Saturday, March 17, 2018

5...4...3...2...1 Ignition - Launch SpaceX in 3D

I've seen a number of 3D maps over the years but this has to be one of the coolest. Concept3D's SpaceX map is a 3D map of the launch site of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. This on its own would be pretty amazing but this map also allows you to actually launch the 3D model of the Falcon Heavy into space.

Using the map you can explore the SpaceX launch site in 3D, rotating around and zooming into the model of the Falcon Heavy. When you are happy that everything looks ready for take-off turn on your computer's sound and press the 'launch' button. You can then listen to the actual countdown from a Falcon Heavy launch and watch as the 3D model rocket on the map takes off and shoots into space.

This animated 3D map was made in Mapbox GL using Three.js. If you want to create your own 3D scenes in Mapbox then you should look at threebox, a plugin for Mapbox GL JS that supports basic animation and advanced 3D rendering.

The Hate Crime Map of India

Amnesty International has released an interactive map that allows Indians to report hate crimes. Halt the Hate maps crimes which have been committed against people or groups in India because of their caste, religion or ethnicity.

Unfortunately the Halt the Hate map is a very basic interactive map. In fact it is less of a map than a yellow blob that happens to be in the shape of India. Obviously the main reason for using a map to document hate crimes is to enable users to browse and search by location. The fact that you can't zoom in on the map and because the map has no place-labels it is very difficult to search this map by location.

Because there is no marker clustering and all 489 hate crimes have been placed all on top of each other on the map it is actually impossible to select a huge number of the hate crimes from the map. You can partially overcome this problem by filtering the number of markers shown on the map. If you filter the hate crimes shown by year, motive, location etc. it does become a little easier to select individual markers on the map.

The Halt the Hate map is a great idea. It does therefore pain me to conclude that Amnesty International's hate crime map is a bit of a crime against mapping.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Free Map Backgrounds for Your Phone

If you want a beautiful map background for your phone then you should have a look at Alvar Carto's Map Backgrounds. This tool allows you to make your own background map image for a mobile phone, centered on any location in the world.

To make your background map you just need to zoom and pan an interactive map to your chosen location. You can then choose between four different map colors.

And that's more or less it. Just select your phone from a drop-down list (Map Backgrounds supports iOS, Android and Windows 10) and you are ready to download your new phone background map.

If you really love your new phone background (or you just want to buy a map poster) then you can head on over to Alvar Carto's Map Poster site. Map Poster is an equally easy to use tool for creating and ordering a map poster of any location in the world.

Deindustrialization & Population Decline

Population change from 1990-2010: (green = rising population, purple = falling population)

This week's release of the Alperin-Sheriff/Wikipedia Population Dataset provides us with a great resource for studying American population trends. This Introduction to the Alperin-Sheriff/Wikipedia Population Dataset, in the form of a story map, provides a great introduction to the data and briefly examines where populations in the USA are growing and where they are in decline.

The story map is mostly concerned with introducing and explaining the data but it does briefly touch on the declining populations in the industrial Midwest. This decline is perhaps explained in this Financial Times article, Shrinking cities: population decline in the world’s rust-belt areas. The article explores how deindustrialization is happening across much of the world, as manufacturing and industrial jobs in industrial heartlands move elsewhere in the world.

Cities with the largest population decline 2005-2015

This decline from deindustrialization isn't just limited to the American rust belt. It is also happening in former industrial powerhouses throughout the world. Cities in the German industrial heartland are in decline and even China's north-eastern rust belt is beginning to experience decline.

The Berliner Morgenpost's Where the population of Europe is growing – and where it’s declining allows you to explore more closely recent population decline in Europe. It shows that there is some decline in the German industrial heartland of the Ruhr valley. However this decline doesn't seem much worse than elsewhere in Germany and isn't as bad as the decline being seen in the former East Germany.

Obviously not all population decline can be explained by deindustrialization. The Washington Post used the same data to explore some of the population trends that are shown in the Morgenpost's map. Their article on Where Europe is growing and where it is shrinking notes that populations are declining in the former East Germany and other former countries of the Eastern bloc (except for Poland which has experienced growth). It appears that some areas of western Europe have managed to mitigate against the population decline normally associated with deindustrialization by taking in economic migrants from countries in the former Eastern bloc.

The Sounds of Istanbul & London

The Soundscape of Istanbul is a project dedicated to mapping and archiving the urban sounds of Istanbul. The project was created by Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi during her doctoral studies, however anyone can record and upload sounds to the map.

Individual sounds are displayed on the map by categorized markers. If you select a marker on the map you can listen to the street sounds recorded at that location. If you select the 'Thematic Map' option you can view the sounds organised by category rather than geography. Both the thematic and the spatial maps include a timeline which allows you to filter the sounds by the year they were recorded.

If you like the Soundscape of Istanbul then you might also enjoy the Soundscape of London. This map was also created by Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi, in collaboration with the British Library. This project uses exactly the same format to map the urban sounds of London. Again if you want to listen to any of the recorded sounds you just need to click on the markers on the map.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

America's Quietest & Most Scenic Roads

Geotab has mapped out the quietest stretches of road in each state in America. In America's Quietest Routes you can view details about the quietest roads in each state and also browse through the ten most scenic routes, as chosen by landscape photographer James Q Martin.

