Physical trace on map from GPS track data

gps trackWith more and more people carrying personal tracking devices, a wealth of personal information is being collected that can be visualized or physicalized in different ways. The geospatial data that all of our phones – and more and more watches – collect is particularly amenable to rendering into physicalizations.

Below is a model of the path I took a few months ago as I ran a few errands around my home on Aquidneck Island. I made two stops and intentionally took a route that formed a loop with no overlapping segments. Continue reading


Three days – 4,000 Years

Stolen Years

The statistics on gun violence in this country are heart breaking. Guns killed 11,419 people in 2013. This represents a loss of over 500,000 years of life. Unfortunately, the rate of gun violence continues unchecked. This topic never loses its timeliness. Three Days – 4,000 Years is an adaptation of the powerful U.S. Gun Deaths visualization the data design firm Periscopic created a few years ago in response to the school shooting in Newtown CT. Continue reading


Elevation map of sea surface temperature shows Gulf Stream

Here is ansnapshot00other 3D map. This one shows differences in sea surface temperature (SST) along the East Coast of the U.S. The elevation differences highlights the Gulf Stream, a surface current that flows north along the western edge of the North Atlantic, transporting warm water northward from the tropics.


Continue reading


Napoleon’s march in 3d

minard1xI’ve been thinking about creating a 3D model of Minard’s famous chart depicting Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia for quite a while. I finally gave it a shot over the weekend.

I could not be happier with the results. The first person I showed the model to said that she never really understood what Minard’s chart was showing until she saw it in 3D. Continue reading


More Wave Interferences Models

DSC_0078 The wave interference models I shared a few months ago followed two dimensional waves over time. (x and z axes represented space and the y axis represented time. As an extension of this work, I’ve started creating models of interaction patterns formed by circular waves.

The models in this post are snapshots showing interaction pattern formed by two longitudinal waves propagating over time.

Continue reading


Physical representation of a record breaking month of rain

AHPSMaypptdiffAccording to NOAA, this past May was the wettest month on record for the the US. The distribution of rain was not uniform. Parts of the central US received 2 to 3 times as much rain as usual while precipitation on the most of the East and West coasts was below average. Continue reading


Scale model of the water on Earth

waterOnEarthThe  photo on the left is a physical representation of the water on Earth scaled to  fit on an Earth with a radius of 40 cm (about 15.74 inches).

The model is inspired by a graphic on the USGS website showing what all of the water on, in and above the Earth would look like if it was collected into a big drop and placed back on the globe. To give a sense of scale the image shows the spheres of water sitting in the middle of the continental U.S.

One version of the illustration give additional perspective by showing two smaller spheres. The larger of the two smaller spheres represents all of the liquid fresh water on Earth. The smallest contains only the water in lakes and rivers. This smallest sphere represents the majority of water used by humanity. The full description and context of the visualization is available on the USGS website.

The physical model above shows the same information. Each blue sphere is to scale. The largest one is all of the water on Earth. The mid-sized sphere is all fresh liquid water and the smallest is lake and river water only.

The white base is a small slice of a sphere equal to the size of the earth at the same scale.

The image below shows the three water spheres sitting on top of a sphere the size of the Earth at the same scale.


 The files need to print this model are available on Thingiverse.