Thursday, July 28, 2016

Election Chartograms

The major winner in the last UK general election was the tiled grid map. My bet for this year's U.S. election is the 'chartogram'.

For example this week the Wall Street Journal has created an historical U.S. election map which represents each state as a bar chart showing the state winners in previous elections. A Field Guide to Red and Blue America is similar to a traditional tiled grid map, except dynamic bar charts have been used instead of colored grids. At the risk of butchering the English language I'm going to refer to this type of grid map as a 'chartogram'.

This isn't the first time that individual grids have been used to visualize historical election data. For example, after the Scottish Election in May, The Guardian used Sankey diagrams in a tiled grid map of Scotland to show the historical percentage of votes by each political party over previous elections in each electoral district.

Esri has also been experimenting with using different types of charts and graphs within individual tiled map grids to visualize U.S. election history data. US Election History is an interactive tiled grid map which visualizes the historical voting pattern of each state in a number of different ways.

My favorite view in this tiled grid map is the Waffle Grid, which presents the historical election data in each state with a series of small colored squares. Each square is colored red or blue to show how the state voted in previous US elections.

The Wall Street Journal is showing similar historical election data, only it is using bar charts rather than 'waffle grids'.

I have a feeling that we might be seeing quite a few of these types of tiled grid maps or chartograms in the next six months. If you want to create an interactive version of this type of map then it might be a good idea to start honing your d3.js skills and practice adding an SVG overlay pane to Leaflet maps.

The Impact of the Olympics on Rio

Esri has produced a great interactive presentation exploring Rio de Janeiro's preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games. Ready or Not, Let the Games Begins examines the impact on Rio, both positive and negative, of the infrastructure developments being made for the games and how these changes are affecting the city and its citizens.

The interactive is divided into five main sections looking at; the impact of construction projects, the displaced people living in the favelas, the spread of the Zika virus, pollution and security issues in the city.

Because the presentation is created by Esri many of these issues are, of course, illustrated with accompanying interactive maps. The interactive uses a story map format, so that as you scroll through the presentation the maps automatically update to illustrate the accompanying text. I particularly like how Map Swipe is used in some of the maps to automatically reveal and compare different base map layers.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Living Dead of Andorra

After looking at average heights around the world earlier today it seems like a good idea to look at the average life expectancy of different countries across the globe. Unfortunately this 3DFx Widget - Life Expectancy map is as bad as Le Pais' average height map is good.

It's hardly ever a good idea to try and visualize data on a 3d globe with vertical towers. It is in fact a really bad idea when the difference between the different values you want to show is very small. It is an even worse idea to then perpetually bounce your vertical bars up and down.

I defy anyone to accurately read the average life expectancy of a country on this 3d globe using the vertical towers on the map. I find it next to impossible to even judge which countries have taller towers than other countries.

Luckily this average life expectancy map does have a little table running along the bottom of the map showing the average life expectancy of countries in order (with Hong Kong having the highest). If I was 3DFx I would get rid of the 3d globe and just display this list.

I feel really sorry for anyone living in the last 16 countries in this list - including the Isle of Man, San Marino and Andorra. Apparently if you are from any of these countries you have a life expectancy of 0 and are therefore presumably dead.

BTW - it also took me an age to work out how to view the data on top of the 3d globe. You appear to need to click on the little globe icon in the top right-hand corner of the globe before the data is displayed.

Hat-tip: Google Street View World

NYC: Travel Time & Jobs

Eighteen of the top Twenty neighborhoods for job access in New York City are in Manhattan. If you live in Manhattan there are an average of 4,128,263 jobs accessible within one hour by public transit.

You can use the Rudin Center's NYC Neighborhoods: Mobility and Economic Opportunity interactive map to view the number of jobs available within one hour of travel in each of NYC's neighborhoods. If you select a neighborhood on the map you can view a basic isochrone layer showing the neighborhoods in range of 30, 45 and 60 minutes of travel on public transit.

You can also view details on the number of jobs accessible within 60 minutes of travel and the types of job (by industry). The information panel includes other details about the neighborhood, such as the population total, median income and the unemployment rate of the selected neighborhood.

The map reveals that neighborhoods with good transit links, such as those in Manhattan, are most likely to have the best access to jobs. Conversely neighborhoods with limited transit links (neighborhoods ranked 60-119 on the map) have higher unemployment rates than those neighborhoods with the best transit links.

You can read more about the findings of the mapped data in this Rudin Center report (pdf).

Height Mapping

El Pais has mapped out the average heights of men and women in countries around the world. The Average Height for Countries map reveals the average heights of 30 year old men and women across the globe. It also shows how much the average height of men and women has increased in each country over the last 100 years.

