Thursday, October 19, 2017

Teaching Art with Leaflet


I really like the Leaflet-IIIF plug-in for creating a Leaflet based browser for IIIF manifests. I think it has enormous potential for creating explanatory lessons about paintings and manuscripts shared using IIIF.

The Leaflet-IIIF plug-in page on Github has a few example maps. However none of them include any interactivity. I've therefore created a quick example using Van Gogh's Self-Portrait Dedicated to Gauguin. My Vincent Van Gogh self-portrait example pans and zooms the map to explore different features in the painting. If you click on a button the map zooms in on a feature in the painting and loads some explanatory text beneath the painting.

You could of course use other features from Leaflet.js. For example you could add markers to the picture which users could interact with to explore these marked areas of the painting. Alternatively you could add polygon shapes around different features that when clicked open an information window with explanatory text. The possibilities are really only limited by your imagination.

The painting 'Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin' belongs to the Harvard Art Museums. The poor attempts at art criticism are my own and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Maps for Museums


Major art galleries, museums and universities around the world are adopting the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). IIIF is a standardized method of describing and delivering images over the web. In interactive mapping terms you might say it is a standard for creating interactive map tiles for images of documents, manuscripts, photographs and paintings.

One outcome from this adoption of IIIF is that there are hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, paintings and other documents which can now be viewed as interactive maps. Yesterday in Mapping Van Gogh we looked at an impressive Leaflet.js based tool for browsing IIIF manifests. The IIIF Curation Viewer allows you to paste in the URL of a IIIF manifest and view a manuscript or painting as a zoomable image in a Leaflet map. You can use the tool to explore any painting, manuscript or other image shared by institutions around the world in the IIIF format.

Instead of using this Leaflet IIIF Viewer, made by the Center for Open Data in the Humanities, you could make your own. Leaflet-IIIF is a simple to use plug-in for creating a Leaflet based browser for IIIF manifests or images shared using the IIIF Image API. If you use this Leaflet plug-in you can then make interactive maps from tens of thousands of manuscripts, paintings and other images held by some of the best known global art galleries, museums and universities. For example Princeton University are using the plug-in to show a Plan of Versailles as an interactive Leaflet map.

If you prefer OpenLayers you can use Klokan Technologies' IIIF Viewer instead. This open-source IIIF Viewer uses the OpenLayers interactive map library to display images using IIIF. Here are a few examples of the IIIF Viewer in action. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mapping Vincent Van Gogh


The Center for Open Data in the Humanities has created a very impressive Leaflet.js based tool for browsing historical manuscripts, paintings and other documents. The IIIF Curation Viewer is an open-source image viewer that allows you to view any image that has an IIIF Manifest (a common standard used by many museums, galleries and universities around the world).

In this demo of the IIIF Curation Viewer the application is being used to allow you to explore an ancient Japanese manuscript. Using the document viewer you can move backwards and forwards through the different pages of the manuscript (or select any page from the drop down menu). Selecting the black square button from the map menu allows you to draw around individual text characters in the document. When you select a character in this way an information window opens with the modern Japanese translation of the character.


You can use the IIIF Curation Viewer to view any document, painting or image that has an IIIF Manifest. For example here is Van Gogh's Self Portrait (Dedicated to Gauguin).  If you look at the URL for the Van Gogh painting in the viewer you should be able to see where I added the URL for the painting's IIIF Manifest (I got the manifest from the Harvard Art Museum website). Here is another example where I simply added the URL for Rossetti's A Sea Spell.


If you are more interested in seeing how the IIIF Curation Viewer handles text then here is a letter from Francis Crick to Michael Crick, where Crick discusses the discovery of something he calls DNA. The drawing tool in the map allows you to select any part of the document to create an image of your selection (you can see the image I saved above of Crick's mention of 'Deoxyribonucleic acid' in the letter.

If the play's the thing for you then you might prefer this Leaflet map of the complete works of Shakespeare. Of course the IIIF Curation Viewer can also be used to look at maps. Here's the Gough Map from around 1360.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Do You Live Near a Freeway?


The Los Angeles Times can tell you how close you live to a freeway. Just enter your address and the LA Times will show you your house and the nearest freeway on an interactive map. It will also tell you if you are within the 500 foot zone where air pollution is highest or if you are within the 1,000 foot zone (where scientists advise that you shouldn't live).

The map is part of the newspaper's report into why L.A. keeps building homes within 500 feet of freeways. If you zoom in on a freeway on the interactive map you can see the most polluted 500 and 1,000 feet zones - shown in red and yellow respectively on the map. If you zoom out a little the zones will disappear and instead dots will show you how many people live within 1,000 feet of the freeway.

