Saturday, October 12, 2019

Build it and They Will Come

From 1909 to 1970 Forbes Field was home to the Pittsburgh Pirates. This baseball park was also the first home of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team. In 1971 the park was demolished and cleared for use by the University of Pittsburgh.

At some point during the first few years after its construction the Detroit Publishing Company took 5 photographs of Forbes Field which, when stitched together, provide a panoramic view of the baseball stadium. You can zoom in and pan around this panorama on my interactive Forbes Field map.

I used Microsoft's Image Composite Editor to create the panorama. To turn the panorama into an interactive map I adapted the Non-geographical Maps example from the Leaflet tutorials. This allows you to easily create an interactive map from any image or photograph. You can also view the original 5 photographs taken by the Detroit Publishing Co. on the Library of Congress website.

If you like this interactive view of historical Pittsburgh you might also like the panoramic maps I created of a General View of Detroit 1908 and Indianapolis 1907.

Mapping the Heat of this Summer

The BBC has used data from thousands of weather stations to map all the temperature records set in the northern hemisphere over the summer of 2019. Almost 400 locations recorded their hottest ever recorded temperatures during May-August of this year. In Hundreds of temperature records broken over summer the BBC visualizes them all on an animated map.

The BBC's map animates through the summer months adding all the record temperatures set in the northern hemisphere by date. The map uses different colored markers to show records which were the hottest ever recorded on that day, in that month or for all time. As you can see from the screenshot above Europe in particular witnessed an unprecedented hot summer. France, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands all recorded their highest ever temperatures over this summer. In the United States 30 all time temperature records were broken.

Last year also had a very hot summer in the northern hemisphere. The BBC has also mapped out all the temperature records broken from May-August 2018.

Friday, October 11, 2019

California Wildfires and Power Outages

Wildfire risk is once again a topic of fierce debate in California. The Pacific Gas and Electric company has cut electricity and gas to large areas of California as a preventative measure against wildfires. Because of fires being caused by trees falling on power lines PG&E has been blamed for two deadly wildfires over the past two years. In order to avoid liability for wildfires this year the company has decided to deny electricity to millions of Californians.

The Los Angeles Times has used data provided by PG&E to map out where the company is shutting down power. Where PG&E may shut off power shows the areas where PG&E says the power may potentially go out. PG&E are not the only company to be cutting power in California. The LA Times has also released an interactive map which shows Where SoCal Edison may shut off power in California. This map shows areas without power and areas being monitored for possible shut-off.

If you are worried about wildfires in California you might like the Every Building's Wildfire Risk in California interactive map. This map colors every building in California based on a modeled risk of wildfire. The map does't include a FAQ so I'm not exactly sure how fire-risk has been modeled but the map does provide links to the sources for the data used in this modelling.

Obviously the map only provides a general risk from wildfire. That risk is not calculated based on the current weather conditions or the existence of currently burning nearby wildfires. For the latest up-to-date information on wildfires in California you should refer to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Mapping US Auto Emissions

The New York Times has mapped out the CO2 emissions of roads across the United States. CO2 emissions in the US have been on the rise since 2013. Much of this rise has been in and around cities.

The Most Detailed Map of Auto Emissions in America shows the CO2 emissions for 2017. If you click on a metro area on the map you can view how much emissions have risen in total since 1990 and how much emissions have risen per person (or decreased). The data for the map comes from Boston University’s Database of Road Transportation Emissions.

Below the interactive map is a graph showing the levels of CO2 road emissions in the most polluting metro areas from 1990-2017. This graph shows that emissions are rising across the United States. The graph also allows you to see which areas are producing the most CO2 emissions. New York tops this list, followed by LA and Dallas-Fort Worth. As you progress through the article this graph flips from showing the total levels of CO2 emissions in each area to a population adjusted view. By per capita emissions New York is actually one of the lowest polluters of all metro areas on the graph.

Chronological Maps with Flourish

Flourish, the data visualization studio, has released a new interactive mapping format which allows you to show geographical data changing over time.

The new Point Map template allows you to show points on a map over time, either by rate or cumulatively. Using the template you can show events occurring over time as points on an interactive map, which can be scaled and colored based on the data. Flourish's introductory blog post on the new template, Visualize large geographic datasets with the “Point map” template, has an example map which shows AirBnB bookings made in London over the summer of 2018.

