Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Maps of the Week


Mapping History are a Dutch company who produce mapped visualizations and films for museums and heritage organizations. These visualizations often involve animations showing the historical development of individual towns by presenting a range of maps of the towns through their history.

The Mapping History website includes a number of Google Maps which portray the growth of Dutch cities and New York by mapping the cities through the ages. Each city's mapped visualization includes a timeline which can be used to view the city's size at different stages in its history.

The historical maps of each city are fairly basic, providing an overview of building plots and land use over the years. However the time-line does provide a great overview of how each city has developed through time.

Currently Mapping History has created mapped histories for Amsterdam, Gouda, Den Haag, Rotterdam, Leiden, Harlingen, Zuiderzee and New York.


Wouldn't you like a refreshing tankard of ale in the summer sun? Of course you would. But first you need to find a pub that is in the sun.

What you need is Pints in the Sun. This very clever map will help you locate nearby bars. It also very handily provides a 3d map of the buildings in the area and shows you where the shade and sunlight will be at every minute of the day.

Pints in the Sun really is an amazing application. It uses building outline data from OpenStreetMap. three.js and SunCalc data to provide a very clever visualization of building shadows. I guarantee you will have a lot of fun just playing with the time slide control and watching the building shadows move during the course of a day.

The only thing that is really missing from this application is an aerial view option. I'd really like to be able to see whether a pub has a garden and then be able to find out when would be the best time to sit in that beer garden to get that all important pint in the sun.


Creating interactive indoor maps isn't easy. One major problem is that architects like to design buildings with more than one level. This creates difficulties for cartographers. The traditional overhead two-dimensional representation of a geographical area in maps works very well when you only have one level to map. Introduce more than one level and the cartographer has a problem.

London's Heathrow airport's interactive map is a very well designed interactive map which manages to cope very well with buildings which contain more than one floor. When zoomed out the Heathrow Hubmap presents a view of the airport's five terminals and transport links. Zoom in on any of the terminals and the map tiles immediately switch to present a floor-plan view.

Links to the floor-plans for the different floors in each terminal immediately appear on the left-hand side of the map when you zoom-in on a terminal. To view a floor's map you therefore simply need to select the relevant button from the level menu.

The whole map is tied together with a logical menu system which allows you to search the map by terminal and by transport links, parking and departures. The map also includes a powerful search function which allows you to search by keyword or category, such as shops, hotels, check-in zones, departure gates etc.
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