Saturday, February 23, 2019

Mapping Real-Time Road Traffic

This interactive map of Palo Alto shows the live status of traffic signals. The map also uses live data to show how many vehicles are waiting at different intersections and how many pedestrians are waiting to cross at each intersection. The live traffic data on the map comes from TrafficWare's streaming TidalWave API.

The colored traffic approach lanes on the Traffic map show the color of the traffic signal when approaching from that direction. If you click on a colored traffic approach lane you can actually view a countdown timer to when the traffic signal controlling that lane will change. Opaque approach lanes mean that at least one vehicle is currently being detected in that lane. Translucent approach lanes mean no vehicles are currently detected.

The purple intersection markers mean a pedestrian is currently waiting to cross at that intersection. Animated circular blue ripples emanate from intersection markers when new vehicles are detected. Purple circular ripples appear when new pedestrians arrive at an intersection. The dashboard counters (down the right-hand side of the map) show the numbers of flowing vehicles and the number of vehicles waiting at intersections. The purple counter shows the number of pedestrians in total waiting at intersections.

Dissecting Planet Earth

Earth Elevation provides an interesting view of the elevation of the Earth along circles of latitude. That sounds more complicated than it actually is. You can see Earth Elevation in action in the screenshot above, which shows the elevation & ocean depth around the world at 30° north of the Equator. This cross-section shows the relative height of the Rockies in America and the Himalayas in Asia. You can also see the depths of the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean.

Earth Elevation uses elevation and bathymetry data to provide cross-section views of the Earth. Using the right-hand slide control you can adjust the line of latitude shown in the visualization. The figures on the left-hand side of the visualization show the elevation height of the land around the world at the selected latitude and the depths of the oceans.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Searching for Slums with Machine Learning

Machine learning techniques are being increasingly used to detect features in satellite and aerial imagery. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to train algorithms to search for familiar patterns in aerial imagery of the Earth. The reasons for searching satellite imagery can be varied and can be for commercial, environmental or social purposes.

One example of machine learning being used to identify common features in aerial imagery is OneSoil, which uses AI to detect where different types of crops are being grown around the world. Another example is Земляна проказа, which was created using machine learning to identify Ukraine's illegal amber mines. Another example, recently covered on Maps Mania, is Curio Canopy, which has used machine learning based techniques to identify tree canopy cover in European cities.

Another example is Dymaxion Labs Maps of Potential Slums and Informal Settlements. Dymaxion Labs used machine learning to search the satellite imagery of a number of South American cities in order to identify and find slums and informal settlements. The resulting maps are being used to help urban planners and local councils identify where vital utilities need to be directed.

To help identify the informal settlements Dymaxion Labs used the Random Forest machine learning technique. You can read more about the process on the Mapbox blog.

The Map of Science Fiction

In a parallel universe '100 Years of Sci Fi' is called '100 Years of Non-Fiction'. In a completely different parallel universe it is known as '100 Years of SYFY'. We don't live in either of those parallel universes so we shall call it by its given name.

100 Years of Sci Fi is an interactive map of science fiction novels listed on Good Reads. All the sci-fi novels on the map are organized by similarity. In other words novels which share common sci-fi themes are grouped closer together. Using the map you can search for your favorite novels and authors and find other works of science fiction which share common themes.

Novels on the map are linked when they share common keywords on Good Reads. The novels are placed in clusters of works which share similar keyword signatures. If you click on the 'Legend' button in the map sidebar you can filter the map to show all the works that share a common keyword theme. The map menu also allows you to filter the maps shown by theme, concepts and date of publication.

If you click on an individual novel on the map you can read a brief synopsis of its plot, view its list of keywords and its date of publication. 100 Years of Sci Fi was created using openmappr a visualization tool for mapping networks.

Exploring Britain's History from Above

You can now explore over 80,000 historical aerial photographs of Britain dating from 1945-2009. Cambridge University’s Collection of Aerial Photographs contains thousands of aerial photographs captured by the University’s Air Photography Unit since the end of World War II. There are nearly half a million aerial photos in the collection. 80,000 of them have now been digitized and can be found and viewed on the Cambridge Air Photos website.

You can search and browse the aerial photos of Britain by location and by category. If you want to search the collection by location then you can use the Cambridge Air Photos interactive map. When zoomed out the map only shows a selection of the available aerial photographs. You need to zoom in on the map before all the available photos will appear on the map.

Some of the best images in the collection have been organized into featured collections, such as Ancient Britain, Castles and Coasts. Around 1,500 of the aerial photos are also available as high resolution zooming images. These images are also being made available using International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) technology, so you can explore them in detail on any IIIF viewer.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Satellite Remote Sensing Analytics

The Earth Observing System's LandViewer application is an online GIS-assistant which provides a set of advanced tools to perform real-time remote sensing data analytics. The site allows you to access and use a constantly updated satellite imagery catalog.

One of the coolest features of LandViewer is the ability to create your own time-lapse animations using satellite imagery captured over time. With this function you can easily create videos or animated GIF's which show changes to locations over time. For example, in the image above you can see the construction of the Bhadla Solar Park in India between 2016 and 2019 using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. The time-lapse tools in LandViewer allow you to customize the quantity of frames per second, resize the video, create a GIF, show dates and download the results.

