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.

Mapping London's Trees & Tree Cover


The London Tree Canopy Cover interactive map provides a high resolution view of tree canopy cover in the Greater London area.

The map was created by a European Space Agency funded project called Curio Canopy. Curio Canopy uses machine learning based techniques to identify tree canopy cover from ESA satellite imagery. The project also uses crowd-sourcing to get citizen science volunteers to check the results on the ground. These checks are then fed-back into the system to improve the system's image recognition algorithms. You can read more about how Curio Canopy identifies tree canopy cover in their methodology report, Measurement & spatial analysis of London’s tree canopy cover (PDF).

London has over 8 million trees. You can learn more about some of those trees on the Greater London Authority's London Tree Map.  This interactive map shows the locations and genus of 700,000 of London's trees.

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).