Saturday, March 23, 2019

Global Flight Patterns


Flight paths over New York City

The real-time flight tracking application Plane Finder allows you to follow the real-time location of planes around the world on an interactive map. This month Plane Finder is celebrating its ten year anniversary and to mark the occasion Plane Finder has released a Global Coverage Map.

Plane Finder uses data from a network of ADS-B receivers around the world to map the flights of plane in real-time. The Global Coverage Map uses a week of this data (15th-21st March 2019) to reveal the flight paths taken by planes around the world. One week's worth of data has been merged together and compiled to make this single interactive map.

If you zoom-in on individual cities on the map you can clearly make out traffic into and out of major airports. For example, in the screenshot above of New York you can see John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport. You can even make out the location of the Statue of Liberty as a small circle on the map. This circle is made from the circular flight paths made by helicopters as they take a sightseeing loop around the statue.


Flight paths over London

In London you can clearly see the two main flight paths taken by planes as they approach Heathrow's two different runways. West of Heathrow planes quickly fan out after take-off depending on their destinations. In the east you can see the single flight path taken by planes as they approach and leave London City Airport and its single runway.

If you don't like flying then you might prefer the World Map of Shipping Traffic. This interactive map reveals the world's major shipping lanes based on AIS shipping data.

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Latitude & Longitude of Population


About 88% of the world's population lives north of the equator. One reason for this is that there is more landmass north of the equator and more water south of the equator. However the north of the planet has only around 68% of the world's landmass. This means that nearly 90% of the world's population is squeezed into the 68% of the world's landmass north of the equator.

You can see where the world's population lives in terms of latitude and longitude on Engaging Data's World Population Distribution by Latitude and Longitude. This map shows the distribution of the world's population as a population grid. The map also includes two buttons which allow you to reorganize the population data. One button redistributes the world's population into a graph showing the population distribution by longitude. The other button organizes the population data into a graph showing the world's population distributed by latitude.


You can also see the distribution of the world's population by longitude and latitude on Andre Andersen's World Population Map. This population density map includes two graphs views which show the distribution of the world's population by latitude and longitude.

Both these maps reveal that a huge percentage of the world's population not only lives north of the equator but also lives in a narrow vertical band east of Delhi and west of China's east coast. That is between longitude 72 E and longitude 123 E. Or in other words a huge percentage of the world's population lives in India and China.

Understanding China's Belt & Road Project


China has 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. Kontinentalist has published a great introduction to China's Belt and Road Initiative in the form of an interactive story map.

Understanding the Belt and Road both visualizes the physical infrastructure being built by China and explores the reasons why China is investing so much money in creating these transport links with the rest of the world. The interactive map first displays the six economic corridors that China are developing to connect the super power with Europe, Central Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. Each of these corridors can be selected on the map to learn more about each of the six individual routes. As you progress through the story the interactive map updates to explore the economic reasons behind the Belt and Road Project. To help visualize the economic reasoning behind the project the map is updated to show the population of China's major cities and regional GDP from 2012-2016.

Understanding the Belt and Road includes a number of other data visualizations which look more closely at how China is funding the initiative. In particular Understanding the Belt and Road examines the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which China is developing to counteract the power of the Bretton Woods institutions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank.

Understanding the Belt and Road also explores the diplomatic partnerships that China is developing with other countries. The interactive map is used to highlight on the map the '16+1 Initiative', China's partnership with 16 Central and Eastern European countries. It also shows how in Asia the 'Lancang-Mekong Cooperation', is building a partnership with all the Mekong countries. The map also explores the partnerships China is developing in the Middle-East and in Africa.

Finally Understanding the Belt and Road looks at some of the issues that China is facing in building such a huge initiative. These problems include territorial disputes where other countries might not be entirely supportive of China building economic corridors on disputed territory. It also explains some of the debt-trap diplomacy that China has used to impose its Belt and Road Initiative on countries which are heavily in debt to China.


You can learn more about the BRI on the Mercator Institute for China Studies' Belt and Road Tracker, 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.

Britain's Most Expensive Wrong Turn


The UK is obsessed at the moment with the concept of expensive wrong turns. Which is why insurance company Quote Zone has released a thinly veiled attack on Brexit in the form of an interactive map.

The Worst Places in the UK to Take a Wrong Turn purports to be an interactive map visualizing the worst 18 places in Britain to take a wrong turn or miss a junction on a motorway. The map shows the locations of each of these 18 most expensive wrong turns on the motorway network. For each of the 18 turns it also shows the total number of detour miles motorists will end up driving, the time needed to rectify the mistake and how much money the driver will have to pay for the extra fuel use caused by their mistake.

The worst place to take a wrong turn in the UK is on London's orbital motorway, the M25. If a driver misses the southbound exit on the M26 and accidentally ends up on the M25 then they will have to travel for another 18 miles to correct their course, adding 31 minutes onto their journey at a cost of £3.44.

Of course we all know that The Worst Places in the UK to Take a Wrong Turn is a clever metaphorical attack on the Brexit referendum. That wrong turn will cost a little more than £3.44.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Can We Save the World's Forests?


The Bonn Challenge is asking governments and people around the world to help restore 150 million hectares of forest by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. To help with this effort the World Resources Institute has released an interactive map designed to show where in the world degraded forest lands actually have the potential to be successfully restored.

