Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Rorschach Map Tests


Take a look at the following map and tell me what you see. If you see a bat or a butterfly then we may need to discuss your relationship with your father in a little more detail.

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!


We haven't finished yet! You also need to check out #rorschcam, which applies the same kaleidoscope effect to New York webcams from the New York City Department of Transportation.

We might not have a map with this application but the webcam images are live so now we have a moving real-time kaleidoscope views of New York's streets. Who would have thought that New York's streets could have got any weirder?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Is Your Country Ready for an Epidemic?


According to Prevent Epidemics more than half the countries in the world are not prepared for the next big epidemic. Many of the most unprepared country are in Africa. Australia and South Korea are the two countries that are best prepared to cope with an epidemic. The United States is also well prepared to cope with a potential health epidemic.

Prevent Epidemics has mapped countries around the world based on how well they are prepared to cope with a major health epidemic. Each country has been ranked based on its ability to find, stop and prevent health threats. You can learn more about how prepared each country is on the Prevent Epidemics interactive map. Countries on the map are colored based on their 'Ready Score'. If you click on a country on the map you can view how the country ranks for the different criteria that make up its complete score. These includes individual scores for how prepared a country is for verifying an epidemic outbreak, preventing an epidemic and dealing with an epidemic.

The Prevent Epidemics ReadyScore is based on data from the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) developed by the World Health Organization. The JEE evaluates a country’s ability to find, stop and prevent disease threats. Every country page on Prevent Epidemics has a 'Take Action' button which provides information about the country's score and suggests simple actions users can take to help their country better prepare for future epidemics.

The Slang Map of America


You might want to pre-funk before checking out this shucky darn map of United States slang words. The Slang Map of the USA lists the most common slang words in every U.S. state and also includes a little quiz to test your knowledge of America's favorite colloquial phrases.

PlayNJ carried out a survey to find out the most common slang words in each state. They then compiled the results and released this fun little map. If you select a state on the map you can reveal the two most common slang words in that state. You can also click on the common slang words listed beside the map to view the three states where a slang word is most spoken.

If you click on the question mark button you can test your knowledge of American slang words by taking the Slang Map of America quiz.


In the evening, when most of the USA is sitting down for dinner, people in the Midwest have their supper instead. This is just one of the many variations in the use and choice of language which is determined by where you live in America.

Linguists at Aston University and the University of Manchester have analysed the top 1,000 words used in Twitter messages. They then used users' location data to see how often these words are used in each county in the continental United States. The results of this analysis provide an interesting insight into the regional variations in language use across the United States.

Quartz has used this analysis to create an interesting mapped visualization of the use of these top 1,000 words throughout the United States. Type a word into the Quartz Great American Word Mapper and you can view a heat-map of its use on Twitter in each county of the USA.


The most popular interactive webpage on the New York Times website in 2013 was How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk. This interactive feature asks a series of questions about your pronunciation and use of certain words.

From the answers you give to the questions the NYT creates your personal dialect map. This heat-map shows you which areas of the USA have a dialect similar to your own. You can also view a heat-map for each of the individual questions.

The NYT interactive also asks you whether you call your evening meal 'dinner' or 'supper'. The NYT map shows very similar results to the Quartz map for where these words are most used in the USA.

Trump's Migrant Camps for Children


In Where are the migrant child facilities? Scattered across America The Washington Post is attempting to map where migrant children are being held in the United States. The paper has mapped out the locations of facilities where it is known migrant children are being held and intends to update the map as more information comes to light.

At the moment the map is just a simple interactive graphic with markers showing the locations of the known facilities. The result is that the map doesn't work well for states like Texas who have a large number of facilities where children are being held. If you hover over the map markers you can view the name of a facility. Unfortunately the markers in Texas and in some other states are so numerous that it isn't possible to view the name of every facility on the map.

The Washington Post's map already needs zoom controls so that readers can drill down to all the individual facilities. If the Post does intend to update this map as the story develops a better interactive map will be needed.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Refugee Journeys


It is almost impossible to imagine the desperate situations which people must find themselves in to begin the perilous and life-threatening journeys that are the lot of most of the world's refugees. Some politicians like Donald Trump and Italy's Matteo Salvini seem completely incapable of empathy and presumably cannot imagine how desperate the life of a refugee can be. Perhaps they should be forced to read these accounts of refugee journeys.

Spanish photojournalist Javier Bauluz walked with refugees from Greece to Germany in order to document the journey taken by thousands of refugees as they try to make it to the safety of Europe. You can read about this journey on Seeking Refuge for My Children, a photo report about the long and dangerous trek from Greece, through Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Germany.

