Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Washington's Environmental Hazards Map

The Washington State Department of Health has released an interactive map which shows details about the environmental and public health risks in every census tract in Washington state.The Washington Tracking Network allows you to see the level of environmental-health hazards across the state and to view local socio-economic details in every census area.

Using the map menu you can select to view from a range of environmental-health hazards on the map. For example you can select to view the levels of diesel pollution or the local risk of lead exposure. When you select an individual environmental-health hazard from the menu the map updates to provide a choropleth view of the selected risk in each census tract area. 

If you click on a census tract on the map you can view demographic information about the local population, such as a breakdown of the tract by race, sex & age and the recent population trend. The map menu will also update to show how the chosen census tract ranks for the displayed environmental-health hazards. This combination of demographic / socio-economic data with local environmental-health hazards allows users of the map to explore which social groups and which areas of the state are most at risk from the different environmental-health hazards.

Average Earth 2018

Johannes Kroeger has created an interactive map which shows the average cloud cover across the world in 2018. The map shows the medium cloud cover experienced at every location on Earth based on information taken from daily satellite images.

To create the Average Earth from Space 2018 interactive map Johannes analyzed the per-pixel median color in the daily images of the satellite-based Soumi VIIRS sensor for the whole year of 2018. The result is a very beautiful map which provides a reasonable picture of where you can expect to experience cloudy days around the world on any average day. It is also a map which makes it very easy to find the locations of the world's major deserts.

You can read more about how the map was made and view many different projections of the Average Earth from Space 2018 map on Johannes' blog.

Where's Everyone Moving in Holland?

Relocations 2017 is an interactive map which shows where people relocated to & from in the Netherlands during 2017. The map uses data from Statistics Netherlands to show how many people moved between different Dutch municipalities.

If you hover over a city on the map all the flow lines to and from that city are highlighted on the map, showing where the city's residents relocated to & from in 2017. The thickness of the flow line between two municipalities reflects the number of people who moved between those two areas. When you hover over a town or city an information window also reveals the number of residents who moved out of the city and the number of residents who relocated to the city in 2017.

The map itself created with flowmap.blue, a simple to use tool for creating flow maps. To create a flow map with flowmap.blue you just need to have some origin-destination data in a Google Spreadsheet. Then to create your map you simply append your spreadsheet key to the flowmap.blue URL.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Little Sports Atlas

How the rest of the world loves to laugh at baseball's 'World Series'. A competition which is only played by teams in North America. However it turns out that the rest of the world is wrong. Baseball is in fact a sport that is played in lots of countries around the world, including Cuba, Japan and countries throughout Europe.

I know this because Zeit Online has been busy creating world maps for lots of different sports. In the Little Sports Atlas Zeit Online has used OpenStreetMap data to show where different types of sport are actually played across the globe.

The popularity of many different sports has a geographical basis. For example ice hockey is most popular in a thin band of latitude in the northern hemisphere. A thin band of latitude which is often cold in the winter and where water often turns to ice. Cricket on the other hand is popular in a few different countries. Countries which were all at one point part of the British Empire. The one true world sport in the Little Sport Atlas is football. In fact the map of where football is played could almost double as a map of the world's population.

Mapping Shrinking Glaciers

The Rhône Glacier in the Swiss Alps is the source of the Rhône river. Over the last 120 years the glacier has shrunk by a very large extent. In recent years, during the summer months, the glacier has been covered with UV-resistant fleecy white blankets. These cover about 5 acres of the shrinking glacier and are believed to reduce its melting by up to 70%.

You can view how far the Rhône Glacier has melted using the superb maps produced by the Swiss Federal Office of Topography. The Karten der Schweiz, the official mapping platform of the Swiss Confederation, includes an option to view vintage maps made by the Swiss Federal Office of Topography. You can even animate through these vintage maps to show how locations have changed over time.

For example you can animate through all the maps of the Rhône Glacier from 1850 to the present day. The resulting animated map is a very effective visualization of the startling extent by which the Rhône Glacier has shrunk over the last century.

You can also use Google Earth Engine to view how the glacier has shrunk over recent years as seen on satellite imagery. Google Earth Engine only has satellite imagery going back as far as 1984. Therefore the extent of the glacier's retreat isn't as pronounced as can be seen by viewing the historical Karten der Schweiz. However even since 1984 it is possible to observe that the glacier has visibly shrunk in size.

Since 1850 Switzerland's glaciers have shrunk by around 50%. The World Glacier Monitoring Service say that this process is likely to continue and that 80 to 90 percent of glacier ice mass will be lost by 2100.

In 2017 the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger visualized the extent of Switzerland's shrinking glaciers over the last 160 years. In So Schmolzen die Schweizer Gletscher in 160 Jahren Weg the paper produced a series of multiple maps visualizing the change in size of the country's 38 largest glaciers. These maps show the size of the glaciers in 1850 compared to the size of the glaciers in 2010. Each mini map includes data on the surface area lost in kilometers and as a percentage of the glacier's size in 1850.

