Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Political Donations in the Midterm Elections

Money for California's congressional candidates in the midterm elections came from all over the USA. The Mercury News has mapped out every city where the Democratic or Republican candidates raised at least $10,000 in the seven congressional seats flipped by the Democrats in November.

The interactive map in From Moscow (Idaho) to Jupiter (Florida), follow the money that flowed into California’s high-stakes congressional races the newspaper visualizes how much money was raised by congressional candidates and where that money came from. The map uses colored scaled markers to show the amount of money raised and for which party. You can also click on the individual markers to see how much money was donated to each party and the percentage difference in the money donated to each party.

73% of the total money given to House candidates in the 2018 midterm elections came from outside each candidate's district. You can now find out where each candidate's contributions came from on this interactive map from Axios.

Axios' map Outside Money Floods House Campaigns allows you to see where every House candidate's money comes from. If you select a candidate's name from the drop-down menu you can view a map of the USA which includes flow-lines showing all the money flowing into the candidate's election campaign. The flow-lines on the map are also colored to show where each donation comes from. The blue lines show donations which have come from within the candidate's district. The green lines show money that has been donated from within state and the grey lines show all the donations coming from other states.

The total money donated to the candidate is shown above the map. This total is also broken down to show the percentage that came from within the candidate's district, the percentage from within the candidate's state and the percentage that came from the rest of the USA.

Mapping the Ebola Outbreak

In the last six months there have been 600 cases of Ebola in the Congo and there have been over 400 deaths. It is now the second largest outbreak of the deadly disease in Africa.

Reuters has used the story map format to tell the story of the disease from its discovery near the Ebola river in 1976 to the current time. In Africa, a Virus Spreads Reuters shows where major outbreaks of the disease have occurred. It also examines some of the similarities in these locations. For example Ebola outbreaks often start in "areas near to dense, equatorial forests, which make a natural home for the virus".

Ebola can be spread by bats, monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas. Reuters maps out the range of these species in central Africa. It goes on to show how these areas can be used to predict the likely areas where the Ebola virus might appear.

The World Health Organization records the latest figures on the number of cases and the number of deaths from Ebola on its Ebola Situation site. The WHO's technical and general information on Ebola can be accessed here.

Brexit & the Irish Border

One of the major considerations in the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK is the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is the only land border between the UK and the EU. When free movement and free trade between the EU and the UK ends there may need to be a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The 1998 Belfast Agreement ended the Troubles in Northern Ireland and removed the hard border. The worry is that a return to a hard border would destabilize the Belfast Agreement and could even reignite anger and violence. If anyone is in any doubt about the level of violence experienced along the old hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland they should check out the Irish Times' Explore the Border interactive map.

Explore the Border maps a sample of just some of the border incidents experienced during the Troubles. Click on a marker on the map and you are taken to one of the old crossings along the border. The map sidebar reports on any major violent incidents which occurred at this crossing. The number of bombings, shootings and arson attacks are also listed.

Explore the Border also shows Google Street View images of each mapped crossing on the border. This allows you to explore the border for yourself and highlights how a hard border would not only be difficult to implement but would be an ugly scar on a very beautiful country.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Mapping Austin's Dockless Journeys

The Austin Transportation Department has released the city's Dockless Vehicle Trips dataset. This data records where and when the city's dockless bikes and scooters are used. The data is updated everyday and includes records of more than two million dockless trips.

You can access and use the data yourself using the Austin Dockless API. You can also access and explore the data using the Dockless Data Explorer interactive map. Using the map you can explore  dockless travel patterns in the city. If you place a point on the map you can view the number of dockless journeys that have taken place to and from that location. Shaded hexagons on the map show where trips from that area ended or, if you switch to view where trips started, the hexagons show where trips to that area started.

You can access more information about dockless bike and scooter trips in Austin using the Dockless Mobility Overview dashboard. The Dockless Mobility Overview provides month by month summary statistics, providing information on the total number of trips made using the city's bikes and scooters and the total number of miles traveled.

Modeling Crisis Migration Routes

Visual Perspective has developed a model which uses different factors to predict the likely migration routes people might take away from an area in a time of crisis. To explain its model and how the model works Visual Perspective has released an interactive map which provides a demonstration of the model in action in the Yemeni city of Dhama.

In Predicting Migration in Response to Crisis Visual Perspective uses a story map format to demonstrate its migration prediction model. This demonstration starts with a fairly blank map of the region around Dhama. Variables that play a role in the routes that migrates might take to escape a crisis in the city are then added to the map in turn. These include elements such as elevation, roads, administrative boundaries and unstable areas.

When all these layers have been added to the map Visual Perspective runs its model and visualizes the probable migration routes that the model predicts. Visual Perspective also allows users to set their own values to the different variables and see how these changes affect the predicted migration routes on the map. I have no idea about the accuracy of the migration prediction model developed by Visualizing Perspective but this interactive map provides a superb explanation of how the model works.

How Will Your MP Vote on May's Deal?

Today MP's in the UK parliament will finally have a 'meaningful vote' on the European Union Withdrawal Agreement, commonly known as 'May's Deal'. If the MP's vote against the deal it will have serious consequences for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

What those serious consequences will be are uncertain. If the Prime Minister, Theresa May, loses the vote she will then have just three days to present a 'plan B' to Parliament. It is also likely that the opposition Labour Party will call for a 'no confidence' vote in the Conservative government and try to force a new national election. Some Conservative MP's will undoubtedly push for a 'Hard Brexit'. Other MP's will also propose a new national referendum on leaving the EU and some MP's will push for postponing the March 29th date for the UK leaving the EU.

