Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Where's the Plaque?

Read the Plaque has mapped the location of over 17,000 plaques around the world. Using the Read the Plaque interactive map you can search for plaques marking historical or interesting locations around you.

As well as searching for plaques by location you can search Read the Plaque by tag or by the most recently submitted plaques. You can also select to view a random plaque from the over 17,000 recorded plaques. When you select a plaque on the map you can view its dedicated page, which includes a photo of the plaque and a transcription of the text on the plaque. A map also shows the plaque's exact location and the location of nearby plaques.

Anyone can submit a plaque to Read the Plaque by taking a photo of the plaque and marking its location on an interactive map.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Euler Spiral Map Projection

A Euler spiral is a curve whose curvature changes linearly with its curve length. A Euler spiral can therefore be used to create a map projection by projecting a curved globe onto a flat spiral. The interesting point for cartographers is that the more spirals used in a Euler spiral map projection the less distortion there is.

Now for the math. By cutting a sphere along a spiral with width 1 / N and flattening out the resulting shape we create a Euler spiral when N tends to the infinity. In other words we can create a map projection whose distortion tends to zero as N tends to the infinity.

If this sounds a little confusing then it might help to play with an interactive Euler spiral map. This interactive Euler Spiral Map allows you to adjust the number of spirals used in the projection by changing the thickness of the spirals. By reducing the thickness of the spirals you can increase the number of spirals used in the map projection. The more spirals you create then the less distortion in the projection.

Unfortunately for cartographers a Euler spiral map projection is not very useful for navigating with. If you are still confused then this excellent Numberphile video explains the projection far more clearer than I can:

Where You Should Worry About Earthquakes

The OpenQuake Map Viewer provides free and open-source visualizations of global earthquake hazards. Each of the Map Viewer visualizations uses the OpenQuake engine, a seismic hazard and risk calculation software, to show seismic risks & hazards and seismic exposure around the world,

Currently the OpenQuake Map Viewer provides three separate interactive Leaflet powered maps: the Global Seismic Hazard Map, the Seismic Risk Map and the Global Exposure Map. The Global Seismic Hazard Map shows the potential for seismic activity based on hazard and risk calculation models. The Seismic Risk Map visualizes the average annual cost of seismic activity around the world. The Global Exposure Map is a visualization of the built upon areas of the world.

The Global Seismic Risk Map can provide individual country seismic risk assessments. Click on a country on the Risk Map and you can view details on the annual cost of seismic activity for residential buildings, commercial buildings and  industrial buildings. You can also download the full OpenQuake profile for the selected country.

Making Play Maps for Children

Kinderkiez turns digital maps into real life play mats for children. If you are looking for a map present for a child (or for the grown-up kids in your life) then you can't do much better than these wonderful nursery mats which depict a map of any location in the world.

Using the Kinderkiez creation tool you can select any location in the world for your play mat. Once you have chosen a location Kinderkiez combines real geodata with the amazing illustrations of children’s book author Laura Bednarski to create a unique map designed for young children. You can also customize the look of your map by selecting your own favorite Bednarski illustrations and adding them to any location on the map.

When you are happy with your map you can go ahead and order your personalized nursery map. The finished product has a durable surface and a slip-proof latex back. The mat is also washable at 30°C.

The Kinderkiez nursery play map not only provides a colorful and safe surface on which children can play, it is also great for learning. It can be used to teach kids the way to school and impart important facts about road safety. Alternatively it can just be used as a great surface to play with your favorite toy cars.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Where is the News?

Forbes has carried out an analysis of the Television News Archive to create a series of maps showing which areas of the world have featured in the news programs of some of the major television networks. The Forbes article Mapping a Decade of Television News includes maps showing the coverage around the world of the BBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

Unfortunately the article only has static maps which does make them a little difficult to read and compare. However these maps are PNG images which means you can click on them and view them in full-screen mode. Personally I can't make out a huge difference in the global coverage of the different television news channels. The obvious major difference is that the BBC has much more UK news than the American stations and the American news channels cover American news more than the BBC.

Overall there seems to be a lot of agreement about where the major news stories are around the world. At the end of the article there are two videos of animated maps showing where the featured news channels have focused their attention around the world over time. These animated maps show the focus of the news channels traveling around the world responding to global events and then moving elsewhere as the world's attention moves on.

The World's Population Pyramids

Earlier this year The Pudding created an impressive interactive map which visualized the world's population in 3D. The Pudding's Human Terrain interactive map shows population density across the globe using 3D population pyramids. The taller a pyramid block on The Pudding map then the more people live there.

