Saturday, February 16, 2019

I 💛💗💖 Maps


I saw a few Valentines Day themed maps this week. None of them were that interesting. I did end up writing about Esri's map of Britain's Most Romantic Roads but that was really only because I wanted to explore the toponym of the 168 Love Lanes on Esri's map - the original meaning of which is maybe not quite as romantic as Esri imagines (John Stow in 1598 said London's 'Love Lane' was "so called of Wantons". In other words Love Lane in London got its name from the prostitutes who worked there).

The only interesting Valentines Day maps released this week were the Cordiform Map Projections 💛💗💖 posted to Observable. This Observable Notebook shows you how to make heart-shaped or cordiform Stab-Werner map projections. These equal-area map projections are heart-shaped, so the perfect map projection for Valentines Day. The Cordiform Map Projections 💛💗💖 post on Observable includes links to two vintage maps which also use a Werner projection.

Amazon's Lord of the Rings Map


Amazon is busy creating a Lord of the Rings Prime Video series. Little is known about the television series, as of yet, but there is a Lord of Rings on Prime official Twitter account. On Wednesday that account made it's first Tweet, which was a short Tolkien quote,


Yesterday that Tweet was followed up with a link to an Amazon Prime interactive map of Middle Earth. The Amazon Prime map is a neat representation of Middle Earth, although it doesn't contain any place-name labels. The map does include a few fantasy map staples, such as a vintage looking compass rose, tattered edges and fold marks. There is also a download link which allows you to save the map as an image file.

This blank interactive map of Middle-Earth is an interesting marketing ploy, which is obviously little more than a teaser for the Amazon Prime television series. If you are a real fan of Tolkien's novels then you will probably have more fun exploring the interactive maps created by the LOTR Project. These include interactive maps of both Beleriand and Middle Earth.

The LOTR Project interactive maps include place-name labels and lots of optional layers which allow you to overlay time-lines, route and events from Tolkein's novels directly on top of the interactive maps.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Do You Speak the Queen's English?


The most popular interactive page on the New York Times website in 2013 was How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk. This interactive feature asked readers to answer questions about the words they use and how they pronounce them. From the answers given to these language questions the NYT was able to create an interactive map showing where the reader was from in the United States.

Now the New York Times has released a similar interactive feature which can tell Irish and British readers where they are from. If you answer 25 questions about the words you use and how you say them then the NYT will create a heat map identifying where it thinks you were raised. The newspaper will also show you a heat map after every single question you answer showing you where your answer is most and least common.

The British-Irish Dialect Quiz just about managed to identify where I was raised (pictured in the map above). I grew-up just within the southern tip of the NYT's heat map generated from my answers. However I have spent most of my adult life in London which could be why it thinks I'm from a little further north. than my childhood home.

America's 2018 Oil Spills


On average there were around 11 oils spills a month in the United States during 2018. The largest oil spill was in April in Superior, Wisconsin. 11 people were injured in the incident when a storage tank exploded.

You can view all the 137 oil spills that occurred in the United States during 2018 on Resource Watch's interactive map. The 2018 Oil Spills Map uses data from NOAA to plot the location of every one of the 137 oil spills reported in 2018. Louisiana was the state with the most oil spills last year. There were 52 spills in Louisiana (or close offshore) in 2018. Texas was the second highest with 13 spills and Alaska was third with 10 spills. The Resource Watch report into 2018's oil spills includes details on each of America's largest oil spills in 2018.


If you want to know where the US's oil wells are actually located then you can explore the Washington Post's United States of Oil and Gas map. The Washington Post map (shown above) shows oil wells in green and natural gas wells in pink.

In total there are more than 900,000 active oil and gas wells in the USA. The Washington Post article accompanying the map explores the boom in oil and gas production in the United States since 2010. The article includes a number of other maps and visualizations showing where this oil and gas boom has occurred.

The Resource Watch oil spill map shows a large cluster of spills in the Gulf of Mexico. The Washington Post reports that since 2003 "natural gas production in the gulf has declined more than 70 percent". Despite this decline the dangers of offshore drilling means the Gulf of Mexico is still a hot-spot on the oil spill map.

Mapping Asia's Most Powerful Countries


According to the Lowy Institute the USA is the most powerful country in Asia. I'm not sure I agree that the United States is in Asia but I'm not going to argue that it exercises a lot of influence in the continent. According to the Institute's Asia Power Index the next most powerful country in Asia is China.

