Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Viva Street View Vegas


Google's indoor Street View imagery allows you to explore some wonderfully exotic locations around the world. On Google Maps you can take a virtual stroll down Harry Potter's Diagon Alley, check out the TARDIS (it's bigger on the inside) or explore inside a submarine.

Naturally some of the most exotic indoor locations to appear on Street View are located in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has taken advantage of this fact to create an entertaining virtual tour of some of the best indoor Street View imagery available on Google Maps from the 'entertainment capital of the the world'.

GeoVegas includes a number of curated tours inside Las Vegas hotels, restaurants and other venues. There are five tours in total, each of which allows you to explore a number of featured venues using Street View. There is also the option to 'Explore on Your Own', which allows you to search for Las Vegas venues by category, including restaurants, bars, shows, hotels and attractions.

The Paris Map of Desire


The Map of Desire is a real-time map of Paris shoppers based on Twitter activity in the French capital. The creators of the map claim that it uses machine-learning to track the location and level of desire among Parisienne shoppers in real-time.

I'm not sure how much 'machine-learning' is actually taking place. What the map does is search geo-tagged Twitter messages posted in Paris for a number of key-words associated with shopping and desire (e.g. 'want', 'need'). Tweets saying that someone has bought something are shown on the map with orange markers and desires are shown in pink (looking at the code for the map I think the white markers show when someone swears on Twitter in Paris).

As with all these real-time Twitter maps the map is only showing a small subsection of the general population (Twitter users who share their location). However, if this is the demographic which retailers and advertisers actually want to target, then I guess this kind of real-time Twitter map could be useful. At the very least it is an interesting visualization of Twitter activity in Paris.

Monday, September 29, 2014

US Carbon Footprint Map


It seems to be Save the Planet day on Maps Mania. All the best maps today seem to be concerned with raising awareness about global emissions and our carbon footprint. My guess is that last week's UN climate change summit in New York has led to a rise in the global output of environment maps.

Today we've already looked at the Changing Global Emissions Map and the Changing Global Emissions Map, two maps which visualize CO2 emissions around the world. Now the Cool Climate Network has released a Carbon Footprint Map of the USA.

The Carbon Footprint Map visualizes the average annual household carbon footprint of zip code areas in the United States. On first glance my thoughts were that this heat-map of zip code carbon footprints closely resembled a population density map. This would kind of make sense, assuming that the more people there are in an area then the larger the carbon footprint.

On a second look however you can clearly see that the map doesn't actually mirror population density for the whole of the US. In fact northern zip code areas have a far larger carbon footprint, on average, than those in the south. Again this makes sense if you assume colder areas will require a larger carbon footprint due to an increased need to burn fuel to keep warm.

However, as the authors observe, there is also a clear pattern in large cities, which shows that those living in the center of cities have a lower household carbon footprint than those living in city suburbs. It does appear that city slickers are greener than their suburbanite neighbors.

Putting Global CO2 Emissions on the Map


Earlier today we reported on the Changing Global Emissions Map, which animates carbon dioxide emissions by country over the last 160 years. The Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System (FFDAS) has also just released a Google Map visualizing global CO2 emissions.

The FFDAS Map displays estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, across the world, for the years 1997 to 2010. The map allows you to view global heat-map layers for any of the 14 years, You can also view carbon dioxide emission layers for domestic and international aviation and shipping.

The map not only visualizes the global estimates of CO2 emissions but also allows you to download the FFDAS data for any of the calculated years and for any region of the world. You can use the data retrieval tools to download the data for the whole world, for any country or you can use a polygon drawing tool to download the data for a custom drawn area of the map.

Global Carbon Emissions on Google Maps


The World Resources Institute has used the Google Maps API to create an animated map which visualizes carbon dioxide emissions by country over the last 160 years.

The Changing Global Emissions Map uses scaled circular markers to show the carbon emissions of each country around the world. If you hover over the circles you can view the exact figure for each country, measured in millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide.

If you use the timeline beneath the map you can view an animation of the growth of carbon dioxide emissions over time. The timeline shows that a few western countries have managed to stabilize and actually manage to slightly reduce their emissions over the last few years. Unfortunately these reductions pale into insignificance compared to the huge growth in carbon emissions in the developing world.

Before the west gets too holier than thou about the developing world it is worth checking out the other map on the World Resources Institute website. This map shows the per capita carbon dioxide emissions of countries around the world. This map shows for example that while China's carbon emissions now dwarfs that of the USA its per capita emissions are still well under half of the per capita emissions of the United States.

Via: Visual Loop

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Maps of the Week


If you love music and maps then you will love the dancing maps of Rack City. Just share your location with Rack City and you can listen to you favorite tracks from SoundCloud while watching the map of your location dance along to the track.

The application uses data from OpenStreetMap to show a basic map of your location, including roads and buildings. The buildings on the maps are actually dynamic animated audio visualizers that pulse to the beats of your chosen song.

If you don't like the map of your chosen location you can select the location menu (in the bottom right-hand corner) and switch to another city location (currently New York, Tokyo, London or Chicago).


Ubisoft has released a Street View tour of Paris in order to promote the Parisian based Assassin's Creed Unity. Project Widow takes you on a night-time tour of modern day Paris. As you tour the Street Views of modern day Paris you can click on markers to learn about the causes of the French Revolution.