Flourish has also created another demo of the Point Map template showing the jaw-droppping rise of AirBnB in Istanbul. This interactive map shows the rise of AirBnB properties in the Turkish capital over recent years. One of the big selling points of Point Map is that you don't need to do any coding and can easily set up a map if you have a spreadsheet of time based location data. Another useful feature in the Point Map template is that you can zoom and pan the map to easily pick out features in the data in a story map format. You can see this in action on the demo maps by simply clicking on the forward and back buttons above the maps.

You can also show geographical data changing over time using Carto's Torque library. Torque is a JavaScript library for animating data on an interactive map. Torque does require you to be able to code. However because of this it does give you more control over how you wish to present and visualize your time based geographical data than Flourish's new Point Map template.

In Search of Station Street

In Medieval Streets and Modern Roads I hypothesized a theory that in England we largely stopped using the suffix 'Street' when naming our roads around 1800. Before the late Fifteenth Century the word 'Road' was never used for street names in England because this sense of the word only emerged in the late Sixteenth Century. Before the Sixteenth Century lots of roads were called 'Street'.

My theory was that since the word 'Road' came into use after the Seventeenth Century the word 'Street' largely went out of fashion when naming new roads. In Medieval Streets and Modern Roads I gave the example of Bournemouth. The town of Bournemouth, on the south coast, was founded in 1810 by Lewis Tregonwell. Before the town was built the area was mostly deserted heathland with very few existing roads. A search for roads called 'Street' in Bournemouth returns only one result - 'Orchard Street'. So in this town, built entirely after 1800, there is only one road called 'Street'. In Bournemouth there are lots of streets named 'Road'.

However one example is not enough to confirm my argument. I have therefore been wondering ever since about how else I could test my theory. This weekend I suddenly struck upon the idea of searching for Station Roads and Station Streets. The first railway station in the world was built in 1807. Therefore it is unlikely that there were many 'Station Roads' or 'Station Streets' before this time. If my theory that the word 'Street' went out of fashion around 1800 is actually correct we should find very few Stations Streets and many more Station Roads.

I therefore used Overpass Turbo to query OpenStreetMap for roads in England called 'Station Road' and 'Station Street'. Here's how the query for Station Street is formed

way(area.boundaryarea) ["name"~"Station Street"];
// print results
out body;
out skel qt;

From my search I found that in England there are 5,565 streets called 'Station Road' and only 181 roads named 'Station Street'. So for every 'Station Street' in England there are over 300 Station Roads.

My theory was looking very good!

Today I thought of another way I could test my theory. In England we do like to name places for our royal family. During and immediately after the reign of Queen Victoria (1807-1901) a lot of roads were named for Victoria and Albert. If my theory is right then there should be lots of Victoria Roads and lots of Albert Roads and very few Victoria Streets and Albert Streets.

I turned once again to Overpass Turbo. My search of OpenStreetMap data found 1,022 Victoria Roads and 598 Victoria Streets. So Queen Victoria appears to debunk my theory. While there are significantly more Victoria Roads than Victoria Streets there are still a large proportion of roads named 'Street'. In this case the word 'Street' doesn't appear to have gone significantly out of fashion after 1800. The result is even closer for roads named for Albert. There are 498 Albert Roads and 341 Albert Streets in England.

So my theory no longer looks so good.

However I haven't completely given up on the idea. Even the roads named for Victoria & Albert show that 'Road' was used more than 'Street' for these roads. I also wonder whether a lot of these roads named 'Victoria Street' and 'Albert Street' may have been old existing pre-1800 roads which simply had their names changed from 'Something Street' to 'Victoria' or 'Albert' Street. I therefore need some more ideas about how I can test my theory

To be continued ... (probably)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Extreme Earth

The Globe of Extremes is an interactive 3D globe which pinpoints some of the most extreme places on Earth. Give the globe a spin and you can discover some fascinating facts about planet Earth. If you click on the orange markers on the globe you will learn about the most distant point from land, the altitude with the highest permanent human settlement and who was the first person to reach the lowest point on Earth.

If you want to discover how to make an extreme 3D globe then you need An interactive 3D globe of extremes - a DIY mapping guide. This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to use the ArcGIS API for JavaScript to create an interactive 3D globe just like the Globe of Extremes. Each step in the tutorial has its own commit on GitHub (so its very easy to cheat if you want). Among other things the guide shows you how to add a custom background to your globe, how to add exaggerated terrain and how to add clouds.

The tutorial also explains how you can add data to your own 3D globe using a GeoJSON layer. This means that it is very easy to update the 3D globe so that it displays your very own geographical data.