Later on in the LA Times report another interactive map shows you how many building permits the city has issued within 1,000 feet of a freeway since 2005. This map includes a slider control which allow you to change the year to see how these permits have accumulated over the years.

Real-Time Satellite Movies


The Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch has released a new mapping tool which allows you to create short animated movies of the Earth using the latest satellite imagery from GOES-16 and Himawari-8.

The RAMMB Slider uses the latest available imagery from both satellites to allow you to create small animated movies of the Earth. Slider includes the option to select archived imagery if you want to animate imagery from an earlier date. The application also includes options to select different types of imagery from the two satellites and a range of controls to adjust the speed and type of animated movie.

GOES-16 is in geostationary orbit over the Earth’s Western Hemisphere. It therefore provides great satellite imagery of the Americas. Himawari-8 is in geostationary orbit at 140.7 degrees East. It provides near real-time imagery of Australia, Japan and eastern China.

Mapping the UK's Falling House Prices


If you account for inflation then a majority of UK residential properties are selling less now than they were ten years ago. In fact house prices have fallen in real terms in more than half of UK neighborhoods since 2007.

The BBC has created an interactive map which shows where house prices have gone up and where they have gone down. The House prices: Have they actually gone up? map clearly shows that outside of London and the south-east most of the UK has seen in real terms a fall in house prices. This fall in house prices may also be coming to London. In the year to August the smallest increases in residential property were in the capital.


Of course knowing whether house prices have gone up or not doesn't really help you if you want to buy a house. What house hunters need to know is the cost of property in UK neighborhoods. In which case they need Anna Powell-Smith's House Prices Per Square Metre in England and Wales interactive map. This map shows the average price per square metre of properties in each postcode area. It is therefore a very handy way to find areas where you might be able to afford to buy a property.

The map includes a filter tool which allows you to filter the results shown on the map by the cost per square metre. If you know the range that you can afford or are willing to pay you can therefore use this filter tool to identify the areas within your comfort zone.

Monday, October 16, 2017

North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Range


ABC News has mapped the worldwide risk from North Korea's nuclear weapons. In Where can North Korea’s missiles reach? ABC shows which countries are in range of Kim Jong-un’s inferiority complex.

This scrolling interactive uses a faux 3d globe to show the ranges of North Korea's different missile types. As you progress through the story map the ranges of North Korea's short-range, medium-range, intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missile are each shown in turn on the interactive map. New York and Washington DC might be safe but Los Angeles could now be in range of an intercontinental ballistic missile fired from North Korea.

The use of a faux interactive globe is a good choice for this mapped visualization of the world. The Economist and the BBC have both learnt that drawing circles on 2d maps can be misleading. It appears that ABC knows that the Earth isn't flat. They also know how to develop interactive maps for mobile users. I don't normally comment on how maps work on browsers. But Where can North Korea’s missiles reach? is a joy to read on mobile (well actually it's really worrying - but you know what I mean).

Who Owns Your Water?


17% of water systems in the United States are privately owned. On average these private water companies charge customers 59% more for their water than publicly run water systems. This is bad news for customers, especially because unhappy customers can't switch to another water company.

Who Owns Your Water shows the percentage of the population served by private water utilities in each state. The darker the color of the state on the map then the more of the population are forced to buy their water from private companies. If you mouse-over a state on the map you can view details on the number of different water systems in the state and the percentage of the population served by private utilities.

The map also shows the location of the 500 largest water systems. The markers for these water systems are scaled by the number of customers. The markers are also color-coded to show if the water systems are privately or publicly owned. You can mouse-over these markers to view the number of customers and the average annual water bill form the utility.

You might also like:

The PFC Contamination Map - the level of PFC's found in water supplies at county level
Chemical Taints in Tap Water - average levels of contamination found in each county's water supply

Google Outer Space


Google Maps can now help you navigate the solar system. As well as its aerial imagery, Street View and maps of Earth Google Maps can now take you to Mercury, Venus, Mars and Pluto. It can also show you maps of our moon and the moons Ceres, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Mimas, Enceladus, Dione, Rhea, Titan and Iapetus.

All of these new planets and moons on Google Maps have place-labels so you won't get lost. Click on any of these planetary features on Google Maps and you can learn more about the location. For example clicking on a place-label can reveal the name and size of a crater. If you want to share a view of one of the planets or moons you can just copy and share the map URL.

Animated Markers in Mapbox


Arden de Raaij, a developer from Lisbon, has released a nicely designed Mapbox map for geotagged photos. The map shows where photographs were taken and allows you to view them directly from the map. It also has some very impressive animations and transitions which are fired when the user interacts with a map marker.

