Monday, April 27, 2015

Basketball Shooting Heatmaps


Last week Maps Mania linked to CartoDB's Referee Map, an animated heatmap of one soccer referee's movements during a soccer game. The map uses CartoDB's Torque library to animate the referee's heat map over the ninety minutes of a single match.

Player heatmaps are obviously very popular in other sports. In the NBA shooting heatmaps can be used to reveal the individual shooting patterns of different players, showing where they are most dangerous on the court. 2014-15 NBA Regular Season : Field Goal Shooting Patterns is a CartoDB map that shows the shooting heatmaps of five players during the 2014-15 season.

Using the map you can view and compare the shooting heatmaps of Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and LeBron James.

Map of the Dead


The cemeteries of Chicago are home to a number of famous & infamous figures from history. The Chicago Tribune's Tour of the Dead is a handy guide to anyone interested in visiting the final resting places of some of the individuals who have helped influence Chicago and the world.

The map includes some of Chicago's infamous gangsters, such as Al Capone and Sam Giancana. From the world of films & entertainment the Tour of the Dead shows the graves of John Belushi, John Hughes and Muddy Waters. The map also includes a number of famous sports stars (such as Jesse Owens) and local & national politicians.

Mapping London & Berlin's Squatting History


The London Squats Archive is a Leaflet map dedicated to archiving evicted squats in London. The project is not a map of current squats, to minimize visibility concerns for currently occupied spaces, but is solely concerned with documenting squats which no longer exist.

If you select a squat's marker on the map you can view details about when the building was squatted, for what purpose and the duration of the squat. However data for a lot of the squats is a little sparse. This is a shame because if the dates for most of the squats were recorded a timeline could be added to the map. This would help to provide an interesting history of squatting in London over the years, similar to the history of Berlin squatting provided by Berlin Besetzt.


Berlin Besetzt is a map showing the locations of squats in Berlin from 1970 to the present day. You can view all the houses that have been squatted in this period or you can use the date slide control to view the history of squatting in Berlin over the last few decades.

Using the date control it appears that 1981 was the golden age for squatters in Berlin. It is also interesting to note the rise of squatting in east Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The map also reveals that Kreuzberg has remained a very popular area for Berlin squatters for more that thirty years.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Maps of the Week


There were two real stand-out maps this week, NASA's 3d map of the Vesta asteroid and Refugee Republic's map of Domiz Refugee Camp.

Domiz Refugee Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan was established in April 2012 to host Syrian Kurds. The camp was originally built to house 38,135 people. It is currently home to 57,953 refugees. As the number of refugees has grown the camp has gradually transformed from a temporary refuge into a makeshift town,

Refugee Republic has created an online documentary about the camp, using the Leaflet.js mapping platform to turn a hand drawn map into a fully interactive map. You can click on the colored roads and arrows on the map to learn more about life in Domiz Camp. The tour includes videos of the camp, information on how the camp and shelters were constructed and the stories of some of the refugees now living in Domiz Camp.


In 2011 the DAWN spacecraft visited Vesta to collect data about this important asteroid. You can now explore Vesta yourself using NASA's Digital Model of Asteroid Vesta.

Vesta is one of the largest asteroids in the asteroid belt, with a mean diameter of 525 kilometres. The Digital Model of Asteroid Vesta allows you to view the asteroid as a 2d or 3d map. The map itself seems to combine an Esri map with a Cesium WebGL globe.

The 3d map includes a number of data overlays which provide different views of the mineral make-up of Vesta. The 2d map view includes a global (equirectangular) view of Vesta, a north pole view and a south pole view. It also includes a number of tools which allow you to measure distance on Vesta and to view elevation profiles (especially handy if you want to visualize the depth of Vesta's craters).


One of the joys of maps is that they allow you to explore places that you might never visit in real-life. Having already explored an asteroid and a refugee camp why not also take a tour of Robben Island. Google has released Street View imagery for Robben Island in South Africa.

Robben Island is most famous as the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars. The best way to explore the new Street View imagery is on the Robben Island Museum page on Google's Cultural Institute website. The Robben Island Museum entry includes a guided tour of the prison by former political prisoners. The Robben Island Prison Tour is a guided tour of the prison using the new Google Maps Street View imagery and narration from former political prisoner, Vusumsi Mcongo.

The tour includes the view prisoners would have on arriving at the island, a view from inside a guard tower, the hospital ward, the exercise yard and Nelson Mandela's own 2m x 2m cell. Most of these Street View scenes are accompanied by videos in which Vusumsi Mcongo explains what life was like as a prisoner on Robben Island.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Why Your Street Has That Name


Back in 2013 Noah Veltman released a History of San Francisco Place Names. This map started a trend in etymology mapping. Now interactive maps are springing up all over the world whose only purpose is to explain the origin of city place & street names.

Famostrato - Personajes hist├│ricos de las calles de Madrid is a new Spanish map which explains the origins of street names in the Spanish capital which have been named after important or famous individuals.

If you click on one of the colored streets on the map of Madrid an information window opens providing a link to the Spanish Wikipedia article of the person whom the selected street was named for.


