Saturday, April 30, 2016

Map Marker Collections


Mapbox has released a new version of their Maki map icons collection. The collection includes 114 different open sourced map markers which can be used with your interactive maps.

Each icon in the Maki collection is available in two sizes, 11px by 11px and 15px by 15px, and can be downloaded in SVG format. The new collection also comes with the Maki Icon Set Editor, which allows you to change the color and shape of the map icons so that they complement the design of your interactive maps.

Interactive map developers and designers might also be interested in the Maki Style Guidelines.


Another source for downloadable map icons is the Map Icons Collection. The Map Icons Collection includes over 1,000 different map icons in seven different styles. It is also possible to edit the colors of each of the map markers in the Map Icons Collection.

A third source for map markers is the Map Icons Designer. The Map Icons Designer includes 200 map icons which can be downloaded in PSD Vector Shape & PNG format.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Rickshaws & Pigeons - Monitoring Air Pollution


Delhi has one of the worst air pollution records in the world. London has the worst air pollution record in Europe. Both cities however are developing interesting ways to monitor near real-time air pollution.

In Delhi Project Peppered Moth has equipped five auto rickshaws with internet connected air pollution sensors. These sensors measure air pollution every 30 seconds as they navigate around the city. The Project Peppered Moth website includes an interactive map which allows you to explore the readings from any of the rickshaws for any of the days that they have been in action.

The map shows color-coded markers for each reading taken by the sensors. I assume green markers indicate lower readings and red markers show higher readings.

London doesn't have as many auto rickshaws as Delhi but it does have thousands of pigeons. Pigeon Air Patrol has developed tiny backpacks fitted with air pollution sensors. It has also found a number of pigeons who have agreed to wear the backpacks on their daily commute around London.

The Pigeon Air Patrol website also includes an interactive map which presents the pigeons' tracks and the air pollution readings that the pigeons collected for what I assume was a test run. If you click on any of the markers on the you can read a summary of the air pollution level (although they all seem to say 'moderate pollution').

Now all we need is for both cities to put as much imagination into lowering air pollution as they are into monitoring it.

8-Bit Maps of the World


Back in 2010 Bret Camper released 8-Bit City - New York, an interactive 8-Bit map of New York, which resembled the world maps used in 1980's computer games.

Since 2010 8-Bit City has expanded in scope and you can now view 8-Bit maps of 18 cities around the world. These 8-bit maps use data from OpenStreetMap which is then processed in a custom rendering engine, built by Brett, to create the map tiles for each interactive city map.


If you want to create an 8-Bit type map of a location which isn't featured in 8-Bit Cities you can use the 8-Bit Map Maker. This clever OpenStreetMap based tool can create an 8-bit game world map for any real world location.

Just enter your address into the map and you can create a little static game world map of your own neighborhood. The 8-Bit Map Maker also includes an option to download the created 8-Bit map of your location as a tiled map.


If you want to view a fully interactive 8-Bit map of the world then you should have a look at the Super Mario Map of the World. This interactive map was styled in Mapbox Studio to resemble the 8-bit maps used in the Super Mario computer games.

If you want to learn more about how the map data was styled to resemble an 8-Bit map then you can read the Designing a Super Mario Map with Mapbox Studio Classic on the Mapbox Blog.

Mapping the Science Paper Pirates


Sci-Hub is an online repository of pirated scientific academic papers and articles. It allows researchers and students to access expensive pay-walled academic content. Content that is usually only available from expensive academic journal publishers.

Perhaps one of the strongest arguments in support of the illegal pirating of scientific papers is that the present system is prohibitively expensive, especially for struggling students and researchers from developing countries. It has been claimed that the popularity of Sci-Hub in countries such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Iran proves that Sci-Hub is providing access to scientific research to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it.

In an article on the Science website, Who's Downloading Pirated Papers?, John Bohannon has created an interactive map showing where pirated scientific academic papers and articles have been downloaded from Sci-Hub around the world. In order to make the map Bohannon contacted Alexandra Elbakyan, the Sci-Hub creator, to request the geographic location of every user who has downloaded an academic paper from Sci-Hub. In order to protect the privacy of Sci-Hub users the data was aggregated to the nearest city.

Bohannon's article on Science also includes a link to the open data behind the map. The data includes '28 million download request events from the server logs of Sci-Hub from 1 September 2015 through 29 February 2016'.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Divided Recovery in House Prices


The Washington Post has been looking at the uneven recovery in the housing market since its collapse in 2004. What they have found is that although the market has largely recovered it is the wealthy who are benefiting, while poorer and minority neighborhoods are lagging behind.

The Post's report America's Great Housing Divide is accompanied by an interactive map which allows you to see how property prices are doing in your area. If you enter a town name or zip-code into the map you can view a choropleth map showing how homes in your neighborhoods have changed in value since 2004.