The Birth of an Iceberg

The British Antarctic Survey's Halley Research Station is famous for discovering the hole in the ozone layer. The hole in the ozone layer was first discovered at Halley in 1985. Measurements of ozone have been made at Halley every year since the base was established in 1956. Unfortunately a crack in the Brunt Ice Shelf led to the station being abandoned over the winter of 2017. This evacuation of the station led to a gap in the station's historical records of ozone levels.

You can learn more about the crack in the Brunt Ice Shelf from ABC's fascinating The Making of an Iceberg. In 2013 a rift in the ice shelf began cracking near the British base. This rift has since grown so large that eventually it will slice off a large area of the Brunt Ice Shelf and create a gigantic iceberg. The ABC story makes use of satellite imagery to show the perpetual drift of the glacier, the cracks that have appeared in recent years and the size of other large icebergs which have calved off the Brunt Ice Shelf and from other ice shelves.

You can learn more about the amazing Halley Research Station on the British Antarctic Survey website. Halley VI, the current station, is a huge structure consisting of eight modules. Each of these modules are jacked up on large hydraulic legs which keep the station above any accumulation of snow. Giant retractable skis on the bottom of these hydraulic legs allow the scientists to move the station when cracks in the ice shelf might threaten the station.

The World's Biggest Pub Crawl

There are 339 pubs in the UK called the Red Lion. It is the most popular name for pubs. If you had a pint in every single Red Lion you would have a very serious drinking problem. But that didn't stop The Pudding from creating a Red Lion pub crawl - a 5,213 mile journey around the UK visiting all 339 Red Lions.

Of course The Pudding didn't stop there. In Ye Olde Mad-Lib Pub Crawl Generator The Pudding takes a detailed look at the most popular pub names in the UK and has devised an interactive map which can create a pub crawl for any of the UK's most popular pub names. For example if you can't manage 339 pubs then you could take the Black Lion pub crawl instead. There are only 32 pubs called Black Lion in the UK so this pub crawl is a little more manageable. Mind you it is still 1,296 miles long.

There are around 50,000 pubs in the UK. If you want to visit all of them then you need the University of Waterloo's UK Pub Crawl Map. This interactive map provides the shortest possible route around 49,687 pubs in the UK. The journey is 63,739,687 meters long. That is 63,739.687 kilometers or 39,606 miles.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Tracking Trump's Approval Ratings

Every month Morning Consult maps President Trump's approval ratings. In September Trump only had a net positive approval rating in 18 states. In the other 32 states the president has a negative approval rating.

All the states on the Tracking Trump interactive map are colored to show the level of Trump's net approval rating. If you click on a state you can view a chart showing the percentage of voters in the state who approve and disapprove of the president for every month since Jan 2017. The map also includes a timeline control which allows you to view Trump's net approval rating in each state over time.

The latest view, for September, definitely seems to show more states showing more disapproval for the President. This may suggest that Trump's appeals to foreign countries to try to find dirt on his opponents has had a negative effect on his standing. Of the 18 states where Trump still shows a net positive approval rating 5 of them only have a net approval rating of 1 or 2%. It will be interesting to see which way these five states swing as the impeachment of the president continues.

FiveThirtyEight's How Popular is Donald Trump also tracks the president's approval rating over time. Their latest approval rating has Trump on 41.6%. After 992 days the only president to have a lower approval rating was Jimmy Carter. Carter failed to win a second term. However it is also true that Trump, after 992 days, is only just over a percentage point lower than Barack Obama was at the same stage of his presidency (42.9%). Obama did go on to win a second term.

President Trump's figures are similar on other approval rating averages. Real Clear Politics has the number of those approving of Trump on 43% and those disapproving on 54%. The Huffington Post Pollster has the president on  43.1% approve and 50.9% disapprove.

What if Your Representative Were a Goth?

What if Your Alderman Were Goth wins the award for the weirdest interactive map of the year. The map itself is easy enough to understand. Just click on a Chicago electoral ward and you can view a  picture of the ward's alderman photoshopped to look like a goth. What is less easy to understand is why?

I don't think I've seen a goth in real life for about seven years. I think its also been nearly that long since I last saw someone using the Google Maps API. My guess therefore is that the map was designed to provide some sort of nostalgic appeal for those in a Proustian search for times lost.

Or perhaps its just a misguided attempt at humor.