Javier's report is broken up into six chapters, each focused on one stage of the journey from Greece to Germany. The route of the journey is displayed on an accompanying interactive map. This map can be used to navigate to any of the six chapters in Seeking Refuge for My Children. Javier's first hand account of the refugees' journeys combined with his powerful photographs of desperate people in a desperate situation combine to provide an evocative and moving insight into the appalling journeys of the refugees seeking entry to Europe.


More than 5,000 refugees died in 2016 trying to get to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea. Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat - Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences is an international research project, led by the University of Warwick, which carried out 257 in-depth qualitative interviews with people who have made this journey.

The project has released an interactive story map which allows you to view some of these migratory journeys on a map, while also learning about the individual experiences of the people forced to make these treacherous journeys.

Each of these individual journeys are mapped to show each stage of the person's migration from Africa to Europe. 'Back' and 'Next' buttons allow the user to follow each stage of the journey made by the interviewed refugees. As the map updates the side-panel also updates to provide information about the journey. This information includes the first-hand experiences of the individual refugee and more general information about the conditions that refugees experience at each of the mapped locations.


In 2014 the Global Mail created a superb mapped interactive report on one migrant's personal journey. Filmmaker Matt Abbott gave Muhammad Hussain, a Hazara Pakistani about to set out on a journey to seek asylum in Australia, a video camera and asked him to film his experiences. The result is Hussain's Journey.

The Global Mail's mapped report starts off with Matt Abbot's own recordings of Muhammad Hussain's family and life in Karachi. When Muhammad set off on his dangerous journey to Australia he took over the filming himself. The mapped report of this journey allows you to view his experiences in safe houses, in smugglers’ homes and, in the final stretch of his journey, across the ocean in a boat that is barely seaworthy.

The Flow of Human Trafficking


Europe & Human Trafficking visualizes the illegal movement of the victims of modern slavery around Europe. There are over 2 million people in Europe living in modern slavery due to human trafficking.

The map uses flow lines to show the movement of modern slaves around Europe. The map also uses scaled red and blue circles to show the number of modern slaves in each country and the size of each country's GDP. If you click on these red and blue markers the flow lines on the map change to show the countries where the selected country's modern slaves originate.

Europe & Human Trafficking uses the Leaflet.Canvas-Flowmap-Layer plug-in for LeafletJS. The plug-in uses Bezier curves to visualize the movement of objects from one location to another (obviously in this case the thing being moved is people). One purpose of using Bezier curves is that you can show the direction of flow by using either a convex or concave curve on your flow line. The direction of flow is also visualized by the library using animated dots which travel along the flow map lines in the direction of flow.

The Leaflet.Canvas-Flowmap-Layer was inspired by Sarah Bellum's ArcGIS Canvas Flowmap Layer, a popular plug-in for ArcGIS.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Discovering Imaginary Islands


Back in 2012 scientists from the University of Sydney sailed to Sandy Island, an island which Google Maps clearly showed in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately when they arrived at the location indicated by Google Maps all they found was a lot more empty sea. Sandy Island didn't exist. In fact it was a phantom island.

Phantom islands are fake islands that have appeared on maps for a period of time, only to be later removed when it is proved that they don't actually exist. Most of the islands come from the reports of sailors exploring previously unknown areas. Presumably they were a mixture of mythical tales and geographical error in positioning real islands on new maps

Phantom Islands – A Sonic Atlas is an impressive interactive map which takes you on a tour of some of the world's imagined islands. Each of the islands has its own phantom marker on the map. Click on a phantom island and you can learn how the island came to be invented. You can also discover when the island first appeared on an atlas and when it last appeared on any map. Press on the 'Cruise' button and you will be taken on an audio tour of all the Phantom Islands.

Also See

Sandy Island - the man responsible for Google's non-island

Refugee Routes to Italy


The Stories Behind a Line is a visual presentation of six different refugees' journeys to Italy. This visualization uses simple lines to represent the nightmare journeys undertaken by six asylum seekers from their homes to Europe. These simple lines are used to show the geographical routes and the distances traveled by each refugee. Each journey line also serves as a visual metaphor through which each individual story can be told.

Each of the asylum seeker's journeys in The Stories Behind a Line is represented by its own individual journey line. These lines show the distance traveled, the number of days spent traveling and the methods of transportation of each refugee from their hometown to Italy. Each of the journeys is shown as a simple black line on a white background (although you can reveal the map behind each journey if you want). Red markers are placed along the lines which can be clicked to reveal the personal narrative behind each journey.