If you click on the map you can see the percentage change in value in homes in the zip-code area. You can also view a graph showing the rise and fall of property prices in the area since 2004 compared to the rise and fall of house prices in the wider metro area.

Mapping the World's Energy Use


GoCompare has created an interesting map which shows how much of the world's energy is produced by fossil fuels, nuclear power and renewable energy.

The What Powers the World map uses what resembles a NASA Night-Lights satellite view of the Earth. If you use the 'Fossil Fuels', 'Nuclear' and 'Renewables' buttons at the top of the map you can see the world's lights turning on or off based on the amount of energy produced by these three energy sources.

When you select any of the three main energy views interesting energy stories are also displayed on the map. For example, if you select the nuclear power view, an orange marker appears of France, which gets 74% of its energy from nuclear power. Japan, however, gets only 1% of its power from nuclear energy (before the Fukushima disaster it was 30%).

Mapping the Simpsons


PlayGIS's Springfield is a gloriously detailed map of America's most famous town. The map allows you to explore an oblique view of Springfield and view places of interest in the town, such as the home of the Simpsons family (742 Evergreen Terrace) and the location of the.world's first ever Kwik-E-Mart.

The Springfield map was created using the Esri mapping platform. It is now also available as a Leaflet powered map. The Simpson's City Map is an attempt at directly port (plagiarize?) playGIS's map into Leaflet.js.

The new Simpson's City Map includes the same map tiles and even the same marked locations and town information as the playGIS map. In fact the Simpson's City Map doesn't appear to have created quite as many layers of map tiles as playGIS, therefore it doesn't have the same quality when you zoom in on the map of Springfield.

The new Simpson's City Map does include an attempt to crowd-source information about the town of Springfield. The map includes a 'contribute' button. Press this button and you are taken to another Springfield map with an e-mail address for contributing information about locations on the map.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mapping Memories of Hiroshima


It has been over 70 years since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Hiroshima Archive has been collating the memories of the remaining survivors of the nuclear bombing of Japan, You can access videos of these accounts on this 3d map of Hiroshima.

The Hiroshima Archive uses a Cesium generated 3d globe overlaid with a vintage map of Hiroshima. The map includes playable videos of personal accounts of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb, photographs taken in the immediate aftermath of the bombing and videos exploring some of the monuments to the 1945 bomb built in Hiroshima since the attack.

The map sidebar includes links to similar 3d maps for the Nagasaki Archive and for the 2011 Japanese earthquake.

The Hockey Hotbed of the World


Last year the 10 and 3 website released a Canadian NHL Players Map to visualize which areas in Canada produced the most NHL players. This year the 10 and 3 has decided to go global.

More than 50% of players in the National Hockey League are now non-native Canadians and Canadians no longer make up the majority of the league's players. The 10 and 3 has therefore created a new interactive map to show the birthplace of NHL players from all around the world.

The new Crowning the World’s Undisputed Hockey Hotbed map allows you to view a choropleth map showing where NHL hockey players were born around the world, all the way back to 1925. You can use the timeline at the bottom of the map to explore the global regions that have produced NHL players over time (in ten year increments). As you change the date on the timeline the map will update to reflect the chosen year.

The choropleth layer on the map shows the number of NHL players originating from different countries and regions. You can select the individual colored areas on the map to view the total number of players from the area and the number of players produced per 100,000 residents.

Dublin - Easter Rising in 3D


The 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising has easily become the most mapped historical event of this year.

Maps Mania has already featured a review of Google and Ireland 2016's mapped audio and visual guide, Dublin Rising 1916-2016. Ireland 2016's map includes a Street View tour of some of the important locations in the Easter Rising, narrated by actor Colin Farrell. We have also featured RTE's Reflecting the Rising, a map which includes fascinating video and sound recordings of personal accounts from men and women who lived through Easter 1916.

The City and the Rising is perhaps the best of them all. This map from Dublin City Council features images, text and videos that connect incidents and events of the Easter Rising with locations across the city.This multi-media content is displayed on top of vintage map of Dublin.

My favorite part of The City and the Rising, however, has to be the incredible 3d maps which you can view of a number of important locations in Dublin. These 3d maps were made from archive photographs, maps and documentary sources to recreate how Dublin actually looked in 1916.

Therefore With The City and the Rising you can not only learn more about the events that took place in and around Dublin's General Post Office (for example) you can also explore the GPO and O'Connell Street in 3d. In fact, if you have an Oculus Rift headset, you can even view the 3d scenes in virtual reality.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Bear's Eye View of Yellowstone Park


National Geographic attached cameras and tracking collars to two grizzly bears and two black bears inside Yellowstone National Park. They were then able to map the bears' movements inside the park and observe how they prowl for food and interact with their environment.

