Monday, June 21, 2021

Public Transport Equity

Public transport is an essential part of many people's lives, connecting them to their jobs and to other goods and services. Unfortunately in many American cities there are huge gaps in transit access. Gaps which often reflect other social inequalities in land use determined by racial and economic demographics. In other words the people who are most dependent on public transport often have the worst access to transit networks.

TransitCenter's Transit Equity Dashboard is a new data visualization platform which is designed to visualize "how well transit networks in six U.S. cities connect people who’ve been marginalized by segregation and discrimination to the jobs, services, and amenities they need". The dashboard has been designed to help public planners and transit experts to make more informed decisions by highlighting where the biggest transit gaps exist and who are most effected by these gaps in provision.

The Transit Equity Dashboard provides interactive map visualizations of the state of transit equity in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and the San Francisco Bay Area. These maps show where there are gaps in frequent transit provision and also provide data on access to jobs, and the transit times to hospitals and grocery stores.

Select any of the available metrics and you can view a choropleth map showing the chosen metric's availability by transit from every neighborhood in the city. For example the screenshot above shows the number of jobs within 45 minutes transit journey time in New York City. You can also view map layers which visualize the journey time by transit to parks, grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, and colleges & universities.

Air Pollution in Europe

Nowy Sacz in Poland has the most polluted air of any city in Europe, according to the latest report on air pollution from the European Environment Agency (EEA). The EEA's Air Quality in Europe 2020 has been released, and while the report shows some improvement to the quality of air across the continent it also reveals that more than half the cities in Europe analyzed for the report recorded "bad" or "poor" air quality during 2020.

The Air Quality in Europe report provides an annual assessment of the status and impact of air quality in Europe. Air quality in Italy and Poland is particularly bad. Both Poland and Italy have two cities each in the top five most polluted cities in Europe. The three cities with the cleanest air are Umeå, Sweden, Tampere, Finland and Funchal, Portugal. The EEA report only analyzed cities with a population over 50,000 and which have air quality records for at least 75% of the year.

You can explore the results recorded for individual cities across Europe on an interactive map showing each city's air pollution data. How Clean is the Air in my City? is an interactive visualization of the Air Quality in Europe 2020 report. Individual cities on the map are colored by the recorded annual mean concentration of PM2.5 (with green being the cleanest and dark red the most polluted). The map is accompanied by an interactive table, which ranks all the 323 cities with air quality data from the cleanest to the most polluted.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Where UEFA 2020 Players Were Born

Where Do the Players Come From? is an interactive map which shows where ever single player in this year's EUFA 2020 tournament were born. The map uses information from Wikidata to plot the birthplace of all the players in every team in this year's European international football competition. 

The map uses scaled markers to show the number of players born in individual European cities. Helsinki appears to be the European city where the most players in this tournament were born. Nine players in the Finnish team were born in the city.

Lyndon Dykes of Scotland appears to be the player who was born furthest from Europe (and from the country he represents). Lyndon Dykes was born in Australia. However he isn't the player born the furthest south. Italy's Jorginho was born even further south than Dykes, in Imbituba, Brazil. Six players in this year's tournament were actually born in Brazil (now representing Italy, Portugal, Russia and Ukraine).

Finland's Annsi Jaakkola was born the furthest north of all the players in EUFA 2020. He was born in Kemi, in Lapland, Finland. England may be the country with the most players in this year's tournament. Not only were all the England players born in England (except Raheem Sterling, who was born in Jamacia) but it is also the birthplace of a number of Welsh players and one player representing Scotland.

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Soiled Underpants Map

Lots of people in Switzerland have been posting pictures of their soiled underwear to the Beweisstuck Unterhose interactive map. Now I know what you are thinking - and you are right - these people are taking part in a clever citizen science project designed to test the health of Switzerland's soil.

