Friday, November 28, 2014

Mapping Fraccidents


Earth Justice has released a map showing the location of accidents related to the rise of fracking in the USA. Fracking Accidents Across the United States uses the Google Maps API to plot accidents such as poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths, industrial disasters and explosions, which have been connected to oil and gas drilling.

The map includes two overlays which show areas where fracking is active and areas of potential fracking. The accidents themselves are shown on the map by skull and crossbones map markers. The data source for each incident is included in the detailed report of each fracking accident.


StateImpact Pennsylvania has released a series of mapped visualizations of Natural Gas Drilling in Pennsylvania.

The maps show which operators are drilling in Pennsylvania and where. They also show which wells have been cited for violating state environmental regulations. So far there have been over 3,800 violations resulting in fines of $5.9 million. The drills are displayed on the map with color-coded markers to show the wells with no violations and those with one or more violations.

You can select individual wells on the map to view details about the operator and any violations.


Faces of Fracking is an investigation into how the impacts of fracking are being felt in California.

This story map visualization, built using d3.js, plots the locations of the 532 oil & gas wells in the LA Basin. As you scroll through the investigation the map also plots the number of pounds of toxic chemicals released at each fracking site.

Continue scrolling and the map zooms out to show the 3,014 wells across California, where high–intensity production is either planned or already taking place, and the 1,105 wells where waste is being injected into the ground. You can also view the proximity of each of these wells to California's groundwater aquifers.


The Texas Tribune has published a map showing the location of disposal wells where waste-water, often from hydraulic fracturing sites, is being disposed of in the state. Texas Disposal Wells visualizes the location of 7,000 disposal wells in Texas.

The map uses hexagonal binning to highlight the number of wells within an area. You can zoom in on the map to view the location of the individual wells.

The Texas Tribune uses the Mapbox platform. Mapbox has written a nice tutorial on how to use hexagonal binning with Mapbox created maps. Binning: an Alternative to Pointmaps explains how the free and open source QuantumGIS tool can be used to create a hexagon density layer, which you can then overlay on top of a Mapbox map.


Colorado experiences, on average, one oil spill a day. In total that is 4,900 spills in the last thirteen years. The result of all those oil spills was the release of nearly 102 million gallons of oil, drilling fluids and other toxic materials into the environment.

The Western Toxic Release Map shows the location of 13,600 spills in Colorado and New Mexico between 2000 and 2013. You can click on any of the spills displayed on the map to view the date of the spill and the number of gallons spilled. You can also click-through to view the full Oil Conservation Division report on the spill.

You can filter the results shown on the map by year or view the total 14 years of oil spills in one go.

Old School Sim City


Who isn't a fan of Will Wright's classic SimCity game?

Would be town planners around the world have had hours of fun building cities in SimCity. Over the years the game has become more and more realistic but has also maybe become a little too complicated for some. Well old school gamers can now recreate the simple fun of the original game in two new online versions of the original classic game.

Micropolis.JS is a port of the original SimCity game created with JavaScript. The game includes all the features of the original game and requires you to build residential, commercial and industrial zones. To ensure that your city continues to grow you will need to plan carefully to ensure you have enough power stations. You will also need to keep your town's citizens happy by keeping crime and pollution to a reasonable level.


3D City is another port of the original game. The game-play is exactly the same as SimCity classic, however 3D City uses WebGL to turn your created town into a proper 3D world. Therefore as your town grows you can pan around and rotate the world and zoom in and out to get a closer look at the buildings sprouting up in your burgeoning metropolis.

Unfortunately 3D City doesn't seem to have a save option, so each time you play you have to start your city from scratch. You will also obviously need a WebGL enabled browser to play 3D City.

The Tapped Submarine Cables Map


This week German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on how telecommunications companies have been helping the UK's Government Communications Headquarters’ (GCHQ) to tap submarine cables.

The report, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, revealed some details about submarine cables currently tapped by GCHQ. Submarine Cable Taps is an interactive map which shows which undersea cables have been tapped by GCHQ and which cables are not mentioned in the leaked GCHQ documents.

The 'read me' section of the map's GitHub page warns that you shouldn't entirely trust the data. There are some cables mentioned in the documents which have not been identified and there may be some errors in the map.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Animated Wind Forecast Map


Earth.nullschool.net's gorgeous animated globe, visualizing weather conditions around the world, has become the inspiration for many maps. For example Esri took the same weather data from the Global Forecast System used in the earth.nullschool.net map and created Windy-JS.


Windy-JS re-purposes the weather data so that it can be overlaid in a canvas element on top of a variety of mapping APIs. Esri has even created a demo map with Windy-JS, Wind Animation, which allows you to view global wind conditions animated on a slippy map.


Now Windyty has taken the same approach to create an animated wind forecast map based on NOAA wind data. The Windyty Wind Forecast map is very similar to the Windy-JS map. Like Windy-JS the Windyty map beautifully animates wind patterns on top of a global map.