The History of San Francisco Place Names was the original place name etymological map. The History of San Francisco Place Names is a fascinating insight into the history of the names behind the California city's landmarks and streets.

Click on any of the streets or landmarks, marked in blue on the map, and you can find out who it was named after or where the name originally came from.


Democracy Street is a UK map, partly sponsored by the UK parliament, which is attempting to map the influence of democratic history on the country's place-names. Using the map you can discover which streets in your neighborhood have been named after a politician or someone else who has been important in some way to the country's democratic history.

Streets and roads named after an individual important to UK democracy are shown on the map in yellow. These streets are further highlighted on the map by a larger white circle lighting up the underlying Stamen toner map tiles. If you select a yellow marked road on the map you can learn a little more about the person whom the road was named after.


Stra├čenkrieg is a fascinating map revealing the history behind the many Berlin street names which have a military connection. The map highlights Berlin streets which have been named after battles, important military leaders or German army regiments.

All the military connected roads are highlighted on the map with colored lines. The colors indicate the historical period associated with the road's name, e.g. Prussian, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism or post-WWII. If you select a road on the map you can read a brief explanation of the military relevance of the road's name and click-through to read a more detailed account of the person or battle memorialized.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mapping Life in a Refugee Camp


Domiz Refugee Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan was established in April 2012 to host Syrian Kurds. The camp was originally built to house 38,135 people. It is currently home to 57,953 refugees. As the number of refugees has grown the camp has gradually transformed from a temporary refuge into a makeshift town,

Refugee Republic has created an online documentary about the camp, using the Leaflet.js mapping platform to turn a hand drawn map into a fully interactive map. You can click on the colored roads and arrows on the map to learn more about life in Domiz Camp. The tour includes videos of the camp, information on how the camp and shelters were constructed and the stories of some of the refugees now living in Domiz Camp.

Mapping Washington's Life


I've been obsessing lately about Creating Stories with Historical Maps. One website which does this very well is Washington's World.

Washington's World is a biographical map of George Washington's life, from his birth in Westmoreland County, Virginia to his death at Mount Vernon. The map includes the option to display various journeys undertaken by Washington during his life, including, his presidential tours and his trip to Barbados.

Washington's World has recently added a number of historical map layers to the map. These historic maps allow you to explore some of the locations highlighted on the map as they looked during Washington's own life.

Android Pisses All Over Apple


Google Maps has plotted out a new park in Pakistan which looks incredibly like the Android logo pissing on the Apple logo. Check-out it out now because I have a feeling this park will soon be gone from Google Maps.

Google's Map Maker program allows anyone to make corrections to Google Maps. Any changes made using Google Map Maker need to be reviewed before they actually get added to the data on Google Maps. The pissing Android logo was created by Google Map Maker contributor 'nitricboy'.


My guess is that nitricboy will be now losing their permission to add changes to Google Maps. However I don't think that they will be too upset judging by this other little edit that they have made to Google Maps in Pakistan (pictured above).


This isn't the first time that pranksters have managed to circumvent the Google Map Maker's review process. In July of last year a user managed to add a Tardis and a Cyberman to Google Maps in Wales (sadly both the Tardis & Cyberman were quickly removed by the spoilsports at Google).

Late last year someone also managed to add a picture of a cat to Google Maps in Auckland, New Zealand.

Animated Football Heat Maps


Over the last couple of years player heatmaps have become a very popular data visualization method for showing the influence of individual soccer players over the course of the ninety minutes of a soccer game. These static heatmaps tend to be used to show the areas of the pitch where an individual player has been most active during a soccer match.

This CartoDB Referee Map shows an animated heatmap of one soccer referee's movements during a soccer game. The map uses CartoDB's Torque library to animate the referee's heat map over the ninety minutes of the match. If you adjust the timeline to the beginning of the game you can see the full GPS track of the referee over the ninety minutes without the heatmap layer.

The map provides a neat demonstration of how CartoDB's Torque library could be used to animate an individual soccer player's movements during one game. Unfortunately it might be difficult to get hold of the data for a player's movements during a professional match. European soccer leagues tend to have contracts with sports data companies (such as Opta) who then charge exorbitant rates to use the data from professional soccer games.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Canadian First Nations Map


Native-land.ca is a Google Map of First Nation territories, languages and treaties in Canada. It also provides an extensive 'resources' page linking to many other websites about First Nation territories and languages.

Using the map layer buttons it is possible to view any combination of the three layers on the map. The 'Nations' layer provides a guide to the territories occupied by the different First Nation nations, clans and tribes in Canada. The 'Languages' layer provides an overview of where the different First Nation languages were spoken.


Pan Inuit Trails is a Google Map of Inuit trails and place-names in the Canadian Arctic, including Inuit waters, coasts and lands based on written historical records.

The Inuit trails shown on the map include boat routes, walking trails and sled trails which connected the Inuit people with resources and with other Inuit. The Inuit place-names and trails are based on written records and maps from the 19th and 20th centuries.

You can search the map by clicking on the trails or places displayed on the map or by searching by keyword. You can also turn on the 'Maps' layer which reveals the bounding boxes of the original historical maps. If you select a map bounding box outline you can view the original map in the sidebar.