Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Crowdsourced Bike Accident Map


Only about 30% of biking accidents are ever reported. This makes it difficult to accurately identify accident hot-spots for cyclists. BikeMaps want to help overcome this problem by providing a centralized reporting system, where cyclists can map the location of cycling incidents.

BikeMaps consists of a Leaflet map of cycling traffic and user submitted cycling incidents. The rider volume layer shows where there is the most cycling traffic, using data provided by Strava. Cycling incidents are shown on the map using colored map markers. The colors of the markers show whether the incident was a collision, near miss or a bike theft.

The map also includes a heat-map option which allows you to visualize the most dangerous biking locations based on the submitted incident reports.

The Crowd-Sourced Weather Map


The Netatmo Weather Station for Smartphone is a clever weather monitoring system which measures temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and noise levels. The monitor connects with your computer or smartphone via WiFi so that you can access all the data recorded via the Netatmo app.

The Netatmo Weather Map allows you to view all the data from Netatmo weather monitoring stations throughout the world. Open up the Netamo Weather Map and you can view at a glance the current temperature around the world. You can also switch the map to display rainfall data by selecting the raindrop icon at the bottom-left of the map.

If you select an individual weather station on the map you can view a graph of the temperature, humidity, air pressure and rainfall recorded by the station. You can also view a three day weather forecast for the selected location, as provided by WeatherPro.

Story Mapping Spatial Analysis


This Story Map from Esri is a really interesting introduction to spatial analysis. The map guides you through some of the spatial analysis that you might undertake if you were planning to open up a new retail store, examining factors such as population, income distribution and travel time which might effect the store's location.

An Example of Spatial Analysis runs through some of the spatial analysis which you might undertake if you wanted to open a new store in St. Louis. As you progress through the story map a number of map overlays are added to the map to help explain whether opening a new store in St. Louis would be a good idea.

The story map examines St. Louis' travel times from city blocks to the location of the new store, the population distribution in the city and the median household income levels in the city. An Example of Spatial Analysis also examines how you might use exploratory regression and ordinary regression to determine which of these factors are the most important in predicting potential sales in the new store.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Joined-Up Maps

I've been very critical lately about the lack of development of the Google Maps JavaScript API. We've had to wait a long time for any new features to be added to the API. Today, however, Google has announced a new feature and it's a good one!

Signed-in Maps allows your users to sign-in to your Google Maps API applications with a Google account. Once signed-in users will be able to see their Google Maps saved places (for example their home and work addresses) on your Google Maps application. They will also be able to save locations from your location, which will then display on the official Google Maps website.


Save a location on a Google Maps API app & it will then show up on the Google Maps website or phone app

The simplest example of this in action might be a store locator or a 'where we are' map. You could use the Google Maps API to create a simple map to show potential customers the location of your business. If you use the new Signed-in Maps feature on your map your users will be able to save the location of your business through their Google account. Then, when the user wants to find your business, they can open Google Maps on their mobile phone and see your business starred on their map.

As you can see in the screenshot above the saved location not only displays on the main Google Maps website it also shows which Google Maps API application it was saved on.

The new Signed-in Maps feature has a number of great potential uses. For example, if you now create a map of local restaurants you can allow your users to save the restaurants that they fancy visiting. They can then view all their saved restaurants on any Google Maps site.

The Signed-in Maps feature has two main methods for signed-in users to save locations. You can allow users of your map to save a location by adding a simple 'save' option to an information window.  Alternatively you can add a Save Widget, which allows you to place the save option outside of an information window.

The only real restriction I can see to saving locations at the moment is that a location must have a Google Places id. This means that if a business or location doesn't have a placeId it cannot be saved.

The Continents of Reddit


The Internet Map is one of my all time favorite maps created with the Google Maps API. The map visualizes the 350,000 largest websites in the world.

The circles on this map represent individual websites on the Internet. The size of the circle being determined by the amount of traffic on the website, The larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. The location of websites on the map is determined by the links between sites. The more traffic that is generated from links between different websites then the closer the websites are displayed on the map.

This geographical grouping by the strength of links between the different websites creates an interesting map where it is possible to distinguish distinct communities on the Internet.


The Reddit World Map is a similar interactive map, this time visualizing the communities of the 'front page of the Internet'. The Reddit World Map represents every subreddit as a dot. Subreddits are located close to each other on the map when many users comment or post on both subreddits.

The subreddits with many connections are mapped in red and those with few connections are mapped in blue. By grouping the subreddits by user activity clear communities of Reddit users emerge on the map. In fact the blog post introducing the map includes an interesting static version of the map where the continents of Reddit are picked out on the map.

Sentiment Mapping


Twitter is a great resource for researching language use and people's moods. The Geography of Hate, by Dr. Monica Stephens of Humboldt State University, is one of the best examples of a map which analyses Twitter messages to identify specific sentiments.

The Geography of Hate map shows the rough location of every geocoded tweet in the United States, from June 2012 - April 2013, which contained one or more of ten 'hate words'. Users of the map can view three different heat maps, one for homophobic tweets, one for racist tweets and one for anti-diasablity tweets. The user can also view individual heat maps for any one of the ten offensive words.


London Feels is a map visualizing how Londoners feel based on their Twitter messages. The map shows the location of Twitter messages inside the M25 which contain a number of key words indicating some kind of sentiment (e.g. 'terrible', 'bad', 'good', 'awesome' etc).

Positive tweets are shown on the map in blue, negative tweets shown in red and average feeling tweets are shown in purple. Unlike The Geography of Hate map there is no human analysis of the Twitter messages. Therefore the map obviously shows a lot of messages where people are expressing a judgement upon something rather than a sentiment about their own state of being (e.g. 'that movie is terrible').


