Category: GIS

You should totally order the 2015 GeoHipster calendar

Why order the ? Because, for one, you need a 2015 calendar. But also because the calendar features the work of thirteen amazing cartographers from all over the world, like this map below from the month of April. The calendar is packed with cartographic art, which will brighten your room year-long. Finally, because your purchase will help keep running ad-free.

So order one for yourself, and several more for holiday gifts.

2015 GeoHipster calendar - April - Map by Bill Morris
2015 GeoHipster calendar – April – Map by Bill Morris
GeoHipster 2015 Calendar cover layout

IMPORTANT! The screenshot below is intended ONLY to give an overview of the overall layout — which map goes on which page, etc. When you order the 2015 calendar, you will get the 2015 calendar. You can verify this by reviewing each individual page online before you order.

GeoHipster 2015 Calendar 12-month layout

Amazing art or ugly map?

[UPDATE April 24, 2014] This “ugly” map bears a striking visual resemblance to the . So yeah.

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As a map geek I have been looking at all kinds of maps for 20 years. No map can surprise me, or so I thought until today. I just saw the amazingest map ever, reproduced below with permission ().

Imagine my shock when I found out that this map was the winner of an “Ugliest map” contest, conducted by at the University of Minnesota. Do you agree? Do you think this is an ugly map, or amazing art? Vote in the poll below the map.

[UPDATE April 01, 2014 (no joke)] The map creator is Daniel Taylor — “a very successful undergrad” at the University of Minnesota (via Prof. Hecht).

Amazing art or ugly map?
Amazing art or ugly map?

 

Walter White’s house on Google Maps (Breaking Bad)

I give you two Google Maps views of Walter White’s house in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as seen on the hit TV show Breaking Bad.

Google Maps (aerial view):


Google Street View:


Google Maps user has put together a full map tour of Breaking Bad’s Albuquerque, complete with “Los Pollos Hermanos”, Walt and Skyler’s car wash, and Gus Fring’s House:


View in a larger map

Top ten tennis countries in the world in 2013

Which are the top ten tennis countries in the world in 2013? The answer depends on the definition of “top tennis country”. Is it the country with the most tennis players? Is it the country with the most professional players? Is it the country with the most champions?

I rated “tennis countries” according to two sets of criteria:

  1. The country with the most professional tennis players in the top 100
  2. #1 above, normalized by country population

A tale of two maps

I mapped the data separately for both criteria — #1 (total number of players in the top 100) and #2 (players in the top 100 per million residents). You can see that the two maps (below) look starkly different.

The tabular data below each map shows that Spain ranks #1 by total number of players, while Slovakia ranks tops by players per population. So, which is the top tennis country in the world? You be the judge.

Top ten tennis countries ranked by number of players in the top 100
Top ten tennis countries ranked by number of players in the top 100

 

Top ten tennis countries ranked by number of players in the top 100 normalized by population
Top ten tennis countries ranked by number of players in the top 100 normalized by population

 

See also maps for the top 100 ATP (men) and WTA (women) professional tennis players for 2013, and a similar set of maps for 2012.

Top professional tennis players by country — 2013 edition (ATP — men)

Below is a map of the top 100 ATP (male) professional tennis players by country as of May 28, 2013. The map shows that Spain and France are a hotbed for men’s professional tennis, with 13 and 12 players in the top 100, respectively.

This map is an update of a similar map I published last year, with a few minor tweaks. I used source data from the , and Google’s mapping technology. Below the map is the source data in a Google spreadsheet.

I will publish an updated map for the WTA (women’s tennis pro tour) tomorrow. [UPDATE: posted]

Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, ATP tennis rankings as of May 28, 2013
Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, ATP tennis rankings as of May 28, 2013

See also maps for the top ten tennis countries in the world for 2013.

My cycling track on Google Maps

With spring finally here and my new Android phone in my backpack, I went out for a Saturday bike ride. And because I am a , I had to map my ride.

The most impressive thing about this map is how easy it was to create. I used my , , and my Google account. I didn’t need any of my GIS skills. Push button, make a map.


View in a larger map

Tennis courts — what is the actual distance between the baseline and the fence?

I am a club tennis player. Every once in a while I run into the back fence or curtain. One of my partners — a younger and much faster guy who runs for every ball — hits the back fence much more frequently. We were wondering whether the pros at large tournaments have more room behind the baseline than us tennis hackers. I decided to find out.

It turns out they do.

I used my  skills and aerial photography from Google Maps to compare the courts at the US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York and the courts at a local East Brunswick, New Jersey park.

