Visualizing Nocturnal Movement of Elephants

Space for Giants is an international conservation charity, dedicated to ensuring that the largest mammals have, 'the space and security to live and move freely in the wild forever.' They’ve been tracking five elephants for over a year, and wanted to turn the record of their movements into a compelling visualization.


With over 35,000 GPS data points gathered from SMS information sent from the elephants there were many ways to approach the problem. Creating animated maps with Torque was a no-brainer with the tile data, but they wanted something more compelling than five elephants over the year.


The team came up with the great idea of condensing the data to focus the map on diurnal and nocturnal movement. They converted each data point to January 1, 2012 but kept the correct time, to compress all the data into a single 24-hour period. The colors of the elephants changed to communicate more clearly day versus night, and a background layer of property data was added for context.

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