Thursday, April 25, 2019

Exaggerated Relief Maps


Exaggerated relief maps can be fun to make. However they can also be time consuming to create. They normally require some serious GIS software, a digital elevation model and a lot of patience. Unless you have an interactive map to do all the work for you.

The Relief Map Viewer is a fun interactive tool which allows you to view an exaggerated raised relief map for any location in the world. Just use the search box to navigate to a location and the Relief Map Viewer will show you the location with the elevation data slightly exaggerated. This is achieved by overlaying satellite imagery on top of an exaggerated digital elevation model.


The Relief Map Viewer includes a number of tools which allow you to adjust the map settings. In the 'Map Settings' menu you can adjust the height multiplier, which allows you to exaggerate the elevation to an even greater extent than the default setting. This menu also allows you to zoom in and out on the map. The 'Lighting' menu allows you to adjust the intensity and direction of the lighting effect.

The map was created using the Mapbox SDK for Unity. Mapbox's SDK for Unity includes a global digital elevation model encoded in raster tiles. This is what allows the Relief Map Viewer to show an exaggerated relief map and to allow users to adjust the height multiplier on the fly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

How Global Warming Has Warmed Your Home


Buzzfeed has released two interactive maps which show how climate change is effecting locations across the globe. How Climate Change Has Already Transformed The Earth features two maps. One shows how temperatures have risen over the last 138 years. The other reveals how sea levels have risen since 1993.

The first interactive map visualizes the rate of global warming around the world since 1880. Click anywhere on the map and you can view a graph showing the changes to the average temperature at that location for the last 138 years. As well as creating a graph of temperatures over time the map includes a choropleth layer which reveals where temperatures have risen since 1950. This layer provides a stark illustration of how global warming has affected locations around the world, in particular in the Arctic. If you click on individual years on the interactive temperature graph you can see by how many degrees the temperature has risen at the selected location.


I've definitely written about the global warming map before on Maps Mania, however the map appears to have been updated since it last featured with the latest temperature records. The Buzzfeed article also features a new, similar styled, map which shows how sea levels have risen around the world. The choropleth layer on this map shows a comparison of the average sea level from 2008–2010 compared to the average from 1993–1995. The darker the shade of blue on the map then the higher the sea level rise. The graph shows the average global sea level for every year since 1993.

You can see how the two interactive maps were made (and how the Arctic sea ice animation in the Buzzfeed article was built) on the project's Github page. The maps were created with Mapbox GL and Highcharts (for the interactive graph).

The 2019 Spanish Election


Spain's general election will take place this Sunday (April 28th). All 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies are up for election, as well as 208 of the 266 seats in the Senate. Ahead of the election El Pais has released a detailed interactive map of the results from the 2016 Spanish Election. El Mapa del Voto en Toda Espana provides a stark illustration of the geographical strongholds of the main political parties.

The centre-right People's Party (PP) won the most votes in the 2016 election. The centre-left Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) got the second most votes. As you can see on the map the PSOE performed well in the south of the country. They also performed well in the mining areas of Asturias. In the Basque region the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) was the most popular political party. In Catalonia the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) was very popular. The left-wing Unidos Podemos (now Unidas Podemos) was the third most popular party nationally.

The new far-right Vox party didn't really feature in the 2016 election, so don't appear on the map. Vox may capture some votes from the People's Party this time around, mainly because  the PP have been hit in recent years by a number of corruption scandals. The emergence of the centre-right Citizens party may also have an impact on the People's Party. The polls predict that PSOE will win the most seats of all the parties but won't get an overall majority. They will be hoping that PP, Citizens and Vox don't get enough seats between them to form a coalition government.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Inequality in Australia


The Guardian has mapped out the percentage of people living in the most economically advantaged households and the number living in the most disadvantaged households in each Australian neighborhood.

The Guardian's Inequality in Australia interactive map use the experimental Index of Household Advantage and Disadvantage, which is in turn compiled from data from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. The map has two different data layers. One shows the percentage of households living in the most disadvantaged group (the lowest quartile of the index). The other shows the percentage of households in the most advantaged group (the highest quartile of the index).