The imagery in LandViewer provides access to imagery from the world’s top providers of high-resolution satellite imagery, including Airbus Defense & Space, SI Imaging Services, and SpaceWill. It also allows you to browse, preview and purchase products from Pléiades 1a/1b, SPOT 5, SPOT 6 and SPOT 7, as well as KOMPSAT-2, 3, 3A and SuperView, Gaofen 1, 2, and Ziyuan-3.

LandViewer includes tools which allow you to perform time series analysis of satellite imagery. For example you can perform analysis of vegetation growth, crop identification, and land use change. Landviewer is therefore an important tool in a number of different fields. In agriculture monitoring it can be used to identify high/low crop yield and identify different types of vegetation areas for fertilizing, sowing/resting, and watering. In coastal monitoring LandViewer can be used to analyze coastal zones and to analyze water temperature, salinity, phytoplankton, and potential threats to shores. In forestry LandViewer can be used to identify identification of specific zones by vegetation density, vegetation type and monitor deforestation.

The World Map of Shipping Traffic

This map of global shipping density reveals the world's major shipping lanes and also the areas of the world that the major shipping companies avoid. The reasons why some areas of the world's seas and oceans don't see as much traffic as others can vary from geo-political reasons to the dangers of piracy and local sailing conditions.

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.

If you zoom in on the coastline of North Korea on MarineTraffic you can see that there don't seem to be many ships breaking the international trading sanctions. The coastline of Somalia is another area which seems to have less dense marine traffic than other countries' coastlines. The reason that ships avoid Somalia however is presumably more to do with the dangers of piracy.

The Gulf of Sirte off the coast of Libya is another area with a low density of ship traffic. According to Wikipedia the dangers to boats in the gulf have been known for centuries, "Ancient writers frequently mention the sandbanks (in the gulf) and their vicinity as dangerous for shipping".  Elsewhere marine traffic might avoid coastlines because of Emission Control Areas. The EU, the US and Canada all have controls which force ships to use cleaner and more expensive fuel near coastlines.

The different types of routes and journeys taken by different types of marine vessel around the UK can be seen in a series of maps by Alasdair Rae. In Watching the Ships Go By Alasdair has created a number of static maps showing the vessel tracks of different types of vessel in the coastal waters around the UK. These include maps showing the different routes taken by cargo ships, passenger ships, fishing boats, high speed craft, military vessels, tankers and recreational craft.

You can also explore the different shipping routes of different types of vessel using is an outstanding animated interactive map visualizing the movements of the global merchant shipping fleet over the course of one year. The map uses AIS shipping data from exactEarth to visualize the movements of different types of cargo ships over the course of 2012. allows you to filter the ships shown on the map by type of cargo vessel. The narrated tour provided with this map also explains some of the interesting patterns that emerge from mapping the worldwide merchant shipping trade.

The History of Settlements in Hungary

Partly inspired by the New York Times' popular Map of Every Building in America the Atlo data visualization team decided to undertake a detailed examination of the street patterns of urban settlements in Hungary. In Roads, Buildings, Networks Alto looks at the different types of settlement morphology and the history of urban growth and planning in the country.

Roads, Buildings, Networks includes an interactive map which shows only the outlines of building footprints and roads. The data for this map comes from OpenStreetMap. Unfortunately the building footprint data for Hungary on OSM can be a little patchy, however the Atlo map does provide an interesting view of the street patterns of Hungary's urban settlements.

Accompanying the interactive map is a very detailed explanation of how terrain, hydrography, history and other factors have helped shape Hungary's different urban environments. Through this exploration of settlement morphology Atlo identifies distinct forms. These include the spherical street patterns of the historic mining towns and the regular chessboard-like street patterns which resulted from the urban planning which began in the 17th century,

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Navigating the Green Book

In the 1930's Victor H. Green started publishing an African-American travel guide (first published as 'The Negro Motorist Green Book' and later as 'The Negro Travelers' Green Book'). In the guides Green reviewed hotels and restaurants which welcomed Black customers during the time of Jim Crow laws and racial segregation.

Back in 2013 the University of South Carolina created an interactive Green Book Map which visualized over 1,500 listings from the Spring 1956 Green Book. Unfortunately the University of South Carolina's interactive Green Book Map has suffered the Google Maps API kiss of death and now all the map tiles are stamped with unsightly 'For development purposes only' warnings. However there is no need to worry as you can peruse the new NYPL Navigating the Green Book route planner instead.

Navigating the Green Book allows you to plan a route anywhere in the USA and find hotels, restaurants and bars which were welcoming to African Americans during the times of segregation. The map attempts to show a restaurant every 250 miles and a lodging every 750 miles. You can read more about the map, the Green Book and the New York Public Libraries attempts to map the entries in the Green Book at the NYPL Digital Collections.

Mapping the Carbon Costs of Flying

Flying is one of the worst things that you can you do for the environment. Aircraft are just about the worst forms of transport in terms of the CO2 cost per passenger kilometer. The UK's Department for Transport claim that flying is responsible for at least 6.3% of the UK's CO2 emissions. Many environmentalists say that this is an underestimation.

