Posts for Tag: graphics

National Park 3D Elevation Models

Posted In: Geography | Maps

Play with an interactive 3D model of some popular National Parks in the US

I wanted to try my hand at creating 3D elevation models and thought trying to model some of the popular (and some of my favorite) national parks would be a good starting point.

Instructions

Once a 3D elevation model is selected and shown you can manipulated it in multiple ways:

• Zoom – You can zoom in and out, though the method depends on the device you are using. Try scrolling or pinch to zoom. You can also select the magnifying glass in the toolbar and drag to zoom.
• Rotate – You can rotate and change the angle of the model using by clicking and dragging on the model. This is the default selection in the toolbar (circular arrow around z axis)
• Pan – You can move the model around with if you select the panning tool from the toolbar (arrows going in all directions)
• Show contours – if you hover or click on part of the map, it can show all the areas of the model with the same elevation and the tooltip will show the geographic coordinates and elevation (you can toggle showing the tool tip if you select the tooltip bar)
• Save image – click on the camera icon in the toolbar to save as png
• Colors – you can change the color scale used to show elevation. You can also reverse the color scale.
• Change vertical exaggeration – you can select whether the vertical height is exaggerated using the ‘Height Scale’ slider.  You can change between 1 (no exaggeration) to 11 (vertical scale is exaggerated by factor of 11).
• Change min elevation – you can select whether the minimum elevation is sea level or the lowest elevation in the park.

You can select a number of different parks from the drop down menu. If you have suggestions for additional parks, I may be able to add them to the list.

Note: the elevation files are data intensive since the visualization is downloading the elevation across in some cases, many hundreds or thousands of square miles. To keep the data needs down, I’ve reduced the resolution of the elevation data. Though the original data is 90 meter resolution (elevation is specified across every 90 x 90 m square in each park, I’ve averaged these squares together so that each park model only has about tens of thousands of these squares, regardless of the actual area of the park. This improves data loading and rendering times and makes the improves the responsiveness of the model.

Sources and Tools:
This visualization is written in HTML/CSS/Javascript. Digital elevation data is obtained from Open Topography and uses Shuttle Radar Topography Mission GL3 (90 meter resolution). The elevation data is downloaded using the opentopography API and parsed in a python script which downsamples the data to limit the number of elevation cells. The script also determines if a point is inside or outside of the park boundaries in order to create the elevation model. The 3D model is rendered using the Plotly open-source javascript graphing library.

Iceberger Remixed and Improved – Iceberg Simulator

Posted In: Fun | Water

The code has been updated to allow for multiple chunks of icebergs now, which can occur via melting if you draw an iceberg a certain way.

Draw (or choose) an iceberg and visualize how it will float and melt

I was so impressed with the interactive Iceberger tool that Josh Tauberer (@JoshData) made that I had to modify it and add some additional features. Click here to see the original. My additions allow you to conjure up pre-made “icebergs” to see how they float and also allow some interaction. Try “poking” the icebergs you make.

Josh and I were both inspired by a tweet by Megan Thompson-Munson (@GlacialMeg).

Instructions
You can choose between 3 different iceberg creation options:

• Draw Iceberg – the original Iceberger option. Choose this option and draw any shape you want and see how it floats.
• Select State – Choose this option and select from one of the states of the United States to see how it will float.
• Select Shape = Choose this option and select from one of the premade shapes to see how it will float.

Once the iceberg has been created, you can also affect it in a couple of different ways:

• Click on the Iceberg – This lets you push on the left side of the iceberg to induce some rotation and see if there are multiple stable orientations. Click it several times in a row if you want to flip the iceberg over. If you push on the right size it will rotate the iceberg clockwise and if you push on the left size, it will rotate counter clockwise. if you push in the middle third of the iceberg, it will push it straight down.
• Melting – You can select between different options – No melting, slow medium and fast. This took awhile to code correctly. Previously, I’d just scale parts of the iceberg but this new code actually takes material away from the surface of the iceberg in a uniform way. It works more like you would expect melting ice to behave.
• Changing the Sky – You can change the colors of the sky between sunrise, midday and sunset colors.
• Showing forces – You can toggle whether to show the center of buoyancy (B) and center of gravity (B) of the iceberg.

