After designing a static map of eBird data in my first year of grad school, I decided to make this interactive version in my second year to submit to the U-Spatial Mapping Prize. The map features every bird watching list submitted to the eBird Project in 2012 in the contiguous US. Each point is displayed as a tiny translucent green dot – the more submissions pile up, the brighter the green gets. By displaying the data in an interactive map, you can have a lot more fun zooming in and panning around specific regions to have a closer look at where birders are birding.
The other key addition to this interactive version is the inclusion of stories (blue button on the top right). Each list submitted to the eBird database contains a "Comments" field in which birders can add any extra notes about that particular outing. Many comments offer nothing more than a few dry details, but some comments offer a delightful glimpse of the real people behind these submissions. I spend some time randomly perusing through all these stories to highlight a few I found intriguing: a grandfather spending outdoor time with his grandson, a man protecting his chickens from a hungry hawk, or the first return to a favorite beach after Hurricane Sandy. These stories reveal the humanity behind this incredible citizen science initiative.
For the 2012 map above, I limited my extent to the continental US. With a bit more experience, I decided to tackle the entire world for a 2013 update. I didn't take the time to curate a selection of stories as in the 2012 map, but it's still cool to see where all of the 2013 eBird checklists were submitted around the entire world.