Saturday, July 14, 2018

Street Orientations - World Edition


Geoff Boeing's Comparing City Street Orientations has been very popular over the last week. Geoff's compass rose visualizations show the street orientation patterns of 25 major American cities. This series of compass roses reveals that nearly all U.S. cities adhere to a fairly strict grid system of roads.

Now Geoff has turned his attention to other major cities around the world. City Street Orientations around the World includes compass rose visualizations showing the street orientations of 25 cities across the globe. When you look at the street orientations of American cities side-by-side with some of the much older global cities you can see how older cities tend not to have the same strict grid cities of younger cities across the world.


It is also interesting to explore why some city street orientations deviate from the cardinal directions. You can probably guess why Manhattan doesn't have the strict North-South and East-West street orientation of most American cities. If you aren't sure of the reason then you might want to look at a map of New York.


A few years ago Visual Statistix also explored the road direction patterns in America and in a number of European cities. Visual Statistix included maps of each city next to the rose diagrams of urban road patterns. These maps allow you to explore how geographical and natural features (most often rivers) might contribute to the orientation of city streets in cities whose streets deviate from the cardinal directions.


Thanks to a number of Reddit users we now also have street orientations for cities in a number of other countries around the world. ddofer created (the above) compass rose visualizations for cities in Israel.


oxymiro made a similar visualization showing the street orientations of the sixteen biggest cities in France.


In the Netherlands bartkappenberg created compass roses showing street orientations for fifteen Dutch cities.


DSPublic made a visualization showing the street orientations of the most populous cities in each Canadian province.

Friday, July 13, 2018

How much do you know about NATO?


Vladimir Putin and his flunkies have launched a coordinated campaign designed to undermine support for NATO around the world. NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. It is in effect a system of collective defence whereby member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

You can learn more about the role of NATO, its member countries and NATO's partners by playing the NATO Map Game. The NATO Map Game asks you a series of questions about countries around the world. Your role in the game is to identify countries on a map of the world. There are a number of different categories of countries which you are required to identify. These include NATO members, NATO Partner countries and other countries who cooperate with NATO on security matters.

The NATO Map Game includes a study pack about NATO countries and NATO Partners. The game itself also includes definitions of the different NATO partnership arrangements with non-NATO countries.



If you want to learn more about the role of NATO before playing the NATO Map Game then you should view 'NATO on the Map'. NATO on the Map also helps to explain how the organization functions and how & where it operates around the world. NATO on the Map allows you to view which countries belong to the alliance, which countries it works in partnership with and its influence on global peacekeeping.

The map allows you to view the locations of NATO's civilian headquarters, military commands and headquarters around the world. It also shows examples of where NATO has sought to "project stability in its neighbourhood and beyond." A 'Security Challenges' layer shows some of the present global threats to peace and security that NATO and its partners currently faces across the globe.

Where Work Pays


If you've ever wondered if you could earn more money by moving home then you need to check out the Hamilton Project's Where Work Pays interactive map. This map allows you to see where people in your profession earn the most in the USA.

Where you work in America can make a huge difference to your salary. To find out where you could earn the most money you need to select your occupation (or a larger occupational group) from the map's drop-down menu. You can then view a choropleth map showing how much people in the selected occupation earn in different areas of the country.

You can refine the map to take into account your age. You can even adjust for local income taxes and the cost of living in each area. You can hover over an area on the map to view the exact median earnings for your selected occupation. You can also choose up to three different areas on the map to compare the salaries with each other and with the national median wage for your occupation.

The History of Hamburg Mapped


Hamburg Reloaded - Koppmann 1883 is a fascinating collection of 19th century photographs of the German city of Hamburg. The photos were all taken by Georg Koppmann, who established a photographic business in the city in 1865.

If you select an individual vintage photo of the city from the photo gallery you can view a map showing you the location depicted.  Mapbox GL is used to show the location in the selected photo. The map rotates and tilts to provide a reasonable approximation of the actual point of view of the historical photograph.

You can view early 20th century photographs of Hamburg on Hamburg Reloaded - Dransfeld 1930. This sister project uses the same format to display vintage photographs taken by Carl Dransfeld. Dransfeld was an architectural photographer who worked with Hamburg architects to document their buildings in the city.


Both the Hamburg Reloaded projects use Chronograph to map the vintage photographs of Hamburg. Chronograph has also been used in Chronograph Hamburg. Chronoscope Hamburg allows you to view vintage maps of the historical German city overlain on a modern interactive map. It includes old maps of Hamburg from the 16th, 17th, 19th and 20th centuries.

