Friday, April 29, 2016

Rickshaws & Pigeons - Monitoring Air Pollution

Delhi has one of the worst air pollution records in the world. London has the worst air pollution record in Europe. Both cities however are developing interesting ways to monitor near real-time air pollution.

In Delhi Project Peppered Moth has equipped five auto rickshaws with internet connected air pollution sensors. These sensors measure air pollution every 30 seconds as they navigate around the city. The Project Peppered Moth website includes an interactive map which allows you to explore the readings from any of the rickshaws for any of the days that they have been in action.

The map shows color-coded markers for each reading taken by the sensors. I assume green markers indicate lower readings and red markers show higher readings.

London doesn't have as many auto rickshaws as Delhi but it does have thousands of pigeons. Pigeon Air Patrol has developed tiny backpacks fitted with air pollution sensors. It has also found a number of pigeons who have agreed to wear the backpacks on their daily commute around London.

The Pigeon Air Patrol website also includes an interactive map which presents the pigeons' tracks and the air pollution readings that the pigeons collected for what I assume was a test run. If you click on any of the markers on the you can read a summary of the air pollution level (although they all seem to say 'moderate pollution').

Now all we need is for both cities to put as much imagination into lowering air pollution as they are into monitoring it.

8-Bit Maps of the World

Back in 2010 Bret Camper released 8-Bit City - New York, an interactive 8-Bit map of New York, which resembled the world maps used in 1980's computer games.

Since 2010 8-Bit City has expanded in scope and you can now view 8-Bit maps of 18 cities around the world. These 8-bit maps use data from OpenStreetMap which is then processed in a custom rendering engine, built by Brett, to create the map tiles for each interactive city map.

If you want to create an 8-Bit type map of a location which isn't featured in 8-Bit Cities you can use the 8-Bit Map Maker. This clever OpenStreetMap based tool can create an 8-bit game world map for any real world location.

Just enter your address into the map and you can create a little static game world map of your own neighborhood. The 8-Bit Map Maker also includes an option to download the created 8-Bit map of your location as a tiled map.

If you want to view a fully interactive 8-Bit map of the world then you should have a look at the Super Mario Map of the World. This interactive map was styled in Mapbox Studio to resemble the 8-bit maps used in the Super Mario computer games.

If you want to learn more about how the map data was styled to resemble an 8-Bit map then you can read the Designing a Super Mario Map with Mapbox Studio Classic on the Mapbox Blog.

Mapping the Science Paper Pirates

Sci-Hub is an online repository of pirated scientific academic papers and articles. It allows researchers and students to access expensive pay-walled academic content. Content that is usually only available from expensive academic journal publishers.

Perhaps one of the strongest arguments in support of the illegal pirating of scientific papers is that the present system is prohibitively expensive, especially for struggling students and researchers from developing countries. It has been claimed that the popularity of Sci-Hub in countries such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Iran proves that Sci-Hub is providing access to scientific research to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it.

In an article on the Science website, Who's Downloading Pirated Papers?, John Bohannon has created an interactive map showing where pirated scientific academic papers and articles have been downloaded from Sci-Hub around the world. In order to make the map Bohannon contacted Alexandra Elbakyan, the Sci-Hub creator, to request the geographic location of every user who has downloaded an academic paper from Sci-Hub. In order to protect the privacy of Sci-Hub users the data was aggregated to the nearest city.

Bohannon's article on Science also includes a link to the open data behind the map. The data includes '28 million download request events from the server logs of Sci-Hub from 1 September 2015 through 29 February 2016'.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Divided Recovery in House Prices

The Washington Post has been looking at the uneven recovery in the housing market since its collapse in 2004. What they have found is that although the market has largely recovered it is the wealthy who are benefiting, while poorer and minority neighborhoods are lagging behind.

The Post's report America's Great Housing Divide is accompanied by an interactive map which allows you to see how property prices are doing in your area. If you enter a town name or zip-code into the map you can view a choropleth map showing how homes in your neighborhoods have changed in value since 2004.

If you click on the map you can see the percentage change in value in homes in the zip-code area. You can also view a graph showing the rise and fall of property prices in the area since 2004 compared to the rise and fall of house prices in the wider metro area.

Mapping the World's Energy Use

GoCompare has created an interesting map which shows how much of the world's energy is produced by fossil fuels, nuclear power and renewable energy.

The What Powers the World map uses what resembles a NASA Night-Lights satellite view of the Earth. If you use the 'Fossil Fuels', 'Nuclear' and 'Renewables' buttons at the top of the map you can see the world's lights turning on or off based on the amount of energy produced by these three energy sources.

