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Ships across the Scottish seas

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About the map

Ever considered how many ships there are out at sea at any one time? Or perhaps you’ve wondered where a ship is heading that you’ve spotted from the coast?

This map takes a deep dive into the waters around Scotland, tracking shipping over a two-day period. The ship locations are displayed in an effective and eye-catching animated map.

Why it works

While ships may sail smoothly, they also sail slowly. Therefore, to reveal exactly how and where they move, we need to think carefully about the visualisation approach. Using a time animation, we can accelerate through days' worth of shipping activity and clearly show ship tracks and the vessel types.

This animated map reveals over 250,000 reported ship locations. To make sense of this, we can use map effects to create a visual hierarchy. By de-emphasising the less prevalent points, we draw attention to the most recent position of each vessel, using bright colours which contrast against the dark basemap.

Important Steps

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Requirements

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Tips and tricks

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James Findlay, Graduate

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