The Atlas of Forest Landscape Restoration includes a number of different map layers which allow you to see the current levels of forest coverage around the world, the condition of those forests, the human pressure on forest landscapes and where in the world forests have the potential to be restored. The map also includes a layer which allows you to see Bonn Challenge pledges made across the globe. This layer adds a number of markers to the interactive map showing where governments and organisations have pledged to restore degraded forests. You can click on these markers to learn more about the individual projects in different countries around the world.


The World Resources Institute is also one of over 40 global partners who maintain the Global Forest Watch interactive map. Global Forest Watch is an organization dedicated to monitoring and detecting deforestation around the world. Since the year 2000 the world has lost more than 500 million acres of forest. The Global Forest Watch map visualizes current global forest coverage and where forests are being lost.

Global Forest Watch is attempting to establish a global forest monitoring network. The Global Forest Watch interactive map is part of an initiative to provide the tools for anyone to explore forest loss and forest gain across the globe. The map includes a number of layers, including forest cover and loss since 2000, worldwide tree height data, tropical forest carbon stocks and data about global forest use. The map also includes links to forest-related stories. The links to these  stories are embedded on the map at specific locations and the stories include photos, video, and explanatory text.

Revoke Article 50


Since last night over 1 million people in the UK have signed an online petition to "Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU". Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out how a European Union country might voluntarily leave the union. The number of people who have now signed the Revoke Article 50 petition forces the UK government to consider a parliamentary debate on revoking Article 50 and staying in the EU.

The UK government and parliament website includes an option to view where in the UK people have signed the petition. This interactive Petition Map allows you to view parliamentary constituencies colored by the number of signatories of the petition and by the percentage of constituents who have signed the petition.

You can also view a hex map of the results on ODI Leeds' Hex Map of UK Parliament Petitions website. This map shows each UK constituency as a hexagon. The map colors each constituency's hexagon based on the number of signatories. You can also view each constituency colored by the percentage of the constituents who have signed the petition. While both maps allow you to view the percentage of voters who have signed the petition so far, the hex map obviously has the advantage of not exaggerating the visual influence of the larger rural constituencies.

The Geography of European Drug Taking


Amsterdam is the European capital of ecstasy users. According to an analysis of European wastewater treatment plants more MDMA is consumed in Amsterdam than in any other European city.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has estimated the levels of consumption of different recreational drugs in major European cities. The Centre uses a process of back-calculation to estimate the consumption of drugs based on the trace amounts entering wastewater treatment plants. You can browse the results of the EMCDDA's analysis on an interactive map of European City Drug Use.

The map shows the estimated levels of drug use for over 70 European cities. The map allows you to view the estimated consumption of cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine and MDMA. The scaled markers on the map represent the estimated consumption levels of the drug selected. The map includes a number of filtering tools which allow you to view the estimated levels of consumption for different years and for different days of the week.

Cocaine use is highest in western and southern cities in Europe. Cocaine is not used so much in eastern Europe. Amphetamine use is very low in southern Europe. Amphetamines are used much more in cities in northern and eastern Europe. Methamphetamine use has historically been low in Europe, except for Czechia and Slovakia. It now seems to be becoming more popular in parts of east Germany.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Mapping the World's 7,111 Living Languages


There are 7,111 languages still being spoken around the world. However at least a third of those languages are in danger of dying out. Ethnologue's Living Languages interactive map shows where all 7,111 living languages, as of 2018, are spoken around the world.

The language markers on the map are colored by region (with locations assigned to primary countries). Nearly two thirds of the world's languages are from Asia and Africa. These two continents have the densest concentration of different languages. However the vast majority of the world speak a European or Asian language. 18.5% of the world's languages are Pacific languages. However on average only about 1,000 people speak each of those languages, therefore only a very small percentage of the world's population speak one of those Pacific languages.

Papua New Guinea is the country with the most different languages. There are 840 different living languages in Papua New Guinea. Indonesia comes next with 710 languages. Nigeria is third with 524 languages.


You can learn more about many of the languages on the Living Languages map using the Langscape Map, a map which provides information on around 6,000 languages spoken around the world. You can click anywhere on the Langscape Map to view which languages are spoken at that location.

As well as helping you discover which languages are spoken where, the map includes information about demographics, language families and audio recordings & text materials. After clicking on a location on the map you can select any of the listed languages to view information about it beneath the map.

Moving From Coal to Gas & Renewable Energy


The United States is undergoing a major shift in how it generates electricity. Over recent years there has been a large shift away from coal and towards gas, wind, and solar. Electricity Transition has released a great story map which illustrates this movement from coal powered electricity to other forms of energy.

Electricity Transition uses a series of animated heat-maps to show the rise of solar and wind energy over recent years. These animated heat-maps are very effective in showing the increasing use of solar and wind energy and also the areas where both methods of electricity generation are being most used.

After viewing the animated tours of electricity generation you can explore the map and data for yourself. A drop-down menu allows you to select to view different sources of energy, including coal, gas, solar, wind, nuclear and hydro. Once you select an energy source you can use the map timeline to view the levels of electricity production from that source over time. If you zoom in on the map you can view the locations of individual power plants. The dot markers that appear when you zoom in are scaled to show the levels of electricity generated. The size of these markers will change as you change the year to reflect the different levels of power generation at plants over the passage of time.

You can also explore America's power supply on the U.S. Power Plants map. U.S. Power Plants is an interactive map showing the locations, size and type of America's electric power plants. The map is a great way to see where different types of power plant are located, how much each type of energy source contributes to the country's power supply and how much each source contributes to America's CO2 emissions.

