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With a dataset provided by University College London’s Energy Institute, data visualization studio Kiln Digital’s co-founders Robin Houston and Duncan Clark created an interactive map that highlights day-to-day cargo shipping activities around the globe. Created using the open source tools Mapnik and Leaflet, a custom base map shows land, major rivers and ocean depth, and animated graphics created in WebGL highlight the massive amounts of shipping data with smooth animations. The website works much like a video stream, where each day of shipping data is downloaded as an individual small file; the site draws the animation for the current day while simultaneously downloading the next day in the background, enabling the portrayal of a large quantity of shipping data without crashing the browser. Visitors can toggle a voiceover narration that explains the importance of cargo shipping and highlights important regions and rivers that ships use to transport goods. Shipmap.org received more than 300,000 visitors within the first couple weeks of its launch, and received accolades from noted press outlets such as Vox, Vice and the Sydney Morning Herald

shipmap.org

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