A more scientific approach is taken by Mappiness. Two academics at the London School of Economics are carrying out research into how the environment affects people's happiness. To help them gather the data for this research they launched an iPhone app to track how people are feeling.

If you download the app you will receive a notification between one and five times a day. The notification will ask you to open the app, briefly report how you're feeling and who you're with, where you are, and what you're doing. If you're outdoors and you're happy, you'll also be asked to take a photo of your surroundings.

Anyone can keep an eye on the research being gathered by checking out the Mappiness Google Map. The map shows the outdoor places where Mappiness users have most recently reported feeling happy. If you click on an information window you can also view the photograph taken at that happy moment.


Weather Sentiment Prediction is a clever Google Maps based application that can tell you how people feel about the weather at any location.

You can select a location on the application by dragging the map marker and adjusting the radius of the search area. Once you hit the 'search' button the application begins to analyse Tweets from that area which mention the weather. Each message is machine analysed to determine whether it is a positive or negative response to the weather.

A smiley face and an unsmiley face at the top of the Twitter stream give an indication of the overall response to the current weather.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The New Zealand Dot Map


Mapping the Young Adults of New Zealand is a density dot map visualizing the population change of young Kiwis between 2001 and 2013. Each dot on the map signifies the increase or decrease of one person aged between 20-34 in a census unit. The map also allows you to view the population growth and decreases of all ages.

Looking at the 'all ages' data the map reveals that both in urban areas and many rural areas the total population mostly increased between 2001 and 2013. However the map tells a different story when you look only at the population changes among young people. The areas where young people increased in population are mainly in New Zealand's urban areas.

Mapping the Hills of San Francisco


This San Francisco Streets by Slope map shows you the location of San Francisco's steepest streets and also shows you how you can route around them. The map can therefore be used as a quick guide to avoiding the city's biggest hills.

Roads on the map are colored by the gradient of the climb. Red indicates the steepest streets and the flattest streets are shown in green. If you click on two locations on the map you can view a route which avoids the steepest climbs.


You might not love climbing hills but you just might love travelling downhill. In that case you might want to use the Hill Mapper San Francisco, which makes great use of the Google Maps API Elevation Service to show the direction of slopes on San Francisco's streets.

The uphill streets are colored red and the blue streets go downhill. The darker the color of the street, the steeper the hill. If you move your location on the map the colors of the streets dynamically update to reflect the new directions of the slopes, relevant to your new position.


If you really hate hills you can also use the Flat Route Finder to find cycling routes that avoid the steepest slopes. The Flat Route Finder uses the Google Maps elevation service to suggest the flattest possible cycling route. Two elevation graphs are also provided to show you the steepest parts of the route and the route itself is color-coded to show you the easiest and most difficult stages of your journey.

If you don't like the look of the suggested route (or perversely you want to find the steepest route) you can drag the route around to view the elevation and the difficulty of alternative routes.


Bikesy is another great bike routing application that can help you find the flattest, safest or fastest routes anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bikesy can provide you with bike routes that may be slightly longer than the quickest route but include less steep climbs. Each route comes with an elevation profile for your ride, so you can tell in advance where and when you will face the toughest climbs.

For each request Bikesy suggests a number of different routes. You can choose from the flattest route, a route that takes in reasonable climbs or routes that take in the steepest hills. You can also choose the 'safe', safer' or 'safest' route, which takes into account bike lanes and paths.  

Mapping the End of Slavery


Visualizing Emancipation is an interactive map exploring the emancipation of four million slaves during the American Civil War. The map allows users to explore and discover patterns in the end of southern slavery through the use of contemporary documents and primary sources.

The map calls these patterns of emancipation 'event types' and Visualizing Emancipation allows you to view these patterns in any combination or on their own. The patterns include emancipation event types leading from the destruction of slavery in law, through military action and through the impetus and actions of enslaved people throughout the U.S. South.

As well as exploring the map by the patterns of emancipation you can explore the mapped events using a time-line. The time-line allows you to filter the events displayed on the map by any month between 1860 and 1865.


To mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Great Britain the BBC created this Abolition of British Slavery - Interactive Map. The map explores how the slave trade was organized, the history of resistance to slavery and accounts of the number of people taken into slavery. The map also includes a mapped account of one man's capture by slave dealers, his life as a slave and his eventual release from slavery.


Tacky's Rebellion, was an uprising of black African slaves that occurred in Jamaica in May, June and July 1760. The Jamaican Slave Revolt Map tells the story of the revolt, and its brutal suppression by the British Army.

Using contemporary accounts the map animates through the important events and locations in the rebellion and subsequent suppression. A number of eighteenth-century maps were used to create the terrain map and the places map, which form the base maps for the narration.

The Jamaican Slave Revolt map was created by Vincent Brown, Professor of History and African and African-American Studies at Harvard University. Brown says that "the map suggests an argument about the strategies of the rebels and the tactics of counterinsurgency, about the importance of the landscape to the course of the uprising".

Tube Tongues


Oliver O'Brien's London Tube Stats map is a fascinating analysis of traffic at all of London's Underground stations. Using the map you can view a wealth of data on the number of customers and journeys made from each station on the London Underground for different times and days of the week.

The London Tube Stats map also includes a spoken languages overlay, which allows you to view the second most spoken language (after English) of people living near each of the London Underground Stations. In most of East London you are most likely to hear Bengali spoken on the tube. In West London you are likely to hear Arabic and in much of Central London you might hear a lot of French speakers.

If you select individual stations on the map you can view a breakdown on the percentages of all the primary languages spoken in the area.