The Chronoscope map viewer allows you to select a map by its year of publication. It also includes a transparency tool which allows you to adjust the transparency of the selected vintage map to view or hide the modern interactive map underneath. If you want to learn more about any the historical maps featured on Chronoscope Hamburg click on the castle logo (top right of the map). This will take you to a page which includes details about each of the vintage maps (in German).


In Geschichtomat - Explore Hamburg’s Jewish History! Hamburg school students were set the task of exploring the history of Jewish life in Hamburg and exploring the traces of the city's Jewish past in their own districts. The students achieved this by researching Jewish life in their neighborhoods, questioning witnesses and studying historical documents.

The students were then asked to present what they learned about Hamburg's Jewish history through video, photographs and text. These presentations were then added to the amazing Geschichtomat Google Map. The map not only provides a great mapped record of the students' work but is in itself a great multi-media guide to Hamburg's Jewish past.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Languages Spoken in Toronto Homes


More than 200 different languages are spoken in Toronto. You can view where the 24 top non-official languages are spoken in Toronto on Social Planning Toronto's new Interactive Language Map.

The Interactive Language Map shows the top languages spoken at home in each census tract area (excluding English and French). Each census tract on the map is colored to show the most spoken language. If you want to view the percentage of people who speak the most spoken language just mouse-over the tract. If you click on the tract you can also view a list of the top ten languages.

If you select a language from the map sidebar you can view a choropleth map showing how many people speak the selected language in all Toronto neighborhoods. If you want to track the popularity of languages spoken over time then you can use the year buttons at the bottom of the map. These buttons allow you to view the data for languages spoken in Toronto from the censuses in 2006, 2011 and 2016.


You might also be interested in viewing the Toronto Visible Minorities interactive map. This dot map shows the minority status of every single person in Toronto. The map places a single point for every person in the Toronto area, coloured by their visible minority status.

The data visualized on the map is a little old now. It is based on information taken from the 2011 census and National Household Survey. It still might be interesting to compare the Toronto Visible Minorities map with the Interactive Language Map set to the 2011 census data.

Reconnecting Asia


Reconnecting Asia is an interactive map and database of infrastructure projects that are being developed across Asia. The map is focused on transportation projects, involving roads, railways, and ports, which have been developed or proposed between 2006 and today in the supercontinent of Eurasia.

Projects on the map are categorized into three categories - roads, railroads and ports. The map also includes a number of options which allow you to filter the map by type of project, date or locations. You can also search the map by individual project name. If you select a project on the map you can click through when more details are available. These details include information on construction dates, total cost of the project and details on the funders & constructors involved.


China has already spent more than 25 billion dollars on its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The initiative is designed to create the infrastructure to secure China’s trade routes and energy supplies. It is also being used to increase China's influence in the rest of the world.

The Mercator Institute for China Studies Belt and Road Tracker is an interactive map which shows some of the many BRI projects spanning Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. These projects include huge transport and oil & gas pipeline networks. The map sidebar allows you to show or hide different types of infrastructure project on the map. These include the railroads, ports and gas & oil pipelines which China has already constructed as part of its BRI. It also allows you to view railroads, ports and gas & oil pipelines which China plans to construct in the near future.

In One Belt, One Road the Financial Times also explores some of the construction projects being created by China to transport people and goods around the world. In The five main projects of the Belt and Road Initiative the South China Morning Post explores five huge Chinese infrastructure projects. These include a rail route from China to London, Gwadar Port, a rail route to Iran, the Asian gas pipeline and the Khorgas Gateway.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Visualizing Street Orientation



If you seem to always be traveling in the same direction then it might be because you are. If you live in a large U.S. city then you probably spend most of your time locked in the city grid, traveling back and forth in the same old directions day after day, your direction of travel always determined by the orientation of the city's streets.

You can view how your city is orientated on Geoff Boeing's Comparing City Street Orientations
Geoff's post includes a number of compass rose visualizations showing the street orientation patterns of 25 major American cities. This series of compass roses reveals that nearly all U.S. cities have rigid grid systems. The only exceptions to the rule appear to be Boston and Charlotte.


A few years ago Visual Statistix also explored the road direction patterns in America. It also created similar visualizations for a number of European cities. These static maps with accompanying rose diagrams are a great visualization of urban road patterns. They are particularly illuminating in illustrating the differences between the planned grid-patterns of American cities and the more organic sprawl found in European cities.

VeloViewer were inspired by Visual Statistix to also explore how different city streets are orientated. Their blog post Interactive Road Orientation Distributions – How Ordered is Your Town? includes examples of compass road diagrams showing street orientations in San Francisco, Austin and Sheffield (UK).

