Thursday, September 20, 2018

What Causes California Wildfires?


What do you get if you combine huge forests, global warming and lots of people? The answer is devastating wildfires. At least that appears to be what is happening in California.

According to The Guardian the extensive California forests are full of dead trees, nearly 129 million of them. Because of global warming the past five years have been the hottest recorded in California and the state has only just emerged from a six year drought. The result of this extended hot dry weather and 129 million dead trees is you have almost the perfect conditions for wildfire. All you need now is human beings.

Humans are responsible for 84% of wildfires and California has a lot of them. These people are also increasingly living in the state's high-risk fire corridors. The result is a highly combustible situation. Of course when those inevitable wildfires do occur the drought conditions mean that there is little rain and groundwater around to help put out those fires. You can learn more about Why California's Wildfires are So Bad on this Guardian story map.

The Football Fans Optimal Road Trip


Randy Olson has worked out the optimal road trip for football fans. If you undertake his optimal football fan road trip you can visit 48 different stadiums, watch 90 different teams, and witness 6 of the biggest rivalries in college football. All within this year's 51-day season schedule.

To create the Optimal Football Fan Road Trip Randy set himself a number of rules. The trip only includes Division I FBS teams, there is a maximum of one game every day, and you are allowed to fly between different locations. The use of flights means that this is more of a tour of the different stadiums rather than a strict road trip.

Here is where you can view the map of the Optimal Football Road Trip for the 2018 Season. However you will also need to refer to the trip itinerary which tells you which stadium you need to visit and on which date / game you need to be there. You can view this itinerary on How many college football teams can you watch in-person in one football season?


If you aren't a football fan then you might be more interested in Randy Olson's other optimal road trips:

The Optimal Road Trip Across the U.S.
The Optimal Road Trip Across Europe.
The Optimal Road Trip of U.S. National Parks

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

School Road Safety


Zendrive has released an interactive map which allows you to check how safe the roads are around your local schools. Zendrive's School Safety Snapshot provides a safety rating for all schools in the USA based on driver behavior around each school.

To grade each score Zendrive measured the number and type of unsafe driving events, as detected by the Zendrive platform, around the school. The grades are based on a snapshot of driver behavior around the school in April 2018. You can compare each school's safety rating for 2018 to the rating given to the school in 2017.

The School Safety Snapshot interactive map works at different zoom levels. When zoomed out the map provides a choropleth view showing the overall school safety record in each state. If you select a state on the map you can then view the school safety ratings for each county. If you select a county on the map you can view the individual ratings for all the schools in the county.

Getting to Know Basle


Most Americans in Basle live in Altstadt Grossbasel. Germans living in Basle prefer the neighborhoods of Riehen and Bettingen, which are right next to the German border. The Riehen and Bettingen neighborhoods are also popular with old people. Most young adults (20–39) live in Rosental, Gundeldingen, Matthäus and Altstadt Kleinbasel. These are also some of the least popular neighborhoods for people over 50.

I discovered these interesting facts about Basle on Getting to Know Basle Districts. This data visualization tool maps out all kinds of demographic, economic and census data about each of the Swiss city's 21 different districts.

Getting to Know Basle starts with an interactive map which allows you to select any of the city's neighborhoods to view a breakdown of the district's population, including the number of residents born overseas, the average net income and the district's income & wealth inequality. As you progress through the data visualization Getting to Know Basle Districts maps out lots of different economic and demographic variables using official data from the city's Statistics Department.

Mapping Migration Flow


Migration in Latvia is a wonderfully designed interactive map which visualizes the country's internal migration flow. The map was developed by Latvia's Central Statistics Bureau.

The overall choropleth view of Latvia visualizes the number of people who have left each town and region in Latvia since the year 2000. You can also toggle this choropleth view to show the number of people who have moved into each town and region since the turn of the century.

Select a town or region on the map and flow lines are added to the map showing where people from that area moved to between 2000-2018. You can also switch this to view instead the inward migration flow of people into the selected town or region. You can also switch to view the migration flow between three different periods of time; during the last 18 years, the last 7 years or just the migration flow in the last year.

The map sidebar also breaks down some of the migration flow data for the selected town or region. This analysis includes a list of the top 30 locations where people moved to or from. It also includes a breakdown of the number of people who moved into the area during the selected time period and the number of residents who moved out of the area.

Also See

American Migration - visualizing migration flow to and from American cities
US Migration Flow Map - a map showing migration flow between US states
Population Explorer - visualizing the migration flow of towns & regions in New South Wales, Australia

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hurricane Florence Aerial Imagery


NOAA’s Remote Sensing Division has been flying its airplanes along the North and South Carolina coast since Saturday. The planes have been collecting damage assessment imagery in order to help and support emergency response after Hurricane Florence.

