Saturday, May 25, 2019

Indian Election Maps

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had a landslide victory in the Indian election and increased its already huge parliamentary majority. The BJP, led by the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, won 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's parliament. The next largest party, the Indian National Congress (INC), only managed to win 52 seats.

The Indian Express has released an interactive map of the Lok Sabha Election Results 2019. The map shows the winning party in each of the 543 constituencies. The map includes a cartogram view of the results which shows each of the constituencies as an equal sized square. Despite the BJP's huge majority there is still a geographical divide in support for India's political parties. The BJP won lots of seats in the north-west and center of the country. It won far fewer seats in the south and along the eastern seaboard.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election was the first election in India where women voted in equal numbers to men. The number of women who won a seat in the Lok Sabha was also the highest ever. The Indian Express map includes a filter control which allows you to see where female candidates won in this election. Although the number of female held seats has increased since the last election women still hold less than 10% of the seats in the Lok Sabha.

The Financial Times has created a choropleth map of the election results, which gives you an overview of the level of the winning majority in each seat. Again this view shows a north-south divide in the support for the BJP. Some of the party's biggest majorities were in the northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Reuters' India Election Results interactive map also provides a 'margins' view, showing the margin of victory for the winning candidate in each seat. You can hover over individual seats on the Reuters map to view the percentage of the votes won by each of the main candidates. The Reuters map also includes a choropleth view of the voter turnout in each seat.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Send a Selfie Around the World

You can now send a selfie to yourself using Google's 'Network Journey'. Upload a picture to Google's latest Chrome Experiment and Google will send it around the world and then send it back to you, covered with the internet visa stamps it has gathered on its journey.

Network Journey is actually a clever demonstration of the speed of the Google Cloud network. After you post your picture to Network Journey you can watch it travel around the globe on a map of the world. As your photo passes through each Google Cloud data center it is given a country stamp. After your selfie has completed its global journey you will also be told how many seconds it took to circumnavigate the globe.

If you want to explore how your selfie traveled across the globe in a little more detail then you might like the Infrapedia - Global Internet Network, Datacenter and Infrastructure Atlas. This interactive map shows the location of the data centers, undersea cables, IXPs and networks which make up the global internet.

How Europe Votes

From now until Sunday people in the European Union will be voting to elect their Member of the European Parliament. Some countries, such as the Netherlands and the UK, voted yesterday. Many other countries will not hold elections until Sunday. In order to avoid early results affecting how people vote elsewhere in Europe no results are allowed to be published anywhere in Europe until Sunday night.

If you can't wait until Sunday night for the results of the 2019 European Union Election then you can explore Zeit's Europe from Left to Right interactive map. This map colors 80,000 regions in Europe based on the most recent election results in that country. The map is therefore not a map of how people have voted or intend to vote in the 2019 EU election instead it maps out which way people voted in their most recent national election.

On the map you can select any of the main political groups to see how they have most recently performed across Europe. For example if you click on Green you can view a choropleth map of how much support there is across the continent for Europe's Green parties (Lithuania and the far north of Finland seem to show the most support for Green parties). If you click on the extreme right you can see that in the most recent national elections Poland, Austria and northern Italy have all shown a high level of support for extreme right-wing political parties.

The colors assigned to each country's political parties is determined by the the Chapel Hill Expert Survey, which categorizes political parties in European countries based on their positions on ideology, European integration, and policy issues.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Air Space Mafias

When you buy a ticket for an international flight the price will partly be determined by airspace fees, the charges that countries around the world require airlines to pay for flying in their airspace. For example an airline flying from Japan to New Zealand has to pay the USA a fee even though the flight goes nowhere near the USA. This is because the USA claims the airspace over a massive portion of the Pacific Ocean.

As well as using airspace as a form of generating revenue countries also use access to their airspace as a political tool. So flights to Israel historically have not been allowed to fly over Arab countries and Taiwanese flights cannot travel over mainland China. Recently Pakistan has restricted access to its airspace after an Indian airstrike was made on Pakistani territory.

