Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Mapping Sustainable Forestry Projects


explorer.land is a new interactive mapped based story telling tool from OpenForests. The platform is designed to allow organizations around the world to share information about their sustainable land based projects with the wider public.

The explorer.land interactive map allows anyone to search for different sustainable land based projects around the world, discover more about each project's aims and discover the latest project news. Users can search for sustainable land projects on explorer.land by type of project, by country or by name. When you select an individual project you can view the project's location on the interactive map. Individual markers on the map allow you to explore geographical areas that the project wishes to highlight and posts that the project has pinned to the interactive map.

The map sidebar provides extensive details about each selected project. These details include an overview of the chosen sustainable land based project, their latest news and contact details for those who wish to learn more about the selected project.

explorer.land is one of many social & ecologically diverse forestry projects developed by OpenForests.

How Green is Your City?


The UK's Office for National Statistics has released two interactive maps which show how much greenery there is in every street in the Welsh towns of Cardiff and Newport. To create the two maps in How Green is Your Street the ONS analyzed every pixel in every Street View image of the two cities. From that analysis they were able to map green every single street is, in both cities.

The maps show how green each street is by overlaying a 3D height chart on top of the city's roads. The higher the chart then the greener the street. You can also click on any street on either map to view a percentage 'green' score for the street and its level of greenness compared to every other street in the city.

The ONS analysis is very similar to MIT's Treepedia project, which also analyses Google Maps Street View imagery in order to determine a 'Green View' score for city streets.


MIT Sensable City Lab uses Google Maps Street View images to assess the amount of tree canopy cover that exists in an ever growing list of cities around the world. They then use this data to give each of the assessed cities a 'Green View Index' score.

Each city on Treepedia is given an overall Green View score. If you select a city on Treepedia you can view an interactive map which shows the green score for each individual street. Colored circles on the map provide an overview of the tree canopy cover that is available at locations across the city. If you select one of the colored circles on the map you can view the 'Green View' score given for that location and view a Street View image of the address.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Mapping Poverty in Victoria, Australia


774,000 Victorians live in poverty. That is more than 1 in 10 of the entire population. Rates of poverty are even higher in some neighborhoods. For example in Meadow Heights more than 1 in 3  people are living in poverty.

The Victoria Council of Social Services and the economic modelling firm NATSEM have launched an online map which visualize the poverty rates in each Victoria suburb. VCOSS Poverty Maps allows you to view overall poverty rates for each suburb and to view the poverty rates by gender, age, employment status, housing tenure and household type.

One thing that the map doesn't reveal is that more than one-third of adults living in poverty in Victoria have a disability. Another statistic not shown on the map is that 1 in 6 children in Victoria also live in poverty. These facts are revealed in the full report, Every Suburb. Every Town. Poverty in Victoria (PDF).

Mapping Every Homicide in Toronto


The Toronto Star has released an interactive map which shows the location of every homicide in the city for the last 15 years. The map uses data from the newspaper's own library database crosschecked with the police's homicide data.

Homicides on the Every Toronto homicide in the past 15 years interactive map are shown using color-coded map markers. The homicides shown on the map can be filtered by date range and by type of homicide. If you select a homicide on the map you can view the name of the victim, the date of the homicide and the method. For homicides committed this year the map also includes details on the status of the case and, where available, the name of the perpetrator and the result of charges.


CBC Toronto has used data from Toronto police to map where bikes were stolen in Toronto from 2014 to 2016. The Toronto Bike Theft Map reveals that downtown Toronto experiences the most bike thefts but other neighborhoods, such as Willowdale West and Lansing-Westgate have also seen a rise in bikes being stolen since 2014.

The map includes a number of options which allow you to filter the map by year, type of bike and the type of location where they were stolen from (e.g. apartment, outside, house). When you select a type of bike or type of location the map automatically updates to only show the bike thefts which match your selected type. The actual number of bike thefts matching your type is also displayed.

The accompanying article explores the data and reports on the neighborhoods which have seen the most bike theft crime and the types of location which are seeing a rise in bike crime. It also includes some handy tips about how you can secure your bike and help protect it from being stolen.

Exploring Fictional London


Authorial London is an interactive map of references to London locations which can be found in the works and biographies of the writers who have lived there. The map allows you to explore the places where authors lived in London and the locations which they wrote about.

The map uses different colored markers to show London locations where the featured writers lived & worked (yellow) and the places that featured in their works of literature (red). This enables you to compare on the same map the locations where an author lived with the places that they wrote about. So, for example, if you select to view the London locations of Charles Dickens you can see that he lived mostly in west London but wrote mainly about poorer locations in the south and the east of the city.

You can also select to view the works and biographies of individual writers on the map. Alternatively you can select more than one writer to view where their lives or the places that they wrote about converged in London. You can also select to view all the instances where writers have written about the same location. Select 'Places' from the map sidebar and you can then choose individual London neighborhoods to view all the times that the neighborhood has featured in the literature of London.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

California Air Pollution & Smoke Maps



The EPA has published a handy guide which provides advice on how you can minimize your risk from smoke and air pollution in California. Fire and Your Health suggests that you avoid the smoke as much as possible. If recommended you should stay indoors, run your air conditioner (if you have one), and pay attention to local air quality reports.

The Environmental Protection Agency's AirNow website has a map of the USA showing the latest Air Quality Index scores across the whole country. The map shows that huge areas of the state are currently experiencing dangerous levels of air pollution. However the static map is a little hard to read. You should therefore refer to the Current Air Quality Index (AQI) Conditions for Californian Cities which provides a list of the latest AQI ratings for all the major urban centers in California.


