Back in December I had a brief post about CRACK, a mapmaking software package for Macs. The downside was that CRACK only worked for making maps of the United States. As the need has arisen, Michael Allen and I began looking for something similar that could handle world maps. This brings me to OpenHeatMap, an online platform for making those fancy looking thermal heat maps using data from a spreadsheet. We were looking for something to visually display some data that we have on US Military Personnel abroad, and this seems to work pretty well. Here’s an example:
The program lets you mess with some of the details, such as borders, colors, etc. The only downside is that it does not appear to allow you to save an image. Mac users have the option of taking screen shots by selecting particular areas on the screen, but I don’t think PCs have this feature yet. Anywho, if you have a Mac, this lack of a downloadable file probably won’t matter too much to you. Also, there are some small troop deployments to some microstates that this map does not display–getting it to recognize some of the country names in the data may also be a bit of a struggle.
Also, the data used for making this map was obtained from Tim Kane at the Heritage Foundation.