There are two main animation effects used for each map marker, which are triggered by mousing over a marker and clicking on a marker.  When you mouse over a marker the marker grows bigger on the map (it shrinks back to normal size when you move the mouse off the marker). When you click on the marker the photo thumbnail, embedded in the marker, expands to fill the whole map.

Mapbox Map with Animated Marker Icons would make a great template for anyone who wants to create a map based photo gallery. The expanding and shrinking markers is an impressive effect that could be used with any interactive map which uses map markers. Mapbox Map with Animated Marker Icons is available on CodePen. So, if you like the marker animations, it is possible to easily view the code and/or fork Arden's CodePen.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Santa Rosa Fire Satellite Imagery


Satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe shows some of the devastating damage done by the wildfires in Northern California. Robin Kraft, a developer originally from Santa Clara, has created a before and after map which allows you to compare DigitalGlobe's latest satellite imagery with aerial imagery taken before the fires.

The Satellite Map of NorCal Fires includes satellite imagery taken after the fire for the Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Napa areas. The red areas on the map are vegetation and not fire. The map includes a swipe control so that you can directly compare the before & after satellite imagery. Robin says he will be updating the map all weekend until the fire is contained.

If you need to keep abreast of the current situation on the ground Esri's Waze Alerts and Wildfires interactive map uses live data from USGS and Waze, to show the locations of active wildfires and traffic alerts for Northern California.

London Sucks You In & Spits You Out


This week Election Data published an interactive map to visualize the net migration data for areas of the UK to & from London. The map shows whether more people in each local authority area in England move to London or have moved from London into the area. The map also provides a rather neat visualization of why the Conservative Party could be in trouble in its traditional heartland of the south east.

Moving in to and out of London, 2013-2016 is a choropleth map of data from the Office for National Statistics. The darker colors show local authority areas where there is a net population gain from London. Where more people are moving into the area from London than are moving to the capital. The lightest colored areas show local authorities where more people are moving to London than emigrating from London.

In essence the map seems to show that the south east has had a net increase in people moving from London while some areas of the Midlands and the north have seen a net decrease, as more people have moved from these areas to the capital. It is also provides a rather neat visualization of an Election Data article published this week in the Guardian newspaper, How the Conservatives lost their home counties heartland.

In the Guardian article Election Data's Ian Warren argues that the exodus of people in their 30s and 40s from London to the south east is bad news for the Conservative Party, because young people tend to vote more for the Labour Party. According to the Economist "Conservatives overtake Labour as the party of choice from around the age of 50 in most polls". An influx of young families into the traditional Tory heartland could therefore prove disastrous for the Conservative Party.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Arrows Swoop on Berlin Airport


On the same date as Germany's recent general election Berliners also got to vote on whether to go ahead with the planned closure of the city's Tegel Airport. The Berliner Morgenpost's interactive map of the referendum results got swamped a little by all the German Election maps.

The Tegel Volksentscheid 2017 interactive map shows you how many people voted 'yes' or 'no' in each electoral ward. The map includes an overlay which shows you the areas which lie under the main flight-paths for planes landing and taking off from Tegel Airport. That overlay is annotated on the map with a neat 'swoopy arrow'.

Of course you really don't care about the future of Berlin's airports. All you want to know is how the Berliner Morgenpost created that swoopy arrow pointing from the 'Tegel-Einflugschneise' label to the flight-path overlay on the map. Luckily for you the newspaper has released the code for Leaflet-swoopy as a plugin for Leaflet.js. You can find the plugin and documentation on Webkid's blog.

Minard's March on Moscow


Charles Minard was a pioneer of the use of graphics in engineering and statistics. His most famous visualization was his flow-map of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign. During his March on Moscow Napoleon faced freezing temperatures and starving conditions (the Russian army burnt anything that might feed or shelter Napoleon's army as it retreated). Minard's flow map visualizes this eastward march of Napoleon's army, showing where units split off and rejoined, the freezing temperatures and the declining size of his army.

The Russian news agency TASS has created a great story map which uses data from Minard's flow-map to retell the story of Napoleon's 1812 March on Moscow. This interactive story map explains some of the key events in Napoleon's campaign and compares Minard’s data with the current historical understanding of the conflict.

1812 - When Napoleon Ventured East uses MapboGL's oblique view and an extruded polygon to create a 3d version of Minard's flow-map on top of a modern map of eastern Europe. The shrinking height of the polygon as it moves eastwards visualizes the dwindling size of Napoleon's army. As you progress through 1812 this 3d flow-map is drawn on to the modern interactive map while the accompanying text provides an historical account of Napoleon's campaign.