If you click on a state on the map you can view details about the state's quietest stretch of road. These details include the name of the road and the route length. They also include a Street View image captured on the route by Google Maps.

Each state's quietest road was determined by the traffic count data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System. The quietness of a road was determined by the annual average daily traffic measured by the number of vehicles. The routes with the lowest average daily traffic were deemed the quietest.

The Secrets of the Sea Revealed

Robert Dudley was the 17th century author of Dell’Arcano del Mare. This huge maritime encyclopedia covers all aspects of maritime life including shipbuilding, astronomy and navigation. It also contains 130 beautiful maritime charts covering all parts of the world.

One of the 130 maps in his Secrets of the Sea is the Carta Particolare della Terra Nuoua con la Gran Baia et el Fiume Grande Della Canida, a sea chart of the Newfoundland era. Norfish has created an interesting story map which explores some of the more interesting details in Robert Dudley's sea chart of Newfoundland.

As you progress through the story map Norfish examines the map's projection, calligraphy, place-name labels, prevailing winds and fathom soundings. You can also explore the map for yourself. Robert Dudley's sea charts are completely unique, enjoying a distinctive technical style with beautiful calligraphy and elaborate compass roses and cartouches.

Synchronized Street Views of the World

Street Image Compare is a fun little tool which allows you to directly compare Google's Street View imagery with Mapillary's crowdsourced alternative. Using the tool you can virtually walk around any location while comparing Google Maps Street View coverage with the street-side images available in Mapillary.

Mapillary is a free to use and crowdsourced service which provides street-level imagery around the world. Street Image Compare places the Mapillary street level imagery of a location directly beneath the Google Maps Street View imagery of the same location. You can explore around a location using the navigation button on either street level image or by using either of the maps. Street View Compare automatically updates, as you move around a location, showing you the closest images from both Google and Mapillary.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pi Day on Planet Earth

The best way to celebrate Pi day is to take a little tour of some of the many natural and human-made circles which can be found on planet Earth. Luckily Esri has created a World of Circles interactive map to help you find these beautiful landmarks of striking symmetry.

This Esri map contains aerial imagery of natural and human-made circles of various sizes, locations and origins. These circles include circular crop fields, thousand year old human earthworks, dormant volcanoes and even a defunct particle accelerator. If you would like to create a similar tour of interesting shapes then you can get started at Esri's Story Maps website.

Mapping the Last Ice Age

IceMap is an animated map of the last Eurasian Ice Age. It allows you to view the ice sheets, sea levels and temperatures which affected the Eurasian Arctic 38 thousand years ago.

The map includes an interactive timeline which allows you to view the conditions from 37,000 years ago through to 8000 years ago. If you press play on the timeline you can watch as the ice sheets grow and move and the sea level falls and rises.

If you select the graph icon on the map you can view an interactive graph of the ice volume, mean annual temperature and sea level over the period of the Eurasian Ice Age. The graph includes an interactive bar which allows you to select a year to view the ice volume, temperature and sea level totals and to view these levels shown on the interactive map.

Hand Drawn Polygons for Leaflet

You might have seen examples of rough.js floating around on social media this week. Rough.js is a new canvas based library for creating graphics which have a sketchy, hand-drawn appearance. The library's github page includes a neat d3.js demo map in which each of the states has been filled in with a different hand-drawn style.

Rough.js doesn't only work with static maps. Because the library is canvas based you can also overlay hand-drawn, sketch like polygons on top of an interactive map. At least you can if you use the new Leaflet.RoughCanvas plug-in for Leaflet maps. The plug-in allows you to add polylines and polygons to a Leaflet.js map which have a hand-drawn style.

Here's a demo map which I created using Leaflet.RoughCanvas with a Mapbox styled base-map.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Mapping Student Debt

$1.3 trillion in student debt is owed by 42 million Americans. Student debt delinquency can affect all sections of society. However delinquency in the USA disproportionately affects minority communities.

Mapping Student Debt allows you to view the average student loan balance in each household at zip-code level in the United States. If you hover over a zip-code on the map you can view the level of delinquency, the average loan balance and the median income. If you want to view how student loan delinquency disproportionately affects minority communities then select 'Map 2' from the 'View Map' menu. You can then switch the map layers to show choropleth layers of student loan delinquency and the African-American or Latino populations.

The text beneath 'Map 2' reveals how debt delinquency is often highest in areas with a large minority population. In other words student loan delinquency disproportionately affects minority communities. One reason for these above average delinquency rates in minority populations is that African Americans and Latinos are more likely to receive loans from high-cost credit providers with less generous terms and tougher repayment requirements than white students. After graduation African Americans and Latinos also suffer from higher unemployment rates and lower earnings. This in turn contributes to higher levels of delinquency.

The Rise and Fall of American Cities

Population change from 1990-2010: (green = rising population, purple = falling population)

The Alperin-Sheriff/Wikipedia Population Dataset is an introduction to a comprehensive database of American city and town populations over time. This introduction, in the form of a story map, provides a great introduction to the data, what it can be used for and some of the caveats you should be aware of when viewing or using the data.

