Friday, February 28, 2014

Placing Over 20,000 Artworks on the Maps


The Tate owns over 70,000 works of art. 23,000 of the artworks have been associated with a location, either through information in the work's title, description or as depicted in the artwork itself.

Tate Artmaps is a Google Map of the Tate artworks that have been geotagged. You can search the map by location to find geo-tagged art associated with the area. Alternatively you can search for artwork by your favorite artist.

If your search reveals a Tate owned artwork that hasn't already been geo-tagged you can help to geo-tag it by placing a marker on the Google Map (assuming the artwork is associated with a location). If you want to learn more about any works of art on the Tate Artmaps website you can click through to read about it on the Tate website.

Spanish Unemployment on Google Maps


1 in every 4 Spaniards of working age is unemployed. The situation is particular bad for the young, where over half of those under 30 are unemployed. There are also regional differences in the level of unemployment. In the south-east and north-east of the country the employment market is holding up a little better than the rest of the country.

You can view the regional differences in Spanish unemployment at Mapa del Paro, a series of Google Maps which show the unemployment rate at municipal level. Mapa del Paro has created a number of regional heat maps, each of which shows the current unemployment rate for each municipality in the region.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mapping Space Station Earth


MapBox has released a gorgeous science-fiction themed map style, called Space Station Earth.

In a post on the MapBox blog, Eleanor Lutz explains some of the design decisions she took in creating the map, including changing city names to space colonies, custom textures for road and building borders and adding oversized markers for stores, parks, and other points of interest to simulate city lights.


Check out the MapBox Showcase to view more MapBox map styles.

Google Releases the YouTube of Google Maps


Google has today launched the Google Maps Gallery. The gallery is a showcase of maps created by organisations using the Google Maps Engine. The new gallery highlights maps by organisations such as National Geographic, the David Rumsey Map Collection, USGS and NASA.

Maps in the gallery can be viewed full screen, rated by users and even include the code so that they can be embedded in other websites - think YouTube for maps. The collection released today includes some great maps. Some of my favorites are:

Mapping Building Height


Anzahl der Geschosse in Hamburg is an interactive map in the style of the many popular building age maps which we have seen over the last year or so. However, instead of coloring each building footprint on the the map by building age, Anzahl der Geschosse colors each building by the number of floors it has.

The lighter colored buildings on the map have the most stories while the darker colors show buildings with less floors. The Anzahl Der Geshosse map reveals that the taller buildings in Hamburg are concentrated in the center of the city and as you radiate out from the center the buildings become less tall.

International Polar Bear Day on Street View


Last year Google partnered with Polar Bears International to capture Street View imagery in the tundra of Churchill, Manitoba in Canada. The area is home to one of the largest polar bear populations on the planet.

To celebrate International Polar Bear Day the imagery has now been added to Google Maps. As you might imagine the new Street View features a lot of snow and those darn white bears are hard to spot. So far we have found only one shot of an actual polar bear. Maybe you can do better.


If you are interested in polar bears then you should check out the Bear Tracker. The Bear Tracker from Polar Bear International is tracking the movements of polar bears in Hudson Bay.


The Bear Tacker Google Map shows current and past sea ice levels on Hudson Bay, and also the rough locations of polar bears. Users can click on the individual polar bear markers to view the bear's track and also use a time slider control to see the locations of the bears over time.

The Most Popular Bands by Location


By far the most shared map of the last week has been Music Machinery's Distinctive Artists by State. This static image map shows the most popular artist in each US state based on data from a variety of music streaming services. You can read more about the data behind the map on Music Machinery.

The map reveals some interesting geographical differences in musical taste. Music Machinery has also developed an application that allows you to explore these regional differences in music in the USA in more detail. With the app you can select two regions and it will show you which artists are distinctive for each region.


The one thing missing from the map is that there is no way to listen to the favorite artists in each state. This got me thinking that you could create an interactive version of the map with links to the artists on Spotify.

I didn't want to steal Music Machinery's idea completely so I decided instead to map the 2013 top artists on Spotify by country. The Spotify Top Tracks by Country 2013 map shows the name of the artist that had the most listened to track in 35 countries around the world.