A Bear’s-Eye View of Yellowstone allows you to watch footage from the four bear-cams and view the bears' tracks as they move around the park. As you scroll down this special interactive presentation from National Geographic the bears' tracks are updated on the map while the bear-cam footage from the currently displayed location plays on top of the map.

Highlights of A Bear's-Eye View of Yellowstone include a black bear taking a short-cut through some people's backyards, a cannibal bear feasting on another bear and a bear's encounter with a pack of wolves.

Mapping Washington's Spies


AMC's period drama 'TURN - Washington Spies' is a fictionalized account of America's first spy ring, the Culper Ring. The Culper Spy Ring was established under the orders of George Washington. Its purpose was to spy on the activities of the British Army in New York City and report to General Washington.

To help promote the second season of 'Turn' AMC has released the TURN - Washington Spies interactive map. The map allows you to explore some of the real-life locations and events that feature in the series on top of a vintage map.

When you select an episode from the map menu the real locations and events that feature in that episode are displayed on the map. You can then select these markers on the map to learn more about the Culper Ring and the American War of Independence in the map sidebar.

One of the neat little features of this map are the handy arrow markers which appear on the map pointing to markers which appear outside the current map view. You can replicate this feature in Leaflet.js by using the Leaflet EdgeMarker plugin.

15 Years of Migrant Deaths


15 Years: Fortress Europe is an animated map of migrant and refugee deaths in Europe over the last fifteen years. The map uses data from the Migrant Files to show where and when migrants have died in trying to get to Europe, or in trying to move around the continent.

As the map plays through the fifteen years of data red markers are added to the map to show the location of migrant deaths. A 'Death Toll' continually updates to show the total number of deaths. The map sidebar also continually updates to show details about each migrant death and you can click on individual markers on the map to read more details about a migrant's death.

Since 2013 the Migrant Files has been maintaining a database of migrants who have died in Europe or on their way to Europe. The database lists more than 30,000 people who have died trying to get to Europe since the year 2000.

An interactive map on the Migrant Files website shows that a large proportion of these deaths occur in the Mediterranean, particularly among migrants trying to cross from Libya & Tunisia to Italy.


The Silk team has also created an interactive map from the Migrants' Files data examining the number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. The map allows you to query the information about migrant deaths by year, location and cause of death.

If you click on a map marker on the Fatal Migration Incidents in the Mediterranean map you can read details about the mapped incident, including the number of casualties and the date of the incident.


The Migrant Map 2000-2015 is another interactive map of the Migrant Files visualizing the number of dead or missing migrants across Europe and Africa. The map presents a truly shocking picture of the scale of this human tragedy.

You can select markers on the map to learn more about the individual case reported and about the source of the information. The map also includes an animated heat-map layer which helps to highlight some of the hot-spots for migrant deaths over the last six years.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mapping Projected Population Growth


The Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (ICLUS) allows you to visualize how US cities might grow under different economic conditions.

Using the ICLUS interactive map you can see how population growth could effect the expansion of urban footprints. The map includes a timeline control which allows you to see the likely effects of population growth on US cities for each decade until 2100.

The map visualizes four different modeled scenarios of population growth. Using the 'Display Options' menu you can compare the effect of these models side-by-side.on four separate synchronized maps. Alternatively you can view the effect of just one of the modeled scenarios over time by using the timeline to adjust the dates in each separate map.

The map includes a number of different data views. These allow you to visualize the growth of housing density in US cities, the growth of population at county level and the growth of impervious surface coverage.

Berlin - Now and Then


Der Tagesspiegel has created an interactive map which allows you to compare how Berlin looks today with how it looked back in 1928. The map uses aerial imagery of Berlin taken in 1928 and 2015.

Berlin 1928 und Heute allows you to swipe back and forth between the historical aerial imagery of Berlin and aerial imagery of the city today. The map also includes a tour of some locations in the city which have seen significant change in the last one hundred years. Click on any of the small red markers on the map and you can read (in German) a description of how the area has changed. You can of course view the change for yourself by swiping between the two sets of imagery.

Some of the locations highlighted by the map include the changes around the Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, the Spreebogen, the Berlin Tempelhof Airport and the Berlin Olympics site.

The London Marathon in 3D


Emu Analytics has created a 3d map of the London Marathon route using Qgis2threejs and building height & elevation data.

London Marathon 3D uses building height information derived from the UK Environment Agency's LIDAR data. The height of the buildings does help in navigating your way around this 3d map of London. However the terrain elevation layer might be of more interest to marathon runners. This layer reveals how flat the London Marathon route is, apart from the beginning of the race in Greenwich.

Emu Analytics warn that the map is a bit of a browser killer. If your computer is a little old you might want to view this YouTube video of the map instead.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Maps of the Week


This week saw the release of two great interactive maps visualizing the world's transportation, communication and energy networks. First up is Shipmap.org, an outstanding animated interactive map visualizing the movements of the global merchant shipping fleet over the course of one year.

