Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Every House of Representatives Election


Electing the House of Electives is a new interactive data visualization of every House of Representatives election since before the Civil War. The map allows you to explore the historical swings of political power at both the national level and, closer to home, at the regional level.

The interactive map is easy to navigate. You can view the election results for any year simply by selecting a year from the timeline beneath the map. This timeline also acts as a chart showing the number of Republican and Democrat representatives elected in each election. The map itself is colored to show which party won in each district. If you click on a district on the map you can view the name of the winning representative and the percentage of their vote.

The map allows you to switch between a choropleth and a cartogram view. The cartogram view provides a better picture of the political balance across the population as it more accurately visualizes the urban vote which is under-represented in the choropleth view.

Electing the House of Electives was created by the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond and the Department of History at Virginia Tech. The data for the maps comes from a number of sources. This data can be downloaded from Virginia Tech.

Fly Me to the Moon


The movie First Man, about the first ever manned landing on the moon, has reignited interest in our lunar neighbor. If you are interested in following Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the moon then you could take your first tentative footsteps by exploring NASA's Moon Trek.

Moon Trek is an interactive map of the moon created by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Caltech. The map allows you to explore the named features of the moon, learn about lunar exploration and access current research about our nearest neighbor. The map also includes a 3D globe of the moon and the ability to create your own fly-overs of the lunar surface.

Moon Trek has a number of different layers which can be added to the lunar map. These layers include imagery and observations from NASA's missions to the moon. Moon Trek also includes a number of different tools which allow you to measure distances on the map and create elevation plots. You can also use Moon Trek with VR headsets to take a virtual tour of the moon and download data to 3D print selected areas of the moon's surface.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Charles Darwin Map Projection



Benjamin Schmidt has created a map projection which has been optimized to show the track of the route of the Beagle during Charles Darwin's 1831-1836 famous survey voyage. Data-driven projections: Darwin's world is an Observable Notebook which visualizes the track of the Beagle on a map that preserves continuity near the areas where the Beagle sailed, at the expense of areas of the world that are distant from the path of Darwin's voyage.

Because the map is created in Observable you can change the data to create your own data driven map projections. If you click on the arrow next to the 'path' section of the notebook then you can edit and change the polyline co-ordinates for the Beagle's voyage to any polyline that you want. The notebook will then create a map projection based on your data.


The 'Data-driven projections: Darwin's world' notebook is a fork of the Voronoi Projection. This Observable Notebook creates a map projection based on the centroids of the 43 largest countries in the world.

Mapping the Damage from Hurricane Michael


NOAA's Hurricane Michael Imagery is an interactive map visualizing the damage caused by Hurricane Michael. After the tropical storm struck last week NOAA captured aerial imagery of some of the locations which suffered the most damage in order to support homeland security and emergency response requirements.

If you use the map layers menu you can turn NOAA's recent aerial imagery on & off. This allows you to make a direct comparison of the post-hurricane aerial imagery with the aerial imagery from before Hurricane Michael. This before & after comparison is a little easier if you use Esri's Hurricane Michael Damage Viewer.

This interactive map display's NOAA's Hurricane Michael aerial imagery side-by side with aerial imagery captured before the tropical storm. The two sets of imagery are synchronized with each other so that as you move around on the map the two sets of aerial imagery move to always show a side-by side view or the chosen location.

You can learn more about when and how the post-Hurricane Michael aerial imagery was captured at NOAA's National Geodetic Survey damage assessment imagery.

Flooding Kerala


In August over 200 people were killed in Kerala by the worst flooding to hit the Indian state in over 100 years. One reason for the dramatic flooding was that many of Kerala's hydroelectric dams were forced to release water with little warning to those who live downriver from the dams.

Reuters has been investigating why the waters in Kerala's dams were too high before the monsoon struck. In How Kerala's Dams Failed to Prevent Catastrophe the news organization has mapped the locations of all the state's dams and in particular the Idukki & Idamalayar reservoirs and the Periya River. Reuters argues that if the water levels in these two reservoirs had been lowered prior to the start of the monsoon then they could have coped with the rain that fell in the August storms.

Because the water levels in the Idukki & Idamalayar reservoirs were at 90% of their capacity before the August monsoon they both quickly reached capacity after the rains began. Both reservoirs were then forced to release water into the Periya River. The result was the severe flooding of communities living along the river.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

One Mile of Devastation


The photos and videos that have emerged showing the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael have been shocking and evocative. None of these images has been more effective in showing the scale of the disruption caused by the tropical storm than the New York Times' Hurricane Michael: One Mile of Devastation in Florida.

This simple but powerful visualization simply stitches together a series of oblique aerial views of one mile of Mexico Beach. As you scroll down - the web page scans horizontally, flying over one whole mile of a devastated stretch of the Florida coastline. The aerial images are labelled with road names and the locations of different buildings which used to exist along U.S. Highway 98.