Some Physics – no equations
The force of gravity (G) affects the entire body regardless of where it is or how it is oriented. If you show the forces, the red dot labeled G shows where the center of mass of the iceberg is. The blue dot labeled B shows where the center of buoyancy is. This is the center of mass of the part of the iceberg that is submerged. The force acting on the submerged part is equal to the volume of water displaced. If the center of buoyancy is below the center of gravity, then the forces will be equal and object will be in stable equilibrium. If the center of buoyancy is somewhere other than under the center of gravity, then the buoyant force will be pushing up on a different place than the gravity force and this will induce a rotation until they are directly over one another.

The code has been updated so that multiple icebergs are now allowed. Melting can separate a single piece of iceberg into multiple pieces, just as in real life. The melting process was a bit difficult to program because of the complexity of shapes that could be produced.

If you have additional suggestions for shapes or countries to add to the list or other improvements to make, let me know in the comments. Also if you are using this as a teaching tool, I’d love to hear how you are incorporating it into your curriculum.

Sources and Tools:
This visualization uses HTML/CSS/Javascript code from the Iceberger app to simulate the buoyancy of icebergs. Melting was accomplished with the help of code from the turf.js, polygon-offset and simplify.js javascript libraries. Additional elements of the UI and other features are also made using HTML, CSS and javascript.

Countries Mapped onto Solar System Bodies

Posted In: Maps

We can compare the sizes of countries and continents to planets and moons by projecting a map of a specific country onto another planet. Select a country and planet or moon to find out.

In one of my kid’s favorite books, there’s a picture demonstrating how Pluto is the same size as Australia. It has a satellite image of the country and an image of the former ninth planet superimposed on top as if it were hovering above the country. That image has stuck with me and I thought it would be interesting to see how other countries would compare with other planets and bodies in our solar system. As I’ve been working with javascript graphing/mapping library, D3.js and making maps/globes, I realized I should try to “project” individual countries onto these planets to see what they looked like.

Instructions

This visualization should be pretty self explanatory. You can select a country or continent and a planet or moon (or the sun) in the solar system. The visualization will then project the land onto the body and you have a simple visual comparison of the size of the country/continent and the planet or moon. You can drag on the visualization to rotate the planet.

There are some combinations that are not possible because the country/continent is too large to be projected onto the body without overlap. In these cases, the planet or country will be greyed out in the selection menu. You can click the “Get URL” button and share a specific map combination (country and planet) by copying the address in the url address bar.

The visualization also displays the area of the country/continent and the surface area of the planet or body. In some cases, the percentage may not look correct but remember that you can only see half of the planet surface and that it’s actually a hemisphere (half a sphere and not just a circle). It becomes clearer if you draw the surface of the planet around.

Calculations

The calculations to project a country onto another body involves starting with a set of coordinates (made up of longitude and latitude values) which define the border of the country, in the geojson format. To display them on Earth, the coordinates are modified so that the center of the country is centered at the intersection between the equator and prime meridian [0 deg latitude, 0 deg longitude].

To display them projected on a different planet or moon, it is necessary to change the latitude and longitude values of each point of the polygon country border so that it represents the same distance away from the polygon center. I used the Haversine formula to calculate the distance and bearing between two points on a sphere and then used the inverse to find the coordinates that were that distance and bearing from the center point on a sphere of a different size. These formulas can be found here. The main idea is that the distance representing one degree of latitude on Earth will be half as large on a planet that is half the size of Earth (like Mars). Thus, the distance between the center of a country and a point on the border will be a different number of degrees latitude and longitude from the center point on a different planet than on Earth. And this calculatin is done using these formulae.

Sources and Tools:
This visualization was made using the open-source, d3 javascript dataviz library and UI are made using HTML, CSS and javascript.

US Postal Service vs Private Delivery

Posted In: Government

The US Postal Service mail volume is enormous and can’t easily be replaced by private delivery services

The US Postal Service (USPS) has been getting a good deal of press recently because of Trump’s attacks on the security of mail in voting and recent moves by political appointees to reduce the capability of the agency to delivery mail in a timely fashion. These changes reportedly include removing mail sorting equipment and changing overtime hours.

Some have suggested privatizing the postal service but currently the volume of mail and packages through private delivery services is far smaller than that carried by the federal agency.

Note that the USPS carries about 55 billion pieces of first class mail annually out of the reported 143 billion pieces of total mail.

Source and Tools:
Data on Fedex, UPS and Amazon deliveries is from this theverge.com article. Data for the USPS comes from usps.com. Graph is made using the plotly open source javascript library.

How much will masks reduce coronavirus transmission rate R0?

