Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Worldwide Breaking News Map

a map of the world with labels highlighting breaking news stories

You can now explore breaking global news stories in real-time on a new interactive map. The Global Alerts Map highlights breaking news stories around the world. Using the map you can filter stories by category, and read the latest news updates. From major political developments to natural disasters, with just a few clicks, you can zoom into any region or country of the world, and read the latest news updates as they unfold.

The map works by taking news from the GDELT Project. The "GDELT Project monitors the world's broadcast, print, and web news from nearly every corner of every country in over 100 languages". The Global Alerts Map downloads the latest data from the GDELT Project, translates the stories with Python and then geo-locates each breaking news story. 

On the map breaking news stories are shown using headline text labels. If you click on any of these text headlines an information window will open with media links. Click on these links and you can read more about a story as originally reported in the sourced news outlet. 

From my brief browsing of the map this morning I found links to coverage of yesterday's severe storms in France and Germany and Just Stop Oil's spray painting of Stonehenge. On the negative side the map doesn't seem to report on the extreme heat in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast. The heat map overlay on the map reflects the total number of articles emanating from a location. As you might expect the Global Alerts Map is pretty hot right now in Israel & the Palestinian territories. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mapping the Big Map Index

a world map with countries colored by the cost of a Big Mac
The Economist's Big Mac Index compares the purchasing power parity between the currencies of different countries by examining the price of a Big Mac hamburger sold at McDonalds' restaurants in each country. The Index "is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalize the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries". 

It can also be used to find out the price of a Big Mac in countries around the world. For some reason, however, The Economist has decided not to map the Big Mac Index. A burger shaped hole which has now been filled by Burgernomics. 

The Burgernomics interactive map shows the price of a Big Mac in countries around the world in US dollars and in the local currency. It also provides data on how much a Big Mac should cost in each country based on the exchange rate and therefore whether the value of a Big Mac is currently over- or undervalued in each country.

The cost of a Big Mac in countries around the world is also tracked by Statista's Big Mac Index.

The cost of a Big Mac can differ at different locations within the same country. The McCheapest Map by Pantry & Larder tracks and maps the cost of a Big Mac at every McDonalds in the United States. On this map every McDonalds outlet is represented by a dot which is colored to show the cost of a Big Mac (green=cheaper and red=more expensive). 

The McCheapest Map can therefore be used to explore the purchasing power parity of the dollar in different areas of the United States. It can also show you where in the States you can buy the cheapest Big Mac. You can compare the prices in other popular fast food outlets on the Fast Food Index map. The Fast Food Index maps the differences in the prices of fast food across the United States. The map allows you to compare the prices charged by MacDonald's, Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell and Chipotle across the whole of the US (data from 2022).

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Where Mountains Rise From Oceans

an elevation heat map of Iceland showing OceanJut rankings

Last year PeakJut invented the Jut Score in order to rank mountains based on how sharply they rise above their surroundings. Now they have introduced a new OceanJut score - a unique method of measuring where land most dramatically rises from the ocean around the world.

The OceanJut interactive map allows you to see how quickly and dramatically the land rises from the sea all around the globe. In other words the map can help you find the most spectacular mountain-meets-ocean views in the world. The OceanJut rankings work in the same way as PeakJut scores. A location's ranking is determined not just by elevation, but by how steeply it rises from sea-level. 

Exploring the coastlines which I'm most familiar with, in southern England, I can attest that OceanJut works well in identifying the Seven Sisters & the Isle of Wight's Undercliff as locations where the land rises dramatically from the sea (relative to the rest of southern England). Conversely the lack of any significant OceanJut scores in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk is one reason why these English counties are so worried about rising sea-levels.

I don't know which locations around the world have the highest OceanJut scores. Fjords obviously score very highly on the OceanJut algorithm. For example Milford Sound in New Zealand scores an impressive 1317m on the OceanJut rankings. Lots of the Norwegian coastline of Norway also scores very highly on the OceanJut scale, largely thanks to its many fjords. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

Guess This City 2.0

a map of New York with much of the city obscured by blue squares

My daily map challenge game Guess This City has now been updated to provide a number of clues which should help you identify each day's new location. At the same time the cities which you have to identify have become a bit more obscure.

Thanks to Map Channels the game now uses a json feed for each day's map. I think Map Channels realized that the daily scores I was posting to X weren't exactly unaided. The fact that I was choosing each day's city meant that I had a huge advantage when playing Guess This City (i.e. I knew the name of the city). 

Map Channels therefore put together a list of 'world capitals and UK and US cities with a population of > 100,000.' He then created a json feed for the game which selects a random city from this list every single day. Guess This City now uses this feed for each day's city (the feed and the game both update a few seconds after midnight GMT). I'm hugely grateful to Map Channels for creating and providing this feed for the game. Not least because it means that I can now play the game myself (and I am no longer posting fake/cheat scores to X). 

