Thursday, June 01, 2023

Mapping 1,001 American Novels

1,001 Novels: A Library of America is an interactive literary map of America. A map on which over one thousand novels have been plotted based on the geographical 'heart' of each story. 

'1,001 Novels: A Library of America' is a project of love created by Susan Straight, a novelist and professor at UC Riverside. Over the course of five years, Susan read and mapped 1,001 novels set in the United States. The resulting interactive map allows you to explore American novels by region, plot, and theme.

Straight's goal in mapping over one thousand American novels was to "tell the story of America through its literature." She believes that novels can provide a unique window into the lives of people from different parts of the country and different eras. By mapping the novels, Straight also hoped to create a tool that can help readers discover new books and learn more about the history and culture of the United States.

As a result of reading and mapping 1.001 American novels Susan developed a sense of 11 distinct regions in the United States. These regions are based on the physical geography of the United States, as well as the cultural and historical traditions of each region. In the Esri Story Map 1,001 Novels: A Library of America you can explore each of these 11 regions and the novels that are set in each region. Susan Straight believes that these regions provide a unique lens through which to view American literature. By exploring the novels set in each region, it is possible to gain a deeper understanding of the diversity of American life and culture.

The Esri Story map also includes a complete map of all 1.001 novels set across all regions of the United States. The location setting in each novel has been determined by references in the books themselves, from what authors have said and from asking some of the authors themselves where they believe the heart of their books might be.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The World's Population in 3D

This 3D Map of world cities with a population over 100k visualizes the global population of the world's cities as 3D towers. Zoom in on Europe and you can see that London dominates western Europe, towering over Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Rome. 

The data for the map comes from this Wikipedia list of towns and cities with 100,000 or more inhabitants. Wherein lies the problem. The main problem with this Wikipedia list is that there is no universally agreed standard for defining city borders and boundaries. For example Greater London is around 1,569 km² while Paris is around 105.4 km². So the London tower on this interactive map encompasses the population of an area over ten times as large as the population represented by the Paris tower. No wonder the London tower dwarfs the Paris population tower.

In reality the population density in central Paris is far higher than that of inner London. Which is why it is much better to actually map population density rather than population totals. For example look at this population density map of Europe created by The Pudding. 

If you look at Europe on this map you can see that central Paris and Barcelona have much higher population densities than central London. Of course London makes up for this with the huge numbers of people living in the huge urban sprawl outside the city center. 

The Pudding's Human Terrain interactive map shows population density across the globe using 3D population pyramids. The taller a pyramid block on The Pudding map then the more people are living there. 

The data for the Human Terrain map comes from the Global Human Settlement Layer. This data from the European Commission looks at the population living within 1 km² areas, 'regardless of administrative boundaries'. It is therefore a much better guide of the actual population density within cities. 

The use of population pyramids is a well used and visually dramatic way to show population density. For example The Pudding's map is very similar to a WebGL powered map created by Topi Tjukanov to show the density of Europe's population.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The World's Most Impressive Mountain

Every schoolchild knows that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. But is it the most impressive? 

Mount Everest has an elevation of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) above sea level. However, if we measure the height of a mountain from its base to its peak, then the tallest mountain in the world is Mauna Kea, which is an inactive volcano on the island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea has an elevation of 4,207 meters (13,802 feet) above sea level, but its base is located on the ocean floor, which is about 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) below sea level - making it technically taller than Mount Everest.

While both Mount Everest and Mauna Kea are both obviously massive mountains they are not the most impressive. At least they are not the most impressive according to the website PeakJut. PeakJut measures 'impressiveness' based on two main factors. One of these factors is the height of a mountain above its surroundings. However PeakJut also factors in a mountain's steepness, or the rate that it rises above its surroundings.

"For instance, even though Mount Elbert in Colorado (elevation: 4399 m) has a higher elevation than Grand Teton in Wyoming (elevation: 4198 m), the latter is a far more dramatic peak, as it not only rises a greater height above its surroundings, but is also much steeper."

PeakJut has therefore invented the Jut score and ranked the impressiveness of over 200,000 mountains around the world. 'Jut' is an indicator of how sharply or impressively a mountain rises above its surroundings, factoring in both height and steepness. 

Share your location with PeakJut and it will show you the most impressive mountains closest to you, based on their Jut rankings. If you click on one of the suggested mountains you can view its location on an interactive map. This map highlights the selected mountain's peak and its base (or most impressive viewpoint). You are also given some important data, such as the mountain's elevation and 'Jut'. 

So which is the most impressive mountain in the world. Well, according to PeakJut, Annapurna Fang in Nepal has the highest Jut score. Nanga Parbat in Pakistan and Māchhāpuchchhre in Nepal come in a close second and third respectively.