A Crowdsourced Map of the World

XYZ Drawful is an experimental map which allows anyone in the world to draw on an interactive map. The result is a map of the world which is overlaid with the scribbles and drawings of hundreds of different users.


There are a number of different tools which you can use to draw on XYZ Drawful. Select the 'Draw' and 'Add new feature' options from the map sidebar and you can select your favorite drawing tool. These include lines, circles and rectangles, which are fairly self-explanatory. It also includes a freehand tool, which allows you to draw at will.


If you don't like the contributions made by other users then you can wipe them from the map. To delete a contribution simply select it on the map and click on the bin icon.


If you want to view and draw on XYZ Drawful on a mobile device then you might find the mobile version of the map a little easier to use.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Your Weekly Drought Update

Currently 39% of the United States is dry or in drought conditions. This information comes from the University Of Colorado Boulder Water Desk. The Waterdesk has released three interactive maps which provide the latest data on U.S. drought, precipitation and snowpack conditions.

The Weekly Drought Reports Map uses data from the National Drought Mitigation Center to provide a weekly update on drought conditions. The map uses five different colors to shows the areas of the U.S. currently experiencing dry or drought conditions. The timeline at the bottom of the map allows you to explore drought conditions over time, since the beginning of this century.

The Monthly Average Precipitation Map visualizes rain levels for every month from 1981 to the present. If you click on a state on the map you can view the total precipitation for every month of this year and how this compares to the monthly averages for the selected state. The Monthly Snowpack Map shows the daily snowpack estimates since October 2003. If you select a state on the map you can view the snowpack estimates for any date and view a chart showing the snowpack totals in the state for every day since Oct 2003.

A Panoramic View of 1907 Indianapolis

The Detroit Publishing Company's vintage photographs of America are a great resource for exploring the United States of the early Twentieth Century. When visiting cities the photographers of the Detroit Publishing Co would often find a high building from which to take a series of bird's eye view photographs. When stitched together these pictures can be made into one long panoramic image of the city.

Indianapolis 1907 is an interactive Leaflet map which allows you to explore a panoramic view of the city of Indianapolis in 1907. The panorama looks west towards the Indiana State House and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. The panorama provides a fascinating view of the city as it looked over one hundred years ago. Aside from the State House and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument very few of the buildings in this historical panorama still exist. The streets in the panorama are dominated by trams, horse drawn carriages and pedestrians. There were very few cars on the streets of Indianapolis in 1907.

I created this vintage panorama by stitching together four photographs from the Detroit Publishing Co. You can view the original images on the Library of Congress website. I used Microsoft's Image Composite Editor to create the panorama. To turn the panorama into an interactive map I adapted the Non-geographical Maps example from the Leaflet tutorials. This allows you to easily create an interactive map from any image or photograph. If you are interested in the code behind the panorama you can view and clone it on Glitch.

If you are interested in interactive panoramas created from vintage photographs then you might also like:

The General View of Detroit - a panorama of 1908 Detroit
Take a Photo Tour of Minneapolis - an interactive panorama of 1907 Minneapolis

The Global Problem of Opioid Consumption

More than one million Belgians took an opioid in 2017. This has led the Belgian magazine Medor to take a close look at the consumption of opioids around the world and in particular at the rise of opioid consumption in Belgium.

The Pain of the Belgians uses a series of maps and charts to explain the rise of opioid use and where this rise is being seen around the world. The USA leads the world in the consumption of opioids. In terms of average intake the USA is closely followed by Germany, Austria, Canada and Belgium (in that order). In Belgium one in ten people have now been prescribed an opioid. The problem is particular bad in the provinces of Walloon. However Flemish provinces are catching up fast and have seen the biggest increases in opioid use since 2010.

Medor conclude that there is a partial link between unemployment rates in Belgium and high opioid use.

BuzzFeed has mapped the US Counties Prescribing Way More Opioids Than Others. The map shows that doctors are prescribing opioids heavily in many areas which are experiencing high unemployment rates, such as Appalachia. The BuzzFeed article quotes the CDC as saying that the higher prescribing counties are often marked by higher rates of arthritis, diabetes and unemployment. It therefore looks like some of the same socio-economic factors are at play in U.S. prescription rates as in Belgian.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Panoramic View of Detroit 1908

During the early years of the Twentieth Century the Detroit Publishing Company traveled around America taking photographs and selling postcards of different cities. When visiting a city the photographers would often find a high building from which to take a series of bird's eye view photographs. When stitched together these pictures could be made into one long panoramic image of the city.

