Saturday, October 03, 2015

Broken Bridges

1 in 9 bridges in the U.S. is structurally deficient, requiring significant repairs, maintenance or replacement. You can find out which bridges near you are deemed structurally deficient using the 2015 Bridge Conditions map from Transportation For America.

The map allows you to enter your address and view all bridges within a ten mile radius. All the bridges which were deemed structurally deficient in 2015 by USDOT are marked on the map in red. If you select a bridge on the map you can view when it was last inspected and what its ratings were for deck, superstructure and substructure.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Animated Noise Complaint Maps

Real-estate portal Trulia has used CartoDB's animated heat-map library Torque to show monthly heat-maps of registered noise complaints in Seattle, San Francisco and New York. The maps allow you to view the geographical spread of noise complaints made by the public for each month over the course of about five years.

Trulia themselves point to possible flaws in the data. Namely that the data could be skewed by population and that there could be reporting biases. There also doesn't seem to be much value in animating the data by month. It might be more interesting to view the data by time of day and by day of the week, to discover if there are more complaints during certain hours and on certain days of the week.

The Mapping Ear Plug Hotspots maps could possible have some limited value for those searching to buy a property. However you will probably have to search quite carefully among all that noise on the map to really identify areas which seem to have a recurring problem with noise.

The 3D Globe of Ceres

Last week the New York Times created a simple interactive 3d globe of Pluto from the latest NASA imagery. The NYT's Pluto Globe uses a number of images of the planet to create an interactive globe of Pluto. This week it is the turn of the dwarf planet Ceres.

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid-belt which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. In September 2007 NASA launched the Dawn space probe on a mission to study the protoplanets Vesta and Ceres. Dawn is currently orbiting Ceres and has captured some amazing imagery of the planet.

The NYT's Ceres Globe uses imagery from Dawn to create an interactive globe of Ceres. The globe provides two map views, a false-color map and a gray-scale map.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Pledge to Vote

Google has released a map which allows Canadian voters to pledge to vote in the 2015 Canadian election. The Pledge to Vote map allows you to pin a marker to the map and explain which issue you care most about and why.

To add your pledge to the map you just need to choose an issue you care about, enter your postcode or address and leave an optional message. It's hard to see what purpose the map serves, beyond promoting Google Maps and presumably an imminent Google Canada Elections website.

However, after you have left your pledge, you can explore which issues other Canadians care most about by using the map filters. At the moment it looks like taxes, energy and public safety are the issues people care least about. I wonder if taxes will be such a minor issue in next year's U.S. election.

Hat-tip: Google Street View World

The Optimal Indian Road Trip

Plotting optimal road trips has proved a popular mapping trend this year. In its most basic form the 'optimal road trip' provides the shortest route around a country, while also visiting each and every region at least once.

However there can be variations to this rule, in which the optimal route visits some other arbitrary locations. For example, earlier this year Randal Olson created a map of the Optimal Road Trip Across the United States. His map provides the shortest route across the United States which visits the top 50 major U.S. landmarks.

Randal Olson has also created the Optimal Road Trip Across Europe. This route provides the shortest route across Europe, visiting all the locations in Business Insider's '50 Places In Europe You Need To Visit In Your Lifetime'.

Apoorv Anand has now created a map providing an Optimal Road Trip Around India. Apoorv's map shows the shortest route around India which visits all 55 of the Indian locations in National Geographic's Short Breaks in India.

Of course an 'optimal road trip' is just an arbitrary traveling salesman problem. You can read either Randal Olson's or Apoorv Anand's blogs to discover how they set about solving the traveling salesman problem when creating their maps.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

West Side Stories

West Side Stories: Gentrification in West Oakland is a nicely designed map providing first-hand accounts of gentrification in West Oakland, California. Created by Oakland non-profit organization Youth Radio, West Side Stories allows local residents to document their experiences of living in West Oakland and the effect of gentrification on their lives.

