Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sounds of Life in the Bay

The San Francisco Bay Area Sound Map is an interactive map which allows you to listen to over 150 different sound recordings captured in locations all around the San Francisco Bay Area.

The original recordings on the map were captured by students from the Santa Clara University's Department of Music. In these days of lock-downs, empty streets and shuttered businesses the San Francisco Bay Area Sound Map provides an eerie reminder of life before coronavirus. Using the map you can listen to the sounds of the crowd watching a baseball match, the chatter of customers in a packed pizza restaurant and the street-life of a busy Half Moon Bay. These are all sounds which have now faded into silence.

Let's hope that it isn't too long before we can hear some unrecorded sounds of normal life again. Until then you might like to explore some other sound maps using the Maps Mania Sound Maps tag.

Geography Treasure Hunts

Esri's Geography Treasure Hunts is a collection of map based quizzes which require you to explore a map of the world in search of the answers to a number of geographical questions. The Treasure Hunts include games where you have to find the location of World Heritage Sites, Cities, Mountains,Places & Food etc.

In each Treasure Hunt you are asked to solve a series of questions. Each of the questions requires you to find a location somewhere in the world. To answer the question you just need to center the map on the correct location. Get the answer right and you can move on to the next question in your treasure hunt of the world.

If you enjoyed playing Esri's Treasure Hunt games then you might also want to test your geographical knowledge on Click that 'hood!

Click that 'hood! is a geography game which tests your knowledge of city neighborhoods. To play Click that 'hood! you first need to select a city or town from the long list of locations available. You are then shown an interactive map of your chosen city. Your task is to correctly identify the location of twenty neighborhoods as quickly as possible by pointing them out on the map.

City-Guesser is a fun map quiz which tests your knowledge of world cities. In City-Guesser you are shown the maps of major cities around the world. All you have to do is name which city is being shown in each map. To ensure that the game isn't ridiculously easy all the place-name labels have been removed from each city map.

If you guess correctly you proceed to the next round. Guess wrong and it is game over. You get points for each correct answer. The game keeps a record of the maximum level you reach (the number of correct answers in one game) and your highest score. Your aim therefore is to beat your own high score and your highest level reached. Or you can try and beat me. So far I've reached level 7

You might also like these other map based games:

Quizzity - point to the named locations on a map of the world.
Map Quiz - a compendium of a number of different map games in one package.

Mapping French Accents

The Sound Atlas of the Regional Languages ​​of France is an interactive map which allows you to listen to French accents and regional languages from the different areas of France and its dependent territories.

The map itself is colored to show where the different language groups spoken in France (mainly grouped here into Romance and Occitan). If you click on a region on the map you can listen to a native reading an Aesop fable. The links above the map also allow you to listen to people reading the sane Aesop fable in regions of Italy and Belgium.

LocalLingual is a global map which allows you to listen to how people speak around the world. Click on a country on the LocalLingual map and you can hear an audio recording of a local speaking the name of the country and the country's capital. You can even listen to a recording of the country's national anthem.

LocalLingual is a crowd-sourced map, Which means in many countries you can also listen to user contributions of recordings of other words and phrases spoken in the local language. In many countries on the map you can even drill down to listen to recordings in more localized languages, dialects and accents.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Falling Air Pollution Map

Gizmodo has created an interactive map which allows you to compare air pollution around the world from before and after the coronavirus outbreak. The Earther Time Series map uses a slide control to allow you to directly compare NO2 levels across the globe on four separate dates from 2019 to 20 March 2020.

The map uses data captured by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite. The maps show nitrogen dioxide levels. Nitrogen dioxide is produced by burning fossil fuels and is created by motor vehicles and electricity power plants.

The Gizmodo article accompanying the map, Coronavirus Has Slashed Global Air Pollution, includes a note to remember that these are just four snapshots of NO2 levels around the world. Lots of things can effect the readings, such as weather patterns and natural sources of NO2. Despite this the reduction in NO2 levels in many locations around the world appears to be pretty clear. In their article Gizomodo examines in more detail the drop in NO2 levels in the different regions of the USA.

