Tuesday, August 04, 2020

The Melbourne 5km Travel Map

Due to a spike in Covid-19 cases the Australian government has introduced strict new lock-down rules in the city of Melbourne. If you live in Melbourne you are now only allowed to leave your home to shop for food & essential items, for care & care-giving, for daily exercise and for work.

There is also now a 5 km travel restriction in place. You can only exercise and shop for food within a 5 km radius from your home (except if the nearest supermarket is further than 5 km). ABC News has created a simple Leaflet.js interactive map which can show you this 5 km radius around your home. Enter your address into ABC's What is within 5km of your Melbourne home? map and you can view a red 5 km circle centered on your house, showing the area within which you are now allowed to travel.

Philip Mallis has also created a quick map which visualizes a 5 km circle around every Melbourne supermarket. Supermarkets in Melbourne with a 5 km Buffer uses OpenStreetMap data to reveal that most residents of the city will not need to travel further than 5 km to visit a supermarket. Although there do seem to be a number of food deserts in the city's outer suburbs, where residents may have to travel further afield.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Why Won't Wyoming Stay Home?

In 12 U.S. states people are visiting retail and recreation venues more now than they were before lock-down restrictions were put in place. In Wyoming retail and recreation venues have actually seen a 13% increase in visits over the February average. At the other end of the scale Washington D.C. is currently seeing a 48% drop in visits to retail and recreation venues on its February average.

Google's Community Mobility Reports provide insights into how people's movements in countries around the world have altered during the period of lock-down and also how mobility has changed since countries have begun to ease movement restrictions. The reports use aggregated, anonymized data gleaned from your mobile phones to chart movement trends over time. They show how visits to different categories of venues (retail & recreation, groceries & pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential) have been effected by government lock-downs.

Google's Community Mobility Reports show that people in Wyoming just don't want to say home. You can explore this for yourself using Gramener's visualization of community mobility in each of Google's mobility categories.

Gramener's Community Mobility in the United States visualizes how visits in each of Google's movement categories has changed during the period between February 15 and June 23 in each state. The visualization uses small multiples to show the movement history in each state over time from before movement restrictions were imposed up until mid-June.

13 states in the United States now have higher transit station mobility than before the lock-down. Which suggests that in those states more people are using public transport than they were in February. I guess the lock-down is effectively over in those states which are showing increased levels of mobility in both the retail and transit categories. Wyoming is showing increased levels of mobility in both areas.

Apple's daily published Mobility Trends Report also provides a useful insight into how well different areas around the world are managing to restrict movement. The Apple Mobility Trends Reports shows the level of requests made on Apple Maps for walking, driving and transit directions.

Not that I'm obsessed about Wyoming but the Mobility Trends Report shows that there are more and more driving requests being made to Apple in that state. For Wyoming Apple currently only shows driving routing requests. On the latest day with recorded data (Aug 1) there was a 298% increase in the number of driving requests than were made on Jan 13. It is becoming more and more clear that people in Wyoming just don't want to stay home.

Facebook's Movement Trends uses a number of different metrics to estimate mobility rates for people in the USA and in other countries around the world. Currently Facebook's Movement Trends map of the United States shows just one state where the rates of mobility are not lower now than they were in February. You guessed it - that state is Wyoming. Wyoming also seems to have one of the lowest percentages of 'people staying put'.

Google's Community Mobility reports show that in Wyoming there is a 4% increase in people staying home since Feb 15 (the residential category). While it is encouraging that some people in the state are actually staying home more it is still the second lowest state percentage after Montana (3%). Washington D.C. has the highest increase, with a 20% increase in the number of people being tracked at home.

