Tuesday 30 November 2010

Experiments in Colour

I've been experimenting with colour and animations a lot recently. This involves producing a lot of material that ends up on the floor of the editing room, so to speak. So, I made an entirely pointless animation of said cuttings... The one below is an animated gif (nerd speak) of the North West of England and its commuting 'intensity' (i.e. spikes for areas where people commute to). The visual effects are just from my experiments - some just for the sake of art. An assault on the eyeballs, to be sure!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

How to Shade Your Maps - Colorbrewer

A short post today about 'Colorbrewer'. What is it? It's a website by Cynthia Brewer, Mark Harrower and Penn State University (home of many GIS/visualisation boffins) which you can use to help you decide what colours you maps should be. This is not a trivial matter and it is often difficult to develop an appropriate colour scheme that looks good, is colour blind friendly, print friendly and photocopy friendly. Hence the Colorbrewer website.

You can choose from a variety of colour schemes, you can choose the number of colours in you colour scheme, you can export the information in various ways and you can even download a 'colortool' extension for ArcGIS.

There is so much advice on the website - it really is excellent but I just never got round to blogging about it until now. Ultimately you still have to make choices yourself but with Colorbrewer these choices can be much more appropriate. Take a look...

Sunday 14 November 2010

A Vision of Britain Through Time

I've been doing some work recently which involves the analysis of population change in England from 1801 to 2009. The data for this has come from the Census (which goes back to 1801) and mid-year population estimates (for 2009). The data itself has been sourced from a wonderful website called A vision of Britain through time, based at the University of Portsmouth. It's an innovative and pretty comprehensive exercise in historical stats and historical GIS.

As you can see from the screenshot above, you can enter a place name to find a place, you can look at various landcover maps, you can look at historical maps, Census reports and even travel writing by such distinguished contributors as Samuel Johnson, Daniel Defoe, Celia Fiennes and the wonderfully named Gerald of Wales.

Samuel Johnson's writing is from his 'A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland' and is both shocking and funny seen from today's perspective. He very much disapproves of the 'Highland manners' and he calls Loch Ness 'a very remarkable diffusion of water without islands'.

The maps (as above) are really interesting and you can, for example, take a look at your area in the 19th and 20th centuries as well as look at the present day OpenStreetMap version.

To sum up, lots to look and and worth a look.

Friday 12 November 2010

Concentrated Poverty

I've been doing some work on the issue of concentrated poverty recently. Whilst doing this I came across an interesting video or two from the Brookings Institution featuring Alan Berube, a Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program. Here's what he had to say:

I also produced a very short animation of patterns of poverty in London between 1999 and 2005, based on the Economic Deprivation Index. As you can see, there is not much change between years and the areas of concentrated poverty (in red) do not change too much. It's a bit 'rough and ready' but does the job...