Saturday, May 21, 2022

Australian Election Maps

Australia's conservative Coalition government has lost power for the first time in nearly a decade. The Labor Party is projected to win enough seats to form the new government and its leader, Anthony Albanese, will become the country's new Prime Minister. At the time of writing, while it is still not clear whether the Labor Party will reach the 76 seats it needs for an overall majority, it has won enough seats to ensure it will be the main party in any minority government. 


The Australian has published an interactive map of the Federal Election Results that is showing which party has won in each seat as the results are announced. One problem with visualizing the results of an election in Australia (as discussed by ABC's in The Australian election map has been lying to you) is the huge discrepancy in size between huge rural seats and more densely populated urban seats. This problem is clearly apparent in The Australian's map of the 2022 election (shown above).

A cursory glance of The Australian election map would probably leave you with the impression that the Liberal Party (blue) was the biggest winners in Saturday's election. Blue covers a huge percentage of the map of Australia - because the Liberal Party has won many of the huge (least densely populated rural seats). The Australian has partly overcome this problem by creating a number of smaller inset maps showing the results in the major cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The Guardian has used a form of gridded cartogram in its Australian Election Results 2022 - Live Results page. Normally a gridded cartogram uses geometric shapes to represent equal units. In The Guardian's Australian election map the units don't appear to represent anything in themselves but have just been used to make the smallest electoral seats bigger so that they can be seen on the map. So, for example, the geographically small seat of Grayndler in Sydney is represented on the map by four hexagon units. The result is that you can actually find it on the zoomed out map of Australia (in comparison - it is almost impossible to find without zooming in on The Australian's election map).

One result of smaller urban seats appearing larger on the map than their actual geographical areas is that Labor's success in many of Australia's largest cities is a little more apparent on The Guardian map than on The Australian map (where their smaller geographical size undermines their visual impact). Of course The Australian has partly compensated for this by providing three zoomed-in inset maps for Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Friday, May 20, 2022

How Election Maps Lie

Tomorrow (21 May 2022) Australia goes to the polls to elect a new government. Ahead of the election and before the results begin to be visualized ABC News has released an interesting analysis of how Australia voted in the last election and what the two main parties have to do to win this election. At the core of this analysis is a discussion of how electoral maps can actually distort the true picture of a national election.

In The Australian election map has been lying to you ABC News looks at the Australian political landscape using an electoral cartogram on which every electoral seat is represented as an equal sized colored hexagon. However, before introducing its Australian electoral cartogram, ABC uses a geographical map of Australia to show how the rural seat of Durack and the urban seat of Grayndler, in Sydney appear on a normal election map. Both areas have one seat in the Australian parliament however on a geographical map Durack covers a huge portion of western Australia, while Grayndler appears as just a tiny dot on the east coast. Of course on ABC's cartogram both seats are showm at the same size. 

Having established the rationale for its electoral cartogram ABC goes on to use its equal sized hexogram to explore Australia's political landscape in terms of geography and in terms of the differences in rural/urban political leanings. Using equal sized hexagons means that ABC are able to easily manipulate its Australian electoral cartogram, reorganizing the map at will. For example, redrawing the cartogram to show how many seats each party has in each state. 

On a geographical map of Australia's political parties the Coalition appears to have a much larger majority than they do in reality. ABC's cartogram shows that the actual breakdown of the current seats held by the Labor Party and the Coalition is in reality much closer. By moving its equal sized cartograms around ABC is able to explore the urban/rural differences in where the two main parties are most popular. It is also able to easily highlight where the most marginal seats are currently located as the two parties go into tomorrow's general election.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Deadly Streets of San Francisco

Six times a day, every day of the week someone is injured by a car in San Francisco. A car injures someone approximately every four hours on the city's streets. Around every 13.19 days a person is killed by a car in the city.

The San Francisco Traffic Fatality Map hopes to shame the city's elected officials into action by identifying and memorializing all the victims of car violence in San Francisco. The map shows the locations of every fatal motor vehicle crash on the streets of San Francisco, it identifies the victims of these crashes and attempts to explain the circumstances surrounding each crash.

On the map each identified victim of a motor crash is indicated using a blue circle (the white circle are fatalities where the victims haven't yet been identified). If you click on one of these blue circles you can read more about the victim and how they were killed. The use of names and photos has a huge emotional impact and is incredibly effective in humanizing what might otherwise have appeared as just faceless data. 