The Guardian hasn't provided much commentary alongside the map, except to say that the highest percentage of disadvantaged households are in remote and regional areas where a relatively "large proportion of the population is Indigenous". They also say that the areas with the most advantaged households are in inner metropolitan areas.


This static map (from Wikipedia) shows the number of Aboriginal Australians as a percentage of the population based on the 2011 census. Comparing the two maps there does seem to be a large percentage of households living in the most disadvantaged quartile in areas with a higher number of Aboriginal Australians as a percentage of the population.

Death on the Roads


Cars are now the biggest killers of people aged 5-29 around the world. Those deaths are from traffic injuries alone and don't take into account fatalities caused by air pollution. According to the World Health Organization 1.35 million people were killed in road traffic accidents in 2016. A disproportionate amount of those deaths were in developing countries.

There are large regional differences in the rate of road traffic deaths around the world. Europe has the lowest rate of road traffic deaths with 9.3 deaths per 100,000 population. The Americas have the second lowest regional rate with 15.6 deaths per 100,000 population. Africa and South-East Asia have the worst record for road traffic deaths with 26.6 and 20.7 deaths per 100,000 population respectively.

You can explore the rates of road traffic deaths in countries around the world on WHO's Death on the Roads interactive map. Select a country on the map and you can view its road accident death rate, the total number of road traffic deaths, and information of the selected country's road safety laws and vehicle standards.

The United States has a traffic death rate of 12.4 per 100,000 population and compares very unfavorably to most other countries with similar economies (Canada for example has a rate of 5.8 per 100,000). One reason for this is that the United States doesn't meet any of the World Health Organization's criteria for good road safety laws. The WHO rates every country on whether it has good laws for Drink-driving, Speed, Helmets, Seat-belts and Child seats. The United States doesn't rate as having good laws for any one of these individual areas of road safety.

Mapping China Tech Giants


The recent arrest of Huawei's Meng Wanzhou in Canada, at the request of the USA, has highlighted the growing tensions between China and the west over the ever growing influence of Chinese technological companies around the world. The west accuses these Chinese tech companies of continually stealing technology from western companies. It also has security concerns about Chinese technology being used in the west.

Chinese technology companies are playing a huge role in bringing modern technology to many previously unconnected areas, particularly in the developed world. This in turn worries many western governments who are concerned about the strategic and political implications of countries in the developing world being reliant on Chinese technological infrastructure.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has released an interactive map tracking the global reach of 12 key Chinese tech companies (including Huawei). Mapping China's Tech Giants shows the global influence and the global infrastructure being built by 12 of China's biggest technology companies. The interactive map includes the locations of undersea cables, 5G networks, data centers and manufacturing facilities. In total there are 17,000 data points shown on the map. This data can be filtered by technology type, by company and by individual company. If you click on the 'view companies' link in the map sidebar you can also view more details on the 12 individual Chinese tech companies featured on the map.

Providing technological support and infrastructure is just one way in which China is expanding its geo-politcal influence and global reach. China has also invested heavily in the physical infrastructure related to transport, energy and trade around the world. You can read more about China's global 'belt and road' initiatives in Understanding China's Belt and Road Project.

Monday, April 22, 2019

World Press Freedom 2019


The United States has fallen three places in the World Press Freedom Index since last year. Every year Reporters Without Borders rank the countries of the world based on an assessment of each country's record of supporting the freedom of the press. This year the United States is ranked 48th out of 180 countries, and the RWF say that the media climate in the U.S. is now “problematic”.

When President Trump took office the United States was ranked 41st of all the countries in the world. They have dropped down the list every year since Trump became President. Other countries to have fallen down the list this year are Venezuela (down five at 148th), Russia (down one place at 149th) and China (177th down one place). For the third year running Norway tops the list. Finland have moved up two places to come second in this year's index and Sweden are in third place overall.

You can find out where every country in the world ranks on the 2019 World Press Freedom Index interactive map. Countries on the map are colored based on their rankings. Countries colored a pale yellow are deemed 'satisfactory'. Countries colored orange are seen as 'problematic'. Red countries are in a 'difficult situation' and black countries are in a 'very difficult situation'.