The Flight Emissions Map allows you to calculate the carbon cost of every single air flight that you have taken. Using the map you can enter flights that you have taken or plan to take simply by clicking on cities on the map. Once you have entered each flight the map shows you the amount of CO2 emission of that flight in kilograms. You can enter more than one flight on the map and receive a carbon cost for each flight and an overall total.

The map calculates the total emissions of a flight based on an estimation of the CO2 emitted for each kilometer of travel. The Flight Emissions Map uses an equidistant azimuthal projection. The red lines on the map follow a great circle and each red line shows the equal distances from your selected point of departure.

Mapping the Approaching Apocalypse

Magyarország Húszezer év Múlva (Hungary in 20,000 Years) is a collection of four interactive maps which imagine what a post-apocalyptic Hungary might look like. I have no idea why living under the rule of Viktor Orbán would make Hungarians think about the end of the world, but the pessimistic developers of these maps have imagined four different scenarios that could lead to the end of human existence and then mapped out how these scenarios might change the way the world will look.

The Mad Max scenario (pictured above) imagines a Hungary which has succumbed to desertification after global warming or a nuclear war. The Water World scenario maps Hungary after some really dramatic rising sea levels. The Holnaputan scenario pictures Hungary in a future ice age. Finally the Jurassic Park scenario imagines a world which has returned to nature after the disappearance of man.

Each of these four Hungarian maps were created using Mapbox Studio which makes it very easy to change the colors of different base-map layers. Another example of changing different map features is Hans Hack's Green Berlin. This map changes the roads of Berlin into canals and footpaths. Every single piece of concrete in the city seems to have been replaced with grass on the Green Berlin map.

Another glimpse into the post-apocalyptic future can be found on Frequency 2156. Frequency 2156 is a radio station and Google Map that has been transmitted back through time from the year 2156. In the year 2156 the world is suffering from a twenty year long nuclear war.

Frequency 2156 appears to be gathering data about survivors of this global nuclear war. The map allows you to listen to the messages sent into the station from survivors around the world. You can really mess with the heads of those survivors by recording your own message on the map. Your message will then be transmitted forward through time to this future dystopian world.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Exploring the Moon

The LROC Lunar QuickMap is an interactive map of our nearest neighbor. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) is a system of three cameras mounted on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a robotic spacescraft currently orbiting the Moon. The Lunar Quickmap interactive is created from the high resolution images of the lunar surface captured by the LROC.

The LROC QuickMap includes a number of different map projections which allow you to view both the nearside and the farside of the moon. It also includes north and south pole polar projections of the moon and even a full 3D globe view. Using the map layers menu you can add or remove place-names and the locations of geologic features, such as craters and mare boundaries. The layers menu also allows you to add or remove lots of different types of lunar imagery captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera.

Moon Trek is another interactive map of the moon, which was created by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Caltech. The map allows you to explore the named features of the moon, learn about lunar exploration and access current research about our nearest neighbor. The map also includes a 3D globe of the moon and the ability to create your own fly-overs of the lunar surface.

Moon Trek has a number of different layers which can be added to the lunar map. These layers include imagery and observations from NASA's missions to the moon. Moon Trek also includes a number of different tools which allow you to measure distances on the map and create elevation plots. You can also use Moon Trek with VR headsets to take a virtual tour of the moon and even download data to 3D print selected areas of the moon's surface.

The Cheapest Flight to Every City in the World

Three researchers at MIT Senseable's Lab in Singapore have created an interactive map which shows the cheapest flight to every city in the world on any given date from your nearest airport. Using the Great Escape map you can search for any destination across the globe and find the cheapest flights for when you want to travel.

Enter a point of departure into the Great Escape and the interactive map will show you the live prices of the cheapest return flight to each and every city in the world from your nearest airport. To discover the cost of a return flight to any destination you just need to hover over its marker on the map. If you click on a city marker you can view the entire list of flights to that city. The map also includes options which allow you to filter the flights shown by weather, price, region, direct or indirect flights and whether you need a visa or not.

The flight price data shown on the map comes from the Skyscanner API and Kiwi API. The map itself was built using and Mapbox GL. At the moment the map can't show you one way tickets prices but I understand that option is in the pipeline and should be added to the map soon.

If you want to try an alternative to Great Escape you could try Google Flights, or skiplagged.

The 2019 Submarine Cable Map

Drum roll please ... the 2019 Telegeography Submarine Cable Map has arrived. Every year Telegeography releases a new updated version of its map of the global network of undersea telecommunication cables. This year's map highlights the huge recent building boom in submarine cables. This boom will see in the next few years around 107 new submarine cables being laid around the world, adding over 400,000 kilometers of new telecommunication cable to the global network.

A number of information insets along the bottom of the 2019 map help explain this new building boom. These include insets showing new countries which will soon be connected for the first time and the amount of new cables being laid in the different global regions. Content providers, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, are investing and driving much of this new building boom in submarine cables. An inset for each of these companies shows where each company is driving the construction in new submarine cable infrastructure.

You can still view previous versions of Telegeography's Submarine Cable maps. Here is Telegrogaphy's 2018 Submarine Cable Map. If you want to view the maps from previous years you can just change the year in the URL. For example, one of my favorite Telegeography maps can be found at This 2015 map was inspired by medieval and renaissance cartography and features not only a vintage map style but sea monsters, cartouches and map border illustrations.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Should Your Maps Talk?