1812 - When Napoleon Ventured East is therefore far more than just a modern reworking of Minard's flow-map. It is also an in-depth history map of Napoleon's campaign. The map explores the background to Napoleon's March on Moscow and provides a detailed account of the campaign and the reasons for its failure.


Napoleon's March is a Leaflet reworking of Minard's flow map. This map is an interesting attempt at replicating Minard's flow map on a real atlas. It allows us to more clearly see the geography of Napoleon's march. Unfortunately this map lacks Minard's temperature chart which visualized the freezing temperatures faced by Napoleon's army as they pushed eastwards.


Minard + Napoleon overlays Minard's original flow-map on top of an interactive Mapbox map.  Interactive polygons have then been added on top of Minard's flow-map to make it interactive. If you click on the flow-map you can view the date and the number of troops Napolean had left at that location.

You can also click on the French text on Minard's original flow-map for an English translation. A line graph also plots Napoleon's army size by date, providing a neat visualization of the dramatic loss of men as the army marched eastwards.

Charles Joseph Minard also created a flow map of British coal exports in the year 1864. This Esri map is a faithful interactive reproduction of this lesser known Minard flow map. English Coal Exports 1864 shows the countries where Britain exported coal to and the quantities exported to each country. The width of the lines on the map represent the quantities of coal exports for each part of the trade-route.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Northern California Wildfire Map


There are currently sixteen active wildfires burning in Northern California. Esri's Waze Alerts and Wildfires interactive map uses live data from USGS and Waze, to show the locations of active wildfires and traffic alerts for Northern California.

The active fire data displayed on the map comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination Group. This data provides a near real-time understanding of the situation on the ground. The location and status of the active fires is updated throughout the day as new information is gathered by first responders.

The traffic alerts, which comes from data generated from Waze users, is updated every two minutes. This information includes the locations of Waze's system-generated traffic jam alerts and user-reported traffic incidents (including jams, accidents, hazards, construction, potholes, roadkill, stopped vehicles, objects on road, and missing signs). The traffic alerts are shown using clustered markers. Zoom-in on the larger markers to reveal the individual traffic alerts on the map.

Big Planes & Little Planes in Real-Time


Real-time flight tracking maps have been around for a number of years now. Flightradar24 is a great example of a website which allows you to search and view airplanes moving in real-time on an interactive map.

Aviation Tracker down't have all the amazing options available in Flightradar24 but it does have an interesting approach to visualizing planes live on a map. The aircraft on Aviation Tracker are displayed on the map using scaled markers to reflect the altitude of each plane. The larger the aircraft marker then the higher the altitude of the plane.

In other words Aviation Tracker simulates a top down view. It is almost as if you were in space looking down at the Earth - so that the planes flying at the lowest altitude are further away and therefore appear smaller. It's a shame Aviation Tracker doesn't include a satellite view to help enhance this sense of looking down at the world's air traffic from outer space.

The River Nile is Dying


The BBC has released a web documentary which explores the dwindling health of the River Nile and how the human race is largely responsible for its demise. Maps are used throughout the BBC's investigation to illustrate where and how climate change, human consumption, human waste and desertification are combining to kill the world's largest river.

You can read the BBC's web documentary yourself to discover why the Nile is dying. I want to explore how the documentary was created and how we can create similar long-form stories illustrated with interactive maps. The BBC's Death of the Nile was created using the Shorthand multimedia storytelling platform for long-form 'Snow Fall' type web content.

The BBC's Death of the Nile mostly uses static map images. However it is possible to embed interactive maps in Shorthand stories. You can therefore use any of the popular mapping platforms to illustrate a long-form story created with Shorthand. Free Mapping Tools to Upgrade Your Shorthand Story provides a very brief introduction as to how you can do this without knowing how to code.

If you want to create similar long-form web content, in which maps are integral to the story, you can also use Esri's Story Map Cascade platform. You can also use Leaflet.js to create scroll-driven story maps. Jack Dougherty's leaflet-storymap is a great template to use for creating scroll-driven story maps with Leaflet.js. Jack's leaflet-storymap is an easy to use template for creating a scroll-driven story map in which all the narrative content is loaded from a separate GeoJSON data file. You can view a demo of the template in action here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How Healthy is Your New Neighborhood?


Are you living in an environmentally unhealthy neighborhood? HealthyEnviron can tell you. Just enter your address into HealthyEnviron's interactive map and it will reveal how healthy your environment is - based on 11 different factors.

HealthyEnviron uses data from the CDC's Public Health Tracking Network and the EPA's Air Quality Database to give every neighborhood in the United States a HealthyEnviron score. A low HealthyEnviron score means that you live in a neighborhood with an unhealthy environment. A high score means that you can sleep easy in the knowledge that your area has a healthy environment.

