Map Visualization Using MapBox & TileMill

A few weeks ago Nathan Yau wrote about making customizable maps with TileMill. It looked like it would be a great resource for making custom maps for infographics and video infographics so I made a note to check it out when I had some spare time.

It being a Friday afternoon, I found myself with some free time and downloaded the free TileMill application from MapBox and followed their crash course to make my first data visualization map. The resulting map uses earthquake data from the USGS to map the locations of all earthquakes worldwide between October 27 and November 2, 2012 and sizes the bubbles by magnitude of the quake (I’ll forgo the critique of using bubbles to show magnitude since this was just a tutorial).

Gotta say, I’m pretty impressed with how easy it was to use TileMill. Granted I was walked through the project but it all looked pretty intuitive, from starting the project, downloading the earthquake data set from within the application, styling things, adding tool tips and legends and exporting. The interactive version below includes the simple tool tips functionality. If you hover over one of the bubble you get a bit more data about the quake. I’m definitely looking forward to trying out some more data sets with this app and may do a follow-up blog post with more detail about using it.