The Hurricane Florence Imagery interactive map allows you to view the latest imagery on top of a map and pre-Florence aerial imagery. The map includes three layers of aerial imagery, captured on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The imagery captured on the 15th covers the coast from Cape Henry, Virginia to Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. The imagery from the 16th is from Charleston, South Carolina to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. The imagery captured yesterday is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and from Oak Island to Oregon Inlet in North Carolina.

As well as aiding emergency response to the storm NOAA's aerial imagery will be used to assess the damage caused by the storm and flooding. Aerial imagery provides one of the most cost-effective ways to analyse storm damage to both property and the environment.

Mapping Gentrification in Austin


The University of Texas was commissioned by the Austin City Council to research and map neighborhoods in the city where residents are being displaced by development and the rising cost of property. You can view the results of this research on the Austin Gentrification and Displacement Indicators interactive map.

The map allows you to see which Austin neighborhoods are most vulnerable to displacement, which are becoming more vulnerable, which neighborhoods have experienced the biggest changes in property values and which ones have experienced the most gentrification. The different gentrification and displacement indicators can be selected and viewed by selecting them from the menu above the map.

Also See

Turning the Corner - mapping gentrification in Detroit
Urban Displacement - mapping gentrification and displacement in Los Angeles
Displacement Project Alert Map - mapping displacement pressures in New York City
The UCB Urban Displacement Project Map - mapping gentrification & displacement in the San Francisco Bay Area
Ungentry - mapping demographic change and gentrification in Boston

The Land Use of Berlin


Back in July Bloomberg mapped out how American uses its land. In Here's How America Uses its Land Bloomberg discovered that 41 percent of land in the contiguous United States is given over to livestock. Urban areas make up just 3.6 percent of American land use. Of course that urban land is also made up of a number of different types of land use, including buildings, parks and roads.

Now I can't tell you how any American cities are constituted by land type but thanks to Tages Spiegel we can explore how Berlin uses its land. Parts of Berlin is a story map which explores how much of Berlin is dedicated to different types of land use.

The map reveals that Berlin is a very green city. In fact the green areas of the city are as large as the five districts of Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Pankow, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Spandau combined. That is quite a large proportion of the city. Another 133 square kilometers of the city are dedicated to traffic and travel. These areas are made up of parking lots, roads, railways and sidewalks. The amount of Berlin given over to traffic and travel is about the size of the districts of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Schöneberg, Friedenau, Tempelhof and Mariendorf put together.

Stealing the Maldives


In 2014 and 2015 the Maldives Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb with the help of President Abdulla Yameen and a number of corrupt local businessmen began leasing out islands and coral lagoons as tourist resorts. These deals were carried out without legally mandated public bids and the profits were embezzled by Adeeb and his cronies. The government and Maldives citizens were in effect robbed of $79 million.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project has now mapped out which islands were embezzled under the corrupt reign of the now imprisoned tourism minister. The Explore the Maldives Island Deals interactive map includes a number of options to filter the data. For example the reader can select the 'Worst Deals' option to just see the island leases which have been singled out as among the worst deals for taxpayers. The 'International Brands' option allows you to see which international hotel brands have been building on the embezzled islands. There is also an option to view 'Local Businessmen, Tycoons, and Cronies' to view which of the deals involved local citizens and who those corrupt businessmen are.

You can learn more about how this corruption occurred in How Paradise Was Carved Up and Sold. You can find out more about who benefited from these crimes in Meet the Businessmen and Global Brands that Got the Islands.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Naming Philadelphia's Neighborhoods.


Everybody loves to argue about neighborhood boundaries.

Don't they?

What makes these arguments so great is that with no official boundaries no-one can prove that their views are correct. Except if you live in Philadelphia.

Residents in Philadelphia who are involved in an argument over a local neighborhood boundary can just refer to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Philadelphia Neighborhood Map. The map settles once and for all where every Phili neighborhood begins and ends.

Or does it?

In fact the Philadelphia Inquirer doesn't want to ruin your arguments. They even invite you to argue with their boundary decisions. If you click on a neighborhood on the map you can tell the Inquirer whether you agree with their choice or not. If you disagree with their name for a neighborhood you can tell them what you call it.


The Inquirer isn't the first newspaper to map their local boundaries. Back in 2015 the LA Times asked their readers to draw the boundary of the Eastside neighborhood.

The boundary of the city's Eastside neighborhood is particularly hard to define because there seems to be no official map of the area's extent. The Los Angeles Times therefore decided to settle the argument by asking their readers to draw Eastside on a map. On the L.A.'s Eastside: Where do you draw the line? map you can use the Leaflet drawing tools to draw your idea of where Eastside's boundaries lie. You can then compare your concept of the neighborhood with the view of the Los Angleles Times and with the views of other readers.

You can view more neighborhood boundary maps on this Crowdsourcing Neighborhood Boundaries post.

How to Find an Electric Citi Bike


New York has a new bike hire system which allows people to rent pedal-assisted electric bicycles. The problem for anyone who want to use one of Citi Bike's electric bikes is that there are only 200 of them dotted around the city and they can be very difficult to find. Unless you consult I Want to Ride an Electric Citi Bike.

