Abhijeet Chavan's blog

Abhijeet Chavan is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.

What's in a name? Google may have the answer

Google Labs has released another fascinating tool for researchers. Readers may already be familiar with  Google Trends which can chart and reveal trends in search patterns for the last decade. The new tool allows similar analysis of Google's impressive library of digitized books spanning centuries.

10 Urban Planning Songs

While there may not be popular songs specifically mentioning urban planning, there are many songs about cities and the impact of planning decisions. Here are my 10 of favorites.

YouTube For Your Data: Many Eyes on Obama & McCain

Is it possible to condense two weeks of soaring rhetoric by politicians into a single graphic? Let's find out.

In my last post I covered free online tools for creating information graphics.  Here is a look at another free online tool that can be used to easily create sophisticated visualizations and information graphics.

Infographics For The Rest Of Us

An introduction to free tools for creating interactive information graphics.

As professionals shaping the built and natural environment, we have to process and communicate complicated concepts and data to peers and the public. We often use visuals such as maps, charts, graphs, and diagrams to illustrate a concept or explore data.  Such visual representations are called information graphics or infographics.

21 'Strange' Maps


 The Strange Maps blog is an eclectic collection of maps, diagrams, and cartoons. Some graphics featured on this blog are informative, some are creative, and others are completely bizarre.The website is maintained by an anonymous blogger. The posted graphic is often accompanied by informative notes. Here is a list of 21 maps that I found interesting:

The Party Train

Toy trainMetrolink is Southern California's regional rail system linking several counties. The 15-year old system with 7 lines, 54 stations, and 388 route miles serves over 40,000 passengers in the Southland. Metrolink says its mission is "to provide the people of Southern California safe, reliable and environmentally friendly commute option." Sure, but can it also serve as an interesting venue to host a 4-year old's birthday party?

One birthday boy in particular loves trains and is a fan of a popular TV series featuring trains. His mother told me that their family trips were often planned around using rail transit to get to destinations in Central and Southern California. So what better way to celebrate his birthday than to invite his friends -- accompanied by parents of course -- for a trip on a commuter train? Children that age are probably more used to birthday parties where they are entertained by clowns or magicians. Would these children, growing up in Southern California's car-centric culture be entertained at a party where the view through a train window was the main attraction?

An Inconvenient Map

What is wrong with this map?

US Gas 'Temperature' Map

I

Web Content Syndication For E-government

Tennessee.gov RSS Feeds

The popularity of blogs and podcasting is partly driven by the simple concept of web content syndication and aggregation using RSS and ATOM feeds. Yet, a study by Yahoo suggests that RSS is still not widely adopted. The study reports:

"...27% of users actually consume RSS on personalized start pages without realizing that it's the underlying technology enabling what they read. Sites such as MyYahoo, MyMSN, and the Firefox browser with its active bookmarks provide easy access to regularly updated RSS feeds with little or no effort from users."

Why Open Source? Ask Massachusetts

OpenOffice

Open source is not just about lowering costs. It's about staying in control of your own data. For governments, it is important to specify open file formats for storing public data. Eric Kriss, Massachussets' secretary of administration and finance asks an important question about long-term archiving of public documents created with Microsoft Office. "Will those documents still be legible 10 years from now, or in 50?" The state of Massachusetts has given some thought to that question and is taking action.

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