Mapping the Midwest Floods


The American Midwest is currently suffering from record levels of flooding. Heavy rains and snow melt following last week's bomb cyclone has led to unprecedented flooding in areas of Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

The New York Times has used river gauge data from the United States Geological Survey to visualize river heights along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers over the last six days. The map animates through Wednesday 13th through to Monday 18th showing the record river height levels over these six days. The NYT's Rising Waters map is an effective visualization of how quickly the height of rivers in the Midwest rose over the last week. However it doesn't actually reveal the extent of flooding in the area.


Vox has used satellite imagery to illustrate the scale of the flooding in the Midwest. In What the historic Midwest floods look like from space Vox compares two satellite images of Nebraska side-by-side. One of the images was taken in March 2018. The other was captured on March 16th this year. This side-by-side comparison clearly shows the extent of flooding along the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers around the city of Omaha.


The Washington Post has released both a map of stream gauges and before & after satellite images to illustrate the effect of the cyclone bomb on the Midwest. The Post's Satellite Images Show the Devastating Floods in the Midwest uses a static map to show all the stream gauges with levels above flood stage on March 19th. The Post has also published an animated GIF which compares two satellite images of the Missouri River. The images are from May of last year and from March 15th this year. Comparing the two images in this way reveals the extent of the swollen tributaries of the Mississippi River. The Post's article is illustrated with a number of other before and after satellite images of flooded locations in the Midwest.

USA Today has also published a series of satellite images revealing the extent of flooding in the Midwest.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Mapping the Ganges & Its Pollution


Reuters reports that the Indian government has pledged to spend nearly $3 billion on cleaning up the Ganges. The Ganges is of huge religious and cultural importance to millions of Indians. Millions of Indians also depend on the river everyday to supply their water needs. Unfortunately the river is also hugely polluted by industrial waste and plastics (some of this comes from religious offerings wrapped in non-biodegradable plastic).

In The Race to Save the River Ganges Reuters claims that the Indian government has not spent most of the money that it has promised to cleaning the Ganges. In fact untreated sewage is still being dumped in the river in huge quantities. The Reuters report includes an animated map which traces the course of the river Ganges from the pristine waters at its source in the foothills of the Himalayas to its entry into Bangladesh. This map also shows the extent of the Ganges' tributaries across Tibet, Nepal and Bangladesh. A population density overlay on the map shows how the river basin is a vital source of water for over 400 million people. A polluted Ganges is a very big problem to millions of people.

Under the story map in the Reuter's report is a fabulous flow map of the river Ganges. As you scroll through this flow map of the river you can see where sewage-drains, factories and other rivers pour pollution into the river as it moves downstream. There is an element of Minard's famous visualization of Napoleon's March on Moscow to this flow map. As you move down river on the strip map the size of the river grows to show the accumulated levels of wastewater discharged into the Ganges as the river flows across India. The daily amount of wastewater entering the river every day is 6.07 billion litres.

Who Will Win the Global City Race?


Animated bar chart races have suddenly become a very popular method for visualizing data over time. Their recent popularity owes much to John Murdoch's 18 Years of Interbrand’s Top Global Brands.

This animated bar chart race shows the brand value of the top global brands from the years 2000-2018. As the animation plays out each brand's bar on the chart grows or shrinks to reflect the brand's value. The bars also re-sort themselves automatically to show the most valuable brand at the top and the least valuable brand at the bottom. If a brand falls out of the top twelve most valuable brands then it falls off the bar graph. This method of visualization is very effective in showing the sudden rise or sudden fall in the value of a brand in comparison to the world's other large brands and the performance of these brands over time.

John Murdoch has now released another impressive animated bar race. This one shows The Most Populous Cities in the World from 1500 to 2018. This bar chart race is an incredibly interesting visualization of the world's most populated cities. There is something hypnotically fascinating watching different cities move up and down the chart over time as their populations rise and fall in comparison to other cities around the world. The bar chart is accompanied by a map which shows the location of the currently displayed most populated cities. Each city's bar on the chart is also colored by global region. The colors on the chart and the map help to reveal any regional patterns in the relative rise and fall of city populations.

As fantastic as John's visualization is I hope that there is more to come. I'd love a date control so that I could manually navigate to view the most populated cities in specific years. I'd also love some historical commentary with the visualization to provide some context or explanation as to why different cities rise or fall in the visualization. For example, when the visualization starts in 1500 Vijayanagar is the second most populous city in the world. It then suddenly drops off the chart in 1565. According to Wikipedia "In 1565 ... the city fell to a coalition of Muslim Sultanates. The conquered capital city of Vijayanagara was looted and destroyed, after which it remained in ruins.". An annotated version of The Most Populous Cities in the World would keep me happy for days.

As it is The Most Populous Cities in the World is totally awesome. What is even better is that it has been built and released as an Observable Notebook. That means anyone can fork, use and adapt the code. If you click on the 'dataset' line in the code you can see how the data for the visualization is formatted and click through to view the csv file where the data is held. This means that it would be a relatively trivial matter to adapt the visualization to work with your own data. Therefore you could create your own bar chart race, for example to show the most populated countries in the world over time or to show the most populated cities in your country over time. You could use economic data to show the GDP per capita of cities or countries over time. You could show the average life of death in cities or countries over time. In fact the bar chart race method is a great way to visualize lots of different types of data that has a time element.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Deathscapes of China


The huge level of development in twenty-first century China has been bad news for the dead. The high premium on land in the country has resulted in a kind of graveyard gentrification, where those who had thought they had reached their final resting place have had their graves forcibly relocated to other locations. In fact around ten million graves have been exhumed and moved in just the last ten years.

