Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Going A Bit Beyond Google Maps

Some of us like to have things explained to us verbally while others like to glean new information in print or images. We can debate over how many prefer one method over another but to save time we'll start from that point. I like to think I can go both ways but I must say I have a special fondness for the right visual spin on a topic.

I grew up having 2 parents that worked in graphic design. This did not make me an artist or even someone with one iota of visual talent. What it did do is give me an appreciation for good design and bad design. In college this appreciation evolved to the point that I had a good deal of interest in GIS and maps (not the Calvin and Hobbes kind but ones that had a practical application.) I've always wanted to do a good bit of GIS and map work but I haven't really had a chance to dabble in it (outside of a upper-level elective in college) until recently when I came down a few weeks ago to work in Haiti.

I know there are some purists out there that would say that Google Earth isn't a robust GIS tool but its pretty darn good enough for me. I'm still learning how to use it but I thought I'd share some interesting maps I've recently come across just to showcase an interest of mine:

OpenStreetMap Haiti (currently using this on our GPS in the field)
UNOSAT Map of Comprehensive Building Damage Assessment for Carrefour (low-res version but will still take a little while to open)

Last but not least the following site offers up some interesting maps in general: Strange Maps.

Photo courtesy of Emile Ogez via Flickr.

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