Humans have a powerful capacity to process visual information, skills that date far back in our evolutionary lineage. And since the advent of science, we have employed intricate visual strategies to communicate data, often utilizing design principles that draw on these basic cognitive skills. In a modern world where we have far more data than we can process, the practice of data visualization has gained even more importance. From scientific visualization to pop infographics, designers are increasingly tasked with incorporating data into the media experience. Data has emerged as such a critical part of modern life that it has entered into the realm of art, where data-driven visual experiences challenge viewers to find personal meaning from a sea of information, a task that is increasingly present in every aspect of our information-infused lives.
‘Dynamic Connections,’ created as part of a BMW Guggenheim Lab collaboration, is a crowdsourced bike map of information for cyclists in Berlin. It was created in an attempt to tackle the problems with traditional, often outdated bike maps and enables cyclists to mark the routes they frequently ride on a Google-based map. Then they can answer a number of questions about that route regarding traffic flow, number of parked cars, visibility, topography, and the density of amenities along the route. The information is processed using an algorithm that designates the route bicycle-friendly or -unfriendly, and the route is marked on the map in either green or red.
It seems abundantly clear that Apple, which recently snapped up its third mapping company, is planning a rival to Google Maps for its iOS devices.
Ever since the iPhone first came on the scene in 2007, Apple has been dependent on Google Maps. But there have been hints that Apple, at least since 2009, has been planning a rival service. In that year, it bought a mapping company called Placebase; last year, it scooped up a 3-D mapping company called Poly9. This week, 9to5Mac confirms that Apple has now purchased a third mapping company, C3 Technologies, which mysteriously shut down in August following its acquisition from a then-unnamed buyer.
When we started the “Send-To-Car” service on Google Maps more than three years ago with BMW, only a few car makers offered connected services to their drivers. The industry has come a long way since then. Several car manufacturers have made industry-changing commitments to bringing connectivity to the majority, if not the entirety of their car line. We see more and more cars with connected navigation and entertainment systems leaving the assembly line and the trend is here to stay. That’s fantastic news for both drivers and the automotive industry.
On Wednesday, Google announced that it would open its servers to geographic data belonging to anyone. This means that developers will be able to quickly build a location-based Web service without having to also manage their own data server. (via Technology Review: Google Grabs More Geo-Data)