As you scroll through the story map you can see how the historical population data can be used in many different ways. For example, to map the rise and fall of populations in American cities over time. As you progress the story map provides various mapped views of when different towns and cities have seen growth and decline.

Towards the end of the visualization the cities and towns are reorganized to show cities which share  similar population curves over time. Instead of being shown geographically on a map the cities are reorganized by their similarities in population growth and decline. For example St. Louis, Scranton and Bridgeport, Ohio are placed near each other because they have all experienced similar shaped population declines over a number of decades.

The Alperin-Sheriff/Wikipedia Population Dataset can be downloaded from GitHub. The data is being compiled as part of the on-going Creating Data project (Schmidt, Benjamin. Creating Data: The Invention of Information in the nineteenth century American State. Creating Data).

European Population Density

Dan Cookson has mapped out the population in the European Union at the 1km square level. The EU Population 2011 by 1km Grid visualizes the number of people living in each square kilometer of the whole EU.

You can hover over individual 1km squares on the map to view the total number of people living in that square. If you zoom in on individual cities the map reveals the most densely populated areas and also the outlying satellite commuting towns and suburbs.

Berlin, Paris & London

Berlin, Paris & London all share a similar pattern of population density, with densely populated centers surrounded by ever less densely populated suburbs. In Berlin the population snakes out of the city along the S-Bahn rapid transit rail lines. You can see similar lines snaking out of Paris and London along popular public transit commuting routes.

A good accompaniment to Dan's EU population density map is Alasdair Rae's article on The Most Densely Populated Square Kilometre in 39 European Countries. In this post Alasdair uses the same 2011 data to reveal the most densely populated kilometer square in each country.

You might also be interested in this 3D Global Human Settlement visualization of European population density. This map provides a different view of population density in Europe, displaying densely populated areas as population mountains. If you want to view population density outside of Europe then I recommend the SEDAC Population Estimator (GPWv4). This interactive map uses NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) data to show where the world's population lives.

The SEDAC Population Estimator map includes a tool to draw an area on the map to see an estimate of the population that lives there. You can therefore draw a square kilometer on the map to make your own comparisons with Alasdair's most densely populated square kilometers in Europe.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Mapping The Irish Famine

On Friday Alan Fernihough Tweeted a truly shocking animated map which shows how the population of Ireland was devastated by the Irish Famine. The map shows population density in Ireland for every year from 1841 to 2012. It reveals the devastating effect of the famine on the population of Ireland -an effect so devastating that the population of Ireland was larger in the first half of the 19th Century than it even is today.

Alan's website The Irish Famine Project provides an interactive map which allows you to explore in more detail the effect of the Irish Famine on individual parishes. If you select a parish on the map you can view details on the parish's pre-famine and post-famine population and the overall percentage fall in the population.

The map uses data from a wide number of sources, including the 1841 and 1851 census. If you click on the 'more information' link in a Parish's information window you can view a more detailed breakdown of the pre- and post-famine population. This includes details on the drop in the male and female populations.

A Medieval Interactive Map of Britain

Matthew Paris' Map of Britain is one of the first ever geographical maps of Britain. It was made by a 13th Century monk called Matthew Paris. The map is one of the first medieval maps to move away from a schematic plan (e.g. a strip map or route map) and to instead attempt an accurate geographical representation.

The map was made hundreds of years before the development of accurate surveying tools. It is therefore remarkable how accurate the map is. However it does contain many errors ....

My Matthew Paris' Map of Britain is a short story-map that I created to explore some of Matthew Paris' errors and to begin to understand the geographical conception he had of Britain in the 13th Century. The map also includes modern English translations of the medieval place-names. Just click on the map to view these translateions.

This map was created using Leaflet.js. It also uses Leaflet-IIIF, to import the IIIF manifest of Corpus Christi College's manuscript of Matthew Paris' map into Leaflet. The story-element makes heavy use of waypoints.js to trigger the map actions on page scroll.

Japan's National Crime Map

Gaccom Safety is Japan's new national crime map. Using the map you can search for local crimes by location, type of crime and by date & time.

If you zoom in on a location on the interactive map you can see where crimes have been reported to the police or local authorities. The map includes two modes. In 'normal' mode the crimes are displayed on the map by type of crime. There are 27 categories in total, ranging from theft to violent assault. In 'avatar' mode the locations of crimes are indicated by small stick-men who are based on the descriptions of the actual criminals.

If you click on an icon or avatar on the map you can read a summary of the reported crime. This summary includes a link to read a more detailed report about the selected crime. These details include the date and time of the crime and a description of the perpetrator.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Size of Australia's Land Clearing

395,000 hectares projected over Sydney

Australia is the only country in the developed world on the WWF's Deforestation Fronts. These are the 11 places around the world where 80% of global deforestation is expected to occur in the next decade. In fact the WWF estimates that 3m hectares of woodland will be cleared in Australia before 2030.