I Want to Ride an Electric Citi Bike is an interactive map which shows you which bike docking stations have electric bikes right now. The stations with electric bikes are indicated on the map with a pink circle. The map can also alert you when electric bikes are available near you. Just select from a list of bike stations and you can receive a browser alert within ten seconds whenever an electric bike is docked in one of your stations.



You can explore all the data behind how Citi Bike's non-electric bikes are used on the NYC City Bike App. The NYC Citi Bike App is a Leaflet based interactive map which allows you to explore the number of bikes borrowed and docked from each Citi Bike station. The interactive map visualizes the most popular stations and journeys for any time of day and day of the week.

Bike stations on the map are colored to show which of the docking stations have the most bikes borrowed from them during the selected times and days. Stations colored red have more bikes borrowed from them than are docked at them. This means that they lose bikes during the selected time. The green stations are stations where more bikes are docked than borrowed. These stations therefore end up with more bikes than they start with for the selected time period.

The orange lines show the most popular routes. If you follow the orange lines from any bike station you can see the most popular journeys between that station and other New York bike stations. The data behind the map only shows where and when a bike was borrowed and docked. Therefore these orange lines don't show the actual routes between two bike stations.

The map includes the option to filter the data by time of day. Notice how the orange and green stations change during the morning and evening rush hours. In the morning the red stations (the ones losing bikes) tend to be on the outskirts of the Citi Bike network. In the evening commuting hours the red stations are concentrated in the city center. This pattern obviously reflects the movement of people into the city in the morning for work and then traveling out of the city after work.

What Did Europe Ever Do For Us?


When the UK leaves Europe next year it will finally liberate itself from the shackles of free trade and free movement. Its citizens are eagerly looking forward to their new found freedoms of paying for trade tariffs and travel visas. They are also keen to see an end to the £5 billion a year that the EU invests in the UK.

If you want to know what initiatives, companies, research projects and other organisations will be liberated from their EU funding then you should check MyEU. MyEU is an interactive map which shows some of the initiatives and projects currently funded by the EU. If you search the map by address or postcode you can where the EU invests money in the local area.

The map also includes a handy link that can help you get in touch with your local Member of Parliament. You may want to thank them for leading the UK out of Europe and putting an end to all that local inward investment.


When the UK leaves the EU its citizens will also be freed from the choice of being able to live in another European country. The free movement of workers is one of the basic principles of the European Union. 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.

1,220,000 people from the UK are currently living in other EU countries. 2,880,000 people currently living in the UK were born in other EU countries. You can find out where these European travelers live and have moved from on this interactive map. The Pew Research Center created the map to visualize how many Europeans have moved to live in other European countries.

The Origins and Destinations of European Union Migrants within the EU allows you to select an individual EU country and discover where the EU immigrants living there have originated from. You can also discover where migrants from individual countries have moved to in order to work.



Swissinfo has also 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 negative 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

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Exoplanet Explorer


The Exoplanet Explorer is an interesting attempt to create imagined solar systems showing the orbits of all the known exoplanets. An exoplanet is a planet that has been discovered outside the Sun's solar system. Thousands of exoplanets have now been discovered, mostly with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

The Exoplanet Explorer uses data from NASA to create imagined views of the three thousand exoplanets discovered so far. These views are based on the data known about the visualized planet. Alongside this imagined view of the planet you can view information about the planet, such as its temperature, size and the length of its orbit around its sun. I have no idea how accurate these exoplanet maps are but I assume they are generated based on this information.


You can see a more accurate view of the exoplanets on the Exoplanets Viewer. The Exoplanets Viewer is a WebGL visualization (with a little help from Unity) of the Universe, showing the location of all the exoplanets discovered so far. The Exoplanets Viewer shows the position of all the known exoplanets as seen from your current location and time.

The color of an exoplanet on the map represents its temperature. The green exoplanets are those situated in the habitable or 'Goldilocks' zone. The hottest planets are colored red while ice worlds are colored blue. If you are looking for a new home then you want to choose one on one of the green planets.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Real-Time Maps of Hurricane Florence


The Washington Post is mapping the amount of rainfall from Hurricane Florence in near real-time. The animated map in Hurricane Florence’s Deluge, in Real Time shows the track of Hurricane Florence and the cumulative rainfall that has fallen since 7pm on September 12th.

As the Post's animated map plays you can see the hourly rainfall markers sweep in following the track of the tropical storm. As the map continues to play you can see the accumulation of the rainfall as the colors darken on the map. Beneath the animated rainfall map is another map showing the size of the storm surge along the South and North Carolina coast.

The Washington Post's map uses real-time flood gauge and precipitation data from the National Weather Service and observed and predicted tidal data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


You can also follow the progress of the storm in real-time using the Earth animated weather map. This real-time map uses weather data from the Global Forecast System to show current wind and wave patterns around the world. The map also includes a 3 Hour Precipitation Accumulation layer which shows how much rain has fallen in the last three hours. Earth's animated weather layers really do provide a dramatic visualization of the power of tropical storms like Hurricane Florence.