The data for the map comes from Spotify Year in Review 2013. If you click on the marker associated with each country you can listen to the track on Spotify.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Name a Martian Crater


At least twice a year someone contacts me with the brilliant idea of selling off virtual property on Google Maps. The idea usually involves a simple map that users can click on to buy towns, neighborhoods, streets or buildings. I refuse to run these maps on Google Maps Mania as users get nothing in return for stumping up their hard earned cash.

Well now someone has come up with the idea of selling property on Mars. Only this time it is for a good cause! Uwingu is a non-profit founded by astronomers, planetary scientists, space educators, and former NASA personnel with the mission to create new ways to inspire space exploration and astronomy. They do this by providing grants for space exploration, space research, and space education.

To help raise funds for these grants Uwingu has come up with the genius idea of selling the naming rights for craters on Mars. They have created a map of Mars, including the 500,000 largest, still unnamed craters. The Mars Surface Viewer allows anyone to click on a Mars Crater and buy the naming rights. The crater's are priced in proportion to size. A small crater costs just $5 but, if you are feeling generous, you can contribute more and grab yourself a giant Mars crater instead.

Mapping Beneath the Streets


Beneath the streets of Montreal winds a sewer system of over 5,000 kilometers. Some sections of the sewer system date back to 1832. Under Montreal maps Montreal's sewers, lost rivers and numerous creeks.

The map allows the user to view a combination of sewers and/or former creeks. It also includes a number of fascinating photographs taken by Canadian photographer Andrew Emond beneath Montreal's streets.

The Google Maps Gig Guide


Gigero is a slick Google Maps based events guide for finding upcoming gigs around the world. You can search Gigero either by location or by the name of an artist to find upcoming gigs listed on last.fm.

If you search by a city upcoming gigs are displayed on the map and listed in the map sidebar in chronological order. If you search by an artist's name you can view all the locations around the world where the artist is scheduled to play and again all the gigs are listed in chronological order in the sidebar.

Mapping Teenage Pregnancy


The UK's Office for National Statistics has released a powerful mapped visualization of Under 18 Conception Rates in England & Wales.

The map allows users to explore conception rates between 1998 and 2012 at local authority level. The tool shows how under 18 conception rates have changed over this time period and enables comparisons between different local authorities and between a selected local authority and the overall national picture.


This new tool is just the latest in a series of mapped visualizations of UK data by the Office for National Statistics. In the past the ONS has released a number of Fusion Tables powered Google Maps to visualize UK economic & demographic data. Here are just a few of their UK maps:

The Income Estimates Map is a map that allows users to view the estimated average weekly household income for neighbourhoods throughout the UK. Users can click on a location or use the search box to search for an address and view the average weekly income in that area.

The Urban Rural Definition Map is a map of the UK showing whether each neighbourhood is designated as urban, rural or 'town or fringe'. The Public and Private Sector Employment Map shows the subregional distribution of public and private sector employment and allows users to explore the distribution in their area. The Households in Poverty Estimates Map provides estimates of the proportion of households in poverty in UK neighbourhoods. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Street View Beneath the Waves


Google Maps has added new underwater Street View captured by the Caitlin Seaview Survey. The new imagery includes Street Views off the coast of Monaco, France at the Larvotto Marine Reserve and at Roche Saint Nicholas.


In Mexico there is new underwater imagery at the UNESCO World Heritage site Sian Ka'an, the MUSA underwater museum off the coast of Isla Mujeres, at Santa Rosa Wall and Columbia Deep. There are also some amazing Street Views of whale sharks at Isla Contoy.


In America you can now also tour new Street View imagery taken from a boat in the San Francisco Bay.

Ambient Street View Sounds from P. Morris


Los Angeles producer P.Morris has released a debut mixtape, actually called 'Debut'. You can listen to the mixtape online at morrismakes.com. The online version of the mixtape combines P.Morris' ambient tunes with the interactive imagery of Google Maps Street View.

Each song is paired with an image taken from Street View. The Street Views are enhanced using WebKit filters, so you will probably need to use the Chrome browser to get the full visual effect. However you only need to turn up your speakers to achieve the full aural effect.

