Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Geography of UK Pub Names

Constantly Plotting has been busy mapping out the geographical distribution of pub names in the UK. In The Geography of UK Pub Names he has created hundreds of static maps showing the distribution of different pub names in the UK.

The results are endlessly fascinating. Some of the maps make immediate sense. For example pubs named 'Miners Arms' seem to be most popular in areas where lead and coal mines once dominated the landscape. Other geographical patterns are less obvious to explain. For example I can't explain why pubs called 'The Bull' should be mostly located in the south while pubs called 'The Black Bull' are more likely to be found in the north.

The maps in the Geography of UK Pub Names are very basic. They provide a a general overview of where individual pub names are distributed in the UK but aren't detailed enough to show you exact addresses. If you want to know the exact co-ordinates of all the pubs then you should check out the project's GitHub which includes a csv file of all the pubs with their latitude and longitude co-ordinates.

You might also be interested in this dot map of Every UK Pub, which uses pub data which, like the Geography of UK Pub Names, was also derived OpenStreetMap.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Homeless in Seattle

As part of its Project Homeless series the Seattle Times has mapped out the results of the 2018 Point in Time count of homelessness in King County. The map shows the change in the rate of homelessness since 2017 in each census tract in the county.

Homelessness across the county is up 4 percent from last year. The Where are people homeless in King County? map colors each census tract by the rate that homelessness has risen or fallen. Census tracts are colored white where there has been no significant change in the number of homeless people. If you select a tract on the map you can view the number of the homeless counted in 2017 and 2018 and the percentage change in the number of homeless people. The census tracts outlined in black on the map feature in some of the Seattle Times homelessness series of articles. If you select one of these tracts you can view the links to the featured articles.

The Seattle Times has also created a series of static maps which compare the city's homelessness crisis to other cities in the USA. Is Seattle’s homeless crisis the worst in the country? maps out the ten worst places for homelessness in the U.S. using a number of different metrics. These include the top 10 homeless populations in America per 10,000 residents, the top ten cities by the percent of people living outside and the top 10 cities by number of people in homelessness. No matter how you measure it Seattle is in the top 10 worst cities for the numbers of people in homelessness.

Also See

Understanding Homelessness - a dot map showing where the homeless are located across the U.S.
Bussed out: How America moves its homeless - the Guardian has mapped out the homeless bus relocation programs that American cities use to try to shift their homeless problems on to other cities
Where are L.A. County’s Homeless? - a dot map of Los Angeles homeless people (from 2015)

The Map of Languages

The Europa Polyglotta is an eighteenth century map of the world's languages and alphabets. The map was published in 1741 as part of Gottfried Hensel's early work on comparative linguistics, the Synopsis Universae Philologiae.

The map is divided into four continents of Europa, Asia, Africa and America. Each of the four continent segments includes a map of the continent and a list of the alphabets used in those continents. Countries on the maps are labeled by the languages that are spoken there. Each country also includes the first (and sometimes second) phrases of the Lord's Prayer written in the local language ('our father who art in heaven (hallowed be thy name)').

The languages of Europe seem to be very well covered. Asia appears to feature many of the major languages (although the Chinese and Japanese characters look very odd to me). The languages of Africa and America are hardly shown at all.

The map is colored to show the areas of the world which were settled by the three sons of Noah. Japhet is pink, Shem is yellow and Ham is green. I believe that in the Synopsis Universae Philologiae itself Hensel argues that all languages derive from a common origin in Hebrew (presumably from the Tower of Babel myth).

Mapping the History of Liverpool

Historic Liverpool allows you to explore and learn more about the history of Liverpool through historic vintage maps of the city and an interactive map highlighting the city's most historic buildings and monuments. The site includes a number of interactive vintage maps dating from 1847 through to 1898.

My favorite vintage map of the city in the collection is Ackermann's Panoramic View of Liverpool (1847). This panoramic map shows the city in the mid-nineteenth century at a time when the city's docks were at the center of global trade. Albert Dock, which opened the year before this map was made, had recently revolutionized the way docks operated by halving the time in which ships could be unloaded and turned (with modern developments such as hydraulic cranes and fireproof warehouses).

By the end of the 19th century 9% of all world trade passed through the docks in Liverpool. You can see in Ackermann's map that even in the middle of the 19th century the entire north bank of the Mersey in Liverpool was dominated by the city's docks and warehouses.

