Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mapping Consumer Spend

Identifying locations with the greatest potential for your product or service is a challenge for any business regardless of the scale of operations.

Conducting large scale customer research can be time consuming, not to mention costly, and buying expert reports may not necessarily provide the level of detail required to identify specific locations to focus your sales efforts on.

However, there is a quick and inexpensive way to evaluate market potential and to locate the most promising places for business expansion using information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and some clever tools. Surprisingly, these tools can yield very accurate results with very little effort.

As a demonstration, let’s consider a supplier of haircare products who intends to tap into the Sydney market. Using Mapdeck’s Thematic Mapper application it only takes a few mouse clicks to create a map with all the essential information for analysis:

[Household expenditure on haircare products by postcode]

The map clearly demonstrates that locations around Parramatta, Blacktown or Liverpool offer much bigger potential for haircare products than Sydney city and Eastern Suburbs (i.e. high concentration of dark red polygons indicating higher consumer spend).

With a few additional mouse clicks, it is easy to determine the estimated value of total haircare product sales in these 3 locations - for example, by defining a 5 km radius around the main retail precinct as a catchment area. It would yield the following result:

Estimated Market Size for Haircare Products:

Parramatta: $17.8M p.a.
Blacktown: $6.8M p.a. (excluding locations within 5km radius from Parramatta)
Liverpool: $15M p.a.

And how big is the overall market for haircare products in Australia? A few more mouse clicks are required to download the data and to open the csv file to reveal the big number:

Estimated market size for haircare products in Australia is almost $1 billion p.a. (lower bound is $950 million and upper bound is $1,035 million p.a.)

Not bad for 5 minutes work.

There are over 600 product and service categories to choose from to conduct your analysis and information can be mapped down to Statistical Area 1 (SA1) level, which means you can examine data over areas as small as just a few neighbourhoods.

Whether you are evaluating overall market potential or just investigating opportunities in specific catchment areas, the information available via Mapdeck can get you answers quickly. Ultimately, this will help save time and money so you can concentrate on exploring any identified market opportunities and not on chasing the data required to conduct the initial analysis.

For more information on this and other cost effective market intelligence solutions for business of all sizes please contact us via enquiry form on site.

Related Posts:
How maps can improve sales

Thursday, September 25, 2014

State postcode maps

Postcodes are the most widely used and accepted reference to locations across Australia. Postcodes are considered more manageable spatial unit than localities and offer more detailed breakdown than Local Government Areas and hence, are favoured for many business applications, ranging from sales area and franchise territory delineation or service delivery determination, to profiling customers and competition.

However, localising postcode extents on the ground was always a challenge since the numbering system does not follow strict conventions.

The most practical to use version of postcodes are Postal Areas created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as they cover consistently the entire Australian continent and allow matching company data to vast amount of statistical information, including socio-demographic data from Census.

Postcode Finder, published by, is a free online reference map allowing quick lookup of the location and boundary extents of any postcode within Australia.

We are also offering the information in a pdf format, suitable for printing in up to A1 size. There are two types of postcode maps available for immediate delivery:

Capital city maps (which include suburb boundaries):

. Greater Melbourne
. Greater Sydney
. Brisbane and Gold Coast

State/Territory maps (which include population counts per postcode):

. Queensland
. New South Wales
. Victoria
. Tasmania
. Northern Territory
. South Australia
. Western Australia

Individual maps are $30 each and the full set can be purchased for just $150 (10 maps in total).

As with all our products, these maps can be customised to meet specific requirements. For further information or to purchase the set, please email us on

Related information:
Map of Australian Postcodes

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

National Map

A few weeks ago Australian government launched new spatial data initiative called the National Map. It is a cooperative effort of NICTA and several federal government agencies, and another attempt to catalogue, present and make accessible to the public vast amounts of spatial data created and maintained by public sector organisations.

Hopefully, this initiative will be more successful and more permanent creation than previous versions so business, as well as Australian public, can take full advantage of the investment for many years to come.

The concept of a “single online map” - the National Map, is not unique and this is not what will make this project a success. After all, there is nothing exciting anymore about “viewing things on maps” - especially within walled gardens of proprietary applications (State governments Google Globes initiatives come to mind as an example).

Rather, the value of this and, hopefully soon, State and Territory government initiatives is in exposing the data via web services for others to utilise - without constraints and within a variety of custom made applications.