It is possible to switch between the geographically shaped lines to straight lines, with a more analytical view of the distances traveled. In this view the lines are converted to a straight strip map segment. These strip map segments break down the important stages in each refugee's journey and the distances between these stages.

You can learn more about how and why this visual representation of six refugee journeys was created in a Driven Journalism post by the visualization's authors. The Stories Behind a Line: A Visual Narrative of Six Asylum Seekers' Routes to Italy also explores some of the design and coding choices made in creating the visualization.

The Geography of the World Cup


The most expensive football team at this World Cup is France. The combined transfer market value of all the players in the French team is £972.45 million. Spain, who are many people's favorite to win the World Cup, have the second most expensive team, with a combined transfer market value of £930.60 million. Brasil have the third most expensive team.

You can discover the combined transfer market of every country's team on the FIFA 2018 National Squads interactive map. Teams in the 2018 World Cup are represented by red markers on the map. The country's with blue markers did not qualify for the 2018 Cup. Of these teams Italy stands out. The Italian team has a total transfer market value £598 million, making it the 8th most expensive team in the world. However all those expensive players were unable to help Italy qualify for this year's competition.

Where all those expensive players play their football is another matter. The English Premier League has the most players playing in the 2018 World Cup. 123 players in this World Cup play in the EPL. 81 players in the World Cup play in Spain. 67 play in Germany and 58 play in Italy.

You can find out more about where this year's World Cup players ply their trade on WC Rosters, a tableau visualization of where World Cup players play their club football. Only the England football team in this year's World Cup have all their players playing in their domestic league. Russia comes second in this regard with 21 of the 23 Russian squad playing in the Russian league (Russian league teams must play five Russians, this means Russian players demand high wages in the Russian league and have little financial incentive for playing abroad).

Manchester City in the English Premier League are the club with the most players in the 2018 World Cup. 16 players in this year's competition are owned by Manchester City. Real Madrid have 15 players and Barcelona have 14 players in the World Cup.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The American Income Gap


The Income Extremes for Wealth Divide interactive map shows the richest and poorest households in each census tract area in the United States. The map visualizes two dot map layers showing the number of households earning over $200,000 and the number of households earning under $25,000. The result is a map which clearly shows the income divide in American towns and cities.

If you select a census tract on the map an information window opens displaying the tract's population and number of households. It also informs you about the number of households in the census tract which have an income greater than $200,000 and the number of households which have an income less than $25,000. The yellow and blue dots don't show the exact addresses of households but are randomized within each census tract area.

Esri's Predominant Income Range by Households is a similar map, however this map shows the most dominant income range in each census tract in the United States. The map uses income data from the 5-year American Community Survey in 2016 to show the income range of the most people in each tract. Using the map you can explore the reality of income inequality in every local neighborhood.

While exploring the map you might spot patterns which recur in states, cities and communities across the country. For example you should be able to spot the income divide between many metro and rural areas. In college towns you might see low income student-dominated neighborhoods surrounded by wealthier neighborhoods.

The map reveals that a number of cities, such as Philadelphia, Seattle and Houston have a thriving downtown core. While cities such as Detroit and Cleveland have urban centers which are struggling economically.

Apple Maps in LeafletJS


Apple launched its desktop mapping API, Mapkit.js, two weeks ago. You can view documentation, demo maps and sample code of Mapkit on Apple's developer page. What Mapkit's developer page doesn't tell you is how to add third party map layers to a Mapkit powered map. It also doesn't tell you how you can use Mapkit's own basemap layers with other popular mapping libraries.

Mapkit's developer page is a little basic at the moment. I've found geo.ebp.ch useful when trying to build a map with Mapkit. Their blog post A New Map in Town includes a demo map using Mapkit's driving directions service. This demo map also shows you how to add another map tile layer to a Mapkit powered map. The map loads a WMTS layer from ArcGIS Online. The demo map uses Codepen so it is easy to see how you can use the example to load any other WMTS layer into a Mapkit powered map.

You can of course also use Mapkit's basemaps in other mapping libraries. For example you could use Apple's map layers in a Leaflet powered map. You can use map tiles from Apple Maps in LeafletJS by using the MapkitMutant plugin for LeafletJS. MapkitMutant is a LeafletJS plugin which allows you to use Apple Map's basemaps. Mapkit's basemaps are a road-map, a satellite (aerial) map and satellite with labels.

