Category Archives: Visualization

One day of the Divvy bicycle-share system

Published on Mar 6, 2014
This video (best watched in high-definition (HD 720p)) shows all the bicycle trips made in one day in Chicago’s Divvy bicycle-share system, 2013. Each circle represents a Divvy bicycle station. Larger circles indicate a greater number of trips beginning and ending at that station. The color of the circle indicates the proportion of trip arrivals and departures: yellow means more arrivals, pink means more departures, and white means an equal mix of both. Watch the pattern of colors in the morning rush hour.

The number of arrivals and departures at each station was calculated for every five-minute interval of the day and was averaged over the number of days that the station was active in 2013.

This video was produced by Colin J Stewart (, an urban-planning graduate student at Transportation Research at McGill (TRAM: Check out my previous video of Montreal’s public transit system:…

The music in this video (“The Koto Chill”) was written by Zircon ( If you like this track, check out his other work.

Data was provided by Divvy Bikes ( as part of their 2014 data challenge. Big thanks to Divvy!

Forcing a round object into a square map

The earth is approximately a sphere, yet we try to force this round object into a square grid through the use of latitude and longitude and Ordinance Surveys. Why?
The rationale for use of grids depends on scale. We have naturally come to think of the earth rotating on an axis with a prime meridian reflecting that access on the surface, intersecting the axis at the north and south poles, complemented by an equator belting it. The equator has a natural physical meaning, but the prime meridian is arbitrary. Greenwich, England is no more the start of time than any other place. But longitude, if not latitude is arbitrary. The idea of longitude lines running north-south does have convenience in that it tends to align with the magnetic poles, and benefitting navigation.


Geodesic domes, developed by Buckminster Fuller (who did not invent soccer, but whose name was given to the Fullerene) enclose spherical areas with a mesh of triangles, forming many hexagons and 12 pentagons.
We could remap the earth using geodesic principles. Fuller did this with his Dymaxion Map. The triangular cut marks do not align with latitude and longitude. However, one should be able to align the triangles with either latitude (the equator) or longitude (a prime meridian), though that might cut land masses, which dilutes the political point Fuller was trying to make.

There are many ways to skin the earth, and stretch it out like a tanner stretches leather. The way we present this 3D object in 2D affects how we perceive it. We expect (in western countries) north to be up, and are disoriented when maps are presented otherwise. Yet we don’t expect our environment to clue us in very often, we don’t typically see compass marks in the pavement to show us which direction is north, to help us reorient (meaning turn to the east, oddly we never reoccident and turn to the west).
The map is the user interface to the environment, and we need to give it more consideration. We should also better embed navigation clues into our environment. Some cities post wayfinding systems around, especially near transit stops. Even (especially?) in the age of the almost ubiquitous smart phone, this still seems wise, so people can keep their eyes looking ahead, focused on the real environment, rather than face down in a phone, or staring into an imaginary distance with glasses.

City Of Melbourne : 24PM – Pedestrian Monitoring System Data Visualisation

FH sends a link to this very nice visualization from the City of Melbourne: 24PM their pedestrian monitoring system data:

“The City of Melbourne’s 24-hour pedestrian monitoring system (24PM) measures pedestrian activity in the central city and Docklands precincts each day.
The system, which comprises 18 sensors, counts pedestrian movements to give the City of Melbourne a better understanding of how people use these precincts so we can manage the way they function and plan for future needs.
The online visualisation tool is an interactive map of these sensor locations, which enables users to see pedestrian counts on particular dates and times and compare data.”

Pedestrian Seductive


I don’t know how I missed this, Via CA, Patch reports on a “Pedestrian Seductive” project in Hopkins:

“Planners envision Eighth Avenue as a ‘pedestrian seductive’ corridor that will entice riders into the downtown from the light rail station planned for Excelsior Boulevard. This artist’s rendering offers one vision of the proposed light rail station and the Eighth Avenue gateway to downtown. Credit City of Hopkins”

Let me just say, watercolors of trees and brick in the sidewalk are hot. However, steps from apartments onto sidewalks are merely amicable. Almost anything would be a higher and better use post-LRT than what is there now.
Wikipedia says the town used to be the Village of West Minneapolis, but took its name from the train station, named for the landowner (Harley H. Hopkins) on whose property the station was built.
The map is here.

Timelapse video: New Hastings Bridge is floated into place

Pioneer Press: Timelapse video: New Hastings Bridge is floated into place:

“Watch the entire process of moving the 6.5 million pound bridge down the river and being lifted into place, which took about 60 hours from start to finish, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The roadway for the bridge won’t be poured until next spring.”

One Hundred Years of Land Values

One Hundred Years of Land Values – YouTube:

Gabriel Ahlfeldt lecturer at the London School of Economics, presents on the digital conversion of data derived from Olcott’s Blue Books, the unique dataset of historical land values, land uses, building heights, and other information in Chicago and its suburbs, published annually between 1900 and 1990. The digitization project, which opens up new possibilities for statistical analysis of long-run adjustments in land values, involves using geographic information system (GIS) software to create a rectangular grid following Chicago’s street pattern and produce a unique spatiotemporal dataset, providing insights into changes in the spatial structure of the city.

The Lorry Anthropomorphic

Trucks, like other vehicles, have been anthropomorphized. The Anthropomorphic Uhaul has drawn ire. On Sodor, Elizabeth the Vintage Lorry was already old stock. Trucks of course were major rivals to trains, so Thomas and Friends’ prejudices are understandable.

To be clear, the anthropomorphic vehicle is not always goodness and light, e.g. Maximum Overdrive. There is an entire genre of horror movies about possessed vehicles, including: “Car, Maximum Overdrive, Duel, Christine, Black Cadillac and Blood Car to name just a few.”

One should also see: The Taco Truck Anthropomorphic

Elizabeth Uhaulx Imatruck Firetruck