Sunday, September 21, 2014

Maps of the Week


It is a disgrace that nine years after the release of Google Maps, Google still haven't managed to properly map one of America's most loved towns. Luckily where ever Google fails Esri comes to the rescue.

Look up Springfield on Playgis and you will find a gloriously detailed map of this most famous of American towns. From the world's first ever Kwik-E-Mart to Springfield Elementary School, this Spingfield map has it all. You can even use the map to look up the address of individual families, for example the Simpsons family at 742 Evergreen Terrace.


Although Google Maps doesn't yet cover Springfield it does have Street View. Thanks to Amplifon we also now have a neat library to add sound to Street View panoramas.

Last month Amplifon created Sounds of Street View, a new platform which allows you to add sound to Google Maps Street View. If you visit Sounds of Street View Create Your Own you can download the Sounds of Street View framework and read a detailed guide explaining how to create your own Street View with sound experience.

Zombie Sound Experienz uses the Business Photos Street View tour from the Zombie Manor in Drayton with the Amplifon library to create a creepy virtual tour, with full 3d sound. The custom Street View tour was created for Drayton Manor by 360 Agency, who also created the Street View tour of Diagon Alley for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.

As you progress through this zombie filled virtual Street View tour you can now actually hear the zombies pursuing you.


As you visit the different rooms in the Zombie Manor you will hear a variety of creepy sounds. Different zombies and rooms have different sounds attached to them, which get louder or quieter as you approach or travel away from them.


As well as a Simpsons' map and a creepy Zombie Street View tour we also saw some great serious maps this week. I  particularly liked the Urban Institute's map showing where minorities in the USA are being priced out of the housing market.

A New View of the Housing Boom and Bust plots 100 million mortgages from 2000 to 2012 across the United States. The map shows each owner-occupied mortgage origination for twelve years, in which the borrower’s race and ethnicity were fully recorded.  Zoom in on just about any city on this map and you can see a clear pattern of African American and Hispanic households being disproportionately affected by constrained mortgage lending.


Another map which caught my eye this week was Infoamazonia's  Visaguas, which examines the availability of clean drinking water & sewage in Amazon municipalities and the incident rates of a number of diseases caused by poor water & sewage infrastructure. 

If you use the tabs, above the map, you can select to view Water Supply, Diseases or Access to Sewage on the map. When you select either of the three main categories you can then select from a number of subcategories. For example, if you select diseases you can view the incident rates, per municipality, for a number of different diseases, including Cholera, Dengue Fever and Typhoid.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mapping US Household Income


Income Craters - 2012 uses data from the 2012 US Census Bureau to visualize household income across the United States.

The choropleth map view provides a quick overview of household income across the US. You can also zoom in on individual cities to view median income levels at neighborhood level. Mouse-over an area on the map and you can view the median household income in the yop right-hand corner of the map.


The Washington Post has mapped the zip-code areas in the USA that rank highest for income and college education. The map displays the nation’s 650 Super Zips, those are the zip-code areas where people rank highest on a combination of income and education.

The Washington: A World Apart map shows a long corridor of affluence running from New York to Washington DC. The accompanying article from the Post looks in particular at the third of zip-code areas in D.C. which rank in the top 5 percent for income and education.

Users of the map can search by zip-code to find out the ranking for their area. If you click on a zip-code area on the map you can view the median household income and the percentage of college graduates in the area. It is also possible to view a breakdown of the percentages in each household group and the percentages in each educational attainment group.

3d Hexbin Mapping


LuminoCity3D has released a hexbin map of population and employment density in Great Britain.

Hexagonal binning is an effective method of creating a spatial histogram by coloring hexagonal overlays within a geographical area. Like most hexbin maps LuminoCity3D uses color to represent population density. However LuminoCity3d also uses the height of the grid cells to visualize density in 3d. This 3d cartogram effect works really well in visualizing the various mapped city indicators.

As well as displaying population and employment density LuminoCity3d has also mapped other key city indicators in Great Britain, such as transport, housing, society and economy.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Scottish Referendum Results Maps


There are quite a few maps around today showing the results of the Scottish Referendum. Most of the maps, such as these maps by City A.M. and CTV News, decided to show the results by simply shading electoral regions using two different colors, to indicate areas where voters voted 'Yes' and where voters voted 'No'.

This approach works well in showing the overall vote in each electoral region. However because there is a wide variation in the number of voters in each region this approach fails to show the size of the voting population in each region. In fact this approach could actually be quite misleading.

For example in the map pictured above, the 'Yes' vote in Glasgow looks fairly small compared to the 'No' vote in the Scottish Border simply because the Scottish Borders is a far bigger geographical area. In fact however Glasgow has 486,219 registered voters, compared to the 95,533 voters in the Scottish Borders.


As it turns out the huge numbers of regions voting 'No' compared to the very few regions voting 'Yes' means that this approach doesn't really distort the overall picture. If the vote had been closer however this approach could have been quite misleading.

The only map which I have seen which attempts to account for the number of voters in each region was Oliver O'Brien's Scottish Referendum Data Map. The Scottish Referendum Data Map uses different sized circular markers to represent the registered voting population in each electoral region.

The Scottish Referendum Data Map also attempts to show the percentage differences in the vote cast in each electoral region by using a color scale ranging from bright red for a high percentage of no votes to bright blue for a high percentage of blue votes.


