Saturday, July 20, 2019

Prepare for Killer Heat

Since the 1960's the United States has been seeing a gradual rise in the number of days when the temperature reaches extreme levels. Locations across the country have witnessed more intense and longer lasting heat waves than in the past. A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days (2019), says that the number of days of extreme, dangerous heat are going to significantly increase even more during the 21st century.

In ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades National Geographic has used the study to map out which areas are going to see the highest increase in the number of days of extreme heat. The map is colored to show the predicted increase in the number of days per year which will experience dangerously high temperatures. The map shows that the Central Lowlands and Coastal & Staked Plains will see some of the biggest increases in extreme heat. These location won't necessarily see the most days of extreme heat, just the biggest increase of days of extreme heat. Florida and Texas will actually be among the most dangerous states to live. For at least five months of the year (on average) Florida and Texas will see the heat index exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you want to know how many days of extreme heat you can look forward to then you can explore the Union of Concerned Scientists' interactive map Killer Heat in the United States. This map shows how global heating will effect every county in the contiguous United States. It includes choropleth maps showing the predicted number of extreme days which can be expected in each county by 2050 and 2100. It visualizes the predicted number of days of extreme heat for four different heat index thresholds: above 90°F, above 100°F, above 105°F, and “off the charts.” (Off-the-charts days are so extreme they exceed the upper limits of the National Weather Service heat index scale)

If you wish to know how to cope with extreme heat then the Union of Concerned Scientists' 5 Great Public Health Resources for Dealing With Extreme Heat should help. This article explains how to spot the signs of heat-related illness and how to stay safe during an extreme heat event.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Autocomplete - Cities Edition

I've updated the Autocomplete Map so that it now also shows what Google thinks of American cities. On this interactive map country, state and American city place-name labels have been changed to show Google's autocomplete suggestions when you type "(city name) is ....". For example when you type "New York is ... " into Google the search engine suggests "New York is Killing Me".

Google autocomplete suggestions have a strong dislike for a lot of U.S. cities. According to Google lots of cities are dumps, boring, ruined, dangerous or a ghetto. But you shouldn't blame Google. Google's autocomplete suggestions are based on the previous searches by other users. In other words the autocomplete suggestions are what most users type into Google when searching for those cities.

Google autocomplete makes lots of weird and surreal suggestions. According to Google 'Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler's List' (a collection of short stories by Michael Martone), 'Albany is Eggscellent' (apparently from a t-shirt slogan), 'San Diego is Spanish for Whales' (a misquote from the movie Anchorman - "they named it San Diego, which of course in German means ‘a whale’s vagina"), and 'Madison is Banquo' (from a line in a song from the musical Hamilton).

Methodology: The autocomplete suggestions used on the map are based on searching Google in England. You may get other suggestions depending on which country you search from. I have tried to use the top autocomplete suggestion for each city - except where the suggestions are too repetitive (for example '(city name) is a dump' appears as the first suggestion for many, many cities). I may also have ignored the top autocomplete suggestion when another suggestion was more interesting. If a city is missing from the map then it is probably because Google had no interesting autocomplete suggestions for that city.

The Poetry Sounds Map

Italian poet and sound artist Giovanna Iorio has created an interactive map of poetry recordings from around the world, spoken in each writer's native language. The Poetry Sounds Library allows you to both listen to poets' voices and see where those poets come from.

If you click on a marker on the map you can listen to an actual recording of the poem read by the poet. On the map the yellow markers indicate poems by living poets, while the blue markers show poems by poets who are no longer living.

Among the non-living artists is an 1890 recording by Thomas Edison of Alfred Lord Tennyson reading his poem, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. The Poetry Sounds Library map also includes an even earlier recording made by the English poet Robert Browning (made in 1899). In this recording Browning begins to recite from his poem 'How they Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix'. However, near the end of the first stanza, Browning apologizes and says "I can't remember my own verses".

If you are interested in discovering poetry which is actually about different locations across the world then you should refer to the Poetry Atlas. The Poetry Atlas is an interactive map of poems which have been written about specific places around the globe.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Europe's Boom & Bust

Zeit has published an interactive map which shows which areas in Europe are becoming more popular and which areas people are leaving. Zeit's The Commuter Belt Effect map visualizes population growth and loss from 2011-2017.

The orange/red areas on Zeit's maps are the areas which have seen a growth in population over the last six years. The blue areas have seen a fall in their population during the same period. Spain, Portugal, Latvia and Lithuania seem to be countries which have seen some of the most widespread falls in populations. Many areas of the former East Germany, aside from Berlin, have also seen a fall in population.