Full data interoperability is the ultimate prize for the nation. Yet, this concept is so elusive and hard to achieve despite over a decade of concerted efforts of many individuals and quite a significant investment by government authorities to make it happen. Let us hope that the National Map initiative is the new beginning...

Thematic Mapper is one of many applications on the market which can readily make use of all those new data services. It is well capable of not only displaying National Map data layers but also allowing to “mash” them with a variety of other open source as well as proprietary information.

Take for example this set of maps depicting Internet availability and quality of signal in Australia. It is created with free and readily accessible Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as information served by the Department of Communications:

You don’t have to be a GIS expert to make useful, informative and beautiful maps with Thematic Mapper. Contact team to arrange a demonstration with your own data.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Presenting spatial data with Thematic Mapper

Attractive, eye catching colours and interesting graphics help to draw attention of the audience to key information presented on a map. Data presentation capabilities of Thematic Mapper are best demonstrated on the following examples:

  • Base maps – Thematic Mapper comes with a wide selection of base map layers, open source as well as commercial, to suit various presentation objectives:

  • Overlays - users are able to mix and match various overlay layers for the best visual effect and/or to enhance clarity of presented information:

  • Custom data – registered users can create fully customised choropleth (thematic) maps with standard geometry layers (eg. postcodes) and own attribute data, or any of thousands of demographic statistics (ie. Census  data) readily available for use in Thematic Mapper:

  • Point data – Thematic Mapper allows creating complex markers comprising variety of background shapes, sizes and colours, symbols (glyphs) and images; markers are interactive and can be as complex or as simple as required to convey the message:

Contact Mapdeck Team for a demonstration of Thematic Mapper capabilities with your own data.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Property market analysis with Thematic Mapper

One distinctive advantage of presenting information on maps rather than in tables is the ability to visualise geographic distribution of phenomena under investigation. In other words, choropleth (thematic) maps are a perfect tool for highlighting differences or similarities between areas, or for presenting spatial patterns.

Thematic Mapper has recently been used in the analysis of changes in median prices over time for Local Government Areas in the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Region.

The map clearly shows spatial pattern that median prices of properties located closer to the city centre grew faster than those located further away and also that the growth rate was dependant on the distance to the city centre (that is, the further away the property was located, the slower the growth was). 

This simple visualisation technique allowed drawing a conclusion that properties located close to the city centre offer the best capital return in the long term. Ultimately, it allowed resolving decisively the dilemma of every prospective property purchaser as to “where to buy”.

Read full article on Property Observer website.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Introducing Thematic Mapper

Thematic Mapper is an online tool that allows visualisation of information that can be matched to administrative boundaries, like postcodes or suburb, or to point locations like cities, towns or individual addresses.

[Thematic map depicting proportions of persons aged 5 to 14 per postcode - one of 7,942 available Census data layers]

Unlike traditional GIS tools, Thematic Mapper allows creating choropleth maps as well as displaying categorised point information on-the fly. In other words, polygons are assigned colours and points are assigned markers and colours dynamically, according to rules defined by the user and are not preconfigured in advance by the system administrator. This capability empowers users to create maps according to their individual requirements and aesthetics.

The key advantage of Thematic Mapper is ease of creation and publication of maps online. Users do not have to be experts in GIS and spatial analytics to make comprehensive, visually attractive and meaningful thematic maps. However, experienced analysts will also find Thematic Mapper very useful since it allows quick visualisation of a large number of analytical scenarios.

Thematic Mapper is provided as Software-as- a-Service. Hence, users do not need expensive infrastructure to deploy the software, nor do they need to employ technical staff to maintain it.

Key Features

Thematic Mapper has several distinguished features that are not offered by other online mapping tools, or even desktop applications. In particular:

1. Ability to preview the histogram of mapped data - which helps in determining data distribution characteristics and hence, in selecting the most appropriate method for categorisation of data (that is, whether data is normally distributed or not, and therefore, whether quantile, equal range or standard deviation methodology is the most appropriate to define data ranges for colouring).

2. Fully customisable colour schemas for polygons as well as markers, including multi- colour blending for the best visual effect (eg.  colour ranges can be generated based on 2, 3 or more interim colours, and not only based on the “start” and “end” colour; and each colour can be further adjusted manually, as required).