The map uses AIS shipping data from exactEarth. This data is then presented on a Leaflet powered map using custom designed map tiles. The map tiles include bathymetry and major river data from Natural Earth.

Using the map you can explore the movements of different types of cargo ships over the course of 2012. You can also filter the ships shown on the map by type of cargo vessel.

There is so much to love about this map, from the huge amount of animated data visualized on the map to the design of the map tiles themselves. I also really like the brilliant audio guide to the map and the data displayed. This audio guide takes you on a little tour of the map explaining some of the interesting patterns that emerge from the data and the worldwide merchant shipping trade.


The Connectivity Atlas is a global map constructed from just the man-made infrastructure of roads, pipelines and Internet cables. There is no underlying base map on the Connectivity Atlas. There are no countries, seas or oceans. However, despite this lack of a base map, the geography of Earth is clearly revealed simply by displaying the world's infrastructure.

You can explore all the transportation, energy and communication layers displayed on the map by using the 'Sources' drop-down menu. Using this menu you can turn on or off all the different layers which makes up the infrastructure map of the Connectivity Atlas.

The 'Themes' menu allows you to view separate infrastructure maps of just the communications, energy or transportation layers. It is also possible to select a feature on the map to select to view a global map of just that feature. For example if you select a road on the map you can click-through to view a global map of just all the world's roads.


Geopedia is a new map based application for finding Wikipedia entries about points of interest around any location.

Gepedia uses the Wikipedia API to load all the Wikipedia entries for places around a location on an OpenStreetMap based map. Enter a location into the search bar or right-click on the map and markers will show all the Wikipedia entries near to your selected location.

Click on any of the map markers displayed on the map and the Wikipedia entry describing the point of interest or location is displayed in the map sidebar. Geopedia provides a great way to learn more about all the interesting things to see around any location in the world.

Memory Maps of Edinburgh


At last year's State of the Map - Scotland participants were asked to draw a map of central Edinburgh from memory. The map had to include Edinburgh Castle, Waverley Station, and Evolution House (the conference venue).

Alan Bragg used Map Warper to georectify the hand drawn maps of Edinburgh and then overlaid the results on top of an interactive Leaflet map. The resulting No-map Map of Edinburgh allows you to adjust the transparency of each of these memory maps of Edinburgh and compare the results with the OpenStreetMap map of Edinburgh.

The results seem to suggest that most of the people taking part in the experiment had a sense of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile as being the geographical center of Edinburgh. It also appears to me that most of the participants then used major roads as a guide or frame to help place other details on their maps.

The No-map Map only has six hand-drawn maps of Edinburgh. However it is a really interesting little experiment. Carried out on a larger scale this could be a really interesting way to explore how people mentally map geographical spaces.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Multilingual Maps


Arun Ganesh has created an interactive multilingual map of India using Mapbox and OpenStreetMap data. OpenStreetMap India allows users to switch the language of map labels between seven different languages.

The map was created using Overpass Turbo to download the map label data for Indian towns and cities. The map label layers were then created from the data in Mapbox Studio. You can read more about the map's creation on Arun's blogpost Making a Multilingual Map of India using OpenStreetMap Data.

If you want to create your own multilingual map you might also want to have a look at the Language Switch demo in the Mapbox documentation.

If you want to see how you can switch between different map label layers in Leaflet.js you can have a look at the source code of my own, far less worthy, Urban Dictionary Map of San Francisco.

Mapping the Connected Planet


If we humans could remove the artificial borders that we have imposed on the planet we just might discover that there is more that connects us as a species than separates us. One thing that does connect us as a species is all the global transportation, energy and communications infrastructure which we have built across planet Earth.

The Connectivity Atlas is a global map constructed from just the man-made infrastructure of roads, pipelines and Internet cables. There is no underlying base map on the Connectivity Atlas. There are no countries, seas or oceans. However, despite this lack of a base map, the geography of Earth is clearly revealed on the Connectivity Atlas simply by displaying all the world's man-made infrastructure.

You can explore all the transportation, energy and communication layers displayed on the map by using the 'Sources' drop-down menu. Using this menu you can turn on or off all the different layers which makes up the infrastructure map of the Connectivity Atlas.

The 'Themes' menu allows you to view separate infrastructure maps of just all the communications, energy or transportation layers. It is also possible to select a feature on the map to select to view a global map of just that feature. For example if you select a road on the map you can click-through to view a global map of just all the world's roads.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Segregation in the USA


Last week the New York Times looked at residential segregation in New York City. In a story, entitled Segregation Issues Complicates de Blasio's Housing Push, the Times reports on the number of New York neighborhoods where a particular ethnic group makes up more than 75% of the population.

The newspaper used four static maps to illustrate the story. The four maps show New York neighborhoods where Whites, Blacks, Hispanic or Asian citizens make up 75% or more of the local population.