Although LeafletJS is an open-source JavaScript library which is free to use Apple's Mapkit is neither of these things. This means that if you want to use Mapkit's basemaps within a Leaflet powered map you will still need an Apple authorization token and will still need to be aware of Apple's charges. A note at the very bottom of the Mapkit developer page says that "MapKit JS beta provides a free daily limit of 250,000 map initializations and 25,000 service calls."

Monday, June 18, 2018

Death from Alcoholism


Mike Bostock has written up a great introduction into the different methods that you can use to compare the difference between two different values in a mapped data visualization. To illustrate the methods of comparison he has used Deaths from Alcohol Use Disorders in 1980 and 2014. To illustrate the difference in the number of deaths from alcohol between these two dates he has created a series of interactive maps, each of which uses a different method to visualize the same data.

Methods of Comparison, Compared is published on Observable, Mike's platform for exploratory data analysis. Observable is not only a platform for data analysis, visualization, and exploration. It is also a platform for teaching and sharing techniques in coding and creating better data visualization. 'Methods of Comparison, Compared' is a great example of this, as it not only includes a number of interactive choropleth maps but also explores and explains the methodology used in their creation.

In comparing the change in the number alcohol related deaths in each U.S. county between 1980 and 2014 it is possible to use a number of different methods. 'Methods of Comparison, Compared' shows three different choropleth maps, each of which uses a different method. These are a map showing the simple difference in the number of deaths between the two dates, a second map which shows the relative change and a third map which shows the ratio.

Each method results in a different mapped visualization of the same data. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Antipodean Weather


Around 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by water. This means that there aren't that many populated locations in the world that have populated antipodes. Christchurch in New Zealand is one. If you tunneled straight through the Earth from Christchurch you would eventually emerge in A Coruña, Spain. If you started in Hong Kong you could conceivably burrow your way to La Quiaca in Argentina.

Wikipedia has a useful list of cities with exact (or almost exact) antipodes. It also lists cities which are within 100 km of having another city as an antipodes. If you want to know where you would end up if you tunneled through the Earth from your location then you could use the Antipodes Map. The Antipodes Map shows you where you would end up if you tunneled straight through the Earth.

However no one wants to tunnel through the Earth without knowing what the weather is like at your antipodes. Imagine how stupid you would feel if you spent all day tunneling through the Earth only to find out it is raining at your antipodes when you arrive. That is why you need Antiweather.

Enter your location into Antiweather and not only can you find out what the weather is like where you live but also how the weather is right now on the exact other side of the Earth.

4,000 Irish Shipwrecks


The Wreck Viewer is a new interactive map which shows the locations of 4,000 shipwrecks around the shores of Ireland, dating back as far as the 16th century. The map was created by Ireland's National Monuments Service (NMS) to help provide access to and visualize the NMS’s Wreck Inventory.

Each red dot on the map represents a wreck for which there is a known location. 78% of the wrecks in the Wreck Inventory have no known precise location. If you select a wreck on the map you can read the wreck description. This includes details on the ship name, type of vessel and the date the vessel sank. The details also contain (where available) the wreck summary description which provides details on the vessel's history, voyage, cargo, passengers and the story of its loss. At present only 20% of ships in the database have a summary description.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Who Moves Where in Europe?


In Europe citizens of countries in the EU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are free to live, study, work and retire in any other EU or EFTA zone country. Swissinfo has been looking at the effect of free movement on the net migration rate in each of the countries in the EU & EFTA.

Which European countries attract the most immigrants? shows the difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants in each country based on movement within the free movement area. Areas with a positive net migration rate (where more people are moving to) are colored blue on the map and areas & regions with a net migration rate (where people are leaving) are colored brown on the map.

As you might expect migrants within Europe tend to move to regions that have the strongest economies. Conversely the areas and regions where the most people move from tend to be areas with weaker economies.

This map is featured in Swissinfo's 'migration' series. This in-depth series explores the issues of migration around the world (particularly in how it effects Switzerland) and includes a number of maps and other data visualizations of global and European migration data.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday's Portrait of Earth


Japan's Himawari-8 satellite is in stationary orbit over New Guinea where it captures some truly amazing imagery of the Earth. Every day the satellite captures imagery of the western Pacific, Australia, and parts of Asia, Antarctica & Alaska.