The South China Post in Why the World's Flight Paths are Such a Mess has taken a closer look at the historical, political and financial reasons for why planes take the routes that they do. The story includes numerous maps of some of the strange flight paths that airlines have to take to get from A to B and a host of interesting facts about how flight restrictions and airspace fees can determine those routes.

Many flight routes have been improved in recent years because Russia and China have become a bit less restrictive in controlling the air space over their countries than during the height of the Cold War. However both China and Russia still have more restrictions than most western countries. The South China Post says that China will replace the US as the biggest flight market in the world by 2036. At the moment the army controls 80% of Chinese airspace. In order to manage the future growth in air travel the country will need to be a lot less restrictive over how its airspace is used.

How Your Neighbors Voted

Jackson, Mississippi is the most politically segregated city in America. In Jackson Democrats and Republicans tend to live in very different areas of the city and there are very few neighborhoods where both Republicans and Democrats live side-by-side.

FiveThirtyEight has released a new tool which allows you to see Where Democrats and Republicans Live in Your City. If you enter an address into the tool you can view an interactive map colored to reveal where your city voted Democrat and Republican. On the interactive map each precinct is colored to show the margin of support for the most popular party based on the 2016 Presidential election.

After viewing the map of your city you can scroll down the page to see how segregated your city is based on FiveThirtyEight's partisan dissimilarity index. This ranks your city based on how politically divided it is. Having looked at the results across the USA FiveThirtyEight claim that Republican enclaves in cities tend to be in low-density, less centralized neighborhoods. The cities with the highest political segregation tend to be cities with a high proportion of black residents. Looking at FiveThirtyEight's list of the cities with the highest partisan dissimilarity index score it appears that the most segregated cities are in the Deep South. As FiveThirtyEight points out the "persistence of racial segregation in American cities continues to define those cities’ politics".

What Happened to the Romanovs?

The Russian Imperial Romanov family ruled over Russia for over 300 years. That rule came to an end with the Russian Revolution. In 1917, during the revolution, seventeen members of the imperial family lost their lives. 45 other members of the extended Romanov family managed to escape Russia and fled to other parts of the world.

The Russian news agency Tass has created a data visualization project which traces the history of every single member of the Romanov family from 1847 to 2007. The project consists of a family tree, an interactive map and a timeline. The interactive map in The Romanov's Twilight shows where individual members of the Romanov family ended up after the revolution. 13 of the family, including Emperor Nicholas II and his immediate family, were killed in the city of Yekaterinburg. Some members of the Romanov family managed to escape the revolution and ended up living in countries around the world, including the USA, the UK, Argentina and Egypt.

If you click on an individual Romanov in the extended family tree you can view a brief biography of the chosen individual. This biography also includes an interactive map. This small map shows the individual life journey of the selected Romanov. The map shows their place of birth, where they died and other places where they may have lived in between.

If you are interested in Russian history then you might also like Borders of Russia 1462-2018, which is an interactive map visualizing the ever changing political boundaries of Russia since the 15th Century. You may also be interested in Histography's interactive map of Russian History. This map explores Russia's history from the year 862 right up until the present day.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Where the Richest Australians Live

Australia's richest people seem to live in New South Wales and Western Australia. All 10 of the top neighborhoods for income earners can be found in these two states. Ashburton in WA has the highest proportion of residents who are in the top income bracket in the whole of Australia. According to ABC this is due to the 'prevalence of the mining industry in the area'.

ABC has mapped out the average annual income in each local government area (LGA) in the country. ABC's How does your income compare to everyone else’s? includes a story map which takes you on a tour of a choropleth visualization of the average income in each LGA. This story map highlights the areas of Australia with the highest and lowest average incomes. The areas with the lowest average incomes can often be found in regions with a higher than average Indigenous population. These areas also tend to be very remote.

As well as this interactive map the ABC article includes a tool which can tell you where you sit on the scale of the lowest to highest-earning Australians, based on your income. Enter your weekly income into this tool and you can find out the percentage of the country who earn more than you and the percentage who earn less. The article also includes information on which professions make up the largest proportion of those in the top income bracket.