The World History Map


The WorldMap is an open source mapping platform from Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis. Users of WorldMap can quickly create a map using their own data layers or using the hundreds of data layers already added to the WorldMap.

WorldMap has 23,000 registered users who have created over 6,000 maps with 29,000 data layers. You can explore some of these by following the links in the Examples section of WorldMap. These examples include the Trade Routes and Cities in Europe from Rome to the Middle Ages interactive map. This map includes layers which allow you to explore the major historical land and sea trade routes which were used to transfer goods in Europe, North Africa and the Middle-East.

Another interesting history map created with World Map is the AP World History Map, which provides a number of overlays related to topics in the AP World History curriculum. The topics on the AP World History Map are organized into seven categories, including Civilizations, Trade Routes and Travel & Exploration. The Travel and Exploration/Conquest Routes category includes overlays showing the three voyages of Christoper Columbus, the travels of Ibn Battuta, the travels of Marco Polo and the travels of Zheng He.

If you want to learn more about the travels of Ibn Battuta then you might also want to have a look at the UC Berkeley's The Travels of Ibn Battuta. This guide to Ibn Battuta's medieval travels includes maps of his travel routes accompanied by his own observations, as recorded in his book of travels the Rihla.

The Interactive Map of Jewish Places



Jewish Places is a new interactive map designed to provide detailed information about locations which have been important to Jewish life in Germany. The new Jewish Places website aims to provide a tool which can help individuals document and explore Jewish life in Germany and provide a guide to local Jewish history in towns and cities across the country.

The Jewish Places interactive map provides a resource for showing both religious and secular locations. It can be used to document and find the locations of synagogues, prayer houses, cemeteries or mikwaot. It can also be used to find the locations of secular facilities such as sports clubs, Jewish salons or cafes. The map can also be used to document and locate locations which where important in the lives of Jewish Germans. So, for example, it can be used to create a biographical walking tour for an important historical individual.

Anyone can contribute to the Jewish Places website. The site encourages people to contribute their knowledge of local places important to Jewish life. When adding a place to the map you can upload or input text, images or videos to help document the history of your submitted location.


As a crowd-sourced map Jewish Places will hopefully develop lots of content over time. For now, if you are interested in Jewish history you will probably find more information on Jewish Cultures Mapped. Jewish Cultures Mapped is an interactive timeline and map exploring Jewish cultures around the world within their historical context. The map allows you to explore the history of Jewish culture throughout history and across the globe.

Jewish Cultures Mapped provides three main ways to navigate your way through the history of Jewish culture. The map allows you to explore this history by location. Zoom in on a city and you can explore all the cultural stories associated with the city by clicking on any of the map markers. The markers are colored by date (you can use the timeline to determine the date of each color).

You can also explore the history of Jewish Cultures using the timeline running along the bottom of the map. This interactive timeline allows you to navigate to different periods in Jewish history to explore the history of Jewish culture at that time.

Jewish Culture Mapped also allows you to explore Jewish cultures by category. The history of Jewish cultures has been ordered into a number of different categories, including Projects, People, Place and Organizations. This allows you to explore the history of Jewish Cultures by theme, individuals and organisations, companies & groups.

The Wall of Gammon


The Wall of Gammon is an interactive map which provides a virtual wall of honor commemorating the lives of those brave aging, angry white men who are defending this country from the likes of the European Union, immigrants, the MSM and political correctness gone mad.

These brave men can be found in every pub and golf-club in this great land, regaling one and all with their impassioned arguments against Diane Abbott, Sweden, socialism, cyclists, social workers, vegetarians, the BBC, the license fee, the EU, the EEC, the French (& Germany), feminists, immigration, London, gay marriage, unions, the metropolitan elite, remoaners, multiculturalism, lefties, greens, the metric system and gravity, facts & reason.

They can now also be found on the Wall of Gammon interactive map.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

AI Hurricane Forecasts


The Deep Learning-based Hurricane Intensity Estimator is a new interactive map developed by NASA which uses artificial intelligence to assess the wind speed intensity of tropical storms. You can use the map at the moment to follow the progress of Hurricane Florence as it approaches the United States and to view the intensity assessments that the model has made for this huge tropical storm.

The model used by the map to assess the intensity of hurricanes is based on the the Dvorak technique. The Dvorak technique looks at patterns in infrared satellite imagery to determine the intensity of tropical cyclones. When these patterns are assessed by humans the intensity estimate is based on a subjective judgement. By instead using deep-learning to recognize the patterns in infrared satellite imagery NASA hopes to develop a more objective way to measure the intensity of tropical storms.

If you click on Hurricane Florence on the interactive map you can view the latest intensity estimate of the storm. You can also view and download the deep learning predictions made by the model since Hurricane Florence began.


