Saturday, October 21, 2017

3.8 Billion Years on Mars


This week three.js.org added lots of new links to websites using three.js. Among these new featured sites is National Geographics' Rewind the Red Planet and Cassini's Grand Tour. These two interactive presentations use three.js to take us on a tour of the evolution of Mars over 3.8 billion years and around the solar system following NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

At the heart of Rewind the Red Planet is an interactive globe of Mars. As you scroll through the site the globe updates to show how the planet might have looked during different stages in its history. The interactive also uses 360 degree 'Street View' panoramas of Mars to show how its evolution has looked from the surface of Mars. This includes imagined views of Mars in its distant past and more recent panoramas using imagery from the Curiosity Rover.

Rewind the Planet finishes with an overview of Mars today. In this section all of the landings on Mars are shown on the interactive globe of the planet.


Cassini's Grand Tour explores Cassini’s incredible voyage and some of its greatest achievements. Among the highlights of this tour has to be the imagery of Saturn and its moons captured by the Cassini spacecraft. The interactive also explores some of the new information that we learnt from Cassini, about Saturn's storms and the planet's rings.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Drone Imagery of the Tubbs Fire


For the past week or so Robin Kraft has been mapping the latest satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe to show the devastating damage done by the wildfires in Northern California. His Satellite Map of NorCal Fires includes satellite imagery taken after the fire in the Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Napa areas.

The Sonoma County and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has now captured two-centimeter drone imagery of Coffey Park and Journey’s End. This incredibly detailed imagery of the Aftermath of the Tubbs Fire provides a shocking overview of the damage caused by the Tubbs Fire. The Mapbox blog has a few details on how this drone imagery was shot, processed and mapped.


The New York Times has been able to use aerial imagery of the area effected by the Tubbs Fire to map which individual buildings have been destroyed. The Times analysis shows that at least 5,100 individual structures have been destroyed.

Fire officials are also checking every building on the ground to document the full structural damage of the fire. Everyday Cal Fire are adding information from their damage inspections to a Structure Status Information map. The red markers on their map show destroyed homes and the yellow markers indicate damaged homes.

The Poor in Spain Live Mainly on the Plain


Eldiario.es has mapped the average income in every Spanish municipality (with more than 1,000 residents) to work out where the rich and poor live in Spain. The map uses data from income tax returns from 2015.

The Map of Average Incomes in Spain shows that the ten richest municipalities in Spain are all in Barcelona and Madrid. The poorest municipality is Zahínos, a small town in the province of Badajoz. This gap in average incomes between urban and rural communities is reflected across the whole country. People who live in towns and cities on average have higher incomes than those living in the countryside.

One thing which the newspaper doesn't discuss is Catalan independence. When I looked at the map that huge blue patch in the north-east of Spain caught my eye. You can see why Spain is desperate to keep hold of Catalonia and all those tax returns.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Teaching Art with Leaflet


I really like the Leaflet-IIIF plug-in for creating a Leaflet based browser for IIIF manifests. I think it has enormous potential for creating explanatory lessons about paintings and manuscripts shared using IIIF.

The Leaflet-IIIF plug-in page on Github has a few example maps. However none of them include any interactivity. I've therefore created a quick example using Van Gogh's Self-Portrait Dedicated to Gauguin. My Vincent Van Gogh self-portrait example pans and zooms the map to explore different features in the painting. If you click on a button the map zooms in on a feature in the painting and loads some explanatory text beneath the painting.



You could of course use other features from Leaflet.js. For example you could add markers to the picture which users could interact with to explore these marked areas of the painting. Alternatively you could add polygon shapes around different features that when clicked open an information window with explanatory text. The possibilities are really only limited by your imagination.

The painting 'Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin' belongs to the Harvard Art Museums. The poor attempts at art criticism are my own and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Maps for Museums


Major art galleries, museums and universities around the world are adopting the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). IIIF is a standardized method of describing and delivering images over the web. In interactive mapping terms you might say it is a standard for creating interactive map tiles for images of documents, manuscripts, photographs and paintings.

One outcome from this adoption of IIIF is that there are hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, paintings and other documents which can now be viewed as interactive maps. Yesterday in Mapping Van Gogh we looked at an impressive Leaflet.js based tool for browsing IIIF manifests. The IIIF Curation Viewer allows you to paste in the URL of a IIIF manifest and view a manuscript or painting as a zoomable image in a Leaflet map. You can use the tool to explore any painting, manuscript or other image shared by institutions around the world in the IIIF format.

Instead of using this Leaflet IIIF Viewer, made by the Center for Open Data in the Humanities, you could make your own. Leaflet-IIIF is a simple to use plug-in for creating a Leaflet based browser for IIIF manifests or images shared using the IIIF Image API. If you use this Leaflet plug-in you can then make interactive maps from tens of thousands of manuscripts, paintings and other images held by some of the best known global art galleries, museums and universities. For example Princeton University are using the plug-in to show a Plan of Versailles as an interactive Leaflet map.

