Friday, May 22, 2015

Life - Updated in Real-Time


Who needs horizons?

Online we count our days in seconds. For us the sun is always rising, always setting. We watch the day meet the night and the night greet the day on Instagram & Twitter.

When the animation plays on the map of our lives, the days pass by and another colored dot gets added to our digital archive. This is All Our Suns, our animated map of today, played out through Instagram photos tagged #sunset and #sunrise.

Our mediated experiences, our tiny colored dots of life, flashing by on a two dimensional plane. All our days remembered in the digitization of the sun at the beginning and the end of the day.

Our lives uploaded to Instagram. The map updated in real-time.


Sometimes the world seeps through into our virtual lives. The inexorable passing of time - expressed in one hundred and forty characters or less.

The Sunrise Around the World, is a yellow pixel of flashing light. These our days. These are the maps of our real-lives.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Street Views & Sounds of Medellin


Pregoneros de Medellín is a wonderfully immersive virtual journey around the colorful streets of Medellín in Colombia. The experience is vaguely similar to exploring locations with Google Maps Street View - only with sound, smoother transitions and lots more interactivity.

Pregoneros de Medellín was not created with panoramic images but with video. But this isn't video as you normally know it. To progress through the video you need to scroll down on the web page. As you scroll you move through the stills of the video.

While you stroll around Medellin you can listen to the sounds of the streets and the street vendors. You can also interact with some of the characters you find on your journey. The interactive characters are indicated on screen with map markers positioned above their heads. Click on the markers and you can view short documentary type videos about the selected individual's lives.

Making Pregoneros de Medellín was obviously a huge technical challenge. You can read about how the video was captured (using a GoPro camera attached to a gimbal and fixed to a bike), how the immersive sound was added (customizing Sounds of Street View) and how the video interface was created, in this Making Of post.

Climbing the Matterhorn in 3d


Chasing the Matterhorn is a thrilling account of the first ascent of the notorious Alpine mountain. This account of the first successful climb to the top of the mountain is illustrated with a 3d model of the Matterhorn.

As you progress through the narrative, following the story of the climb, links in the text pan & zoom the 3d model to the locations on the mountain mentioned in the text.

The story of the race between two separate climbing teams to be the first to reach the summit of the Matterhorn is an incredible tale on its own. Being able to view the locations of some of the hair-raising moments in both climbs really helps to convey the dangers involved in these first two successful attempts on the Matterhorn.

The Global Homicide Rate


According to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime there were 437,000 homicides across the globe in 2012. The Homicide Monitor visualizes the 2012 homicide rates for countries around the world on a 3d globe.

When you first load the Homicide Monitor the globe animates through the ten countries with the highest homicide rates. If you pause the globe you can explore the data yourself by selecting individual countries on the map.

Click on a country and you can view the country's homicide rate, a graph of the homicide rate over this century, the percentage of those killed by firearms and the percentage of people killed by gender.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The United Tastes of America


There have been a few maps this week purportedly visualizing distinctive features of each state in the USA.

For example the Most Distinctive Causes of Death map visualizes the most 'distinctive' cause of death in each of the 50 states. The map doesn't show the top cause of death in each state but the cause of death which is proportionally higher in each state than in all the the other states. Or something like that - there is a formula.

The most distinctive cause of death in each state is at least twice the national rate for that cause of death. Therefore I'm guessing that the map could be quite useful to health care practitioners in highlighting causes of death in a state which appear to be abnormally high.

I'm going to say that despite being an ugly map that it might actually be useful to planners in the health care profession.

The opposite is true of Foursquare new America's Most Popular Tastes map, which is a beautiful looking interactive map but essentially useless. The map supposedly shows the most unique flavor in each state.

Foursquare claim that they used a mix of data sets (menus, tips, ratings, and more) and normalized for size against other states. Which seems to be a similar approach to the Most Distinctive Causes of Death map. My guess however is that a few ageing hipsters at Foursquare just sat around and came up with a list of what they thought were the most distinctive foods in each state.

The map is gorgeous though. I love the little icons for each state. The mouse-over interactions on each state are very nice as well and, if you select a state on the map, the map automatically zooms in and picks out the state in a different highlight color.

To be fair the map isn't really pointless. When you select a state on the map you can view the restaurants in that state with the highest ratings for the state's most distinctive food. If you click on one of the restaurants you can also view its listing on Foursquare.

So America's Most Popular Tastes Map is successful in identifying some top places to eat in each state and of course Foursquare hope it will be succesful in promoting Foursquare.

Mapping the Demolition of Austin


Since 2007 over 5,000 demolition permits have been granted in Austin, Texas.  You can view the footprints of all the buildings given demolition permits on the Austin, Demolished: Eight Years of Wrecking Ball Data map.

You can select individual footprints on the map to view a static Street View of the building and view details of the demolition work carried out on the building. The map also includes an interactive bar chart of Austin building demolitions by year. Using the slider controls you can select any time period to filter the building footprints displayed on the map by date of demolition.

Train Travel Times of Europe


Isochrone Maps of Europe is a beautiful looking series of maps visualizing train travel times across the continent. The series includes a number of isochrone maps showing the travel times across Europe from a number of major cities.

The travel times from each city were calculated using the the Swiss public transport API. Using conrec.js. This travel time data was then converted into contour lines which were then plotted as paths using d3.js and overlaid on a Leaflet.js map.

Isochrone maps of train travel times across Europe are available for 28 of Europe's major cities.

Cartographic Representations of the Internet


DMOZ is an open-content directory of World Wide Web links which uses a hierarchical scheme for organizing site listings. Listings on a similar topic in DMOZ are grouped into categories, which can then include smaller categories.

