Tag Archives: visualizations

Challenge #5: Your Domain

2 Sep

I had a leg up on today’s set of School of Webcraft challenges, since I’d already chosen and registered a domain name. I did so by upgrading my existing WordPress blog and blindly choosing one of their suggested webhosts. I started a blog as a portfolio, a way for potential professional connections to see a little more about me. As such, it made sense to just register my full name. As the description for Challenge 5.b says “this approach may not be the most exciting method, but it is very versatile and to the point.”

At the time I didn’t really understand the difference between, say, upgrading my blog to a custom domain and registering a domain directly through GoDaddy or the like. If pressed, I might have likened my choice to renting a room that’s already been decorated: someone’s already figured out how to make it nice, and for a small fee I can call it my own. I thought registering through GoDaddy would give me an empty warehouse space, and I’d have to learn how to build walls, and plumb it, and paint and whatnot before I could get on to the important business of inviting people over– i.e. using my website to market myself as a young professional.

I still don’t understand all the implications of using a WordPress upgrade as a means of planting my flag in a chunk of cyberspace. I think I’ve found a small clue in the WordPress Domain Upgrade “Important Notes” section: I don’t have FTP access to your files. Could that be part of the mystery? Can I finish the next set of challenges with only a custom-domain blog, or will I have to do something more complicated? Do I “have a domain name that can be used to further explore DNS?” I’ll answer those questions soon, I’m sure.

For now, all I have to do is understand DNS.

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Beautiful Moon Maps

6 Nov

It’s important to have aspirations. I’m still in the very first stages of learning things about GIS. So far, most of what I’ve done is make choropleth maps slightly better than an over-achieving 9th grader with  a big box of colored pencils. I’m excited to learn more though, and to that end I’ve started keeping a file of amazing maps. Some are obvious-in-retrospect simple, some are look-at-it-for-days complex and some, well,  some are just beautiful.

Check out this Geologic Map of the Near Side of the Moon:

Geologic Map of the Near Side of the Moon
by Don E. Wilhelms and John F. McCauley (1971)
(U.S. Geological Survey map I-703)

I mean, I have an affinity for moon maps*. My room is decorated with two pull-out maps from 1970’s National Geographics. But this one is worth ordering a print and then planning your room around it, at least to me. It’s not terribly informative without it’s legend (which  is another neat little piece of data visualization, all laid out in a table).  But it still manages to give a sense of the moon’s contours and elevations. But mostly, its just gorgeous.

 

H/T: Aubrey Drescher’s “Map Production” series

*It’s a long story, which starts with reading Veronica by Nicholas Christopher in a fit of quasi-megalomania. I highly recommend all his books. 

Census 2010 Summary File Summary: There are fewer

28 Jul

I’ve been doing a lot of work lately with various Census products. Mostly recently, I’ve been trying to pull together some data to visualize trends in  the number of bike commuters in Oakland.  This data is readily available in Summary File 3 (SF-3)  for the 2000 Census, and you can also find it in the American Community Survey (ACS) files.

My understanding was that the ACS files were kind of a stop-gap measure: they provided more current information than the decennial census, but were lass accurate. I thought for accuracy’s sake, I should use the SF-3 file information from both 2000 and 2010, in addition to the ACS data. Since I couldn’t find the SF-3 data for 2010 on American FactFinder, I figured it must just not be released yet, so I waited.

Today I discovered it doesn’t matter how long I wait — there won’t be an SF-3:

So, although many data users were expecting the full suite of Census indicators they had in the 2000 Summary File 3, the Census has changed its delivery method and methodology, and it is now distributing many of those through the ACS. The good news is that the ACS is updated annually, instead of decennially, and so estimates for household income, poverty and the like will be refreshed every year.

via About Census 2010 Summary File 1 Data | PolicyMap.

Thanks to the bloggers at PolicyMap for clearing up this mystery for me! I’d never heard of PolicyMap before, but as of today I have an account. Check out the lovely maps you can build in a matter of minutes:

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