The Global Internet Map

This blog post was written on my laptop in London. From there it was sent digitally along fiber optic cables from my home to my Internet Service Provider's port servers. From there the post traveled to Google's servers and from there it travels via the global internet network to computers around the world. To reach your computer or phone this blog post has traveled along thousands of miles of terrestrial and submarine cables.

The Infrapedia - Global Internet Network, Datacenter and Infrastructure Atlas is an interactive map of the data centers, undersea cables, premium vendors, IXPs and networks which make up the global internet. The map is fully interactive, which means you can select individual cables and data centers on the map to discover information about who they are owned by and when they were built.Where available this information also includes a link to the service's Wikipedia page.

If you select the 'Future Only' option you can view cables which are currently under construction or which are in the planning stages. Selecting these cables on the map allows you to learn which year they will become active.

Every year Telegeography releases a new updated version of its interactive map of the global network of undersea telecommunication cables. The 2019 Telegeography Submarine Cable Map highlights the huge recent building boom in submarine cables. In the next few years around 107 new submarine cables will be laid around the world, adding over 400,000 kilometers of new telecommunication cable to the global network.

A number of information insets along the bottom of Telegeography's 2019 internet map help explain this new building boom. These include insets showing new countries which will soon be connected for the first time and the amount of new cables being laid in the different global regions. Content providers, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, are investing and driving much of this new building boom in submarine cables. An inset for each of these companies shows where each company is driving the construction in new submarine cable infrastructure.

Rivers Should Flow Free

The number of free-flowing rivers around the world is falling drastically. Of the world's longest rivers (over 1,000 kilometres in length) only a third remain free-flowing. These remaining free-flowing rivers can only be found in areas which are relatively underpopulated by humans, for example in the Arctic and the Amazon and Congo basins.

The result of restricting the free-flow of rivers is extensive damage to the environment, river biodiversity and floodplain agriculture. The free-flow of rivers can be disrupted in many ways, including dams & reservoirs, the construction of buildings & bridges, agriculture and disruption to natural aquifers and floodplains. Free-flowing rivers contribute to biodiversity, they help to maintain natural floodplains, they help to maintain fish stocks and contribute enormously to the recreation and tourism industries. Where possible rivers should be allowed to flow free.

The World Wildlife Fund is creating a global database to map the world's remaining free-flowing rivers. They have also released the Free Flowing Rivers interactive map to visualize the worlds remaining free-flowing rivers and to allow you to explore in what way the free-flow of rivers is being disrupted. The 'Story Mode' section of the map takes a closer look at the drastic impact of human construction on natural river environments around the globe. It also explores how removing outdated human infrastructure can help to restore the natural flow of rivers.

What's Next For Google Maps?

If you've been wondering where the Google Maps API is heading then you might have already watched the live streams from the Google I/O conference last week. Traditionally the Google Maps team have used I/O to announce any big changes or developments to its interactive mapping platforms.

If you didn't view the live streams then you can catch up on the latest developments on the Google Maps blog post What’s next for Google Maps Platform. From an outsider's perspective the two main announcements made at I/O this year (as far as maps are concerned) are Deck.GL's support for Google Maps and the beta release of the new Maps SDK for Android.


Google Maps has partnered with Deck.GL so that Deck.GL can now be used with the Google Maps API. Deck.GL is an opensource data visualization library which uses WebGL technology to enable the visualization of very large datasets on interactive maps. For example this Paris Trees map, created with Google Maps and Deck.GL shows the location and genus of 203K trees in the French capital.

To get started using Deck.GL with Google Maps you should check-out the Deck.GL / Google Maps documentation.

Maps SDK for Android

Google also announced the beta release of the next version of the Maps SDK for Android. The big change in the new Maps SDK for Android is that it is built on entirely the same infrastructure as the Google Maps mobile app. This should lead to improvements in performance and lead to a large decrease in data consumption.