Saturday, October 10, 2015

Oilslick Terrain

Oilslick is a new "color elevation map layer designed to highlight the fine detail in terrain." The layer maximizes the contrast of small elevation differences by using a larger color palette and range than in most other elevation maps.

The result is a very visually striking map. Personally I think the map works best at high zoom levels where the map layer is very effective in highlighting subtle changes in elevation. It is really worth exploring the map at high zoom levels as the results can be very beautiful.

At low zoom levels, however, I find the colors a little counter-intuitive and I have to keep reminding myself that the sea-level colors are not showing mountain ranges and the higher elevation colors are not indicative of oceans or land at sea-level.

Friday, October 09, 2015

The Color of Debt

ProPublica has created an interesting interactive visualization showing the black neighborhoods in St. Louis, Chicago and Newark hit hardest by debt collection lawsuits. The interactive shows choropleth maps of each city showing the neighborhoods hardest hit by debt collection lawsuits and the neighborhoods with the largest black populations.

As you scroll down the page on The Color of Debt webpage the map highlights some of the neighborhoods in the selected city which are hardest hit by debt collection. When a neighborhood is highlighted on the map you can view details on the area's median income, the number of debt judgments per 100 residents and the percentage of the population which is black.

The map also makes use of animated Street View animations which allows you to take a first hand look at each of these neighborhoods hampered by debt and debt collection.

U.S. Gun Deaths by Population

Gun ownership is back in the news again this week. In response to yet more mass shootings in the U.S. I've seen a number of maps showing the locations of these horrendous crimes.

As someone remarked on my Twitter feed these maps increasingly resemble population density maps. The U.S.'s crazy gun laws mean that lots of people have guns and it appears that where there are lots of people with guns then eventually a mass shooting will occur.

The value of these maps is presumably in their shock value. They scream 'Wake-up America, look at all these mas shootings!" However people's views on gun ownership seem so entrenched that you have to wonder how well they work. In fact I'm sure some wingnut politician will one day point at these maps and claim that all these mass shootings in schools prove that we should start arming first-grade schoolkids.

The most illuminating map on the issue of gun ownership that I've seen this week was from Oregon Live. The US Gun Deaths Map 2004-2010 shows the average number of gun deaths per 100,000 county residents. The map therefore does provide some insight into where gun deaths are occurring more in proportion to population.

It is important when viewing this map to understand that this is not a map of only gun homicides. The map also shows deaths occurring from suicide attempts. The map does reveal however that there are some clear geographical differences in the number of gun deaths per population in different regions of the United States.

100 Years of Earthquakes in 3D

The Quake Map visualizes over 10,000 earthquakes from 1900 to July 2015 on a 3d globe. The application allows you to explore over one hundred years of seismic events with magnitudes of six or greater on the Richter scale.

The map includes a number of navigational options. The chart beneath the map shows the date and magnitude of each earthquake and allows you to filter the results shown on the globe by date. The side menu allows you to select to view earthquakes or nuclear explosions. You can also select to view the earthquakes with the highest fatalities or largest magnitude.

The information panel displays details about the seismic events which you have selected using the chart and side menu.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Crap is Back on the Map

This week San Francisco's crap is back on the map, with a new animated visualization of human waste found on the streets of the Californian city.

One of my all time favorite styled Google Maps is Jennifer Wong's (Human) Wasteland map. The map uses San Francisco Department of Public Works data to create a steaming heat-map view of human waste in San Francisco. The map might not be the most edifying of Google Maps but you can't argue that the color choices are entirely appropriate to the subject on the map.

Now someone else has taken the San Francisco Department of Public Works data on human waste found on the streets of San Francisco to create an animated Torque powered map. The Reports of Human Waste map allows you to view the daily recordings of human waste in the city by location from 2008 to 20015.

Torque powered animated maps have in the past been accused of being crap burger cartography. One problem with a lot of these animated maps is that the time dimension often seems unnecessary. The temporal aspect of this Reports of Human Waste map just might add something to our understanding of this problem of people using San Francisco streets as their own al fresco toilet.

The hot-spots on the map really don't seem to change over time. However it does appear that the problem of human waste on San Francisco's streets is getting worse and worse over time.

The Beer Voronoi Map

Voronoi maps seem to be all the rage this week. On Tuesday we were treated to the Soccer Voronoi Map now the Washington Post brings us the Beer Voronoi Map.

The Washington Post's map divides the contiguous United States into 'beer counties' based on the nearest brewery or brewpub. The map doesn't provide much in the way of navigation but you can click on the map to zoom in. If you mouse-over a 'beer county' you can find out the name and the address of the region's brewery.

BTW - the map didn't appear at all when I viewed the website in Firefox but it seems to work fine in Chrome.

Mapping English Deprivation

Last week the UK government released the 2015 Indices of Deprivation for England. The indices provide information on the relative rates of deprivation and help to identify the most deprived areas in the country. The government also released an interactive map which allows the public to easily explore the data by location.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation Explorer allows you to view choropleth layers for a number of the indices. If you select a Lower Super Output Area level area (LSOA) on the map  you can explore the details for each of the indices. The details show how the area ranks within the 32,844 LSOAs in England for the selected index.

The map side-panel also shows how neighboring LSOAs rank for the same selected index of deprivation.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Mapping Smoke Alarms

Enigma has used data from the American Housing Survey to develop a risk model that reveals the characteristics of households without working smoke alarms. This model helps them to identify census blocks which are least likely to have smoke alarms installed.

The Smoke Signals map allows fire departments to search for neighborhoods where smoke alarm outreach programs are most needed. The map provides a choropleth view of the risk score for each neighborhood in cities within the 30 largest 'Metropolitan Statistical Areas'. If you mouse-over a neighborhood on the map you can view the Enigma 'risk score' for the area.

24 Hours of Worldwide Air-Flight

LuciadRIA 3D's Air Traffic Analysis map is a very impressive animated map of 24 hours worth of global air-traffic. The application allows you to watch planes flying around the globe on top of a 2d or 3d map of the world.

The data for all those planes takes a little while to load but it is well worth the wait. Once the map is up and running you can just sit back and watch as thousands of airplanes zip around the world. Alternatively you can take control of the map and zoom-in on your favorite locations, adjust the time of day or select to view just the flights from Luthansa or All Nippon.

One neat touch on this map is the day and night layer. As the animation plays out you can watch as daylight travels around the world.

The data for the Air Traffic Analysis map comes from FlightRadar24 and shows global air traffic from 10 a.m. January 13, 2015 to 10 a.m. January 14, 2015 (GMT).

Where Was East Germany?

This week Germany celebrated the 25th anniversary of reunification. The Berliner Morgenpost wondered if its readers could still remember where the border was between East and West Germany. It therefore created an interactive map which allowed users to draw the line of the border on a map of Germany.

The Morgenpost map recorded around 13,000 responses to their map quest and the Webkid blog has been analyzing the results. The blog includes a nice video which draws some of the results on a map one by one. The video starts with some of the wildest guesses and slowly begins to show the more accurate drawn borders as the video progresses.

The blog also includes a heat-map showing all of the guesses made and the original border between East and West Germany.

If you want you can try this German geography memory test yourself on the Berliner Morgenpost's Einheitsreise interactive feature.