The Detroit Building Age Map


Over the last year Google Maps Mania has featured a lot of maps which have visualized the age of buildings in cities around the world. There is even a map visualizing the age of buildings in a whole country (the Netherlands). Here is the list of building age maps that we have featured in the last year: New YorkBrooklyn, MoscowReykjav√≠kall of the Netherlandsall of the Netherlands - againLjubljana in SloveniaPortland, Oregon and Chicago. We can now add Detroit to the list.

The Detroit Building Age map visualizes the age of Detroit's buildings by their decade of construction. If you zoom in you can select individual buildings on the map to reveal details about the year of construction. After you have selected a building you can also use the 'Data Layers' menu to find out other information, such as the building's owner, the tax status and the size of the property.

The Perfect Place for Love


The economic downturn in Europe and the high cost of property has resulted in many Europeans being forced to live with their parents well into their late twenties. One consequence of adults living with their parents is the problem of where to go to have sex. This in part could explain the popularity in Europe of Places for Love. Of course it might also have a lot do with the eternal appeal to Europeans of extra-marital sex and al fresco sex.

Places for Love is a Google Maps based application where users can recommend their favorite outdoor locations for making love. These could be parks, quiet beaches or just locations with beautiful views. Currently the map has over 10,000 locations that have been recommended across the globe.

So, if you are looking for the perfect place for love, just enter a location into Places for Love and you should be able to find the perfect love-spot nearby.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Good Evening New York


Instant Peeping is an interesting experiment exploring the behaviour patterns of Instagram users in major cities around the world.

Select one of the cities on Instant Peeping and you will be taken to a Google Map of your selected location. After a few moments real-time photos submitted to Instagram will appear in the map sidebar and the location of the photo will be displayed on the map. Over time patterns should emerge on the map showing you where most Instagram users are located, or where in the city the app is currently being used the most.

At 8pm on a Monday night two distinct clusters have appeared on the map of New York, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I don't know New York at all - so I'm guessing that is where the restaurants and bars are.

If you click on the 'Analysis / Data' link you can view information on the most used tags in the city and on the day and times that Instagram is most popular.

Scrolling Street View Directions


When I first developed my Street View scrolling library I had a plan to one day develop it to work with Google Maps driving directions. The idea was to create an application that enabled you to request driving directions and then preview the suggested route in Street View.

Jefferson Lam has beaten me to the draw with the release of Daytripper. Daytripper allows you to request directions and then preview the route in Street View simply by scrolling up and down the page. It is a very handy application to preview an unfamiliar route before leaving home.


If scrolling is too much effort you could always use Hyperlapse instead. Street View Hyperlapse  uses Hyperlapse.js, Three.js, GSVPano.js, and the Google Maps API to create really smooth animated Street View movies.

Users of Street View Hyperlapse can search for any location with Google Street View coverage. All you then need to do is drop two map markers for the start and end of your drive and then press 'create'. Once you have created your route you can watch an animated drive-through within Google Maps Street View.

Mapping the Austro-Hungarian Empire


Mapire is a Google Map interface that allows you to explore historical maps of the Habsburg Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The historical maps from the Second Military Survey (1806–1869) cover a huge area of Europe, from Austria in the west to Romania in the east.

Using Mapire it is possible to view maps from the Second Military Survey covering the whole of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The map includes quick links to different regions within the Empire and a handy transparency tool, that allows you to adjust the opacity of the historical map overlays.


It is also possible to view the historical maps in 3d, using the Google Earth plug-in. The Google Earth view allows you to explore the maps overlaid on the 3d terrain of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Population Mapping


Population Explorer is a Google Maps based tool that can estimate the population of any area on Earth, down to an area of 1km2.

Draw a polygon anywhere on the Earth and Population Explorer will provide an estimate of the population within the defined area. I've tested the tool by selecting areas that I know, such as London and the UK, and I've also tested it by searching for estimates in deserts and the sea. From my limited testing Population Explorer does seem to return accurate population estimates.