Because the Map Channels' list contains a large number of cities which I think are very difficult to guess I have now also added a number of clues to the game. Now on every 10th click of the map a letter of the city name is revealed (in the order that the letters appear in the city name). Only the first ten letters of a city name are revealed (if there are that many). Which means you are on your own after clicking 100 squares.

The other major clue comes on your 20th click of the map. On click twenty the country where the city is located is also displayed over the map.

Today's Global Heating Forecast

world map showing where today's temperatures have been affected by climate change

Global average temperatures in May broke all previous records. It was the 12th consecutive month in which global temperatures reached a record high. Every three months Climate Central publishes a seasonal analysis of how temperatures around the world have been changed by global heating. Their latest report People Exposed to Climate Change: March-May 2024 confirms that from 'March 2024 to May 2024, the effects of human-induced climate change were evident in all regions of the world, particularly in the form of extreme heat.'

Climate Central has also recently updated their Climate Shift Index map to cover the whole globe. The Climate Shift Index shows you how much global heating has influenced each day's weather. Every day the Climate Shift Index map reveals where in the world temperatures have been affected by climate change. The map shows just how much global warming could be affecting the weather where you live on any given day.

The colors on the Climate Shift Index map visualize where in the world today's temperatures are more or less likely a result of climate change. The darkest areas on the map indicate those areas where climate change has had the greatest heating effect on today's weather. For example, an area shaded dark red, with a CSI score of 5, is experiencing weather which climate change and global warming has made five times more likely. In other words the local temperatures being experienced in those locations would be nearly impossible without carbon pollution creating global heating.

The Climate Shift Index is updated daily in order to show the local influence of climate change for every single day. You can learn more about the Climate Shift Index and how it is calculated on Climate Central's Climate Shift Index FAQ.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Some More Maps of Sounds

Yesterday Hacker News featured a thread on Sounds of the Forest, an interactive map of sound recordings made in forests around the world. Also linked in the Hacker News thread was the wonderful Radio Aporee, which, like Sounds of the Forest, has featured on Maps Mania before. Also mentioned in the thread were two interactive sound maps which I haven't seen (or heard) before.


map of the world showing the locations of sound recordings featured on audiomapa
Audiomapa is a sound map which focuses on sound recordings from South America (although many users have contributed recordings from elsewhere in the world). Anyone can add a sound recording to the map simply by clicking on a location and uploading an MP3 file.

As well as browsing the submitted recordings by location on the map it is also possible to filter the sounds by category. This allows you to search for 'urban' or 'rural' recordings, or recordings of 'birds', 'machines', 'markets' or myriad other categories of sound. Just click on a marker on the map to listen to the submitted recording.


map of the world showing sound recordings submitted to Freesound
Freesound, from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, is an interactive map of over half a million sound recordings. The map "aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, and all sorts of bleeps, ... released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse". 

As well as browsing the submitted sounds by location on the interactive map the Freesound homepage features a Random Sound of the Day, the latest sounds submitted, and the top rated and most downloaded sounds recordings. Using Freesound's tags and other search filters in conjunction with the interactive map can provide a wonderful insight into sounds around the world. For example have you ever wondered about how ambulance sirens sound in different countries or how similar church bells sound around the world.

Hundreds of other maps featuring sound recordings can be found under the Maps Mania Sound Maps tag.

Friday, June 14, 2024

The New Medieval Map of London

The new medieval map of London zoomed in on St, Pauls's Cathedral

The Historic Towns Trust has created a modern map of Medieval London. The map depicts London as it existed at the end of the 13th Century using modern mapping techniques. The map is based on archaeological and historical records. 

You can explore an interactive version of the Medieval London map on Layers of London (check the 'Use this overlay' box and then zoom in on the City of London area on the map. You might also want to select the 'Hide Pins' button).

One thing you will notice while browsing the map is that the street name labels are written in Middle English. For example the modern street name of 'Ludgate Hill' is depicted on the Medieval London map as 'Ludgatstrete'. If a Middle English placename confuses you then you can use the 'eye' button in the 'overlay tools' pop-up menu to turn off the Medieval Map and view the modern place-name underneath (presuming the street still exists). You can also use the Grub Street Project website to search for historical London place-names and to discover what those locations are known as now.

The Agas Map of London zoomed in on the area around St. Paul's Cathedral

Of course the Historic Towns Trust's modern map of Medieval London was not how a map of London would have actually looked during the 13th Century. At the time most depictions of London would have presented a panoramic view of the city and not a detailed true map. 

One of the first 'true' map depictions of London can be seen in the Civitas Londinum, more commonly known as the Agas Map of London.  The Agas map dates from the 1560s and provides a bird's eye view of London. It therefore doesn't provide a true overhead plan of the city (London is depicted from a viewpoint somewhere above the south bank of the Thames). However unlike earlier panoramic views of London the buildings on the Agas map don't obscure the streets behind those buildings. So the Agas map does work as a true map of 16th Century London.

