Friday, March 27, 2015

There Are 3D Maps - Then There's Our Tam

Our Tam is an amazing WebGL powered 3d map of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. Using the map you can rotate around the mountain and zoom in and out on features with incredible speed. If you view the site in a non-WebGL browser the map degrades gracefully to a 2d Google Map.

The map features a number of markers which allow you to explore stories, photos and videos of the mountain left by other users. You can add your own stories, photos or videos about Mount Tamalpais by clicking on the map and selecting the 'Leave s Story' button.

Visit the New York of 1609

It's been a while since I last traveled back to the New York City of 1609. In the past I've always enjoyed my little trips to the forests and creeks of Mannahatta.

The last time I visited the Mannahatta Project you could view a map providing an imagined satellite view of how Manhattan Island might have looked back in 1609. Since that last trip to 1609 New York the project has been renamed the Welikia Project. The project also now lets you explore the natural landscape of New York's valleys, forests, fields, freshwater wetlands and salt marshes in more detail.

You can now click on any New York neighborhood on the Welikia Google Map to find out a little more about the area's ecology back in 1609. When you select a neighborhood on the map an information window opens providing information of the area's 1609 landscape, wildlife and indigenous population.

Berlin Development Plans in 3D

Last year Berliners had the chance to vote on plans to develop Tempelhofer Feld, the site of the old Templehof Airport. Before the vote the Berliner Morgenpost created a very nice 3d map of the development plans (the development plans were defeated so this visualization is a little out of date now but it still well worth a look).

The Berliner Morgenpost used ViziCities to create 3d map of Tempelhofer Feld and how the site might be developed. Was Wo Gebaut Werden Sol mapped the planned areas of development within Templehofer Feld. The map menu allows you to view the various sites with the park. When you select a site from the menu the map provides a really neat 3d pan from your current viewpoint to the selected location.

The map uses WebGL for the 3d fly overs of the park. However the map also degrades well on non-WebGL enabled browsers. If you view the map on a non-WebGL enabled browser you miss out on the 3d flyovers of the park but you still get to see each location on the map.

Mapping Independent Film Events

Screening Film is a Google Map of independent film events in the UK. The map can be used by organizers to list independent film screenings & events and by film fans to find independent films showing at venues nearby.

Users can filter the events on the map by date (this week, next week, this month & next month) and by genre of film. If you select a venue on the map the details of the upcoming independent film event are listed in the map side-panel. These include a short description of the film or event, the address of the venue and the screening times.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Your Invite to the Turf Party

If you haven't started playing with Turf.js yet I can only assume that it's because your invitation somehow got lost in the post. Let's remedy that now:

This is your formal invitation to the Turf Party. No RSVP necessary.

Turf is an incredibly powerful JavaScript library for performing many common GIS operations in the browser. Turf.jsParty is a great online editor which allows you to play around and learn turf in your browser without having to set up the boilerplate code.

Turf,jsParty consists of two main sections, an editor and a Leaflet map. The editor allows you to choose from a number of common turf operations. You can edit and play around with the examples in the editor and view your edits directly on the Leaflet map. Of course you don't have to use the provided examples and can test your own turf operations by entering them directly into the editor.

While attending the Turf Party you might find it handy to also have a look at the Turf API Documentation.

Update: turf,jsparty now includes the option to view the Turf API Documentation directly from the editor. While exploring the many examples in the editor you can now highlight a line containing a Turf function and press the 'Quick Docs' button. This will open the relevant API documentation for the selected function right next to the editor.

Rising Rents in Boston Mapped.

Ungentry has released a nice visualization of rising rents in Boston. Ungentry are a volunteer group using creative technology to solve civic and social problems. One of their main concerns is examining the negative effects of gentrification.

By using three synchronized Leaflet maps side-by-side Ungentry has created an effective tool for comparing Boston housing, income and demographic data from the last three US censuses. The initial map view shows the average cost of renting in Boston neighborhoods. You can explore visualizations of other census data-sets on the maps by selecting an option from the three categorized drop-down menus.

Tracking Shell in the Arctic

The oil company Shell have neither drilling permits nor any other regulatory approvals to drill in the Chukchi Sea, north of Alaska. Despite this Shell is sailing the drillship Noble Discoverer and the Polar Pioneer, a Transocean semi-submersible drilling rig, towards the Alaskan Arctic.

Greenpeace are doing everything they can to highlight the actions of Shell. This includes tailing Shell's drilling fleet on its journey to the Arctic. You can follow the Greenpeace ship Esperanza in near real-time as it tails Shell's drilling ships on its website Save the Arctic - The Crossing.

The Save the Arctic's Google Map shows the live position of the Esperanza (currently in the Pacific Ocean). The map includes a live stream of Twitter updates from the Esperanza's crew of six. It also includes a track of the Greenpeace Ship's journey so far and photos and videos from its mission.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Maps of Saturday Night Live

SNL40 is possibly not the most useful map of the week but it is kind of fun. Inspired By Saturday Night Live's 'Weekend Update' SNL40 allows you to view a number of different TileMill created map styles behind your favorite Saturday Night Live comedians.

Change the channel on the TV to flick through the different map styles and presenters. There are six maps in total. If this format of map presentation really grabs you then you can also fork the project on Github.

Mapping Vancouver Energy

The Energy Explorer is a set of tools for exploring community energy use in Vancouver. The site aims to encourage a vision of a more sustainable city through the use of renewable energy resources. As part of this aim the Energy Explorer includes two interactive maps visualizing the city's current energy use and its potential for renewable energy resources.

The Home Energy Map provides a visualization of current energy use by Vancouver households. Building footprints on the map are colored to show their estimated energy usage based on the age of the building and its size. Vancouver citizens can therefore use the map to see how much energy they use and compare it to the estimated energy usage of their neighbors.

The Renewable Energy Map provides a visualization of the potential of different types of renewable energy resources in Metro Vancouver. The map includes layers to explore the potential for solar power, wind energy, hydro power and heat recovery.

Each of the map layers also allows you to select individual districts on the map to view the current energy demand in each area.

80 Million Bolts of Lightning

A Month of Lightning is an interactive map of all 80,305,421 lightning strikes that occurred across the globe in May 2013.

Mapping 80 million data points on a digital map is not an easy task. However when Mapbox's Eric Fischer created the Most Detailed Tweet Map Ever he also built & released an open sourced tool called Tippercanoe for making vector tiles from large data sets.

Jordan Rousseau was able to use Tippercanoe to process the May 2013 lightning data from Weather Decision Technologies. The result is this impressive Mapbox map which allows you to view over 80 million global lightning strikes from just one month.

You can read more about how the map was made in Jordan's blog post, Visualizing a Month of Lightning.

If you want to see where lightning is striking right now then you can also check out these two real-time lightning maps.

LighteningMaps is a live Google Map of lightning strikes across the globe. Animated flashing circles light-up on the map to record each lightning strike so it is easy to see where in the world electrical storms are occurring right now. works with a community of users, who have built their own lightning receivers, to automatically display live lightning data on a Google Map. includes instructions on how you can build your own lightning monitor and also includes instructions on how you can build your own Google Map based on the data received from a lightning monitor.

If you can't be bothered to build your own lightning box you can always just check out Blitzortung's live Google Map of lightning strikes.