Thursday, November 3, 2011

Data Appeal - Making Map-Landscapes

A follow-up on new mapping tools from the author of 'The Exposed City: Mapping the Urban Invisibles' (read a review of this great book here).  Nadia Amoroso alerted me to a new endeavor called Data Appeal, which provides tools for visualization of data through mapping in order to engage people in new ways.

London - Economic activity w/ Green Space
 Ms. Amoroso sent me some information to give a snapshot of this new tool, which she describes as:  "...a new way of geo-data visualization. This web-based  application takes geo-referenced data files and generates beautifully  designed 3D and animated maps. The application is ideal for anyone  interested in transforming their data into powerful, communicative, and  visually appealing messages."
Toronto - Green Space in Neighborhoods
As you can see, the aesthetic variations allow users to choose from many options of shapes and graphic tweaks such as color and transparency to fine-tune the end result.  This flexibility gives option for a number of different iterations to provide more lively 'datascapes' which will hopefully engage users in new ways.  A variation includes colors and different symbology, as seen below:
Ranking of Los Angeles Restaurants
 More from the site: "This  application merges analytics, modeling and art into a new data  visualization tool. In essence, it is a simplified GIS, and visual  geo-analytics tool. The team at DataAppeal wanted to create an  application in which individuals can analyze their data visually and at  the same time have fun with their information, by designing it in a way  that expresses the subject, and by transforming numbers in an artful  way."

Chicago Green Space - alternative view angle
The exciting aspect of the service currently is that it is available free, at least for now.  In the future, a premium version with advanced features, analytic options and more data-design options will be available.   As Amoroso mentions, there has been lots of interest in the site from government  agencies, municipalities, environmental agencies, universities,  research groups, geography associations, market analysis research  companies, news agencies, media groups, national defence agencies,  healthcare institutions, social enterprise, telecommunication companies,  cultural institutes, real estate agencies are typical users groups.

This tool has been created through a collaboration of GIS specialists  and artists to ensure that data is displayed in a more visually  appealing manner to create a stronger response to information.  The tool   builds on the dialogue from Amoroso and collaborators in her book, while providing a shared platform, easy data interface, and access to robust tools for customization and creation of maps for many uses.

Map with dashboard for customization
Stay tuned, as I plan to interview Nadia to get some additional information on the development and future plans for Data Appeal and how it can continue to expand our ability to generate innovative map-landscapes.  For now, check out the site, and peruse some of the features and demos to more - particularly some interactive sites related to New York City Population and Toronto Bars and Restaurant Ratings - where you can visit the map, data, and other pieces that go into the map creation and visualization. 

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