To find out your neighborhood's score just enter your address or click on your home on the interactive map. HealthyEvriron will then display the HealthyEnviron score for your area and display a heatmap showing the health of the wider area around your home.

Selling Plastic Pollution


The world throws away a huge amount of plastic every year. Many countries dump a large proportion of their plastic waste on other countries. The Trade in Plastic explores how much plastic waste is thrown away by each country around the world. It also examines the global trade in waste plastic and some of the illegal practices in disposing of plastic. A Trade in Plastic includes two main maps showing how much plastic is thrown away around the world and where that plastic ends up.

A waste production per capita map shows how much plastic is thrown away each day by people in different countries across the globe. On this map scaled circular markers show the difference in the amounts of plastic thrown away by people in each country. You can click on the circles to view the exact amount. This is useful for quickly seeing which countries have the biggest problem in plastic waste production. For example, the average American produces over six times as much plastic waste as the average Dane.

Another map shows the global import and export of waste plastic. On this map scaled colored circular markers show the amount and proportion of plastic waste countries export and / or import. China and Hong Kong is where most of the world's exported plastic waste ends up. China however is beginning to wake up to the problems associated with importing the world's plastic waste. The result could be that this waste ends up going to countries with even weaker environmental regulations. Alternatively governments around the world might wake-up and start working to lower the amount of plastic thrown away and taking responsibility for the actual waste produced (only joking - that'll never happen).

Demonstrating the Mercator Problem


On Monday, in Working with Map Projections, we explored how different map projections distort our picture of the world. The Mercator projection is undoubtedly the most common mpa projection used in modern online interactive maps. It is therefore worth taking a closer look at the particular distortions of Gerardus Mercator's popular map projection.


The Mercator Problem is an informative introduction into how the Mercator Projection distorts the map of the world. The problems with the Mercator Projection are well known. The projection distorts the scale of areas along the lines of longitude. Therefore areas close to the poles seem far bigger than areas close to the equator. Which is why Greenland on maps often seems to be about the same size as Africa (it isn't).

The Mercator Problem includes a neat demonstration of the way that the Mercator Projection distorts the size of countries depending on how close they are to either pole. An interactive comparison tool allows you to view how two countries appear on a map using the Mercator projection and how they should appear if the land area of the two countries were more accurately portrayed.



Darren Wien has also created a neat demonstration of how the Mercator Projection used in Google Maps distorts objects close to the poles. His Draggable Tissot Indicatrix uses draggable polygons to demonstrate how areas are distorted as you move nearer or further from the poles on Google Maps. 

His Google Map includes a number of circles (all with a 500km radius) placed all across the map. You can see how the Mercator Projection distorts the circles in the screenshot above. In the app itself all the circle polygons are interactive. So, with this Tissot Indicatrix, you can actually move the circles around the map and observe how they grow and shrink along lines of longitude.

What Powers America?


Carbon Brief has released a new comprehensive map to show How the US generates electricity. The map visualizes how and where electricity is generated in the USA and the amount of electricity generated by the different types of electricity production.

The map allows you to filter the results by type of electricity production. This allows you to see where in the country the different types of electricity production create the most output. For example geothermal power plants are all based in the west of the country while nuclear power plants seem to be mostly built in the east.

All the power plants are displayed on the map using colored scaled markers. The colors indicate the type of power plant and the size of the markers represents the plants' output capacity. The graph in the map sidebar shows the percentage that each type of production contributes to the total of electricity production in the United States. You can select a state from the drop-down menu to view the makeup of the capacity mix for that state.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

An Overview of Planet Earth


When astronauts first look down on Earth from outer space they often experience what is called the 'overview effect'. Seeing the whole of the Earth from above can inspire a deeper realization of both the beauty and fragility of this planet we call home. The Daily Overview hopes to inspire just a little of that effect by providing you with daily aerial images of Earth.


The Daily Overview includes some truly amazing aerial imagery of planet Earth. The collection includes recent satellite imagery, such as an astonishing shot of hundreds of abandoned cars which were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. This is the latest image to appear in the site's daily feed. Just scroll down the feed to view hundreds of other amazing views of planet Earth.

The Juxtapose section of the Daily Overview is also worth a visit. In this section two aerial views of the same location, which were taken at different times, are shown side-by-side. A slider control allows you to switch between each of the paired images. In this way you can compare images of the Fukushima nuclear power plant (before and after it was hit by a tidal wave), the location of Burning Man (during the festival and after the clean-up) and an overview of Dutch tulip fields (after planting and in full bloom).