The map includes four different layers. which you can view by selecting the four buttons at the top of the map. The four layers show: the average height of men in 2014, the growth in average male height compared to 100 years ago, the average height of women in 2014 and the growth in average female height compared to 100 years ago.

According to the El Pais map the tallest men and women are in European countries. Women in South Korea have shown the biggest increase in average height over the last 100 years. For men the biggest increase in average height over the last 100 years has been in Iran.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Extract a Map

MapXtract is a really neat tool to style a map and then download it as a png, svg or GeoJSON. The MapExtract editor uses OpenStreetMap data so should work for any location in the world.

To use MapXtract you just need to pan and zoom the map to the location that you want for a map. A location search function is missing from MapXtract. This means that you need to find the location that you require for yourself on the map.

Once you have panned the map to the required location you can style the colors of map features using an easy to use color picker tool. MapXtract allows you to color roads, water features, natural features, buildings, the background layer and an admin layer.

Once you've picked your location and chosen your map colors you're done.  All you need to do now is choose to download your map as a png, svg of GeoJson file.

Google Maps Highlights Areas of Interest

Google has begun to highlight 'areas of interest' on Google Maps. According to the Google Maps Blog "areas with the highest concentration of restaurants, bars and shops" will now be shaded orange on Google Maps.

This is a neat idea. It should mean that when you are in an unfamiliar area you can quickly identify areas where there should be a concentration of venues for eating, drinking and shopping. However this feature is only as good as the data that Google has. For example near me Google Maps shades two blocks of apartments in orange and a concentration of factory warehouses (which would only be of interest to drivers of delivery vans).

When you zoom in on the orange shaded areas on Google Maps the labels for individual areas appear on the map. This does mean that in most cases you should be able to tell from the map labels whether an area really does have bars, shops and restaurants. When I zoom in on the little orange shaded industrial area near my location the map reveals that the businesses are called things like 'Construction Support' and 'Roofing Suppliers' which does alert me to the fact that this might not be the best place to go for sushi.

Mapping the History of Ska

Making the Waves: The Evolution of Ska maps the history of ska music from its origins in 1950's Jamaica through its 70's revival in the UK and on to its 'third wave' in the USA.

This EntertainMaps created map provides brief introductions to a number of ska musical artists in Jamaica, the UK and the USA. If you select the markers on the map you can read these introductions and watch a YouTube video of the band or performer.

I guess one of the dangers in making such a map is that you will always be criticized for who you've left off the map. I don't know much about the 'third wave' of ska in the USA but I do know that the Jamaica and UK areas of the map are not exactly exhaustive. The UK section, for example, only includes three ska bands. I've never been a huge fan of ska but even I can think of a number of UK and Jamaica ska bands and artists that seem conspicuous by their absence from the map.

Fans of 70's UK music might also like EntertainMaps' London's Burning map. London's Burning plots the origins of some of London's finest punk bands. It also allows you to listen to a song by each of the mapped bands.

This map used to include Mapbox's glorious Wheatpaste map tiles. The Wheatpaste map style was inspired by the cut & paste, collage style of music flyers & posters, popular with punk and new wave bands. It worked beautifully on a map about Punk music. Unfortunately London's Burning now seems to use a black & white version of Stamen's Watercolor map style.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Mapping the UT Tower Shooting

Fifty years ago Charles Whitman killed 14 people and wounded 32 others at the University of Texas. The Texas Standard has interviewed nearly 100 survivors of the UT Tower Shooting, including professors, students and reporters. You can listen to the interviews and view archival newspaper reports & photos about the shooting on the Texas Standard's new Tower History website.

Out of the Blue: 50 Years After the UT Tower Shooting features a prominent interactive campus map of the University of Texas at Austin. Using the map you can listen to eye witness accounts of the UT Tower Shooting. As well as the audio files many of the markers include textual reports and archival photos.

The map itself is a really nicely designed custom map of the campus site. It has been made interactive using the Leaflet.js mapping platform.

Mapping Cape Town's Townships

There are around 437 informal settlements, or townships, in Cape Town. Places where many Cape Town citizens are forced to live, without occupation rights or security of tenure. These informal settlements mostly have a high density of occupation and very poor sanitation.

Code for Africa has mapped out Cape Town's informal settlements and created a dashboard which allows you to explore issues such as occupation density, the age of each township and the sanitary conditions.

When the map first loads you have the option to follow the stories of two township citizens. These stories provide a personal insight into the living conditions in Cape Town's informal settlements. They also act as a tutorial guide to the map's features. As you progress through these two stories you are shown how to use the map's functions to explore the available township data.

If you select a township on the Struggle for Dignity map you can view data on the selected settlement under the map. This includes the township's name, age, number of households, household density and the number of toilets per household and the type of toilets available.

If you use the buttons at the top of the map you can browse a choropleth view of the number of households, temporary toilets and household density in each of the city's informal settlements.