The very pale yellow colored countries (which the RWF say are colored white) are classified as 'good'. This year 24% of the 180 countries ranked by Reporters Without Borders have qualified as 'good' in the index. Last year it was 26%. If you click on a country on the map you can read the score awarded by RWF and click on the 'read more' button to view the overall assessment of press freedom in the selected country.

Mega Monday Map Quiz


Can you name these three European cities?

The maps above show three different cities. To make the question harder each map only shows building footprints. All other features, such as roads, rivers and parks have been removed from the maps.

It isn't easy is it? 

How about if I told you the first city is in Switzerland, the second map shows a small section of a city in Germany, and the last map shows a section of a city in England.

Still stuck?

What if I tell you that one map is from Berlin, one is from London and the other Basel?

OK, so that isn't exactly a 'mega' map quiz. That's because each of those three circular maps comes from a different quiz. The first map comes from Tages Anzeiger's Do you recognize the Swiss city?. The second map comes from the Berliner Morgenpost's Do You Recognize the Area?. The third map comes from my own quiz London Squares, Markets & Circuses.

The first quiz, from the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, includes 12 maps of different cities in Switzerland. The second quiz, from the Berliner Morgenpost, includes 12 maps of different areas of Berlin. My quiz includes six maps of different areas of London. Now that's a bit more mega

All of these three quizzes were made with Hans Hack's Figuregrounder. Figuregrounder is a very easy to use tool which allows you to make map posters for any location in the world using OSM data. The posters are simple circular building footprint maps. So if you want to create your own map quiz you can just use Figuregrounder to make maps of different cities, towns or neighborhoods.


Alternatively you could use the Street Patterns tool for making map posters from city street patterns. Street Patterns is a very similar tool to Figuregrounder, except it uses data from OpenStreetMap to create maps from just streets and roads (instead of building footprints).

The image above shows street patterns found in Paris, London & New York. Can you guess which is which? The answer can be found here.

The Ukraine Presidential Election Map


A comedian has been voted the President of Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who plays the role of the president on a popular television comedy, is now the actual President of Ukraine, after cruising to victory in yesterday's presidential election in Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy received an astonishing 73.2% of the vote in the election. The incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, received just 24.5% of the national vote. Little is known of how Zelenskiy intends to preside over Ukraine. His election campaign contained almost no information about his policies or his plans for office. Apart from a vague promise to clean-up politics and end the power of the oligarchs his campaign consisted of viral videos and jokes. Some already doubt his promise to clean-up politics, with rumors of close ties between Zelenskiy, Zelenskiy's campaign team, and the oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi.

You can view how Ukraine voted on Dekoder's Presidential Elections in Ukraine 2019 interactive map. The map was initially released following the first round of the Ukraine Presidential Election. It has now been updated to include the results of yesterday's second round of voting between Zelenskiy and Poroshenko. As can be seen from the map Zelenskiy was the popular choice in nearly the whole country.


The Dekoder interactive map allows you to filter the results by candidate. If we show just the areas where Poroshenko received more of the votes it is noticeable that Poroshenko remained popular in only the area around the city of Lviv (the Lviv Oblast) in the west of Ukraine. The map includes an option to also filter the results shown by the gap between the two candidates. In fact, if you adjust the size of this filter, you can see that Zelenskiy's winning margin generally gets larger the further east you move.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Language of Story Maps


The Pudding's Why EU Regions are Redrawing Their Borders is a hugely impressive story map illustrating how European countries are redrawing regional borders in order to qualify for more European Union funding. As you progress through The Pudding's story the map is used to illustrate the economic health of EU regions and where regional borders are being redrawn.

The map sidebar includes a number of highlight links which are used to pick out extra details in the map. Hover over these highlight links in the text and related features are picked out on the map. So not only does the map update as you scroll through the text but the text itself includes highlighted text links to provide further explanation of the data. The colors of these highlight links are defined by the data. For example, in the sidebar text the highlight link for the 'least developed regions' is the same color as the least developed regions on the map.

These colored highlight links are such a useful feature in a story map that I've updated my example choropleth story map on Glitch to include colored highlight links. Scroll through Measles in Europe and hover over the highlighted text in the map sidebar to pick out different features on the map. If you want to create your own choropleth story map using Leaflet.js then feel free to clone and copy the Measles in Europe map on Glitch.