3. Ability to create complex markers - comprising variety of background shapes, sizes and colours, symbols (glyphs) and images, and any combination of these. Users can define two display modes for markers which will change at a predefined zoom level - plus there is the third highlight mode for mouse-over events.

[Example: custom markers and annotations for properties in Toorak, VIC]

4. Ability to create folders (decks) and saving specific map “views” for further reuse. Furthermore, decks can be public - to share with others, or private, for internal use only: example of public folder demonstrating Thematic Mapper in action

All in all, Thematic Mapper v1.0 allows fully customised visualisation and sharing of large volumes of spatially attributed information with just a few mouse clicks.

Please contact Australian distributor to arrange a free preview of Thematic Mapper in its full capability.

Special Offer

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Map of Australian postcodes

Postcodes are the most widely recognised spatial unit.  They have application in a variety of operational, analytical and planning activities and are used equally frequently by small as well as large business in Australia.

The most practical to use version of postcodes are Postal Areas created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Postal Areas allow matching company data to vast amount of statistical data, including socio-demographic information from Census.

At we have been helping business to make the most of all that information by providing free online tools, like Postcode Finder or Census 2011 Maps, but also by building more advanced solutions to help in complex tasks of defining and managing sales areas or undertaking spatial analysis to gain business insights for a competitive advantage.

Now we bring to the market a set of reference wall maps in pdf format which are ready for printing, either in small size or in pieces on a local printer, or in big format at commercial establishments.The maps are designed on A2 canvas but can be effectively printed in A3 as well as A0 size. 

We have available for immediate delivery postcode maps in pdf format for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane/ Gold Coast for as little as $30.

[closeup of Sydney map of postal areas with suburbs]

As with all our products, these maps can be customised to meet specific requirements. For further information or to purchase the set, please email us on

Related Information:
State postcode maps

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mapping migrants in Australia

Where do migrants live? Australian Bureau of Statistics has just published an interesting article that tries to answer that same question. We can learn from the article that:

A migrant is a person who has reported their country of birth as a nation other than Australia. Migration is an important contributor to Australia’s growing population. Since 2006, net overseas migration to Australia has contributed more to Australian population growth each year than growth through natural increase.

In the 2011 Census, there were 5.3 million migrants in Australia, which means one in every four (26%) Australian residents was born overseas. Australia’s migrant population is relatively large when compared with other Western nations. Taken as a proportion of the population, Australia has a larger migrant population than does New Zealand (23%), Canada (21%), the United States of America (13%) and the United Kingdom (13%).

The largest contributor to Australia's migrant population continues to be people born in the United Kingdom (UK). In the 2011 Census, 1.1 million UK-born migrants lived in Australia - around one in every twenty Australian residents.

In comparison to people born in Australia, migrants show a tendency to settle in major urban areas of Australia. While 64% of Australian-born people lived in a major urban area of Australia in 2011, 85% of those born overseas lived in a major urban area.

Within urban areas, migrants in Australia tended to live in Australia's two largest cities, a trend seen in Australia since the late 1940s. In the 2011 Census, just under half of all migrants in Australia lived in either Sydney or Melbourne, with 1.4 million residents of Sydney and 1.2 million residents of Melbourne being born overseas. Perth had the third largest migrant population in Australia at 568,000 people.

For further information on how to access detailed statistics on migrants in Australia please send your enquiries to

Related Posts:
Census 2011 Online Maps
Census 2011 Online Maps User Guide
Mapping Australian social diversity
Mapping social diversity in NSW

Monday, May 12, 2014

RoyMorgan’s Helix Personas Tool

Helix Personas is a consumer segmentation and data integration tool that combines psychographic and behavioural information to classify the Australian population into 56 Personas types and 7 Communities. This information aids in understanding future buying intentions and media consumption patterns of prospective customers and can be easily integrated with 3rd party datasets.

Helix Personas provides the ability to more efficiently plan and buy media against target audiences, optimise sales areas and develop highly relevant, tailored marketing and consumer communication strategies across all forms of media: digital, direct, broadcast, print and ambient. This simple case study illustrate the use of Helix Persona profiles during roll out of 7-Eleven stores in WA.

Roy Morgan Research has just announced the addition of a catchment area analysis feature. The application was built by Map Data Services.