The results of each search displays the total population, the population density, the number of males & females, the age structure of the population and population growth estimates.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

This Train is Late on Google Maps


FAILRAIL.sg is a Google Maps based visualization of train service disruptions in Singapore. The application uses Google Maps with the Simile Timeline library to provide a means to record and visualize disruptions and delays on Singapore's rail network.

The timeline feature allows you to browse rail disruptions in the city-state by date. Scroll through the timeline and the recorded disruptions in the currently displayed time will also be displayed on the map. If you select an incident, either by clicking on the map or on the timeline you can view details about the recorded disruption.

It is also possible to select information about any line on the Singapore rail network or any combination of the network's lines. Using the filter buttons in conjunction with the timeline provides Singapore commuters a powerful tool to quickly visualize the quality of service on any line over time.

The Maps of the Week


Geneticists at Oxford University have been studying 95 populations around the world to examine the effects of historical events on genetic makeup. The results of this study are now being visualized on a fascinating Google Map, called A Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History.

The map allows you to select populations and view inferred admixing in the population's DNA and the date that the admixing took place. For example, the Silk Road appears to have brought Europeans to 1200 CE China. The DNA of the Tu people in modern China suggests that at around this time the Tu were in contact with Europeans similar to modern Greeks.

If you select a labelled population on the Google Map you can view details of past admixture events which have been inferred, from the population's DNA. Colored circles or pie charts on the map depict the inferred genetic make-up of admixing sources in the population and a timeline indicates the period when the admixing is likely to have happened.

The map is a fascinating insight into the effects of historical events on distinct populations. Using the map it becomes clear how historical events like the Arab Slave Trade or the Mongol invasions led to changes in the genetic makeup of other populations.


It is a little late now but I love this illustrated map created for the Sochi Winter Olympics. The Sochi 2014 Interactive Map was created using the MapBox platform by Fiasco Design.

The map includes some great animated landmarks (check out the ski lift). It also includes information about the venues of the Winter Olympics games. If you mouse-over features on the map you can read about Sochi and the different venues being used in the games. You might also find information about Sochi's two gay bars and some hidden underwater machine-guns.


Since the year 2000 the world has lost more than 500 million acres of forest. Global Forest Watch is a new Google Map from the World Resources Institute and over 40 other global partners designed to map the world's forest coverage and loss.

Global Forest Watch is attempting to establish a global forest monitoring network. The launch of this new map is part of an initiative to provide the tools for anyone to explore forest loss and forest gain across the globe. The map includes a number of layers, including forest cover and loss since 2000, worldwide tree height data, tropical forest carbon stocks and data about global forest use.

The map also includes links to forest-related stories. The links to the stories are embedded on the map at specific locations and the stories include photos, video, and explanatory text.

Mapping the Bloodshed


The Central African Republic is being torn apart by civil-war and both Christian and Muslim communities are being targeted by the rival militia. Al Jazeera has created an interesting and informative interactive, Mapping the Bloodshed, which examines the continuing crisis in the Central African Republic.

The interactive story includes a Google Map, a timeline of events and information about the causes of the current civil-war. The map itself includes information about the number of refugees caused by the current crisis, the locations of both Seleka and Anti-Balaka strongholds, and information about important incidents that have occurred in the country since the crisis began.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

How Far Can You Fly?


Over the years there have been a few great isochrone maps created with the Google Maps API, which show how far you can travel on public transit in a certain amount of time. Flight Times is the first map I've seen that shows you how far you can fly for different periods of time.

The map is very simple to use. Just click on the map and a number of geodesic circles are displayed on the map at set time periods. The consecutive circles show how far you can travel in incremental periods of time. You can even zoom in on the map and more circles will appear on the map to show shorter increments of travel time.

Gingee Fort on Street View


This week Google released some truly amazing Street View imagery in India. Much of the publicity surrounding the release has focused on the Street View imagery from the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal imagery is fantastic but I've found myself over the last few days spending most of my time exploring the extraordinary Street View imagery of Gingee Fort.

Gingee Fort in Tamil Nadu is a truly huge fort complex consisting of eight miles of fort walls connecting three large hillocks, each of which themselves are topped by huge fortifications. I'd never heard of Gingee Fort before so, while exploring the fort in Street View, I've found myself scouring the internet trying to find out more about the various buildings and landmarks within the fort complex.