BBC Scotland has mapped what people have been saying about Scottish Independence around the world. Using the Google Maps API the BBC has mapped Twitter messages containing the hashtag #'indyref'. The Tweets were sent between the opening of the polls at 7 am on 18 September, and the announcement of the decision this morning.

Using the BBC's Tweetmap you can see when and where people tweeted around the world. You can even click on the map makers to see what people had to say.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Breaking Down Mortgages by Race & Location


A new map from the Urban Institute shows that minorities in the USA are being priced out of the housing market.

A New View of the Housing Boom and Bust plots 100 million mortgages from 2000 to 2012 across the United States. The map shows each owner-occupied mortgage origination for twelve years, in which the borrower’s race and ethnicity were fully recorded.

Using the timeline feature you can make direct comparisons over time anywhere in the USA. Zoom in on just about any city on the map and you can see a clear pattern. In 2012 African American and Hispanic households are being disproportionately affected by constrained mortgage lending.

As well as the large interactive map the Urban Institute takes a closer look at a number of cities. This city level analysis is accompanied by a number of animated gif maps. These maps show a zoomed in view of the data in each city over the whole twelve years.

The War of Scottish Independence


Scotland Decides is an Esri StoryMap exploring the relations between Scotland and England over the last 700 years.

The map starts with a look at the Wars of Scottish Independence (starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace). It progresses through other important events, such as the Union of the Crowns, the Act of Union and the Battle of Culloden.

My favorite chapter in this StoryMap is on that greatest of Scotsmen, Keir Hardie. I've always had a strange fondness for this radical Scot (I blame it on my parents). However you might be more interested in the map of the 2011 Scottish Parliament Election.

This map allows you to view the number of votes cast for the major parties (the number of votes cast for the Scottish National Party in each area might provide some clues as to how today's vote might go in each region).

Health in the Amazon


In the Amazon a large proportion of Brazilians don't have access to the mains water supply and only have the most rudimentary of sewage systems. The combination of no easy access to clean drinking water and poor sewage means that the region suffers higher incidence rates than the rest of Brazil for a number of diseases.

Infoamazonia has released an interactive map, Visaguas, which examines the availability of clean drinking water & sewage in Amazon municipalities and the incident rates of a number of diseases. If you use the tabs, above the map, you can select to view Water Supply, Diseases or Access to Sewage on the map.

When you selecting either of the three main categories you can then select from a number of subcategories. For example, if you select diseases you can then select the incident rates, per municipality, for a number of different diseases, including Cholera, Dengue Fever and Typhoid.

Via: Visual Loop

Scottish Independence Maps


A static map has been doing the rounds on social media during the last week showing countries around the world which have gained independence from the United Kingdom. There is now an interactive map of the same data, Countries that Have Gained Independence from the United Kingdom.

The map shows the 62 countries around the globe who used to be a part of the British Empire but are now independent. 21 of those countries have gained Independence in the last 50 years. With Scotland going to the polls today to vote on Independence the map may just have another blue country added to it tomorrow.


As the results come in tomorrow I'm sure we will begin to see a lot of maps breaking down the votes by electoral ward. Oliver O'Brien has created an interesting map which shows when we can expect the results from the different councils and which way each area might vote.

The Scottish Referendum Data Map shows the estimated declaration times of 32 councils. The numbers in the circular map markers show the estimated time of declaration. The size of the circles is proportional to the electoral population. The color of the markers provides an indication of which way the area might vote, based on an analysis of votes cast for the Scottish National Party in 2012, carried out by the Credit Suisse Economics Research Unit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mapbox Studio, More Kadinsky than Matisse


Last week Mapbox released the successor to TileMill, Mapbox Studio. Studio allows you to fully control the design of your base-map layers and create your own beautifully designed custom maps.

Today I managed to have my first proper look at Mapbox Studio and I have to say it is a very impressive and powerful design tool.

For my first map design I thought I would use Mapbox Studio to try and create a map in the style of a Matisse cut-out painting, using the color palette from his painting 'The Snail'. I was helped greatly in this task by a post today on the Mapbox blog, Design Control with Regular Expressions in Mapbox Studio. This post helped me understand how I could color different building types by using their OpenStreetMap id.

The resulting map is a little more Kadinsky than Matisse, but I like it anyway.

I haven't had time to explore all of Mapbox Studio's features yet, But color me impressed - using a Matisse color scheme.The Mapbox Studio is a joy to use. I'd never used TileMill before, yet I managed to create the above map style in less than 30 minutes.

The Mapbox Studio homepage has all the documentation that you need to get started designing your own custom maps. So far I've only completed the 'Style Quickstart' tutorial. It is very easy to follow and provides a great introduction to getting started with Studio. It has certainly whetted my appetite and I can't wait to start really exploring all the features of Mapbox Studio in a little more depth.

The Boston Bike Network Map


The Boston Bike Network Plan map shows the current bike network in Boston and also allows you to see how the Boston cycling map will hopefully develop over the next 30 years.

The map shows Boston's current bike routes. The routes are color-coded to show dedicated off-road bike paths, shared bike paths, and road based bike lanes. The map also includes a time-line control which allows you to view the projected future of Boston's bike network based on the Bike Network Plan.

The Bike Network Plan is the city's development scheme for expanding bike lanes and paths throughout Boston. You can use the time-line control to view how the envisioned bike network will hopefully look in 5 years time and in 30 years time.