Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mapping New York's Homeless


I'm not sure what to make about this crowd-sourced map of New York's homeless citizens. The NYC Map the Homeless app encourages people to take photos of homeless people in New York City and share the results on the NYC Map the Homeless Google Map.

A few weeks ago Google banned a map of refugee centers in Germany because it was seen as encouraging attacks on migrants in the country. I assume that the creators of this homeless spotting app don't want to encourage attacks on homeless people in New York. However I do find it slightly disturbing that they are encouraging people to take photos of the homeless. This seems unnecessarily degrading for those forced to live on the streets and potentially dangerous for those taking the pictures.

NYC Map the Homeless argue that the data gathered will help the 'authorities ... quickly identify locations of concern and act in a timely manner'. I'd like to think that there are better ways to help the homeless of New York than this app.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mapping LA's 20 Year Mobility Plan


The Los Angeles City Council has released a new Mobility Plan designed to decrease the use of cars and improve conditions for the city's cyclists and pedestrians. The plan includes hundreds of miles of new bike lanes, bus lanes and other road redesigns.

The LA Times has mapped out proposals in the plan so that you can see the affect on the city's roads. The How will L.A.'s transit overhaul affect you? map shows the proposed bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes and streets where the council plans to restrict parking.

You can search the map by location. You can also filter the results on the map to view changes which will affect cycling, buses and parking.

Mapping UK Immigration Levels


Yesterday the UK government released figures showing that net migration (the balance between immigration and emigration) in the last year has reached its highest ever level of 330,000.

1 in 8 UK residents were born overseas. In my neighborhood in East London over half the population was born outside the UK. Four other London boroughs also have populations where over 50% of the residents were born overseas.

The Office of National Statistics has released an interactive map which allows you to view the percentage of the population in each local authority area who were born outside the UK. The What are migration levels like in your area? map uses data from the 2014 Population Survey to present a choropleth view of migrant levels in each local authority area.

You can search the map by Local Authority area. If you mouse-over an area on the map you can view the percentage of the population who were born overseas.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mapping the Gentrification of San Francisco


UC Berkeley, in collaboration with researchers at UCLA, have released a new interactive map to visualize and predict where gentrification and displacement is happening in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The map shows that more than half of low-income households in the San Francisco Bay Area live in "neighborhoods at risk of or already experiencing displacement and gentrification pressures".

The UCB Urban Displacement Project Map uses data from the census, various other sources and the project's own research. The initial map view visualizes the projects own 'Displacement Typologies' showing the San Francisco Bay Area neighborhoods undergoing displacement and gentrification.

The map also includes a number of other data layers which allow you to explore San Francisco demographic data, changes in house and rental prices, employment density, income levels and the proportion of  renter households.

Mapping the Illegal Trade in Elephant Tusks


National Geographic hid GPS trackers inside artificial elephant tusks in order to track the trade routes used in the illegal smuggling of ivory. Tracking the Illegal Tusk Trade maps the journey of the artificial tusks from the south east of the Central African Republic to Ed Daein in Sudan.

The tusks were transported 592 miles in total. At their latest known location the temperature sensors in the tusks suggest they are now being held inside a building or buried beneath the ground.

As well as showing the route taken by the smugglers of the artificial tusks this National Geographic interactive includes maps of elephant poaching hotspots in Africa, the trade routes used by the smugglers and the main locations where the tusks are exported from Africa to Asia.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ten Years After Katrina


Ten years after Hurricane Katrina struck new Orleans, Esri has released a Story Map which examines the effect of the hurricane on the city and how the city has attempted to rebuild itself.

Katrina +10 includes six main sections; The Katrina Diaspora, Flooding, Physical Damage, Population Shift, Steady Restoration and Neighborhood Reference Map. The 'Flooding' and 'Physical Damage' sections allow you to view maps of the flooding caused by the hurricane and the huge number of buildings in the city which were tagged for demolition in the city after the disaster.

The Katrina Diaspora section shows where the one million displaced Louisiana residents moved to after the hurricane devastated the city. The Population Shift visualizes the effect of this evacuation on each New Orleans neighborhood.

The Steady Restoration section of the map uses postal data to show the percentage of homes in each neighborhood now receiving mail.


In an article entitled, Is New Orleans in danger of turning into a modern-day Atlantis?, The Guardian newspaper places Hurricane Katrina into the context of over a century of engineering projects which are causing the Louisiana wetlands to disappear and which result in New Orleans being more susceptible to flooding.

The article includes historical aerial imagery and maps which show the historical loss of the wetlands and the projected 1,750 square miles that Lousiana is expected to lose in the next 50 years. Louisiana is currently losing a football field of land every 48 minutes.

Using historical aerial imagery from NASA and USGS, ProPublica has put together an impressive interactive mapped visualization of the effect of climate change and oil & gas exploration on the state of Louisiana.

Southern Louisiana is losing 16 square miles a year to the Gulf of Mexico. At the heart of ProPublica's map, Losing Ground, is a series of timeline visualizations of historical aerial imagery. These timelines allow you to observe the loss of land in Louisiana by comparing present day aerial imagery with aerial imagery going back to the 1930's.

