Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Berlin Airport in 3D


The Berlin Brandenburg Airport will finally open at the end of this month. The airport was meant to open nine years ago - in 2011. However a series of successive delays has led to its opening being pushed back time and time again.If you want to know more about why the construction of the airport was so slow the you should read Der Tagesspiegel's Why it Took 14 Years to Build.

To explain the delays Tagesspielgel could simply have listed all the problems that cropped up during the construction of the airport. That would have been the easiest approach to take. However Tagesspiegel went in another direction and instead created an amazing 3D map of the entire airport. A map that is so detailed that it is possible to fly inside individual terminals, travel along corridors and zoom-in on individual parts of the building in order to illustrate the areas actually responsible for the construction delays. 

Why it Took 14 Years to Build contains a level of excessive detailed mapping that we rarely see in the fast moving mainstream media. I think only the New York Times has created the same level of detailed 3D mapping in news reporting. In Reconstructing Journalistic Scenes in 3D you can explore a couple of superb examples of 3D mapping created by the NYT.

In this article you can explore a New York loft apartment and a Haiti shanty town in immersive 3D. In these two 3D tours you can see how the NYT is using photogrammetry to create narrated 'scrollytelling' like tours around a 3D scene. Both Tagesspiegel and the NYT have found a way of combining scrollytelling with 3D mapping to create truly amazing immersive illustrated news stories.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Wiki Maps of the World


Once upon a time Google Maps had a Wikipedia layer. Using this Wikipedia layer you could discover all the places around you which had an article on Wikipedia. This Google Maps layer was a fantastic way to learn about all the interesting, historical points of interest around your location. It was definitely one of the most useful functions on Google Maps. So Google got rid of it.

Luckily there are a few other interactive maps which can help you learn more about the world around you using information posted to Wikipedia.

For example, Wikimap is an interactive map of all the geo-tagged Wikipedia articles. Zoom in on any area of the world and map markers reveal all the nearby locations which have entries on Wikipedia. Click on any of these markers and you can read a short introduction to the selected point of interest and click-through to read the whole entry on Wikipedia. Wikimap is a great way to discover interesting things to explore near your current location.

You can also find nearby points of interest using Wiki Atlas. Open up Wiki Atlas and you can immediately view all the places around you which have a Wikipedia entry. Click on any of the mapped links and you can read the entry directly from the map. 

All the locations with a Wikipedia entry are shown on Wiki Atlas using colored markers. The colors of the markers indicate the category of the Wikipedia entry (culture, geo, society or STEM).  

Like Wiki Atlas and Wiki Map Geopedia can be used to find and read Wikipedia entries about points of interest around any location. Geopedia uses the Wikipedia API to load all the Wikipedia entries for places around a location on an OpenStreetMap based map. Enter a location into the search bar or right-click on the map and markers will show all the Wikipedia entries near your chosen location.

If you want to discover more about nearby points of interest then you can also use Wikimapia. Wikimapia is one of the most successful interactive maps of all time. For over ten years Wikimapia has provided a great map based resource for discovering information about locations and points of interest around the world.

In essence Wikimapia is a website which lets you describe locations in the same way that Wikipedia allows you to add and edit articles in its wiki database. Like Wikipedia it provides an invaluable resource for researching and discovering information about the world - except with Wikimapia every entry is a real-world location.

To use Wikimapia you just need to search for a location on the map. and click on any of the highlighted areas to discover information about the selected location. For example, if you see an interesting looking building on your daily travels, you just need to click on the building on the Wikimapia map to read its Wikimapia wiki entry.

The World's Most Winding Roads

I'm sure that many motorists and motorcyclists would agree that the most interesting roads to drive on are those that curve and twist, while the most boring roads are those which are long and straight and with very little deviation. If you agree and want to know where the most curvy roads can be found near you then you need Curvature, an interactive map that color-codes the world's roads by how many curves they have. 

The amount of curvature of individual roads is determined using OpenStreetMap data. Individual roads are divided into sections and the radius of curvature at every segment of road is calculated. Then the lengths of the most curvy segments are added together to get a total distance spent cornering.

You can also search for the world's most twisting roads on tortuOSMity. tortuOSMity also uses OpenStreetMap data to calculate the relative straightness of roads. The curvature of roads on this map is worked out using the tortuOSMity formula, where "curviness is defined as the average quotient between road length and end-to-end beeline distance of each osm way tagged as a highway"

Exploring both maps I have come to the conclusion that the world's most interesting roads are in mountainous areas and the most boring roads are in areas which are very flat. Both maps seem to show that elevation plays a big part in determining the straightness of roads. On both maps the most bendy roads seem to be in mountainous areas and the straightest roads appear to be mostly on fairly level terrain. This makes sense as you would expect mountain roads to contain a lot of switchbacks and relatively few straight sections.

Via: WeeklyOSM

Saturday, October 17, 2020

How to Win an Election

It turns out that stopping an epidemic and saving people's lives is very popular with voters. At least that might be one interpretation of the 2020 New Zealand election. 