Historic Liverpool also includes a modern map of the city on which the city's most important historic buildings and monuments have been marked. The History Map contains a number of categorized map markers showing the locations of archaeological sites, buildings, monuments and natural features important in Liverpool's history.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mapping America's Education Deserts

11.2 million Americans live in education deserts - in areas which are more than 60 minutes from the nearest public college. For many students (for example older students, students with child-care duties, students who work full time or those who attend college part time) higher education is only possible if they can attend a local public college. If there isn't a college nearby then they can't continue their education.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has mapped out where Americans are living in education deserts. Who Lives in Education Deserts? is a superb story map which cleverly visualizes America's education deserts. The story map starts by adding 1,500 two and four year public colleges to a map of the USA. It then adds 60 minute drive time isochrones around each of those colleges to identify the areas of the USA within an hour drive of a public college. Who Lives in Education Deserts? next adds in all the census blocks that fall outside these areas to calculate the population of the country who don't live within 60 minutes of a college.

3.5% of the adult population live in the education deserts identified by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Most of these areas are rural and predominantly in the west. Over three quarters of the people living in these rural education deserts are white. Native Americans also often live in education deserts. Nearly 30% of Native Americans live more than 60 minutes drive from a public college.

Given the number of people living in education deserts it is is astonishing the U.S. really has no equivalent of the UK's Open University (OU). The OU is a public distance learning and research university where students study principally off-campus. It is one of the UK's biggest providers of undergraduate education. Many of those undergraduate students are the students (older students, students with child-care duties, students who work full time or those who attend college part time) that the American system is currently failing.

Britain's Broadband Speed Map

The Financial Times has mapped the average broadband speed in every postcode area in Great Britain. Surprisingly the map reveals that the inner cities often have the worst broadband speeds.

You can enter your postcode into the FT's Broadband Speed Map to see the average broadband speed in your area and how that compares to the national averages. The red areas on the map are the areas with the slowest average download speeds and the yellow areas have the fastest download speeds.

As well as the interactive map the FT article includes a small multiple map visualization showing the average download speeds in nine of Britain's largest cities. These maps show that city centers often have slower internet speeds than city suburbs and many rural communities. The FT explains that one reason for this is that most recent investment has been into installing ultrafast broadband networks in the suburbs. While rural and inner-city areas have been left behind.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Māori Map of New Zealand

Andrew Douglas-Clifford has created an interactive map of New Zealand with Māori place-names. The Te Reo Māori Web Map is a Mapbox map of New Zealand which shows the Te Reo place-names of New Zealand towns, cities, lakes, rivers, mountains and other notable locations.

The map uses the Te Reo place-name data from OpenStreetMap. This meant that in order for the map to work in the whole country Andrew had to spend months adding Māori names as alternate language names in OSM. If you like the Te Reo Māori Web Map then you can buy a print of a similar static Te Reo language map of New Zealand from Andrew's website.

Earlier this year the New Zealand Herald created an interactive map which colors place-names depending on whether they are English or Māori. The Our Place Names map reveals that North Island is dominated by Māori names and South Island is dominated by English place-names.

The map is made using data from Te Pūnaha Matatini, Dragonfly Data Science and Te Hiku Media. They used algorithms to identify Māori words in the New Zealand Gazetteer of place-names. If you hover over a place-name on the map you can view the actual name.

Apparently most automated voice systems struggle to correctly pronounce many Māori place-names. To rectify this problem Vodafone and Google created an interactive map to crowdsource all the place-names that Google Maps manages to mispronounce. Anyone can drop a pin on the Say it tika map to show a location where Google struggles with the correct Māori pronunciation.

If you click on a place-name's marker you can listen to how Google Maps pronounces the name. If Google gets it wrong then you can drop a map pin to inform Google of its mistake. All these highlighted place-names will then be sent to Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), who have promised to teach Google the correct pronunciations of Māori place-names.

Street Orientations - Anywhere Edition

Today I was going to post a lot of other street orientation visualizations for global cities that have been posted to the Data is Beautiful subreddit over the last few days. But now I don't need to because you can create your own street orientation compass rose for any location in the world with the Streets Orientations Mapbox map.

Visit any location on the world on the Streets Orientations Mapbox map and you can view a compass rose showing the street orientation in the current map view. Instantly! Want a street orientation visualization of Istanbul? Then just center the map on Istanbul and you have one. All roads lead to Rome, right. But where do Roman roads lead? Find out with this map showing the street orientations of the Italian capital.