Chinese Deathscape: Grave Reform in Modern China by Thomas S. Mullaney, Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University, explores the reasons behind this modern policy of grave relocation and burial reform in China. The essay examines the incentives and punishments imposed by the central government to encourage regions to meet their grave relocation quotas. It also looks at how these grave relocations have been reported by the media and have been perceived by the Chinese people.

Accompanying the essay is an interactive map of the locations around China where graves have been exhumed. The size of the markers on the map reflects the number of graves relocated at each location. The annotated locations in the text are particularly impressive. If you click on an underlined passage in the essay then the map will center on the mentioned location. In addition a line is drawn from the text to its actual location on the interactive map. If you select locations on the map you can view details on the date of the relocation and the numbers of graves exhumed.

Who Owns NYC?


Lots of buildings in New York City are owned by shell companies, which are used by landlords to maintain anonymity in order to hide themselves from tenants and avoid repercussions. That is why JustFix.nyc has launched Who Owns What in NYC?, a service which reveals the buildings owned by individual landlords and by management companies.

If you enter a New York address into Who Own What in NYC? you can view an interactive map which shows all the other buildings in the city which your landlord might own. Select any of the highlighted buildings on the map and you can view the name of the registered owner and their business address. You can also view details about the building, including the name of the site manager, the year the building was constructed and the number of violations and evictions associated with the building.

The map also includes a button to connect with JustFix.nyc if you are having issues with an individual building. Pressing this button will allow JustFix.nyc to send a certified letter of complaint to the landlord about your issues with the property.


If you are having problems with a New York landlord you might also be interested in some of the data visualizations released by the Acting Public Advocate of the New York City Council concerning New York's residential evictions. One of these, Evictions: NYC residents are affected by evictions every day, allows you to explore New York's eviction rates by year, zip code, or district.

There were over 19,000 people evicted in New York City in 2018. If you select individual markers on the interactive eviction map you can view the eviction property's address and the date that the eviction notice was executed. The Bronx has the highest rate of evictions in New York City. Brooklyn has the second highest rate, closely followed by Queens in third place.

A second Building History interactive map allows you to explore 2018 evictions by building type, year of construction and by rent stabilized properties. The map menu on this interactive map also allows you to view the buildings with the most evictions in 2018. 16 Richman Plaza was the individual property with the most evictions last year. This property, owned by River Park Residences, had 60 evictions.

If you enter the address "16 Richman Plaza" into Who Owns What in NYC? you can view a map of all 84 buildings owned by this landlord in New York. Eugene Schneur appears to be the landlord associate with all 84 of these buildings. Interestingly Eugene Schneur isn't even in the top 100 worst landlords in New York, based on the 2018 NYC Landlord Watchlist from the Public Advocate for the City of New York.

The Rising Temperatures of Europe


Since 1960 every European city has become hotter. Lisa Charlotte Rost has used historical temperature data from Berkeley Earth to visualize how much the average temperature has risen or fallen in every European city since 1960. The interactive map in Which European cities have gotten warmer? (Spoiler: All of them) uses colored markers to show the average temperature difference in European cities. If you hover over a city's marker you can view the name of the city and the number of degrees centigrade that the average temperature has risen in the city since 1960.

There appears to be some geographical differences in the extent to which average temperatures have risen in Europe. North-eastern Europe has seen the highest rises in average temperatures. The three European cities which have seen the highest rises (Orsha, Minsk & Gomel) are all in Belarus. Chernihiv in neighboring Ukraine has witnessed the next highest rise in average temperatures. The lowest average temperature rises are all in south-east Europe. Six cities, all in Greece, have the lowest average rises on the map. Cities in neighboring countries such as Cyprus, Bulgaria and Macedonia also appear to have warmed by a smaller degree than Europe as a whole.

The average temperature rise in Patrai, Greece since 1960 is 1.59 degrees centigrade. This is the smallest rise recorded on the map. The highest average temperature rise was in Orsha, Belarus. The rise recorded there was 3.33 degree centigrade.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

John Ogilby's Cartography


Earlier this week Layers of London, a website dedicated to visualizing London's history, added a new vintage map layer to their interactive maps. The new layer allows you to explore Layers of London's historical events on top of John Ogilby and William Morgan's 1676 map of London.

Ogilby and Morgan's map was created after the Great Fire of London in 1666. The map was originally intended to assist in the planning out of land in the City after the fire. It is believed to be the first map to show every building in London in plan (rather than through an oblique bird's eye pictorial view).

The screenshot above shows the plan of the new St. Paul's Cathedral. The old cathedral had been destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Work on the new cathedral had begun in the 1670's (when this map was surveyed) but was not completed until 1711. Ogilby & Morgan's map therefore presumably uses Sir Christopher Wren's own plans to show where the completed cathedral would soon stand.

You can view another online interactive application of Ogilby and Morgan's map on the British History Online website.



Ogilby & Morgan's map of London was published one month after Ogilby's death in 1676. As a cartographer Ogilby is probably better known for his Britannia Atlas. This atlas of roads in England & Wales is presented in a series of scrolls. Each scroll includes just one journey, shown as a strip map, from one British town to another. The Britannia Atlas includes 85 routes and provides a guide to navigating over 7,500 miles of road. The Britannia was therefore Britain's first proper road atlas. In the 1670's the finished atlas cost £5 to buy, or the equivalent of around £700 in today's money.