New confirmed cases in Wyoming

Google, Apple and Facebook all seem to show that people in Wyoming are on the move now more than they actually were before lock-down. Wyoming currently has one of the lowest death rates for Covid-19. The fact that people in Wyoming feel relatively safe and have less direct experience of the effects of Covid-19 might be one reason why people in Wyoming are less inclined to isolate at home than in other states. However if I lived in Wyoming I would also be very worried by the Johns Hopkins' Recent Trends graph, which is showing a steady uptick in the number of Covid-19 cases being reported in the state.

Mapping Banglatown

Brick Lane in London's East End has a fascinating history. The name 'Brick Lane' comes from the brick and tile workshops that sprung up in the area in the 15th century. In the 17th Century French Huguenots settled in the area and the neighborhood soon became well known for its many weavers and tailors.

During the 20th Century the area around Brick Lane became a popular destination for immigrants from Bangladesh. To cater to these new arrivals many Bengali restaurants and shops were opened in Brick Lane. In the later half of the 20th Century London's Brick Lane became best known for its many 'Indian' restaurants and the street has long been a popular destination for diners in search of a curry.

In the 21st Century Brick Lane has begun to undergo another process of change. Its proximity to Shoreditch and London's creative industries has led to the incursion of a number of niche, boutique shops and coffee shops.

In fact there are now two fairly distinct Brick Lanes. The southern end of Brick Lane has a large concentration of Bangladeshi restaurants and shops. While the street's northern end is dominated by more gentrified retail outlets, catering to a younger more 'hipsterish' clientele.

You can explore this new hybrid Brick Lane for yourself on Beyond Banglatown, a fantastic new interactive map of the modern Brick Lane. Between July 2018 and June 2020 Beyond Banglatown carried out face-to-face surveys with shop proprietors and employees in Brick Lane. They carried out in-depth interviews with the street's restaurant owners, former restaurant owners & other residents to document the modern Brick Lane.

The Beyond Banglatown interactive map colors building footprints by building category, (restaurant, textiles, art etc). If you click on the Bangladeshi restaurants on the map you can often read a detailed history of the restaurant and its owners. These detailed profiles provide a fascinating glimpse into the history of Banglatown and into the problems that its restaurant owners face in the 21st Century. The Bangladeshi restaurants in the southern half of Brick Lane have been experiencing dwindling footfall in recent years. There is obviously now a huge worry that the recent lock-down may bring an end to many of the most famous Brick Lane curry houses.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Which are New York's Greenest Boroughs?

Staten Island is New York's greenest borough. 59% of Staten Island is covered in either landscaped or natural greenery. A large percentage of that green land cover is provided by the borough's 5,566 acres of forest. At the other end of the scale is Manhattan. Only 28% of Manhattan is covered with natural or landscaped greenery making it New York's least green borough.

A new interactive map from the Natural Areas Conservancy can help people in New York find their nearest green spaces. The NAC's Nature Map shows where you can find green spaces in New York and how much green land cover can be found in each neighborhood. If you select a borough on the map you can not only view where all its green spaces are but you can also view how many acres of forest, freshwater wetland, salt marsh and stream can be found in the borough. For example once upon a time Manhattan had hundreds of freshwater streams. Most of those streams however have long been buried or filled, and today it only has 2,224 feet of streams. In contrast Staten Island has 471,575 feet of freshwater streams.

Here are the percentages of green land cover in all five New York boroughs:

59% Staten Island
41% Bronx
40% Queens
31% Brooklyn
28% Manhattan

The Nature Map can also tell you which are New York's greenest and least green council districts. Select a district from the map's drop-down menu and you can view the amount of green land cover in a district and how much forest, freshwater wetland, salt marsh and stream can be found in the district.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Future of 3D Tours

Over the last few months I have spent a lot of time exploring 3D tours created by museums and art galleries around the world (here is a list of links to museum virtual tours). A lot of these museum virtual tours were created with the Mattterport, 3D data platform.

Matterport is an easy way to capture imagery and create a 3D tour. It allows you to capture your own imagery and create what are essentially custom Street View tours from this imagery. However Matterport tours can be a little disappointing. Using a Matterport virtual tour of a museum is a little like exploring a museum on Street View. It simply allows you to navigate around a series of static photographs. It isn't really a truly immersive experience.