Internaut Explorer uses the CartoDB interactive mapping platform to create a visualization of DMOZ's 3,809,444 web links and 782,239 topics. The map allows you to explore a visual representation of DMOZ links organized into a radial chart. Each segment of the circle shows a different DMOZ category of links. When you zoom in on the map the individual DMOZ link categories appear.


The Internet Map is a Google Map of the 350,000 largest websites in the world. The map was created by Ruslan Enikeev and the Russian creative agency Positive Communications.

The circles on the map represent individual websites. The size of each circle on the map is determined by website traffic. The larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. The location of websites on the map is determined by the links between sites. The more traffic generated from links between different websites then the closer the websites are displayed on the map.

It is actually possible to search the map by country to find the most popular websites in individual countries.


Unfortunately the Web 2.0 Summit's Web 2 Map no longer exists. The Web 2 Map used an interesting geographical metaphor to visualize the internet, representing different sectors of the Internet as countries on a map.

Each country on the map had a capital city representing the dominant website or company within that sector. The buildings or skyscrapers in the city acting as a metaphor for the different data segments within the dominant player in that sector.

For example, the country of the Union of Social Networks included a Facebook capital city. The Facebook city was dominated by a 'social' skyscraper but also includeed a smaller 'location' building to reflect that Facebook also allows users to check-in at different locations.


Every year Telegeography create an interactive map of the physical presence of the internet in the real world, with their undersea cable map.

The 2015 Submarine Cable map is inspired by medieval and renaissance cartography and features not only a vintage map style but sea monsters, map border illustrations and images showing some of the common causes of cable faults.

The map shows 299 submarine cable systems across the globe, that are active or are under construction. The border illustrations provide information on the capacity data of some of the major cable routes. Other inset illustrations provide information on how submarine cables are laid.

Images on the map explain some of the common causes of cable faults. Some fictional causes of cable faults are also included in the map in the form of mythical sea monsters. The text provided with each monster includes a reference to which historical map the mythical creature was taken from.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wine Map USA


The everyvine map is attempting to map the world's vineyards and wineries. It has made a good start with this map of US wine regions, vineyards, shiners and wineries.

The map can help you discover which wines are available in the different US wine regions. Click on a region on the map and you can view links to the region's wine growing organizations. Select an individual winery and you can view a list of the types of grapes used, wines sold, the vineyard's size and its history.

The everyvine map also includes a soil type overlay which provides a snapshot of the type of soil on which the vines are grown (although the layer does seem to be missing a map key).

The Best New York Transit Maps


TransitMe has a great collection of New York transit maps. TransitMe has taken MTA's transit maps and made them interactive by overlaying them on top of a Google Map of the city.

The collection includes the MTA's subway map, the late night subway map and the city's bus maps. The latest map to be added to the collection is a New York bike map. The map shows the city's dedicated bike paths, bike lanes, shared lanes and signed routes.


The problem with transit maps is that they nearly always sacrifice geographical accuracy for the sake of ease of use. Wouldn't it be great if we could bend the transit maps of New York to fit the geographical reality.

Judging by Ben Schmidt's MTA Map of Actual New York the answer is a resounding no. Ben has stretched, squeezed and rotated the transit map of New York to align it with the underlying road map of the city. It is very noticeable how the MTA map expands Manhattan, due to the higher proportion of lines and stations situated there. You have to admit that the map loses some legibility when you squeeze all that information onto a more geographically accurate map.


WNYC has created a fictional interactive map explaining how the New York subway system could survive a future snowmaggedon. When New York suffers from a snow storm the MTA has a habit of closing down the subway system. WYNC has therefore formulated a plan to close off the overground sections of the subway system during future snowstorms so that the underground parts can continue to run.

The Snowpiercer Scenario is a Mapbox map using custom map tiles of the MTA. The overground parts of the subway system are faded out on the map, indicating that these lines could be closed during times of heavy snow. The remaining subway lines are the ones which would remain open, even when it snows.


LiveTrain NYC is a real-time map of MTA subway trains. The map shows the MTA trains moving in real-time based on the trip updates provided by the MTA.

The map uses the MTA's GTFS real-time feed of schedule updates to estimate the position of the trains on the network. If you select a train's marker on the map you can view its full scheduled timetable, showing when the train is expected to arrive at each station on its route.

The trains shown on the map can be filtered by route. It is also possible to click on the station markers to view the scheduled departures at that stop.


Richard Dunks has created a series of transit maps visualizing how New Yorkers commute to work. The three maps show how workers in each New York City census tract travel to work by subway, bus and / or car.

The Subway Ridership map reveals the number of workers, aged 16 and over, who commute to work by subway in each census tract. As you would expect census tracts near subway stations in general show the highest percentage of workers travelling to work by subway. However the map also reveals that workers in Pelham Bay Park and East New York also have a high percentage of subway commuters, despite having no subway station nearby.

The Bus Transit Shed map shows the number of commuters who travel to work by bus. Again, as you might expect, the map reveals that commuters who don't live near a subway station seem more likely to commute to work by bus. However the percentage of workers in census tracts not near subway stations and travelling to work by bus doesn't seem to be uniform, so presumably there is a story to be told in those tracts with the highest levels of bus commuting usage.


Isochrone maps are great way to compare the commuting times for different modes of transport. Transit Battle NYC is a great example of using isochrone mapping to show where in New York you should catch the bus and when you should use the subway instead.

Drag the marker to a location on this map of New York and you can instantly view an overlay visualizing where you can travel quickest by bus and where you can travel fastest by subway. The map uses data from the MTA's GTFS feeds for the transit time data which is then processed with OpenTripPlanner.