Late in his life Ogilby was appointed 'Cosmographer and Geographic Printer' to Charles II. However cartography was only a small part of Ogilby's life. During his relatively long life he had also been a dance teacher, a tailor a translator of Virgil, a publisher, and the founder of the first theatre in Dublin. He made a lot of money from his translations of Virgil but, if John Dryden is to be believed, Ogilby was probably a better cartographer than he was a translator. Dryden claimed that Ogilby's work was only good enough to be used for toilet paper or wrapping pies ('martyrs of pies, and relics of the bum'). I assume Dryden was unimpressed with Ogilby's translations of Latin. I can't believe Dryden would wipe his arse with Ogilby and Morgan's superb map of London.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Europe's Busiest Shipping Routes Revealed


Ships around the world are fitted with AIS transponders which automatically report the position, course, and speed, of individual vessels. The Automatic Identification System can be used by websites like MarineTraffic to show the live real-time position of ships across the globe. The accumulated data from AIS transponders can also be used to reveal interesting patterns in ship traffic, such as the location and density of popular shipping lanes.

European Marine Traffic has used the accumulated data of ship traffic in 2017 to visualize the density of European marine traffic. The map reveals the areas of Europe's seas which see the most ship traffic and the shipping lanes which are most used by ships when transporting cargo in Europe. For example the English Channel stands out on the map as an area with extremely dense marine traffic. The English Channel is in fact the world's busiest seaway, with over 500 ships passing through the channel every day.

Other areas that stand out on the map for their heavy marine traffic are the Strait of Gibraltar and the Skagerrak strait. The Strait of Gibraltar is heavily used by marine traffic entering and exiting the Mediterranean Sea while the Skagerrek is the gateway from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea. The Skagerrek strait is uses by around 7,500 vessels every year.


The AIS data for marine traffic also includes information on vessel type. It is therefore possible to create shipping density maps for different types of vessel. Alasdair Rae has done this for the marine traffic around the UK. In Watching the Ships go By Alasdair has created maps which show the most popular shipping routes used by cargo ships, passenger ships, shipping boats and other types of vessels around the UK.

If you want to view the density of Shipping traffic in the rest of the world it is possible to do this using MarineTraffic. The live ship tracking map MarineTraffic includes an option to view a density map of the world's shipping traffic. If you select the 'Density Maps' overlay on MarineTraffic you can view an overlay which shows the accumulated recorded data of all vessels on MarineTraffic over recent years.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Where are the Best Neighborhoods?


If you want to know the best neighborhoods in your town then you need Best Neighborhood. Enter your zipcode into Best Neighborhood and you can view the areas of your town colored to show the best areas for walkability, the cost of housing and employment rates. You can also view lots of local demographic and socio-economic information about your town's neighborhoods.

Best Neighborhood uses Mapbox maps to visualize a range of different data about U.S. towns and their neighborhoods. The local data you can view includes information on per capita income, rental prices and bike friendliness. Using the different data sets you can find the neighborhoods which best suit your preferred characteristics. For example if walking and cycling are important to you then you can use the walkability and bike friendliness maps to find the best neighborhoods for walking and cycling. Of course you might not be able to afford to live in those areas so you might want to compare those maps with the property value map.


OneDome is a UK real-estate website which has developed a number of online tools which can help you find the best neighborhoods in the UK. One of these tools is Explore & Score, an interactive map which rates neighborhoods in a number of different areas.

Enter a UK postcode into Explore & Score and you can find out how the area rates for transport, education, groceries, greenery, safety, quietness and lifestyle. Explore & Score gives each of these individual areas a rating out of 10 and also gives the postcode area an overall score out of 10. If you select an individual category from the map sidebar you can view related points of interest on the map. For example if you select 'Grocery' you can view the location of all nearby stores, the walking distance to each store and their opening hours. Select 'Transport' and you can view the location and walking times to the nearest stations.

Poland is Nowhere


Where is Poland? is a fantastic exploration of Poland under partition as seen by the Danish writer Georges Brandes in the late Nineteenth Century. The site uses the observations of Brandes to explore one of Poland's most turbulent periods of history.

When Georges Brandes arrived in Poland in 1885 the country was divided between the three imperial empires of Austria, Prussia and Russia. Where is Poland uses a number of vintage maps to show how the name of Poland is missing from the maps of Europe during this period. Poland in this era is very much an occupied country. This can be seen clearly in the 19th century map of Warsaw. When Brandes visited Warsaw the signs of Russian occupation could be seen everywhere, from Orthodox churches to Russian street names.



One result of the occupation of Poland and its accompanying suppression of Polish culture was the emigration of many Poles. Where is Poland includes a map showing the influence of emigre Polish writers, artists and musicians throughout Europe at the end of the Nineteenth Century. Other Poles didn't leave Poland by choice but were deported from the country. Another interactive map shows some of the Siberian locations where Polish people were sent by Russia.

I've obviously concentrated on the many interactive maps in Where is Poland? These maps play only a small part in what is a beautifully designed in-depth examination of Poland during occupation by the three imperial powers of Austria, Prussia and Russia.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mapping Global Life Expectancy


Mapipedia's Average Life Expectancy by Country since 1800 is an interesting data visualization of life expectancy around the world from 1800 to 2018. The visualization shows how life expectancy has changed around the globe since the beginning of the Nineteenth Century and also attempts to explain the reasons behind some of the most significant changes in life expectancy during this period of history.

