Published on 9 August 2018

Mapping NZ Dotterel observations at Piha

Although it feels like it was yesterday, it has been over a year since I started uploading observations into iNaturalistNZ. I thought it would be cool to export all my NZ Dotterel observations and visualize them in a compelling way. There are certainly heaps of ways to do this but for this particular case I decided to use a density map. I reckon it is a good way to help raise some awareness about these wee birds at Piha.

In the past I have used Python and R in to generate density map representations but just to avoid the pain of having to generate tiles for each zoom level and then building my own map based on Google Maps, Leaflet and the likes I thought I would give Carto a go. It is a paid service but I got a free subscription thanks to being enrolled at the University of Auckland. The perks of going back to the student life I suppose.

The map below is the result of plotting the 70+ observations gathered during the last year or so.

I miss some extra flexibility like being able to set the opacity of the plotted layer. I usually like density and heat maps to be slightly transparent so users can still see through layers. But it is a quick and easy way to create data visualizations and share them through multiple channels.

And well, if you happen to visit Piha you certainly know whereabouts you're likely to have an encounter with these little fellas ;)