To create a truly immersive 3D virtual tour you need to use photogrammetry. Using photogrammetry you can reconstruct a space in 3D and then explore it from any angle. The New York Times Research & Development team has created an awe inspiring demonstration of photogrammetry in action.

In Reconstructing Journalistic Scenes in 3D you can explore a New York loft and a shanty town in Haiti in immersive 3D. In these two 3D tours you can see how photogrammetry can be used to create narrated 'scrollytelling' like tours around a 3D scene. You can also see how you can add annotations and interactive elements to objects in the scene, so that users can explore the scene for themselves.

The problem with photogrammetry is it involves a lot of work. You need to capture extensive overlapping photographic images of the location that you wish to map. You then need the photogrammetry software to stitch all these images together into a seamless 3D scene. And you need the programming skills to be able to create a useful 3D tour of your photogrammetry scene.

As you can see from the NYT's examples the results are really astonishing. The NYT's article includes a few tips on how to make the process easier and how to deliver the finished 3D scenes to different devices and different bandwidths. Even so creating tours like these still requires an incredible amount of work. For most users looking to create a 3D tour Matterport is going to be the easier and more realistic option.

The German Road Accident Map

Every nine hours in Germany someone is killed in a traffic accident where one of the drivers was speeding. In 2019 32% of all the people killed in traffic accidents in Germany involved speeding drivers. The good news is that the number of people dying from speeding motorists is likely to drop this year. In May of this year there was a 6.3% drop in fatalities on German roads compared to May 2019. Because of lock-down and the lower volumes of traffic on roads this year in May there was a 23% overall drop in all German traffic accidents.

You can explore all 2019 road accidents in Germany for yourself on the Accident Atlas, an interactive map showing the frequency of road accidents on German roads. On the map road sections are colored to show the frequency of all accidents involving cars. The map can be filtered to show the frequency of accidents with fatalities, accidents involving pedestrians, accidents involving bicycles and accidents involving motorcycles. It is also possible to filter the map to show the accident data on roads for 2016, 2017 & 2018.

You can also view an Accident Calendar of German road accidents. This calendar provides information on accident events by day. The calendar shows that there are some seasonal fluctuations in road traffic fatalities and also in the occurrence of bicycle and motorcycle accidents. It also shows that accidents where drivers were under the influence of alcohol occur more at the weekend and on certain holidays.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Where Foreign Born Residents Live

Social Explorer has released an interesting map which shows the percentage of the population who were foreign born in U.S. counties. The map reveals that the counties with the highest percentage of foreign born people are not to be found in high density Democratic voting inner cities but in rural Republican voting counties.

The Foreign-Born Population: 2010 or Later map uses 2014-18 American Community Survey data to show the percentage of foreign-born residents who arrived in each county after 2010. Each county on the map is therefore colored to show the percentage of residents who were foreign born.

Most of the counties with the highest percentage of foreign born citizens are not in the large cities and densely populated metro areas as you might expect. In fact if you use the interactive map legend to filter the map to show only the counties with the highest percentage of foreign born people you will see that these seem to be mainly in rural, sparsely populated areas.

The reason why the counties with the highest population of percentage of foreign born people may be to do with agriculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation says that around 80% of the agricultural workforce is foreign born. If a number of large farms have imported a number of foreign born workers into a very sparsely populated county then this is going to have a very big effect on the overall percentage of the population who are foreign born.

Therefore in these rural counties we are talking about a relatively small number of foreign born residents having a large impact on the overall percentages. In terms of the number of foreign born residents living in the USA then it is the large cities which do have the largest totals. One-third of the 7.9 million foreign-born people who arrived in the U.S. after 2010 settled in Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Phoenix, and Boston.