Using the map timeline you can explore the average life expectancy in countries around the world by date. If you press play on this timeline you can watch an animation of the map, showing how life expectancy has changed in each country over time. As the timeline plays the visualization also identifies significant global historical events which may have had an impact on life expectancy in different countries across the world.

If you select a country on the map you can view a list of historical events that have probably effected the average life expectancy of the population in the chosen country. For example if you click on Russia the 'Description' column will include information about World War I, Spanish Flu, the Soviet Famine, World War II and Russian Alcohol Consumption (1990-2001).

Selecting a country on the map will also change the graph view to show the average life expectancy only of your chosen country from 1800-2018. This graph is interactive. You can therefore hover over dates showing significant falls in life expectancy to find out why these occurred. For example, using the example of Russia again, the graph shows a steep decline in life expectancy starting in 1940. If you hover over this data the 'Description' column provides information about the affect of World War II on life expectancy.

Racial Profiling in Police Stops


An analysis of 100 million police traffic stops has revealed that white people are more likely to be found with illegal items. Despite this fact black and Latino drivers are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white drivers.

The Stanford Open Policing Project has gathered data on around 100 million police traffic stops carried out from 2011-2017 across the United States. The data reveals that the police often use racial profiling when deciding which cars to stop. The data scientists at Stanford established a 'veil of darkness' test to explore whether the police are racially profiling drivers. The test looks at the time of day of police traffic stops to determine if black drivers are stopped more often during the hours of darkness rather than during the day. In other words it looked to see if black drivers were stopped more often when police officers could more easily see the race of car drivers. This test revealed that there is a 5 to 10% drop in the number of black drivers stopped by police after sunset, suggesting that the police are racially profiling drivers when using their powers to stop vehicles.

You can view interactive maps showing where drivers were stopped by the police from 2011-2017 on the Stanford Open Policing Project website. These maps provide an overview of police stops in a number of cities across the United States. On each of the maps the race of the car drivers are shown using colored dots. Each map is also accompanied by a local racial dot map which shows you where people live in the city. Each map also includes an option to view one day's data on police stops animated over the course of one day. If you use this feature you can carry out your own 'veil of darkness' test to see if black drivers are stopped more frequently during the hours of daylight than after sunset.

As the name of the project implies the data on police stops from the Stanford Open Policing Project is available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. The data can be downloaded in both CSV and RDS formats. Shapefiles are also available for a few select locations.

Mapping Housing Affordability in D.C.


Low and middle-income families are being priced out of the housing market in Washington D.C. according to the D.C. Policy Center. Their report into housing in the District, Taking Stock of the District’s Housing Stock, includes a number of interactive maps which illustrate the pressures on the housing market.

In each of these interactive maps D.C.'s building footprints are colored by a number of different variables. The first map in the report colors individual buildings by housing unit type to show the distribution of single family homes, coops, condos and apartments. The map shows how restrictive land use practices that favor single-family units in the District have led to the dominance of single-family homes. The prevalence of low-rise, low-density buildings has in turn contributed to the lack of affordable housing in the city.


The second map in the report looks at the ownership of homes in the District. This map shows that home-ownership is prevalent in the north of the city. A third map shows the value of property in the city. This map colors building footprints by the estimated value per square foot. The most expensive property is in the northwest of the city. Property values as a whole increase as you mover from east to west in the District.

Later in the reports a series of static maps are used to illustrate where affordable housing may be available for different family types in Washington D.C..

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego?


The Crown Jewels have been stolen! Can you help recover them? The International thief Carmen Sandiego and her crew of V.I.L.E. operatives have broken into the Tower of London and escaped with the Queen's favorite jewels. You will need all your geographical expertise to follow the clues, track down Carmen Sandiego and her gang of thieves, recover the jewels and return them to London.

Google Earth has a treat for all fans of Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego! Today Google has released an interactive game which requires you to search and find Carmen Sandiego somewhere on Google Earth. So, are your ready to play Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego?

Using Google Earth you will need to travel the world and interview witnesses about the location of Carmen Sandiego. Each witness will give you clues as to the location where you need to travel next. When you've worked out each clue to Carmen Sandiego's location you just need to jump into your plane and you will be automatically flown there. Your task will involve a lot of travel, but as you work you can enjoy some fabulous 3D scenes of the wonders of the world in Google Earth.

The Record Shops of the World


Record Shops are an endangered species. It didn't always used to be this way. Once upon a time record shops were everywhere and the streets of the world were filled with the glorious sounds of phonographic music and the pitter-patter of dancing feet.

Take Paris as an example. In days of yore on nearly every rue and avenue, in every arrondissement of the capital you could find a disquaire or magasin de disques. Or you could at least find one nearby. You can see this for yourself on Disquaires de Paris, an interactive map of Paris' record shops of the 20th Century.

The Disquaires de Paris interactive map shows the locations of the many dealers and vendors of phonographic records in Paris from the end of the 19th century up to the modern day. You can filter the record shops shown on the map by date using the provided timeline control. At the moment the map only shows record shops up to the 1960's. If you select a disquaire on the map you can view the shop's address and, where available, view the artwork used by the store on record sleeves.


Of course record shops haven't completely disappeared from the face of the Earth. There are even a few left in Paris. You can find your nearest surviving record shop on recordstores.love, an interactive map of record shops around the world. Using the map you can search for record shops by location or use the record shops near me option to find the closest stores to your current location.

