With advent of personal computers and the web, map animation is not only possible, it’s becoming commonplace. For now we’ll include this as a curiosity but someday it may be in a class by itself. Some of these animations are an outgrowth of GIS and others find their roots in the various graphics tools that are widely available today. By incorporating motion into a static 2D map display one adds another dimension, typically time. We’ll keep adding to our list of interesting animated maps as we find them.
Here are a few online animated maps to try. They vary in their techniques and interactivity. We’ve attempted to categorize them a bit. As this list grows, we may add a reviews and grading.
These allow you to visualize data in an interactive fashion much like having your own captive GIS.
- Geology of the US: http://tapestry.usgs.gov/default.html
- Credit and delinquency data for the US: http://www.newyorkfed.org/mortgagemaps/
- Demographics, natural resources, and may other statistics for the US, Japan, and the World; you can add your data too: http://show.mappingworlds.com/
These tell stories through maps and multimedia. War is an all too common topic.
- History of WW II in less than 5 minutes: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_nm.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005137&MediaId=3376
- Animations of various historic movements (e.g. democracy, world’s religions, wars) overlaid on maps:http://www.mapsofwar.com/library.html
- Animations of the battles in the Revolutionary, Civil, and WWII Pacific Wars:http://www.historyanimated.com/newhistoryanimated/
These sites provide a visualization of the environmental changes:
- The zebra mussels blight: http://www.nationalatlas.gov/dynamic/dyn_zm.html#
- The pine beetle blight in British Columbia: http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/images/2959
For Lord of the Rings buffs, here’s an extensive map atlas with all sightings and locations plotted by lat/long; for those who continue the tale: http://mehq.net/dynmap/index.php