The Guardian has released a new map tool which allows Australians to visualize how large 3m hectares is by overlaying a 3,000,000 hectare square over their town or city. The Land Clearing in Australia interactive map includes a number of options for viewing different areas of land clearance, including Estimated Land Clearing between 2010 and 2030, Annual Clearing in NSW 2013-2014 and Queensland Annual Land Clearing.

If you enter your postcode into the map you can view how these areas look when superimposed over your home.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Anti-Muslim Activities in the USA

Anti-Muslim Activities in the United States is documenting and recording all reported incidents of anti-Muslim activity in the USA. It provides information about anti-Muslim activities in each state and allows you to view how these incidents have increased over the last few years.

A timeline view shows all the anti-Muslin activities by year, since 2012. The map clearly shows how anti-Muslim incidents have risen sharply since 2015. The activities on the timeline are color-coded by type of incident. You can also hover over the individual dots on the map to view details about each actual incident.

The map presents a choropleth view showing the total number of anti-Muslim incidents recorded in each US state. The map also provides a normalized view which shows a choropleth view of incidents per-capita in each state. The map can even be used to view the actual anti-Muslin activities reported in each state. Click on a state on the map and the incidents are loaded into the map sidebar.

The European Drug Use Map

The Dutch, the Germans and the Belgiums are the highest users of MDMA in Europe. Cocaine use is highest in cities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Amphetamine use is highest in cities in the north and east of Europe. It is not so popular in cities in Southern Europe.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction analyzed the wastewater in 60 European cities and towns to discover which drugs were most used by the local population. The results reveal some distinct geographical and temporal patterns in recreational drug use in Europe. As well as the geographical patterns discussed above the analysis found that cocaine and MDMA use is higher at the weekend than during weekdays. Amphetamine use, however, seems to be fairly consistent throughout the week.

You can explore the results of the analysis for yourself on the EMCDDA's interactive map, Wastewater analysis and drugs — a European multi-city study. The map allows you to view the levels of each individual drug found in each of the cities where wastewater was tested. The map also allows you to compare the levels found during weekends and weekdays and to explore how individual recreational drug use in each city has changed over the last seven years (where the data is available).

Friday, March 09, 2018

How Long Will You Live?

Women in Great Corby and Geltsdale in Carlisle can expect to live longer than women who live  everywhere else in England & Wales. According to new data from the ONS women in Corby and Geltsdale have a life expectancy of 97.2 years. Women in Gwersyllt West in Wrexham are not so lucky as at 72.6 years, they have the worst life expectancy for women in England & Wales.

Men living in Bloomfield don't have to worry about paying in to their pension plan, as they only have a life expectancy of 68.2 years. However men in Warfield Harvest Ride in Bracknell Forest need to plan carefully for their retirement as they can look forward to a lengthy 90.3 years of life.

The UK's Office of National Statistics has mapped out life expectancy for every neighborhood in England & Wales. Using the map you can find out how long males and females in your neighborhood can expect to live.

The Life Expectancy by Census Ward map shows that there can be huge disparities in life expectancy between neighborhoods in the very same town. For example where I live in West Ham males have a life expectancy of 81.3 years. If I lived a few hundred meters down the road in Canning Town I would have a life expectancy of just 77.2 years. So I won't be moving there.

The life expectancy figures are based on data from the 2011 census.

The Dog Map Dot Map

The European Population Density map is a dot density map which shows the population density of people in Europe. Each dot on the map represents 50 people. However the map completely fails to show where all the dogs live in Europe.

One Dog One Dot is an attempt to address this problem. At least for the capital of Hungary. One Dog One Dot is an interactive dot map showing where dogs live in Budapest. On this interactive map one dot equals one dog.

If you click on a dot on the map you can view the selected dog's name. It is important to note in order to ensure doggie privacy the locations of all dogs are randomized within each neighborhood. Therefore the dots don't show the exact address of each dog.

I don't know anything about Budapest housing. Therefore I'm unable to read much into the density of dogs in Budapest. The map's creator says that "there is no question that more dogs live in flats than in family houses". I just feel sorry for all those dogs living in the Danube.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Mapping Māori Place-names

The New Zealand Herald has created an interactive map which colors place names depending on whether they are English or Māori. The Our Place Names map reveals that North Island is dominated by Māori names and South Island is dominated by English place-names.

The map is made using data from Te Pūnaha Matatini, Dragonfly Data Science and Te Hiku Media. They used algorithms to identify Māori words in the New Zealand Gazetteer of place-names. If you hover over a place-name on the map you can view the actual name.

Unfortunately the New Zealand Herald don't have any theories about why there is such a clear difference between the two islands. It would be interesting to know why North Island has far more Māori names than South Island.

How Long is Your Walk to School?

When my granny was a little girl she used to have to walk 5,000 miles to get to school everyday. through freezing wind and blinding rain. I, of course, don't know I'm born and should stop complaining about a tiny two mile stroll to get to school.

If you don't want to listen to your kids complaining everyday about their over-long journey to school then you could use Parallel's Schools in England & Wales. This interactive map provides, walking, cycling and driving times for every school in England and Wales. Zoom in on any school and you can view isochrone layers showing the areas that you can walk, bike or drive to (from the school) in six minute increments.