This CartoDB interactive map uses a similar methodology to that used by the NYT to look at racial diversity in every census tract in the USA. The Diversity Map uses data from the US census to visualize the probability that two people picked at random in a tract will be of the same ethnicity.

The lighter colors on the map show tracts with the highest probability that two people would be of the same ethnicity and the darker colors indicate that there is less of a probability. Therefore the darker colored areas on the map show where there is the most ethnic diversity.

Mapping Immigration in France


Le Télégramme has published a couple of interesting interactive maps looking at immigration in France. Immigration: Le Centre-Bretagne à Contresens maps the percentage of immigrants in France and where the highest number of immigrants in each French region originate from.

The first map provides a choropleth view visualizing the percentage of immigrants in each French canton. This map shows that Paris and the south of France have some of the largest percentages of immigrants. Cantons that border other European countries also tend to have a higher percentage of immigrants than cantons in the center of the country.

The second map shows the country where the most immigrants come from in each French region. Portugal provides the highest number of immigrants to France. The British make up the highest number of immigrants in the northern regions of Brittany and Normandy. On the German border the biggest immigrant group is the Turkish. In many southern regions the biggest immigrant groups come from north African countries.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Incredible Map of World Shipping


Shipmap.org is an outstanding animated interactive map visualizing the movements of the global merchant shipping fleet over the course of one year.

The map uses AIS shipping data from exactEarth. This data is then presented on a Leaflet powered map using custom designed map tiles. The map tiles include bathymetry and major river data from Natural Earth.

Using the map you can explore the movements of different types of cargo ships over the course of 2012. You can also filter the ships shown on the map by type of cargo vessel.

There is so much to love about this map, from the huge amount of animated data visualized on the map to the design of the map tiles themselves. I also really like the brilliant audio guide to the map and the data displayed. This audio guide takes you on a little tour of the world explaining some of the interesting patterns that emerge from the data and the worldwide merchant shipping trade.

Mapping the New York Primaries


The New York Times has provided a really interesting breakdown of how different ethnic groups voted in the New York primaries.

How Every City Neighborhood Voted is a Leaflet powered map which shows the amount of votes cast for each Republican and Democratic candidate in each NYC neighborhood in the New York primaries. It also breaks down the numbers cast for each candidate by different ethnic groups and by people with different median incomes (although I'm not sure how the Times managed to break down the vote by race and income).

The data for Trump and Clinton is particularly interesting. Trump was most popular with white and Asian voters and least popular with black voters, Clinton was most popular with black and Hispanic voters and least popular with Asian voters. In terms of median income Trump is least popular with those who earn the most money. Clinton in most popular with those who earn the most money.

The Apple Maps API


Apple appear to be on the verge of releasing a JavaScript API for Apple Maps.

The website for Apple's WWDC (developer conference) includes an Apple Map showing the location of the conference.  The map has been added to the page using what appears to be a new Apple Mapkit API -

https://cdn.apple-mapkit.com/mk/3.0.0/mapkit.js

If you look at the JavasScript code which uses the Apple Mapkit API to add the map to the WWDC conference (https://developer.apple.com/wwdc/attending/scripts/maps.js) you can see that it includes an API key. This suggests that Apple does have plans to open up the Apple Mapkit API to developers.

Tim Broddin has quickly put together a proof of concept demo map using the officially unreleased Apple Mapkit API. Tim's map has simply used the same developer key as used in the WWDC map.

Tim's map doesn't include a lot of features but if you have a look at the source code you should be able to work out how to add a geolocation control to detect and center the map on the user's location.

If you examine the JavaScript file for the WWDC map you can see how map markers are added to the map and how to center the map on different locations.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

3D Mapping the World's Cultural Heritage


Cyark is a 3d online library of the world's cultural heritage sites. Since 2003 Cyark has been creating 3d digital models of culturally important locations around the world.

Using 3d scanners Cyark are able to create incredibly detailed 3d point clouds of real-world objects. These point clouds are then turned into impressively accurate 3d digital models of the cultural object scanned



You can use the Cyark interactive map and timeline to browse the collection of 3d models by location and by date. You just need to click on one of the markers on the map to view the 3d model.

When the model loads you can pan and zoom around the object using your mouse and mouse scroll-wheel.The models also include interactive markers which you can select to learn more about features of the cultural object that you are currently viewing.

The Washington Cyclist Explosion


On March 16th the entire Metrorail system in Washington DC was shut down. Operations were suddenly suspended on the network so that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority could carry out emergency inspections of electric cables. Thousands of commuters were given just half a day's notice of the shutdown and were left with little time to arrange alternative means of travel.

One effect of the Metrorail shutdown was an explosion in the numbers of people using the Capital Bikeshare network. Mobility Lab has created an interactive map which visualizes this jump in demand for Capital Bikeshare bikes and the bike docking stations which saw the biggest increase in activity on March 16th.