VeloViewer also created an interactive map which allowed you to create a rose diagram for any location showing the street orientation in the current map view. The post includes a link to the map - although unfortunately the map no longer appears to work.


Data Pointed has also been experimenting with how you can visualize the orientation of city streets. Data Pointed however eschewed the age-old compass rose in favor of coloring the streets based on their orientation. Crayon the Grids is a series of maps in which the color of individual streets are determined by the direction that they are orientated. The results are pretty stunning.

This series of gorgeous visualizations includes maps of San Francisco, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, London, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin and Boston.

Texans are the Worst Drivers in America


The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) and the Vision Zero Network have collaborated to map over 48,000 speeding fatalities that occurred in the United States between 2012 and 2016. The map shows the top ten worst cities with the highest number of speeding fatalities. The 1st, 2nd and 4th worst cities for speeding fatalities are all in Texas.

When zoomed out the National Speed Fatality Map only shows the top ten worst cities for speeding fatalities. However if you zoom in on a city or town in the USA you can view where all individual speeding fatalities occurred on the city's streets. There were 48,581 lives lost because of speeding drivers between 2012 and 2016. All of them were preventable deaths.

Texans have always featured in the annual top five positions in the worst drivers list compiled by Car Insurance Companion. In 2016 Texas actually managed to top the Worst Drivers by State list. The list is determined based on a number of factors, including the number of fatalities per miles driven, the percentage of fatal crashes involving alcohol and the number of fatalities caused by speeding and careless driving.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Random States of America


Despite losing the popular vote Donald Trump still won the Presidency. Trump became president because he won a majority of the 538 electoral votes. Each state is given a share of the United States’ 538 electoral college votes. Trump might not have won the most votes but he did win the votes that counted the most. If you were to randomly alter the state boundaries you would end up with a completely different set of election results.

Random States of America is an interactive map which generates new randomly generated state boundaries for the USA. It also shows you who would win the presidential race in this alternative America. To create the random states map 48 starter counties are chosen. Neighboring counties are then attached to each of these 48 random counties to create 48 randomly generated states of America (Alaska and Hawaii always remain the same).

The states are color-coded on the map by who would have won the 2016 presidential election based on the votes cast in each county. If you switch to the 'counties' view you can view a multivariate view showing the percentage of the votes won in each county by each presidential candidate. The map also allows you to view the results in your randomly generated states of America for the presidential elections in 2008, 2004, 2000 and 1996.

How Accurate are Bing's Building Footprints?


Recently Microsoft released the data of 124,885,597 computer generated building footprints in the United States. The building footprints were generated by training computer vision algorithms to recognize building geometries on aerial imagery of the USA. Microsoft has made the data free to download under an Open Data Commons Open Database License.

Obviously Microsoft's USBuildingsFootprints is a great resource for U.S. map makers. However before using the data you might want to explore if it is fit for purpose. Computer vision artificial intelligence is an emerging science and is not free from error. You might therefore want to explore the accuracy of the data before using it.

Dan Cookson's New York Buildings allows you to explore the accuracy of Microsoft's building footprint data in New York. It does this be overlaying the data on top of Here aerial imagery. Using the map you can compare the Microsoft building footprints to the actual buildings shown in the aerial imagery. You can also make direct comparisons between Microsoft's building footprints and New York City's open buildings data and building footprints from Open Street Map.

In New York OSM and the local authority data appears to be more accurate than Microsoft's building footprint data. The Microsoft building footprints often seem to conflate a number of buildings in a block into one or more larger buildings. It looks to me like Microsoft's data is reasonably accurate in determining the level of building cover in an area but less accurate in defining every individual building footprint (at least in New York). Of course Microsoft's data might still be fit for purpose. It just depends on how accurate you need your building data to be.

Also See

US Buildings - a low resolution interactive map of all of Microsoft's 124,885,597 computer generated building footprints.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Why Star Wars Doesn't Work


The United States is resurrecting one of Ronald Reagan's most crazy ideas. Back in the early 1980's Reagan proposed a space based missile system to protect the United States from intercontinental missile strikes by its enemies. The initiative was dubbed Star Wars by the media and was criticized for potentially igniting another arms race. The initiative was eventually dropped by Bill Clinton.

Now the empire wants to strike back. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act includes plans to develop two new space missile defense programs. One of these would effectively utilize a network of satellites in low Earth orbit to monitor for missile launches. The second (and more controversial) program would place thousands of missiles in low Earth orbit in order to intercept any intercontinental missiles launched on Earth.