How Rich is Your Representative


According to the Center for Responsive Politics the average net worth of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives is around $8 million. The average net worth of all Americans is $69,000. If you want to find out how much richer your Representative is than you then you can check out Legbranch's interactive map, How Wealthy Are Our Representatives?.

The map uses scaled markers to show the estimated net worth of every member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The size of the marker reflects the Representative's estimated net worth and the color of the marker indicates the party they represent. If you hover over a circle you can view the Representative's name and estimated net worth. The map also includes a handy wealth slider control which allows you to filter the Representatives by a range of net worth. This allows you to quickly filter the map to show the richest or poorest Representatives.

The marker labels uses the Leaflet.label plugin for Leaflet.js. The wealth slider control appears to have been adapted from Ion.RangeSlider.

50 Years of Typhoons


68 Years of Wind and Rain is an animated map showing historical typhoon tracks in and around the southeast coast of China. The map visualizes 1,832 typhoons in the region since 1949.

As the map animation plays out typhoon tracks are added to the map by year. The yellow typhoon tracks show the typhoons that made landfall in mainland China. As the animation plays the bar graph below the map also updates to show the frequency of typhoons by year.

Below the main map are a number of small multiple maps showing the tracks of some of the most destructive tropical storms to have hit China. These small maps show the strength of each typhoon and where each made landfall. Towards the bottom of the page are graphs showing which Chinese provinces have suffered the most from tropical storms.


NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks map allows you to view global hurricane data dating back as far as 1842. Using the map you can search and visualize hurricane data by storm name, location and by date. If you enter the name of a hurricane (for example 2012's Hurricane Sandy) you can view the hurricane's track on the map. Points along each hurricane's track allow you to view details about the wind speed and pressure for each day. A link is also provided to read a PDF of NOAA's storm report for each hurricane.

If you select the 'Hurricanes' option from the map menu then you can view all the historical hurricane tracks on one map. If you select the 'County Strikes' option you can view a choropleth map of U.S. coastal counties. The counties colored dark red have historically had more hurricane strikes than the counties colored with a lighter red.


This map of historical Hurricane and Tropical Cyclone Track Density uses Carto's Torque library to animate the track density of hurricanes and tropical cyclones from 2000-2013. The map uses data from the National Climatic Data Center - NOAA.

The Hurricane and Tropical Cyclone Track Density map doesn't allow you to explore individual hurricane tracks but the heatmap does reveal the areas of the world which are most prone to hurricanes and tropical cyclones. As the animation plays the seasonal nature of hurricanes and tropical cyclones around the world is also revealed by the rise and fall of storm activity on the map.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Beware Out of Date Flood Maps


Bloomberg believes that outdated FEMA flood maps could be one reason why less than one in four homes in Hitchcock, Texas had flood insurance when Hurricane Harvey hit. The Federal Emergency Management Agency hasn't updated the food maps in the area since the early 1980's. This may have led local residents to have a false sense of the likelihood of floods in their neighborhood. Hitchcock is not the only town in the United States with an outdated flood map.

Bloomberg's FEMA's Faulty Flood Maps includes an interactive map which allows you to view the 'effective date' for FEMA flood maps. A choropleth layer provides an overview of the age of FEMA's flood maps by location across the United States. If you zoom in labels appear on the map revealing the actual date when the flood map in that area was last updated.

FEMA says that decreases to its funding is a large reason why so many flood maps are out of date.

New York Loves Bacon


The Food Capitals of Instagram is a really nicely designed guide to the popularity of foods with Instagram users around the world. The interactive allows you to select a number of different types of food and see where the most Instagram users are posting pictures of that kind of food across the globe.

Select a type of food from the icon menu above the map and you can see where Instagram users have been posting photos of that food on a world map. Scaled circular map markers show you the percentage of people posting pictures of the food in different global cities. The circles are colored based on the continent where that kind of food originally came from. The top 5 cities are also listed beside the map.

This map is obviously just a map of Instagram users and therefore shouldn't be taken too seriously as a guide to the popularity of different types of food around the world. However the map does begin to show how different immigrant communities can effect the types of food popular in different cities and countries.

Working With Map Projections


Projection Face is a great illustration of the distortions created by different map projections. The interactive shows how 64 different map projections effect our view of the world by showing each projection's effect when applied to something very familiar, the human face.

The distortions of each of the different projections cab be illustrated further by clicking and dragging any of the mapped faces. This illustrates how the different map projections can be distorted themselves simply by changing the center of the map.

Projections Face is an interactive version of a 1924 illustration from Elements of Map Projection with Applications to Map and Chart Construction.




Degenerate State's Map Projections tool is another interesting visualization of how different map projections distort our picture of the world. Map Projections is a very similar tool to Projection Face but this interactive shows you how map projections actually effect maps.