Please contact at for advice on options for customer segmentation and sales area analysis tools - for any budget and any size of business. 

Related Posts:
Census 2011 Online Maps User Guide
Mapping Australian social diversity
How maps can improve sales
Reference Maps for Fusion Tables
Visualising Census data on maps

Demise of middle class mapped

The disappearance of the middle class is a common phenomenon in many developed countries. Below is a map that illustrates transformation of Chicago in the USA.

The grey squares, representing middle class, dominated the city’s neighbourhoods in 1970’s but mostly vanished by 2012. They were replaced by the upper middle class and wealthy, represented by the green colour, as they spread from downtown to the north side of the city, and the poor, represented by the orange and red colours.

The map is an effort of Daniel Kayhertz, a student at the University of Chicago but was created in collaboration with several other researchers. The data comes from the U.S. Census.

Related Posts:
Census 2011 online maps
Census 2011 Online Maps User Guide
Mapping Australian social diversity

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Geoscience Australia upgrades Sentinel Hotspots

Sentinel Hotspots monitoring system, operated by Geoscience Australia, has just been upgraded to allow for better and more informative presentation of satellite detected fires over the continent. The newest version not only shows the location of hotspots but also enables interrogation of individual point information presented on the map.

The updated version contains a greater variety of contextual information, such as Google imagery, Topo-250K base map, land cover overlay as well as several layers for Local Government Areas with data from NEXIS – The National Exposure Information System (for example, population estimates, residential building replacement value estimates, commercial buildings counts and replacement value estimates, and more).

Perhaps the biggest improvement is the ability to preview on the map historical data which can be filtered by date and location. The information can also be downloaded in a variety of formats for further analysis or reuse.

Related Posts:
Australian bushfire alerts maps
Map of Victorian emergency alerts
New attempt to build disaster management platform
Disasters and maps
Google public alerts map

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fighting graffiti with a map app

The City of Melbourne has released a map of the city's best street art as a part of the 'Do Art Not Tags' campaign. The initiative aims to educate the city's youth about the differences between street art and graffiti vandalism.

The map is built on ArcGIS Story mapping platform. The content for the map has been collected using ArcGIS's Collector App which allows for photos of the street art to be captured by smartphone, uploaded to Flickr and instantly added to the map.

First spotted on: Google Maps Mania

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Melway street directory moves online

It is a sign of times - Australia's iconic printed street directory, the Melway, is now available online.

The first hardcopy edition of the Melway street directory of Melbourne was released in May 1966 – that is, 48 years ago! It is currently in its 41st edition and its 39th edition can now be viewed also online using Google Map's familiar mapping platform.

Melway Online retains the street directory's frame and grid information, it is therefore possible to use the same frame and grid numbers on both the new interactive map and the original paper editions of the map. It includes the Google’s search functionality, which means it is also possible to search for locations, businesses and places of interest.

Brisway maps are also available online and it appears that Sydway version is being prepared for launch but maps are not yet showing up.

First spotted on Google Maps Mania

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Australia recorded 579 earthquakes in 2013

Geoscience Australia has just published a media release about seismic activity on the continent in 2013. According to official records, Western Australia was the most seismically active state, experiencing 332 earthquakes, New South Wales recorded 94 events, South Australia 88 and Victoria 30. The small town of Ernabella (Pukatja) in South Australia has recorded the largest earthquake in the nation for two consecutive years, experiencing a 5.7 magnitude event in both 2012 and 2013.

GA explains that “Western Australia’s high level of seismic activity can be attributed to the occurrence of earthquake ‘swarms’ in its Wheatbelt region. Swarms are small earthquakes that occur multiple times per week or month in a confined geographic area with no associated foreshock or aftershock. While Australia seems to experience a high number of earthquakes per year, most of the earthquakes are under magnitude 4.0, which are considered small as they don’t usually cause damage.”

 “Australia’s earthquakes are caused by the Indo-Australian plate being pushed northeast about 7cm per year, colliding with the Eurasian, Philippine and Pacific plates. This movement causes the build-up of stress in the interior of the Australian plate, which is then released during earthquakes.”

Geoscience Australia monitors, analyses and reports on significant earthquakes to alert emergency managers in the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and the public about earthquakes in Australia and overseas so that the appropriate level of emergency response and assistance can be dispatched. Geoscience Australia also operates the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre with the Bureau of Meteorology.