In Why a Space-Based Missile Interceptor System Is Not Viable Aerospace Security demonstrates why a space based interceptor network would be very difficult for the United States to implement. The program would require thousands of missile firing satellites to be places in low Earth orbit. Even if the network was very large and advanced enough to track and shoot down enemy missiles it would still only provide a partial patchy defense from intercontinental missiles.

The Aerospace Security article includes an interactive Leaflet map which visualizes the effectiveness of different sized constellations of space-based missile interceptors. The map allows you to select from a number of different network sizes of satellites to provide a space-based missile intercept layer. You can then view the area of the Earth that the selected network size would cover and the number of intercept missiles that would cover each area of the planet. All to protect the United States from a phantom menace.

Your Personal Audio Guide to the World


Road Trip is a new map based web application which serves as your own personal tourism guide. Just share your location with Road Trip and it will tell you about all the interesting places that you pass on your journey.

If you open Road Trip while you are on a journey the application will read out loud the Wikipedia entries of locations and points of interest that you pass on your trip. Road Trip also works on your desktop computer. So it you are not on a trip you can also use Road Trip to find out about places of interest around the world (just move the map to a location and press the 'next' button.

Road Trip is a simple application of a brilliant idea. The code is available on GitHub so if you want to make the application a little more sophisticated you could always clone Road Trip and work on it yourself.

For example you could create an OpenStreetMap version of RoadTrip. One reason for using OSM is that you could use tags to refine the nearby features from Wikipedia and provide users with the option to choose the features that they are interested in hearing about. For example you could restrict Road Trip to only read out nearby Wikipedia entries about features tagged 'natural' or 'tourism' or 'historic' on OSM.

The First Map of Australia


This week's Mappa Mundi is the Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula by Hendrik Hondius. The map is a double hemisphere map of the world. It was created in 1630 and published one year later.

Among the map's main claims to fame is that it is one of the very first widely available world maps to show any part of Australia. The Australian coastline shown on the map is part of the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, discovered by Jan Carstensz in 1623. The map also shows the Great Wall of China.

You can view the map on Wikipedia. I've also added the map to my Mappae Mundi collection. To view the map on Mappae Mundi just click on the '1642' button. The map that I've added to Mappae Mundi is actually a copy of the original by Pierre-Jean Mariette (hence the later date). For some reason Mariette left off the west coast of Australia on his copy of Hondius' original.

The Hondius original also has four portraits, positioned in each corner of the map. The portraits are of Julius Caesar, Claudius Ptolemy, and the atlas's first two publishers, Gerard Mercator and Jodocus Hondius (the cartographer's father). The Mariette copy replaces the portraits with a compass rose, a wind rose, a perpetual calendar and a celestial map of the planets and their movements.

If you want to view the first map to mention America. Then click on the '1507' button on Mappae Mundi to view Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map.

Friday, July 06, 2018

120 Million Buildings in the USA


US Buildings is an interactive map of all 120 million buildings in the USA. The map uses data recently released by Microsoft to visualize 124,885,597 computer generated building footprints.

The building footprints were generated by training computer vision algorithms to recognize building geometries on aerial imagery of the USA. OpenStreetMap currently shows 30 million building footprints in the USA so Microsoft's USBuildingsFootprints is a significant increase. The data is free to download under an Open Data Commons Open Database License.

For this interactive map the data was loaded into QGIS and rendered as monochrome tiles with the QTiles plugin. The map tiles don't have a high enough resolution level to observe individual footprints. It does however provide an interesting accompaniment to a population density map of the USA.

Mapping Edmonton's Growth


Urban Sprawl in Edmonton is a building age map created by Darkhorse Analytics which shows the growth of the city from 1898 to the present day. The map allows you to view how and when buildings were constructed and how the city has grown over the last 120 years.

The map includes a simple timeline control which allows you to select any year from 1898 to 2017. The dark green buildings on the map are the ones that have been constructed in the last five years from the date selected. The lighter green maps were constructed prior to the year selected. If you click on an individual building footprint on the map you can view the actual year when it was constructed.

Urban Sprawl in Edmonton includes as 'infill' view which allows you to view new houses built in existing, older neighborhoods. In this view the purple buildings are at least 30 years newer than the average of other residential buildings within a 500m radius.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Deforestation in the Colombian Amazon


Deforestation Hotspots in the Colombian Amazon is a series of Esri story maps visualizing protected areas in the Colombian Amazon and the areas which are suffering the highest rates of deforestation. The three maps cover three different areas of the country, which are experiencing new or intensifying deforestation. The three areas of the Colombian Amazon that have been mapped are Caguan, La Paya and Chiribiquete-Macarena.