Posted In: Health

It depends on their effectiveness and how many people wear them

R0 is the transmission rate which is defined as the average number of cases that are expected to be produced from a single case in an uninfected population. R0 is dependent on a number of different factors that include transmissibility of a disease (how infectious it is), the amount of social contact and the duration of social contact.

A baseline level of social contact is related to the population density (how often you come into contact with other people) and social distancing (limiting gatherings, not going in to work or school, etc) will reduce the amount of social contact with different people. Given what we know about coronavirus and its transmission, the amount of “contact” can also be influenced by mask wearing. This interactive graph shows the effect of mask wearing and effectiveness on reducing R0 even further.

This graph is a work-in-progress so please feel free to provide suggestions and feedback on issues of scientific concepts as well as for improvements in conveying the concepts/ideas.

Methodology

R0 values for different regions and population densities are estimated from Youyang Gu’s machine learning model for spread in Feb and early-March (i.e. before social distancing and mask wearing).

Baseline R0,baseline based on population density – R0 value ranges from about 6 in very high density places like New York City with lots of transit use where you are in close contact with other people for long periods of time to 2 in rural areas with much less contact.

Social distancing factor (SDF) – this is simply a reduction on the baseline R0 based on the amount of social distancing (ranges from 100% (no social distancing) to 33% (high levels of social distancing). This is a reduction in the amount of time and number of people the average person is exposed to compared to baseline levels.

Percent wearing masks (Kmaskfreq) – is simply the percentage of people wearing masks (varies from 0% to 100%). This parameter is shown on the y-axis.

The formula for effective Reffective is:

$R_\mathit{eff}=R_0,baseline \times SDF \times (1-K_{mask\mathit{eff}} \times K_{maskfreq})^2$

where $R_\mathit{eff}$ is the final average transmission value, $R_0,baseline$ is the $R_0$ value based on the population density, SDF is the social distancing factor, $K_{mask\mathit{eff}}$ is the average mask effectiveness and $K_{maskfreq}$ is the percentage of people wearing masks. The squared parameter on the right side of the equation is essentially the average reduction in transmission that is likely due to mask usage and is from a preprint from Howard et al.

As you move up and to the right of the graph, mask use and effectiveness become very high and the transmission of coronavirus declines significantly. If you hover over the graph (on a desktop) or click on the graph (on mobile) you will see a popup that shows the Reff value that results. The lower the Reff value is the better as it dramatically affects the rate of transmission. High numbers will lead to explosive exponential growth while values below 1.0 will eventually reduce coronavirus transmissions to near 0.

For example at R0 of 6 and no social distancing or mask usage, one initial case can lead to approximately 56,000 cases in only 30 days. Whereas an Reff of 0.5 will only lead to a total of ~1 additional case in 30 days.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions on how the tool works, is structured or presented.

Source and Tools:
The reduction in R0 due to mask effectiveness and usage based on a model from a preprint from Howard et al. Baseline R0 are from Youyang Gu’s machine learning model. Calculations are done in javascript and visualization is done with the open source Plotly javascript graphing library.

Planetary Art – Inner Planet Orbital Spirograph

Posted In: Fun

Earlier, I had made a visualization showing that Mercury is the closest planet to Earth (on average) and not Venus or Mars. To make that, I downloaded a bunch of NASA ephemeris (orbital) data. I realized I could use the same data to make some cool orbital art inspired by a spirograph – a planetary spirograph.

Basically, you get to choose a planet and the visualization will draw a line connecting that planet and Earth every few days. These lines will then build up into a cool pattern over 40 earth years of orbital cycles. Each planet (Mercury, Venus and Mars) has a different orbital period around the sun than Earth does and as a result, interesting patterns emerges.

Orbital periods of the four inner rocky planets:

• Mercury: 88 days
• Venus: 225 days
• Earth:365 days
• Mars: 687 days

Also evident is that the orbits of some of the planets are not quite circular so the pattern isn’t quite centered on the sun. Venus has the most regular pattern, creating a distinctive 5-lobed design. The other planets also have visually stunning patterns, though they do not repeat perfectly over time.

You can change the planets using the drop down menu as well as change the speed of the spirograph, and hide the planets and the sun.

Data and Tools:
I had thought about simulating the planets but there are plenty of tools out there that generate this orbital data so instead just downloaded 40 years of ephemeris data (data related to positions of astronomical bodies) from NASA website.. I processed the data using javascript and drew the picture using HTML canvas tools.