Healthy soil is a vital and extremely valuable resource. It is essential for plants and animals. Humans also rely on healthy soil, both to grow crops and to filter the pollutants from our drinking water. Beweisstuck Unterhose is a citizen science project which has been designed to test the health of the soil across Switzerland, by testing how much a pair of underpants degrades after being buried in the soil for one month.

People across the country have been encouraged to bury two pairs of underpants and two teabags. Then after one month they need to dig-up one pair of  the underpants and one of the teabags. They can then take a picture of the underpants and post it to the Beweisstuck Unterhose interactive map. After two months they can then dig-up the other pair of underpants and the other tea-bag. They are then encouraged to post the underpants,  teabags and a soil sample to the Beweisstuck Unterhose laboratory where they will undergo scientific analysis.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Mapping America's Digital Divide

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has released a new interactive map that displays key indicators of broadband needs across the country. The map uses data from a number of different sources to show broadband availability and speeds at the county level in the United States.

If you click on a county on the The Indicators of Broadband Need digital map you can view details on the percentage of the local population without Internet access, the median broadband speed available, and the percentage of downloads completed over 25 Mbps. 

The map reveals that large areas of the country have broadband access which is below the Federal Communications Commission's recommended benchmark of 25 Mbps download / 3 Mbps upload. The map also includes a number of other economic data layers which allow you to view and compare poverty data with broadband access data. NTIA's map is therefore a really useful tool for discovering where Americans don't currently have the internet access necessary for success in the digital age and where communities and individuals don't have access to high-speed Internet services.

Verge has also been busy mapping mapping broadband speeds in the United States.Unfortunately not everyone in the USA has access to what are now seen as adequate broadband internet speeds. In This is a Map of America's Broadband Gap Verge has mapped counties where less than 15 percent of households have a broadband speed of 25Mbps or above.

All the counties colored blue on Verge's map have less than 15 percent of households with acceptable internet speeds. You can hover over any county on the map to view the percentage of households that have adequate broadband speeds. Verge's map uses data from Microsoft. This data reveals that there are many counties where a large majority of the population don't have adequate broadband speeds. For example in Lincoln County, Washington only five percent of households can access the internet at 25Mbps or above.

Mapping Crops from Space

In Germany the Earth Observation Lab at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has used satellite data to create the first time-series map of agricultural land use in Germany. The Map of German Agricultural Land Use shows which crops were grown where in Germany for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019.

To create the map the Earth Observation Lab used machine learning processes with satellite imagery from the US Landsat 8 satellite mission and the Copernicus program of the European Space Agency (ESA). The lab also used already available information on previous land use by farmers. 

The map itself uses different colors to show the dominant types of crops and the main types of arable land use, i.e. all the main types of grain, root crops, vegetables, permanent crops and legumes. In addition the map features a date control which allows you to select which year's crops you wish to see visualized on the map.

In Scotland the Rural & Environmental Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) and the University of Edinburgh have created the Scottish Crop Map 2019, to show which crops are grown where in Scotland. The Scottish map uses satellite data from ESA to show which crops were growing in nearly 400,000 fields in Scotland during 2019.

The Scottish map shows four main crop types (Spring Oats, Winter Barley, Winter Wheat & Spring Barley), and grassland. As well as mapping where these four types of crop and grassland are grown the Scottish Crop Map includes a bar graph view which shows the area of land devoted to each crop. Grassland is by far the biggest use of land on the map, while Spring Barley is the crop which is grown on the largest area of land. 

If you are interested in what types of crop are grown in the United States and elsewhere in Europe then you can refer to the OneSoil map. OneSoil is an interactive map which provides insights into European and US crop production. The map shows which crops are being grown where, revealing local and global trends in crop production. In total the maps shows what crops have been grown on over 60 million fields in the EU and the US over the last five years.

The OneSoil map was created using AI algorithms to detect the types of crops being grown around the world from satellite imagery. The algorithms are able to recognize 19 different crops with a 92 percent accuracy. OneSoil is also able to analyze from this same imagery the development stage of the crops being grown.