The strong arrival of the 2018 hurricane season has led The Guardian to ask the question From Maria to Florence: are hurricanes getting worse? The article uses the mapped tracks of previous hurricanes to visualize the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and answer the question of whether hurricanes are becoming worse.

The Guardian's conclusion is that hurricanes are in general becoming slower, stronger and wetter because of warmer ocean temperatures.

Even though Hurricane Florence has weakened to a category 2 storm its slow speed means that it is likely to cause strong storm surges and bring a lot of rain. The storm is therefore still forecast to cause catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding.

How Sweden's Election Changed the Map


Sweden's national public television broadcaster Sveriges Television has created an interesting data visualization of the votes cast in this week's Swedish election. It has mapped the overall winner in each election constituency to show where each political party won the most votes.

In the Swedish Vote each constituency is shown as a colored dot. The color of each dot represents the political party that received the most votes in that constituency. Using a dot to represent each constituency means that SVT quickly encounter a familiar problem when creating election maps. Sweden’s population is concentrated in the biggest cities. It is therefore harder to see all of the dots representing the constituencies in the tightly packed urban areas than it is to see the more spread apart dots representing the more rural constituencies.


SVT overcome this problem by changing the shape of the map. In order to make the election results more legible the broadcaster reshapes the country so that all the dots are easier to see. In other words data literacy has been improved at the expense of geographical accuracy. The resulting unfamiliar geography is partly overcome by animating between the more geographically correct map and the new cartogram.

This animating of the dots representing each constituency continues as you progress through the Swedish Vote. Later the dots are rearranged into a grid to show more clearly the number of constituencies won by each party. This grid and the cartogram are also repeated for the results of the 2014 election so that readers can compare the result of this year's election with Sweden's previous election.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mapping the Growth of the Soybean


In July Bloomberg explored how America uses its land. In Here's How America Uses its Land Bloomberg showed how more than a fifth of American land is given over to growing crops. They have now mapped how industrial scale factory farming has dramatically altered the types of crops grown on all that land.

In The Consolidation of the American Harvest Bloomberg maps America's massive shift from farmland diversity towards homogeneity. The article includes a series of maps which show the rise or fall of various crops. The maps use green upward arrows to show counties where the production of a visualized crop has grown. The size of the arrows reflect the scale of the rise in that crop. Conversely red downward arrows show where and how much a visualized crop has fallen in production.

Nearly all crops have fallen in production across the United States. Except for the soybean. This year the soybean became the most-planted agricultural product in the United States. Corn was the most-planted crop in the USA for the previous 35 years in a row. One reason for the rise of the soybean is that China has increased its importation of oilseed by more than 15,000 percent since 1995.

The UK Broadband Speed Map Explained


The Financial Times has one of the best data visualization teams of any newspaper. Back in July that team created and released a great interactive map visualizing the average broadband speed in every postcode area in Great Britain. If you enter a postcode into the FT's Broadband Speed Map you can view the average broadband speed in your area and see how it compares to the national averages.

The team has now published an article on Source explaining how the map was made. In How We Mapped 1.3m Data Points Using Mapbox you can learn how the team used Mapbox GL, QGIS, React and Uber's React wrapper for Mapbox GL to make their impressive data visualization. The article includes a list of some of the major lessons the team learnt in making the map.

The article also explains how what started as a small downtime project quickly gained major project status at the newspaper and even began to direct on-the-ground reporting decisions. I guess there's another lesson to be learned here, that good data visualizations can reveal unexpected stories and turn small stories into major news.

If you want to learn more lessons learnt by data journalists about making maps then you should also check out Source's Better Mapping Guide. The guide is an ever growing list of articles published on Source which provide project walkthroughs and learning pieces focused on making maps.

Denmark from All Angles


Denmark's Board of Data Supply and Efficiency Services (SDFE) has released oblique aerial views of the whole of the country. Skråfoto is an interactive map which allows you to zoom in on any location in Denmark and view oblique aerial photographs of the location captured from every angle.

The Skråfoto map is made up of 1.3 million high resolution oblique aerial photographs of Denmark. Oblique aerial views provide a view of the ground from an angle. The Skråfoto map allows you to view any location from a top down view and from four different angles. The map allows you to view all 5 views on one map or you can select any one of the five different aerial views of a location to view it full-screen.

SDFE created the map so that the photos can be downloaded and used in property evaluations. However they expect the photos to be used by many other government departments, such as local planning and construction. They also hope that the aerial views will also be downloaded and used by the private sector, for example in architecture, real estate and insurance.

The Skråfoto map will be updated next year with new 2019 aerial oblique photos of the whole of Denmark.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mapping Segregation in American Schools


Schools in the southern states of America are as segregated now as they were 50 years ago. However it isn't just the southern states where schools are segregated along racial lines. Because of the residential segregation that exists in nearly every town and city the majority of black children in the USA end up attending schools where the majority of students are black and white children attend schools where the majority of students are white.