Vinylhub is a similar project map which is attempting to map all the remaining record shops around the world. Alongside the interactive map of record shops Vinylhub also maintains an Events section which lists record related events and special events being held in record shops across the globe.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The History of Maps


Forma Urbis Romae (203-211) - a plan of a Pompeii amphitheater

In Instead of Writing a Thousand Words Lapham's Quarterly takes a detailed look at the history if maps around the world. Using the Esri Story Map format Lapham's Quarterly explores how geographical space has been visualized throughout history, from the earliest known maps painted on the walls of caves right up to maps created in the modern digital age.

The Story Map starts with the Çatalhöyük Wall Painting from 6200 BC. Many people believe that this wall painting in Turkey shows a bird's eye view of a city and is therefore the world's oldest known map. Lapham's Quarterly then takes us on a guided tour through the history of cartography. It reports on the Babylonian Imago Mundi from 700-500 BC which is "considered the oldest known world map". Carrying on through history this Story Map explores maps from ancient Rome, China, Japan and the Arab & Islamic world.

Instead of Writing a Thousand Words features information about some of the world's most famous historic vintage maps, including the Hereford Mappa Mundi and Isidore of Seville’s T & O map. It even takes a look at astrological maps, transport maps and discusses the merits of different map projections.

If you are interested in the history of World Maps then you might like my own Mappae Mundi collection of historical world maps. My map allows you to take a closer look at maps of the world from ancient Greece up to 2015. My map doesn't include much information about the individual maps shown but it does allow you to zoom in and pan around each of the featured maps of the world.

Mapping Changes in Global Light Pollution


Radiance Light Trends allows you to view how nighttime light emissions have changed worldwide since 1992. This interactive map uses data collected from satellites to show the current light emissions around the world during non-daylight hours. The map also allows you to examine how light pollution has changed over time.

Radiance Light Trends allows you to select any area in the world to see the levels of local light pollution as recorded over time. For example, if you select an area around Pyongyang in North Korea, you can view a summed radiance graph for the city, which shows how there seems to have been a gradual improvement in the city's night-time electricity supply since 2012. Although the summed radiance graph for Pyongyang also reveals that between 2014 and 2017 there was a distinct decrease in light radiance.


The global changes in light pollution over time can be more easily observed on the Urban Radiance map. The Urban Radiance map compares historical night-time satellite views of the Earth to analyse urban development across the world. By comparing recent nighttime satellite imagery with historical nighttime satellite views of the same locations Urban Radiance is able to show how countries have changed in terms of urbanization, electrification and population density.

Urban Radiance has compiled time-based nighttime satellite composites of Asia, the Middle East, North America, North Africa, Europe and the whole World. On each map the nighttime light view uses orange to show the newest light pollution while older light pollution is shown in blue. In this way it is easy to pick out areas on the map where light pollution has grown over time.

On each composite map Urban Radiance has picked out significant areas which have seen a growth in light pollution. For example in North America Urban Radiance highlights how the growth of shale gas fields in the Dakota and South Texas regions has led to more light pollution. Below each map graphs show the total growth (or fall) in radiance in each country shown on the map.


NASA's Black Marble map has also been recording nighttime light levels around the world for a number of years.  The so called 'Black Marble' map of the Earth is made up of the best cloud-free satellite images of each land mass captured by satellites around the world.

Digital Geography has created an interactive map which allows you to directly compare NASA's Black Marble map of 2012 with the more recent 2016 Black Marble map. The Black Marble: 2012 vs 2016 interactive map allows you to swipe between the two NASA maps and compare the changing scale of natural lighting around the world. For example, if you open the map using the link above you can clearly see the effect that the Syrian war has had on electricity supply in the country.

John Nelson has also compared NASA's 2012 and 2016 Black Marble maps to see where in the world lights have been going on and off. His Lights On & Lights Out map highlights the locations around the world where there have been significant changes in electric lighting since 2012.

Nelson points out in the text accompanying the map that there are many reasons why places might show an increase or decrease in electric lighting. The increase in India is due to the "massive electrification of northern India in recent years". Elsewhere reductions in night lighting may be due (among other reasons) to attempts to reduce light pollution.

The Dot Map of Britain


GIS for Thought has released an interactive dot map showing every single person in Great Britain as a single dot. The Every Person in Great Britain Mapped map uses the latest Scotland and England & Wales census data to show the number of people living in every postcode area.

The map has roughly 62 million dots - one dot for every single person living in Scotland, England & Wales. If you can't find yourself on the map don't worry. The data randomizes the dots by postcode area, with a dot placed in a random building for each person in every postcode.

You can view the dot map layer on its own without any background map layers. You can also choose to view the dots overlaid on a geographical map. Even when viewing the dot map layer on its own, without the map and map label layers, you can clearly make out many locations. Obviously urban areas, with high population densities, like towns and cities, are clearly revealed on the map. However the absence of dots in other areas reveals features such as the UK's National Parks. You can even make out much smaller urban parks if you zoom right in on individual towns and cities.

Also See

The Racial Dot Map of the USA
The Racial Dot of Brazil
The Racial Dot Map of South Africa
The Racial Dot Map of Estonia
The Racial Dot Map of Australia

Monday, March 11, 2019

Video Journey Mapping


Videomapia is a search engine to find video journeys which have been synced with an interactive map. Using the site you can find videos of journeys which have been shot around the world. Each of these videos can be viewed alongside an interactive map which is synced to automatically follow the journey as it is shown in the video.

