ACS Commuter Data Visualizations


This blog concerns an interactive visualization I put together that, for technical reasons, isn’t directly imbedded in this blog post. Go to to see and play with the visualization.

A month or two ago, I ran across a compelling visualization of commuter data done by Alasdair Rae, a geographer and urban planner based at the University of Sheffield. He runs a very cool blog called Stats, Maps n Pix that focuses on geographically oriented data and related visualizations. His gifs were really compelling and hypnotic, and provided a great sense of where workers were living and working in metropolitan areas. While the data source size, at 4.1m rows, was not even remotely in the ballpark of what people consider “big data”, I’m also interested in visualizations and publicly available data that I could use to work on various “big data” style analyses. Alasdair mentions the idea of creating a version for the whole US in one of his blog entries, so I thought I would take a stab at it.

Click on the link to read on:

Browse More Than 1,000 National Park Maps, All in One Place

From The Atlantic City Lab

Browse More Than 1,000 National Park Maps, All in One Place

A park ranger is diligently uploading these free cartographic resources for the enjoyment and convenience of all.

A 3-D map of Hawaii’s Haleakala National Park. (

Map addicts, you’ve been warned: A park ranger has been diligently uploading maps from hundreds of America’s national parks for the enjoyment, education and convenience of all. According to, some 1,053 high-resolution national park maps are available to view, save, and download for free.

The site is not officially affiliated with the National Park Service, on whose vast and multifaceted web presence many of these maps also appear. Rather, it is a way to consolidate and organize the agency’s valuable cartographic resources, which represent some of the finest American mapmaking of the past century.

Continue reading Browse More Than 1,000 National Park Maps, All in One Place

20 Years of India Lights

Twenty years of India Lights

The India Lights platform shows light output at night for 20 years for 600,000 villages across India. The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) has taken pictures of the Earth every night from 1993 to 2013. Researchers at the University of Michigan, in collaboration with the World Bank, used the DMSP images to extract the data you see on the India Lights platform. Each point you see on the map represents the light output of a specific village at a specific point in time. On the district level, the map also allows you to filter to view villages that have participated in India’s flagship electrification program (you can read more about it here). This tremendous trove of data can be used to look at changes in light output, which can be used to complement research about electrification in the country.

The data from this platform is open-source. It can be accessed from the India Lights API.

Email with questions.

USGIF Accredits James Madison University

June 27, 2016

James Madison University’s (JMU) Department of Integrated Science and Technology in Harrisonburg, Va., was recently named an accredited program by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). The department is now offering the USGIFGEOINT Certificate to students achieving a bachelor’s degree from either JMU’s geographic science (GS) or intelligence analysis (IA) programs.

Through USGIF Academic Accreditation, colleges and universities around the globe have the opportunity to receive accreditation of their geospatial intelligence programs. Graduating students who meet high academic standards receive USGIF’s GEOINT Certificate, which helps ensure the GEOINT Community has a robust workforce now and in the future. To date, more than 650 students have graduated with USGIF GEOINT Certificates.

“The certificate program ensures students are familiarized with a broad set of technical and critical thinking skills, as well as provided with knowledge relevant to entering and fostering a career in the geospatial intelligence profession,” said Dr. Helmut Kraenzle, professor of geographic science at JMU. “The interdisciplinary nature of our department and of the GS and IA programs will ensure a cutting-edge education for the students in the USGIF GEOINT Certificate program. We are proud of our faculty that have many years of professional experience in the Intelligence Community as well as in remote sensing, GIS, global positioning systems, and digital cartography.”

“We’re thrilled to have James Madison University join the ranks of our accreditedGEOINT Certificate programs,” said USGIF CEO Keith J. Masback. “Historically, JMU has offered a superb integrated geosciences curriculum, and they will contribute meaningfully to the larger USGIF educational mandate.”

USGIF has accredited 14 collegiate programs to include JMU, Fayetteville State University, George Mason University, the University of Missouri, Northeastern University, the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Redlands, the University of South Carolina, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Utah, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Several more programs are in USGIF’s academic accreditation pipeline.

USGS Mapathon – White House Mapathon Satellite Event – July 7, 2016

Date and Time: Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 1:00 – 5:00 pm EDT

Location: USGS The National Center, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will be hosting its 1st USGS Mapathon in conjunction with the 2016 White House Mapathon at the USGS National Center in Reston, VA. This White House Mapathon Satellite Event is a call to all citizen mappers, cartographers, geonerds and data scientists to celebrate and actively participate in USGS open mapping projects. Help USGS map structures through The National Map Corps. Create geospatial visualizations of Critical Minerals. Check out our demos of USGS geospatial datasets, like the National Geologic Map Database, Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation, Landsat, and 3D Elevation.

To RSVP for the USGS Mapathon event in Reston, VA and receive more details, please send an email to Sophia B Liu (

More details and the agenda can be found at:

Use #USGSMapathon and #WHMapathon to spread the word and share your open mapping experience using USGS data!