Monday, September 20, 2021

The Russian Election Map

Russia has just held a parliamentary election. However, when the main opposition leader has been thrown in prison and most opposition candidates have been banned from standing, there really isn't much point in creating an election map of the Russian election results. What is far more interesting is Karta Narusheniy (Violation Map), an interactive map of voting irregularities reported in the 2021 Russian parliamentary election.

The Russian election is so rigged that I haven't even bothered to check the results this morning to see how large Putin's election victory is. I suspect Putin's United Russia party will be decided to have won over 100% of the vote in most areas of the country. 

Election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) didn't even bother to oversee this year's election in Russia because of the proposed limitations that the Russian government had tried to impose on them.Russia's Violation Map is currently reporting nearly 5,000 reported voting irregularities across the whole of Russia and even reports violations in overseas voting booths in Russian embassies around the world. These irregularities include reports of ballot stuffing and of forced voting.

The Violation Map was created by Golos, an independent vote monitoring group. The violations shown on the map are crowdsourced by voters across Russia. Voters can report violations that they have witnessed either by completing a form on the Violation Map website or by calling a phone hotline. Reports of voting violations sent to Golos are also passed on to election commissions and, where necessary, to law enforcement agencies and the media.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Traffic Simulation Game

A/B Street is a fun traffic simulation game which lets you explore how changes to your streets could effect the traffic in your neighborhood. The game allows you to experiment with adding or removing bus lanes, traffic signals, street parking, bike lanes, sidewalks and other road infrastructure and then simulate how these changes might effect your local traffic.

A/B Street can be played in your browser or downloaded to your computer. If you download the game you can play A/B Street in any location in the world using data from OpenStreetMap. This allows you to explore how small decisions to your streets could effect the traffic in your neighborhood.A/B Street actually includes a lot of different options which you can change to improve or worsen your local traffic. Luckily the game comes with a tutorial and also gradually introduces many of the game's features while you actually play the game.

While the A/B Street simulation runs you can observe the traffic in real-time on the game's interactive map. On this map you can follow individual vehicles to see how changes to the map effect a vehicle's behavior and journey times. Alternatively you can zoom-out and watch the traffic flow across the whole town or neighborhood. 


If being the traffic controller of a whole city seem over-complicated then you might enjoy 15 Minute Santa instead, a game from the same developers as A/B Street.15 Minute Santa is a fun game which requires you to deliver Christmas presents to the children of Seattle by guiding Santa around the city on an interactive map.

The object of 15 Minute Santa is to drive Santa around Seattle. As you navigate around the map of the city you earn points based on the density of the housing that you pass (the higher the density of people then the more presents you are delivering). Santa's sleigh only has so much fuel so you also need to occasionally refuel. You can do this by simply driving past a store on the map.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Brussels' Grand Canal Plan

The Brussels–Charleroi Canal runs through the city of Brussels for about 14km.This canal was once an essential part of the city's industrial infrastructure and was home to thousands of warehouses, factories and other businesses. However following the arrival of the automobile and the de-industrialization of the city in the second-half of the 20th Century the canal fell into disuse. Consequently many of the industrial businesses along the canal moved elsewhere or simply went out of business. 

Following de-industrialization the canal sides in Brussels became dominated by abandoned industrial buildings and brown-field sites. This fall in local employment in turn led to a deterioration in the local housing stock. So eventually the Brussels canal became synonymous not with industrial prosperity but with poor housing and low-income groups. 

Brussels however has a plan to revitalize and improve the neighborhoods on the Brussels-Charleroi Canal. The 'Canal Plan' includes a set of objectives to create new housing, attractive public spaces, and more economic activity on both sides of the canal. You can learn more about the specific development proposals in the Canal Plan in L'Echo's wonderful overview of the plan.

In Can the Canal Plan Relaunch Brussels? L'Echo uses maps, photos, drone imagery and 360 degree panoramic presentations to showcase some of the Canal Plan's visions for revitalizing Brussels. The newspaper's presentation includes an impressive satellite view fly-over of the canal. As you scroll through L'Echo's article a 3D satellite map of the city pans along the the canal, illustrating the prominent position that the canal occupies in Brussels. As the map pans around the city the accompanying scrolling text explains the Canal Plan's development proposals for each part of the city. 

