Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Follow Solar Impulse Live


The Solar Impulse is currently on the longest leg of its round the world flight. The Solar Impulse hopes to make the first circumnavigation of the globe by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power.

The plane is now on the longest part of its journey from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii. The journey is expected to take 120 hours, around five days and five nights. You can follow the flight live on the Solar Impulse website, which includes a live YouTube feed and a Google Map of the journey.


Unfortunately the map on the Solar Impulse website is a little obscured. I find it much easier to follow the plane live on FlightRadar24. Not only does FlightRadr24 have a larger map but you can also view the plane's current altitude and speed.

CSS Filters for Maps


This Japanese map is a nice example of both a dual map display and the use of CSS filters to change the hue and brightness of a map.

CSS Filter provides a side-by-side comparison of a satellite and street map. You can swipe between the two maps by using the slider control at the top of the map. CSS Filter also contains a number of controls which allow you to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation and hue of the road map. You can also add a blur effect and invert the colors.

The map uses CSS filters to adjust the colors of the road map. CSS filters provide an easy way to adjust the colors of your map tiles if you can't be bothered with the sometime arduous task of creating your own map style.

The Gay History Map


Pride of Place is a new interactive map from Historic England and Leeds Beckett University which is attempting to map out the gay history of locations in the UK. The map aims to document and record the "huge range of places and spaces lived, loved, worked and played in by LGBTQ people through the centuries".

The initial Pride of Place interactive map is an attempt to crowd-source important  'queer buildings and places' in the UK. If you connect to the map with a Facebook account or with your e-mail you can add locations to the map.

You can search the map by location or by using the categories in the map sidebar. Some of the categories also allow you to search by date. So for example you can discover that in the 15th century Markby Priory was very popular with the local gay youth, 'secular youths do lie in the dorter among the canons, and some with the canons in the same beds, and especially John Alforde, who more often than others has such in bed with him'.

Exploring YouTube by Location


The YouTube Explorer is a way of finding and watching YouTube videos based on the location of where the videos were uploaded from. Why you would want to do that is another matter.

Every now and again someone uses the location data from the YouTube API to show videos on a map. The problem is that the location of YouTube videos never seems to have much bearing on the content of the video. The YouTube Explorer is therefore little more than a way of exploring random YouTube videos.

Click on the map and you will be shown a video uploaded from that location. Unfortunately the YouTube player always seems to show a screenshot from the previous video so you actually have to click on the video to discover it isn't something that you actually want to watch.


If you want to watch YouTube videos about different locations around the world you might do better to have a look at my old Video Map. This map is over five years old now but surprisingly a lot of the videos still seem to work.

The advantage of my old map is that the videos are hand-picked, so the content actually matches the location on the map. Therefore if you want to watch a video of Devil's Tower, Wyoming you can actually use the map to find a video shot at that location.

Monday, June 29, 2015

One Hundred Years of Earthquakes


Kenneth Davis has been busy Visualizing One Hundred Years of Earthquakes. He has created three different maps from the data to show earthquake activity through time, a heat-map of all quakes over the last one hundred years and a depth map of the quake data.

The animated Torque powered map shows a marked increase in earthquakes after the 1950's. This isn't a result of more earthquakes but due to the ever increasing improvements in measuring and recording seismic activity.

The heat-map provides a neat overview of the fault lines in the tectonic plates and where those faults have caused the most seismic activity. The depth map reveals the geometry of subduction zones, where two tectonic plates are colliding and one plunges beneath the other.

Mapping Population Trends in Europe


Last week the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs, and Spatial Development released a map showing how population has changed in Europe between 2001 and 2011. The BBSR Map of European Population Change shows where populations have increased and decreased throughout Europe.

The Berliner Morgenpost has now created an interactive version of the map using the same data. The paper's Where the Population of Europe is Growing – and Where it’s Declining map shows population growth in 119,406 municipalities from 43 European countries (including Turkey).

The map includes a number of snapshot analyses of interesting trends in the data. You can access these snapshots using the links beneath the map. You can also zoom in on the map and click on any of the 119,406 municipalities to view the percentage population change between 2001 and 2011 at the selected location.


The Washington Post has also published an interesting analysis of the BBSR population data. Their article on Where Europe is Growing and Where it is Shrinking provides some useful insights into the European population data. For example, the paper points out how in Poland there is a clear pattern of population growth in the suburbs around large cities.

The Best European Bird Maps

Belgium's birds are a lot like New York cabs.

Actually Belgium's birds are nothing like New York cabs - but they do have one thing in common - people can't stop mapping them. In America Chris Wong's taxi data has proved irresistible to mappers, European mappers however apparently can't get enough of LiveWatch INBO's Belgium bird data.

At the beginning of the month I posted a round-up of the Top Five NYC Taxis Maps. Now it's time for the best European bird maps.


Two Gull Migrations, by Liz Scott, is an animated map showing the movements of two Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gull 719 and Gull 623) over one year. Using the map you can follow the migratory patterns of both birds over the course of one year.

Gull 623 seems to have a wider migratory pattern, flying down to Guinea-Bissau for the winter, whereas Gull 719 prefers the milder climes of southern Spain in the winter months.


LifeWatch's own maps have looked at the movements of the tracked birds over shorter time periods.

These maps include an intensity map of Eric, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, breeding in the colony of Zeebrugge. The map shows Eric's movements over two months, revealing his most visited locations, including his frequent day-trips to Bruges.

Using the same data LifeWatch also created a map showing Eric's paths for every day. In this map Eric's daily flight paths are colored by day to show how his flight pattern changed over the two months in question.