I've stitched together seven images of Detroit, which were photographed in around 1908, to create an historical view of the city as it looked at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The General View of Detroit uses the Leaflet mapping library to provide an interactive interface for the panorama, which allows you to zoom in and out and pan around the image.

Unfortunately the software I used to stitch the seven images together omitted one of the images. Therefore there is a glitch in the panorama. You can view the missing image (and the other six original images) on the Library of Congress website. I used Microsoft's Image Composite Editor to create the panorama. Normally this image stitching software is very good. In this case I think it is thrown by an error in the bottom corner of one of the Detroit Publishing Company negatives.

To create the interactive map I adapted the Non-geographical Maps example from the Leaflet tutorials. This allows you to easily create an interactive map from any image or photograph.

American Panoramas

In 1907 photographers from the Detroit Publishing Company climbed to the top of the Minneapolis town hall and took a series of photographs of the city. The Detroit Publishing Company made money from selling postcards and panoramas of American locations. These images now provide a fascinating insight into early Twentieth Century America.

The Star Tribune has created an interactive panoramic image of Minneapolis created from the photos taken by the Detroit Publishing Company's photographers from the top of city hall. Take a Photo Tour of Minneapolis in 1907 allows you to zoom in and out and pan around this historic panoramic image as if it was an interactive map. The panorama even includes a number of map markers which provide information on different locations around the city. These are categorized into 'reader picks' and 'staff picks'.

Over 25,000 of the Detroit Publishing Company's photographs of early Twentieth Century America can be viewed on the Library of Congress website. The collection includes a number of grouped photographs which can be stitched together to create panoramic images. Here is a panorama I stitched together from six photographs of Detroit taken by the Detroit Publishing Company around 1908:

This panorama I stitched together from four photographs of Baltimore from Federal Hill, taken around 1906:

This panorama was created from four photos of Indianapolis, dated around 1907:

Here is another panorama which I stitched together from six photographs of Charleston, S.C. taken between 1900-1915:

This panorama was created from four photos from the Heart of Pittsburgh, dated 1900-1910:

Mapping Endangered Animals

There are 1,288 species of endangered animals in the USA. In fact the number of endangered species in the USA has grown by 8% in the last ten years. Among these endangered animals is the Florida panther, of which there are fewer than 100 left. The Black-footed Ferret is also on the critical list, with fewer than 400 still in the wild.

You can find out how many endangered species there are in every country in the world on a new interactive map. The Animal Endangerment Map shows you how many endangered animals there are in every country of the world. If you click on a country on the interactive map you can view an overview of the number of endangered and vulnerable species.

Countries on the Animal Endangerment Map are colored to show the numbers of critically endangered species in each country. If you click on a country you can view the number of species that are currently endangered and vulnerable. You can also view how these numbers have increased or decreased in the last ten years.

There are 719 species listed as endangered in the USA under the federal Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service maintains a list of the endangered species in every U.S. state. National Geographic has used this list to create an interactive map to highlight just one endangered species in every state of the United States.

If you hover over a state on National Geographic's See a different endangered animal in every U.S. state map then you can view just one of the animals which is currently endangered in the state. The map also shows the range of the species in the whole of the United States. If you click on a state you can learn a little more about the highlighted endangered species, including details about why the species is currently endangered.

National Geographic's map is designed to highlight just one endangered species in every state. There are of course far more than one endangered species in each state. For example California currently has 113 endangered animals. You can view them all by referring to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service list of endangered species.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

The Berlin Wall - Then & Now

The Berlin Wall was torn down nearly 30 years ago. The Berlin Wall divided the city for 28 years. Then on November 9, 1989 the East German government announced that all East German citizens were now free to visit West Germany and West Berlin. Since that date most of the Berlin Wall has been destroyed.

The Berliner Morgenpost has published a series of before and after photographs which allow you to directly compare historical pictures of the Berlin Wall with how the same scenes look today. All the photos in The Berlin Wall - Then and Now story include a button which allows you to swipe between the before and after photographs, so you can directly compare each location with and without the Berlin Wall.

The Berliner Morgenpost's before and after photographs were created with Knight Lab's JuxtaposeJS, a JavaScript library for comparing two pieces of similar media. The library is a great tool for highlighting 'then and now' stories that explain how people or locations have changed over time.

Five years ago, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Berliner Morgenpost published an aerial view map of Berlin which allows you to compare the Berlin of 1989 with the Berlin of 2014.

