U.S. National Parks Map with Google Chart Tools
I wanted to give Google Chart Tools a try, since they'd be really useful for throwing together a quick graph for a webpage. I picked the geochart to try first and decided to plot the U.S. National Parks on a map, with the markers scaled and colored by park size. It was quite simple to throw together. Mouse over the dots for the park name and year it was founded. Brief technical notes follow.
First I needed the coordinates of all National Parks, which was available on Wikipedia, naturally. It was simple to scrape the year founded and acerage from that page. Under the external links, I found you could click to see a "map of all coordinates from Google." The URL looked like this:
http://toolserver.org/~para/cgi-bin/kmlexport ?article=List_of_national_parks_of_the_United_States&redir=googlewhich becomes
Turns out that Wikipedia's ToolServer has a kmlexport feature. Pages with coordinates can be exported as KML files. More info on the tool can be found here. It means that a KML of all the National Park coordinates can be downloaded from:
[44.35, -68.21, 47389.67, 'Acadia (1919)'], [-14.25, -170.68, 9000.00, 'American Samoa (1988)'], [38.68, -109.57, 76518.98, 'Arches (1971)'], [43.75, -102.5, 242755.94, 'Badlands (1978)'], etc...