Back in 2015 the Tampa Bay Times visualized the segregation that exists in Pinellas County schools. In Why Pinellas County is the Worst Place to be Black and Attend Public School the newspaper explores the segregation in the county's schools and the result that this has had on the education of the county's black students.

As you progress through the Tampa Bay Times story map you are shown how the county's schools have become more segregated since Pinellas abandoned integration. In Failure Factories the newspaper goes on to show how as the schools became more segregated the district then began to fund the schools differently. In some years the schools with the highest percentage of black students got less money per student than other schools. The result is that black students in the county are more likely to receive a worse education than white students.


The segregation of American schools is a political decision. There is no good reason why schools are segregated and this segregation can be easily overcome if there is the political will to give all Americans equal educational opportunities.

In We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated Vox looks at how school districts can be gerrymandered to make them less segregated. The article includes a map tool which allows you to visualize how segregated schools currently are in your town. If you enter your school district into this tool you can view a choropleth map showing the percentage of students in each elementary school zone who were black or Hispanic in the 2013 school year.

The map allows you to view the current situation in your district using the current zoning regulations and compare this with how it would look if students were just assigned to their nearest school. Beneath the map you can see a graph which reveals if your local zoning regulations are lessening school segregation or making segregation worse.

Mapping Hurricane Florence


The National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane and Storm Surge warning for "the east coast of the United States from Edisto Beach, South Carolina northward to the North Carolina-Virginia border, including the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds". At the time of writing Hurricane Florence is forecast to approach the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina on Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center has a series of maps showing the forecast track of Hurricane Florence. These include maps of the hurricane's forecast wind speed, wind arrival times, storm surge warnings and rainfall & flash flooding potential.

You can view the latest satellite imagery of Hurricane Florence at Tropical Tidbits. The Satellite Imagery section of Tropical Tidbits uses the latest satellite imagery from GOES-16 and GOES-17 to provide animated satellite views of tropical storms. This section also includes a tool which allows you to create an animated GIF from satellite imagery of any current storms.

You can view the storm in real-time using the Earth animated weather map. This real-time map uses weather data from the Global Forecast System to show current wind and wave patterns around the world. Earth's animated weather layers dramatically visualize the power of tropical storms like Hurricane Florence.


The National Storm Surge Hazard Map uses the National Hurricane Center's storm surge model to show storm surge flooding vulnerability for hurricane-prone coastal areas along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts and Puerto Rico. This is not a real-time map of forecast storm surges but a guide to areas which are in danger of storm surges during tropical storms. The map includes the option to view the storm surge vulnerability for different categories of storm. Hurricane Florence is expected to become a category 5 storm in the next 24 hours.

South Carolina has issued a number of mandatory evacuation orders for coastal counties. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has maps of the evacuation zones along the coast. You can view these maps on the Know Your Zone section of the SCEMD website.

North Carolina has issued a State of Emergency and ordered a number of mandatory and voluntary evacuation zones. You can find out where evacuation orders are in place and all the latest news and warnings about the storm on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety's dedicated Hurricane Florence web page. 

The Geography of Germany's Far Right


Recent far-right demonstrations in Chemnitz has once again focused attention on Germany's problems with violent right-wing protests. The Berliner Morgenpost has mapped out where Germany's far-right demonstrations have taken place across the country in recent years. In Where Germany's Far-Right Marches the newspaper has mapped the locations of far-right demonstrations and the number of people who took part in each demo.

The newspaper's map plots the location of all right-wing demonstrations in Germany from July 2013 to June 2018. The larger the circles on the map then the more participants took part in the far-right demonstration. The map reveals that areas of the former East Germany have seen the most far-right marches and demonstrations. Altogether there were more than three times as many participants in right-wing rallies in the former East Germany than the rest of the country. The two worst states in terms of the most far-right participants in demos were Thuringia and Saxony.

Browse the British Library with Leaflet Maps


You can now browse through the British Library's book collection on an interactive Leaflet.js map. OK - you can't actually browse through the whole 25 million books in the British Library but you can explore a map of the 4,300 books that are currently stored in the Library basements at St Pancras. This is an area which is not normally open to the public.

Elastic System is actually a work of art by Richard Wright produced in collaboration with the British Library. The art work uses Leaflet.js and photos of the spines of 4,300 books to create an interactive portrait of Thomas Watt. In 1840 Watt developed an 'elastic system' of storage to help the British Library cope with the huge number of books it owned. To create his interactive mapped portrait Richard Wright has rearranged 4,300 books by the color of their spines so that they resemble an 1851 portrait of Watt.