Schools in England & Wales is just one of Parallel's interactive maps showcased on the Mapbox blog this week. The others are Flood Planning in Leeds, London Atmospheric Emissions, Output Area Classifications for City of Leeds and Ward-level Population Projections for London.

Last year Maps Mania also featured Parallel's interactive map of UK population density in 3D. Their ONS Population Estimates map shows the population density in each UK Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) and the age breakdown of the population in each LSOA.

The population density view on the map uses Mapbox GL's extrusion property to create 3D towers on the map. The height of the towers represents the population density of the LSOA. In other words the higher the tower then the greater the population density.

Google Dog View, Cat View & Sheep View

Hachikō was an Akita dog who lived near the city of Ōdate in Japan. He belonged to Hidesaburō Ueno, who would commute daily to work by train. At the end of every workday Hachikō would walk to Shibuya Station to wait for his master's return.

In May 1925 Ueno suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, while at work and died. Ueno never returned to Shibuya station again. However Hachikō did. Each afternoon, exactly at the time when Ueno's train was due to return, Hachikō sat outside the station waiting for Ueno's return. He came and sat outside the station every day waiting for his master for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days.

You can now walk around outside Shibuya station on Google Maps and view the scene from a dog's point of view. Here you can gaze upon the statue of Hachikō outside the station. To capture this scene a small camera was attached to the collar of an Akita dog. The result is a distinct dog's point of view of the station, seen through two little pointy ears.

If you want you can also take a walk up into the mountains using dog view, visit Roken Shrine and wander around Akita Dog Hall.

Of course this isn't the first time that animals have been used to capture Street View imagery in Japan. In fact Street View was invented by cats.

In Hiroshima cats now have their very own version of Street View. Cat Street View is an impressive virtual tour of Onomichi, providing an unrivaled cat's eye view of the city. The tour takes in many of the cat-about-town's favorite shops and restaurants in the city. It also shows the locations of some of Onomichi's most loved cats.

The format of the tour will be familiar to any non-cat type entity who has ever used Google's Street View. It consists of a series of connected panoramic photos of the city. The big difference however is that the panoramic photos in Cat Street View are all taken from a cat's perspective. And it's all the better for it.

Before Google captured Street View imagery in the Faroe Islands the islanders got fed-up of waiting. They therefore took things into their own hands and invented Google Sheep View.

While the Faroe Islands didn't have Google Street View it did have sheep. A lot of sheep. The logical step therefore was to deck out the islands' sheep with 360 degree panoramic cameras and set them loose. You can find links to the Sheep View imagery of the Faroe Islands on the Sheep View Map. Just click on the sheep markers on the map and you will be taken to the Sheep View imagery directly on Google Maps.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Jogging Route Roulette

If you are bored of jogging, walking or cycling the same routes everyday then you need Routeshuffle. Routeshuffle can create random routes for running, walking and biking on the fly for any location in the world. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Routeshuffle is that it was created by a 15 year old school student, with hardly any experience of coding.

Generating a random route with Routeshuffle is very easy. Just share your location with the map and enter the length of route that you need. The map will then create a random route, starting and finishing at your location. Routeshuffle will also create a unique link for your route.

If you sign up to a premium account with Routeshuffle then you can get access to a number of other features. These include the option to view the route on Google Maps and download the route as a GPX or KML file.

Mapping the Most Popular Films of 2017

Dunkirk was the most popular film in most of the world last year. Apart from in the USA, Australia, Canada, South Africa and the Republic of Congo where Get Out was the most popular. At least those two films were the most popular movies in terms of Google searches.

Google Trends has been busy mapping the most searched films around the world in 2017. In the 2018 Oscar Nominees, in Google Search they have mapped the most searched movies around the world for each month of the year. The map for the complete year (shown above) shows Dunkirk (turquoise) as being the most searched film in much of the world. While Get Out proved very popular in the USA, Australia, Canada, South Africa and the Republic of Congo.

The map includes the option to view the most searched movie by month. Tracking the popularity of Dunkirk and Get Out over the whole year we find that Get Out dominates the map for the early months of the year. However in July (when Dunkirk was released) the map suddenly becomes dominated by the turquoise of Dunkirk. 

NYC Restaurant Inspection Scores

The NYC Foodiverse is a data visualization of New York City's restaurant sanitation inspection data. The visualization also includes Foursquare reviews, ratings and price tiers for all New York restaurants.

The visualization includes three different ways to explore the data. In the map view NYC Foodiverse marks each New York restaurant by its inspection grade. All the restaurants are color-coded to show the grade they received in their last sanitation inspection. You can hover over individual restaurants on the map to view details on when the restaurant was last inspected, its price tier and the number of likes it has had on Foursquare.

The graph view provides another visualization of the same data. In this scatter plot view the restaurants are plotted by sanitation score and price tier. In other words the restaurants at the top-right of the graph are the most expensive restaurants with the dirtiest sanitation conditions. The restaurants in the bottom-left of the graph are the cheapest restaurants with the best sanitation conditions.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Mapping Lines of Sight

William Davies has created a really interesting demo map that uses turf.js to map viewsheds. He was inspired to create the map after seeing Esri's Campus Blue Lights map, which uses viewsheds to show where the beacons on emergency telephones can be seen on a university campus.