Yesterday the New Zealand Labour Party, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, won a landslide victory in the country's general election. At the time of writing the Labour Party even has a chance of winning an unprecedented overall majority, something that hasn't happened in the country since New Zealand introduced a Mixed Member Proportional representation electoral system in 1996.

You can view the results of yesterday's election on the New Zealand Herald's interactive map. In How New Zealand's New Parliament Looks the newspaper has published an electoral grid map which represents each electoral area as a colored square.

On this map each electoral area is represented by a square colored to show the party of the candidate currently winning the vote count (red squares for Labour, blue for the National Party and green squares for the Green Party). The color of the top left-hand corner of a square shows which party won the seat in 2017. If you click on a square you can view the number of votes cast for each candidate and for each party.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Roman Pompeii in Virtual Reality

The Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais (Rmn-GP) in Paris has created a Virtual Reality video which allows you to explore a villa and garden in Pompeii, as it would have looked before the town was buried under volcanic ash and pumice during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

The House in the Garden of Pompeii provides a 360 degree view of a real Roman house & garden in Pompeii. This VR experience shows you what the house looks like today and how it would have looked over 2,000 years ago, before the eruption of Vesuvius. The House in the Garden not only shows you an interior view of the house it also shows you how the house's garden appears today and how it would have appeared to its Roman owners before it was buried in ash.

Don't worry if you don't own a VR headset. You can still view the YouTube video and rotate the video to explore all 360 degrees of the Roman house and gardens even without a headset.

The Expo Pompeii exhibition at the Rmn-GP includes a restored statue of Livia. You can view this statue in your own living room using the exhibitions Livia AR application. Visit Livia AR on your mobile phone or tablet and you can discover what it looks like to have a full-size statue of a Roman woman standing in your home. 

Here are a few more virtual museum tours which you might enjoy:

The Uffizi Galleries Virtual Tour - one of the greatest collections of Renaissance art in the world
The Metropolitan Museum of Art - includes a number of virtual exhibitions
The National Gallery - London's National Gallery has a number of virtual tours
The Rijksmuseum Masterpieces Up Close - a virtual tour of the museum's Gallery of Honour
The Sistine Chapel Virtual Tour - explore the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's astonishing ceiling
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Museum - has created a number of virtual tours
The Stonehenge Virtual Tour - places you in the center of this mysterious pre-historic monument
Beijing Palace Museum - explore the museum's galleries and the amazing buildings of the Forbidden City
Buckingham Palace - take a virtual tour around the Queen's favorite pad 

Mapping Cholera in Amsterdam, Soho & Leeds

John Snow's map of cholera victims in Soho during the 1854 cholera outbreak helped to prove that cholera is spread by contaminated water and not by air. The cholera outbreak in London however was just one outbreak among many across Europe in the 19th Century. In the Netherlands for example there were major outbreaks of cholera in 1859 and again in 1866.

In Amsterdam alone 1,149 people were killed in the 1866 epidemic. In 1860 the Dutch Journal of Medicine published a report on the spread of cholera in the 1859 epidemic in Amsterdam. This report included data on all the cholera victims in the city. The recorded data included information on the addresses where each victim died, the date of death and even in which part of the house each victim died.

Kolerkaart has used the data from the 1860 Dutch Journal of Medicine report to map the 1859 cholera outbreak in Amsterdam using modern mapping technology. Kolerkaart includes a number of interactive maps which show how the outbreak developed over time, the number of cholera deaths in each neighborhood of the city and the number of deaths recorded in different parts of the house. These modern maps of the 1859 cholera outbreak reveal, among other things, that a relatively large number of people died in the outer ring of the city. The lasck of data on the location of pumps and water sources however mean that Kolerkaart is unable to prove a direct connection between contaminated water and the spread of cholera in Amsterdam.

Mapping cholera deaths was common even before John Snow's map of the 1854 Soho outbreak. For example Robert Baker's Sanitary Map of the Town of Leeds plotted the locations of deaths during the 1832 cholera epidemic in the Yorkshire town. Although Baker never made a direct link between cholera and contaminated water in his report to the Leeds Board of Health, Baker noted that "the disease was worst in those parts of the town where there is often an entire want of sewage, drainage and paving". 

In developing his theory that cholera was transmitted by water rather than air Snow was able to use the detailed statistics recorded by Dr William Farr. In 1838 Farr, a qualified doctor, was appointed to the General Register Office. This was the government department responsible for recording births, deaths and marriages in the UK. In his role at the General Register Office Farr was able to introduce a system which recorded causes of death. This data could then be used to look for geographical, environmental and occupational patterns in death rates and different diseases.

It was partly Snow's use of these death rate statistics which led him to believe that cholera was caused by germs which were transmitted by water. William Farr was impressed with Snow's germ theory of cholera being transmitted by water. However Farr himself believed that cholera was more commonly transmitted by air (the miasma theory). He even developed his own theory based on the idea that deadly miasmata are greater at lower than higher elevations. In his 'Report on the mortality of cholera in England 1848-49' Farr's detailed analysis of the distribution of cholera deaths in London actually established an apparent link between the rate of cholera deaths and elevation.