The books that make up the portrait are fully interactive. If you click on a book on the map an information window opens providing the book's title and author. The artwork is also a fully functioning library catalog. While you browse the books in the collection you can order books from the British Library by selecting a book on the map and clicking on the 'I want this' link. When a book is requested it is then removed from the virtual shelves of the 'Elastic System' interactive map. When books are removed from the map they also reveal another image behind the book portrait of Thomas Watt. This hidden image shows the British Library employees busy at work behind the scenes.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Earth 2050


The extreme heat this year has lead to a number of mapped visualizations of global warming. These maps can tell you how much hotter the temperature has become over the last few decades and predict how hot the planet will become in the next few decades.

The Revelator has mapped the Climate in 2050. The map provides a graphic view of how much hotter the world will be in 2050 based on current climate change projections. If you click on the map you can discover how much you can expect the temperature to increase at that location by the middle of this century.

At the end of August the New York Times released their map, How Much Hotter Is Your Hometown Than When You Were Born?. Just enter the name of your hometown and the year you were born into the New York Times' interactive. You will then be told how many days in a year, on average, the temperature reached 32 degrees in your hometown in the year that you were born. You will also be told how many days on average reach that temperature now. The Times map can also you tell you how many extremely hot days you can expect when you reach 80 years of age.

Every year Yale surveys the opinions of Americans, aged 25 and over, about their attitudes, beliefs and policy preferences towards global warming. You can view the results of this year's survey at Yale Climate Opinion Maps. The results of each of the survey questions are shown using an interactive map. The maps visualize the results at the state, congressional district, metro area, and county levels, allowing you to view how climate opinion in America breaks-down geographically.

According to the survey Americans now overwhelmingly believe in global warming. In fact there are only three counties in the whole of the United States where a majority of the population still believe that global warming is not happening. These counties are Emery County in Utah, Heard County in Georgia and Grant County in West Virginia.

The Most Detailed Map of Antarctica


The Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica is the first, high resolution terrain map of Earth's southernmost continent. This most accurate and complete elevation model of Antarctica is a joint effort from Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota. The map was constructed from hundreds of thousands of individual stereoscopic Digital Elevation Models (DEM) extracted from satellite imagery of Antarctica.

You can view the new REMA of Antarctica on the REMA Hillshade Viewer. The REMA Hillshade Viewer also includes a number of map layers that show the locations of research stations and other Antarctic facilities. The elevation model of Antarctica records the height of nearly the whole continent to within a few feet of accuracy. It therefore provides an amazing resource for mapping future climate change on Antarctica.

The model is available to download as a shapefile or as 8 meter, 100 meter, 200 meter & 1 km resolution DEM's. The download files and more information on how the model was constructed are available from the University of Minnesota Polar Geospatial Center's REMA.

Subway Specs - Part II


New York architect Candy Chan was so amazed to discover that there are no three-dimensional plans of New York subway stations that she decided to go ahead and create her own. The result is X-Ray Area Maps, a series of beautifully drawn bird's eye view illustrations of subway stations which reveal the tunnels, platforms and escalators which exist under New York's streets.

Last Year Chan created 3d plans of ten different New York subway stations, each of which can be explored on its own Leaflet.js powered interactive map. This allows you to zoom in on all the fine details in Chan's drawings. If you like Candy Chan's illustrations you can also buy prints of each of the 3d subway station plans. Candy Chan has also now created another series of 3d map plans of the New York subway.


In this new series of 3d subway maps, instead of one plan for each station, Chan has created 3d plans which show multiple stations in each plan with the colored tracks connecting the stations. These new X-ray Station Clusters show how complicated the subway network and the connecting tunnels can be. The plans focus on two areas - Downtown Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan, areas where stations are often situated very close to each other.


Unfortunately if you live in London there doesn't appear to be any interactive mapped 3d plans of underground stations. However Transport for London has created a series of axonometric diagrams for each station on the London Underground network. You can view the axonometric diagrams for all of the stations at IanVisits.

Swedish Election Maps


Despite some nearly hysterical reporting on the Swedish Election (outside of Sweden) the far-right Sweden Democrats party failed to pick-up much support in yesterday's national election. The party achieved around 17.6% of the vote, far short of the 25% that many were predicting. The governing Social Democrats were the leading party with 28.4% of the vote. The largest center-right Moderate party picked-up 19.8%.

The election results mean that both the left and the right will struggle to put together a working coalition government. The result of this could be that the Sweden Democrats might have some influence, especially if the Moderate party of the center-right, decide to push anti-immigrant legislation in tacit agreement for parliamentary support from the Sweden Democrats.

You can view the results in more detail on the Aftonbladet interactive map of the election results. The map is colored to show the political party which won the most votes in each electoral district. The Aftonbladet election map shows that the Social Democrats were the biggest party in every region of Sweden, except for Stockholm, where the Moderates picked up the most votes.

If you want to know how an individual party polled throughout Sweden then you can select an individual political party to view a breakdown of their results across the country. Select an individual party and a choropleth view will show the party's support in all the different electoral regions. You can select individual regions on the map to view a more detailed local map showing the results in individual electoral wards.