Using the interactive map you can view the top crops being grown in each country or region. Select a country on the map and you can see how many hectares of farmland are given over to each type of crop and the average field size for each type of crop. You can also filter the map by individual crops to show where different crops are being grown in the USA and the EU. Using the date filter you can then view the crop distribution for the last five years. This enables you to see how crop distributions have changed over these years, at both the local and global level.

If you are interested in which crops are grown in the USA then you might also like Bloomberg's The Consolidation of the American Harvest which maps where different crops are grown in America. At the global level Esri's The Living Land explores how much land is given over to different crops around the world and RTBMaps shows where different root, tuber and banana crops are grown across the globe. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Tower of Pisa in 3D

The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia has published a really interesting article which explains how the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been stabilized and protected from further subsidence and collapse. This interesting article has been made even more gripping by being illustrated with some fantastic 3D modeling of the Tower and its environs.

This is How the Tower of Pisa was Prevented from Falling explains how the Tower of Pisa was constructed in the 12th Century and how the tower began to lean during its early construction.Even during the construction of the first four floors the tower began to lean towards the north.During the construction of the higher floors measures were taken to try to keep the tower's central axis vertical. Then, ever since the tower was completed, numerous efforts have been made to prevent further inclination. 

Using a 3D model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa La Vanguardia illustrates the engineering behind some of the attempts that have been made to halt the Tower from leaning even further to the north. In particular the newspaper explains some of the measures undertaken during the closure of the Tower of Pisa, between 1990 and 2008. These stabilization efforts are said to have made the tower safe for at least another 200 years. 

Your Plastic's Journey to the Sea

Yesterday Ocean Cleanup released a new interactive map which allows you to track the journey that your plastic waste is likely to take from your hand to the ocean. Enter your location into the Plastic Tracker map and it will calculate the chances of a piece of plastic abandoned to the environment at that address reaching the ocean and also map the journey that the plastic would likely take.

The Plastic Tracker map plots the journey that a single piece of plastic is likely to take from the moment it is discarded. It shows the possible route that the plastic would take to reach the sea based on data such as river flow, river mouth emissions and ocean currents. 

The Plastic Tracker is just one of a series of interactive mapping tools developed by Ocean Cleanup in order to help raise awareness of the problems of plastic waste and to help clean up the plastic in our oceans.

The Price Tag of Plastic Pollution is another of Ocean Cleanup's interactive mapping tools. This map shows the economic costs of all the plastic pollution which we are currently spilling into the world's oceans. It shows the need for governments & individuals to address plastic pollution by highlighting the economic costs of plastic pollution on industries such as fishing and tourism.

Ocean Cleanup worked with the auditing company Deloitte to assess the costs of plastic pollution to countries around the world. According to this study the total global yearly economic costs from marine plastic are between $6-19bn. These costs accrue from the impact of pollution on tourism & on the fishing industry and from efforts to clean and clear plastic pollution. 

If you click on a country on the Plastic Pollution world map you can view the costs to the government and to the fishing and tourism industries in the selected country. One of the main purposes of the Price Tag of Plastic Pollution map is to demonstrate that it is far cheaper not to pollute our oceans with plastic in the first place than it is to clean them after they have been polluted. 

Around 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the world's oceans every single year. This plastic is dangerous to marine life and, once it enters the food chain, ultimately dangerous to the health of the human race.

The Ocean Cleanup organization believes that between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons of the plastic in the oceans originates from the world's river systems. Two thirds of it from the rivers of Asia. The River Plastic Emissions to the World’s Oceans interactive map helps to visualize how and where that plastic ends up in the world's oceans.

The map shows river systems around the globe. The predicted input from each river system is shown at the coast using scaled circular markers. These predicted inputs are based on a model which looks at population density, waste management, topography, hydrography, the locations of dams and the reported concentration of plastic in rivers around the world.