At Home in Italy

Italy has been under lock-down for three weeks now. Under the lock-down Italians are only allowed to leave their homes for work or health reasons. The lock-down has obviously had a huge impact on the distances that people are moving and traveling, compared to their normal pre-coronavirus activity.

La Repubblica has used mobile phone data to map the intensity of movement by people in Italy since the 23rd of February. The Covid-19 Mobility Impact animated map is a powerful visualization of how the whole country has practically come to a stop over the course of only a few weeks. As the timeline animation plays out the map starts turning from red (indicating high levels of movement) to blue, as Italians are forced to remain at home.

The map uses data from Teralytics to visualize how far people traveled in Italy between 23 February and 25 March. Where Italian's moved and traveled in that period is determined by the location data from 27 million mobile phones (all the data is anonymous). If you click on a region on the map you can view the percentage drop in movement in that area since Feb 13th.

La Repubblica's article is illustrated with a few photographs of famous tourist locations looking deserted, without the normal throng of people. The Guardian has also published a series of photos, Italy coronavirus lockdown leaves streets deserted, showing public spaces which are normally busy with life and traffic looking practically empty.

One result of this huge reduction in people's movements has been a drop in air pollution from the huge fall in motor vehicle traffic. Earlier this month the European Space Agency released an animated map showing nitrogen dioxide emissions over Europe from Jan 1st to March 11th. ESA's Nitrogen dioxide emissions drop over Italy uses data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite to show NO2 levels over Europe. Claus Zehner, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager reports that, "the reduction in emissions that we can see, coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities."

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Official Coronavirus Maps

There have been many hundreds of maps created which purport to show the spread of Covid-19 around the world. A large percentage of those maps aren't very good. However there are a few maps that you can trust.

If you are interested in the global situation regarding Covid-19 then you can refer to:
The World Health Organisation has also created a map dashboard which concentrates purely on the European region:
If you need to travel internationally then you can refer to the United Nations travel restrictions map:

If you want the most accurate data on the number of Covid-19 cases in your region or country then you should probably bookmark your official government Covid-19 dashboard or map. Here are links to a few official government Covid-19 tracking sites (and some Esri dashboard maps where there seems to be no official map):
  • USA: The CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. - includes daily updated totals of the number of confirmed cases and deaths. A poor choropleth map shows the number of cases reported in each state. If you click on a state on the map you will be taken to that state's health department. In light of the government's poor national data on Coronavirus the New York Times has released data and an interactive map showing the number of cases at county level. Covid Act Now has published an interactive map which shows the current stay-at-home policies in every state.
  • Canada: Health Canada's Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update page provides details on the number pf confirmed cases in each province. Esri Canada has released a map dashboard for Canada. The Covid-19 Canada uses data from the ViriHealth website to show the number of cases in Canada's provinces.
  • UK: The NHS's UK Coronavirus Dashboard map records the total number of confirmed cases across the UK. The map shows more refined results as you zoom-in.
  • Italy: Dipartimento della Protezione Civile's Covid-19 Dashboard includes running totals of cases and fatalities. It also has an interactive map showing the number of cases in each Italian region.
  • Spain: The Ministerio de Sanidad's Situación actual includes the total number of cases in Spain and a link to a PDF showing the latest number of cases and deaths in each Spanish region.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Mapping the Coronavirus Family Tree

Coronavirus, like all viruses, is a sub-microscopic scrap of genetic code wrapped in a protein and lipid (fat) overcoat. Viruses hijack the cells in our bodies and turn our cells into virus factories to crease more viruses. These new viruses then spread from person to person through human contact.

As coronavirus replicates random mutations occur. This rapid evolution allows viruses to quickly adapt to changes in their host environment. These rapid mutations in a virus' genomes can also help scientists track the spread of the virus and learn more about it is spread.

Nextstrain analyzes and creates visualizations of virus evolutions. Nextstrain's phylogenetic tree of the novel coronavirus (pictured above) shows the evolutionary relationships of hCoV-19 viruses. On the tree mutations in the virus are shown with colored circles. On the interactive Nextstrain virus family tree you can hover over a branch line of coronavirus to see how many mutations that branch has.

The Nextstrain coronavirus interactive map shows where and when the virus has spread around the world and where the different mutations of the virus have been seen. The map includes a date filter which allows you to track the spread of the novel coronavirus over time. The map also includes a 'play' option which allows you to watch this spread from December 2019 until recent days.