On Zeit's map Europe's Blue Banana shows up as a more appropriate yellow-orange color. The Blue Banana is an area which stretches from northern England through the Benelux countries & Germany and down to northern Italy. This area has traditionally (since the industrial revolution) been an area of very high population density and urbanization. It is interesting to note that on Zeit's map most of the Blue Banana is still seeing population growth. Only its southern tip, in Italy, seems to be experiencing a fall in population.

Zeit point to a 'commuter belt' effect across the whole of Europe. The outer suburbs of cities across the continent are experiencing a growth in population. At the same time many rural areas across Europe are seeing a decline in their populations. This commuter belt effect can even be seen in countries which, like Spain and Portugal, have seen a large overall decline. Even in these countries cities, such as Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona, are seeing population growth, particularly in their suburbs.

The First Men on the Moon

Neil & Buzz is a super scrolly-telling account of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's first two hour walk on the moon. As you scroll through Neil & Buzz you can follow the conversations between the astronauts and mission control using the transcripts from the original transmission log. A small inset map shows the Lunar Module and the positions of  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they move around during their moon walk. Make sure to hover over the small inset illustrations which appear on top of this map to view actual footage from the Apollo mission.

Apollo 11 was just the first lunar mission to land astronauts on the moon. In the few years following the landing of Apollo 11 a number of other Apollo missions successfully landed astronauts on the moon. Esri's History of the Lunar Landings is a 3D interactive globe of the moon, which shows the locations of all the Apollo landing sites. If you click on the markers on this map you can learn a little more about each of the Apollo missions to the moon.

Google Earth has also released an interactive tour which explores the history of the Apollo 11 mission. Apollo 11: Countdown to Launch is a short tour of some of the important developments which led to the first astronauts walking on the moon. This tour keeps its feet firmly on Earth but it does allow you to explore some of the locations essential to the Apollo 11 mission, including Mission Control in Houston, the launchpad in Cape Canaveral (which you can tour in Street View) and the splash-down location in the Pacific ocean, where the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on their return to Earth.

National Geographic has also been exploring the history of lunar space mission. It has created a new map of the moon and has used it to plot the history of lunar exploration. In Explore 50 Years of Lunar Visits National Geographic has plotted out all the manned and unmanned landings on the moon. The map includes a timeline of all the missions to the moon since Russia's Luna 2 space probe landed on September 14th, 1959. The map itself shows where all the lunar missions have landed on the moon. The vast majority of these landed on the near side of the moon. Only 8 lunar missions have so far landed or orbited on the far side of the moon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji

Katsushika Hokusai's 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa' is one of the most iconic pictures of all time. His famous woodblock print is just one of a series of prints of Mount Fuji from 'Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji'. In these prints Hokusai depicts Mount Fuji from many different locations and at different times of the year.

You can now place yourself in Hokusai's geta clogs using the Views of Mount Fuji interactive map. This map overlays seven of Hokusai's prints of Mount Fuji on top of the actual view as seen in ArcGIS Scene Viewer. The seven prints in Views of Mount Fuji includes The Great Wave of Kanagwa. It also includes the print 'Fine Wind, Clear Morning', which can be seen in the screen-grab above (also known as 'South Wind, Clear Sky' and 'Red Fuji').

Hokusai belonged to the school of ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) artists. Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th century through to the 19th century. Hokusai was one of the finest artists of the genre. Perhaps the only other ukiyo-e artist to rival Hokusai was Utagawa Hiroshige. Hiroshige is probably most well-known for his series of woodcut prints, such as The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo and Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces.

You can view some of the views from these three series of prints on the Ukiyo-e Map. This interactive map has placed each Hiroshige print on the actual location depicted in Hiroshige's landscapes. If you select a marker on the map the image will open in a new tab or window. It is a shame that the images don't open in their own information window on this map. However Hiroshige's brilliance makes it worth the effort of switching between different tabs in your browser.

Where People Buy Groceries Online

According to CBRE nearly half of of all Americans now shop for packaged groceries online. They also claim that the number of consumers buying groceries online is expected to rise to 70% in the next few years. CBRE's estimations could be a little high. For example, Business Insider say that "only 10% of US consumers ... regularly shop online for groceries". However nearly everyone agrees that the online grocery market will greatly expand in the next few years.

