Saturday, April 19, 2014

The History of Barcelona's Architecture

Big Time BCN has an interesting new approach to mapping the age of buildings.

Over the last two years there has been a growing trend in maps visualizing the age of buildings in cities around the world. You can now view maps visualizing the age of buildings for New YorkBrooklyn, MoscowReykjavíkall of the Netherlandsall of the Netherlands - againLjubljana in SloveniaPortlandChicagoMilwaukee and Detroit.

All these maps use a similar approach - shading building imprints to display the age of the city's buildings. The Big Time BCN map uses a similar approach, displaying older buildings in black and the newest buildings in white.

However the creators of the Big Time BCN map have had a little 'Eureka' moment that transforms their map from being just an interesting visualization of data into a useful guide for architects, lovers of old buildings and visitors to the city.

Many of the building age maps that I've listed above allow users to click on individual buildings to view the year of construction. The Big Time BCN map takes this interaction to the logical next step. When you click on many of the buildings on the map not only can you view the building's age but you can also view a photo of the building and a detailed account of the building's history and architecture.

The map is therefore a really useful tool for discovering more about the history of Barcelona's buildings & architecture and a great guide for visitors to the city who are interested in finding and visiting the city's oldest and most interesting buildings.

This level of interaction and information has obviously taken a huge amount of time to create. However it does make me think that many of the other building age maps could very simply add a Google Maps Street View layer to their building age visualizations.

Adding a Street View layer would allow users to actually view the buildings on the map using Google's interactive panoramic imagery. Whenever I visit one of these building age maps the first thing I do is start exploring where the city's oldest buildings are located. I'd love to be able to click on the older buildings on these maps and actually view the building using Street View.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Were Could You Afford to Live in Texas?

The Texas Affordability Index is a handy mapped guide to where you can afford to live in Texas. To find areas in Texas where you could afford to rent a property simply select your job from the drop-down menu and the amount of space you wish to rent and the map will show you where you can and cannot afford to live.

The map allows you to enter a number of parameters concerning your income and living expenses, including your spouse's job and your food costs. A heat map of Texas is then displayed showing the areas where you can afford to live (in green) and the areas outside your income bracket (in red). You can also click on any area on the map to see how much disposable income you would have left (in affordable areas) or how much more income you would need to live there.

The United States Singles Map

The biggest problem in finding a date these days is that all the single men live on the west coast and all the single women live on the east coast. The next biggest problem is that all the single men are young and all the single women are of a more mature age.

The U.S. Singles Map shows the number of single men and women in metropolitan statistical areas (major cities and their suburbs). The map allows you to adjust the age of the results displayed on the map with a simple slider control.

The map reveals that single men far outnumber single women in nearly every city in America. Which means it should be fairly easy for single women to find a date. The situation does change however when you adjust the ages displayed on the map. It seems that there are far more mature single women than there are mature single men.

Over half of the adult population in England and Wales are single. Islington in London is the best place to go if you are on the look out for an unmarried date. In this London borough almost two out of three men and 57% of the women are single. If you are single in East Devon you should definitely catch the train up to London. In East Devon three quarters of all the men and more than 80% of women are married.

The UK's Office for National Statistics has produced a number of Google Maps visualizing data from the UK census. The Single People in England and Wales map displays the number of adult singles in each census tract in England and Wales. You can click on any census tract on the map to view the percentages of single men and women in the area and compare this figure to the national average.

A Sleeping Empire Awakes

The Northward Migration of the Majority is an interesting series of animated heat maps showing the movements of the inhabitants and workers in three Chinese cities. The three maps visualize the patterns of population movement in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou over a 24 hour period.

The Beijing animation includes an inset map that displays a number of highlights of significant moments during the day. The inset shows a zoomed in map of locations that see increased numbers of people at specific moments during the day. These include transport hubs during rush hour and business centers during working hours.

Each of the animated heat map layers are overlaid on top of a Baidu map of the city. There is no information on where the population data comes from, however the only link on the page is to the mobile version of Baidu maps so I suspect the data may come from mobile phone tracking.

Mapping Brazil's Monkey Robot Army

Guardian's recent series of Classic Album Covers in Street View proved very popular. The Guardian was inspired to create these images by, Halley Docherty's series of 18th and 19th-century paintings paintings superimposed on Street View screenshots.

