Here’s the 5 most popular mapping pages on Vacuum over the past 12 months – these are all in the top 10 most popular pages on this blog overall in that time span.
1. Power outage maps for 50 states. I only really have about 44 states with maps, but the collection is otherwise excellent, and it gets lots of search traffic when there are big storms. Peak storm action of Hurricane Irene and of the Halloween snowstorm that hit the Northeast both saw 3000+ visits per day of people looking for outage maps for their area.
2. Australia flood maps for January, 2011. Brisbane got socked with floods in January, and the maps capture the weather at the time plus links of the day and some astounding flood footage.
3. Vermont flood maps for Hurricane Irene. When Irene hit Vermont, roads were washed out, travel was disrupted, and towns were cut off from the world. A number of organizations put together rapid response flooding maps, and some of these are saved here.
4. Tsunami maps and maps of Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in Japan. It was easy to be glued to the net for news in March about the Honshu earthquake and its impact on Japan; this post was put together the day of the quake as news slowly emerged about tsunami risks.
5. Central Texas fire maps. Put together for friends and family near Austin, Texas, this collection of maps includes the Weather Underground fire layer map, one of the best near real time fire watching tools out there, as seen for the Bastrop County, Texas fires in September.
What do I conclude about this?
If all I wanted to do was maximize the number of page views that I got, I would be consistently pulling together maps about every modern day meteorological disaster. Fire, flood, power outage, tsunami, hurricane, snowstorm, have at it – every single one of them has a map to go with the story, and every time there’s a story someone looks for the map to go with it.
Most news reporting doesn’t pull in anywhere near the richness and detail that a good set of map searches will do, and most map sites that display real time data don’t save every possible newsworthy map event. Combine these two, and you can be certain that the maps you collect will tell a story that’s otherwise hard to illustrate.