Testing ai2html on a North Korean Defector

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: North Korea, Policy & Politics, South Korea

A few weeks ago I wrote about the daring defection — and eventual rescue — of a North Korean soldier who barreled across the Demilitarized Zone in a truck and then ran as fellow troops fired on him. The story centers on a dramatic video of the ordeal released by United Nations command.

The video, shot the afternoon of Nov. 13, shows the soldier speeding down a road toward the Joint Security Area, a border outpost that’s been the site of military skirmishes and diplomatic talks between the Koreas, still technically at war, and the U.S.

The soldier can be seen driving in a green military-style vehicle past a North Korean checkpoint before wheeling past a monument inside the area, where soldiers from both sides of the conflict are posted in relatively close proximity. The footage is a series of videos taken from different cameras at different angle.

The video fascinated me, but I found myself wanting someone to explain the sequences more clearly, so I started crafting a graphic in my free time to annotate the defector’s journey. I tried this using the ai2html tools created by The New York Times that are built into NPR’s dailygraphics rig. After a visit to the location with United States forces last week, I’m confident the graphic is accurate. I’m less confident, unfortunately, in its storytelling, design or technical merit.

Oh, well. Your first try with a new tool is never perfect — especially when this work is just a hobby.

Try it on desktop, tablet and mobile — and let me know if you have thoughts.

Mapping 2011 Earthquakes

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

This 2011 earthquakes map, rendered in Google Earth, shows just how rare seismic events are on the East Coast: 

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UPDATE: Adding historical data I discover…

This map shows earthquake hazards in various parts of the country: 

The resulting maps are derived from seismic hazard curves calculated on a grid of sites across the United States that describe the frequency of exceeding a set of ground motions.

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This map uses symbols and colors to visualize the “seismicity” of the lower 48 states:  

Source: USGS

Mapping Three Decades of Japanese Earthquakes

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Using data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, anyone can download historical data on earthquakes across the globe in various formats. Here’s a screenshot in Google Earth from a KML file downloaded today. It shows 30 years of earthquakes — in this extent focused on Japan — with colors representing depth and bubble size representing magnitude. (This obviously looks better in Google Earth):

Here’s an interactive version of the KML data uploaded to Google Fusion Tables:

View larger version | Source: USGS | Download the data