Back in 2014 I used the fairly new (at the time) Web Speech API to create a simple Speaking Map. That map used reverse geocoding to speak the address of a location every time someone clicked on the map.

What I neglected to add to my Speaking Map was jokes. Which is where Alex wins out. Alex is a talking map which can understand a number of different spoken commands. You can ask Alex to zoom in and out on the map or to switch between aerial and topographical map layers. You can even tell Alex a location and it will center the map on that area. Alex's best feature, however, is its ability to tell Dad jokes. Ask Alex to tell you a joke and you can hear a really bad cartographically themed joke.

In the Maps Mania post accompanying my 2014 Speaking Map I mentioned how the Web Speech API could be used with driving directions to provide a simple navigation application. You could also use the Web Speech API in data visualizations to narrate some of the important facts that you want to impart with your visualization.

The Flourish visualization tool recently added a new feature they call 'Talkies' which allows you to add sound recordings to data visualizations. You can read more about Talkies in the blog post Why data visualisation needs a play button. Of course instead of using sound recordings you could use the Web Speech API instead. At the moment the artificial voices of the Web Speech API might be too annoying to use for narrating stories with maps. As the voices become more natural sounding this will probably change and Web Speech narration could become another valuable tool to add to your story maps and map data visualizations.

Earth's Light Mountains

Last year Jacob Wasilkowski released an interactive map which visualized Nasa’s nighttime lights data as as elevation data. In other words the Earth at Night map shows light pollution around the world in 3D as mountains of light.

NASA's so called Black Marble map is made by combining the best cloud-free satellite images of every land mass area of the Earth. The result is a map which shows the distribution of artificial lights around the world. Jacob has used NASA's data on light pollution to create an interactive map of the world which shows the brightest areas as high peaks and the darkest regions as valleys and plains.

Jacob has now released a 'how to' guide explaining how he created the map. Obviously converting NASA's light pollution map into a 3D elevation map includes a number of steps. One of these steps was to use chroma.js to convert every light pixel on the Black Marble map into a number range, which could then be used to visualize the luminosity values as elevation heights.

Using the metaphor of elevation is becoming a popular method of visualizing data on 3D maps. We've seen this most recently on the Pudding's Human Terrain interactive map. The Pudding's map shows population density across the globe using 3D population pyramids. The taller a pyramid block on the Pudding map then the higher the population.

The UK Child Poverty Map

In some areas of the UK over half of all children are now living in poverty. The levels of child poverty are highest in some of the UK's largest cities, particularly in London, Birmingham and Manchester. For example, in London's Bethnal Green 54.18% of children are living in poverty and in Birmingham's Ladywood neighborhood 53.06% of children are growing up in poverty.

The End Child Poverty coalition has released a new Child Poverty map of the UK. The map shows the level of child poverty in every parliamentary constituency in the UK. The darkest colored areas on the map are those with the highest levels of child poverty. You can hover over individual constituencies to view the number of children in the area growing up in child poverty and what percentage that is of the local child population.

OpenDataCommunities has mapped England's Index of Income Deprivation 2015. This map includes an option to view the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI). This allows you to view the proportion of children under the age of 16 that live in low income households as calculated by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

I 💛💗💖 Maps

I saw a few Valentines Day themed maps this week. None of them were that interesting. I did end up writing about Esri's map of Britain's Most Romantic Roads but that was really only because I wanted to explore the toponym of the 168 Love Lanes on Esri's map - the original meaning of which is maybe not quite as romantic as Esri imagines (John Stow in 1598 said London's 'Love Lane' was "so called of Wantons". In other words Love Lane in London got its name from the prostitutes who worked there).

The only interesting Valentines Day maps released this week were the Cordiform Map Projections 💛💗💖 posted to Observable. This Observable Notebook shows you how to make heart-shaped or cordiform Stab-Werner map projections. These equal-area map projections are heart-shaped, so the perfect map projection for Valentines Day. The Cordiform Map Projections 💛💗💖 post on Observable includes links to two vintage maps which also use a Werner projection.

Amazon's Lord of the Rings Map

Amazon is busy creating a Lord of the Rings Prime Video series. Little is known about the television series, as of yet, but there is a Lord of Rings on Prime official Twitter account. On Wednesday that account made it's first Tweet, which was a short Tolkien quote,

Yesterday that Tweet was followed up with a link to an Amazon Prime interactive map of Middle Earth. The Amazon Prime map is a neat representation of Middle Earth, although it doesn't contain any place-name labels. The map does include a few fantasy map staples, such as a vintage looking compass rose, tattered edges and fold marks. There is also a download link which allows you to save the map as an image file.

This blank interactive map of Middle-Earth is an interesting marketing ploy, which is obviously little more than a teaser for the Amazon Prime television series. If you are a real fan of Tolkien's novels then you will probably have more fun exploring the interactive maps created by the LOTR Project. These include interactive maps of both Beleriand and Middle Earth.

The LOTR Project interactive maps include place-name labels and lots of optional layers which allow you to overlay time-lines, route and events from Tolkein's novels directly on top of the interactive maps.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Do You Speak the Queen's English?