You can also buy a print of the Medieval London map from the Historic Towns Trust.

Via: A New Map of Medieval London

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Mapping the Census

mapping showing percentage of 0-14 year olds in Toronto, revealing that ther are fewer families with young children in Toronto's city center than in the suburbs
percentage of 0-14 year olds

Jacob Weinbren has released an interactive map which allows you to explore data from the 2021 Canadian census by location. Using the map you can view the demographic and economic make-up of towns and cities across the whole of the country using over 2,500 different census variables. 

The Canadian Census map colors individual building footprints based on the results of the 2021 census, providing you with an incredibly detailed breakdown of the make-up of local communities. Just select a census variable from the drop-down menu to see that data overlaid on the map.

map of Toronto showing a higher percentage of people walking to work in the city center
percentage of the workforce walking to work

For example the screenshot above shows the population of the workforce who walk to work. The results suggest that people who live in the center of Toronto live far closer to their workplace than those who live in the city's suburbs. The screenshot at the top of this post shows the percentage of the population who are aged 0-14. As you can see there are fewer 0-14 year olds in the city center than elsewhere, suggesting that many people tend to move out of the city center to the suburbs once they have kids. 

You can explore the data for yourself in other Canadian towns and cities by simply changing the location on the Canadian Census map. You can also read more about the map and how it was made in the blog post Oh Canada - Census 2021.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Treats of San Francisco

Illustrated map of San Francisco's immigrant inspired food spots. A sidebar lists the places shown on the map

The California Migration Museum is celebrating one of the wonderful benefits of living in a multi-cultural city with a new interactive map of San Francisco’s food scene. Melting Spots: An Immigrant Map of San Francisco Food showcases some of the many immigrant-inspired dishes in the city which have added richer flavors to the city's food scene.

Did you know, for example, that the Mai Tai, the Tiki inspired classic cocktail, was originally invented by Bay Area bartenders in the 1940s? The Mai Tai is just one of the many immigrant inspired dishes to feature on the Melting Spots map. The map actually features 38 'bite-sized' stories celebrating the immigrant chefs, restaurants, and dishes of San Francisco. Select one of the markers on the map or in the map side-panel and you can watch a short video exploring that dish, chef or restaurant's history.

Map of North America from TasteAtlas showing popular regional foods, with images of burgers, sandwiches, seafood, traditional dishes, and desserts placed over their respective geographic locations.

If the Melting Spots map has whetted your appetite to learn more about the geography of your favorite foods then you might also enjoy the TasteAtlas. The TasteAtlas is an interactive map which allows you to explore the local foods, dishes, tastes and cuisine of any location in the world. By using this map you can discover the foods and dishes that people enjoy eating and drinking at different places around the globe. 

A great feature of TasteAtlas is that you can search the map for individual foods. For example here is the cheese map of the world and here is the bread map of the world. Search for a particular type of food and you can zoom-in on the map to discover the local varieties available at different locations. For example, on the cheese map you can zoom-in on France to discover all the local varieties of cheese available in different regions of the country. Or, if you search for the pasta map of the world, you can find out which types of pasta can be found in the different regions of Italy.

If you need a little help washing down all those amazing dishes then you can explore the TasteAtlas wine map of the world, or enjoy a tipple or two from the global beer map.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Out of Africa - The Story of Human Migration

map showing where the earliest human fossils have been discovered
History Maps has created an interactive map showing the locations of the earliest human fossils found around the world. Early Homo Sapiens Fossil Sites uses data from Wikipedia's List of human evolution fossils to show the locations of the earliest 'notable finds of hominin fossils and remains relating to human evolution'.

The fossil sites shown on the map can be filtered using the timeline control in the map menu. The oldest fossils found on the map were discovered at Jebel Irhoud in Morocco. The fossils have been dated to 'roughly 300,000 years ago'. The next earliest human fossils shown on the map date from around 260,000 years ago. These were found in Florisbad, South Africa.

If you want to learn more about any of individual fossil sites shown on the map you have to follow the links in the map menu, where the fossil discoveries are shown in chronological order.

animated map showing the journey of early humans out of Africa to the rest of the world
In Africa, between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, archaic Homo sapiens evolved into anatomically modern humans. Around 60,000 years ago humans started to spread to the rest of the world, possibly by crossing the Red Sea into the Arabian Peninsula. You can follow that journey for yourself on the Human Odyssey Map.

The California Academy of Science's Human Odyssey Map plots the possible paths taken by humans out of Africa and the role that the climate played in those migratory routes. The map includes a timeline control which allows you to trace the routes that the human race took over thousands of years to populate the rest of the world. As you progress through the timeline flow-lines show the routes taken by the human race, while the map itself shows the climate conditions which existed at the time and which impacted on the routes that humans took in traveling to the rest of the world.