In the first twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall large areas of Berlin were transformed. Using the Berliner Morgenpost's interactive map Die Narbe der Stadt (The Scar of the City) you can compare the Berlin of 1989 with the Berlin of 2014, using aerial imagery of the city from both years. You can pan and zoom the map and switch between the aerial views from the two years to compare the Berlin of 2014 with the Berlin of 1989. A menu in the top-left corner of the map provides quick links to some important locations in the city.

German speakers can also read a long-form guided tour of the Berlins Wall's boundary to learn more about how the city changed in the first twenty-five years after the collapse of East Germany.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Generate Environmental Factsheets

Geofolio is an easy to use map tool for generating environmental reports for any location on Earth. The application uses data from various sources, including NASA, ESA, USGS and the Global Cropland Area Database, to provide you with a comprehensive environmental report for your chosen location.

Simply select a location on Geofolio's interactive map and it will generate thematic factsheets providing information on the vegetation, agriculture, soils, weather, climate, and land use which can be found within the chosen area. This report includes a breakdown of the land cover (tree-cover, grassland etc). It also includes a digital elevation model showing the topography of your defined area.

Most of these reports are visualized on separate interactive maps. For example the cropland section of your report visualizes a cropland mask overlaid on top of a background map. This mask highlights all the areas identified as cropland (based on Global Food Security Analysis Support Data). Similarly an interactive map is used to show a prediction of the soil texture in your chosen area (using data from the United States Department of Agriculture).

England's Multiple Deprivation

Three weeks ago the UK government released the 2019 Indices of English Deprivation. The indices show the levels of deprivation at the neighborhood level. The government measures deprivation in a number of different areas, including income deprivation, employment, education, health and crime. The different indices are combined to give an overall relative measure of deprivation. The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) ranks every neighborhood in England from 1 (the most deprived area) to 32,844 (the least deprived area).

Jaywick, a neighborhood in Tendring, Essex, is the most deprived area of England according to the 2019 indices. Jaywick has been the most deprived area in England in the last three releases of the English Indices of Deprivation. The other 9 neighborhoods in the 2019 top ten most deprived areas are all in Blackpool. The least deprived neighborhood in England is on the outskirts of Prestwood in Buckinghamshire.

The Indices of Deprivation: 2019 and 2015 is an interactive map which allows you to compare how neighborhood deprivation scores have changed since 2015. The map provides a side-by-side choropleth view showing the IMD scores in each neighborhood for 2015 and 2019. The menu at the top of the page allows you to change the data shown on the map from the overall IMD rankings to any of the seven individual indices of deprivation.

I particularly like this non-government Fry Ford interactive map of England's Multiple Deprivation Index. This map used a green-red color scheme to show the least to most deprived areas in the UK. This color scheme makes it much easier to see where neighborhoods fall in either the least or most deprived areas of the country. If you select a neighborhood on this map you can view the neighborhood's individual scores for each of the seven indices of deprivation in the map sidebar.

Mini Tokyo

Mini Tokyo 3D is a live real-time map of Tokyo's public transit system. The map shows the live position of Tokyo's trains in 3D as they move around the city.

Mini Tokyo has two different map views. If you press the eye icon button you can switch between the 'underground' (pictured above) and 'overground' layers. The underground mode highlights the city's subway system with colored subway lines on top of a dark base map. In this mode the overground trains are shown faded out on the map. The overground mode shows all the city's buildings in 3D. In this mode all the subway trains are shown faded out as they move around under the city and all of Tokyo's overground trains are shown in full color.

If you hover over a train on the map you can view details about its number and when it will arrive at its next stop. If you double click on a train you can center the map on the train and the map will track the train as it moves around the city.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

What Are Your Roads Called?

Last week, in Medieval Streets, Modern Roads, I investigated the theory that at some point in the Seventeenth Century in the UK we stopped naming roads with the suffix 'Street' and started using the suffix 'Road' on a much more frequent basis. I became interested in visualizing this historical pattern in UK road names partly because of Data Stuff's Beautiful Hidden Logic of Cities.

The Beautiful Hidden Logic in Cities is a series of maps which shows city roads colored by their name suffixes. This series of maps of American cities uses different colors to show all roads called 'Avenue', 'Boulevard', 'Street', 'Road' etc. Data Stuff has now also created a series of maps showing The Beautiful Hidden Logic of Cities – Worldwide.