However Windyty also allows you to view forecast wind patterns for the next five day. The map includes a number of other weather layers (including cloud cover and temperature) and allows you to view animated wind patterns at a number of different altitudes.

Mapping Your Thanksgiving Dinner


This Thanksgiving America will consume around 250 million turkeys, millions of barrels of cranberries and hundreds of thousands of acres worth of green beans. Smithsonian has created this map to show you where your Thanksgiving dinner comes from.

Where Did Your Thanksgiving Dinner Come From? shows the location of the U.S.'s turkey farms and also where sweet potatoes, cranberries and green beans are grown. You can click on either of the four food groups on the Thanksgiving plate to view their production areas on the map. You can then select any of the dots on the map to view details about the farms in each selected county.

Where the Rich Live


The Daily Telegraph has released a map showing the average weekly salary across the UK. The Where the Highest Earners Live map uses new data from the Office for National Statistics.

You can click on the map or enter an address to find out the average weekly salary for any area in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland). The UK's highest earners all live London, in Wandsworth, Westminster, and Richmond upon Thames. The lowest weekly earners live in West Somerset.

The Telegraph has also released a map, using the same ONS data, which shows where the richest people live in each local authority area. The Richest Places in England and Wales allows you to see where the highest earners are concentrated in each area.

Not that The Telegraph is obsessed with wealth or anything but the map does not show where the poorest live in each local authority. In fact The Telegraph claim that the "map gives an indication of the places most likely to be hit hard by a proposed mansion tax". This is of course completely erroneous and a blatant attempt by the newspaper to try and paint a misleading picture of how many people would be affected by the proposed policy.

For example in London the map shows a large percentage of Waltham Forest in red. This would lead you to expect that the proposed mansion tax would affect a large number of people living in this local authority. In fact the proposed tax would affect no-one in the borough. This is of course true of most of the red areas shaded on the map.

Diamond Geezer has created a heat map of the number of people who would be affected by the mansion tax in London. Using data from the last census he found that in London that less than 3% will be affected by the tax. When you take into account that the highest earners live in London you can assume that this figure is much lower outside of London.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mapping Black Friday Hashtags


Black Friday 2014 by Social Bakers is a series of maps visualizing the social sharing taking place around Black Friday on Twitter and Instagram.

The visualization includes maps of New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin and Miami showing the location of Twitter and Instagram posts which include Black Friday related hashtags. Social Bakers began gathering data for the maps on the 22nd November and will continue until the 30th November.

The map sidebar includes running totals of the number of times particular brands have been mentioned. You can also view recent photos posted to Instagram using the same Black Friday related hashtags by selecting the 'Photos' tab in the sidebar.

The Race Gap in U.S. Police Departments


In Ferguson, Mo, 67% of the population is black. However only 11% of the Ferguson police department is black. According to a 2007 survey the situation is little better in most police departments around the country, where on average minorities only make up around 25% of police forces. In The Race Gap in America's Police Departments the New York Times has mapped the racial composition of local police departments in 16 metropolitan areas, including St, Louis.

In each of the 16 maps the local police departments are represented on the map by circular map markers. The size of each circle on the map is scaled to represent the size of each police department. The color of each circular marker is shaded to reflect the racial composition of each department. The lighter colors indicate that the racial composition of the department is closer to the racial mix of the area it serves. The darker shaded markers indicate that the composition of the police department is markedly different to the general population.

You can also mouse-over each police department on the map to view the racial composition of local residents and of the local police department.

How to Make a Rent Map


Last year the Financial Times created a nice interactive map visualizing the cost of renting in London. The London Renting Crisis map allows Londoners to view a heat map of where they can afford to rent in the capital based on their annual salary.

The map includes a slide control which allows you to adjust the annual salary level. As you adjust the salary the map automatically updates to show where you can and can't afford to rent a room in a London flat.


The Berliner Morgenpost has now released the source code of a similar map for Berlin. Titel der Anwendung recreates the rent map of London but for Berlin, using the Leaflet mapping platform.

The Berlin map uses random data as it is just a demo of an interactive heat map using Leaflet and TopoJSON. The source code for the map is available on GitHub on an MIT license. You can therefore use the Berliner Morgenpost's map library to create your own adjustable heat map for anywhere in the world, using your own TopoJSON for the shaded polygon areas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Solar Eclipse Map


The Solar Eclipse Finder is an Esri map that displays the path of past and future solar eclipses for any location on Earth.

The tool couldn't be simpler to use. Just click on the map and past solar eclipses at the selected location are shown on the map in green and future eclipse are shown in blue. If you mouse-over the path of a solar eclipse you can view details in the map side-bar.

The details on each eclipse include the date, time and the duration of the solar eclipse. The Solar Eclipse Finder includes the paths of 905 solar eclipses from 1601 to 2200.