William's Viewshed map uses turf.js to show where lines of sight intersect with building polygons on a Mapbox map. The map animates a pair of sunglasses around the Egyptian pyramids. A circular polygon shows the viewshed from the point of view of the sunglasses. The holes in this circular polygon show where the sunglasses' point of view is interrupted by the pyramids and other buildings.

The map is very impressive. It is also a pretty neat demonstration of the power of turf.js for carrying out advanced geospatial analysis with interactive mapping libraries.

The Tallest Buildings in the Netherlands

The Tallest Buildings in the Netherlands is an impressive tour of the tallest skyscrapers in the Netherlands. All five of the tallest buildings are in Rotterdam. However the map also allows you to explore the building heights of every building in the Netherlands - in 3D.

Every building in the country has been modeled in 3D using the height data of buildings from the Dutch Land Registry. You can click on any of the buildings, anywhere in the country, to view its height in meters. All the buildings on the map are also color-coded by height.

If you want you can create a similar map using Mapbox. Display Buildings in 3D and Fly to a location based on scroll position might be two good example maps to get you started.

An alternative approach would be to use OSM Buildings. Webkid has published a very good tutorial on how to make Interactive 3D Maps With OSMBuildings. The tutorial explains how the Berliner Morgenpost's made their own Berlin's neue Skyline map. The Berliner Morgenpost's map was in turn inspired by the New York Times' Reshaping New York.

An Annotated Medieval Map of Britain

Mathew Paris' 13th Century Map of Britain is one of the very first geographical maps of Great Britain. However, despite being arguably the first modern map of Britain, it is still quite hard to navigate. A lot of the actual geography is wrong and the place-names can be difficult to translate into modern English.

I have therefore created an Annotated Matthew Paris Map of Britain. On my map you can simply click on a place-name on the map to discover the equivalent modern English place-name. For example if you click on 'Eboracum' on the map an information window will open informing you that this is the city we know as 'York'.

I have translated over 90% of the place-names on the map, however a few of the place-names have me bamboozled. If you have any ideas about the names I have failed to translate then please feel free to leave a comment on this post.

My map is only possible because of the Stanford Libraries. They have created an IIIF manifest of Corpus Christi College's original manuscript of Matthew Paris' map. I have therefore been able to use Leaflet-IIIF, a simple to use plug-in for using IIIF manifests in Leaflet, to create a Leaflet.js map from the IIIF manifest of Matthew Paris' map.

Monday, March 05, 2018

The Drone Alphabet

Latvian mobile phone company Tele2 has created a Latvian Alphabet using letters discovered in the shapes of the buildings, roads and rivers of Latvia. You can use this Latvian Alphabet to send a message to your friends entirely written in aerial images of Latvia.

Tele2 has searched aerial imagery captured by drones looking for shapes that resemble letters of the alphabet. They have been able to complete the whole alphabet using these aerial images of the Latvian landscape. Latvian Alphabet includes a fun application which you can use to type and view your own messages written in this new drone alphabet.

Of course there is nothing new in searching for the shapes of letters in aerial imagery. Rhett Dashwood's - Google Maps Typography, is a few years old now. Rhett's alphabet is made up of letter shapes discovered in geographical features in Google Maps aerial view. There is also Earth Clock, a digital clock assembled from numbers found in aerial views of the Earth (although like my old digital clocks it seems to be struggling to display properly now).

Italian Election Maps

Votes in the Italian election have not all been counted but enough votes are in to indicate that there will be a lot of negotiations in the coming weeks in order to form a a working coalition for government. The centre-right coalition appears to be slightly ahead in the Italian election, although the country appears to be heading towards a hung parliament, with none of the current coalitions having enough votes to take overall control.

The Five Star Movement appear to be the biggest winners in this election. This relatively new party refuses to position itself in the traditional left-right split in politics. In the European Parliament it has been in a group of quite extreme right-wing parties but it has many ideological differences with these other European right-wing parties. For example it has supported same-sex marriage and has ecological policies similar to European Green parties.

La Repubblica's interactive election map shows the results in each electoral region. Regional Elections 2018 is a traditional choropleth map in which each electoral district is colored to show the party of the leading candidate. If you hover over a district you can view the percentage of the vote won by the three leading candidates. You can also view the turnout in areas where the vote count is complete.

The Corriere della Sera has also opted for a traditional choropleth map for its election map. Its Risultati Elezioni Politiche 2018 colors each electoral district by the color of the coalition. The newspaper has used color intensity to show the margin of victory. Shades of individual colors indicate the strength of victory in each district. A lighter shade shows a smaller victory, while a stronger shade indicates a larger victory for the winning coalition.

Both maps show a big geographical split in the country. The Five Star Movement has dominated the south of Italy, while the centre-right coalition has proved popular in the north. The ruling centre-left coalition has lost a lot of support in this election, but it retains some areas of support in Northern Italy.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

How to Reduce Gun Deaths

The Rand Corporation has released a Gun Policy Comparison Tool which allows you to see the likely effects of different gun laws on the number of gun related deaths in all US states.