Lifewatch has also used CartoDB's Torque to visualize bird migration patterns over the course of two nights. In a series of animated CartoDB Torque powered maps Lifewatch Inbo has visualized the flight migration of birds on the nights of April 7-8, 2013.

Using CartoDB to Visualize How Far Birds Migrate in a Single Night uses data from the ROBIN bird radar detection system to simulate the trajectory of individual birds from Belgium and the Netherlands. In each of the maps you can view an animated simulation of the birds' migration based on the birds' airspeed and the wind conditions on the nights in question.


The EuroBirdPortal (EBP) is establishing a European wide data repository of bird sightings in order to model the distribution of different species of birds over time and space and to establish the migratory patterns of those species.

The EBP has released a demonstration map to visualize the week by week distributional patterns of 15 species of birds over four years. The map uses CartoDB's Torque library to animate the European wide sightings of the 15 species during 2010 to 2013.

The bird sightings map is accompanied by another map which animates climatic variables, so that you can compare the distribution of the different bird species to the annual changes in temperature and precipitation. Press play on the map and you can view an animation of the bird sightings across Europe for the selected year in the left-hand map. At the same time you can view an animation of precipitation or temperature records for the same period on the right-hand map.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Magnificent Maps of the Week


If you want a little help deciding which map projection you should use for your current map project then you should use this map Projection Wizard. The Projection Wizard was a clear winner this week with readers of Maps Mania. It was both the most read post and the most shared on social media.

This Projection Wizard allows you to select the extent of the map view which you are working with by outlining the area on a Leaflet map. Once you've highlighted your map bounds you can choose a distortion property (Equal-area, Conformal, Equidistant or Compromise).

The Projection Wizard will then suggest which map projection you should use depending on the extent and the distortion property of the map. The suggested projections are based on 'A Guide to Selecting Map Projections' by the Cartography and Geovisualization Group at Oregon State University.


This week I was also impressed with CartoNerd's method for highlighting large socio-economic differences between geographical neighbors.

We are all used to choropleth maps being employed as a way to visualize the socio-economic performance of countries around the world. Choropleth maps are a great way to provide a global picture of different socio-economic indicators. They can effectively provide an overview of which countries are performing better and which countries are struggling within a particular socio-economic indicator.

Socio-Economic Tectonics however employs a different method to visualize socio-economic indicators which, instead of providing an overview, highlights the areas of the world where there are glaring dissimilarities in socio-economic performance between neighboring countries. Country borders are used on the map to show socio-economic differences between adjoining countries. These differences are represented graphically on the map by the width of country borders. The wider the border between two countries then the bigger the difference in the selected socio-economic indicator.


I do like it when developers use online mapping libraries to create interactive image maps. One of the best non-cartographic uses of the Google Maps API is this Interactive Metabolic Pathways Map.

A metabolic pathway is a series of chemical reactions occurring within a cell. Each metabolic pathway consists of a series of biochemical reactions that are connected by their intermediates. The Interactive Metabolic Pathways Map allows you to explore all the metabolites, enzymes, and selected pathways.

What is particularly impressive about this image map of the metabolic pathways is that it is fully interactive and searchable. You can select any of the carbohydrates, amino acids, lipids or purines & pyrimidines on the pathways map to learn more about its role in the metabolic pathway. You can also search for any of the features by name to quickly locate them on the map.

24 Hours of Train Traffic in 60 Seconds


There has been a long tradition of using transit network timetables to create real-time transit map simulations. Vasile Coțovanu's Swiss Railways Network was probably the very first nationwide transit map which simulated train movements in real-time based on the network timetable.

Recently a new approach to mapping GTFS transit timetables has become popular. This new approach uses CartoDB's Torque library to provide a sped-up animated visualization of a tranist network. El Trafico de Trenes is a good example of this new trend.

Microsiervos has used Torque to visualize 24 hours of traffic on the Spanish rail network in just over one minute. Microsiervos has released two different maps. One shows an animated visualization of 24 hours of Spain's long distance trains. The other animates 24 hours of Spain's freight trains.


You can also view a simulation of one day of San Francisco's SFMTA bus network visualized on a map using CartoDB's Torque library. Danny Whalen's SFMTA Weekday Stop Times map animates all of San Francisco's buses over 24 hours in just 60 seconds.

If you want to create your own visualizations of a transit network then you might want to have a look at Vasile's Transit Map library. Vasile has also released the code for a GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) plug-in as well. GTFS-viz converts a set of GTFS files into a SQLite database and the GeoJSONs needed by his Transit Map library.

If you want to create a sped-up version of a city's transit network then you should consider using the city's GTFS feed with CartoDB's Torque library.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Mapping the Sale of Liquor


The sale of liquor in Vermont is controlled by the state’s Department of Liquor Control. There is obviously some debate as to whether the sale of liquor in Vermont should be privatized. However the fact that the industry is controlled by the state does mean that all the data surrounding the sale of liquor in Vermont is freely available.

Vermont's Seven Days has taken this data and created a map of Vermont's Best-Selling Liquor, Store by Store. Using the map you can click on any of Vermont's 80 liquor stores and discover the top 5 selling liquor brands.

The markers on the map seemed to be scaled by the volume of sales. So the larger the map marker the more liquor was sold in 2014. When you click on a marker you can also discover how the store ranks in the number of sales, the total volume of sales (in dollars) and the percentage of growth (from 2013).

I wish you could also query the map by liquor brand or by type of liquor. It would be nice for example, to see where vodka or whiskey was sold the most. The map could allow users to select a type of liquor and resize the map markers based on the volume of sales of the selected liquor type. However if you are interested in the top selling brands of liquor in Vermont Seven Days does have a chart of the top 10 selling brands in the state in this article.