Tages Anzeiger reports that the Rhône Glacier has shrunk by 4.7 km² or about 23.4% in size.

London's Bike Sharing Network

London Bicycle Hires 2017 is an interactive map of around 1.5 million trips made on the city's Santander Cycle Hire network. The map visualizes the number of trips started from individual docking stations on the network and the most popular journeys taken between different stations.

As you might expect the most busy individual docking stations in London's bike sharing network are the city's mainline train termini. In particular King Cross and Waterloo stations stand out on the map as being very popular docking stations. It appears that cycling is a popular way for visitors to the center of the city to get around once they arrive by train.

It is also very apparent that hire bikes are also a very popular way of exploring some of London's larger parks. On the map Hyde Park in central London and the Olympic Park in the East End stand out as almost separate networks within the larger citywide network. I suspect that many users find the parks safe and attractive places to cycle and also find the bikes a great way to explore the respective parks.

You can explore the journeys for yourself by hovering over individual docking stations on the map. If you hover over a station you can see all the trips made to and from that station to other stations on the network. The size of the flow-lines on the map show the number of journeys made between each station.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Hawaii's Sea Level Rise Map

The islands of Hawai'i are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. It is believed that 6,500 structures and 19,800 people in Hawai'i could be exposed to chronic flooding within the next 60 years. The Hawai'i Sea Level Rise Viewer has been released to show which areas of the state will be most affected by rising sea levels.

The map allows users to see which areas could be exposed to coastal hazards from sea level rise, modelling the effect of passive flooding (still water high tide flooding), annual high wave flooding (over wash during the largest wave events of the year), and coastal erosion. The map models sea level rise for four different sea level rise scenarios (these are sea level rises of 0.5 ft, 1.1 ft, 2 ft or 3.2 ft).

The Sea Level Viewer also includes two layers which model the economic loss that could result from rising seas and the possible impact of flooded highways. 38 miles of coastal roads in the state are vulnerable to rising sea level rises. If these become chronically flooded and impassible then access to many communities would become much more difficult. The economic loss layer visualizes the possible cost from land and structures being flooded in the mapped area.

The Hawai'i Sea Level Rise Viewer uses global sea level rise projections from the UN. This model predicts seas could rise by as much as 3.2 feet by the year 2100. More recent models suggest that a rise of 3 feet or more could happen as early as 2060.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Illinois' Lost Bet on Gambling Machines

ProPublica has been investigating how the state of Illinois is having to pay out for its bet on legalizing video gambling. Around ten years ago the state changed the law to allow video slot and poker machines. The state now has more of these machines outside casinos than any other state.

Illinois' lawmakers assumed that the legalization of video gaming would raise huge amounts of tax dollars for the state. Unfortunately the popularity of relatively low-tax video gambling machines has led to a large fall in higher-tax casino gambling. The result is that despite the rise of gambling in Illinois, and the high social costs related to that rise, the state has raised nowhere near as much money from video gambling as the lawmakers predicted when they changed the law on their use.

In How Illinois Bet on Video Gambling and Lost ProPublica has mapped out the monthly terminal income by location. The map shows data from 2012 to November 2018. Unfortunately the 3D markers used on the map make it a little difficult to determine the data at individual locations. The map is therefore not particularly useful for a detailed investigation of gambling use in different locations. However the map does provide a general picture of how the use of these machines has spread across the state since 2012. The map dashboard also provides details of how gambling income for the state has fallen well below the state revenue projected by lawmakers.

How Long Since You Saw the Sun?

The citizens of France have been deprived of one hour's worth of sun (compared to the average) in 2019. However some citizens of France have been denied far more hours of sun than others. For example the residents of Rouen have already lost three whole days of sun compared to the average year.

Franceinfo has mapped out the amount of sun recorded in France between January 1st and January 16th. In How Long Have You Not Seen the Sun the number of hours of sunshine recorded at different locations across France are shown using scaled circles. The smaller the circle the less sunshine recorded at that location. The yellow circles on the map indicate locations which saw more sun than average for the dates measured. The blue dots indicate locations which have seen less sun this year then normal.

This year Rouen has had 28 hours less sun than usual. Northern France has about nine hours of daylight in the month of January. So, strictly speaking, the residents of Rouen have actually received three days less sunshine already this year. If that doesn't make you feel sorry for the people of Rouen then I should reveal that this means the town has had only two hours of recorded sunlight in 2019.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Taking the Measure of America

Measure of America has developed the American Human Development Index to measure the well-being of Americans in a number of different areas, including health, education, and income. You can explore these well-being scores at the county, state and congressional district level using the Measure of America interactive map.

Mapping America allows you to view choropleth maps visualizing the well-being scores at different administrative levels. Select one of the individual indices from any of the different topic areas and you can view how counties, states or congressional districts score on that metric. As well as the choropleth map showing the well-being score in every county a bar chart organizes every county in the USA from best to worst.

If you select an individual county or congressional district on the map an information window opens with details on all of the area's well-being scores for each of the individual health, education and income indices.