I'm immediately drawn to the map of London which seems to confirm my theory. On this map you can again see the pattern common in UK cities where the medieval city center contains lots of roads named 'Street' (colored yellow), while outside the center streets are most often called 'Road' (blue).

Data Stuff's post includes similar maps for lots of cities elsewhere in the world. I think you can see a similar pattern in Sydney, Auckland and Toronto. Speakers of other languages may be able to spot other patterns in the maps of other countries around the globe. In the U.S. the street grid patterns found in many cities can often have a big influence on how a city's streets are named. For example in many cities you will find north-south streets named 'Avenues' and west-east roads called 'Streets' (or vice versa). This can be clearly seen in this map of the Streets and Avenues of Manhattan.

The Traveling Baptism Problem

In the 1830's a woman called Elizabeth Nichols traveled the length and breadth of England & Wales baptizing her daughter in hundreds of different locations. The reason for this serial baptism of her child wasn't because Elizabeth Nichols was particularly devout. It was because of the alms or outdoor relief that she received upon baptizing her child, the assistance which was given to her in the form of food, money or clothes.

You can view where and when Elizabeth Nichols baptized her daughter on the Serial Baptist interactive map. This map plots all the baptism records which have been discovered where a woman named Elizabeth Nichols (or Eliza Nickols, Margret Nichols, Elizabeth Sanderson or any of the other pseudonyms the mother used) baptized a child (who was also variously named, often Mary, Margaret or Elizabeth).

The menu positioned at the top right-hand side of the map allows you to view the route taken in each year by Elizabeth Nichols as she traveled around the country. This obviously isn't the actual route taken by Elizabeth but is procedurally calculated by connecting the baptism records. The route however does provide a fascinating insight into the distances covered by one itinerant traveler in the early Nineteenth Century.

Extra-Tropical Storm Lorenzo

Storm Lorenzo is expected to hit the Republic of Ireland later today. Storm Lorenzo contains the remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo, the most powerful hurricane that has ever been recorded in the far east Atlantic.

Met Éireann has issued an orange warning of very strong winds in Galway, Mayo, Clare, Kerry and Limerick. Winds of up to 140 kilometers an hour are expected. Storm surges are also expected to produce coastal flooding and damage. The rest of the country currently has a yellow wind warning. The UK Met Office expects the affect of the storm on the UK will be minimal but has issued yellow wind warnings for Northern Ireland and parts of south west England and south Wales.

You can view some powerful visualizations of Storm Lorenzo on the Earth and Windy interactive maps. These two real-time animated maps visualize real-time wind and rain conditions across the world. Currently both maps show the strong winds produced by Storm Lorenzo closing in on the western coast of Ireland.

Storm Lorenzo is also a major danger to shipping. You can see on MarineTraffic that there is currently a Lorenzo shaped hole in shipping traffic off the coast of Ireland as most boats understandably try to avoid the storm.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Global Heating in 3D

A Century of Surface Temperature Anomalies is a powerful visualization of global heating across the world. The visualization uses a WebGL powered 3D globe to show how temperatures have changed over the last one hundred years. The globe uses data from NASA's GISS Surface Temperature Analysis to show global surface temperatures for each decade since 1910.

Surface temperatures around the world are shown on the globe using data spikes. The height and color of these spikes reflect how the surface temperatures for the selected decade relate to the average surface temperature at each location. Blue and purple colored spikes show where temperatures are colder than the average. Red, yellow and orange spikes show where temperatures are warmer than average.

A timeline running down the side of the globe allows you to view the global surface temperatures for any decade between 1910 and 2010. Select a decade from this timeline and you can view how temperatures around the world in that decade differed from the average temperature between the years 1951 and 1980. The animated GIF at the top of this post shows very effectively how global heating is occurring across the whole world.

Apple Bans Hong Kong Safety Map

Update (written on 10/9/2019):

Apple has now approved the application. Reportedly it has quickly become the best selling app in Hong Kong. The People's Daily newspaper is not happy with the decision. It has called the approval of as "unwise" and "imprudent". The newspaper has also ominously warned that the decision would "draw more turbulence", which suggests that Apple's interests in China could potentially come under threat.