The New York Time's Tracking the Dangerous Smoke Plume map uses the latest estimates of surface-level smoke from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The map is being updated every six hours. You can view the same surface-level smoke estimates on NOAA's interactive map, NOAA HDRR Smoke. NOAA's map also allows you to view the latest vertically integrated smoke forecasts and fire detection data.

NASA's Earth Observatory has released an animated map showing how black carbon from the Camp Fire has been moving across Northern California. In Camp Fire Spreads Foul Air in California NASA explains that black carbon is particularly harmful as the particles in black carbon are small enough to enter the lungs and bloodstream.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

How Big Are California's Fires?


NBC News has released an interactive map which allows you to compare the size of California's wildfires with the size of your home town. California's wildfires are as big as 16 Manhattans allows you to overlay the outline of the Camp Fire, the Woolsey Fire or the Hill Fire on top of any other location on a Leaflet powered map.

If you enter a location into NBC's map you can see the outline of any of the three California wildfires overlaid on top of the entered location. The map also informs you of the size of the selected fire, the size of the entered town and how many times bigger (or smaller) the fire is than the chosen location.  According to NBC News yesterday the Camp Fire was the size of 88,000 football fields or around eight Manhattans.

3D Zurich


A 3D city model is available from Open Data Zurich. This model allows you to add 3D buildings to your interactive maps of Zurich.

You can see the 3D buildings in action on an interactive map on this codepen example, which loads the 3D building layer into an Esri map. Once the 3D building layer loads onto the map you can zoom in and out and rotate around the city's buildings. If you select one of the three 3D building layer models listed on Open Data Zurich you can view which formats the model is available in (including an Esri file).


If you enjoy exploring Swiss cities in 3D then you might also like Geneve 1850. In the nineteenth century Swiss architect Auguste Magnin created an amazing 3d model of the walled city of Geneva. You can visit the model at the Maison Tavel in Geneva. If you can't visit the model in person you can still explore the 3D interactive map version of Geneve 1850 instead.

Geneve 1850 is an epic online interactive model of 1850's Geneva. The map allows you to immerse yourself in and explore Geneva as it looked in the mid-nineteenth century. You can explore the city at street level, wandering around old Geneva on the ground. Alternatively you can take a bird's eye view tour of the city, flying a few feet above the city's rooftops. A menu provides a long list of important landmarks in the city which allows you to quickly navigate to different places in the city. Information points on the map also allow you to read about the history of the city's most iconic buildings.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Drowning American Homes


In the year 2050 the island of New Orleans will introduce a new twice daily ferry service carrying passengers across the Pontchartrain Sea between the island city and the mainland port at Baton Rouge. In the year 2060 the island will rename itself New Venice.

From the year 2100 the city will be colloquially remembered as New Atlantis.

Climate Central and Zillow have released a new study exploring the risk to new homes from rising seas. At the moment property developers are largely ignoring the threat of global warming and continue to build on areas that in the future will be at risk from flooding. Ocean at the Door claims that 10,000 new homes (built after 2009) will be at risk of flooding every single year by the year 2050.

Buzzfeed News has created an interactive map which visualizes how the USA could be affected by rising seas in the year 2050. If you enter an address into the map you can view a visualization of where the sea level might be under different climate change models. The Is Your Home at Risk of Flooding map also allows you to see how many local homes are at risk of flooding. If you click on the map you can find out how many local homes have been built in flood risk zones since 2010, how many local homes are at risk of flooding and the combined value of all these homes at risk of flooding.

Preventable Health Risks in the USA


Smoking, Obesity & Drinking is an Esri story map which visualizes the rates of three preventable health risk factors at the county level in the USA. It includes choropleth maps which reveal the rates of smoking, obesity and excessive drinking in every American county. Smoking, Obesity and Drinking is also a consummate lesson in how the story map format can be used to lead the user by the hand through complex visualizations of data.

Smoking, Obesity & Drinking uses bivariate (and trivariate) maps to try to examine the relationships between smoking, obesity & excessive drinking. Bivariate maps are used in the story map to identify areas where two or more of these three health risk factors might be anomalously high (or low). One disadvantage of bivariate maps is that they can be difficult to read. The wider range of colors representing combined values introduces more complexity, especially when compared to more simple single variable choropleth maps. However the Smoking, Obesity and Drinking story map overcomes any confusion that these bivariate maps might cause by first walking the user through each of the three health risk factors individually, each on their own single variable choropleth maps.

Not only does Smoking, Obesity & Drinking explore each of these three risk factors separately on its own choropleth map it also singles out and highlights those counties in which these factors are especially prevalent. Therefore when the bivariate maps are introduced the user has already been led through how to read much of the data. The story map also then proceeds to lead the user through the anomalous joint health risk factors revealed by the bivariate maps themselves.

In its conclusion Smoking, Obesity & Drinking introduces yet another degree of complexity by attempting to show all three health factors on one trivariate map. To try to make this trivriate map legible three foundational color hues are used to represent each of the three health risk factors. Even so it is still nearly impossible to create a comprehensible legend in a two dimensional space explaining the full range of values represented by the mixing of these three colors. Smoking, Obesity & Drinking overcomes this final problem with the clever solution of annotating the map itself, explaining some of the regional hues revealed on the trivariate map of American preventable health risks.