If you want to find the least impressive 'peak' in the world then you might struggle to beat the peak with the highest Jut score near me. Here is the Street View of Beacon Hill, which at a tiny 27 meters has the highest Jut score in Southeast England. 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Stack Overflown

Nomic Atlas is an online tool for visualizing and exploring large datasets. It enables users to store, update and organize multi-million point datasets of unstructured text, images and embeddings. Atlas organizes the text and data into interactive maps which can then be explored in a web browser, using the map to run semantic searches of the uploaded data.

You can view an example of an interactive map created using Atlas in this Map of Stack Overflow Posts. This map organizes questions posted to Stack Overflow by frustrated programmers.The map visualizes the relationships between different topics on Stack Overflow. 

The map is created by using Vertex AI to generate embeddings of Stack Overflow posts. Embeddings are a type of representation that captures the meaning of a text. The map is then created by using the embeddings to calculate the similarity between different Stack Overflow posts. Because the map visualizes the relationships between different topics on Stack Overflow it can therefore be used to identify related topics, to find new topics to learn about, and to discover specific questions and answers posted on Stack Overflow.

If you like the Stack Overflow map then you might also like the Map of GitHub. The Map of GitHub is a network graph of over 400,000 GitHub projects. Each dot on this interactive map is a Github project, mapped based on the number of 'common stargazers'. 

This map of GitHub projects is made based on GitHub users use of stars to save or like a repository. In simple terms it connects two different repositories based on the number of users who have starred both repositories. In slightly more detailed terms it organizes a database of 350 million stars awarded to repositories between 2020 and the end of March 2023 using a Jaccard Similarity algorithm.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Bat Virus Jump Zones

Over a fifth of the human population lives in areas where there is a large risk that a bat bourne disease will spread to humans. Bats carry tens of thousands of viruses. For most of human history we have been in little danger from these viruses because of the minimal contact between bats and humans. Now, because of human incursions into bat habitats the dangers of a virus jumping from bats to humans is on the increase.

In the Bat Lands: Part 1 Reuters has created a map which shows the level of risk of a virus spreading from bats to humans across the whole world. As you progress through Reuter's article the map pans and zooms to identify areas in China, India Brazil and West Africa where Reuters believe there is a chance that a new global pandemic could be caused by a virus jumping from bats to humans. 

Reuter's five part series begins by looking at the history of bat-borne diseases, and how they have caused outbreaks such as Ebola and SARS. The series also examines the factors that are driving the destruction of bat habitats, such as deforestation, mining, and agriculture. Part 5 of the series looks at the challenges of preventing the next pandemic, and what can be done to reduce the risk. It concludes by calling for a new approach to conservation, one that takes into account the risk of pandemics.

Via: The Top 10 in Data Journalism - the Global Investigative Journalism Network's weekly round-up of the best data stories.

Friday, May 26, 2023

MapLibre Adds WebGL2 Support

MapLibre GL JS v3 has been released. Version 3 of the popular mapping library includes significant improvements to Terrain 3D, support for WebGL2, new styling options and improved performance.

MapLibre GL JS, a JavaScript mapping library that uses WebGL to render interactive maps from vector tiles and styles. MapLibre was founded in 2015 in reaction to the growing trend of proprietary mapping libraries and was originally intended to be a drop-in replacement for Mapbox GL.

Among the updates in the latest version of Maplibre GL is support for WebGL2. WebGL2 is a significant improvement over WebGL1 and provides a number of new features that can be used to improve performance and graphics quality. You can view a demo map created with MapLibre GL which uses WebGL2 to smoothly animate 3D towers in this map of Presidential Votes 2000-2016 (animated screenshot above).

Also See

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Discover Your Earthquake Risk

CNN has created an interactive map which reveals your risks from earthquake activity. Enter your address into the What's your earthquake risk interactive map and you can discover your earthquake hazard level based on data from the US Geological Survey.

CNN's map colors the United States based on seven different levels of earthquake risk. You can also click on a location on the map to reveal the hazard level at that location. The hazards are calculated based on the USGS's 2018 Long-term National Seismic Hazard Map. The USGS says that the hazard levels are "based on seismicity and fault-slip rates, and take into account the frequency of earthquakes of various magnitudes".

If you live outside the United States (or in the U.S.) you can use the Global Earthquake Model Foundation's earthquake hazard maps to assess your likely risk from seismic activity. The Global Earthquake Model Foundation is a non-profit organization working to assess and help manage the risk from earthquakes and seismic activity around the globe. Part of its mission is to assess and share open data on earthquake risks and hazards.