L'Echo's article also includes a number of panoramic aerial views of the canal. These 360 degree drone images use map markers to provide a more detailed account of some of the Canal Plan's specific development ideas. Select one of these map markers and an information window will open with more information about how the area will develop and an artist's impression of the finished development.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Norwegian Election Maps


The Labor Party was the biggest winner in Monday's general election in Norway, bringing to an end the center-right government, led by Erna Solberg’s Conservative Party. Jonas Gahr Støre of the Labor Party will become Norway's next Prime Minister, if he can successfully negotiate a coalition of left-wing parties.

Aftenposten's 2021 Norway Election Map allows you to view the party which won the most votes in each electoral district. This map view colors each district to show the political party which won the most votes.Another map layer visualizes the degree to which each district voted for the left or the right. Under this view each district is colored to show the extent that they voted for left wing or right wing parties. Both of these map layers reveal that the south-western tip of the country is a stronghold of the right, while the rest of the country is very much behind the left-wing parties.

The Aftenposten election map also allows you to view a choropleth layer for each political party. Select a party from the drop-down menu and you can see the degree of support that party achieved in each electoral district. For example, if you select the Labor Party you can see that it performed less well in the south-west than it did in the rest of Norway. 

One of the biggest issues in this year's election was climate change and the future of Norway's oil industry. The oil industry makes up around 14% of Norway's GDP and is a major employer. However the election results suggest that there is an appetite to start moving away from oil. One factor that may hinder environmental progress is the fact that the Green Party failed to achieve 4% of the national vote. Parties that fail to get 4% do not qualify for equalization mandates. This means that the Green Party will have less seats in parliament and have less influence over the government.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Two Months of the Dixie Fire

The Dixie Fire has been raging for over two months and is now the second largest wildfire in California's history. Since the beginning of July the fire has destroyed more than a thousand homes and over $540 million has been spent on fighting the blaze.

To help readers visualize the sheer scale of the Dixie fire the Washington Post has created an animated map which shows the spread and reach of the fire over the course of the last two last months. The fire originally began on July 13 on Dixie Road in the Feather River Canyon near Cresta Dam. It has now burned through nearly 1 million acres of California. 

The Post's Anatomy of a Wildfire provides an impressive mapped chronology of the fire, showing both how the fire has spread over the last two months and an overview of the vast area affected by the fire.If you want to keep up-to-date with the current location of the Dixie Fire (or of any other wildfires currently burning in California) then you can also refer to the LA Times' California Wildfires Map. The LA Times map uses data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites and from Calfire to show the locations of all the current wildfires active in the state.

Denver's KKK Members

This is a map of Ku Klux Klan members living in Denver in the 1920s. The home addresses of these racists comes from two Ku Klux Klan membership books owned by History Colorado.

Around one third of white U.S. born men in Denver were members of the KKK During the 1920s. During that decade the party successfully infiltrated and took over Denver's power structures. In fact the Colorado governor, the mayor of Denver, the police chief, many judges and many state senators were all KKK members in the 1920s.

You can view the complete map of the addresses of Denver's KKK members on History Colorado's Ku Klux Klan Ledgers. The ledgers and the map of the members' home addresses reveal how much of Denver's white population was seduced by the racism of the KKK. The map makes clear that it wasn't just the city's power structures that were taken over by the KKK. The people that the KKK targeted and intimidated would encounter KKK members in just about every street, store, bank and local business.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Global Heating Predictions

Bread for the World has released an interactive map which visualizes estimated temperatures around the world by the end of this century. The map is based on climate change models developed by NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The August 28, 2100 interactive map shows the predicted maximum temperatures around the world in the year 2100. If you hover over the map you can also view a graph showing the global warming rise at that location over the course of 150 years from 1950 to 2100. The text above the graph announces the number of degrees that the temperature is estimated to rise at the selected location over that very short period of time. 