The gun policy tool is very simple to use. You simply select any combination of fifteen different gun policies to view a choropleth map showing the impact those laws would be likely to have on each US state if they were introduced as nationwide laws. The laws that you select from range from permitless carry laws to the introduction of universal background checks. The results are based on a survey of 95 gun policy experts.

You can also view a range of different outcomes on the map for each combination of gun policies that you want to check. As well as the outcome on homicides in each state you can also view the likely positive or negative outcomes on different types of crime, on the sales of firearms and on the right to bear arms.

Friday, March 02, 2018

The SB 827 Interactive Los Angeles Map

Buying a home in California is very expensive. Particularly in the state's biggest cities. One solution would be to build more affordable housing. However California has a lot of building and zoning regulations which make building new homes difficult.

SB 827 is a new bill that is designed to encourage the building of high density housing near public transportation. The bill, if passed, would require that all areas within a half-mile of a high-frequency transit stop, or within a quarter-mile of a bus or transit corridor, allow buildings of 4 to 5 stories. It would also exempt these new buildings from minimum car parking requirements.

The Policy Club has released an interactive map which shows the potential impact of the bill on Los Angeles. The SB 827 Interactive Los Angeles Map shows the building parcels in LA which would become exempt from residential density restrictions, minimum parking requirements and building height limits if the California Senate passes SB 827.

The map clearly demonstrates that SB 827 has the potential to have a huge impact on the building of new homes in Los Angeles. Whether you think that is a good idea or not obviously depends on your point of view.

Street View Paintings

Ten years after Street View first appeared on Google Maps it is a little surprising that 360 degree panoramic art hasn't become a huge new artistic medium. Perhaps with the spread of more accessible VR headsets it is finally time to celebrate the great Street View artists of the 21st Century.

For example there is Julien Gauthier with his wonderful biopunk inspired BANGKOKXXIII - 360 Street. This 360 degree panoramic painting depicts a scene inspired by Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. As you rotate around the panoramic image an Asian street scene looms over your point of view, with towering skyscrapers, an overgrown overpass and even a gigantic elephant.

The Grand Master of Street View art has to be Raúl Moyado Sandoval. Raúl has been creating panoramic paintings since 2013. Back in 2013 Raúl used the Google Maps API's Custom Street View feature to create immersive 360 degree landscape paintings.

Mobile Cyclorama has moved on from the Google Maps API. Raúl now creates 360 degree panoramic images which can be viewed using a VR headset, on a mobile device or on a desktop computer. There are six paintings to view in total. Mobile Cyclorama also includes a brief overview of the history of panoramic paintings, which actually date back to the 18th century.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Global Warming with a Flourish

One of my favorite mapped data visualizations of the last few years is The Guardian's In Flight – Interactive Map, an amazing presentation exploring the history of commercial air travel. The interactive story features an animated map visualizing 24 hours of plane flights around the world and a narrated documentary looking at the birth of commercial flights, the development of international air travel and a look at the potential future for the industry.

The In Flight map was developed for The Guardian by Kiln, a data visualization compnany based in London. Kiln has now released a platform which anyone can use to tell their own stories with data. Flourish is a JavaScript library which developers can use to create visualization templates that non-coders can then use to easily edit and publish data-driven and interactive content. Using Flourish it is possible to create your own interactive mapped visualizations.

Kiln has used Flourish to create their own mapped data visualization of 20 years of global warming. The Climate Weather Map uses 500 million weather records to show the highest and lowest temperatures around the world over the last 20 years. The map includes a timeline which animates through the 20 years of records, adding the record highest and lowest temperatures to the map by the date that they were recorded.

The story-telling element of the visualization is managed by forward and backward buttons. These buttons are used to zoom the map to specific locations on specific dates, when a country or continent experienced extreme weather. A brief explanation for each of these examples of extreme weather is provided above the map.

The Climate Weather Map is a nice demo map of what can be made with Kiln's Flourish library. You can view more examples of data visualizations created with Flourish on the Flourish Examples page.

Discovering Merlin's Castle

I have found the location of Merlin's castle on an ancient medieval map created by a a Benedictine monk in the 13th Century. Unfortunately, while I was busy packing up my bullwhip, fedora, satchel and leather jacket, I remembered that my discovery wasn't exactly new. My search for the Holy Grail has therefore been postponed once again.

The Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge is currently holding an exhibition called Worlds Real and Imagined. The exhibition looks at early depictions of the world in the library's medieval manuscripts collection and oldest printed books. The exhibition includes Mather Paris' map of Scotland, Northern England and Wales. On which can be found Merlin's town.

If you can get to Cambridge then you can view the manuscripts and books yourself in the Wilkins Room of the Parker Library. If you can't get to Cambridge in person then don't worry as you can actually view the texts in far closer detail online. The Stanford library's curated feature on Worlds Real and Imagined includes digitized versions of all the manuscripts and books in the exhibition, which can be examined using the Mirador image viewer.