A Day with No Metro shows which parts of the Capital Bikeshare network saw the most traffic as the network coped with a 21 percent jump in demand (compared with the previous Wednesday). 223 stations (63%) saw an increase in traffic. Some stations actually saw a decrease in traffic.

The map uses scaled markers to show the increase in traffic at bike docking stations on March 16th. The map also allows you to view the amount of traffic at stations on the previous Wednesday. You can refine the data shown on the map to show bikes borrowed by all users, casual members and registered members.

You can read more about the map and the patterns of increased traffic on the Capital Bikeshare network on the Mobility Lab blog.

Mapping the Hidden Structure of the Universe


Update - I've temporarily removed the links on this post. The CCNR website appears to have been hacked and is now redirecting to porn sites. 

Computer simulations of the universe and large scale galaxy surveys suggest that long filaments connect galaxies within the Universe. This concept of a 'cosmic web' views the Universe as a set of discrete galaxies held together by gravity. Thanks to Kim Albrecht, at the Center for Complex Network Research, you can now view three distinct mapped models of the cosmic web.

Scientists at the Center for Complex Network Research tested seven distinct network algorithms to learn more about the construction and the characteristics of the underlying network of the cosmic web. Their research has revealed more about how galaxies fit together within the Universe.

In The Network Behind the Cosmic Web Kim Albrecht has created three interactive visualizations of the cosmic web based on the three main models that were tested by the Center for Complex Network Research. These three 3d models of the universe present a mapped network of 24,000 galaxies with more than 100,000 connections. The three models are the Fixed Length Model, the Varying Length Model and the Nearest Neighbors Model.

In Albrecht's Cosmic Web Visualization you can switch between the three different models using the links in the side panel. You can rotate each 3d model using your mouse and zoom in and out using the mouse scroll wheel. You can also use the histogram in the side panel to adjust the number of connections per galaxy in the model.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The School Funding Map


NPR has released an interactive map which allows you to find out how much money your school district spends on each student. It also allows you to discover how your school district's funding compares to other districts in your state and to the rest of the United States.

The Mapbox created map in the NPR's article on Why America's Schools Have A Money Problem colors each school district based on the level of school spending per student. You can mouse-over a district on the map to discover the dollar amount spent on each student and to see a comparison of the selected district with the other school districts in the state.

The major take away from the accompanying article is that local property taxes have the biggest impact on the level of a school district's spending on education. Schools essentially have three main sources of funding; local money, money from the state and federal funding. The local funding is usually dependent on the levels of local property taxes. If a district has a number of successful businesses contributing a lot of money through property taxes then the school district is more likely to have higher levels of school spending per student.

When viewing the map you should note that each district's school spending is adjusted for 'regional differences in cost of living'. Therefore the figures quoted in the map may differ from the exact amount that a school district spends per student.

Visualizing Sports Data with Maps


Interactive mapping platforms can be a very simple but effective way to visualize sports data. They are particularly effective for creating shot-maps for ball based team sports, e.g. football, soccer, baseball and basketball.

Last week the Los Angeles Times created a very impressive visualization of every shot made by Kobe Bryant in his long career. Every Shot Kobe Bryant Ever Took allows you to explore a shot map of Kobe Bryant's 30,699 career shots, both successful and misses.

This weekend Kudos created their own basketball shot map using the CartoDB mapping platform. The Golden State Warriors Map allows you to analyze every game played by the Golden State Warriors in their record breaking 2015-16 season.

Using the map you can explore and analyze trends in shot locations, players, shot types, opponents, periods and clock times over the entire NBA season.


Creating this kind of sports visualization is very easy with an interactive mapping platform (as long as you have the data). Essentially you just need to create a map element without any base map tiles. You can then create your own pitch map using polylines. To create your shot map you just need to add a marker to the map for every shot.

The only tricky part in creating your visualization is converting your pitch based co-ordinate system to the co-ordinate system used by interactive maps.

I created this very crude soccer viz example in a couple of hours. To draw the pitch I started at 0 degrees of latitude and 0 degrees of longitude. I then created a simple co-ordinate system by equating one degree of latitude or longitude to one yard. So to draw a line to show the 100 yard goal-line of a soccer pitch I just need to draw a polyline from (0,0) to (0,100). I then created the other lines on the pitch using the same co-ordinate system.

Plotting the shot map is just as simple. If you think of (0,0) as the bottom corner of a graph it is a simple matter of plotting each shot position by adding the distance from the left touchline and the distance from the goal-line. So a shot taken 25 yards in from the touchline and 30 yards from the goal would have a lat-long marker position of (25,30) on the map.

Discover the World with Geopedia


Map based wikis are a great way to learn more about the world. They provide an amazing resource for discovering more about locations and places that you come across in your travels or in your daily life.