If you prefer OpenLayers you can use Klokan Technologies' IIIF Viewer instead. This open-source IIIF Viewer uses the OpenLayers interactive map library to display images using IIIF. Here are a few examples of the IIIF Viewer in action. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mapping Vincent Van Gogh


The Center for Open Data in the Humanities has created a very impressive Leaflet.js based tool for browsing historical manuscripts, paintings and other documents. The IIIF Curation Viewer is an open-source image viewer that allows you to view any image that has an IIIF Manifest (a common standard used by many museums, galleries and universities around the world).

In this demo of the IIIF Curation Viewer the application is being used to allow you to explore an ancient Japanese manuscript. Using the document viewer you can move backwards and forwards through the different pages of the manuscript (or select any page from the drop down menu). Selecting the black square button from the map menu allows you to draw around individual text characters in the document. When you select a character in this way an information window opens with the modern Japanese translation of the character.


You can use the IIIF Curation Viewer to view any document, painting or image that has an IIIF Manifest. For example here is Van Gogh's Self Portrait (Dedicated to Gauguin).  If you look at the URL for the Van Gogh painting in the viewer you should be able to see where I added the URL for the painting's IIIF Manifest (I got the manifest from the Harvard Art Museum website). Here is another example where I simply added the URL for Rossetti's A Sea Spell.


If you are more interested in seeing how the IIIF Curation Viewer handles text then here is a letter from Francis Crick to Michael Crick, where Crick discusses the discovery of something he calls DNA. The drawing tool in the map allows you to select any part of the document to create an image of your selection (you can see the image I saved above of Crick's mention of 'Deoxyribonucleic acid' in the letter.

If the play's the thing for you then you might prefer this Leaflet map of the complete works of Shakespeare. Of course the IIIF Curation Viewer can also be used to look at maps. Here's the Gough Map from around 1360.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Do You Live Near a Freeway?


The Los Angeles Times can tell you how close you live to a freeway. Just enter your address and the LA Times will show you your house and the nearest freeway on an interactive map. It will also tell you if you are within the 500 foot zone where air pollution is highest or if you are within the 1,000 foot zone (where scientists advise that you shouldn't live).

The map is part of the newspaper's report into why L.A. keeps building homes within 500 feet of freeways. If you zoom in on a freeway on the interactive map you can see the most polluted 500 and 1,000 feet zones - shown in red and yellow respectively on the map. If you zoom out a little the zones will disappear and instead dots will show you how many people live within 1,000 feet of the freeway.

Later on in the LA Times report another interactive map shows you how many building permits the city has issued within 1,000 feet of a freeway since 2005. This map includes a slider control which allow you to change the year to see how these permits have accumulated over the years.

Real-Time Satellite Movies


The Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch has released a new mapping tool which allows you to create short animated movies of the Earth using the latest satellite imagery from GOES-16 and Himawari-8.

The RAMMB Slider uses the latest available imagery from both satellites to allow you to create small animated movies of the Earth. Slider includes the option to select archived imagery if you want to animate imagery from an earlier date. The application also includes options to select different types of imagery from the two satellites and a range of controls to adjust the speed and type of animated movie.

GOES-16 is in geostationary orbit over the Earth’s Western Hemisphere. It therefore provides great satellite imagery of the Americas. Himawari-8 is in geostationary orbit at 140.7 degrees East. It provides near real-time imagery of Australia, Japan and eastern China.

Mapping the UK's Falling House Prices


If you account for inflation then a majority of UK residential properties are selling less now than they were ten years ago. In fact house prices have fallen in real terms in more than half of UK neighborhoods since 2007.

The BBC has created an interactive map which shows where house prices have gone up and where they have gone down. The House prices: Have they actually gone up? map clearly shows that outside of London and the south-east most of the UK has seen in real terms a fall in house prices. This fall in house prices may also be coming to London. In the year to August the smallest increases in residential property were in the capital.


Of course knowing whether house prices have gone up or not doesn't really help you if you want to buy a house. What house hunters need to know is the cost of property in UK neighborhoods. In which case they need Anna Powell-Smith's House Prices Per Square Metre in England and Wales interactive map. This map shows the average price per square metre of properties in each postcode area. It is therefore a very handy way to find areas where you might be able to afford to buy a property.

The map includes a filter tool which allows you to filter the results shown on the map by the cost per square metre. If you know the range that you can afford or are willing to pay you can therefore use this filter tool to identify the areas within your comfort zone.

Monday, October 16, 2017

North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Range


ABC News has mapped the worldwide risk from North Korea's nuclear weapons. In Where can North Korea’s missiles reach? ABC shows which countries are in range of Kim Jong-un’s inferiority complex.

This scrolling interactive uses a faux 3d globe to show the ranges of North Korea's different missile types. As you progress through the story map the ranges of North Korea's short-range, medium-range, intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missile are each shown in turn on the interactive map. New York and Washington DC might be safe but Los Angeles could now be in range of an intercontinental ballistic missile fired from North Korea.

The use of a faux interactive globe is a good choice for this mapped visualization of the world. The Economist and the BBC have both learnt that drawing circles on 2d maps can be misleading. It appears that ABC knows that the Earth isn't flat. They also know how to develop interactive maps for mobile users. I don't normally comment on how maps work on browsers. But Where can North Korea’s missiles reach? is a joy to read on mobile (well actually it's really worrying - but you know what I mean).