The Global Earthquake Model Foundation has released two interactive maps, the Global Seismic Risk Map and the Global Seismic Hazard Map, which can be used to explore the risk from earthquakes at locations around the world. The estimated hazards are based on the foundation's own OpenQuake engine, an open-source seismic hazard and risk model.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Germany - the Dirty Man of Europe

A new interactive map shows how CO2 emissions in Germany are once again on the increase. In the first two decades of this century Germany has produced the most carbon dioxide emissions of any country in the European Union. The main reason for this is that Germany is heavily reliant on coal for electricity generation. Germany aims to become carbon-neutral by 2045 however the war in Ukraine has had a significant impact on Germany's continuing reliance on coal power plants.

The EU Power Plant Emissions map uses the latest EU Emissions Trading System data to visualize the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by countries in the European Union (and also Switzerland, Norway, Iceland & Liechtenstein). The map shows that the highest levels of CO2 from power plants originate in Eastern European countries and Germany - with coal power plants being the major culprits.

If you hover over any of the power plants on the map you can view the levels of CO2 emitted by the plant in each year. If you hover over any of the coal power plants in Germany then you are likely to see a reduction in CO2 between 2017 and 2020. One reason for this increase is Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In an effort to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, Germany has temporarily reopened decommissioned and soon-to-be decommissioned coal power plants. This has resulted in the country once again increasing its CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Last year coal power plants were responsible for 60% of power sector emissions in the EU-ETS. Germany and Poland accounted for two thirds of all the CO2 emissions from coal power plants. 

Beyond Fossil Fuels has an interactive map showing the locations of coal power plants in Europe. On the map you can see that there are far more coal power plants in Eastern Europe (including Germany) than in the west of the continent. Beyond Fossil Fuels has also created an animated map which shows the amount of carbon dioxide from coal power plants produced by European countries since 2005.

From the animated map (shown above) you can see that most countries in Europe have actually significantly reduced the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by coal power plants. The major exceptions being Poland and Germany.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

A Bird's Eye View of America

The Library of Congress owns a huge collection of panoramic bird's eye maps of American cities, most of which were published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You can now browse and explore these vintage panoramic maps of American cities on the library's View from Above interactive map.

The map allows you to view over 1,500 panoramic maps of towns and cities across the United States. The location of the library's panoramic maps are shown using a clustered marker system. Simply click on a marker to view a listing of maps in that area. Selecting an individual map's marker will reveal a preview image of the map and links to see the fully digitized map on the Library of Congress website. You can also search for locations using the map's search bar.

All the maps in the Library of Congress can be used and viewed using their IIIF presentation manifest. This means that you can also create annotated interactive maps from any of the library's panoramic maps using the Leaflet-IIIF plug-in. 

Leaflet-IIIF is a simple to use plug-in for creating a Leaflet based browser for IIIF manifests or images shared using the IIIF Image API. Using this plug-in you can make interactive maps from tens of thousands of manuscripts, paintings and other images held by some of the best known global art galleries, museums and universities. And the Library of Congress. 

I used the Leaflet-IIIF plug-in to create a Leaflet.js map of one of the vintage panoramic maps from the Library of Congress. This Sherbrooke Panoramic Map shows an 1881 panoramic map of a southern Quebec city. I've even added some markers to identify some of the city's notable buildings on the map.

The Library of Congress also owns a lot of early bird's eye view panoramic photographs of American cities. You can find a lot of examples by searching the LOC website for Panoramic Photographs. These photots come from many sources, but some of the best are from the Detroit Publishing Company

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. Which is what I did to create this interactive Leaflet panorama of Indianapolis in 1907.

I created this vintage panorama by stitching together four photographs from the Detroit Publishing Co. 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.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Explore the World with Shadows

Chee Aun's Deck.GL with Google Maps Photorealistic 3D Tiles Demo is a demonstration of Google's new 3D map tiles with a few added special effects. Using this map you can explore the world in 3D with building shadows, post-processing effects and an interesting ink effect.

This month Google released the new Photorealistic 3D Tiles option at its annual I/O conference. It allows developers to create 3D maps using a 3D Tiles renderer, such as CesiumJS or Using your choice of 3D Tiles renderer you can access Google's photorealistic tiles simply by specifying the Photorealistic 3D tileset URL.
Chee Aun's demo map uses the new 3D map tiles with deck,gl. It then uses's SunLight function to add shadows to the map's 3D buildings. The map includes a time of day slider which allows you to view how building shadows move over the course of the day. Chee's map also uses's PostProcessEffect function to brighten the colors of the 3D map tiles and to create a cool ink effect view.