Related Posts:
New attempt to build disaster management platform
Disasters and maps
Google public alerts map
Australian bushfire alerts maps
Map of Victorian emergency alerts

NSW geospatial data strategy

The New South Wales government has just released its long awaited location intelligence strategy reinforcing its strong commitment to spatially enable key NSW economic, social and environmental datasets.

The government has recognised that at present, the benefits of location intelligence are not being fully realised across NSW, that location-based information cannot be easily accessed and analysed with reliability across NSW Government agencies, and that there is too much duplication of effort collecting similar data, too little reuse and too few linkages across key datasets. Those practices are seen as costly and inefficient and therefore have to change.

The NSW government is consistently undertaking initiatives to improve collection, management and use of its data. Just last November the NSW Government Open Data Policy was announced under which all data created and collected by agencies is declared "open by default". And earlier this year Land and Property Information launched a new initiative called "NSW Globe" that lets users explore NSW government geospatial datasets on Google Earth.

Related Posts:
Google making inroads with Enterprise GIS
South Australia opens its data
East coast unanimously frees data
Free data a GFC casualty
Governments intensify free data efforts
Data overload makes SDI obsolete
What’s the benefit of gov data warehouses?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 property maps

While researching some strange results on thematic property maps I came across another new real estate map – this time from the leading Australian property portal It is a very sleek design and quite functional too.

The key attraction of this map is ability to filter information according to number of bedrooms (1,2,3, any), type of property (house or unit) and according to some predefined scenarios like: "long term growth", "incoming cash flow", "balanced" or "custom strategy". The last option activates two additional filters allowing users to specify desired capital growth over 5 years and rental yields (since these filters are linked care needs to be taken in interpreting the results!).

The map allows choosing between two thematic layers: "5 year growth rate" or "rental yields" (information is rendered according to applied filters). There is a legend with a key to different colours which is updated automatically as filters change. Individual polygons respond to mouse-over events - activating a display with summary statistics for the suburb as well as labelling the suburb with full name and postcode number. Click on the suburb polygon updates information in the table under the map.

Response from the server and drawing the polygons on the map can be quite slow at times (indicating a struggle of CartoDB and/ or Google infrastructure this application is built on) and there is no time reference for published information but overall, it is a very informative and well executed implementation. is using RP Data information and similarly to APM, this source also indicates that median unit price in Darling Point, NSW has fallen in the last 5 years – however only by 10%, which is half of APM’s rate but still a negative result. All this despite city wide median price for units rising by more than 12% over the last year. That would imply that median price in Darling Point must have had a huge drop from 2010 peak if it is still 10-20% below 2008 price…

I will have to dig deeper into this issue since this case highlights serious limitation of using median prices to gauge movement in property price at a local level.

Related Posts:
Maps of UK property prices
Presenting property prices on maps
WA housing affordability index
AllHomes Property Map  
REIV maps auctions statistics
Sydney house prices
Aircraft noise maps
Mapping sun position anywhere  

Monday, April 28, 2014 brings back property maps

Three years ago I wrote a post titled “Maps and property investment” where I outlined how maps can provide invaluable insights into the dynamics of the property market on a local scale. The maps I referenced were published by but unfortunately, they disappeared from the site shortly after. It was very unfortunate because these maps were the only property sales information presented in a spatial format at that time.

Unlike many other countries where property statistics are widely available, and hence can be presented easily on maps, Australia is lacking such information despite our property valuation exceeding $5 trillion. In other words, property owners and buyers in Australia are denied very important piece of information that would be very helpful in making purchase or sale decisions. But things are improving!

When I recently visited I was pleasantly surprised to find that maps are back on the site! Not in the original format but it is better than nothing at all. In particular, information is patchy but there are many suburbs with median prices for units and houses as well as capital growth rates for the past 12 months, and the last 3 and 5 years. The source of information is Australian Property Monitors (APM), an offshoot of Fairfax Media.

However, inconsistency between information presented on the maps and that published in tables on the same page is a bit disappointing. That is, maps still refer to December 2013 while tables contain more up to date February 2014 figures. Updating spatial information on Google infrastructure can be a pain which may explain the two getting out of sync.