Meanwhile Javier Arce has been having some fun imagining how a comic book hero might use CartoDB to map the lairs of the world's supervillains. The 1-bit cartoon map of Supervillain's Lairs helpfully reveals the location of Yu Heixian's monkey robot army.

After centuries of European border disputes and wars The Economist has revealed a cunning plan to physically redraw the map of Europe in order to make the continent a happier and more stable place.

The plan is likely to prove controversial but the prospect of warmer weather for the UK after it is moved southwards means The Economist has my full support.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Czech Republic in 3d

Czech online mapping portal Mapy has an interesting new 3d option. The beta version of Mapy 3d allows you to explore some of the Czech Republic's gorgeous historic centers in glorious 3d.

The 3d map includes controls to adjust the altitude and direction of your view. It even includes a neat 'helicopter' option that rotates your view around the map center. The locations where the beta 3d view is available is a little patchy at the moment. If you zoom out on the accompanying map you can see where 3d view is available (shaded red on the map).

Explore the Poetic Beauty of Planet Earth

The Poetry Cafe has one mission and that is to share the beautiful poetic places that can be found on this little blue planet we call Earth.

Julius Meinl Coffee was established in Vienna in 1862 to sell high quality coffees and become the ambassador of Viennese coffee house culture in the world. The company sees itself as part of the long tradition of European coffee houses, which have always been more than just places to drink coffee. They have also been important centers of art, culture and debate.

The Julius Meinl Coffee company's new website, 'The Poety Cafe', has been designed to lead you into the world of creative inspiration; to open your eyes to the poetry in the everyday and to help you share this poetry with the world through the Poetry Cafe. An important part of this task is the new Poetry Map.

The Poetry Cafe's Google Map allows you to post photos of the beautiful locations around the world that have inspired your life and help you to discover the places that have inspired others. You can browse the beautiful photos submitted to the Poetry Map by location and you can filter the results shown on the map by category (Nature, Culture, Urban, Coffee, Culinary and Pleasure).

Create a Virtual Open Day with Street View

The University of Southampton has created a virtual tour of its campus using custom shot Street View imagery. The University of Southampton's Virtual Open Day website provides prospective students with the opportunity to take a virtual stroll around the main university sites, and the University's important buildings and facilities.

Visitors to the Virtual Open Day can navigate to each of the University's five main campuses by using the links beneath the custom Street View image. A drop-down menu for each campus provides quick links to view the custom Street View images of important buildings and locations within each campus.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An Unpopulated Heat Map

I've seen a lot of population heat maps of the USA over the years - so it is nice to come across a Bizarro version of a population heat map, a map that actually shows where people don't live.

Nobody Lives Here maps unpopulated census blocks in the USA, the areas where nobody lives. 4,871,270 census blocks, totaling 4.61 million square kilometers, have no-one living inside them. In other words 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.

Nobody Lives Here is not a brilliant online map in itself. It uses the Leaflet platform to visualize a non-interactive map created by Nik Freeman. There is nothing wrong with Nik's map. However it would have been nice to see the interactive version of the map overlaid on an OpenStreetMap of the USA, with a transparency control. This would make it easier for us to find out a little more about the actual locations of the unpopulated areas shown on the map.

Leaflet Runs the Boston Marathon

The Boston Globe has published an interesting photo that uses the Leaflet mapping platform to provide an interactive graphic of survivors of the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

One year after the tragic bomb explosion at the Boston Marathon, The Boston Globe invited survivors, police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses and runners back to the finish line on Boylston Street to pose for a group photo.

The resulting One Year, One City photo is a powerful testimony to the resilience of the people of Boston. By using the Leaflet mapping platform the Boston Globe has created an interactive photo which you can pan around and in which you can zoom in on individuals in the picture. You can even click on the people in the photo to learn a little more about their experience during last year's tragic events. has also used the Leaflet platform to create a story map of the Boston Marathon. The map shows the route of the Boston Marathon and includes stories and accounts from the individuals, businesses and schools that are located along the marathon's route.

The One Year Stronger map can be navigated by using the numbers along the bottom of the map. Click on a number and the map pans to a location along the route and loads photos, videos and text that tell the stories of those who live and work along the route of the Boston Marathon.