PAC-MAN: The End of March Mapness

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Well we've come to the end of March. I was too busy the past few weeks to keep the high pace of map posts up, but I think we had a few gems. Next year we'll do even better!

For the final post this month, I'm tipping my hat to Google who have created the best map of the month. Starting today, you can play PAC-MANin your browser using Google Maps!

No seriously, try it!

When you go to Google Maps today (and tomorrow, I'd wager), You'll see a PAC-MAN utton. Click that anywhere and you're ready to play on your local streets

This feels a lot like the in-browser version of PAC-MAN that Google featured as a "Doodle" on May 21, 2010 in celebration of PAC-MAN's 30th anniversary. 

Happy April 1st.

When Map Projections Go Awry

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One constant irk I have with online map tools such as the venerable, decade old Google Maps, is that the projection is fixed. Most online mapping applications use what's known as "Web Mercator" for their projection.

This works great for most all of my driving and walking around needs!

This doesn't work great for my exploring the world from my couch tasks...

As a simple example:

In this image Greenland is twice the size of the USA. In reality, the USA is about 5x larger than Greenland!

Hilarious side note: I put this post in the blog-queue 2 days ago, yet IFLScience posted almost the exact same article as this yesterday... whoa. Kinda neat!

Maps about Coffee Locations

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Besides maps, one of my favorite topics to study on this website is coffee!

Here's a simple map I made by overlaying locations of coffee shops onto a map of the UW campus, and drawing some simple circles. What it shows is the walking distance to coffee shops around campus, and that the entire UW campus is covered within a 2-minute walking time! [original post]

Next we extend this idea, and look at coffee shops around the country. Below is a map of the distribution of Starbucks stores in the US. The wire mesh is a triangulation that enables us to find the lowest Starbucks density point, which is around 140 miles from the nearest Pumpkin Spice Latte! [original post]

Finally, here's a really neat series of interactive maps by the MIT Media Lab, showing coverage maps of independent coffee shops in several major cities throughout the US. Below I'm showing a screenshot of the map for Portland, OR. [original post]

Mapping Road Trips

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Randy Olsen, moderator of /r/dataisbeautiful, created a great map project about a week ago, which I thought I would the start week 3 of March Mapness off with!

Here is a map of the "Optimal Road Trip", which visits major landmarks in every one of the lower 48 states in the US, as solved by a genetic algorithm:

Randy has an awesome blog post about the project, and includes a live version of the map you can interact with! Check it out here, or follow Randy on Twitter for a near-constant stream of awesome data visualization!
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