Another powerful method of visualizing global warming is through the use of warming stripes. You can get warming stripes for different regions and countries around the world (and for individual U.S. states) on ShowYourStripes. Select a region and then a country from the drop-down menu on ShowYourStripes and you can view and download an image showing how the temperatures have risen over the last 100+ years at your selected location.

Global warming stripes are able to visualize a complex issue with one simple and easy to understand image. The general progression from blue to redder stripes is both visually striking and very hard to dispute. The temperature data used for creating the stripes come from the Berkeley Earth temperature dataset and from a number of national meteorological agencies.

The Anti-Democracy Party

Urged on by Neo-Nazi Steve Bannon far-right extremists have begun a fifth column campaign to infiltrate the Republican Party and ultimately overturn American democracy. Since President Biden's election ProPublica has been tracking the rising number of far-right extremists enlisting as precinct officers. They are then signing-up as Republican nominees to be poll workers, with the ultimate aim of disrupting the democratic process and stopping fair elections in the United States.

In Election Deniers Organize to Seize Control of the GOP ProPublica has mapped out where there has been a sudden increase in low-level Republican Party officers across the country. Forty-one out of the 65 key counties that ProPublica surveyed have had an unusual increase in precinct officers. The interactive map in the article only shows the results of the counties surveyed. The 65 counties surveyed were identified by ProPublica as politically competitive and discussed as targets on Neo-Nazi websites and discussion boards. ProPublica didn't have the resources to survey all 3,000 counties. 

The influx of new far-right extremists into low-level roles in the Republican Party is just part of a wider concerted campaign to overturn democracy in the United States.ProPublica's article also reports on the surge in volunteers to become election judges, election inspectors and nominees to election boards. It is abundantly clear that the Republican Party is being infiltrated by far-right extremists and is becoming increasingly anti-Democratic. For example only yesterday Larry Elder refused to acknowledge that he would accept the result of the California recall election. This infiltration of the Republican Party by Neo-Nazis is obviously extremely worrying for the future of Democracy in the United States.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Mapping 9/11

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has released an impressive and graphic 3D map which recounts the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. The Attacks of 11 September 2001 commemorates the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack by providing a chronological account of the day's events in New York. 

As you scroll through the 'Attacks of 11 September 2001' article a 3D map of the World Trade Center and surrounding buildings rotates to give you an overview of this area of New York.As you continue scrolling an airplane enters the map before crashing into the North Tower. Scroll even further ahead and the clock progresses forward in time and another airplane enters the map and flies into the south tower.

The Corriere della Sera's account of 9/11 includes a 3D map of the pentagon. This map also features an animated plane crashing into the building. The Italian's newspaper's reconstructions of the 9/11 attacks are pretty graphic.I'm guessing most people already know what happened so it could be argued that the maps are a little superfluous. However the article also includes a 3D plan showing the internal construction of the Twin Towers and an explanation of why they collapsed (in Italian). The newspaper has also created an impressive 3D reconstruction of the Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center) which was built on the northwest corner of the World Trade Center.

The Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) was developed by the United Nations to provide a more comprehensive measure of a country's development than purely economic measures (such as the gross domestic product GDP). The HDI looks at health, education and living standards to measure the individual performance of countries and to provide a means to compare how development differs between the countries of the world.

You can view global 2019 HDI rankings on Global Data Lab's Human Development Indices interactive map. The map allows you to view the overall HDI score for sub-national regions around the world and individual scores in the health, education and living standards measures which are used to provide the overall score. The map also allows you to view the Gender Development Index which measures gender gaps in life expectancy, education, and living standards in individual countries. 

The Global Data Lab map shows HDI scores at the regional level. You can view the country level HDI scores on Wikipedia's List of countries by Human Development Index. Norway, Ireland and Switzerland (respectively) make up the top three countries in the 2019 HDI rankings. The USA, which tends to lead the world in most rankings of GDP, is 17th on the 2019 HDI list. This is a drop of three places since the 2015 rankings. Of the 189 countries on the list Niger has the worst ranking. The Central African Republic comes second to last. While Chad is the third worst country on the 2019 HDI list.