Obviously the main advantage of this Street Orientations map is that you can instantly create your own street orientation roses for any town, city or village anywhere in the world. However, another great advantage is that you are also able to compare the completed street orientation rose with the map itself. One of the most interesting things for me in looking at these visualizations is exploring why the street orientations in certain cities (like New York in the picture above) veer from the cardinal directions of the compass (north-south, west-east). Having the map and the orientation compass rose side-by-side allows you to see which geographical or natural features might play a role in  the directions of a city's street orientations.

The Street Orientations Mapbox map was made by Mapbox employee and Leaflet.js creator Vladimir Agafonkin. You can explore the code behind the map on the Street Orientations GitHub page. You can also learn how the map was made in just 80 lines of code on the Mapbox Blog (in particular you might be interested in the two Mapbox libraries the map uses - cheap-ruler & lineclip).

If you still insist on exploring ready made street orientation visualizations then check out:

Comparing City Street Orientations - Geoff Boeing's original visualization of American cities
Street Orientations Russia - a neat series of street orientation roses for Russian cities with accompanying road maps
UK Cities
Indian Cities
German Cities

Monday, July 16, 2018

Elevation Kaleidoscope

Landschach is a global kaleidoscope made from a map of the world.

It might not look like Landschach is made from a map but it is. What you are seeing is a map in which a sine wave has been applied to elevation values. This results in blocks of colors without the normal gradients you would get in a traditional elevation map. You can see this more clearly when looking at the same map without the kaleidoscope effect.

The kaleidoscope effect in Landschach is created by having four instance of the same map view. As you travel around the four map instances in sequence the map is flipped 180 degrees. This results in a trippy kaleidoscope effect.

Landschach was inspired by Rorschach Satellite. Rorschach Satellite is a fun little map which is designed to create a kaleidoscope effect using Mapbox aerial views. The map was created by Mapbox's Damon Burgett.

Essentially Rorschach Satellite places two maps side-by-side. On one map the satellite image is flipped so that it shows the mirror image of the other map. The result is that Rorschach Satellite creates patterns very similar to the ink blot patterns used by psychologists in Rorschach tests.

If you like a pattern created with Rorschach Satellite you can copy and past the map URL to share a link to your view on Rorschach Satellite.

#rorschmap uses the Google Maps API to create a very similar effect. #rorschmap can create a kaleidoscope view for any location on the Earth. Essentially the application displays the Google Maps satellite view of a location and, using the same principle of multiple reflection that you find in kaleidoscopes, creates an animated Rorschach test effect.

The map works in a similar way to Rorschach Satellite but actually has four different map views rather than two.

If that doesn't impress you then why not try #rorschmap Street View Edition. Just enter your address into the app and you can drop-down the rabbit-hole and create a kaleidoscope from the Google Maps Street View of your own home!

Mappa Monday

In the 7th century the scholar Isidore of Seville wrote an encyclopedia of universal knowledge. His 'Etymologiae' included a description of the known world. Some medieval manuscripts of  Etymologiae include a map based on Isidore's description of the world. These are widely known as T and O maps.

You can view a 15th century interpretation of a T and O map on Mappae Mundi, my collection of vintage world maps. To view the T and O map just click on the '600' date in the map menu and wait for the map to load.

T and O Maps are simple circular maps depicting half of the Earth. The antipodes, being unknown, are not shown. The simple depiction of the known world includes three continents Asia, Africa and Europe. Asia (east), which is twice the size of the other two continents, is shown at the top of the map. Jerusalem is often depicted in the center of the map (although not in this T and O map).

The T and O map I've included in Mappae Mundi comes from the Etymologiae in the Kraus Map Collection, at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas.

The Yangon Time Machine

The Yangon Time Machine is a Google Map showcasing vintage photographs of Yangon, Myanmar. Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, is steeped in history. The city boasts the highest number of colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia. It also boasts a large number of impressive Hindu and Buddhist temples.

You can browse the vintage photographs of Yangon by location by using the Yangon Time Machine interactive map. Select a marker of the map and you can view an historical photograph of the chosen location. This view includes a slide control which allows you to compare the vintage photograph with a photo of the same view today.

As well as showcasing beautiful historical views of Yangon's colonial buildings and religious temples the Yangon Time Machine allows you to view a 1914 vintage map of Rangoon. This vintage map viewer uses an OpenStreetMap map of modern Yangon with a spy glass tool which allows you to see the 1914 Rangoon map superimposed on top of the modern map.

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.