The most popular interactive page on the New York Times website in 2013 was How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk. This interactive feature asked readers to answer questions about the words they use and how they pronounce them. From the answers given to these language questions the NYT was able to create an interactive map showing where the reader was from in the United States.

Now the New York Times has released a similar interactive feature which can tell Irish and British readers where they are from. If you answer 25 questions about the words you use and how you say them then the NYT will create a heat map identifying where it thinks you were raised. The newspaper will also show you a heat map after every single question you answer showing you where your answer is most and least common.

The British-Irish Dialect Quiz just about managed to identify where I was raised (pictured in the map above). I grew-up just within the southern tip of the NYT's heat map generated from my answers. However I have spent most of my adult life in London which could be why it thinks I'm from a little further north. than my childhood home.

America's 2018 Oil Spills

On average there were around 11 oils spills a month in the United States during 2018. The largest oil spill was in April in Superior, Wisconsin. 11 people were injured in the incident when a storage tank exploded.

You can view all the 137 oil spills that occurred in the United States during 2018 on Resource Watch's interactive map. The 2018 Oil Spills Map uses data from NOAA to plot the location of every one of the 137 oil spills reported in 2018. Louisiana was the state with the most oil spills last year. There were 52 spills in Louisiana (or close offshore) in 2018. Texas was the second highest with 13 spills and Alaska was third with 10 spills. The Resource Watch report into 2018's oil spills includes details on each of America's largest oil spills in 2018.

If you want to know where the US's oil wells are actually located then you can explore the Washington Post's United States of Oil and Gas map. The Washington Post map (shown above) shows oil wells in green and natural gas wells in pink.

In total there are more than 900,000 active oil and gas wells in the USA. The Washington Post article accompanying the map explores the boom in oil and gas production in the United States since 2010. The article includes a number of other maps and visualizations showing where this oil and gas boom has occurred.

The Resource Watch oil spill map shows a large cluster of spills in the Gulf of Mexico. The Washington Post reports that since 2003 "natural gas production in the gulf has declined more than 70 percent". Despite this decline the dangers of offshore drilling means the Gulf of Mexico is still a hot-spot on the oil spill map.

Mapping Asia's Most Powerful Countries

According to the Lowy Institute the USA is the most powerful country in Asia. I'm not sure I agree that the United States is in Asia but I'm not going to argue that it exercises a lot of influence in the continent. According to the Institute's Asia Power Index the next most powerful country in Asia is China.

The Asia Power Index ranks 25 Asian countries and territories in terms of their power using eight different measures and 114 indicators. You can explore all the country rankings on the Asia Power Index Interactive map. The main eight measures of power visualized on the map are: economic, military, diplomatic influence, cultural influence, future trends, resilience, economic relationships and defense networks.

If you select one of these main power measures then the large country markers are resized to show each country's score. The map side-panel also lists all the countries by their rankings. Each of the main measures of power includes a number of individual sub-measures which you can also view on the map. For example the military capability measure includes sub-measures which allow you to see how the 25 different Asian countries rank for defense spending, armed forces, weapons & platforms, signature capabilities and Asian military posture.

Even though the Asian Power Index shows the USA as the most powerful country in Asia it is China that tops its rankings for future trends. China also tops the rankings for the measures for diplomatic influence and economic relationships. One of the reasons why China is now exercising so much influence in Asia is because of its investment in the region.

China has provided over $1.9 billion in aid to Pacific Island countries in the last ten years. You can view how much Pacific Island countries have received in aid from China on another interactive map from the Lowy Institute. Chinese Aid in the Pacific provides information on Chinese aid projects in the Pacific islands region since 2006.

The map uses scaled markers to indicate the amount of Chinese aid received by each Pacific Island country. The map sidebar also allows you to filter the amount of aid provided by type of aid and by the sector funded. If you zoom in on the map you can view details on the individual projects which have been funded by the Chinese, including details on the amount of aid provided and a description of each funded project.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Best Brewery Road Trip Ever

If you are tired of the usual bog standard Saturday night pub crawl and you want to take on something a little more ambitious then you need Flowing Data's Brewery Road Trip. This map provides you with the shortest possible route that takes in all the best American breweries.

If you undertake this mega journey then you will visit all 71 American breweries in RateBeer's list of the top 100 breweries in the world. The route was calculated using Randy Olsen's algorithm that has been used many times to create optimal road trip maps for many different themes. Here are a few more optimal road trips that you might want to consider:

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

If you are interested in how these optimal trips are calculated then there is a detailed explanation provided with Randy Olsen's Optimal Road Trip Across the U.S..

A Strip Map of Mars

In 1675 John Ogilby published Britannia, a series of strip maps of roads in England and Wales. In 2019 the New York Times also published a strip map. Only this strip map shows the journey of a robot on Mars.

On Wednesday NASA announced that the Mars Opportunity rover was no longer working. In June Opportunity went into hibernation during a dust storm on Mars. It was hoped that after the atmosphere cleared Opportunity would reboot and continue working. However after months of waiting yesterday NASA announced that the Opportunity mission was over.