You might also be interested in the Maps Mania post Seas of Plastic Debris.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Toll from Coal

Coal-fired power plants are America's greatest air polluters. They are also the most dangerous. The pollution from coal-fired power plants cause global warming, acid rain, and fine particle pollution. There are around 500 coal-fired power plants in the United States. You can view how dangerous each of these coal-fired power plants are on the Toll For Coal interactive map.

The Toll for Coal interactive map allows you to explore the sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions expelled by coal-fired power plants across America.If you click on a state on the map you can view a list of all the coal-fired power plants in the state. If you click on an individual power plant you can view details on the size of the plant, the tons of pollutants it emits every year and the health impact of those pollutants.

The health impacts for each power plant include the number of deaths caused, the number of hospital admissions, asthma ER visits and the number of acute bronchitis cases. Around each power plant are circles showing the 3 mile and 12 mile distances from the plant. When you select a plant on the map you can view details about the population demographics who live within these 3 mile and 12 mile areas of the power plant. This includes the number of children living close to the plant. 

Coal is still the main source of energy for the USA. You can explore America's power supply on the U.S. Power Plants map. U.S. Power Plants is an interactive map showing the locations, size and type of America's electric power plants. The map is a great way to see where different types of power plant are located, how much each type of energy source contributes to the country's power supply and how much each source contributes to CO2 emissions.

The number of map filters on U.S. Power Plants means that the map can provide lots of different insights into American power supply. For example the individual fuel filters allow you to see where different power sources are concentrated in America. Select hydro power and you can see that hydro power plants are concentrated in the north-west and north-east of the country. While solar power plants are mainly located in California.

If you click on an electricity power plant marker on the map you can view details on the plant's capacity, net generation and CO2 output. The drop-down menu also allows you to re-scale the map markers by the the amount of CO2 produced by each power plant.

Indigenous Language Maps

The Tlingit are one of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. In the native Tlingit language 'Tlingit' means 'people of the tides'. There are now only around 400-500 native speakers of Tlingit. However concerted efforts are being made to revive and preserve the Tlingit language.

If the Tlingit language disappears then the historical indigenous place-names of the northwest coast of North America could become lost for ever. Lingit Aani is an interactive map which features place-name labels showing the original Tlingit place-names. The map currently mainly shows Tlingit place-names around Sheet’ka (Baranof Island).

Most of the Tlingit place-names shown on the map come from the book Our Grandparents' Names on the Land. If you zoom in very close on the map then English translations will appear under the original Tlingit place-names.


Traveling some distance south along the northwest coast of North America from the traditional territory of the Tlingit you come to the territory of the Squamish. The indigenous Squamish people live in a large area around Squamish in British Columbia.

Oh The Places You Should Know is an interactive map in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language. The map was created by the non-profit Kwi Awt Stelmexw. On the map all the map labels are in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh. The mountains and waterways are in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, the islands and villages are all in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and the landmarks are in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh.

If you don't speak Sḵwx̱wú7mesh you can click on the place-name markers on the map to find out how to pronounce the name and to learn what it means in English. Many of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh names and markers on the map even have audio files attached which allow you to hear how the word should be pronounced. Some of the locations featured on the map also include additional information, such as video, photos, stories, and external links. 

There are 203 First Nations communities in British Colombia and an amazing diversity of indigenous languages. You can learn more about B.C.'s First Nations communities and languages on the First People's Map of B.C..

The new First People's Map of B.C. provides information about the indigenous languages, cultures and places of British Columbia. The interactive map visualizes the regions where different First Nations languages are spoken. It also allows you to view First Nations place-names and important landmarks.

If you select a language family from the map sidebar you can view where the individual First Nations languages in that family are spoken. You can also listen to recordings of each of the indigenous languages being spoken by native speakers. In addition the First People's Map of B.C. provides information on community landmarks, cultural sites and art spaces.

You can view more interactive maps featuring indigenous place-name labels in other locations around the world under the Maps Mania languages tag.