The tool allows you to view a map of the world using 11 different map projections. This in itself is a good demonstration of the choices cartographers make when depicting a three dimensional sphere on a two dimensional plane. However Map Projections also allows you to explore how these different map projections would change if you changed the 0,0 point of latitude and longitude on the map.

If you click anywhere in the world then the map will automatically change to show the distortion needed if this was the origin of the map.


If you want a little help deciding which map projection you should use for your current map project then you can use the Projection Wizard to decide on the best projection.

This map projection guide allows you to select the extent of the map view you are working with by outlining the area on a Leaflet map. Once you've highlighted your map bounds you can choose a distortion property (Equal-area, Conformal, Equidistant or Compromise).

The Projection Wizard will then suggest which map projection you should use depending on the extent and the distortion property of the map. The suggested projections are based on 'A Guide to Selecting Map Projections' by the Cartography and Geovisualization Group at Oregon State University.

A Proj.4 link is provided next to each suggested projection, which opens a popup window with a Proj.4 library. Once you've settled on your map projection you might want to check-out the Proj4Leaflet plugin for using projections supported by Proj4js with Leaflet powered maps.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Wagga Wagga Hey


They say that Wagga Wagga is so good that they named it twice.

They are wrong. The second Wagga in Wagga Wagga is used as an intensifier. Wagga means 'crow'. So Wagga Wagga means 'many crows'. This reduplication of names is a fairly common theme in Australian place-names. Another example is the town of Tiba Tiba, which means 'lots of water'.

The Reduplication Map of Australia is an interactive map of around one hundred place-names in Australia which are reduplicated names. You can filter the place-names shown on the map by state or by UTM zone.


Most, if not all, of these reduplicated names come from indigenous languages. If you are interested in what these places look like then you should have a look at Muru View. Muru View superimposes the original indigenous place-names of Australian locations on top of Google Maps Street View - in 3d!

The application uses place-names used in historical surveys from the Royal Anthropological Society of Australasia to map the original indigenous place-names of locations in New South Wales. It superimposes the place-name labels for each of these locations on top of its Google Map's Street View.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

One Day of Gun Violence in the USA


Earlier this week Vox published an interactive Mass Shootings map to visualize the 1,518 mass shootings in the United States since December 2012. Looking at the huge number of shootings over a number of years is an interesting way to explore America's obsession with guns and shooting each other. However you don't necessarily need to look at the accumulation of gun crime over time. You could instead look at all the gun related incidents across the country in just one day.

The San Francisco Chronicle has done just that. One Day of Gun Violence in America is an interactive map showing the locations of all gun related incidents across the United States on October 1, 2017.

The map is in the story map format and as you scroll down the map highlights different types of gun related incidents across the country. As you scroll the map reveals that as well as the 59 people killed in Las Vegas there were 48 other people killed by guns and 80 other people who were shot but survived. In total 107 people were killed and 329 injured by guns on October 1st. That's only slightly higher than an average day in gun crazy America.

Friday, October 06, 2017

The History of North and South Korea


After the Second World the Korean Peninsula was divided in two. The north was occupied by Soviet troops. The South was occupied by the USA. In 1948 the two zones became two separate countries. It has been a story of intermittent conflict and fragile peace ever since.

The Two Koreas is an Esri Story Map about the history of the two countries, their political leaders and their divergent political ideologies. The map provides a great introduction to the geopolitics of North and South Korea while providing useful background for anyone who wants to better understand the history behind the current crisis.

As well as exploring the history of the two countries the map also explores some of the economic and social differences that have sprung up between them. This is perhaps most strikingly shown in the night-time satellite imagery of the two countries, which shows huge parts of North Korea with no access to electricity.

The 'Current Conflict' section of the map looks more closely at the present tension between North Korea and just about everybody else. As well as examining North Korea's nuclear weapons programme the map explores North Korea's military presence along the demilitarized zone and its increasing incursions into South Korean waters. Perhaps most chillingly the story map shows the current and future range of North Korea's nuclear weapons.

The Lyrical Map of Hip Hop


The Pudding has analyzed the lyrics of about 50,000 songs in order to discover the most common words used in Hip Hop. From this analysis they were then able to make an interactive map which groups Hip Hop artists by lyrical similarity.

The Words That are Most Hip Hop interactive map organizes the faces of Hip Hop artists based on the overlap between the words they use in their lyrics. You can hover over the faces on the map to reveal the name of each artist. The map reveals distinct etymological families in Hip Hop. For example there is the Wu-Tang branch of the language of Hip Hop whose members share a very similar lexicon.