Digital Typhoon's Weather Satellite Himawari Viewer is an easy way to explore the latest satellite images from Himawari and explore historical Earth images captured by the satellite. The viewer takes the latest satellite images of Earth captured by Himawari and displays them as an interactive Leaflet map. This allows you to zoom-in and pan around satellite images of the Earth which were actually captured earlier today.

You can also view time-lapse animations of the latest Himawari-8 satellite imagery, on Himawari-8 Real-time Web. Himawari-8 Real-time Web defaults to create and show animations of Himawari's latest satellite views of Earth. You can also use the calendar to view historical imagery and animations for any other date.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Atlanta Rap Map


According to the Syncopated Geography of Hip-Hop "the sounds of rap music in Atlanta have grown out of the blending of hard-core sounds from the West (Gangsta Rap and G-Funk), bass beats from Florida, and styles and images from the North". The sounds of rap music in Atlanta were also hugely inspired by the city of Atlanta itself.

The introduction to the Atlanta Rap Map says that the map explores "the symbiotic relationship between art and space". In essence, however, this is an interactive map showing Atlanta locations mentioned in the lyrics of Childish Gambino, Ludacris and OutKast.

The map provides a great resource for exploring the places that are important to each of the featured three rap acts. If you click on the categorized markers on this map you can read the lyrics that mention the location and the name of the Childish Gambino, Ludacris and OutKast song that mentions the place. The map really does show "the symbiotic relationship between art and space". In fact I think I can even tell where the three rap acts grew up in Atlanta purely from the clusters of the three different colored markers on the map.


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

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

The different dialects of Hip Hop that emerge on the map may owe a lot to the physical geography of the Hip Hop artists. Further study is needed to see if the lyrical similarity between artists correlates to geographical closeness. The Atlanta rap artists Childish Gambino and Ludacris are quite close to each other on the map and OutKast aren't too far away.


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

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

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

The 2018 World Cup Stadium Tour


12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities will host the 64 matches of the 2018 World Cup. Two of the stadium are in Moscow. The 81,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium will host the final. The Luzhniki Stadium will also host today's opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The other World Cup stadium in Moscow is the 45,000 Spartak Stadium.

You can explore the two Moscow stadium and the ten stadium hosted in other Russian cities on AP News' World Cup Venue Tour. The tour uses Esri maps to show you a satellite image of each of the 12 World Cup stadium. Each satellite image is accompanied by a short description of the stadium, including information on the stadium's capacity.

The BBC's Guide to the Grounds includes more detailed information on each of the stadium. These details include information on each of the group and knockout matches that each of the stadium will host.

The Kalingrad Stadium is one of the most interesting of the 12 stadium from a geographical point of view. The stadium is located in the Kaliningrad oblast. Kalingrad is a Russian exclave situated on the Baltic Sea. The country is bordered by Poland to the south and Lithuania to the east and north. That means that to travel to the Kalingrad Stadium from any of the other stadiums you would have to leave Russia and travel through or fly over or around at least one other country.


From a cartographical point of view the most interesting team in this year's World Cup is Switzerland. That is because the Switzerland team are the only team in this year's World Cup who will be wearing topographical maps on their team shirts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The American Noise Map


The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics has released an interactive noise map of the USA. The map uses data from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Highway Administration to show you how much noise you might be subjected to anywhere in the country.

The National Transportation Noise Map shows you how much aviation and highway noise noise you will endure at any address. In truth the map doesn't show you much more than you already know. Airports and busy roads are the source of serious noise pollution. Therefore if you live near a busy road you can expect to hear a lot of cars. If you live near an airport then you are going to hear even more noise pollution from those noisy planes.

The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics say that the map provides "a basis for understanding what-if scenarios". This is where these transportation noise maps are most useful. They provide a valuable guide to the possible noise pollution that residents can expect from any planned roads and airports. The Bureau say that they will add additional transportation noise sources, such as rail and maritime, in future updates to the map.

Stop & Frisk in Chicago


Last week Maps Mania reviewed Stop and Frisk, a data visualization of New York's controversial stop and frisk policy. Of course The NYPD are not the only police force to have been criticized for practicing racial profiling in its practice of stopping and searching its citizens.

Stop and Frisk in Chicago is an interactive map which visualizes data from police contact cards between 2014 and 2016. The map shows the number of times people were stopped and searched in each Chicago city block. If you hover over a block on the map you can view the total number of stop & frisks carried out in that block. The map also allows you to view the number of stop and searches that were carried out in each block by police officers of different races (white, black, Hispanic).