Each of the maps uses shaded polygons to show the areas with new hotspots of deforestation and areas which have suffered persistent deforestation. The maps also show satellite evidence of deforestation, using before and after satellite imagery to show the impact of deforestation on the Amazon forest.

All three maps were made by the Monitoring the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP). MAAP is working in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador to monitor and map in near real-time the deforestation of the Andean Amazon. MAAP has released a series of maps and articles covering deforestation in Peru and Colombia, with the focus on Ecuador starting this year.

Also See

Silent Forest - mapping deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
Forest Cover Through Time - projections of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest
The Making of a Forest - deforestation in the Atlantic Forest
The Global Forest Change Map mapping global forest extent and forest change
The Atlas of Deforestation in Borneo

The Global Climate Impact of Electricity


The electricityMap is a map which shows in near real-time the carbon intensity of electricity consumption around the world. It allows you to see how much electricity is being consumed in regions across the globe, where that electricity comes from and how much it contributes to CO2 production.

On the map regions and countries are colored according to the carbon intensity of their electricity consumption. The greener a region on the map then the more climate friendly their electricity consumption. The map also includes arrows showing the movement of electricity between regions and countries.

You can click on individually colored regions and countries to learn more about where their electricity comes from. If you select a country on the map you can also view a chart of its carbon intensity in the last 24 hours and where that electricity was produced. This view also shows you the data sources that electrictyMap uses for that region's electricity consumption and carbon intensity.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Mapping England's New Houses


Dan Cookson has created an animated map to show where new houses have been built in England over the last ten years. The map includes greenbelt areas so you can see how much development has taken place in areas which are supposed to prevent urban sprawl. The map uses new small user postcodes to determine where new houses have been built.

Where are all the new houses in England? uses Carto's Torque library for animating time-series data. This allows you to watch new housing accumulate on the map by month from 2007 to 2018. If you want to just see the total of new builds over the last ten years you can pause the map and just drag the timeline to the end date.

If you zoom in on a town or a city you should be able to pick out locations where new housing has been developed locally. For example, the map clearly shows all the new apartment blocks constructed around the Olympic Park in London. In fact the map reveals that a large percentage of London's new homes are being built in the East End.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Mexican Election Maps


Andrés Manuel López Obrador won Sunday's Presidential Election in Mexico. Although Obrador was the favorite to win the election the size of his victory proves that there is overwhelming support in the country for his proposed program of radical change.

The BBC has created a static map which effectively visualizes the overwhelming success of López Obrador in Sunday's election. The map simply colors each state based on the presidential candidate who won the most votes. López Obrador won 31 of the 32 electoral districts, so the whole country is colored red, except for Guanajuato, the only state won by Anaya.


While the BBC's map is effective in visualizing the scope of Obrador's victory it doesn't provide any information about the scope of his victory in each state. Univision's Elecciones Mexico 2018 provides a more nuanced view of the votes cast for each candidate in each electoral district.

Univison's map uses more shades of red and blue to show the percentage of votes cast for the winning candidate in each a state. This reveals that although Obrador took the northern states, the north-eastern states are where he picked up the least votes and his stronghold is in Mexico's most southern states.

Gio.js - Displaying Data on a 3D Globe


Gio.js is a data visualization library for displaying data on a 3D globe. The library is built on Three,js and has a very simple to use API.

The Gio.js library isn't a full scale 3D globe mapping library, like CesiumJS or OpenGlobus. It doesn't support such features as map tiles or importing GeoJSON files. The library is designed instead to provide a simple method for displaying data on a basic 3D globe. Using the library you can color individual countries (so it is possible to create a simple 3D choropleth map). The library also allows you to create 3D flow maps by using animated lines between two or more selected countries.

You can get a good idea of the potential of Gio.js on the Gio.js Playground. The Playground allows you to play around with a Gio.js globe and customize how it looks. If you like the customized settings you create in the Playground you can download the configuration code to use with the Gio.js API.

The library is very limited in its potential use. It can be used to create simple data visualizations, including 3D choropleth maps and flow maps between countries. It can also be used to load other data about countries by allowing users to select countries on the globe to view information or data about the selected country (outside of the Gio.js API). The main advantage of Gio.js is its simplicity. These 3D globe data visualizations can be created in just a few lines of code.