This morning I quickly put together a map of Gingee Fort with links to some of the best Street Views I've found within the fort. I have included any information I've been able to discover about the amazing buildings and landmarks in the fort.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mapping Global Deforestation


Since the year 2000 the world has lost more than 500 million acres of forest. Global Forest Watch is a new Google Map from the World Resources Institute and over 40 other global partners designed to map the world's forest coverage and loss.

Global Forest Watch is attempting to establish a global forest monitoring network. The launch of this new map is part of an initiative to provide the tools for anyone to explore forest loss and forest gain across the globe. The map includes a number of layers, including forest cover and loss since 2000, worldwide tree height data, tropical forest carbon stocks and data about global forest use.

The map also includes links to forest-related stories. The links to the stories are embedded on the map at specific locations and the stories include photos, video, and explanatory text.

Ukraine - a Country Divided


Photo by innaunique

With the situation changing almost daily it is hard to stay abreast of events in Ukraine. However a picture is worth a thousand words and a real-time picture is worth a thousand more. Therefore I have spent this morning exploring Ukraine on EchoSEC.

The EchoSec application displays social media messages and photos from Instagram, Twitter and Foursquare around any location. The link above has a bounding-box around Independence Square in Kiev. Beneath the map you can view a series of the latest photos submitted to Instagram, many of them showing the protests in Kiev.


A map is also worth a thousand words and both the Washington Post and Big Think have created maps that help explain the huge political divide in Ukraine. The Washington Post has mapped the 2010 Ukraine election results and Big Think the 2004 election results.

Both maps show a country almost split in half in their support for President Viktor Yanukovych or the Pro-European party. The president is pushing for ever more closer ties with Russia whilst the Pro-Europeans want closer integration with the European Union. The Washington Post map also attempts to show where the protests against Yanukovych are taking place, showing that at the moment the protests are almost exclusively in the areas where the Pro-European Party have most electoral support.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Taj Mahal on Street View


The Taj Mahal, in Agra, India is now available on Google Maps Street View. The Taj Mahal was built between 1632-53 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, and is surely one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

You can now explore the Taj Mahal, the gardens and the outlying buildings using Google's panoramic imagery. If you fancy a quick stroll through the garden I've stitched together 66 of the images in this Street Scroll presentation. To move forwards and backwards you just need to scroll up and down the page. To explore any of the images in more detail just click on the Google logo to open the Street View in Google Maps.


As well as the Taj Mahal Google has added Street Views of the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah and Agra Fort in Agra. In Delhi you can view Street Views of Humayun's Tomb, Qutub Minar and the Red Fort. There are also lots of other Street Views available all over India at over 30 sites of historical importance.

Here are the other sites I've discovered so far:

Warangal Fort, Raigarh Fort, Aga Khan Palace, Shaniwar Wada, Kanheri Caves, Pandulena Caves, Bibi Ka Maqbara, Lenyadri Caves, Krishnagiri Fort, Muvar Koil and Aivar Koil, Palli Kondaperumal and Malayadipatti Siva Temple, Thirumayam Fort, Sithannavasal Caves, Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, Fatehpur Sikri, Hoshang Shah's Tomb, Hirakota Fort, Shahi Quila, Muchu Kundesvara Temple, Jantar Mantar, Rajagiri Fort, St George Fort, Chandragiri Fort, Nagarjuna Konda Buddhist Stupas, Amaravati Buddhist Stupas and Hoshang Shah's Tomb.

Finding Street Art with Google Maps


Red Bull Street Art View uses Google Maps and Google Street View to present a crowd-sourced map of street art from around the world.

Using the map you can search for graffiti directly from the map and click on the map markers to view a Street View image of the art. The site includes quick links to the 'most viewed' and the 'latest additions' to the map. There is also a search option which allows you to quickly find works by popular graffiti artists such as Banksy and Keith Haring.

Adding your own finds to the map is very easy. It just involves finding the right location on the map and dragging the Street View to grab the best shot of the street art that you wish to submit.


