Saturday, October 16, 2021

Ships Waiting to Unload

Yesterday NASA released this satellite image of dozens of cargo ships stranded off the Californian coast, waiting to offload. High consumer demand and supply chain problems caused by Covid has led to record backlogs at the Port of Long Beach and at many other ports around the world.

Here is the same area of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean on MarineTraffic early on the morning of the 16th October (1.20am). This map shows that most of the same container ships are still waiting to unload. Cargo vessels on this map are shown in green. The green circles are cargo ships which aren't moving. 

Californian ports are not the only ports to be struggling with large backlogs of cargo vessels unable to offload. For example in the UK last week cargo companies were having to reroute ships from Felixstowe to European ports, such as Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Cargo and tanker traffic near Hong Kong

However the problems being experienced at the Port of Long Beach and Felixstowe pale into insignificance beside those of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The cargo ports of Hong Kong and Shenzhen currently have nearly 100 ships waiting to offload. This week the ports were forced to close for two days because of a typhoon. This only compounded the delays already being caused by Covid outbreaks. 

Ships waiting to offload

According to the Financial Times there are currently (as of yesterday) 584 container ships waiting to offload outside ports around the world. The FT explains that the current problems of cargo vessels being unable to offload has been caused by "Increased demand for consumer products, Covid-induced disruption to container ship schedules and a shortage of port workers and truck drivers".

Friday, October 15, 2021

The World's Carbon Center of Gravity

The Guardian has published an animated map which shows how the world's carbon 'Center of Gravity' has shifted over the last 200 years. The visualization reveals both how industrialization has been a disaster for the environment and how the major producer of carbon emissions has shifted from the UK in the 19th Century to the USA in the early half of the 20th Century and in the last 50-60 years towards China.

In How the world’s carbon ‘centre of gravity’ moved over 200 years The Guardian has calculated the carbon center for every year since 1800 by taking an average of each country’s latitude and longitude and by working out each country's annual carbon emissions. The countries which emit the most carbon in any year exert 'the strongest gravitational pull on the centre of emissions'.

The Guardian has included an explanatory note with its animated map pointing out that although China is now the world's largest emitter of CO2 there are still 36 other countries around the world that have per capita higher carbon emissions. 


The World Resources Institute has also created an animated map which visualizes carbon dioxide emissions around the world over the last 160 years. The Changing Global Emissions Map however doesn't show the carbon 'center of gravity' but instead uses scaled circular markers to show the total carbon emissions of each country around the world increasing over time.

If you use the timeline beneath the map you can view an animation of the growth of carbon dioxide emissions over time. The timeline shows that a few western countries have managed to stabilize and have actually managed to slightly reduce their emissions over the last few years. Unfortunately these reductions pale into insignificance compared to the huge growth in carbon emissions in the rest of the world.


The Historical Global Emissions Map is another mapped visualization of carbon dioxide emissions through history. This map shows a gridded view of CO2 emissions weighted by the human population over time. This timeline view of the world's CO2 emissions provides a fascinating glimpse into the spread of the industrial revolution around the world and the staggering impact it has had on the world's environment.

Using the map timeline you can see how industrial revolutions in countries around the world have contributed to the huge growth in global CO2 emissions. Starting in 1750 we can see that there were negligible amounts of carbon dioxide being emitted around the world. However by 1809 the United Kingdom was emitting 33 metric tonnes of CO2.

In 1806 the United Kingdom was responsible for 94% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. However other countries around the world were not too far behind. Using the map's timeline we can see that just 41 years later, in 1850 the UK's share of CO2 emissions had fallen to 62%, as the USA, France and Germany had begun their own industrial revolutions. 

It would take more than 50 years for the United States to overtake the United Kingdom in the amount of CO2 emitted per person. In 1906 the United States emitted 12 tCO2 per cap to the UK's 11. By this time the United States was now responsible for 41% of the world's CO2 emissions and the UK's share had fallen to 18%. 

If we fast forward a century the United States total share of the world's CO2 emissions has halved to 20% and China (22%) has become the world's largest CO2 polluter. Although in terms of per capita emissions the USA still leads the way, with 19 tonnes of CO2 being emitted per person - more than double the per capita emissions of nearly every other country in the world.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Real World Model Train Sets

Moving Hamburg is an impressive 3D animated public transport map for the city of Hamburg. The map was created using the latest WebGL features of the Google Maps API together with a little Three.js magic. 

If you zoom in on the Moving Hamburg map and tilt the angle of view you can watch the trains actually moving around the city's rail network in glorious 3D. The result is a little like having your very own model train set of Hamburg - only on an interactive Google Map.

Moving Hamburg reminds me a lot of Mini Tokyo 3D, the live real-time map of Tokyo's public transit system. This fun map shows the live position of Tokyo's trains in 3D moving around the capital of Japan.