You can get a good idea of Videomapia's results in this map and video of a San Francisco cable car journey. Alternatively you might like to take a virtual train journey from the cab of a Swiss train as it travels through the Alps. Or even take a cable car ride across the Yangtze River.

Videomapia is in Russian but it has an intuitive user interface. Roads, tracks, railways and rivers around the world which have been videoed appear as red lines on the Videomapia interactive map. If you click on one of these red lines you can view the video. What's more the video actually starts playing from the place in the journey where you clicked on the map. As you view the video the map follows the journey so that it shows the current location in sync with the video.

Anyone can add a journey video to the Videomapia interactive map by uploading the video to YouTube and submitting the GPS track to Videomapia. You can also create GPS tracks yourself for video journeys that have been submitted to YouTube by other people.

Via: Weekly OSM

Mapping the Slave Trade


The newly updated Slave Voyages website maintains databases of the Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trade. These databases include information on 36,000 slave trading voyages from Africa to the New World carried out between 1514 and 1866; 11,000 voyages from one part of America to another; and personal details about 91,491 Africans who were forced into the slave trade.

Slave Voyages provides an introduction to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade using a series of static maps. These maps are from the Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and help to illustrate the trade routes used to transport slaves, the countries involved in organizing the trade and the volume of people traded. A Timelapse animated map also plots 14,289 slave voyages crossing the Atlantic over time. This map shows the actual journeys of slave ships from Africa to the Americas by year. It provides a sharp illustration of the sheer scale of the slave trade.


This isn't the first mapped visualization of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database. In 2015 Slate released the Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes, a map which also animates the journeys of slave ship journeys over a period of 315 years. Slate's map reveals the patterns of the trade routes used and the destinations of the slave ships. The size of the ships on the map are scaled to represent the number of slaves on board. You can also click on each ship to find out under which country's flag the ship sailed.


Professor Adam Rothman and Matt Burdumy of Georgetown University have also created a series of heat maps using data from the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database. These heat maps visualize the most important central locations in over 35,000 slaving voyages (from 1500 to 1870).

Their visualization of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database consists of three animated heat maps showing the cumulative frequency of slave ship points of departure, the principal ports where slaves were purchased and the principal ports where the slaves were sold. During the animation on each map a cumulative heat-map appears, revealing the pattern of slave voyages over time. For example, the map of slave voyage departures reveals how Portugal and Spain's early dominance of the Transatlantic slave trade was quickly overtaken by the emergence of British slave traders.


The University College London's Legacies of British Slave-Ownership is a website dedicated to documenting the role of Britain in the slave trade and how the slave trade shaped modern Britain. The site includes a map section which maps estates and plantations profiting from slaves in Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada. It also includes a map of 4,840 addresses in Britain associated with a slave owner or someone who befitted from the slave trade.

When the British government abolished slave-ownership in 1833 it decided to award £20 million in compensation. That equates to about £16.5 billion in today's terms. It is impossible to argue that the British government were astonishingly generous in their compensation award.

The shocking fact is, however, that this £20 million was earmarked not for the individuals who were sold, abducted or forced into slavery but for those who profited from this immoral activity. In Victorian Britain many wealthy families owed their fortunes to the slave economy. Thanks to the British government these same families also profited from the abolition of slavery.

University College London has created two maps which really reveal how many Londoner's profited from their disgusting involvement in the slave trade. The UCL's Slaveowners in Fitzrovia and on the Portman Estate includes two maps showing the homes of individuals in these two London neighborhoods who received compensation from the abolition of slave-ownership.

Mapping Iran-U.S. Tensions in the Middle East


The Middle East is a powder keg that could easily explode. The geo-political ambitions of Iran coupled with the USA's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has resulted in the spread of instability and conflict in the region. You can view the locations of possible flashpoints in the area on Crisis Group's new interactive map The Iran-U.S. Trigger List.

The Iran-U.S. Trigger List map shows locations throughout the Middle East which could be potential trigger points for conflict between the two countries. The map is designed as an early warning platform to monitor and provide regular updates on the potential areas of conflict between Iran and the U.S. It is also a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the tensions between Iran and the U.S. and their respective allies.

The map uses a simple color based system to provide an overview of the potential risk of confrontation in each marked location. Red markers on the map show locations with a high threat level, while green markers indicate a moderate threat level. If you select a marker on the map you can read a detailed analysis of why the chosen location provides a risk to peace in the Middle East. This analysis includes a timeline of recent developments in the area and the historical background to this potential flashpoint for conflict.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Australia's Mass Killings Map


In 2017 the University of Newcastle in Australia released an interactive map of Colonial Frontier Massacres in Central and Eastern Australia 1788-1930. The map is part of the university's efforts to record and document the massacres of native Australians in Australia between the years 1788-1930. For example the map records that on the 1st May 1838 at Slaughterhouse Creek fifteen heavily armed stockmen attacked and killed 300 Kamilaroi aboriginals. The massacre occurred just four months after 50 Kamilaroi people were killed by police at nearby Waterloo Creek.

The Guardian has now released its own map of frontier massacres in Australia. The Guardian's The Killing Times covers the same period of Australia's early colonial history. The map plots the locations of mass killings using the University of Newcastle's data alongside data that the Guardian collected itself, using the university's methodology, of mass killings in Western Australia.

The Guardian's map includes a timeline which allows you to filter the massacres shown on the map by date range. You can also filter the map by the number of victims and by perpetrator groups. If you click on a marker on the map you can read details about the selected mass killing beneath the map.