The NYT's NASA’s Opportunity Rover Dies on Mars includes a fantastic strip map which allows you to follow the journey of the Mars rover from its landing in Eagle Crater in 2014 to its final resting place in Perseverance Valley. As you scroll down on the NYT visualization you follow Opportunity's path using fantastic satellite imagery of the red planet. You can explore the 28 miles that Opportunity traveled in a few seconds. Opportunity took 5,111 Martian days to travel that distance. It is definitely worth taking a few minutes yourself to explore the wonderful aerial imagery in the NYT's strip map of Opportunity's exploration of Mars.

Some other examples of interactive strip maps include Propublica's Killing the Colorado, a journey down the endangered Colorado river, and the New York Times' A Rogue State Along Two Rivers. A Rogue State Along Two Rivers explores the rise of ISIS by following the paths of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

The UK's Most Romantic Streets

There are 168 Love Lanes in Great Britain. You can view them all on Esri Valentine's Day interactive map, Britain's Most Romantic Roads. The Esri map has 1,453 romantic streets in total. As well as showing the location of all 168 Love Lanes Esri's map includes a Kissing Tree Lane in Stratford-upon-Avon, a Partnership Way in Blackburn and a Heart’s Delight Road in Kent.

The toponym 'Love Lane' presumably originates from being a location which was locally known as where people went to make out or engage in sexual activity. These locations are often known colloquially as 'Lovers' Lane'. John Stow in his Survey of London in 1598 described London's Love Lane as "so called of Wantons". In other words Love Lane was so called because of its prostitutes.

The Esri map doesn't include any Gropecunt Lanes. This was another popular name for roads which were known for prostitution. One reason why this road name hasn't made it to Esri's map is that the last Gropecunt Lane in the UK was renamed to something more delicate in 1561. Britain's Most Romantic Roads also, disappointingly, doesn't include Tickle Cock Bridge in Castleford.

This romantic themed map also doesn't include Lovers' Leap in the Peak District. Perhaps the existence of a Lovers' Leap was deemed to be a little too depressing for Valentine's Day. A local legend claims that Lovers' Leap was so named because it is where a young woman killed herself. The woman had been told that her lover had been killed in the Napoleonic wars. She therefore threw herself off the promontory which is now known as Lovers' Leap. Of course it was discovered soon after her death that her lover was alive and well.

Other once vulgar street names in London which have since been changed are Pissing Alley and Shite Burn Lane (now called Sherborne Lane).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Weather Forecast for 2080

In the year 2080 the climate in Washington D.C. will resemble the current climate experienced in the state of Mississippi. Portland will experience a climate similar to California's current climate. And Los Angeles will have a climate which resembles present day Las Palmas in Mexico.

You can find out what kind of climate your city can expect in 2080 on the University of Maryland's new interactive map, What Will the Climate Feel Like in 60 Years. The map is based on work by scientists Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert Dunn, who used different climate models to find the contemporary climatic analogs for the weather that 540 North American urban areas can expect in the late 21st century. The study behind the map revealed that the climate in U.S. cities will significantly change over this century, becoming similar to contemporary climates which are hundreds of kilometers away.

Using the interactive map you can click on a town or city to discover which current location has a climate which is similar to the climate you can expect in 2080. The map provides two different analogs for each urban area. One shows the climate analog based on a high emissions climate model and the other view provides a climate analog based on future where we have reduced emissions.

If you live outside the U.S. you can still find your climate analog for the year 2080. For example in 2080 London will experience weather which resembles the climate in Lima today. Frankfurt in Germany will be as hot as Malawi and living in Berlin will be like living in Lesotho in southern Africa.

You can find your 2080 climate twin using The Summer of 2080 Will Be This Warm interactive map. If you enter your location or click on your location on the map you can view the town or city in the world which has a climate now which is similar to the climate you can expect in your location in the year 2080. The map uses two different climate models. This allows you to find your climate twin for a global warming scenario of 4.2 degrees or 1.8 degrees.

When you search for your climate twin the map displays some details of the kind of weather experienced by your twin now (and which you can expect to experience in the year 2080). This includes the annual rainfall and the number of extreme hot and cold days.

1.4 Million New York Collisions

Times Square witnessed more pedestrian injuries from motor vehicle collisions between 2012 and 2019 than any other location in New York. The most cyclists injured during that period was on Delancey Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. You can explore more motor vehicle collision trends in New York on the Motor Vehicle Collisions Map.

The Motor Vehicle Collisions Map uses New York Police Department data to visualize 1.4 million collisions in New York City between July 2012 and January 2019. Using the map you can find out where the most motor vehicle collisions occurred and the locations which suffered the most injuries and fatalities. The map uses colored hexagons to show the numbers of the selected collisions by area. The area size of these hexagons can be adjusted in the map menu.

If you click on the 'Total Collisions' option in the map menu you can change the map to show the areas with the highest number of injuries or fatalities. You can also select to change the map to visualize the number of motorists, cyclists or pedestrians injured or killed.

The Vision Zero initiative in New York plans to end traffic accident deaths and injuries on the city's roads. The City of New York has released its own interactive map, Vision Zero View, to provide detailed information on traffic injury and fatality crashes within New York since 2009. You can also access real-time information about conditions on the city's roads using the Vision Zero Dashboard.

