Time lapse of Earth rotating under the night sky

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is an array of four, movable optical telescopes operated by the European Southern Observatory in Chile. According to its Wikipedia entry the array is capable of seeing the gap between the headlights of a car located on the Moon.

This video shows a digitally manipulated time-lapse of the stunningly clear skies above the VLT, with stars held in fixed position (approximately) and the Earth rotating underneath. The result vividly illustrates the Earth’s movement:

There’s a detailed explanation of how the video was created in the Youtube description. The original, non-rotating HD footage the video is based on can be found here.

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HIV Map of America

HIV infection map of the USA
Emory university’s HIV map shows the distribution of diagnosed infection rates across the United State for the virus that causes AIDS. Using county-level data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and State health departments the map vividly highlights areas where the disease is most prevalent.

The application allows you to drill down into the data, examining it by data by race, gender and age, This clearly shows the large disparities amongst races and income levels – HIV rates are linked to poverty, and the disease is more prevalent amongst Blacks and Hispanics. With disadvantaged African-Americans having been hit the hardest.

Unfortunately the tool doesn’t give a complete picture – the data is from 2008, several states are missing, and details for areas with very low infection rates data has been withheld to avoid identifying individuals – but even so, it probably provides the most in-depth geographical view of the epidemic thus far.

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Google tracks dengue fever outbreaks

Google Dengue Trends Map
Google’s new Dengue Trends website attempts to provide near real-time estimates for the spread of dengue fever. Current activity is shown on a world map and categorized as wither Minimal, Low, Moderate, High, or Intense. Information is currently available for 5 countries – Bolivia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and Singapore. Data for previous periods is also made for download.

The application uses the same method as Google Flu Trends: estimates for dengue activity are based on aggregated Google search query queries for symptoms related to the disease. The significant benefit this has over traditional surveying methods is speed – reports compiled by local healthcare professionals often come with delays of weeks or months. Just like Flu trends, the tool is based on Correlate, Google’s new service which connects search metrics with other real-life data.

Also See: Using Google Correlate to Match Thematic Maps and Mapping Disease Spread with Twitter.

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Slick new interface for Bing Maps Streetside views

Bing Maps Streetside view of Broadway, New York

A few months ago Microsoft released a video demo’ing its plans for Streetside – immersive street level photography in Bing Maps. These changes have now gone live in Bing Maps beta. Gone are the Google Street View-like 360 degree bubbles that you jump from one at a time. Instead there’s now a continuous sideways on view of building facades, which you can pan along and zoom into, making it much quicker and easier to find what’s nearby.

To help you navigate around, addresses and company names are over-layed and your current location is shown on a map. You can switch the view from one side of a street to another by clicking the U-turn icon.

The technology driving this impressive new implementation is Microsoft’s Photosynth which allows thousands of images to be blended together seemlessly

Bing Maps Streetside availability

Currently Streetside imagery is available for 56 US metro areas and some areas in Canada. But this year Microsoft also plan to take photos in the UK, Spain, France and Germany. Availability is indicated in Bing Maps by clicking on the Streetside icon.

Here’s a quick link to the new street views in New York.  Read more at the official Bing Maps blog.

Watch Microsoft Research’s technology preview of Street Slide (from 2010) in this video:


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Mapping the American Civil War

Map of battles in the American Civil War

As part of its ongoing coverage of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War 1861-65, the Washington Post has published a map providing an interactive guide to battles and casualties. The feature highlights both the widespread nature of the conflict and the terrible loss of life

The map shows the location of each confrontation during the conflict indicating numbers of fatalities and wounded in confederate and union armies through proportionately sized circles.

A timeline interface allows you to select a date range of events to display, or watch them unfold over time as an animation. In-depth details about major battles are also available

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The Changing face of America

People of color by county, 1990 vs 2040
Policylink is a US research institute with an aim ‘to advance economic and social equity’. Its latest publication, Prosperity 2050, explores changes in the racial make-up of the nation and how current inequalities will impact economic growth,

To put his study in context, the organisation has partnered with the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and released a time-lapse map, showing the country’s rapidly changing demographics. Predicting by 2042 “People of Color Will Be the New Majority“. The video runs from 1990 to 2040 at ten year intervals, showing when counties and States are expected to become majority non-white.

In conclusion:

The nation’s success depends on the success of people of color…the future depends on integrating everyone, but particularly those who are currently isolated – into the mainstream economy.

Image and video: Woods & Poole Economics, Inc. Washington, D.C. Copyright 2010. Woods & Poole

Via colorlines

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Deep Zoom imagery of Joplin after the tornado

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published a detailed aerial survey of damage following the tornado which struck Joplin, Missouri on May 22, killing at least 125 people. This imagery, showing the full extent of the tornado’s groundtrack, is available through an interactive map, but it’s awkward to access – you have to click on thumbnails and download each 20MB image tile separately.

To make it more accessible, I’ve stitched together a 4 mile (6km) stretch of tiles following the destructive path of the tornado, and put them in Microsoft’s Zoom-it application (above), allowing you to view the high resolution imagery in one go.   Note: the app runs smoother if you have Microsoft Silverlight installed, but it isn’t essential.

Path of the May 22, 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri.

Here’s the NOAA tornado imagery viewer: Joplin tornado

Also See: Before and after aerial shots of the city

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Global distribution of Wikipedia edits

Erik Zachte, a data analyst at the Wikimedia Foundation, recently put together an impressive, interactive visualization showing the the worldwide distribution of Wikipedia edits. The map allows you to see the location of editors and the time they made each edit, over the course of a single day – currently May 10, 2011.

Wikipedia edits visualized, heat map

Various visualization options are available – an animated map, and two static maps highlighting the distribution of edits over the day. Further options let you switch between Wikipedia’s different language versions, and alter the map’s appearance.

Rather than using Flash or another proprietary platform, the map is designed to run directly in any modern web browser using HTML5 (canvas) and JavaScript. But if you can’t get it working, check out the video below:

The data driving the animation comes from Wikipedia’s squid logs, which contain details of approximately 400,000 edits per day. Erik has anonymized this to ensure editors can’t be identified. Read more about how it was put together at his blog.

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