Wikimapia is one of the most successful interactive maps of all time. For ten years now Wikimapia has provided a great map based resource for discovering information about locations and points of interest around the world.

In essence Wikimapia is a website which lets you describe locations in the same way that Wikipedia allows you to add and edit articles in its wiki database. Like Wikipedia it provides an invaluable resource for researching and discovering information about the world - only with Wikimapia every entry is a real-world location.

To use Wikimapia you just need to search for a location on the map. and click on any of the highlighted areas to discover information about the selected location. For example, if you see an interesting looking building on your daily travels, you just need to click on the building on the Wikimapia map to read the Wikimapia wiki entry.

Another interesting way to discover information about places in the world is Geopedia, a new map based application for finding Wikipedia entries about points of interest around any location.

Gepedia uses the Wikipedia API to load all the Wikipedia entries for places around a location on an OpenStreetMap based map. Enter a location into the search bar or right-click on the map and markers will show all the Wikipedia entries near to your selected location.

Click on any of the map markers displayed on the map and the Wikipedia entry describing the point of interest or location is displayed in the map sidebar.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Maps of the Week


This week the Los Angeles Times created a very impressive visualization of every shot made by Kobe Bryant in his long career. Every Shot Kobe Bryant Ever Took allows you to explore a shot map of Kobe Bryant's 30,699 career shots, both successful and misses.

The map was made with CartoDB and Leaflet.js, which means you can pan around the shot map and zoom in and out like you can on any other interactive map. You can also interact with all the shot map markers. The purple dot markers on the map indicate his successful shots and the yellow dots show his misses. You can even mouse-over any of the dots on the map to find out which game it was made in, the distance of the shot and the date of the game.


Urbica also released a very impressive mapped data visualization this week. The NYC Citi Bike Rebalancing Study visualizes popular trips taken on NYC's Citi Bike network, re-balancing routes (where bikes are moved from station to station) and individual bike docking station profiles.

One of the biggest problems facing bike-sharing networks, such as New York's Citi Bike, is re-balancing the bikes in the docking stations. Bikes need to be moved around the docking stations to ensure that stations are not empty and that bikes are always available. Uneven demand and daily traffic flows (particularly during peak commuting times) can prevent bike-share networks reaching their full potential.

There are two visualization modes on the map. The 'Trips vs Rebalancing' mode allows you to view trip routes and compare this to the re-balanced bicycle routes. If you select an individual station on the map you can also view the average availability of bikes at the station over 24 hours.

The 'Station Availability' mode shows the percent of bikes available at stations for any hour of the day. If you use the timeline at the bottom of the map you can see how the availability of bikes at each station changes over the course of the day.


The MapD Political Donations map visualizes 25 years worth of political donations data on a Mapbox GL powered interactive map. Using the map you can explore where and how much Americans have donated to the Democrats and Republicans since 990.

Zoom-in on the map and you can see locations where political donations have been made. Blue dots on the map show donations made to Democratic candidates and red dots show donations to Republicans. The size of the dots represent the relative size of each donation.

Beside the map you can see charts showing the amounts made to each party and to individual candidates. One of the most impressive aspects of this visualization is the speed that it responds. Move the location on the map and both the map and the charts almost instantly update to show the data for the current map view.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Oceans of Mars


Kenneth Field has updated his beautiful topographical map of Mars. (Is There) Life on Mars now includes the option to add lakes, seas and oceans and turn the red planet partly green (read the 'details' for an explanation as to why water on Mars wouldn't appear blue)).

The map's new water layer allows you to add water to the surface of Mars based on the planet's elevation data. You've probably seen this kind of responsive water layer before on sea level maps of the Earth, such as Climate Central's Surging Seas map.

Maps like Surging Seas simulate the likely consequences of global warning on Earth's sea levels. While the temperature on Mars can reach as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (at the equator on a Martian summer day) there is presently little danger of the north polar ice cap melting (Mars would need a far denser atmosphere and higher surface temperatures).

However the new water layer on Kenneth's Mars map is an interesting way to visualize elevation data on Mars. You can use the different water levels to visualize different elevations on the map below Mars' 'sea level'. And who knows, maybe in a few millennium, we might be using a similar map in our efforts to terraform Mars.

Friday, April 15, 2016

From Street View to 3D


Did you know that Street View on Google Maps has hidden depth data. This hidden depth data has been used by projects like Urban Jungle to enhance Street View imagery and by others to create 3d point clouds of real-world locations.

Urban Jungle is a fantastic website that allows you to view Street View scenes enhanced with some virtual jungle greenery. The effect is possible because of this undocumented depth data stored in Street View. Urban Jungle is able to use that data to create a depth map which can be used to plot geometry and sprites in the 3d space of the Street View panorama.