Mini Tokyo has two different map views. If you press the eye icon button you can switch between the 'underground' (pictured above) and 'overground' layers. The underground mode highlights the city's subway system with colored subway lines on top of a dark base map. In this mode the overground trains are shown faded out on the map. The overground mode shows all the city's buildings in 3D. In this mode all the subway trains are shown faded out as they move around under the city and all of Tokyo's overground trains are shown in full color. 

You can have even more locomotive fun with Mapbox with Trains. Mapbox with Trains is a very impressive interactive map which allows you to watch a 3D train moving around on top of a map of Oakland, California. This interactive virtual train set includes a number of user options which allow you to control the number of carriages on the train and the camera's point of view.

In essence Mapbox with Trains animates a 3D model of a train on top of a Mapbox map, following the Bart train tracks in Oakland. The map is presented as an Observable Notebook which means that if you want you can fork the project to create your own interactive train set for the town or city of your choice.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Historical Election Violence Map

Violence around democratic elections seems to be a growing problem in the 21st Century. To understand this problem and find possible solutions it might be a good idea to explore the violence which was prevalent around elections in Victorian England and how that pattern of violence was eventually eliminated.

The 20 general election in Britain between the Great Reform Act of 1832 and the Great War starting in 1914 were often accompanied by extreme violence. This violence often included major riots involving thousands of people, leading to the deaths of many people and large scale property damage. For example just on one day (17th November 1868), on the first day of polling in the 1868 General Election, there were at least 18 different riots across England & Wales. 

The Victorian Election Violence Map visualizes nearly 3,000 incidences of violence which occurred in England and Wales during the 20 General Elections held between 1832 and 1914. The map shows where violent election events took place, from minor incidents (such as the breaking of windows) to major political riots involving the deaths of many people.

For example a map marker placed over the Welsh town of Blaenavon recounts one of the 18 riots which occurred during the 1868 election. During this riot,

"property and businesses were vandalised and looted in the town, and the military arrived from Newport and cleared streets. 45 prisoners were marched to Pontypool and the soldiers returned to Newport. 1000 men from Blaenavon marched on Pontypool to rescue the prisoners"

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Segregation in America

According to the 'Roots of Structural Racism Report' Detroit is the most segregated city in America. Closely followed by Hialeah, FL and Newark, NJ. However these cities are not alone in having high levels of residential segregation. In fact residential segregation is becoming more common in the majority of U.S. cities.

The Roots of Structural Racism Report includes an interactive map, Mapping Race in America, which visualizes the levels of segregation in every neighborhood in the United States. The map uses data from the 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 & 2020 censuses to show the level of segregation in every census block area and how these levels of segregation have changed over the last 40 years.

On the map the most segregated counties are shown in red, while the most integrated are shown in blue.Using the map sidebar you can change the map to show segregation at the city level or at the individual census tract level. The map sidebar also includes a 'Year Selector' filter which allows you to observe how levels of segregation have changed over the last 40 years.

81 percent of American cities are now more segregated than they were in 1990. Only 40 of the 209 regions in the U.S. have become less segregated. The Roots of Structural Racism Report also looked at differences in income & poverty levels, home values, life expectancy, and rent prices between those areas which have high levels of segregation and those which are more integrated. This analysis discovered that people of all races fared worse in all these indicies when they lived in segregated 'Black and Brown' neighborhoods.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Czech Election Maps

Andrej Babiš, the billionaire Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, has been beaten in the country's latest election. His Action for Dissatisfied Citizens 2011 (ANO) party finished second in the popular vote behind the center-right Spolu (Together) alliance. Neither party has won by a large enough margin to form a majority government. 

The Spolu party has declared that it will not form a coalition with Andrej Babiš. Despite losing the popular vote the ANO 2011 party actually won one more seat than Spolu. However ANO 2011 looks to have no way to power, with Spolu and the liberal-left faction, Piráti-STAN, expected to enter into a coalition government.

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, had said before the election that he would ask the leader of the party with the most seats (which is ANO 2011) to form a government. However the president has become gravely ill and is now in intensive care. With the president incapacitated and no clear general election winner the country could be thrown into a constitutional crisis.

Czech newspaper Blesk has published an interactive map which shows which party won the most votes in each region of the country. If you zoom in on the map you can view the results in each election district. If you select an election district on the map you can view the exact number of votes and the percentage of votes won in the district by the biggest three parties. If you select the name of a political party from the map legend you can then view an interactive choropleth map showing how well that party performed in each electoral district in the country.

You can also view an interactive map of the 2021 Czech general election on the website of the newspaper Denik. The Denik map allows you to view the number and percentage of votes won by each party by selecting an electoral district. This map also allows you to see how each party has performed nationally by selecting a party name from the map legend. The Denik election results page also includes an interactive map showing the results of the 2017 general elections. It is therefore possible to view how each party has performed in this election compared to its performance in the last general election.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Mapping the La Palma Volcano Eruption

The ongoing volcanic eruptions of the Cumbre Vieja on La Palma is causing continuing disruption. Since the first eruption on September 19 more than 800 buildings have been destroyed and around 6,000 people have had to evacuate their homes on the island. 