Mapping the Enlightenment


Mapping the Enlightenment is an attempt to map the intellectual networks of the Enlightenment in Europe. It aims to map both the scientific centers in Europe and the travels of scholars between these centers. Through visualizing these intellectual networks and the movements of scholars Mapping the Enlightenment hopes to provide an insight into the exchange of knowledge that shaped European science and technology in the 18th Century.

Currently Mapping the Environment has mapped the travels of a number of Greek-speaking Enlightenment scholars. You can overlay the known movements of one or more of these scholars on top of the website's interactive map. You can also select major scientific centers in Europe to view all the scholars routes that passed through the selected location. It is also possible to view the scholars' movements on the map filtered by different scholarly contexts, for example teaching, publishing or political activity.


The Enlightenment's influence on cartography can be best seen in the maps of the Cassini family. The Carte de France or the Cassini Maps were created by four generations of the Cassini family in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Cassini Maps were the first truly accurate national survey based on geodetic triangulation. This first scientific trigonometric national survey owes much to the Age of Enlightenment and its belief in reason, the scientific method and constitutional government.

You can view all 182 pages of the Cassini Maps overlaid on top of Google Maps at the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Monday, July 02, 2018

The Growth of the Interstate Highway System


The Evolution of the Interstate is an animated map which allows you to view the construction of the U.S. Interstate Highway System from 1956 to 2017. The map starts in 1956, when the first 9,000 miles of highway are added to the map, and ends in 2017 with over 49,000 miles of highway.

As the Evolution of the Interstate progresses new highways are added to the map by their year of construction. A running total shows the number of miles of road added to the network. The map also occasionally zooms in on some of the most important stages in the construction of the Interstate Highway System.

The Interstate Highway System was championed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and was first authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. A year earlier, in 1955, the General Location of National System of Interstate Highways, informally known as the Yellow Book, was published. This mapped out what was to become of the Interstate System. In 1956 the American Automobile Association published the National system of interstate and defense highways : as of June, 1958, a map of the planned interstate network.

The Greenest Cities in the World


Prague is the greenest city in the world. Over 50% of Prague is given over to 'green' spaces. In comparison Tokyo is not very green. Less than 6% of the city is dedicated to parks or gardens.

Travelbird has ranked 50 world cities based on their 'greeness'. You can view their results in The Greenest Cities in the World. To rank the cities Travelbird used OpenStreetMaps to analyze the amount of space in each city taken up by parks, gardens, forests, nature reserves and farms. They have released their results in two main formats; the amount of green space per person and the percentage of green space in each city.

Reykjavík, Auckland and Bratislava (receptively) top the list for the cities with the most green spaces per person. Prague, Madrid and Vienna top the list if you view the percentage of the city given over to green spaces. Tokyo comes bottom of both lists. It has the least green space per person and by percentage area of the city.

It is interesting to compare Travelbirds results with the results of MIT Sensable City Lab's Treepedia. MIT Sensable City Lab has used Google Maps Street View images to assess the amount of tree canopy cover that exists in cities around the world. They have then used this data to give each of the assessed cities a 'Green View Index' score.

So far they have assessed 27 global cities. Treepedia only measures the tree canopies along city roads. It ignores parks and gardens. Therefore it is impossible to make a direct comparison between Treepedia and the Travelbird analysis. However it is interesting to see where cities score low or high in each analysis and where overall city greeness scores and road tree canopy scores diverge.

Paris scores quite low in both measures while Amsterdam scores reasonably high as both a city with a high percentage of green areas and a lot of roadside tree canopy.

Monday's Mappa Mundi


The latest map to be added to my Mappae Mundi collection of historical world maps is Urbano Monte's 1587 Planisphere. Urbano Monte's Planisphere has been in the news a lot this year because the David Rumsey Map Collection at Stanford University recently acquired one of the only two existing manuscript copies of the map.

The original manuscript map is in the form of a 60 sheet atlas. Urbano Monte intended for the sheets to be joined together to create one very large 10 foot map. The David Rumsey Map Collection has achieved that goal by digitizing all 60 sheets and creating a digital interactive map of the planisphere.

Urbano Monte's Planisphere uses a north polar azimuthal projection. This projection places the North Pole at the center of the map. Monte himself suggested that a central pivot be added to the center of the map so that users could rotate the map while exploring the atlas.

If you are interested in viewing the map using different projections you can use Urbano Monte World Map Reprojections.. Visionscarto has used the map tiles from the David Rumsey interactive map to create a tool for viewing the map in 21 different map projections. They even include everyone's favorite Mercator projection, which means you can make direct comparisons with Google Maps if you so wish.