The map was created by the Lucy Parsons Labs. You can explore the data further and download it here. The code for the interactive map is also available at GitHub.

UK Travel Time Maps


Esri has a created a series of isochrone maps for the BBC showing how far you can drive in the Friday evening rush hour in ten major UK cities. The Friday Night Rush includes ten maps showing travel distances in the UK's most populous cities on an average Friday evening.

Each map shows the average distance you can travel in an hour when leaving the centre of each city at 4pm, 7pm and 10pm on a Friday evening. The travel distances for each map were calculated using data from HERE's traffic speed predictions. These predictions are themselves based on up up to three years of historic data.


If you don't work in the exact geographical centre of one of the UK's ten most populaous cities then you could try TravelTime instead. TravelTime is a very handy tool for working out how far you can travel in different set times. It allows you to find areas you can reach by walking, cycling, driving or accessing by public transport in a defined amount of time.

If you share your location with TravelTime you can view an isochrone map showing you how far you can travel using different lengths of time. For example,  you can select to view all the places you could walk to within 15 minutes. TravelTime also allows you to search for venues and points of interest within your allocated travel time. So, for example, you can ask TravelTime to show you all the coffee shops within a 15 minute walk of your current location.

TravelTime also allows you to search from more than one location. So, for example, if you want to meet a friend for coffee you can enter both your locations and find the areas which you can both reach within a 15 minute walk.


TimeToAnywhere is another interactive map which shows you how far you can drive in the UK for different lengths of time. The map is very easy to use. Just click on the map to set your location and you can instantly view an isochrone layer showing the driving times from your selected location.

The stand out feature of TimeToAnywhere is its speed (drag the marker around the map to see how quickly the isochrone layer updates). However TimeToAnywhere also includes a number of other useful features. These include an option to view the isochrone layer for busy commuting times (when driving times are longer). The map also includes an option to view a route and travel time to a specific location, by dragging a destination marker onto the map.


Not everybody who commutes is traveling to work. Some commuters are traveling to schools. I think those people are called students.

If you are looking for a new school and don't want an over-long journey each way then you could use Parallel's Schools in England & Wales. This interactive map provides, walking, cycling and driving times for every school in England and Wales. Zoom in on any school and you can view isochrone layers showing the areas that you can walk, bike or drive to (or from) the school in six minute intervals.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

96 Shootings a Day


The New York Times reports that on an average day 96 Americans die after being shot by firearms. Individual suicides and homicides don't get as much news coverage as mass shootings but they still contribute a significant proportion of the total number of gun killings in the United States.

In On an Average Day, 96 Americans Die By Firearms the NYT explores some of the data behind the daily toll of gun violence. This analysis uses data from the Gun Violence Archive to illustrate the incessant routine violence perpetuated by gun owners. This includes a timeline showing the number of people injured and killed by guns every day since the start of 2014.

Since 49 people were killed at the Pulse nightclub in 2016 there have been been at least 87 shootings in just a three mile area around the club. The NYT illustrates this point with a clever interactive map. As you scroll through the article an expanding circle shows an ever increasing area around the Pulse nightclub in Florida. As the circle expands more and more shootings are revealed on the map of Orlando. By the time you get to a circle showing 14 miles around the club the number of shootings has risen to 383.

Maps that Changed the World


The Library of Congress has thousands of world maps in its collection. If you browse the collection in chronological order you can explore the history of cartography and, at the same time, gain an insight into how the world has been perceived throughout history. The Library of Congress' World Maps is a small presentation of some of the library's most important world maps.

I'd like to take all the credit for selecting the world maps in this short presentation. But I can't. These maps all come from a story map created by the Library of Congress itself. Maps That Changed Our World is an interesting interactive tour of some of the most important maps owned by the Library of Congress. Starting with the world atlas from Ptolemy's Geography published in 150 AD this story map takes a chronological tour of world maps through history.

The world maps chosen for this story map each represent an interesting shift in how the world was visualized. The maps start with Ptolomy's Geography and progress through important maps from the Middle Ages, the 17th and 18th centuries, and right up to our modern digital maps.

The Library of Congress' story map includes information about each of the maps which helps to place them within their historical context. However all the featured maps presented in Maps That Changed Our World are presented as still images. This is why I put together my own short presentation of the Library of Congress' World Maps. My map presentation allows you to explore all but one of the maps as interactive maps. So you can explore the maps in detail in my presentation and learn more about their creation using the library's story map.

The only map missing in my presentation is the world atlas from Ptolemy's Geography. This is because I couldn't find the individual iiif manifest for the map on the Library of Congress website.

