13 maps in 13 days: Andrew Zolnai

Sending off the year 2015, we present to our readers the mapmakers who contributed their work to the 2015 GeoHipster calendar.


Andrew Zolnai

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I’m a geologist who turned to computer mapping 30 years ago and GIS 20 yrs ago — high school Latin helped me transition to coding just short of programming — and I now started my third business and assisted two others. I’m taking a ‘business process first’ approach, using mind mapping as a ‘talking point’ to help firms help themselves, which will determine workflows in resources planning that may invoke web maps. My Volunteered Geographic Information also helps individuals and academics put themselves on the maps such as this one.

Q: Tell us the story behind your map (what inspired you to make it, what did you learn while making it, or any other aspects of the map or its creation you would like people to know).

A: CLIWOC (CLImatalogical database for the World OCeans) maps all ships captains logs, 180 attributes such as temperature & wind speed per reading typically twice a day, collected by British, Dutch, French and Spanish navies (and a few minor ones but not the Portuguese). From 1750 to 1854 they’re the best climate data available offshore, making about 1/4M points.   The global sailings by time slices were posted on the so-called Stamen backdrop: its black oceans bring out the ships’ location colour coding. This map shows in the late 18th c. the French traffic to New France (E Canada) in yellow, in blue the Hudson’s Bay Company sailings to N Canada and the British East India Company sailings to India, and the Dutch triangular trade to the Caribbean and W Africa in green.

Q: Tell us about the tools, data, etc., you used to make the map.

A: Original CLIWOC climate data MXD was imported into File Geodatabase. 1/4M original points turned into 1/2M points after the four navies’ look-up tables normalised the climate data. Realistically, ArcGIS Online only posted these in decade time slices thru the time stamping. These were exported as GeoJSON both as time slices and in bulk, and uploaded into AWC EC2 stack. From there they were rendered in MapCentia GeoCloud2.

'CLIWOC ships captains logs for 1750-1774 time slice' by Andrew Zolnai
‘CLIWOC ships captains logs for 1750-1774 time slice’ by Andrew Zolnai