I am also not sure about the methodology applied to create those thematic overlays and there are some strange results for several suburbs. For example, the median price for units in Darling Point has apparently fallen by almost 10% in 12 months to December 2013 and this suburb recorded “annual compound growth over last 5 years” of -4.3% (which means prices would now be 20% lower than in December 2008). Something does not add up…

Related Posts:

Maps of UK property prices
Presenting property prices on maps
WA housing affordability index
AllHomes Property Map  
REIV maps auctions statistics
Sydney house prices
Aircraft noise maps
Mapping sun position anywhere  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Route planning with a difference

Trip Risk is a route-planning map for Melbourne, Australia which displays the accident black spots along suggested routes. The crash markers are sized according to the total number of incidents at each location. A click on the crash marker reveals information on the number of crashes at a location and the total number of people involved in those crashes. A red dot signifies a crash that involved a fatality. The results displayed on the map can be filtered by speed and by accident type.

This application is a great example of innovation fostered by unrestricted access to data and free open source tools and services. In particular, historical crash data, dating from July 2007 to June 2012, were released under the Victorian Government Open Data initiative (unfortunately, equivalent information is not available for any other State).  The developers used Leaflet map for interactive display of information, MapQuest for route calculations, Nokia for geocoding accident locations, Mapbox for serving base map tiles and the crash data is stored and served by CartoDB.

It would be really neat if, in addition to all the detailed information about individual accidents, it would be possible to calculate a summary score – kind of a “danger index”, for a particular route to indicate how risky it is in comparison to some “average route”. Even better, if several alternatives with lower scores could be suggested as well.

First spotted on Google Maps Mania

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cloud free base map image from MapBox

Cloud free, near real time, seamlessly integrated scenes of imagery acquired by various satellites orbiting the Earth is a holy grail of remote sensing community. However, achieving this result is not a trivial task due to volume of data and computational capacity required to process it. So, for now, we only have one-off attempts to create such mosaic with lower resolution imagery.

You may be well familiar with Blue Marble seasonal mosaics of MODIS imagery (~500m resolution) that appeared on many versions of online maps but the latest version created by MapBox is a great improvement on the previous, dated by now version, which deserve a mention.

The goal was to make the most beautiful image of an idealized, cloudless planet, “trapped in eternal summer”. As described by the creator, “It’s a completely natural product. Every pixel is a real pixel captured by a camera in the sky. But it’s also completely synthetic.”

You can preview the entire globe of cloud free imagery on MapBox’s tour page and the whole process of generating that image was well explained in Wired article in 2013.

Now the race is on to produce a higher resolution version (possibly based on Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 data) as well as to utilise all the possible band combinations to extract information, in near-real time, on glaciers, wildfires, crops, droughts and floods, cities and forests, surface temperature, plankton blooms, seasonal dynamics, smog, and myriad of other earth surface, near surface and shallow water objects. And most importantly – observe changes over time.

It is interesting to note that, yet again, innovation is driven by a relative newcomer to the spatial industry. As I pointed out in my 2013 end of year reflection, this is a very common pattern in the last couple of decades, where “old hands” just can’t recognise all the opportunities that technological advancement and computational capacity bring to this industry, and it takes outsiders to “spot the obvious”.

MapBox is definitely one of the more innovative companies that emerged in recent years and is worth watching - we can all learn from their fresh approach to old problems…

Related Posts:
New approach to satellite imagery analysis
Landsat 8 data explained
Google unlocks Landsat archives
Free high resolution imagery

Thursday, March 27, 2014

San Francisco crime map

The ability to filter results according to user preferences, to bring meaning to complex information, is an indispensable functionality of any great data analysis and visualisation tool. The San Francisco Crimespotting map provides a good example of how well designed controls can enhance user ability to visualise only a subset of available information, specific for the problem under investigation.

In particular, the map uses coloured map markers to show the location of different types of crime. Users can filter the types of crime displayed by simply selecting the items from a list. A click on individual marker brings up information about a particular event. The 'date' and 'time of day' controls allows to filer the results shown on the map by any date range or for any period, or combination of periods during the day.

The 24 hour clock (literary!) takes a few moments to get used to but is a very nifty idea. I have seen various approaches so far, for example using sliders or day-time matrix, but this one takes the prize.