So many of the buildings along Mexico Beach have been completely destroyed that the New York Times has felt it necessary to also add a map of all the destroyed buildings to its article. As you scroll horizontally along this map the footprints of all the destroyed buildings are shown in red and the severely damaged buildings are colored yellow.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Map of all the Books


The HathiTrust Digital Map is an interactive map which allows you to browse and explore the 14 million volumes in the HaithTrust's repository of digitized texts. The map not only provides a visual interface with which you can navigate the books in the HaithiTrust digital library it also includes a fascinating discussion about how the texts are organized on the map. A discussion which explores how organizing digital texts may require a whole new system of library classification.

The Library of Congress Classification system categorizes books into different broad subjects and then by sub-classes within each of these subjects. The HathiTrust Digital Map uses an entirely different method of classification. On this interactive maps texts are organized by the similarity in the vocabulary of individual texts.

The interactive map has two distinct modes: 'Read' and 'Interact'. If you select 'Interact' you can zoom in and pan around the map. If you then select an individual dot on the map you can actually open the selected text on the HathiTrust Digital Library website. However if you select 'Read' you can learn more about the vocabulary similarity classification system used by the digital map.

This 'Read' section takes you on a story map tour of some of the interesting patterns that emerge when you organize the HathiTrust Digital Library by vocabulary similarity. The story map shows you how this classification system diverges or resembles subject based classification systems, such as the Library of Congress Classification system. It also explores some of the new 'clusters' of books that emerge when you classify by vocabulary similarity. New clusters of texts which have some syntactical similarity but which under a subject based classification system would be classified far apart.

This story map tour also provides a great illustration of how a digital map of a library can actually use a number of different library classification systems at the same time. On the HathiTrust Digital Map the texts are organized spatially by their similarity in vocabulary. However as  you progress through the story map the texts are also organized by language and then by subject matter by applying different colors to the markers of books in different categories. In this way the map is able to pick out interesting clusters of texts which have similar vocabularies within subject classes, texts which have widely different vocabularies but are still in the same subject class or texts which have similar vocabularies but are in different subject classes.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Deserting Central USA


From 2000-2010 the population of the central United States declined. A combination of a higher death rate than birth rate and outward migration led to a fall in the population of counties running down the nation’s midsection.

You can view the population trend in every county in the USA from 2000 to 2010 on the Population Change Estimates 2000 - 2010 interactive map. When you run the choropleth animation on this map you will quickly notice the blue band emerging down the center of the country as the populations fall in counties throughout this central area of the country.

This animated population change map is actually one of 64 example maps available on GitHub which demonstrate different features of Microsoft's Azure Maps library. You can view all 64 maps and the source code for each map at Azure Maps Web Control Samples.

The Swiss Solar Power Potential Map


Homeowners and businesses in Switzerland can now find out the solar power potential of their buildings at the click of a button. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy has released an interactive map which shows the solar potential of every rooftop in the country.

To find out how much solar energy a building can produce you just need to click on a building on the How much electricity or heat can my roof produce? interactive map. Roofs on the map are colored to show their solar power potential (with red showing the houses with the best potential and blue indicating roofs with low solar potential). If you click on a building you can view details on how many potential kilowatt hours the roof can produce and how much that energy is worth.

The potential solar power that can be generated by individual buildings is calculated based on the size, orientation, inclination and the amount of potential sunlight of the building's roof. You can view the solar power potential for a building based on the whole roof being used, or for half or three-quarters of the roof being used for solar panels.

If you live in the USA you can try Google's Project Sunroof instead. This potential solar energy tool from Google calculates how much sunlight buildings in America are likely to receive throughout the year. It can therefore help you make a more informed decision about whether you should install solar panels.

Enter an address into Project Sunroof and you can view an estimate of how many hours of sunlight your roof receives per year, the square feet you have available for solar panels and the estimated net savings that you could make.

Australians can use the SunSPoT Solar Potential Map which shows the solar power potential of buildings in an ever growing list of Australian cities.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Mapping Racial Diversity in the USA


National Geographic has created a wonderful interactive map which visualizes the racial diversity of America block by block. The map provides a fascinating insight into the diversity of American towns and cities and also reveals how these same towns and cities can be divided along racial lines.

Back in 2013 the University of Virginia made the Racial Dot Map, a Google Map which shows the geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the USA. The Racial Dot Map uses data from the 2010 US census, with each of the 308,745,538 dots representing the location and race of one American citizen.

The National Geographic map uses the same 2010 census data, as geographically refined by the University of Virginia Demographics Research Group and the University of Minnesota. Where we Live, Block by Block colors each census tract by the majority racial / ethnic group in the block. Using the map you can zoom in on any city or town in the USA to view the racial diversity of the local neighborhoods.

The National Geographic map also includes a number of guided tours of American cities and regions which have an interesting history of racial diversity. These tours explore the current racial diversity of these areas and often attempt to explain the historical reasons for this diversity.