The image below illustrates my findings (the distances between the baseline and the fence are in feet). In summary — yes, the pros do have more room, but not that much more. In addition, I found that no two distances between baseline and fence were the same. Measurements are approximate, +/- 1′.

UPDATE: For completeness, . There is no standard.

Tennis courts with labeled measurements -- US Open and community park comparison
Tennis courts with labeled measurements — US Open and community park comparison

NOTE: This article originally appeared in August 2011 on .

Where in the world do the top 100 professional tennis players come from?

[UPDATE September 07, 2014] With Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic reaching the 2014 US Open final, it is clear that this article needs updating. I will do so after the end of the 2014 season, when the ATP and WTA publish their updated rankings.

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[UPDATE May 28, 2013] See new updated ATP map posted today. New WTA map will be posted tomorrow. [UPDATE: posted]

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Men are from Spain, women are from Russia

After spending four full days on the grounds of the on the eve of the , I decided to put together two simple maps showing where the world’s top professional tennis players come from. According to the August 20, 2012 rankings of the and the , the most female players in the top 100 come from Russia (10), the most men from Spain (12). The US has eight women and nine men in the top 100.

Below each map is a link to a table (Google Docs, no login required) showing the data used in that map.

Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, WTA tennis rankings as of August 20, 2012
Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, WTA tennis rankings as of August 20, 2012

Table: .

Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, ATP tennis rankings as of August 20, 2012
Number of top 100 professional tennis players per country, ATP tennis rankings as of August 20, 2012

Table: .

No women from Latin America, no men from China

[UPDATE 08/26/2012] I superimposed both maps to create a third, composite map of all 200 top professional tennis players (by country).

Composite map of top 200 professional tennis players per country, ATP and WTA tennis rankings as of August 20, 2012
Composite map of top 200 professional tennis players per country, ATP and WTA tennis rankings as of August 20, 2012

Table: .

Can I use an iPhone/Android phone for marine navigation?

Short answer: No

Longer answer: It depends

Full answer: Glad you asked

I spend a lot of time on the water – at least once a week from May to October. Years ago we used to navigate using paper nautical charts and analog compasses. Later handheld GPSs became ubiquitous. In the last few years, with an iPhone in every pocket, friends keep asking me: “Why can’t we ditch the altogether? I have GPS on my iPhone, and I just installed this pretty navigation app I bought from the App Store. Let’s use that instead.” Here’s why they should not.

Smart phones are not GPS devices

A “Global Navigation Satellite System” (GNSS) is a system of satellites that provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning with global coverage. It allows small electronic receivers to determine their location (longitude, latitude, and altitude) to within a few metres using time signals transmitted along a line-of-sight by radio from satellites. Receivers calculate the precise time as well as position. ()

The US-government-owned-and-operated GNSS is called GPS. GPS receivers are specially-designed devices that receive and process signals from the GPS satellites. Depending on the system and the process, GPS can yield from several meters to millimeters or better.

While modern smart phones have location capabilities, their – in the order of 30 meters, or 100 feet. Navigation apps for smart phones make navigation seem game-like easy, which is both deceiving, and (in my opinion) irresponsible. Smart phones have neither the positional accuracy nor the technological robustness required for a piece of navigation equipment. At best, they may be used as backup for a dedicated GPS unit, and then only to help visually locate a navigational marker.

I have been working with GPS since 1992, and I am well aware of the misconceptions surrounding the technology. The ubiquity of “GPS-enabled” smart phones has only widened and exacerbated the problem. Hardware and software vendors happily ride the wave of consumer ignorance, and do not do enough to alert consumers to the potential for misuse of the technology and the serious consequences thereof. Let’s hope it won’t take someone getting hurt for this issue to get more attention.

Summary:

  1. Smart phones are good for listening to music and taking pictures, NOT for navigation.
  2. GPS is universally misunderstood. Here’s .
  3. Smart phones DO NOT have GPS
  4. Smart phones use location technology (“assisted GPS”) whose positional accuracy is 30 meters, or 100 feet.
  5. Smart phones should NEVER be used to “navigate by instruments”.

The illustration below shows a hypothetical situation over a real NOAA nautical chart. The water depth goes from 40’ to 3’ over a distance of 50’. Using an iPhone for navigation, the skipper can think they are safely in the channel and run aground.

Navigation chart iPhone GPS
Hypothetical situation over a real NOAA nautical chart. The water depth goes from 40’ to 3’ over a distance of 50’. Using an iPhone for navigation, the skipper can think they are safely in the channel and run aground.

Many thanks to the numerous Twitter friends who provided input and feedback for this entry.