Project Widow will take you on a virtual tour of present day Paris. The tour is very similar to the recent Google Night Walk, a narrated Street View tour of Marseilles at night and I suspect that Google Creative Lab also helped create this new night-time tour of Paris.

As you walk around the modern day Paris at night in Project Widow you can actually find yourself suddenly transported to the game of Assassin Creed Widow. So far I've found one Street View panorama which seems to be taken from the game (screenshot above). I'm sure if you explore Project Widow yourself you will find more panoramas taken from the game.


Japan’s population is aging and declining. Japanese people are living longer and having fewer children and later in life. By 2060 the Japanese government are predicting that over half the population will be over 65.

This Japanese Population Map visualizes the 2040 population predictions for every Japanese prefecture. Using the map you can explore the population predictions for the number of young females and a breakdown of the overall population by age group.

Prefectures that are predicted to grow in population are shown in green and prefectures that are expected to decline are shown in red. If you zoom out on the map you can see that the population is expected to decline across nearly the whole country.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lead Poison on Google Maps


The factories which once pumped dangerous lead and other toxic metal particles into American skies may have all been closed down but little has been done to clean-up the poisonous lead particles in the ground. The smelting factories may be gone but the dangers live on.

The USA Today's award winning Ghost Factories is an interactive investigatory report examining the neighborhoods and families living in the shadows of ex-iron smelting factories. As part of the investigation USA Today interviewed families living near or even built on the old factory sites and tested the soil for poisonous lead particles.

Part of the interactive Ghost Families report includes a Google Map of more than 250 former factory sites. You can explore the map to see if you live near one of these former sites. You can also use the map to explore the sites that the USA Today tested for dangerous levels of lead and read and watch the interviews that were carried out with the local residents.

Weasel Tracking on Google Maps


This week JSTOR Daily published a really interesting article exploring how and why a number of animal species in North America are flourishing by adapting to living in urban environments. Included in the article is a map tracking a Fisher weasel, named Phineas, over five days.

Phineas lives in the suburbs of Albany, New York and was given a GPS collars so that scientists could track his movements. Phineas the Fisher's Work Week is a Google Map showing Phineas' movements over five nights.

The track for each night is given a different color on the map so that you can see Phineas' movements for each night of the week. If you hover over the small circles on the tracks you can find out about some of the significant moments in Phineas' week. For example, after crossing a busy road one night, Phineas became stuck in a small wooded area until he found a drainage pipe which allowed him to cross safely back under the road.

You might also like:

A Day in the Life of Winslow Homer - a day in the life of a Capuchin monkey.
The Secret Life of Cats - tracking domestic cats in a Surrey village
LifeWatch - tracking the daily flights of Eric the seagull

Friday, September 26, 2014

Beautiful WebGL Globes

WebGL Globes are a fantastic way to visualize all kinds of global and astronomical data, from Earth weather to orbiting satellites and space debris. A couple of years ago the Google Data Arts team released the WebGL Globe as an open platform for geographic data visualization and since then we have seen some great examples of data visualizations built open this 3d globe code.


Orbital Objects uses the WebGL Globe code to show the position of active and inactive satellites and space debris orbiting the Earth. Active satellites are displayed in green, inactive satellites in grey and the red points show space debris.


The WebGL Weather Globe uses the WebGL Globe to display current weather conditions around the world. The weather data is very basic and I don't think the cloud imagery is real-time. However the sun icons do provide a basic indication of weather across the globe.


Visualizing Meteorites across Spatial & Temporal Attributes is another neat example of the WebGL Globe in action. This globe shows meteorite collisions with the Earth by decade. You can select to view a decade using the timeline at the top of the page.

The mass of each meteorite is represented by the size of the cylindrical projection and the color of the projection indicates the meteorite type.


Of course globes don't have to just visualize the Earth. How about Earth & Mars, Mars on its own, or the Earth and Moon.

If you want to see more - Google has linked to 36 of these WebGL Globe experiments on the Chrome Experiments website.

Assassin's Creed on Street View


Last month a a Street View tour of Mars, Venus and the Moon was unleashed to promote the release of the upcoming, online multiplayer first-person shooter video game 'Destiny'. The Destiny Planet View Street View tour allows you to explore and preview the game world of Destiny using interactive panoramas powered by Google Maps Street View.

Ubisoft has now entered similar territory by releasing a Street View tour of Paris in order to promote the Parisian based Assassin's Creed Unity. Project Widow takes you on a night-time tour of modern day Paris. As you tour the Street Views of modern day Paris you can click on markers to learn about the causes of the French Revolution.

Whereas the Destiny Planet View promotion provided a tour of the Destiny game world, allowing you to preview the graphics of the game, Project Widow is more of a tour of present day Paris. The tour is in fact more similar to the recent Google Night Walk, a narrated Street View tour of Marseilles at night.

However as you walk around the modern day Paris at night in Project Widow you can actually find yourself suddenly transported to the game of Assassin Creed Widow. So far I've found one Street View panorama which seems to be taken from the game (screenshot above). I'm sure if you explore Project Widow yourself you will find more panoramas taken from the game.

Hat-tip: Google Street View World