The Scots Place-Names Map

The Scots Map claims to be the first interactive map with place-name labels in the Scot's language. Scots is one of the three native languages of Scotland and is spoken by around 1.5 million people (according to the 2011 Scottish census).

Many of the Scot's place-names used on the Scots Map have been sourced from a 1994 MMA Maps in Glasgow map called 'The Scots Map and Guide/Cairte in the Scots Leid'. Many English names for Scottish places have been borrowed from the Scots, so English speakers may recognize some of the place-names on the map. Other place-names may be less recognizable to non-Scots speakers. The Scots Language Centre has produced a Guide and Gazetteer to the Scots Map which includes an explanation of some of the common forms found in Scots place-names, such as Auld (old), Brig (bridge) and Burgh (borough).

The Scots Map also includes a couple of fun tools for Scots speakers. A 'My Toun' tool allows you to zoom in on locations on the map and create a static map which can then be shared on social media. The 'Make a Road Sign' tool allows you to enter the name of a town to create your own image of a road sign, which again you are then free to share on social media.

Scots speakers may also be interested in The Scots Syntax Atlas. The Scots Syntax Atlas is an interactive map which records the different ways that Scottish people talk in the different areas of Scotland. The map includes sound recordings of Scottish syntax which were recorded across the country. The map also allows you to explore in which different areas of the country different types of Scottish syntax are spoken.

To create the map the researchers visited 145 communities in Scotland interviewing local people and recording their answers. In these interviews the researchers were particularly interested in the syntax of local dialects and in the ways that sentences are built up in the different areas of Scotland.

If you click on the markers on the map you can listen to interesting examples of Scottish syntax which were recorded in different parts of the country. You can also discover where these different types of Scottish syntax are spoken by selecting the 'who says what where' button. This option shows you where different types of syntax are spoken in Scotland. The 'stories behind the examples' button provides a grammatical explanation of the recorded examples of Scottish syntax and information on how Scottish syntax differs from more 'standard' English.

If you are interested in learning more about the meanings of Scottish place-names then you might also enjoy the Berwickshire Place-Name Resource. The University of Glasgow's Berwickshire Place-Name Resource allows you to explore and learn more about the names of villages, towns and other locations in the Scottish Borders county of Berwickshire.

The Place-Name Resource allows you to search for place-names in the county using a number of different methods. You can search for place-names alphabetically. Alternatively you can search using a string (for example entering '*hall' to find all place-names ending ....hall). You can also search using the element glossary which allows you to search by different common elements found in Berwickshire place-names.

Clicking on an individual marker on this map will open an information window providing details on the selected location. These details include its entry in the OS Name Book. If you are interested in the meaning of a place-name then the 'elements' section allows you to view a definition (where available) of any unfamiliar parts of the place-name. For example both Kimmerghame (cow's bridge) and Birgham (a settlement beside a bridge) contain derivations of 'brycg' - which means bridge.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Comparing Map Projections

Comparing Map Projections is a clever visualization of different map projections. It allows you to directly compare different types of map projections and see the levels of distortions which each map projection introduces by visualizing a globe in two dimensions.

This interactive visualization provides a useful overview of the advantages and the disadvantages of specific map projections. For example if you select the much maligned Mercator map projection you can see that it scores very low for angular distortion. This means that all the lines of longitude are straight (compare the vertical lines of longitude on the Mercator projection to those on the Sinusoidal projection). The result is that a Mercator projection is really useful for navigation.

However if you refer to the Mercator projection on the Comparing Map Projections interactive visualization you will also see that it has very large overall scale and angular distortion. A consequence of having a very low angular distortion is that the Mercator projection distorts scale (especially the further you move from the equator).

As you can see from Comparing Map Projections all map projections introduce some degree of distortion.

If you are interested in how different map projections distort the world then you will probably also like Projection Face. Projection Face is a great illustration of the distortions created by different map projections. The interactive shows how 64 different map projections effect our view of the world by showing each projection's effect when applied to something very familiar - the human face.