The Big Art Mob is a crowd-sourced map of the world's public art. Using the Big Art Mob Google Map it is possible to search for public art by location, by tag, by user or just browse the latest or featured submissions.

Anyone can submit an artwork to the map by taking a photo and posting the location of the art work. The Big Art Mob is also available as an iPhone app which helps you automatically share the location of public art simply by taking a photo of it from within the app.


Graffmap is a street art mapping site that is designed to help you share and discover great examples of found graffiti.

The application works perfectly well on a desktop computer but is optimized for mobile devices. For example, the 'nearby' function works best on your mobile, allowing you to easily find the nearest examples of street art submitted by users around your current location.

To share your own discovered street art you simply need to take a photograph of the found graffiti and the app's built in geolocation sharing takes care of adding your discovery to the map.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Sochi Winter Olympic Map


It is a little late I now but I love this illustrated map created for the Sochi Winter Olympics. The Sochi 2014 Interactive Map was created using the MapBox platform by Fiasco Design.

The map includes some great animated landmarks (check out the ski lift). It also includes information about the venues of the Winter Olympics games. If you mouse-over features on the map you can read about Sochi and the different venues being used in the games. You might also find information about Sochi's two gay bars and some hidden underwater machine-guns.

New York's Gentrification on Street View


Nearby Street View images captured on and near road intersections often contain images from two different time periods. This gap in time is sometimes large enough for whole new buildings to be constructed between the times that the Google Street View car drove by. Justin Blinder has been exploiting these temporal gaps in Street View to explore the gentrification of New York.

In Vacated Justin used the NYC Department of City Planning PLUTO dataset to find buildings that have been built or altered since 2009. Vacated includes a Google Map of of new developments in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It also contains a number of captivating animated gifs created from two different Street Views of the same location. The gifs are a great visualization of the developing story of New York.

Compare Your Town with the World


I've seen a fair few map comparison sites over the years, map applications that allow you to compare one country with another country or one city with another city. BBC DimensionOverlayMaps, MAPfrappe and If It Were My Home? are four good examples of apps that allow you to compare one location with another.

All four of these maps work by overlaying the shape of one location on top of another so that you can make a direct comparison of size. Mapmerizer works a little differently as it lets you compare two locations side-by-side on two different maps. Type in the name of two towns, cities or countries into Mapmerizer and you compare a Google Map of each location juxtaposed next to each other.

One neat feature of Mapmerizer is that you can also compare the satellite views of your two different locations. For example, when comparing the satellite views of London and New York, London seems much greener than the Big Apple, while in New York the population appears to be more densely concentrated.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Historical Maps of Three Cities

Chris Olsen has used Esri Maps to create a series of interesting historical map interfaces for Toronto, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The map for each city includes a timeline function that allows users to view historical maps of each city over the decades.


Toronto Historic Maps presents a series of historical maps of the Canadian city. The earliest map is the 1858 Boulton Atlas of the City of Toronto. The map also allows you to explore Goad fire insurance maps from 1880, 1889, 1913 & 1924 and includes maps from 1818, 1842 and aerial photographs from 1947.

Via: Recursion: Adventures from a Fractured Life


Cleveland Historic Maps features a number of historical maps from the Cleveland Public Library collection. My favorite in the collection is the 1852 Harris Blackmore map. You can also view historical Cleveland maps from 1874, 1881, 1898, 1912 and 1920.


Pittsburgh Historic Maps features a series of historic maps of Pittsburgh, dating back to 1835. The map also includes historical aerial photo maps from 1939, 1957 and 2005.

A number of markers on the map allow the user to learn more about historical landmarks in the city, using data from the National Registry of Historic Places and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

Ukraine's Public Transit Wayfinder


EasyWay is a public transit route-finding and directions application for 50 cities in Ukraine. The app allows passengers to get directions between any two locations on Ukraine's trams, buses and metro systems.

The application uses a familiar format of allowing users to enter a starting point and destination and presenting a suggested route on a Google Map, with step-by-step instructions provided in the map sidebar. The step-by step guide for each journey includes estimated travel times and the cost of the journey.

EasyWay also includes markers for airports and major train stations on the map, which is very handy for quickly finding routes between the major transport hubs.