When you select any of the three main energy views interesting energy stories are also displayed on the map. For example, if you select the nuclear power view, an orange marker appears of France, which gets 74% of its energy from nuclear power. Japan, however, gets only 1% of its power from nuclear energy (before the Fukushima disaster it was 30%).

Mapping the Simpsons

PlayGIS's Springfield is a gloriously detailed map of America's most famous town. The map allows you to explore an oblique view of Springfield and view places of interest in the town, such as the home of the Simpsons family (742 Evergreen Terrace) and the location of's first ever Kwik-E-Mart.

The Springfield map was created using the Esri mapping platform. It is now also available as a Leaflet powered map. The Simpson's City Map is an attempt at directly port (plagiarize?) playGIS's map into Leaflet.js.

The new Simpson's City Map includes the same map tiles and even the same marked locations and town information as the playGIS map. In fact the Simpson's City Map doesn't appear to have created quite as many layers of map tiles as playGIS, therefore it doesn't have the same quality when you zoom in on the map of Springfield.

The new Simpson's City Map does include an attempt to crowd-source information about the town of Springfield. The map includes a 'contribute' button. Press this button and you are taken to another Springfield map with an e-mail address for contributing information about locations on the map.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mapping Memories of Hiroshima

It has been over 70 years since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Hiroshima Archive has been collating the memories of the remaining survivors of the nuclear bombing of Japan, You can access videos of these accounts on this 3d map of Hiroshima.

The Hiroshima Archive uses a Cesium generated 3d globe overlaid with a vintage map of Hiroshima. The map includes playable videos of personal accounts of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, photographs taken in the immediate aftermath of the bombing and videos exploring some of the monuments to the 1945 bomb built in Hiroshima since the attack.

The map sidebar includes links to similar 3d maps for the Nagasaki Archive and for the 2011 Japanese earthquake.

The Hockey Hotbed of the World

Last year the 10 and 3 website released a Canadian NHL Players Map to visualize which areas in Canada produced the most NHL players. This year the 10 and 3 has decided to go global.

More than 50% of players in the National Hockey League are now non-native Canadians and Canadians no longer make up the majority of the league's players. The 10 and 3 has therefore created a new interactive map to show the birthplace of NHL players from all around the world.

The new Crowning the World’s Undisputed Hockey Hotbed map allows you to view a choropleth map showing where NHL hockey players were born around the world, all the way back to 1925. You can use the timeline at the bottom of the map to explore the global regions that have produced NHL players over time (in ten year increments). As you change the date on the timeline the map will update to reflect the chosen year.

The choropleth layer on the map shows the number of NHL players originating from different countries and regions. You can select the individual colored areas on the map to view the total number of players from the area and the number of players produced per 100,000 residents.

Dublin - Easter Rising in 3D

The 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising has easily become the most mapped historical event of this year.

Maps Mania has already featured a review of Google and Ireland 2016's mapped audio and visual guide, Dublin Rising 1916-2016. Ireland 2016's map includes a Street View tour of some of the important locations in the Easter Rising, narrated by actor Colin Farrell. We have also featured RTE's Reflecting the Rising, a map which includes fascinating video and sound recordings of personal accounts from men and women who lived through Easter 1916.

The City and the Rising is perhaps the best of them all. This map from Dublin City Council features images, text and videos that connect incidents and events of the Easter Rising with locations across the city.This multi-media content is displayed on top of vintage map of Dublin.

My favorite part of The City and the Rising, however, has to be the incredible 3d maps which you can view of a number of important locations in Dublin. These 3d maps were made from archive photographs, maps and documentary sources to recreate how Dublin actually looked in 1916.

Therefore With The City and the Rising you can not only learn more about the events that took place in and around Dublin's General Post Office (for example) you can also explore the GPO and O'Connell Street in 3d. In fact, if you have an Oculus Rift headset, you can even view the 3d scenes in virtual reality.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Bear's Eye View of Yellowstone Park

National Geographic attached cameras and tracking collars to two grizzly bears and two black bears inside Yellowstone National Park. They were then able to map the bears' movements inside the park and observe how they prowl for food and interact with their environment.

A Bear’s-Eye View of Yellowstone allows you to watch footage from the four bear-cams and view the bears' tracks as they move around the park. As you scroll down this special interactive presentation from National Geographic the bears' tracks are updated on the map while the bear-cam footage from the currently displayed location plays on top of the map.

Highlights of A Bear's-Eye View of Yellowstone include a black bear taking a short-cut through some people's backyards, a cannibal bear feasting on another bear and a bear's encounter with a pack of wolves.