Update to the Update (written on 10/10/2019):

Apple has once again bowed to pressure from the Chinese government and has once again banned the application. Apple says that "the app has been used to ... victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement". Obviously Apple has no way of knowing if this is true or not and must have been told that this is the case by the Chinese authorities. The Chinese authorities have their own reasons for wanting to stop Hong Kong residents from using We can only guess at why Apple has taken this move to hamper pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The following was written on 10/2/2019 (after Apple initially refused approval to

Apple has banned an application which helps people in Hong Kong comply with police restrictions. By banning the interactive map Apple are denying help to citizens who wish to avoid locations in Hong Kong that are currently experiencing dangerous clashes between the police and pro-democracy demonstrators. is a crowdsourced map which reports the live position of the police in Hong Kong. On the map different emojis are used to show the location of the police across the city. Registered users can use the Telegram messaging application to report locations where the police are currently using violence against protesters. The application is used widely by Hong Kong residents who wish to avoid inadvertently wandering into violent situations.

Last night 104 people were hospitalized by the Hong Kong police. The map can help citizens in Hong Kong from accidentally wandering into areas which have been flagged by the police for illegal assembly. The map also provides warnings about such things as the police firing tear gas in residential areas.

I'm sure Apple do not want Hong Kong residents to accidentally wander into violent situations and that they have not banned this map because they care more about losing business in China than the safety of innocent people. Presumably this is just an innocent mistake by Apple and the decision will soon be reversed.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

The Manifest Postal Destiny

In 1775 Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General. Since that date the United States Postal Service has become one of the most important public institutions in the country. In fact the postal service has grown as the United States has grown and over the years as the US expanded westward so has the United States Postal Service.

You can view an animated map showing the westward growth of the United States Postal Service on Wikipedia. Visualizing US expansion through post offices is a short video which shows the opening of post offices across the country by date. As the video plays you can see the expansion of America reflected in the spread of the postal service, as new post offices are opened in the new settlements of the Midwest and the West.

Stanford University's The Geography of the Post: U.S. Post Offices in the Nineteenth-Century West maps the 14,000 post offices opened between 1847-1902 west of the hundredth meridian. A bar chart, which runs along the bottom of the map, shows the number of post offices opened by year. If you hover over a post office on the map you can view its name and the year that it was established. Its years of operation are also highlighted on the timeline bar chart.

You can learn more about the westward growth of the United States on another interactive map. Manifest Destiny - The Story of the US Told in 141 Maps tells the story of the United States from the Declaration of Independence right up to the present day. Manifest Destiny uses small multiple maps to show how the territory of the United States has grown throughout its history. The first of the 141 maps in Manifest Destiny comes from March 4 1789. This is the date when the Constitution of the United States came into effect forming a new nation. The last map in the series is from August 21 1959. The date when Hawaii became the 50th state.

Ride the G-Train to Beijing

The Hong Kong to Beijing high speed rail line is 2,439km long. It takes around nine hours to complete the journey, traveling at speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour. You can complete the journey even more quickly by taking a virtual Journey to the North: From Hong Kong to Beijing in 9 hours on the high-speed rail.

Journey to the North uses satellite imagery to map the nearly 2,500km route of the Hong Kong to Beijing railway line. As you scroll through Journey to the North a small dot follows the rail line on the satellite imagery and shows you how many kilometers you have to go until you reach the next station on your journey. Points of interest on the journey are also highlighted on the map as you pass them on your virtual journey.

There are eight stations of the Hong Kong to Beijing line. When you reach each station on your train journey north you are provided with a brief tour of each city. This tour shows you some of the cultural and natural highlights which can be found at each of the eight stops on the railway line from Hong Kong to Beijing. Journey to the North also explains a little about the benefits that high-speed rail has brought to each of these cities along the line.

UK Climate Emergency

Climate Emergency is a clever animated choropleth map which shows which councils in the UK have declared a climate emergency. More than half the local authorities in the UK have now declared a climate emergency.

By declaring a climate emergency councils are committing themselves to taking urgent action to reduce local carbon emissions. The UK government has set a 2050 target for the UK reaching zero carbon emissions. Many local councils want to reach this target 20 years earlier and have set a target of 2030.

Propolis' Climate Emergency is an interactive map which shows which political party is in control in each local council area. When you press the 'show me the split' button the map of the UK divides in two to show all those councils which have declared a climate emergency side-by-side with all those councils which have not yet declared an emergency. This animated split is an effective way to visualize the difference between the two sets of councils. In particular it is striking how many Conservative councils in the east of England have not declared a climate emergency. They obviously aren't concerned about rising sea levels.

The animation is controlled by d3.js and the data for the map is loaded via a GeoJSON file. It looks to me from a cursory glance at the code that it would be relatively easy to adapt this map to work with your own GeoJSON data.