The Pudding has now used its own map to explore in more detail the pattern of population density around the world. In Population Mountains The Pudding examines how unevenly the world is populated and how population density can take different forms in different parts of the world.

For example The Pudding compares the pyramid population maps of some European cities to Kinshasa, DRC. In Kinshasa poor transportation infrastructure has led to a densely populated city center, whereas European cities tend to have less densely populated centers and more densely populated suburbs. Because of poor transportation in Kinshasa the population pyramids in the city center fall sharply away, while in European cities there tends to be a more gradual slope from the center away into the suburbs.

If you don't like The Pudding's 3D visualization of the world's population then you might prefer the SEDAC Population Estimator (GPWv4). This interactive map uses NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) data to show where the world's population lives. The SEDAC Population Estimator map includes a tool to draw an area on the map to view an estimate of the population that live there.

How Religious is Europe?

Romania has the most religious population in Europe. 55% of Romanians are 'highly religious' according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. The least religious population in Europe lives in Estonia, where only 7% are highly religious.

In How Religious is Your Country? Pew Research discovered that in general Central and Eastern Europeans are more religious than Western Europeans. In Central Europe the southern mainly Roman Catholic countries of Italy, Spain and Portugal are more religious than most other Central European countries. Although Ireland, another mainly Roman Catholic country, also scores highly when compared to other Central European countries.

The Pew assessment of its religious survey of European countries is accompanied by a choropleth map which shows the level of religious belief in 34 European countries. You can mouse-over individual countries on the map to see what percentage of the country's population are highly religious. In its survey Pew looked at four measures of religious observance. These were: attending religious services at least monthly, praying at least daily, believing in God with absolute certainty and saying that religion is very important to them. Those people who scored highly on at least two of these measures have been deemed to be 'highly religious'.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

The Queensland Bushfires from Space

The United States is not the only country in the world to have suffered from record levels of wildfires this year. Last month hundreds of bushfires ravaged the Australian state of Queensland. The intensity and scale of the fires were worse than any fires previously experienced in the state.

ABC News has used satellite imagery to help show the massive areas of the state that have been affected by the fires. In From space, the ferocity of Queenland's bushfires is revealed satellite imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellite has been used to reveal the areas affected by the fires.

As you scroll through ABC's presentation the satellite imagery shows around 45,000 hectares of land which were scorched by the fires. The imagery also reveals the homes which were threatened by the fires. Most worryingly the satellite imagery shows how the bushfires penetrated the region's rainforests, an extraordinary development which has alarmed fire scientists. Rainforests usually do not burn so this development shows how extreme global warming is creating environmental conditions outside of our previous experience.

Friday, December 07, 2018

The Most Sung About Locations

New York is the most sung about city in the world. Closely followed by London, LA, Paris and Miami. Celebrity Cruises has released an interactive map which reveals the most sung about locations across the globe.

To make Music Mapped Celebrity Cruises scanned the lyrics of over 200,000 songs. These songs all appeared in the top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100 and UK Official Singles chart since 1960. Celebrity Cruises noted every mention of a city, town, neighborhood or state which appeared in these songs. This extensive research resulted in a final data set of 2,000 songs by 896 artists with 420 different places mentioned around the world.

The size of the markers on Music Mapped reflects the number of songs which have been sung about that location. If you click on a location's marker you can discover all the songs since 1960 which have mentioned the selected place. You can even click through to listen to each of those songs on Spotify.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dangerous Biking in LA

An interactive map by the LAist reveals that there is almost no section of road in Los Angeles where a cyclist hasn't been injured. The L.A.-Long Beach Bike Crashes interactive map shows the location of every collision within Los Angeles and Long Beach involving bicycles from 2010-2015.

The LAist argues that with its wide, flat roads and sunny weather LA should be a wonderful place to cycle. However Bicycling Magazine has named Los Angeles America's worst city for bikes. Looking at the LAist interactive map it isn't hard to see why. The map shows that from 2010-2015 70 bicyclists were killed and 13,606 were injured while cycling on the city's roads.

The LAist point out that the city's Three Feet for Safety Act is very rarely enforced. This law requires drivers to leave at least a three foot gap when passing a cyclist. However the police have issued only 13 citations in the four years since the act became law. The LAist's conclusion is that the city needs to invest in cycling infrastructure. The best way to ensure the safety of cyclists is to create separated bike lanes so that car drivers actually are incapable of driving within three feet of a cyclist.