To view Urbano Monte's Planisphere on my Mappae Mundi just click on the 1587 button and wait for the map to load. You can also view the world map at the David Rumsey Map Collection.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Faces of Auschwitz


Auschwitz concentration camp was established by the Germans in occupied Poland in 1940. In the next few years it became the most deadly Nazi extermination camp. It is estimated that 1.1 million people perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940-1945.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum has 38,916 registration photographs taken of Auschwitz prisoners. They are working with Brazilian photo colorization specialist Marina Amaral and a team of academics, journalists and volunteers to colorize these photographs and to research and share the stories of those photographed.

You can explore these photos and biographies on Faces of Auschwitz. The Faces of Auschwitz interactive map shows the home town locations of the photos and stories completed so far. If you click on the map markers you can view the prisoner's colorized photograph and to click through to read the individual's story.


Since 1997 German artist Gunter Demnig has been creating memorials for individual victims of the Holocaust. Demnig's stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) are small, cobblestone-sized memorials for individual victims of Nazism.

Each stolperstein is placed in the sidewalk outside the victim's home. Stolpersteine Online is a Google Map of the memorials which have been erected. The project has created about 35,000 stumbling blocks so far. This is a very small percentage of the total number of victims of the Holocaust, however if you zoom in on any German city on this map you still can't fail to be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the Nazis Holocaust.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Mapping City Gayborhoods


The Pudding has mapped out gay neighborhoods in 15 different cities. The map plots businesses tagged 'gay bar' and data on where same-sex unmarried partner households and same-sex married joint tax filers live, in order to determine the gay neighborhoods in each city. The Pudding has also mapped out the differences in where same-sex female couples live and where same-sex male couples live.

Men are from Chelsea, Women are from Park Slope includes three maps for each of 15 of the USA's largest cities. For each city one of the maps provides a choropleth view of where same-sex couples are more likely to live. The other two maps shows where same-sex female couples are more likely to live and where same-sex male couples live.

The Pudding has also provided a descriptive overview of the gayborhoods in each of the 15 cities. This includes information on such things as where Pride parades have been routed and where gay bars have tended to be sited. It also includes the first hand accounts of local residents about local gay friendly and gay unfriendly neighborhoods in the featured cities.


Another way to determine a city's gay friendly neighborhoods might be to see where people go after Pride. Last year Carto undertook an interesting geo-data investigation into where people go after taking part in New York's Pride parade. A Map of Where People Went After the NYC Pride Parade uses pick-up and drop-off data from New York's yellow taxis to determine what people did after New York's 2018 Pride parade.

Using data from Sunday June 26th, 2016 (the date of last year's Pride in New York) Carto isolated all the taxi pick-ups in the Pride parade area between 4-8pm (when the parade was winding down). They then created a map of all the drop-off points from these pick-ups, to see where people were going after Pride. Carto used a DBSCAN clustering algorithm to identify locations with a high density of drop-offs.

Major transit hubs feature quite prominently, presumably for people heading home, Areas with popular gay bars also appeared to be popular destinations. Locations around hotels is another take out from the mapped data.

Unequal Under the Law


Your chances of going to prison after committing a crime vary wildly depending on which state of America you are tried in. In Maine the number of people imprisoned per 100,000 residents is 153. In Louisiana it is 816. If you are white and live in Louisiana you don't have to worry about being sent to prison for a crime as much as you would as black residents of the state. The white imprisonment rate is only 438. If you are black the imprisonment rate is 1,740.

The Sentencing Project has created an interactive map which allows you to compare how different states interpret and apply criminal justice. The map allows you to make direct comparisons of each state's imprisonment rate, juvenile custody rate and the racial disparity in incarceration rates.

The Sentencing Project's State by State Data has three different visualization tools of imprisonment data in the United States. The interactive map provides choropleth views of the different imprisonment rate data providing a direct state by state comparison for the selected data-set. The 'Detailed State Data' option allows you to select a state to view a breakdown of all the imprisonment rate data for that state. The 'State Rankings' view provides an ordered view of all states for each data-set, listing the states from highest to lowest.


One thing that the Sentencing Project's data definitely reveals is that the United States likes locking people up. According to the Prison Policy Initiative's report States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2016 "every state (in the USA) is more likely to incarcerate its residents than almost every other nation on the planet". The NAACP reports that 25% of the entire world's prison population is living in American jails. This propensity to lock up its citizens affects African Americans more than most other Americans. The NAACP says that "African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites" in the USA.