The map consists of a number of audio recordings made by local people. It also provides information on some local landmarks. You can scroll through the map sidebar to find the different audio recordings and the map will automatically zoom and pan to the relevant location. Alternatively you can select a marker on the map and the sidebar will scroll to the relevant entry.

Mapping the Shrinking Arctic Ice Cap

A couple of months ago MasterMaps created a really impressive mapped visualization showing the extent of the Arctic ice cap over time. The Arctic Sea Ice map compares the monthly sea ice cover in the Arctic for any month since 2006.

Mapbox has now released a map which allows you to view monthly Arctic sea ice changes all the way back to 1976 (when consistent satellite measurements began). Mapping Arctic Sea Ice uses data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center to show the sea ice cover for any month.

If you select a month from the timeline you can not only view the extent of the sea ice coverage for that month but also a line graph showing the total ice area in km2 and the temperature anomaly above the norm over time. The graph shows a clear trend of rising temperatures in the Arctic and a fall in the area of sea ice coverage.

The polar projection in the Arctic Sea Ice map was created with D3.js. You can easily create your own polar projection in Leaflet using Arctic Web Map, an Arctic specific web mapping tool, consisting of an Arctic-focused tile server. If you want to know how Mapbox created their polar projection then read the explanation beneath the map on the Mapbox blog.

Water on Mars

On Monday NASA announced that 'recurring slope lineae' and hydrated salts discovered on the sides of craters are proof of water flow on Mars. A new Esri Story map, Discovering Liquid Water on Mars, provides a great illustration of these recurring slope lineae using NASA imagery and maps of Mars.

The story map uses imagery from the Horowitz, Hale, Garni and Palikir craters to show examples of these dark streaks which are caused by subsurface water flow. In particular the timelapse images from the Palikir and Horowitz craters do a great job at showing how the streaks appear, lengthen and vanish with the passing of seasons on Mars.

Discovering Liquid Water on Mars also allows you to view the location of each of the four craters on a satellite map and an elevation map of Mars.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Flying Around the World

Hello, New World is an amazing virtual flight around the world composed of a number of seamlessly connected 360 degree interactive videos. It's a bit like exploring the world with Google Street View but with interactive videos rather than still images.

This interactive whirlwind tour of the world flies you over Mount Fuji, the Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef and a number of other locations around the world. As the tour plays you can rotate the camera's point of view and explore the view around you as you fly over these world famous landmarks.

The different interactive videos of the different locations are seamlessly cut together. At the end of one video the camera flies into the clouds and then emerges out of the clouds into a different location. There is a lot to explore in this interactive but my favorites are diving under the water at the Great Barrier Reef, the night-time timelapse at Mt. MacKay and the fireworks over the Shanghai skyline.

New York's Crowdsourced Neighborhoods

Back in August DNAinfo asked New Yorker's to draw their neighborhoods on an interactive map. By allowing the crowd to decide on the boundaries of their local neighborhoods DNAinfo hoped to settle the old argument over the exact position of New York neighborhoods.

Where Exactly is Your Neighborhood allows you to pick a New York neighborhood and then draw the neighborhood boundary on top of a Leaflet map. Once you have drawn your neighborhood's border on the map you can compare your neighborhood boundary with those submitted by other New Yorkers.

You can now also view the composite maps of New York's crowdsourced neighborhoods. The results of over 12,000 responses are now in, providing crowdsourced boundaries for 250 New York neighborhoods. DNAInfo's New York Map allows you to select any New York neighborhood and view a choropleth map of the crowdsourced results.

The darkest color on the map shows the area of New York which most people thought lie within the selected neighborhood. The lighter colored areas indicate locations that a few dissenters also thought were encompassed by the neighborhood boundary.

I'm not sure that the DNAInfo's crowdsourcing efforts have conclusively settled the argument over New York's neighborhood boundaries. In some neighborhoods there does seem to be a fair amount of agreement over the area's boundaries. Other neighborhoods however seem harder to define. The arguments will continue ...