The Asia Power Index ranks 25 Asian countries and territories in terms of their power using eight different measures and 114 indicators. You can explore all the country rankings on the Asia Power Index Interactive map. The main eight measures of power visualized on the map are: economic, military, diplomatic influence, cultural influence, future trends, resilience, economic relationships and defense networks.

If you select one of these main power measures then the large country markers are resized to show each country's score. The map side-panel also lists all the countries by their rankings. Each of the main measures of power includes a number of individual sub-measures which you can also view on the map. For example the military capability measure includes sub-measures which allow you to see how the 25 different Asian countries rank for defense spending, armed forces, weapons & platforms, signature capabilities and Asian military posture.


Even though the Asian Power Index shows the USA as the most powerful country in Asia it is China that tops its rankings for future trends. China also tops the rankings for the measures for diplomatic influence and economic relationships. One of the reasons why China is now exercising so much influence in Asia is because of its investment in the region.

China has provided over $1.9 billion in aid to Pacific Island countries in the last ten years. You can view how much Pacific Island countries have received in aid from China on another interactive map from the Lowy Institute. Chinese Aid in the Pacific provides information on Chinese aid projects in the Pacific islands region since 2006.

The map uses scaled markers to indicate the amount of Chinese aid received by each Pacific Island country. The map sidebar also allows you to filter the amount of aid provided by type of aid and by the sector funded. If you zoom in on the map you can view details on the individual projects which have been funded by the Chinese, including details on the amount of aid provided and a description of each funded project.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Best Brewery Road Trip Ever


If you are tired of the usual bog standard Saturday night pub crawl and you want to take on something a little more ambitious then you need Flowing Data's Brewery Road Trip. This map provides you with the shortest possible route that takes in all the best American breweries.

If you undertake this mega journey then you will visit all 71 American breweries in RateBeer's list of the top 100 breweries in the world. The route was calculated using Randy Olsen's algorithm that has been used many times to create optimal road trip maps for many different themes. Here are a few more optimal road trips that you might want to consider:

The Optimal Road Trip Across the U.S.
The Optimal Road Trip Across Europe.
The Optimal Road Trip of U.S. National Parks

If you are interested in how these optimal trips are calculated then there is a detailed explanation provided with Randy Olsen's Optimal Road Trip Across the U.S..

A Strip Map of Mars


In 1675 John Ogilby published Britannia, a series of strip maps of roads in England and Wales. In 2019 the New York Times also published a strip map. Only this strip map shows the journey of a robot on Mars.

On Wednesday NASA announced that the Mars Opportunity rover was no longer working. In June Opportunity went into hibernation during a dust storm on Mars. It was hoped that after the atmosphere cleared Opportunity would reboot and continue working. However after months of waiting yesterday NASA announced that the Opportunity mission was over.

The NYT's NASA’s Opportunity Rover Dies on Mars includes a fantastic strip map which allows you to follow the journey of the Mars rover from its landing in Eagle Crater in 2014 to its final resting place in Perseverance Valley. As you scroll down on the NYT visualization you follow Opportunity's path using fantastic satellite imagery of the red planet. You can explore the 28 miles that Opportunity traveled in a few seconds. Opportunity took 5,111 Martian days to travel that distance. It is definitely worth taking a few minutes yourself to explore the wonderful aerial imagery in the NYT's strip map of Opportunity's exploration of Mars.

Some other examples of interactive strip maps include Propublica's Killing the Colorado, a journey down the endangered Colorado river, and the New York Times' A Rogue State Along Two Rivers. A Rogue State Along Two Rivers explores the rise of ISIS by following the paths of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

The UK's Most Romantic Streets


There are 168 Love Lanes in Great Britain. You can view them all on Esri Valentine's Day interactive map, Britain's Most Romantic Roads. The Esri map has 1,453 romantic streets in total. As well as showing the location of all 168 Love Lanes Esri's map includes a Kissing Tree Lane in Stratford-upon-Avon, a Partnership Way in Blackburn and a Heart’s Delight Road in Kent.

The toponym 'Love Lane' presumably originates from being a location which was locally known as where people went to make out or engage in sexual activity. These locations are often known colloquially as 'Lovers' Lane'. John Stow in his Survey of London in 1598 described London's Love Lane as "so called of Wantons". In other words Love Lane was so called because of its prostitutes.