The distortions of each of the different projections can be illustrated further by clicking and dragging any of the mapped faces. This illustrates how the different map projections can be distorted themselves simply by changing the center of the map.

Projections Face is an interactive version of a 1924 illustration from Elements of Map Projection with Applications to Map and Chart Construction.

If you want a little help deciding which map projection you should use for your current map project then you can use the Projection Wizard to decide on the best projection.

This map projection guide allows you to select the extent of the map view you are working with by outlining the area on a Leaflet map. Once you've highlighted your map bounds you can choose a distortion property (Equal-area, Conformal, Equidistant or Compromise).

The Projection Wizard will then suggest which map projection you should use depending on the extent and the distortion property of the map. The suggested projections are based on 'A Guide to Selecting Map Projections' by the Cartography and Geovisualization Group at Oregon State University.

A Proj.4 link is provided next to each suggested projection, which opens a popup window with a Proj.4 library. Once you've settled on your map projection you might want to check-out the Proj4Leaflet plugin for using projections supported by Proj4js with Leaflet powered maps.

The Famous Greek Map of the World

The World Map of Greeks is an interactive map showing the most famous Greek citizen in every city of the world (based on 2019 Wikipedia views).

For some reason most famous Greek people seem to have been born in Southeastern Europe. However there are some famous Greek citizens who were born elsewhere. For example Tom Hanks was born in Concord, USA (earlier this year Tom Hanks was awarded Greek citizenship alongside his wife Rita Wilson). If you zoom-in on Greece itself then the map becomes much more detailed, showing you the most famous Greek person from every town in the country.

The World Map of Greeks was inspired by a similar map of famous Americans, created by The Pudding in 2019.

Last year The Pudding created an interactive map which showed the most famous person from each town in America. A People Map of the USA shows the person born in each town or city whose Wikipedia entry gets the most traffic. So on this map Dodge City becomes 'Wyatt Earp - Dodge City' and Memphis becomes 'Elvis Presley - Memphis'.

The People Map of the USA proved so popular that The Pudding soon followed the American map with a British version. The Pudding's A People Map of the UK shows the most famous person from each town in the UK based on each town's most Wikipedia'ed resident.

Other map makers realized that The Pudding had stuck meme mapping gold and so soon after the US & UK maps we also had Most Popular Natives of Czech Towns. This map by iROZHLAS reveals the most famous person from 1,749 Czech towns and cities.

The Pudding map also went on to inspire The Film Map of the World, an interactive map which shows the 10 most Wikipedia'ed films which are set in every country in the world. On this map the ten biggest cities in each country are labelled to show one of the ten most popular movies which were set in that nation.

How these Maps Were Made

All of these maps were made using Mapbox GL with a GeoJSON layer to hold the famous people (or film) data. Mapbox Studio allows you to add GeoJSON data to a map as a layer. This has one great advantage if you want to add place-label names to a map (which is essentially what these maps do - using the names of famous people instead of real place-names).

If you add your labels (or people names) to the map as a GeoJSON layer in Mapbox Studio then Mapbox will automatically handle how that data is displayed. You therefore don't need to worry about your labels overlapping or colliding as Mapbox will do all the heavy work for you.

All the GeoJSON data from your added layer can be accessed from JavaScript. This means that you can add interactivity to your map. In the maps above when a user hovers over a name a short biography of the selected person is displayed. This is achieved in Mapbox GL JS by using queryRenderedFeatures to access the properties of hovered-over map elements.

If you want to see queryrenderedfeatures in action then have a look at my Map of English Literature. The code for the map is shown beneath the map. When you hover over an author name on the Map of English Literature the map queries that layer and can access all the GeoJSON data associated with the selected author. In this way when you hover over an author's name the map displays the writer's date of birth, where they were born and some brief biographical information.