In this map from the report the red numbers 'denote the elevation in feet above the Trinity Highwater Mark' (image from the Wellcome Collection). Farr believed that the link between elevation and cholera was further evidence for the miasma theory. In 1854 Farr was a member of the Scientific Committee for Scientific Enquiries in Relation to the Cholera Epidemic of 1854. A committee which rejected John Snow's Broad Street pump analysis. The report concluded that "on the whole of evidence, it seems impossible to doubt that the influences, which determine in mass the geographical distribution of cholera in London, belong less to the water than to the air."

William Farr however was finally persuaded of Snow's germ theory of cholera and its waterborne transmission. In 1866 Farr himself wrote a report, which included detailed analysis of death statistics, to show that water and not air transmission was the most important cause of cholera. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Bay Area Property Tax Map

The Bay Area Property Tax Map shows how much property tax is paid by individual buildings in the Bay Area. Using the map everyone can see how much property tax is paid by every single building and home owners can see how their property tax compares to the amount paid by their neighbors.

The red markers on the map show the properties which are within the highest 10% in the current map view. The green markers show the properties which are within the lowest 10% in the current view. Yellow markers show clusters of properties. You can click on the yellow markers to see all the individual property taxes paid within that building. If you click on a property's marker on the map you can view the building's address, its exact yearly tax assessment and click on a link which will take you to the property's tax records page. 

The Bay Area Property Tax Map's GitHub page includes instructions on how you can add missing county data to the map from a county's property tax website.

Do You Live in a 15 Minute City?

In the last six months I have not traveled outside of East London. I do not own a car and at the moment I am reluctant to use public transport. Consequently my world has become a lot smaller. Luckily, however, I live in a '15 minute city'. Which means that all my essential needs can be accessed in 15 minutes from my home by foot or by bike.

The concept of the 15 Minute City was developed by Professor Carlos Moreno of the Sorbonne. The idea of the 15 Minute City is a new approach to city planning which wants to make urban living more liveable and sustainable by ensuring that all the essential needs of individuals can be accessed without having to get in a car or use public transport. The importance of this concept has become more apparent to many people during the current global epidemic.

The essential needs of individuals include such things as grocery stores, health care, cultural attractions, transit stops, educational facilities and leisure activities. You can answer the question Do you live in a “15-minute” city? by using HERE's new interactive map. Enter your address or zip-code into the map and it will show you all the Groceries, Medical Facilities, Cultural Sites, Educational Facilities, Transit Stops and Leisure Facilities within a 15 minute walk of your home. The map will also tell you if your address qualifies as a 15 Minute City or not

Currently Do you live in 15-minute city? only appears to work for addresses in the USA.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Indigenous People's 'Cessions' Maps

During the 1890s and 1900s government clerks were tasked with researching the history of the land transfer treaties by which the indigenous people of the United States lost their land. These treaties were referred to as 'cessions'. The government clerks tasked with researching these cessions drew up hundreds of maps which visualized the boundaries of each treaty. 

You can explore these cession maps on the new IDA Treaties Explorer. The IDA Treaties Explorer is a project by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe and the National Archives Foundation. The Explorer allows you to browse and read the treaties made with native nations from 1722 to 1869 which are now in the US National Archives. The IDA Treaties Explorer also allows you to view the digitized cessions maps of these treaty boundaries. 

If you enter your zip-code or state into the IDA Treaties Explorer interactive map you can view the cessions maps for your area. Click on one of the cession maps from your selected area and you can see a list of the cession treaties which are covered by the map. Click on a treaty and you can view the cession number, the indigenous tribes named in the treaty and the official names of those tribes as they are known today.

The result of these land transfer treaties were disastrous for indigenous people. The vast scale of this disaster can be seen on the Invasion of America interactive map. The Invasion of America is a map of all the Native American land cessions between 1776 and 1887. During this period the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from the indigenous people of the USA.

The Invasion of America map includes a powerful animated timeline feature which allows you to view how the United States grew westwards by seizing Native American land through treaties and executive orders. This animated map, showing how the United States managed in a little over one hundred years to take nearly all Native American land, is a very powerful visualization of how the West was truly won stolen. 

The Second Wave is Coming

This animated map shows the arrival of a huge second wave of coronavirus cases in Europe. Over the summer most European countries appeared to have managed to get a grip on the virus. Although a second wave was expected most countries were hoping that if it did come it would come in the winter - and not at the start of autumn.

The map above can be explored in more detail at Corona Status Europe. The animated map provided by Corona Status Europe allows you to view a timeline of the number of positive test results (per 100,000 people) across European regions since the beginning of February. If you press play on this animated map you can view how the virus swept across Europe during March and April. In May and June most countries in Europe managed to get the virus under control. However since August the virus has begun to gain ground in most European countries.

The second wave of coronavirus has most definitely arrived in Europe. 

The data visualized on the Corona Status Europe map comes from Covid-19 Open Data and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.