The Esri map doesn't include any Gropecunt Lanes. This was another popular name for roads which were known for prostitution. One reason why this road name hasn't made it to Esri's map is that the last Gropecunt Lane in the UK was renamed to something more delicate in 1561. Britain's Most Romantic Roads also, disappointingly, doesn't include Tickle Cock Bridge in Castleford.

This romantic themed map also doesn't include Lovers' Leap in the Peak District. Perhaps the existence of a Lovers' Leap was deemed to be a little too depressing for Valentine's Day. A local legend claims that Lovers' Leap was so named because it is where a young woman killed herself. The woman had been told that her lover had been killed in the Napoleonic wars. She therefore threw herself off the promontory which is now known as Lovers' Leap. Of course it was discovered soon after her death that her lover was alive and well.

Other once vulgar street names in London which have since been changed are Pissing Alley and Shite Burn Lane (now called Sherborne Lane).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Weather Forecast for 2080


In the year 2080 the climate in Washington D.C. will resemble the current climate experienced in the state of Mississippi. Portland will experience a climate similar to California's current climate. And Los Angeles will have a climate which resembles present day Las Palmas in Mexico.

You can find out what kind of climate your city can expect in 2080 on the University of Maryland's new interactive map, What Will the Climate Feel Like in 60 Years. The map is based on work by scientists Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert Dunn, who used different climate models to find the contemporary climatic analogs for the weather that 540 North American urban areas can expect in the late 21st century. The study behind the map revealed that the climate in U.S. cities will significantly change over this century, becoming similar to contemporary climates which are hundreds of kilometers away.

Using the interactive map you can click on a town or city to discover which current location has a climate which is similar to the climate you can expect in 2080. The map provides two different analogs for each urban area. One shows the climate analog based on a high emissions climate model and the other view provides a climate analog based on future where we have reduced emissions.


If you live outside the U.S. you can still find your climate analog for the year 2080. For example in 2080 London will experience weather which resembles the climate in Lima today. Frankfurt in Germany will be as hot as Malawi and living in Berlin will be like living in Lesotho in southern Africa.

You can find your 2080 climate twin using The Summer of 2080 Will Be This Warm interactive map. If you enter your location or click on your location on the map you can view the town or city in the world which has a climate now which is similar to the climate you can expect in your location in the year 2080. The map uses two different climate models. This allows you to find your climate twin for a global warming scenario of 4.2 degrees or 1.8 degrees.

When you search for your climate twin the map displays some details of the kind of weather experienced by your twin now (and which you can expect to experience in the year 2080). This includes the annual rainfall and the number of extreme hot and cold days.

1.4 Million New York Collisions


Times Square witnessed more pedestrian injuries from motor vehicle collisions between 2012 and 2019 than any other location in New York. The most cyclists injured during that period was on Delancey Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. You can explore more motor vehicle collision trends in New York on the Motor Vehicle Collisions Map.

The Motor Vehicle Collisions Map uses New York Police Department data to visualize 1.4 million collisions in New York City between July 2012 and January 2019. Using the map you can find out where the most motor vehicle collisions occurred and the locations which suffered the most injuries and fatalities. The map uses colored hexagons to show the numbers of the selected collisions by area. The area size of these hexagons can be adjusted in the map menu.

If you click on the 'Total Collisions' option in the map menu you can change the map to show the areas with the highest number of injuries or fatalities. You can also select to change the map to visualize the number of motorists, cyclists or pedestrians injured or killed.


The Vision Zero initiative in New York plans to end traffic accident deaths and injuries on the city's roads. The City of New York has released its own interactive map, Vision Zero View, to provide detailed information on traffic injury and fatality crashes within New York since 2009. You can also access real-time information about conditions on the city's roads using the Vision Zero Dashboard.

The Vision Zero Dashboard provides a mapped dashboard which allows you to access information in real-time about traffic on the city's roads. The Vision Zero Dashboard interactive map shows real-time traffic, accidents, traffic cameras, air quality and weather conditions in New York City.

You can access the different data views on the map using the menu at the bottom of the map. For example, if you select 'Traffic' you can view a real-time overview of traffic on the city's streets. Roads with heavy traffic are colored red on the map. Sections of roads with heavy traffic are also shown along the bottom of the map with details about the current average speed on these sections of road.