Magma flow on OpenStreetMap

The magma flow from the eruption has forced the closure of many local roads. It has also led to a slight increase in the size of the island of La Palma. This means that all maps of the affected areas will need to be updated. A challenge which so far seems to be only being met by OpenStreetMap. OSM not only shows where roads have been closed by the volcanic eruption on La Palma, it also shows the extent of the magma flow from the eruptions and (where the magma has reached the sea) where La Palma has grown.

Google Maps

In contrast Google Maps has yet to update to show which local roads have been forced to close. Google Maps also has no indication of the location or the extent of the lava flow. Where Google Maps does win out is in showing the closure of local hotels, restaurants and other businesses. In the areas affected by the volcanic eruption and the magma flow Google Maps does indicate which businesses are 'temporarily closed'. 

HERE maps like Google has not updated its map of La Palma to show road closures or the location & extent of the lava flow. 

Apple Maps is a closed garden to which I do not have a key.

Friday, October 08, 2021

Aerial Archaeology

Historic England has released a new interactive map which identifies archaeological sites in England which have been identified, mapped and recorded using aerial photography. The map brings together and makes freely accessible over 30 years of aerial mapping projects.

When you are zoomed out on the Aerial Archaeology Mapping Explorer the map shows in red areas where aerial mapping exists. When you zoom in monument extents are shown on the map in grey. These grey areas show the extent of the archaeological features recorded at the site. If you click on one of these grey areas you can view the complete archaeological monument record for the site. 

From my brief exploration of the map this morning I think that the Aerial Archaeological Mapping Explorer has been designed not so much to give the public access to the actual aerial photography and LIDAR data captured by Historic England but to show where this aerial imagery has been used to reveal archaeological monuments. The map can therefore be used to discover where important archaeological sites can be found and to view each site's Historic Environment records and any available reports made about the recorded site.

If you are interested in viewing aerial imagery of what is probably England's most famous archaeological site then you might like Historic England's Stonehenge World Heritage Site Landscape Map. This interactive map allows you to view aerial imagery of 46 listed archaeological sites in and around Stonehenge, learn more about each site and download each site's report.

Historic England's 2002 National Mapping Project of Stonehenge discovered around 539 important archaeological sites around Stonehenge. About thirty percent of the newly discovered sites were prehistoric or Roman in date. These included ring ditches, field systems, round barrows and enclosures of various forms dating from prehistory.

46 of these new sites can be viewed on the Historic England map by clicking on the numbered markers on the map or by selecting them from the map sidebar. When you select a site from the sidebar or map, the map zooms to show the listed site and information for the site is displayed in the map side panel. A link to download the individual site's National Mapping Project report is also provided in the map side panel.

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Mapping the Last Tati Department Store

Last week the last ever Tati clothing store closed in France, bringing to an end the company's 78 year history. The first Tati store was opened by Jules Ouaki in the Barbès-Rochechouart district in Paris in 1948. Over the next 78 years the company expanded its operations, until it had established stores in many French cities. Last week's closure of the Tati store on Boulevard Barbès ends Tati's presence on French streets, however the brand still exists as an online only store.

To mark the closure of one of Paris' most iconic stores Le Parisien has managed to retrieve the original plans of Jules Ouaki's original Paris store. In How Tati made her mark in Barbès Le Parisien uses these plans to create a 3D interactive tour. This 3D tour visualizes the original store and shows how it expanded over its 78 year history into a number of its neighboring buildings. The tour also includes vintage photographs of the store and the accompanying text explains how the store and the Tati brand managed to grow and expand during its 78 year history. 

Animated 3D tours are becoming a popular method of engaging readers in a story. For example last month The Straits Times released a very impressive scrollytelling map visualizing how the city-state plans to develop over the next decade.

As you scroll through Singapore 2030 an interactive 3D map flies over the island of Singapore taking you on a tour of some of the country's planned developments. A combination of this 3D map and artists' impressions of the planned projects provide the reader with a detailed view of how the planned developments will change the landscape of Singapore for ever.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Mapping Trees in 3D

Chee Aun was so impressed with Apple Maps' new 3D trees that he decided to replicate the feature using Mapbox GL. The result is ExploreTrees 3D, a 3D map of Singapore which (you guessed it) is replete with hundreds of thousands of 3D models of the country's trees.

Explore Trees uses data from, which is a map and database of over half a million trees in Singapore. The data on includes information on each tree's girth size, height, age, species and type. Chee Aun has used this height and girth data to help create a 3D model of each and every tree.

If you are on a mobile device then you might prefer the 2D layer of ExploreTrees. This map also allows you to explore half a million Singapore trees. If you hover over a tree on the 2D layer the map will reveal the species of tree, its girth, height and even its age. 

If you intrigued by ExploreTrees then you can read more about how the map was made on Chee's blog post Building ExploreTrees.SG.