OUseful.Info, the blog…

Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

Olympic Medal Table Map

Every four years, I get blown away by the dedication of people who have spent the previous four years focussed on their Olympic Challenge (I find it hard to focus for more than an hour or two on any one thing!)

Anyway, I was intrigued to see this post on Google Maps Mania yesterday – Olympic Heat Maps – that displayed the Olympics medal table in the form of a heat map, along with several variants (medal tallies normalised against population, or GDP, for example).

The maps were neat, but static – they’d been derived by cutting and pasting a snapshot of a medals table into a Google spreadsheet, and then creating a Heat Map widget using the data…

Hmmm… ;-)

So I had a look round for a ‘live’ data source for the medals table, didn’t find anything obvious, so looked for a widget that might be pulling on a hidden data source somewhere… Whereupon I found a reference to a WordPress Olympic Medal Tally widget

A quick peek at the code shows the widget pulling on a data feed from the 08:08:08 Olympics blog, so I ‘borrowed’ the feed and some of the widget code to produce a simple HTML table containing the ISO country codes that the Google Heat Map widget requires, linked to it from a Google Spreadsheet (Google Spreadsheets Lets You Import Online Data) and created a live Olympic medal table map (top 10).

If you want to use the heat map as an iGoogle widget, here it is: Olympic Medal Table Map Widget.

Written by Tony Hirst

August 18, 2008 at 1:26 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Great idea using a ‘live’ feed.

    When I try to use your Google gadget I get an ‘access denied’ message on my iGoogle page rather than the gadget.

    Keir Clarke

    August 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm

  2. “When I try to use your Google gadget I get an ‘access denied’ message on my iGoogle page rather than the gadget.”

    Oops – I published the spreadsheet, but forgot to change ther sharing settings… it should be public now…

    Tony Hirst

    August 18, 2008 at 2:56 pm

  3. How about doing the medals per capita as well rather than absolute tally? That might be more interesting!

    Scott Wilson

    August 18, 2008 at 3:52 pm

  4. “How about doing the medals per capita as well rather than absolute tally?”

    I’ve been thinking about how handy it would be to have data feeds of counry data, keyed by ISO country code.

    I’m guessing this is something that might be extractable from Freebase?

    Tony Hirst

    August 18, 2008 at 5:11 pm

  5. I’ve started working on an extended map, that scales the total medal tallies relative to population, GDP per capita, and so on…

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p1rHUqg4g420j1U7REHQBPw

    I’ll add more fields as and when I get the data.

    Ideally, the population data etc would be pulled in from somewhere too…

    I’ve started thinking it might be quite fun to animate the medal tables overs time using a Trendalyser/Gapminder Motion Chart….?

    Tony Hirst

    August 18, 2008 at 6:21 pm

  6. Thanks for this. Surely Zimbabwe’s Gold medal/GDP ratio should be pretty high? I know you only looked at the 15 highest medal winners but it would be interesting to see- according to Wikipedia it’s either USD $28.098 billion or USD $6.186 billion.

    Rebecca

    January 29, 2009 at 8:25 am

  7. [...] construct a real time medal map using the tricks and techniques that are available to us today, cf. the approach I took in 2008. In this post, I’ll show how to create a medal map using Wikipedia data and Google [...]


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