If you want to know where your Member of Parliament stands on 'May's Deal' then you can refer to Flavible's interactive map May's Deal. On the map each parliamentary constituency is colored according to how the Member of Parliament intends to vote on May's Deal. If you hover over a constituency you can view the MP's name, how they intend to vote and their preferred policy (from Hard Brexit, May's Deal, Labour Policy or People's Vote). You can also switch the map view to see each constituency colored to show the MPs' preferred policy.

Note: I can't find any explanation for how Flavible determines each MP's preferred policy and support for May's Deal. From my limited knowledge of UK politics and MPs' expressed views the map seems fairly accurate. Obviously some MP's are likely to change their position today under pressure from the whips (or their consciences).

Monday, January 14, 2019

100 Years of Californian Wildfires

In the last 123 years the equivalent of 33.8% of California has burned in wildfires. The Huffington Post has used data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Fire and Resource Assessment Program to map out more than a century of California wildfires.

This Is What More Than A Century Of Wildfires In California Looks Like includes an interactive map which visualizes the scale of damage caused to California by wildfires over the years. The map shows how 40% of the total acreage burnt in the last 123 years has actually occurred in just the last 20 years. Using a story map format the visualization continues to show the size of California's three largest fires. All of California's top three largest fires have taken place this century.

The largest Californian wildfire in the last 123 years occurred in 2018. In 2018 nearly 20,000 homes in California were lost and more than 100 people were killed by wildfires. According to analysis by the LA Times one in ten buildings in California are in the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's highest-risk fire zones.

In A million California buildings face wildfire risk the LA Times has created a series of hexagon density maps showing the concentration of buildings in severe fire hazard zones. This series starts with a map showing the areas in California with the largest concentration of endangered homes. It continues with individual maps showing the areas with the largest concentration of fire risk buildings in and around Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The LA Times article also has an interactive map which shows the location of every one of California's 8,900 very severe hazard zones. The LA Times says that the total number of at risk homes in California is likely to be more than 114,000.

White Supremacist Flyering in the US

For a number of years the Southern Poverty Law Center's interactive Hate Map has tracked the growing number of hate groups operating in the United States. Now the SPLC has also mapped out where white supremacists have been flying banners or posting flyers in the United States. The Map of White Supremacist Flyering in the U.S. provides an overview of the number of white supremacist flyering in each state and the precise locations where these flyers have been posted.

When zoomed out the map shows the number of flyers posted by different extreme right-wing groups in each state. It is important to note that this view has not been normalized for each state's population. The map just shows the total number of flyers posted and banners flown in each state. If you use the filter controls you can see where Identity Evropa, the Patriot Front and the Ku Klux Klan have been active. These filters reveal that the Patriot Front is particularly active in Texas, while the Ku Klux Klan has been very active in many north-eastern states.

If you zoom in on the map you can identify specific locations where flyers and banners have been posted. If you click on an individual state you can also view a chronological summary of flyering in that state. This view allows you to see how flyering rose or fell in the state over the course of 2018.

The Anti-Defamation League also has an interactive Hate Crime Map. The ADL has used data from the Justice Department from 2004-2017 to map the number of hate crimes reported in all cities with a population over 100,000.

Mapping America's Protected Land

Around 14% of land in the United States is protected. This includes more than three billion acres of land managed by nearly 15,100 agencies and nongovernmental organizations, consisting of 200,000 separate parks and protected areas.

The Protected Lands Database of the U.S. (PAD-US) records all land areas which are held in public trust in the United States. This includes public lands managed by government agencies, preserves owned by nonprofits or private lands protected by conservation easement. This database of protected land is maintained and published by the U.S. Geological Survey. has used the PAD-US to create an interactive map of America's public land. On the map protected land is color-coded by management type. Federal protected land makes up the majority of protected land in the USA. However the map also shows protected land which is managed by the state or local government, native Americans, and non-government agencies. If you click on an area of protected land on the map you can view its name, designation and size in acres. also allows you to generate reports at the state, county or city level. For example, if you select a state on the map you can view a report showing the size of the state, the size of all protected lands and what percentage of the state is protected. The report outlines the number of acres of each management type of protected land in the state and the percentages of each type.

The USGS's own interactive map the Protected Areas Viewer also allows you to explore protected lands in the USA.

Who Owns England - Part III

For the last two years Who Owns England has been diligently trying to discover who owns what land in England, Scotland and Wales. This is quite hard because the UK government doesn't want its citizens to know who owns their country. This task is also complicated by the fact that 15% of land in England & Wales is unregistered.

That is why Who Owns England has now released Where is the Unregistered Land. This interactive map shows where land in England and Wales is not registered with the government's Land Registry. Who Owns England has also published a blog post, The Holes in the Map, where they explain why so much land is unregistered in England & Wales. This post also attempts to explain who might own some of this land and why it is so important to know who land is owned by.

While we are on the subject of who owns England and Wales - last year the BBC discovered that 97,000 properties in England and Wales are owned by overseas companies. In Firms on Caribbean island chain own 23,000 UK properties the BBC has mapped all the properties in England & Wales which are owned by these overseas companies.

The map reveals that in central London a huge percentage of properties are now owned by overseas firms. For example in Kensington and Chelsea more than 6,000 properties are owned by companies registered overseas. If you want to know who owns a property you can click on the map marker to reveal the name of the company and the country of the owner.