The Daghens Nyheter interactive election map has exactly the same functionality as the Aftonbladet map. It allows you to see which political party won the most votes in each electoral district. You can also select individual political parties to see where they polled best throughout Sweden.

The far-right Sweden Democrats picked up their most votes in Sjöbo, Bjuv and Bromölla. Sjöbo is a town which has a long history of voting against immigration. Thirty years ago the town voted not to take any refugees. The Sweden Democrats party formed later that same year with the slogan "Sjöbo shows the way". The Sweden Democrats picked up 39.4% of the votes in Sjöbo.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Refugee Camps & the September Storms


I've seen a number of mapped visualizations recently about the dangers to Bangladeshi refugee camps from flooding. None of those visualizations work quite as well as the BBC's The girl whose home could slip away.

What makes the BBC's account of Cox's Bazaar and the other Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh so powerful is the gripping narrative it contains. I've been reading a lot lately that data visualizations should be about the data and that telling a story with the data isn't very important and can actually distract from the sacred data. 'The girl whose home could slip away' is a brilliant example of how great storytelling can engage the reader and help them become emotionally involved with the people behind the data.

I don't want to say too much about the BBC's account of the Rohingya refugee camps in case I spoil the experience for you. I'd just like to praise how the account moves from an individual refugee to the dangers that the refugees face from the September storms and to the reasons why these camps exist and how the Rohingya have been forced from their homes.


Also See

Amnesty International's Mapping Myanmar's Atrocities Against Rohingya

Reuters' Burned to the Ground - which uses satellite imagery of Myanmar to identify villages which have been shelled and / or burnt to the ground

The D.C. Stop & Frisk Map


Black residents in Washington D.C. are the target of 80% of the police department's forcible stops. 9 in 10 of those black residents stopped & frisked by the police are male. Black residents in D.C. are stopped by the police at a rate far higher than the proportion of black residents in D.C. and far higher than the number of crimes committed by black residents. White residents in D.C. are stopped and searched by the police far lower than the proportion of crimes committed by white residents.

Police Stops in Washington D.C. is an interactive mapped visualization of the Metropolitan Police Department's stop & frisk data. It shows where residents were stopped and searched in Washington D.C. from 2010 to 2017. The map shows that neighborhoods with the highest proportion of black residents have suffered the highest number of incidents of police stop & frisk. As well as showing where stop & frisk incidents took place you can filter the map by race / ethnicity, by gender and by age.

It isn't only the black residents of D.C. who are targeted by the police. Hispanic/ Latino residents in 2016 were stopped over four times as many times as white residents. This rate invariably goes up for Hispanic / Latino (and black) residents in neighborhoods with a high proportion of white residents.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Who's Winning the Global Arms Race?


Two weeks ago Maps Mania looked at a number of mapped visualizations of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database, a record of all major arms deals around the world since 1950. However, if you really want to know who is winning the global arms race and is therefore the greatest peddler of death in the world, you need the Arms Race Visualization.

The Arms Race Visualization allows you to select any two (or more) countries to view how many arms the selected countries have sold since 1949 and who they sold those arms to. After you select the countries you wish to view the map uses animated flow lines to show where each selected country has exported arms and how many arms they have sold.

The visualization animates through each year since 1949. The timeline below the map shows the currently displayed year. The map sidebars show the total volume of arms sold for the currently displayed year and the total for all years since 1949. It also shows the five countries which are the biggest customers of arms from your selected country and the total number of arms that they bought.

The Refugee Map


The Refugee Map is a well made mapped visualization of the movements of 18,469,990 refugees around the world. The map uses data from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to visualize what countries refugees have been forced to leave and the countries where they have settled.

The map uses two colors. Red to show the countries that refugees have left and blue to show countries where refugees have settled. The brighter the shade of red or blue then the more refugees have left the country or been given asylum. You can select individual countries on the map to view the total number of refugees who have left the country or been given asylum and what countries the refugees have left or moved to. You can reset the map to the global view by clicking in the sea on the map.

The Refugee Map was made using D3.js. The map was inspired and developed from Andy Barefoot's Responsive Interactive D3.js Map.

The UNHCR data on refugee movements has been mapped many times. You can view a number of other mapped visualizations of refugee movements in The Movement of Refugees Around the World.

Catalan Through the Ages


The Historical Comparison of the Territory tool allows you to visualize aerial images of Catalan from 1945 until today. The map allows you to select any location and compare aerial images of the area from different years side-by-side. The tool even allows you to create an animated GIF showing how a chosen area has changed over the decades.

The map includes a search facility so you can search for a Catalan location by name. Alternatively you can select a Catalan municipality from the drop-down menu. Once you have centered the map on your chosen location you can choose a year for the two sets of aerial imagery you want to view. The map includes historical imagery from the 1940's, 1950's and for most years since 1983 until the present.

The big yellow button under the map allows you to create an animated GIF for any location. Press the button and the map will create an animated GIF showing your selected area from 1945 to the present day, using all the available historical aerial imagery for your location.