As we have already seen there is also a geographical factor at play in the incarceration rates of the different states in the USA. The Prison Policy Initiative states that "the South has consistently had a higher rate of incarceration than the other regions of the United States". The Pudding decided to explore if there was any connection between the high rate of incarceration in Southern states and the legacy of slavery. By mapping 150 years of census and incarceration data they wanted to see if historic incarceration rates differ between the former slave states and the non-slave states of the North.

In the Shape of Slavery The Pudding examines the number of slaves in Southern states before the Civil War, the black population across the United States over time and the number of prisoners in each state over time. Using these different map views it is possible to compare the rate of incarceration between Southern and Northern states.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Satellite Evidence of Myanmar Atrocities


The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state has caused hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Amnesty International's Mapping Myanmar's Atrocities Against Rohingya is a story map exploring the systematic burning of Rohingya villages, mosques and homes by the Myanmar military.

As you progress through Amnesty's story map eye witness accounts provide evidence of the atrocities carried out by the Myanmar army. In particular the map recounts the Chut Pyin Massacre, where hundreds of Rohingya were killed, and the village was set ablaze. Following the Chut Pyin Massacre the army went on to burn down many more Rohingya villages. The Amnesty map uses before and after satellite images to show the targeted burning of these Rohingya villages. As Amnesty's map shows this "didn’t just happen in one area - it happened in Rohingya villages across northern Rakhine State".

Amnesty map documents the refugee routes taken by the Rohingya who fled to neighboring Bangladesh. The map also documents how the Myanmar army has been building military bases across Rakhine state, often on land where Rohingya used to live. The burning of villages and the building of military bases seems deliberately designed to deter Rohingya from returning to their homes.


Reuters has also used data from the U.N. Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) to map the Rohingya homes and villages which have been burned by the Myanmar military. Burned to the Ground uses satellite imagery of Myanmar to identify villages which have been shelled and / or burnt to the ground.

As you read through Burned to the Ground an interactive satellite map scrolls along a 110km strip of Rakhine state in Myanmar highlighting the burned villages while also outlining some of the atrocities carried out by the Myanmar military and government. Around 655,000 Rohingya have now been displaced. Myanmar is making sure that they will have no homes to return to.

Every Home Owner & Renter in America


There have been a few maps recently which have tried to show the best places to rent or buy in the United States by comparing the cost of renting and the cost of buying in an area. Another indicator might be to look at where people are already renting and buying properties. For that job you need the Owners vs Renters map.

Owners vs Renters is an interactive dot map showing every single home owner and renter in the United States. It uses data from the 2010 US Census. For reasons of personal privacy data is randomized within each block. This means that you can't tell the areas within your immediate neighborhood where people are renting or owning. However the map is very effective at the city level, revealing the neighborhoods with a mixture of renters and owners, the neighborhoods where most people own their homes and the neighborhoods with a majority or renters.


Owners vs Renters is particularly effective in dense urban areas. Zoom in on any major city center and you can quickly see where home owners tend to live and where lots of people rent. There could be many historical and/or social reasons why particularly blocks have a mix of owners or renters or a predominance of either owners or renters. For example, you might find it interesting to compare the Owners vs Renters dot map with the Racial Dot Map of America.

You can learn more about how the map was made with Mapbox and Tippecanoe on this blog post, Renters and Owners — Visualizing every person in the US.

All Flights Lead to Rome


Two years ago Moovel Labs created a beautiful mapped visualization called Roads to Rome. The map showed the quickest route by road from 486,713 different starting points in Europe to the eternal city of Rome.

Moovel Labs are now back with another stunning mapped visualization, this time showing the quickest flight routes to Rome from across the globe. Flights to Rome visualizes the quickest flight routes to the Italian capital from 712,425 locations around the world. Routes to the nearest airport from each of these locations are based on the OpenStreetMap road network. From there FlightRadar24 data has been used to show the flight route to Rome Fiumicino Airport.


The interactive mapped version of Flights to Rome allows you to explore a 2d map of this global network of flight routes, leading to Rome. It also includes a 3D map view which allows you to view the flight routes in and out of every major airport around the world in three dimensions. This 3D view allows you to pan around airports to observe how flight routes enter and leave the selected airport.

The two dimensional map of Flights to Rome allows the user to observe important connection hubs where global travelers are changing flights on their trips to Rome. From the east global travelers to Rome most often change flights in Moscow. Far eastern traffic tends to come via Istanbul.

Moovel Labs has also created maps visualizing the global flight routes to New York and Tokyo. If you are an Italian who wants to get as far away from Italy as possible by plane then Moovel Labs has also got you covered. It has created a list of the most remote airports from Rome.