CBRE has created an interactive map of the Online Grocery Purchase Index, which shows where Americans are least and most likely to shop for groceries online. On this map census tracts are colored to show how likely it was for someone in the block to buy groceries online over the last 30 days. If you select a census block on the map you can view the number of people who have purchased groceries online in the last 30 days and the total population of the census block. You can also view the overall Online Grocery Purchase Index score for the block.

This interactive map of the likelihood of Americans to buy groceries online is part of CBRE's series Food on Demand. I couldn't find any information on the CBRE website about how their Online Grocery Purchase Index is calculated or where they get their data from.

Creating & Editing GeoJSON Data

I have a new favorite mapping tool. When I'm creating an interactive map I usually spend way too much of my time searching for or creating GeoJSON files. When I need country polygons I often use Natural Earth, which is a great resource of free vector and raster map data. However when I download country polygons from Natural Earth I often spend a lot of time optimizing the size of the GeoJSON data I need by manually removing the data for countries that I don't need for the map I am currently working on.

This is where GeoJSON Maps of the Globe will now save me lots of time. GeoJSON Maps of the Globe allows you to easily build your own country polygon GeoJSON data by simply selecting countries on an interactive map. For example, if you just want to create a map of EU countries you could use GeoJSON Maps of the Globe to build a GeoJSON file with only the county polygon data for the 28 European countries that you need. The resulting GeoJSON file will therefore be a lot smaller in size than a GeoJSON file that includes the polygon data for every country in the world.

The data for GeoJSON Maps of the Globe comes from Natural Earth. If you use Natural Earth Data a lot then you will find GeoJSON Maps of the Globe very useful. Once you have built your map by selecting the required countries on the interactive map you have a choice to download the data in three levels of resolution, depending on how detailed you need your map to be.

I used GeoJSON Maps of the Globe when creating my 'Map' in European Languages map. For this map I only needed the polygons of countries in Europe. I therefore simply clicked on the countries I wanted on GeoJSON Maps of the Globe and downloaded the resulting GeoJSON file. I then imported the GeoJSON data into Mapbox Studio, where I colored the countries depending on whether their word for 'map' is derived from Latin or from Greek.

I actually could have created my 'Map' in European Languages using Leaflet.js. GeoJSON Maps of the Globe includes an option to download all the code needed to create an interactive map using Leaflet.js and your downloaded GeoJSON file.

If you also use GeoJSON data a lot then you might also like another GeoJSON tool, which I use on an almost daily basis for building and refining map data. is an online tool for editing and creating GeoJSON map data.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Gun Violence Trends in US States

The USA has one of the highest levels of gun violence in the first world. Not only is the level of gun violence in America shockingly high the number of gun deaths is actually rising in nearly every state.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government has released an interactive map which allows you to explore the trends in gun violence in every U.S. state from 2001-2017. Exploring the data in the Gun Violence Dashboard it appears that of the 50 states the only ones that saw a downward trend in gun deaths from 2001-2017 were California, New York, Hawaii, Arizona and Connecticut. The District of Columbia also saw a decline in the number of gun deaths during that period. Every other state appears to have seen a rise in the levels of gun deaths per 100,000 people since 2011.

The Gun Violence Dashboard visualizes a number of different measures of gun violence by state and by year. Not only can you explore the state trends in total gun deaths you can also view the levels of gun homicide deaths and gun suicide deaths. In terms of the overall number of gun deaths per population Alaska ranks the highest of all states. The rate of gun deaths in Alaska is almost ten times as high as that of Hawaii, which has the lowest rate. Alabama, Montana, Louisiana and Mississippi are, after Alaska, the states with the next highest levels of gun deaths.

Leaving America

The un-American President has opened his vile, racist mouth again. Among the best responses to his desperate attempts to destroy the principles of the United States is Flowing Data's If We All Left to “Go Back Where We Came From”.

Using a series of dot maps Nathan Yau visualizes a USA which has been de-populated of all the Americans who are the descendants of immigrants. The series starts with a dot map of the USA without all its non-Hispanic white people. Next to be removed from this map of America are all Asian and Black Americans. Thirdly Hispanics are removed from the map. The final dot map in the series shows the USA with only 2.1 million Native American and native inhabitants left.

The data for this series of dot maps comes from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey. In his article Nathan links to some other examples of dot maps. One dot map (which isn't linked to) is the University of Virginia's Racial Dot Map. This interactive dot map of the USA allows you to zoom-in on individual cities to explore their racial make-up.

Also See

The Racial Dot of Brazil
The Racial Dot Map of South Africa
The Racial Dot Map of Estonia
The Racial Dot Map of Australia