Callum Prentice's Street Cloud and Street Cloud Flow uses Google's hidden Street View depth library to create 3d point clouds of real locations. In these demos the depth maps break the Street View data up into dots and recreate the scene in an interactive 3d scene.

Patricio Gonzales has done something similar in his Skylines III project. In this project you can explore 3d point cloud scenes of the Ile de la Cite in Paris and the Queensboro Bridge in New York. Patricio has also posted his Street View Depth Map scraper on GitHub.


Peter Pisljar has also started creating 3d maps with Street View depth data, However Peter's maps also use satellite imagery to provide textures and elevation data to create realistic terrains. 3d World Modeling with Three.js combines all this data to create an impressively realistic interactive 3d map of a real world location.

All you need now are some VR goggles and you need never venture outside again,

The Kobe Bryant Leaflet Map


The Los Angeles Times has created a very clever interactive map visualizing Every Shot Kobe Bryant Ever Took. The map allows you to explore all 30,699 shots made by Kobe Brynt in his long career.

The purple dots on the map indicate his successful shots and the yellow dots show his misses. You can mouse-over any of the dots on the map to find out which game it was made in, the distance and the date of the game.

I say the map is very clever, and it is, however creating your own simplified version of the map would be relatively simple. The LA Times map was made with CartoDB and Leaflet.js. To create this kind of map in Leaflet you just need to set up an empty map canvas (with no base map). You can then create your court, pitch. playing field (or whatever) by drawing polylines on your empty map canvas. You can then use map markers to indicate the position where shots, field goals etc were made from. Marker pop-ups can then be used to provide information on individual shots or goals.

If you have some sports data that you want to map the major task would be in transferring the co-ordinate system to work with an interactive Leaflet map.

To show how easy this kind of map is I spent 30 minutes creating this soccer example. I quickly sketched out one end of a soccer pitch using polylines and added markers to show the position of a couple of free-kick goals scored by Dimitri Payet of West Ham United.

I haven't quite added as many points as the 30,699 shots in the Kobe Bryant map. However I think you can see from my map how you could use Leaflet.js in this rather simple way to create a very neat visualization of sport data.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cleaning LA's Streets


Last week the Los Angeles Time created an interactive map showing the cleanliness of LA's streets. The Where are L.A.'s Dirtiest Streets? map shows the levels of litter, illegal dumping and weeds on all of Los Angeles' roads using data from the mayor's Clean Streets initiative.

At the time I thought that the LA Times map had potential to be a useful tool for the city's sanitation department. However it turns out that the LA Bureau of Sanitation has created its own maps from the data. The Clean Streets Index allows you to explore the data used in the LA Times map in more detail and also explains how that data is used by the City to help clean the city's streets.

Where the LA Times map only provides a visualization of each street's overall cleanliness score the Clean Streets Index has mapped visualizations of the cleanest and dirtiest areas, areas of persistent littering and areas with regular illegal dumping. By using the data to highlight hot-spots of illegal dumping and persistent littering the Bureau of Sanitation is better able to deploy enforcement tactics and target resources in the city.

Rebalancing NYC Citi Bikes


One of the biggest problems facing bike-share networks, such as New York's Citi Bike, is re-balancing the bikes in the docking stations. Bikes need to be moved around the docking stations to ensure that stations are not empty and that bikes are always available. Uneven demand and daily traffic flows (particularly during peak commuting times) can prevent bike-share networks reaching their full potential.

Urbica has created an interactive map to try to better understand the demand for bikes on New York's Citi Bike network and the destinations of its re-balanced bikes. The NYC Citi Bike Rebalancing Study visualizes popular trips taken on the network, re-balancing routes (where bikes are moved from station tot station) and individual bike docking station profiles.

There are two visualization modes on the map. The 'Trips vs Rebalancing' mode allows you to view trip routes and compare this to the re-balanced bicycle routes. If you select an individual station on the map you can also view the average availability of bikes at the station over 24 hours.

The 'Station Availability' mode shows the percent of bikes available at stations for any hour of the day. If you use the timeline at the bottom of the map you can see how the availability of bikes at each station changes over the course of the day.

You can read more about the map and the methodologies used in visualizing the data at Citi Bike Rebalanced.

Escape Routes to Europe


The routes taken by refugees attempting to enter Europe have changed and adapted as European countries have changed their immigration laws and erected physical barriers to block the entry of refugees. German website taz.de has mapped the changing routes taken by refugees to reach and cross Europe since the beginning of 2014.

Escape Routes is a Leaflet powered map which uses a timeline to visualize how refugee routes into Europe have changed over time. As you progress through the timeline the map sidebar updates with information about the changing attitudes, laws and physical barriers erected by countries to block the movements of refugees (in German).

The map also updates to show the total number of refugees accepted by different European countries over time. The choropleth layer provides a snapshot of the number of refugees entering each country in the selected month.