Safe Cycling in Berlin


A new interactive map from Tagesspiegel provides a complete audit of the safety of Berlin's roads for the city's cyclists. Berlin is Planning New Bike Paths shows where new bike paths are being built in Berlin and also assesses all existing roads based on how safe they are for cycling.

Roads on the interactive map are colored to show how safe they are for bikes. This score is based on the length of the road and how much of the road has measures to support cyclists. If you click on a road on the map you can view details about how safe it is for cyclists. These details include the length of any dedicated cycle lane, the length of any bike paths and the length of any protective barriers on the road.

The red roads on the map have the least measures to support safe cycling. These roads tend not to have separated bike lanes or any protective barriers.  The yellow lines on the map are the new bike paths Berlin is building to support safer cycling in the city.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The 100 Worst Polluting Cities in the World


Just 100 cities around the globe create 18% of the world's emissions. The upside to heavily polluting cities contributing so much to the world's carbon footprint is that local action at the city level could have a meaningfully affect on global emissions.

City Carbon Footprints has created an interactive map of the 100 cities that contribute the most to the global carbon footprint. The Carbon Footprints of World Cities map shows the top 10 polluting cities in red, the 11-50 most polluting cities in orange and the 51-100 most polluting cities in blue. If you select a city on the map you can view the city's position in the top 100 and also the percentage that the selected city contributes to its country's national carbon footprint.

The top 100 cities shown on the map is based on the Global Gridded Model of Carbon Footprints (GGMCF). The GGMCF shows an estimate of carbon footprints across the world down to 250m. The interactive map on City Carbon Footprints also includes a layer which shows the GGMCF in per capita terms.

New York's Oral History Map


In the 1950's East New York was populated largely by Jewish and Italian Americans. During the 1960's the area saw a massive change and by the end of the decade was predominately populated by African Americans and Hispanic residents. The East New York Oral History Project is capturing the personal experiences of people who lived in East New York from 1960 - 1970, during this time of rapid change.

The map is made up of a number of sound recordings made by people who lived in East New York from 1960-1970. Using the map you can listen to these East New York residents talk about their memories of the neighborhood during this time of rapid demographic change. The map also includes a layer which allows you to compare the percent of black residents living in each census tract of New York in 1960 and in 1970.

The East New York Oral History Project includes a Brooklyn 'redline' map. This historical map shows how Brooklyn neighborhoods were rated by the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation in the 1930's. People who lived in areas that were redlined were denied federal loans. Areas with a large African American population were almost universally redlined.

Check out the Sound Maps tag on Maps Mania for more oral history maps and other maps featuring sound recordings.

China's New Silk Roads


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.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

The Rise & Fall of the Electric Tramway


The tramway network in the Austrian city of Graz has been operation since 1878. The network reached its peak around the middle of the 20th century. However rising car ownership resulted in less passengers on the tramway network and during the 1950's many tram routes in the city were closed down. Since the 1990's however the tramway network has seen a bit of a resurgence and new lines and stops have slowly been added.

You can explore the rise and fall (and resurgence) of Graz's tramway network on the Zeitlinie Graz animated map. This map allows you to watch the growth of the tramway network over time. Press the play button on the map and you can see routes being added and removed from the map by date. You can select an individual line from the map sidebar. This will highlight the route on the map and allow you to observe the history of that individual route from 1878-2018.


Zeitlinie Graz is the second animated map visualizing public transit systems in Austrian cities. You can also view the growth of Vienna's public transit system over time on Zeitlinie Vienna, a timeline driven map which shows when Vienna's many tram, train and U-Bahn lines were first opened.

The first tram line in Vienna was constructed in 1865. This horse driven tram-line ran between Schottentor and Hernals. Vienna's U-Bahn subway system didn't appear until over one hundred years later. You can use the play button at the bottom of Zeitlinie Vienna to watch an animated history of the growth of Vienna's transit system. Alternatively you can use the timeline slide control to explore the extent of the transit system in Vienna for any year from 1865 to 2016.


For some reason I've always imagined that there were a lot more streetcar lines in San Francisco. The good news is that there are actually more routes in the city now than in 1960. However the present coverage is not a patch on the number of streetcar routes that existed in the city back in 1940.

Where the Streetcars Used to Go is a lovely interactive map which allows you to view the streetcar transit network as it existed in 1940 & 1960 and as it exists today. Streetcar fans will be delighted to learn that the map also allows you to view vintage photos of streetcars in San Francisco.

