Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mapping 2013 federal election results

Australian federal election is still more than a week away but some have already decided the result is a forgone conclusion. In particular, an online bookmaker is so certain the Coalition will win the election it has paid out all bets on that outcome. It is probably just a PR stunt. So meantime, before we have any confirmation of the real outcome, have a look a map published by The Age which presents how Australians cast their votes at the last election in 2010. Using data from the Australian Electoral Commission they have been able to map out the two-party preferred vote for every polling booth throughout Australia.

The map was created by Geoplex, GIS consultancy based in Canberra and Melbourne, using open source mapping application Leafletjs and data served by CartoDB (cloud based GIS solution).

First spotted on

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Maps aid in gauging public opinions

Interactive nature of online maps makes them a great tool for engagement with local communities while soliciting feedback on various aspects of local life. The City of Cockburn in Western Australia has just deployed an innovative online application to survey the community about local transportation issues using the Google Maps API.

Visitors to the City of Cockburn Integrated Transport Survey page can comment on local transport issues and reference specific locations on a Google Map. In particular, users can search for a specific address then add a marker to the map and leave a comment categorising it into one of six transport related issues: congestion, road safety, parking, freight, public transport, cycling or walking related.

All comments are published immediately as interactive markers on the map as well as a twitter-like list. Other residents can vote on each issue by either agreeing or disagreeing with the author of the original comment.

This is a great example of using a simple online map as a low cost but very effective tool to reach a large number of members of a local community that otherwise would not have had the opportunity to raise their concerns. The application was developed by a group of Brisbane based specialists from Arup, an engineering and built environment consultancy, and is available for other projects under banner.

First spotted on Google Maps Mania

Monday, August 19, 2013

Update of Census 2011 map app

My Census 2011 map app has just been updated with Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) data.  For each index there are two measures available for mapping: index value and decile it falls within (ie. comparing to all postcodes in Australia). The indexes can be used for a number of different purposes, including targeting areas for business and services, strategic planning and social and economic research (for more in depth examples see: How to Use SEIFA).

Briefly about SEIFA. It is a suite of four indexes that have been created from social and economic Census information. Each index ranks geographic areas across Australia in terms of their relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. The four indexes in SEIFA 2011 are:
  • Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD)
  • Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD)
  • Index of Economic Resources (IER)
  • Index of Education and Occupation (IEO)

Full explanation of each index is available from the ABS.

As a side comment, working with the updated version of Fusion Tables got me thinking that the writing is on the wall as to the future of this service… It is well on the path to share a place in history with many other Google initiatives that now are just a distant memory. The concept is great but the execution is very cumbersome. Hmm, perhaps an opportunity?

Related posts:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New trend - maps as infographics

In my last post I noted general lack of new and exciting developments in GIS and map publishing industries. However, it does not mean that things are at a standstill. One of the most interesting emerging applications of maps and online mapping technologies is integration with minimalist, infographics like websites. An example is created by the City of Melbourne:

This is a very basic but visually attractive, and most importantly, very informative way of presenting information. A “flat design”, as it is popularly known, is relatively new approach to graphic design. It emphasizes usability and features clean, open space, crisp edges, bright colours and two-dimensional/flat illustrations. The approach is filtering through into design of mapping applications thanks, in big part, to custom style map rendering functionality which, if I am not mistaken, was originally invented by Google map team.

In a sense, online maps and cartography are being reinvented again. It is a good thing. I am sure we will see more and more simplified map designs as this trend is driven by visualisation specialists/graphic design artists, and popular demand of course, rather than GIS experts and cartographers. Spatial professionals may be horrified that “outsiders” are stealing the march again but they can still get on board – it is not too late to embrace the new concept and join the leading pack as this trend is a relatively new phenomenon.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Map adds sizzle to elections

The 2013 Election Sausage Sizzle Map shows the locations of sausage sizzle and cake stalls that will be operating on 7 September 2013, a federal election day in Australia, so voters can keep up with fine Australian tradition of a sausage sizzle at community events (ie. a dish, consisting of a barbecued sausage served on a slice of white bread and with plenty of tomato sauce). It’s a good fundraiser activity for myriad of worthy causes so, have a sausage sizzle to support your local community before or after exercising your democratic duty!

If your stall is missing from the map don't despair as you can slap your sizzling sausage on the map by completing a short web form.

First spotted on : Google Maps Mania

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mapping Australia’s solar energy potential

The Australian Solar Energy Information System, or ‘ASEISonline’, presents 25 years of solar data collected by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The information was derived primarily from satellite data and indicates the amount of energy which has been received on a flat horizontal surface over a period of time. Using Google Map interface, users can easily identify areas with the highest average monthly solar exposure (ie. the amount of sun an area receives on average, per hour, across an average day - for each month of the year).

The Portal aims to assist in selection of potential locations for large-scale solar power plants in Australia. Solar data are complemented with information on regional topography, distance to closest electricity transmission lines, location of water sources as well as existing power stations. The Portal has been developed as a collaborative project between Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Raw data are available for download from BOM’s website.