The colors of the circles on the map relate to the evolutionary mutation colors used on the family tree. By mapping the different strains of coronavirus it is possible to interpret how the virus was spread. For example if the virus in a region is part of the same cluster or branch on the coronavirus family tree then it is likely that there was one host who introduced the virus to the area. If a region has lots of different clusters then there were lots of different hosts introducing coronavirus to the area, creating lots of small clusters.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mapping a Virtual Village

Welcome to Lower Upping, a small rural village, consisting of a handful of houses, a local pub, a small chapel and a village shop. Lots of people live in Lower Upping - they are just waiting for you to tell their stories.

Lower Upping is a virtual village. Which means that you can help to tell the many stories of the village's exciting and wonderful inhabitants. If you click on any of the buildings on the village's interactive map you can read about the people who live there. If you don't like any person's or any building's story then you change the story in any way that you want.

There are very few rules in Lower Upping. However you should be aware that if you decide to add a new story to a building you will replace the text which is already there. But it is up to you!

Clone the Map on Glitch

If you like Lower Upping you can clone the map on Glitch and then create your own village and buildings. I created this map using Mapbox GL so if you do decide to clone the map please use your own access token. If you don't have a Mapbox account you could replace the map library with Leaflet.js. Lower Upping doesn't use any map tiles to it should be perfect fit for Leaflet.js.

The British Library's Digital Globes

The British Library is busy digitizing its collection of globes and making them available as 3D interactive visualizations. The library's collection of around 150 globes dates from the 17th century up until to the present day. The globes are fragile objects and so are not generally open to the public. Which is partly why the library wants to make them accessible as virtual globes online.

The first ten of the 3D digitized globes are now available to view. Sylvia Sumira, one of the world's leading authorities on historic globes, introduces the first ten globes in European globes of the 17–18th centuries. In her article, on the British Library website, Sylvia explores how globes were made and used in the 17th and 18th centuries. The article is illustrated by ten historic vintage 3D globes.

These first ten globes include both celestial and terrestrial globes. It even includes what could be the first small pocket globe, made by Joseph Moxon in 1679. You have probably seen maps before which show California as an island. Richard Cushee's 1730 globe (3D globe available in the article) also displays the island of California floating off the western coast of North America.

If you are interested in viewing more historical vintage globes then you should pay a visit to the Virtual Globes Museum. This site includes 3d versions of the 1507 Waldseemüller globe, a number of Earth and celestial globes by the Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu and globes by the Venetian Vincenzo Coronelli.

You can also view 3d versions of Mercator's Earth Globe and Mercator's Celestial Globe on the University of Lausanne's website. Finally, Miranda's World Map (1706) and Coronelli's Terrestial Globe can be explored in 3D using the State Library of New South Wales's Meridian application.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

More Traffic Free Cities

On Monday, in Traffic Free Cities, we saw how Buzzfeed and the Los Angeles Times had mapped the fall in road traffic in cities around the world. Both Buzzfeed and The LA Times used Mapbox telemetry data to show the impact of Covid-19 on the traffic on our normally busy roads. Mapbox has now used the same data to create their own maps of Where and when local travel decreased from COVID-19 around the world.

Mapbox's maps show where road traffic decreased between the week of January 13th and the week of March 16th. The maps show large decreases in traffic in Europe and South America. In the USA traffic has also decreased in lots of locations. In Italy and Spain road traffic has decreased by about 80%. Rome has seen a decrease of 87%.

Mapbox has also looked at the decrease in traffic over time. The UK and the USA started seeing decreases about a week after traffic in Italy and Spain began to fall. This decrease in traffic over time is visualized on both a line graph and an animated timeline map.

It isn't only the traffic on the roads which has been effected by Covid-19. With many people now working from home and stay-at-home orders in operation the levels of traffic on public transit systems has also dropped dramatically in many cities.

Moovit has created visualizations of the fall in public transit traffic around the world. The Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Public Transit Usage charts the decline in public transit use, as compared to typical usage from before the outbreak of Covid-19. The data for the charts comes from the users of the Moovit app.