The Vision Zero Dashboard provides a mapped dashboard which allows you to access information in real-time about traffic on the city's roads. The Vision Zero Dashboard interactive map shows real-time traffic, accidents, traffic cameras, air quality and weather conditions in New York City.

You can access the different data views on the map using the menu at the bottom of the map. For example, if you select 'Traffic' you can view a real-time overview of traffic on the city's streets. Roads with heavy traffic are colored red on the map. Sections of roads with heavy traffic are also shown along the bottom of the map with details about the current average speed on these sections of road.

Delhi - A City Born of Partition

After the partition of India in 1947 half a million Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan arrived in Delhi. The arrival of half a million extra citizens changed Delhi for ever. In fact the impact of their arrival on the city itself can be observed by comparing the map of Delhi in 1942 to the map of Delhi in 1956.

Delhi - 1942 vs 1956 allows you to directly compare a street map of Delhi in 1942 with a street map of the city from 1956. This interactive visualization uses a circular overlay of the 1956 map which you can move around on top of the 1942 map to view how Delhi changed drastically in short a very short period of time.

The map is a neat visualization of the historical change witnessed by Delhi, which is explained further in the the Hindu Time's article The Decade that Changed Delhi. This article explains how large parts of modern day Delhi grew out of the post-partition refugee camps that sprung up on the edge of the city in 1947.

The Hindu Times article uses the same 1942 and 1956 maps to look closely at some of the new neighborhoods which grew out of the arrival of so many new residents after partition, It also includes a visualization which allows you to switch between the two maps to show the extent by which Delhi changed in such a short space of time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Making Building Footprint Posters

I have been inspired by Maptime's Street Patterns tool for making street pattern posters to make my own building footprint posters. Maptime's Street Patterns is a wizard for making map posters from street patterns which can be found at different locations around the world. The tool uses data from OpenStreetMap to create small circular images consisting of just the street map of your chosen location.

I applied some of the tricks used by Maptime's Street Patterns tool to make the above building footprints map of Lafayette Park in San Francisco. You can make a similar map poster for yourself for any location in the world by following these two simple steps.

1. Open Overpass Turbo

In Overpass Turbo navigate to the area that you want to map and enter the following query:

// gather results
  // query part for: “building”
// print results
out body;
out skel qt;

Then press 'run'.

Overpass Turbo will highlight all the building footprints in your current map view. Now click on 'Export' and select 'copy as GeoJSON'.

2. Open

Open and past in the geoJSON you saved from Overpass Turbo. The building footprint data you copied will now be loaded onto the map. Now if you open your browser's developer tools you can cut and paste the SVG element data from the #leaflet-map-pane .leaflet-overlay-pane DOM element (see screenshot above).

If you cut and paste the SVG data element into a text editor you can save it as an SVG image, for example as 'Lafayette.svg'. Once you've saved your SVG image you can play with it in any SVG editor, such as Inkscape.

Because you saved the SVG data in a text editor you can also add a little color to your footprint data. Just select '#555555' in the text and replace all instances with your own color. You might also want to remove all instances of fill-opacity="0.5".

Mapping American Debt

Medical debt affects many Americans. Nearly 20% of Americans have delinquent medical debt on their credit reports. Even those with health insurance in America can still be burdened with huge medical debts. In fact around 60% of those with medical debt have health insurance.

The Urban Institute's Debt in America visualizes medical debt levels in every county in the USA. The map allows you to view the median debt levels in a county and compare them to the medical debt levels for the state and the country as a whole.

Medical debt is not the only area in which many Americans find themselves in debt. 42 million Americans are also in student debt. In fact $1.3 trillion in student debt is owed by Americans. Debt in America also allows you to view the county, state and country levels of student debt and auto-loan debt across the USA.

How Green is London?

The Mayor of London has released an interactive map which visualizes London's green infrastructure. The map shows where Londoner's have good or poor access to open green spaces, such as parks, gardens, trees and rivers. The tool is designed to highlight where there is more and less need for investment in London's green infrastructure.

The Green Infrastructure Focus interactive map can be used to view a number of environmental layers. These include layers such as access to green public spaces, air quality, road & rail noise and cycling flow. The map also includes a 'composite score' which allows you to see a combined score for all the different variables. This layer gives an overall score which gives you a rough idea of how 'green' every area of London is.

The Green Infrastructure Focus map also includes a number of demographic layers which allow you to view such things as population density and income deprivation. You can also view areas identified with worrying air quality levels and a layer which shows London's green canopy coverage.

Nitrogen dioxide emitted by motor vehicles has been above the legal limit in London for longer than most people care to remember. This means that pedestrians & cyclists can't really avoid pollution in the capital. However it is possible to cut your exposure to air pollution in half by avoiding the city's busiest roads.

The Cross River Partnership can help you find a healthier route for your walking and cycling journeys with their interactive map, the Clean Air Route Finder. This map allows you to enter a starting point and a destination for your walk and then suggests routes that avoid the busiest roads.

The Clean Air Route Finder in fact suggests three different routes for each query. The red route shows the most polluted walk or ride. The green suggestion shows you the route with the lowest pollution. The amber route is somewhere in the middle. The map also tells you the distance and the estimated walking or biking time for each route.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Sydney No Harbour Bridge

DX Lab's Pano-scope allows you to view some of the vintage historic panoramic photographs in the New South Wales State Library Collection. The library owns historical panoramic photographs taken in Sydney and elsewhere in New South Wales dating back as early as 1876.

