Myriahedral projection maps of the world

A new technique for unpeeling the Earth’s skin and displaying it on a flat surface provides a fresh perspective on geography, making it possible to create maps that string out the continents for easy comparison, or lump together the world’s oceans into one huge mass of water surrounded by coastlines.

“Myriahedral projection” was developed by Jack van Wijk, a computer scientist at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

“The basic idea is surprisingly simple,” says van Wijk. His algorithms divide the globe’s surface into small polygons that are unfolded into a flat map, just as a cube can be unfolded into six squares.

Cartographers have tried this trick before; van Wijk’s innovation is to up the number of polygons from just a few to thousands. He has coined the word “myriahedral” to describe it, a combination of “myriad” with “polyhedron”, the name for polygonal 3D shapes.

PS, apparently some people thought the site was done for based on my last post. Definitely not. 🙂

Skin Color Distribution

Confirms my theory that skin color is a function of the earth’s axis and exposure to solar radiation. Duh. Tons more interesting infomaps at UNEP/GRID-Arendal’s website.

Conversation Clock

Microphones record an ongoing conversation, graphing the audio in concentric rings, differentiating voices by color. The further inward the rings, the further back in the conversation. Patterns reveal themselves such as individual people not speaking, interrupting, dominating, etc. Arguments and group silences become immediately tangible. A projector displays the data on a table in front of the participants. Further development is planned using pitch and pattern recognition to extract higher level dialectic features.

It follows that increased self-awareness leads to behavior modification. I’d love to break this out while discussing a group project or debating the finer points of living with my housemates – applications are endless.

Lee Byron: Visualization

After letting track his music listening habits for over a year, Lee Byron took the data generated and through some clever math and plotting, produced this beautiful, organic representation of his history. Artists ebb and flow as the seasons and his preferences change.

After thinking about how I could show this whole sum in a presentable form, I decided on a sort of layered histogram. Each colored sliver represents a different artist listened to in the last 18 months. The sliver moves through time left to right growing thicker where it was more popular and thinner where it was less. The color indicates the first time the artist was listened to, warmer colors being more recent and cooler being further back. As a new artist is listened to it is put onto the outsides of the graph. The result is a wiggling tour through your listening history past.

While this is interesting to look at, it is more significant on a personal level. When viewing your own music listening history you are reminded of past events that caused the trends to emerge.

There’s a lot more interesting data visualization at his portfolio site, check it out.