Strange Loop

An Interactive Web Visualization for Watershed Topology

Where does the rain go once it hits the ground? Some of it soaks into the ground, and some of it evaporates. The rest flows into creeks, streams, lakes, and rivers, eventually making its way to an ocean. The route that this water takes is determined by thousands of regions called watersheds.

Creating an interactive visualization showing how these regions connect to each other includes finding and reformatting some public data, some directed acyclic graph algorithm coding, reducing the size of the data set to something that can quickly be served in a web page, and some challenging graphics performance issues associated with the display of nearly 100,000 polygons in your browser.

This talk will demonstrate and describe the architecture of a fun open source JavaScript web app that combines all these things to let you get an instant view of the areas areas both upstream and downstream from any location by simply pointing with the mouse.

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips

FernLeaf Interactive

Mark has been writing software and playing in creeks and streams for several decades. In a previous life he was a mathematician, and more recently he has written several interactive web visualizations for NOAA and the web site He loves the natural world, geometry, and programming, and is especially delighted whenever he's able to combine all three of these things. He currently lives in NYC.