For other examples of visualisation of crime statistics please refer to my previous posts:

Mapping crime in Queensland
Crime maps - complex stats visualisation
Victorian version of crime stats 
UK crime statistics revisited
Mapping Crime in Canberra
MashupAustralia highlights

First spotted on Google Maps Mania

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fun with maps

What will you get when you combine Google Map with Google Search? Autocomplete Map! This fun application from Map Channels can deliver tonnes of laughter – just try these couple of examples for Australia:

The “Why is Australia…” map shows the Google autocomplete results for Australian states and major cities that appear in Google search when you type in 'Why is (state) so ...'. According to Google, everybody is in a state of constant surprise about how hot this country is. Unless they visit Canberra – then they only want to know why it is so cold. No surprises here!

Australia Needs…” is a similar map, only this time the map shows the autocomplete search results returned by Google when you type in '(state) needs ...'.  According to Google, Australia is in need of a major construction drive, because Melbourne needs a theme park, Adelaide needs taller buildings and Brisbane needs more bridges, Sydney needs a metro and Canberra needs more schools...

On a serious note, the collective wisdom of the crowd captured by Google can be quite a powerful information resource on issues of concern to local communities. For example, the second map demonstrates that infrastructure investment objectives of the current government may be just what the electorate needs…

First spotted on Google Maps Mania

Monday, February 24, 2014

Maps of UK property prices

Illustreets has released a new Google Map that visualizes house price growth rates in England over the last 10 years. Users can click on each county to examine the growth in house prices from 2004 to 2013. Additional information such as, the total number of houses sold within each period, as well as the number of new houses started are also provided. The primary information for thematic map is derived from Land Registry’s House Price Index data.

This is the second property related map from Illustreets. The first one was a very handy guide to discovering information about local neighbourhoods in England. Topics covered include standard of living, employment and crime rates, asking and sale prices, schools by performance rank, as well as vital statistics about people and dwellings. This is map is one of the best presentations of property related data I have seen so far.

Analysing property price information and presenting results on maps is a topic of a particular interest to me. However, the availability of adequate data for Australia makes it very difficult to explore. used to publish quite a detailed online map in the past but unfortunately, it has been discontinued a few years ago. It is possible to access raw sales statistics for postcodes for a hefty fee but this information is rather inadequate for temporal analysis. For now, Australian property owners and prospective buyers will have to be kept in the dark…

First spotted on: Google Maps Mania

Related Posts:
Presenting property prices on maps
WA housing affordability index
AllHomes Property Map  
REIV maps auctions statistics
Map of Melbourne house prices
Sydney house prices
Aircraft noise maps
Mapping sun position anywhere 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Map of Victorian emergency alerts

The State of Victoria has recently launched VicEmergency, a single all-emergencies website that provides information and advice to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. It consolidates information from various state and interstate authorities, including Australian Bureau of Meteorology as well as NSW and SA emergency response agencies.

The list of available data layers is impressive. For example, fire related layers include current fires by alert status, planned burns, satellite detected fires, regions with total fire ban, safe places, and cross border events for SA and NSW.

Available for display are also flood and storm related events, earthquake and tsunami information, weather observations, traffic accidents, hazardous materials and medical emergencies, power outages and more. The developers created a unique set of icons to represent each of those events.

Information can be viewed on a map or as a list. The entire application is built with Google Map API and is optimised for display in mobile devices. Android and iPhone app versions are also available.

First spotted on: Google Maps Mania

Related Posts:
New attempt to build disaster management platform
Disasters and maps
Google public alerts map
Australian bushfire alerts maps

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mapping crime in Queensland is a simple Google Map application that allows searching for crimes committed in Queensland by address. The data is sourced from the Queensland Police Service and is presented as a cluster of makers with numbers indicating how many crimes were recorded in the proximity of a given location. Click on the marker opens a detailed list of events by the type of crime, time and date of the offense, as well as whether it has been solved or remains unsolved.

Queensland Police released its own official version of crime map in 2012. It is a fully featured online application enabling analysis of crime statistics for a nominated area of interest, nominated time frame as well as the type of offence. Information can be summarised by the day of the week and hour which is very handy for identifying crime trends.

The application was developed in Silverlight hence, requires a special plug-in to view in other than Internet Explorer browsers.

First spotted on: Google Maps Mania

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