Pano-scope is a wonderful way to explore the NSW of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It allows you to see how Sydney (pictured above) looked before the Sydney Opera House and before the Sydney Harbour Bridge were built.

The Pano-scope viewer uses an interactive mapping interface. This means that users can pan and zoom in on the vintage panoramas using the familiar controls of online maps. Pano-scope was created using Pannellum, which is a lightweight, open source panorama viewer. You can see more examples of the panorama viewer in action in the Pannellum library documentation (including an example of the viewer being used to display a 360 degree panoramic video).

You can also make simple interactive maps from panoramic images using Leaflet.js. Check out this Maps Mania post on Making Vintage Panoramic Maps for more examples of panoramic maps and instructions on how to make them yourself.

To the Kuiper Belt & Beyond

Josh Worth's If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel is a scaled model of the Solar System. The model takes you on a 5,906,510,212 km journey from the sun out as far as Pluto. Luckily for us in this model each pixel is 3474.8 km, so we can cut down the journey time a little.

If you haven't got the time to travel to Pluto today then perhaps I can interest you instead in a quick journey to Mars. How Far is it to Mars? works on a similar principal to If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel. However on this journey the Earth is 1 hundred pixels wide and the Solar System is scaled appropriately. We also don't need to travel quite as far.

If you click on the down arrow you will travel at an equivalent speed of three times the speed of light. A real journey to Mars would take around five to seven months from Earth. Luckily at this scale and at the equivalent of 3x light speed we can make the journey in just a few seconds.

If you've been to Mars and back then I have another trip that you might want to try. Come with me now on a Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Through the porthole on your right you can observe the Gutenberg Discontinuity, as we slowly pass through the Earth's Lower Mantle into the Outer Core.

The slight discomfort that you feel at this depth is caused by the 1.35 million atmospheres, which is roughly equivalent to 17,800 elephants standing on your head. If you survive those elephants then during your journey you are presented with a series of interesting facts about what you can find as you get closer to the center of the Earth.

One thing to keep in mind as you scroll down the page is the shifting scale used in the visualization. A display at the bottom of the screen updates with the current scale and a handy guide to the distance traveled.

Now for the big one. We've traveled to the centre of the Earth and out as far as Pluto. Now it's time to take a journey into outer space with How Big is Space. How Big is Space takes you on a journey from Earth to the very edge of the solar system. As you scroll down the page you will leave Earth's atmosphere, pass the planets and the Kuiper Belt before passing Voyager 1 & 2 on your journey to the outer edges of our solar system.

As in the Journey to the Centre of the Earth the How Big is Space visualization uses a shifting scale. A display at the bottom of the screen updates with the current scale and a handy guide to the distance traveled.

How to Make Street Pattern Posters

Maptime Amsterdam #5: Street Patterns is a great tool for making map posters of the city street patterns which can be found at different locations around the world. The tool uses data from OpenStreetMap to create small circular images consisting of just the street map of your chosen location.

You can see an example of the map images that Street Patterns outputs in my little Tokyo map above. Street Patterns doesn't only help you create your own map posters it also explains the whole process it uses in creating these Street Pattern maps. So while using Street Patterns to create your own map poster you also learn how to use Overpass Turbo and Turf.js.

The Street Patterns tutorial shows you how to query OpenStreetMap and retrieve the road data for any location. Once you have downloaded the GeoJSON data for the streets that you want the tutorial then shows you how to use Turf.js to tidy up your data and create a circular outline around your streets. Once you have a nice looking circular street pattern of your chosen location Street Patterns then shows you how to save your pattern as an SVG image.

You don't need any previous experience of using map data to make your own poster with Street Patterns. The Street Patterns tool does all the work for you and is great fun to use. It is also a great way to start learning a little bit about using OpenStreetMap data, Overpass Turbo and Turf.js.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

The 8-Bit Atlas

The 8-bit Map of the USA is an animated map of the United States in the style of a vintage 8-bit computer game. This pictorial map features 8-bit representations of popular tourist destinations from across the country.

The 8-Bit Map of the USA is just an animated GIF so you can't actually zoom in on areas of the map. If you want to explore locations around the world in a little more detail (as much detail as 8-Bit allows) then you could refer to 8-Bit Cities.

Back in 2010 Bret Camper released 8-Bit City - New York, an interactive 8-Bit map of New York, which resembled the maps used in 1980's computer games.

Since 2010 8-Bit City has expanded in scope and you can now view 8-Bit maps of 18 cities around the world. These 8-bit maps use data from OpenStreetMap which is then processed in a custom rendering engine, built by Brett, to create the map tiles for each interactive city map.

If you want to view a fully interactive 8-Bit map of the world then you should have a look at the Super Mario Map of the World. This interactive map was styled in Mapbox Studio to resemble the 8-bit maps used in the Super Mario computer games.

If you want to learn more about how the map data was styled to resemble an 8-Bit map then you can read the Designing a Super Mario Map with Mapbox Studio Classic on the Mapbox Blog.