The different dialects of Hip Hop that emerge on the map may owe a lot to the physical geography of the Hip Hop artists. Further study is needed to see if the lyrical similarity between artists correlates to geographical closeness.


To prove a link between Hip Hop dialects and geography you might want to explore the Geography of Hip-Hop interactive map. The Geography of Hip-Hop documents the history and geography of Hip Hop. The map (and accompanying essay) explore how Hip Hop has spread around the world and how different cites have developed their own distinct sounds and styles of Hip Hop.

The interactive Hip Hop map allows you to browse and listen to Hip Hop music by location. The map features 955 songs, most of which you can listen to directly from the map. The size of the markers on the map reflects the number of artists featured from that location. In this way you can get a rough idea about the size of the Hip Hop communities in these different urban locations.

By listening to the songs listed in one city you may begin to get a feel for the sound and style of Hip Hop from that location. You can learn more about the development of Hip Hop in the accompanying essay, The Syncopated Geography of Hip-Hop. The essay explores the influence of geography on Hip Hop communities & styles and how Hip Hop music reflects the influence of the different urban locales where it is made.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Watch New York Being Built


A new animated map shows the major periods of construction in New York since 1880.The map provides a great insight into which areas of New York were developed in each decade of the Twentieth Century. New York Construction allows you to select any year since 1880 and view all the buildings in New York which were built in the 50 years immediately before your chosen date.

There are lots of other examples of building age maps which show the different ages of buildings in cities around the world. We've even seen animated building age maps before. For example, this Amsterdam Growing Over Time map shows how the city of Amsterdam developed and grew from a few houses in the 17th century into the dynamic city it is today. However this animated map only shows when Amsterdam's current buildings were built.

The New York map works a little differently. As the animation plays out the map only ever shows at any one time the buildings constructed in the previous 50 years of the current date on the map. In this way the map shows the major areas of construction in New York over the last 50 years from the date selected. The buildings are color coded on the map by how near to the selected date that they were constructed.

If you want to view the age of all of New York's current buildings on one map then you can check out the NYC's Pluto Data Map. This map color-codes all the buildings by their year of construction. You can therefore use this map to see which neighborhoods have the oldest buildings in New York and which neighborhoods are made up by predominantly new buildings.

110 Maps That Explain America


Data USA claims to be "the most comprehensive website and visualization engine of public US Government data". It allows you to explore a wealth of government data about the demographics, economics, health and education of the United States.

The Maps section of Data USA contains over 110 different choropleth views of this data. These maps visualize the different data sets about America and the American people at county level. The sidebar for each map includes a list view of the top & bottom ten performing counties for the selected data. Each of these map views also includes the option to map the selected data for a number of different years.

The Stories section explores some of the most compelling narratives that emerge from the data. These stories also use interactive maps and other types of data visualization to help explain what the data tells us about America.

Each of the visualization in Data USA can be embedded on another website. The data for each of the visualizations can also be downloaded in CSV format.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Money = Happiness


Alexander Bastidas Fry has used data from the World Happiness Report to map the happiness score of every country in the world. He has also created a number of visualizations which compares these country happiness scores against a number of other factors. One thing that Alexander's World Happiness visualization seems to show is that happiness is very closely tied to economic production.

If you select the scatter plot option you can view how happiness compares to economic production, life expectancy, social support, freedom, generosity and absence of corruption. If you look at the scatterplot of happiness compared to economic production there seems to be a very strong correlation between happiness and economic production.

If you select a country on the interactive globe you can see the country highlighted on the scatterplot or radar plot. If you click on 'information' you can view the country's happiness score and see how well its happiness score compares to its expected score from how it scores on the other indicators.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Amazing Map of Rome


There is very little new in cartography. Over the last few years there has been a bit of a trend to create building age maps of cities. A building age map is a great idea but it isn't new. For example an Italian archaeologist had the same idea over 100 years ago and what he created was nothing short of cartographic magnificence.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century Italian archaeologist Rodolfo Lanciani undertook the task of creating a huge detailed map of Rome. A map which would visualize when different parts of the city were built. Lanciani’s Forma Urbis Romae is color codded to show the different historical epochs when different areas of Rome were built. On the map ancient and medieval Rome is shown in black, early modern Rome in red and the modern city (to Lanciani) is shown in blue.

The Forma Urbis Romae was also huge. It measures 17 x 24 feet. You might therefore struggle to open the map. It is lucky for us therefore that Mapping Rome has digitized all 46 plates and released a fully interactive map of Lanciani's Forma Urbis Romae. It is well worth zooming in on this map to explore Lanciani's beautiful cartography and how he was able to visualize the often complex intermingling of different historical eras within single structures and areas of the city.