking, bike paths, bus stops, and other green aspects of the area.  There were far more bike racks than I had expected to see, and a surprising lack of recycling areas by the entrances to buildings.  There were only two bus shelters in the area, but they adequately serviced most of the ground covered.


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Census Data Maps

March 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm (Uncategorized)

In these two maps I show the population by county throughout Illinois, based on the 2006 Census.  This information is important for showing population distribution throughout the state, which can be used to decide where best to build businesses or if a county needs to be redistricted due to too many or not enough residents.

I got my data from, which seemed to be a good source of information, although I suppose it’s not an official government site, so there could be errors.

The first map shows population by absolute numbers, with low pop being more blue, and high pop being more red.  The second map uses the same color scheme, but uses equal interval to show the relative concentration of population compared to other counties, as opposed to absolute.  The first map is great for comparing one county to another and seeing which has more population, since the shading will be different.  The second map, however, is good for showing where the population is most dense.  It is easy to see that the majority of Illinois’ population is in Cook County, since it is the only one to show up red.  This would be useful for political mapping on a national scale, since winning over the Chicago area will generally win the state for a national candidate.

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Campus Maps

February 10, 2010 at 3:58 pm (Uncategorized)

A campus map (Map 1):

Another campus map (Map 2):

My 10 most important locations on campus (Map 3):

Here I have 3 different maps of the U of I campus.  While being maps of the same area, they are all different in their own way.  Map 1 shows major roads and hotels in the campus area, but not any other details.  Map 2 has labels for all the University buildings in the campus area , and it uses colors to differentiate between buildings, walkways, streets, and grassy areas.  Map 3 is a standard street map with several points of interest marked.  It is different from Map 2 in that it is relevant from the view of one person, whereas Map 2 shows everything important to the entire University as a whole.

These differences occur because each map has a different purpose and a different audience to cater to.  The people who would use Map 1 would have no use for Maps 2 or 3, because they are interested in seeing where there are hotels they can stay at in the area.  Likewise, if one was searching for a specific building on campus, they would use Map 2, since the other two maps don’t give those details.  Map 3 would be useful if someone was going to meet me somewhere.  They could go to one of the places I spend time at, since those locations are important to me.  Each map has its own use, depending on what is needed.

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Swine Flu Maps

February 10, 2010 at 10:45 am (Uncategorized)

Map 1:

Map 2:

The two maps above both show the occurrences of Swine Flu, mostly centered on the United States.  Map 1 shows higher numbers of cases by darker colors, and it separates the reports by state.  Map 2 also reports occurrences by state, but it also includes Canada (by province) and Mexico (as a country) on the main map and has a smaller map showing the worldwide cases by country.  This map shows numbers by the sizes of circles centered on the region where they were reported.  Map 2 also has a slider to show growth over time and see the cases spread.

I believe Map 2 is more useful and accurate, because it includes more than just the United States.  Map 1 doesn’t show what other countries had a huge number of cases, which is important for analyzing how the illness spread.  The time slider for Map 2 shows that cases started in Mexico, leading one to conclude that cases may have spread to the US by travelers from Mexico.  This would be important for officials trying to plan how to prevent future outbreaks.  Perhaps instead of using resources on the entire country, they could have medical checks on people coming into the country to make sure they didn’t bring in any illnesses that were more prevalent in other countries.  The information in Map 2 is vital to making decisions like that, whereas Map 1 doesn’t tell us how the epidemic began.  As such, Map 2 is the more useful of the two maps, due to the extra features/information it provides.

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Google Earth

January 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm (Uncategorized)

Using Google Earth, I’ve looked at two cities, San Francisco and Detroit.  I wanted to see if what I saw on Google Earth was similar to my preconceptions of the cities.

a.    San Francisco was about what I expected to see.  The city had rolling hills that were fun to look at, although I imagine parking along those streets isn’t fun.  I was also able to find the Golden Gate Bridge and several of the cable car routes through the main city.

b.    Detroit had a beautiful skyline and the main city looked pretty nice, but as soon as I got out of the downtown area I began to notice the rundown parts of the city.  The slums looked pretty bad, as I predicted.  Some buildings were actually leaning on others for support.  I still don’t think I’d want to go there.

c.     I don’t think I learned anything new about the sites I viewed.  Google Earth can provide an accurate view of realistic building layouts, if that’s what you mean by reality.  The one thing it can’t provide is a view of the population and daily life in those cities.

d.    Google Earth could be used for finding potential build sites for contractors.  However, I don’t think it’s so revolutionary as to change society in a major way.

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