For example, here is the area of Venice and West Bay as it looked in 1932:


Here's how the same area looks today:


Accompanying the aerial imagery are a series of interviews of people living and working in the affected areas. These interviews are supported by audio files and photos. In combination the audio, photos, interviews and aerial imagery of Louisiana's land loss provide a powerful report into this ongoing environmental disaster.

Mapping Worldwide Fossil Finds


The PBDB Navigator is an interactive map which allows you to explore worldwide fossil discoveries by location, time and taxonomy. The map provides a really easy to use navigational tool to browse the global Paleobiology Database.

Each dot on the map represents a collection of fossils. If you select a dot on the map you can view detailed information on the fossil collection number, number of occurrences, the time period, the location and the reference of where these occurrences came from.

Beneath the map is a geological timeline which allows you to filter the map by a specific geologic time period. If you select a time period from the timeline the timeline will zoom in to the selected timescale. You can now select a time period to filter the map to only show fossil records from your chosen geologic time.


You can also use the 'paleogeography' button in the main map menu to change the map view from the modern world map to a paleo continental map for your selected geologic time.

You can also search the fossil records by specific organism using the 'taxa browser' button in the map menu. This allows you to filter the records by taxonomic name. For example you could search for the genus 'Canis' to show only Canis fossils on the map.

You can combine the taxonomy and geologic time filters to search for specific species fossils within a defined time period. For example, you could select the genus 'Canis' from the taxonomic filter and the period 'Cenozoic' from the geologic timeline to view a map of all the Canis fossils found around the world from the Cenozoic period.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mapping Worldwide Trade


The Globe of Economic Complexity visualizes 15 trillion dollars of world trade on an interactive WebGL 3d  globe. Using the globe you can explore the export markets of countries around the world and the international trade of different products.

Every pixel on the map represents $100m of exports of a different product. The color of each dot represents a different industry. Select a country on the globe and the map shows the country's top ten trade partners.

You can also use the globe to explore the worldwide trade in the different sectors of industry. Select a sector of industry using the menu running along the bottom of the globe and you can view the countries which trade in this product and the volume of that trade in each country.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Westerly Migratory Pattern of the USA

In every census since 1790 the mean center of American population has moved westward. In 1790 the most populated cities in the U.S. were all on the East Coast. By the 2010 census seven of the ten largest cities were located in the Sun Belt region of the south and west.


Perhaps one of the best mapped illustrations of this westwards shift in the U.S. is this animated cartogram. In general I'm not a huge fan of cartograms but this animated cartogram, showing US Population Trends Over The Last 220 Years, perfectly visualizes how the mean center of the U.S. population has continually moved in a westerly direction.

The map shows the size the population in every U.S. state for every decade since 1790. The animated cartogram clearly shows the general westward migratory pattern of the American people over the last 200 years.


Another neat visualization of the westward migration in the U.S. is this map from the US Census Bureau. This animated map shows where the mean center of the population has been for each U.S. census from 1790 to 2010.

The Mean Center of Population for the United States 1790 to 2010 shows how the mean center of population in the US has shifted westward in the last 220 years from Kent County, Maryland to Texas County, Missouri.


This shift is not only evident in the westerly moving mean center of population in the U.S. but also in the list of the largest populated cities generated from each U.S. census. Josh Mahar has created an interactive map showing the top 10 U.S. cities by population in every census since 1790.

Using the Historical Look At America's Largest Cities map you can view the top ten most populated cities in each decade. The map sidebar also shows the population for each of the top ten cities in each census. If you turn on the annotations you can also find out a little more about the changing populations in the mapped cities.

Last week I released a very similar map called Shifting Cities. In essence my map visualizes the same data used in Josh's map. Both maps show how the most populated cities in the U.S. are increasingly likely to be found in the west and south of the country. However Josh's map is better than mine. His annotations are more detailed than the notes on my map. I also like the fact that Josh has used scaled map markers to show the relative population size of each city shown on the map.

Adult Coloring Maps


Apparently adult coloring books are very popular now. In fact, at the time of writing, four of Amazon's top twenty best selling books of 2015 are adult coloring books.

Due to the popularity of this new craze the UK's Ordnance Survey has released a number of black and white maps which you can download and color to your heart's content. The Ordnance Survey Blog has created 11 maps (available as PDF files) which you can print out and then spend hours coloring-in.


Unfortunately your choice of maps on the OS blog is limited to a only a few UK towns and cities. If you want to color a map of your own location then you could use this Pencil map, which allows you to print out a map of anywhere in the world.

My advice is to download a Pencil map of your neighborhood and color in your neighbors' houses using the 'Charles Booth' coloring scheme. At the end of the Nineteenth Century Charles Booth created a poverty map of London. Booth colored in houses on his map of London based on the income and social class of its inhabitants.


You could use Booth's color scheme to create a colorful map which illustrates just what you think about your neighbors. Use black to color in the houses of your neighbors who you think are 'vicious or semi-criminal'. Use a dark blue color to show those in 'chronic want'. Red can be used for the 'well-to-do' and yellow for the 'wealthy'.

When you have completed your map be sure to add your name in bold clear letters. Then photocopy the map and post it up around the neighborhood so that everyone can enjoy your handicraft.