You can actually browse through these wonderful photos of San Francisco's historical streetcars by the different streetcar routes. If you click on a streetcar route on the map the photos, running along the bottom of the map, are filtered to only show photos taken along the chosen line. The name of the selected route is also displayed on the map alongside the dates when the route was operational.


With only a few polylines on a custom designed basemap the BC Electric Railway Map has produced a beautiful looking visualization of Vancouver's BC Electric Railway Company transit network, as it looked in the early twentieth century. The BC Electric Railway Map map plots the historical interurban and streetcar lines of the network between 1890 to 1958. It also contains a few photos and Street Views of modern day Vancouver showing how some of the company's historical buildings and lines look today.


The emergence of the motorcar as a popular means of transport in the early Twentieth Century led not only to the longtime decline of the railroads but also had a detrimental effect on the tram systems in many American cities.

You can explore how Denver's streetcar network developed in the Nineteenth Century and also observe its later decline on Denver's Streetcar Legacy and its Role in Neighborhood Walkability. A timeline control allows you to view how the city's streetcar network grew in the city from its inception in 1872 through to its end in 1950. As the timeline plays out you can see when the all the different lines were opened and closed.

Despite its demise Denver's streetcar network has had a lasting impact on the city's environment and the walkability of its neighborhoods. This interactive map also explores how the streetcar network effected the city's design and what the author calls 'Pedestrian Oriented Commercial Buildings'.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Should You Rent or Buy?


Noble Datum has worked out whether it is better to rent or buy in every zip-code area in the United States. It has released a series of maps and tools which can help you determine if you should rent or buy in your neighborhood and to find the best place to rent or buy near your current address.

In Should You Rent or Buy in Your Neighborhood? Noble Datum has used the price to rent ratio to work out which neighborhoods it is better to buy in and which neighborhoods it is better to rent in. The price to rent ratio is the median home value in an area divided by (12 x the Median Monthly Rent). Or, in other words, the full median value of a home divided by the annual rent. If the ratio is a 15 or below, Noble Datum believe it is better to buy, above that it is better to rent.

Noble Datum has created a choropleth map which visualizes the price to rent ratio in each U.S. county. On this map the counties colored red are the places where it is best to rent and the counties colored blue are where it is best to buy. The article also includes a map which allows you to find the best neighborhoods in your area for renting and for buying a property.


If you are wondering about whether you should buy or rent a property then SmartAssest also has a series of interactive tools which can help you make the right decision. These tools include a renting vs buying calculator and an interactive map showing where it is better to rent and where it is better to buy.

SmartAsset uses a different methodology than Noble Datum to determine if it is better to rent or buy in an area. SmartAssest's Rent vs Buy Calculator allows you to enter a location in the United States to discover how many years you need to live in that location before buying becomes a better option than renting. If you change the number of years you will stay in that location you can view the total buying and rental costs and the difference between them.

The interactive map shows the counties where buying a home is better than renting based on the number of years you plan to stay in an area. You just need to enter the number of years you might be living in one area and the map changes to show the counties where renting is better (colored yellow) and the counties where buying is better (blue). If you select a state on the map you can view the top ten counties where buying is better than renting in the shortest amount of time.

The Rat Density Map of New York


A new interactive map locates the areas of New York with the biggest rodent problems. The Rodent Density Map shows the locations which have received the most 311 complaints about rodents from 2013 to 2018.

The map ranks areas of New York based on the number and proximity of 311 rodent complaints. Areas are ranked from two to nine, with nine being the worst ranking. The map reveals that rats seem to prefer areas with food-related businesses, older buildings and with parks & recreation areas. GeoBi has also analyzed the 311 rodent complaints data to explore the different types of complaint and to see what types of territory rodents prefer. You can read more about their analysis here.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

San Francisco's Daytime Population


Last month an interactive map was released which allowed you to explore the daytime population of New York. The Manhattan Population Explorer is an impressive mapped visualization which allows you to explore how the population of Manhattan changes block by block for each hour of every day, during an average New York week.

Goeff Boeing has now released an interactive map which visualizes San Francisco's daytime population. San Francisco's Daytime Population Density map shows the daytime population of each San Francisco census tract. The daytime population is estimated by taking the census tract's total population and taking away the number of outbound commuters and then adding the number of inbound commuters.

A neat comparison could be provided by adding a layer to the map to show the normal census population data for each tract. This would allow the user to make a visual comparison between the nighttime and daytime populations in each tract.