Among the maps in the exhibition is Matthew Paris' map showing the journey from London to the Holy Land (from the Chronica Maiora), Gerald of Wales' simple map of the British Isles (from Topographia Hiberniae) and a map of the Holy Land (The Travels of Sir John Mandeville). My favorite map in the collection is Matthew Paris' map of Northern England, Wales and Scotland (the Midlands and the South of England appear to have been lost).

This is one of four maps of Great Britain drawn by the 13th-century monk historian Matthew Paris. The map shows Hadrian's Wall, with Scotland lying to the north. The map also depicts Wales, where you can find Caermardin or Merlin's town (in some versions of the Arthurian legend Merlin was born in a cave outside Carmarthen).

You can find the reference to Merlin in the bottom left-hand corner of the map. The Welsh town now called Carmarthen is labelled on Maththew Paris' map as 'caermerdin id est civitas Merlini'. Translated from Latin this says 'Caermerdin, i.e. the city of Merlin'.

The etymology of the Welsh town of Carmarthen at a stretch could derive from 'caer Myrddin' meaning Merlin's castle. However the etymology of Carmarthen is more generally believed to have derived from the Roman name for the town Moridunum, meaning 'sea fort'. It has been suggested that Myrddin (Merlin) got his name from the town (Caermyrddin) - in other words rather than the town having been named after Merlin, Merlin actually derived his name from the town.

You can read more about King Arthur's connections to Wales and Merlin's connections to Carmarthen in Visit Wales's Discover King Arthur’s Wales.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bird Migration is Beautiful

National Geographic has created a series of beautiful maps to visualize the amazing migrations of different bird species in the Western Hemisphere. Where Do They Go? is a wonderfully presented introduction to the annual flight patterns of a number of American bird species.

Where Do They Go? starts with an impressive animated satellite map showing the fall migration of a Broad-Winged Hawk. This map animates the route of the birds' migration on top of a moving cloud cover satellite map showing some of the strong winds the birds encounter as they travel around the Gulf of Mexico.

As you scroll through Where Do They Go? a map of North, Central and South America is used to visualize the flight paths of different bird species, the major centers of human population and the seasonal changes in vegetation cover across the whole Western Hemisphere. These maps not only help to explain why the birds undertake these migrations but also beautifully visualize the huge distances that they travel.

The People & Languages of the Arctic

Global warming is going to effect the whole world. It is likely to effect the climate, environment, and people of the Arctic very soon. This month the Arctic has been experiencing freakishly high record temperatures. Temperatures have reached levels as much as 35 degrees centigrade higher than normal. It has been a warm winter that the indigenous peoples of the Arctic have had little experience of before.

The Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic is an Esri story map about the peoples who have lived in the Arctic for millennia. It looks at where indigenous populations live in the Arctic, where indigenous languages are spoken and the regions of the six Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council.

As well as exploring the different indigenous cultures and languages and where they live in the Arctic this story map looks at the history of colonialism in the Arctic and more recent attempts to establish the indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. It includes a detailed look at the Arctic Council and how it operates.

Memorials for Vienna's Nazi Victims

The Politics of Remembrance is an interactive map showing the locations of memorials in Vienna to the victims of political violence during the Austrofascist (1934-1938) and the National Socialist (1938-1945) regimes. The map includes the locations of monuments, sculptures, plaques and other types of memorial for those who lost their lives during Vienna's fascist past.

The memorials on the map can be explored in a number of different ways. A prominent timeline above the map allows you to explore the memorials by their date of erection. Using this timeline you can see in which periods of Vienna's post-war history the city has been most active in remembering the victims of fascism. The categorization of the periods used in this timeline are explained under the map.

The individual memorial markers on the map are color-coded depending on the filter you use to search the map. For example, if you filter the map by 'social identity' the red markers show memorials for victims of persecution in red (mainly Jewish victims of the Nazis) and 'resistance and liberation' memorials in grey (victims in the resistance movements). If you hover over an individual memorial marker you can read more about the individual or group being memorialized.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Mapping Meteors, Asteroids & Exoplanets

Meteor Showers is a WebGL map of major meteor showers which can be seen from Earth. The map allows you to select and view from a number of different meteor showers which can be observed at different times of the year. These showers originate from multiple comets and asteroids.

You can select to view all of the meteor showers at once on the map or select to view an individual meteor shower from a drop-down menu. The menu includes the times of the year when each meteor shower is visible from Earth.

From the same developer the Asterank 3d Asteroid Orbit Space Simulation is an impressive WebGL application that shows a view of our solar system with over 600,000 asteroids mapped. It is possible to rotate, zoom and pan the simulation. It is also possible to refine the asteroids shown by most valuable and most accessible (just in case you have any asteroid mining plans).

The Exoplanets Viewer is another WebGL visualization (with a little help from Unity). This map of the Universe shows the location of all the exoplanets discovered so far. The Exoplanets Viewer shows the position of all the known exoplanets as seen from your current location and time.

The color of a planet on the map represents its temperature. The green exoplanets are those situated in the habitable zone. The hottest planets are colored red while ice worlds are colored blue.