#15MinuteMap: Tropical Cyclone Tracks 1842-2014

More and more I stumble across really cool datasets online that are crying out to be mapped, but I never seem to have the time to do anything fun with them. I had a spare 15 minutes yesterday and challenged myself to map something.

I wanted to map tropical cyclones – you can see the result below. I think my map is a good start, but it was never going to be perfect in 15 minutes. For example, it would benefit from a few more tweaks and a little more time spent adding labels, picking out interesting storm tracks and so on.

That said, I surprised myself that I was able to do anything in 15 minutes – it felt a bit like the cartographic equivalent of arriving home hungry and throwing a quick meal together from what’s left in the fridge.

It would be great to see what others can do – use the hashtag #15MinuteMap to share on Twitter!


How I did my map:

Data formatting is time consuming so the trick is to find some nice clean data – in my case it was a shapefile of historic hurricane tracks from here. These could be loaded easily into a GIS (ArcGIS in this case). I then downloaded “black marble” from NASA (as a GeoTiff) and loaded that into the GIS too. I then reprojected both to the Winkel Tripel projection and made the storm track lines pink and a little transparent. Hey presto!