Heat Map Animation with Java2D
During some work on the US government search portal, we met some interesting people involved with the administration's opengov effort. Much negative recent publicity surrounding surveillance and privacy issues notwithstanding, there has been an enormous effort underway to make useful and interesting non-classified government data readily available to the public.
One data source in particular caught our interest: a real time geo-coded click feed of web clients accessing URLs under any of the thousands of web domains belonging to the US government.
Using Java2D, we created a heat map visualization of six weeks worth of browser traffic sampled during the summer of 2011 ( phablet vs desktop ) with a NASA open source world map as backdrop. Spliced together, the short video gives a birds eye view of a world population browsing this particular part of the world wide web.
You can the resulting animations on YouTube:
These are best enjoyed projected on a large wall in a darkened room. Look closely, and you should be able to see day pulse across the globe, as desktops browse during the day, and phone/tables in the evenings of the various time zones.