However the San Francisco Fatality Map isn't merely a memorial to the city's victims of car accidents. The map also provides data which could be helpful to the city in achieving its Vision Zero objectives. If you click on the map's 'analysis' button you can view a breakdown of San Francisco car fatalities data by date and by location. You can also explore a detailed breakdown of the data by the age and gender of the victims and of the victim's mode of transport. For example this analysis reveals that pedestrians are by far the highest number of people to be killed by cars in San Francisco.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Street View of War

The official website of the Department of Tourism of the Kyiv Oblast State Administration are determined to record and document the destruction being caused in their region. In order that no-one is ever able to forgot the crimes committed in the Kyiv region they have established a Virtual Museum of War Memory

The main exhibit in the Virtual Museum of War is a number of custom made Street View panoramas. These 360 degree panoramic images, taken at different locations in the Kyiv Oblast, allow you to take a virtual walk through some of the horrific destruction inflicted by the invading forces. 

The Street View images for each of these virtual tours have also been added to Google Maps. This means that while exploring one of the museum's virtual tours you can click on the 'View on Google Maps' link to reveal the exact location on Google Maps. The 'i' information icon in the top right hand corner of the Street View image also reveals the name of the town where the panorama was taken. 

You can also explore some of the terrible destruction inflicted by the invading Russian army on the incredible 3D models created by Hidenori Watanave on his Satellite Images of Ukraine and 3D Data & 360 Panoramas Map of Ukraine.

These maps use data from images and videos captured in Ukraine to recreate incredible 3D models of some of the devastation caused by the Russian army. 3D photogrammetric models have been created of buildings and vehicles which have been destroyed during the war using drone captured imagery and photos taken on the ground. The result is two shocking interactive 3D maps which allow you to view some of the devastating destruction in Ukraine from an almost first person perspective.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Mapping Fire & Flood Risk

Both the Washington Post and NPR have released new interactive maps which allow you to view the risk of wildfire to your home. Climate change means that the chances of extreme weather conditions are increasing for everyone. These extreme weather conditions bring with them increasing risks of wildfire and in some locations increased flooding risk. 

The First Street Foundation has analyzed the wildfire and flood risks for over 145 million properties in the United States. You can check your home's risk from both wildfire and flooding on the foundation's new Risk Factor tool. Enter your address or postcode into Risk Factor and you can view an assessment of your home's wildfire and flood risk based on 'past, present, and future projections'.

The Washington Post has used the wildfire risk data from Risk Factor to create their own interactive map visualizing the risk from wildfire across the United States. The Post's Wildfire Risk Map shows the percentage of properties with 'significant' wildfire risk in each zipcode area in the United States. You can enter your zipcode into the map to zoom to your home. If you hover over a zipcode area on the map you can view how many people live in the area, the percentage of properties currently with a significant wildfire risk, and the percentage of properties which will have a significant risk of wildfire in 2052.

NPR has used the same wildfire risk data from the Risk Factor to create an interactive map which visualizes Where Wildfire Risk is on the Rise. This interactive map shows where the risk from wildfires is likely to increase in the next 30 years at the county level. Because this map shows "the Percent increase in burn probability between 2022–2052" it doesn't actually reveal your wildfire risk. It shows you where in the country wildfire risks are likely to increase or stay the same over the next three decades. It is particularly useful in showing where homeowners have to be aware of the likelihood of significantly rising risks from wildfire.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Geo Sentences

My life is about to get a lot easier.

I waste many, many hours every week editing geographical data in geojson.io. This process often involves having to painstakingly delete individual polygons and lines on an interactive map in order to create a smaller GeoJSON file containing only the geographic features that I actually require. Another time intensive activity I often struggle with is trying to merge two different GeoJSON files into one.

Both of these tasks I can now complete using Hans Hack's new Geo Sentences tool. Hopefully saving me many hours of my working week. Essentially Geo Sentences can take separate GeoJSON files and remove, share dissolve or repair information from the separate geographical data files. 

In the screenshot at the top of this post you can see the GeoJSON file I created by asking Geo Sentences to "Remove the UK from Europe". I created this map of Europe without the UK by uploading two GeoJSON files to Geo Sentences. One file had the geographic border of the UK. The other file contained the borders of all European countries (including the UK). By asking Geo Sentences to "Remove the UK from Europe" I was able to simply and quickly create a brand new GeoJSON file of all European countries except the UK.

Geo Sentences comes with a number of demo GeoJSON files already included. It also provides a number of example sentences which you can use to manipulate your geographical data using these demo GeoJSON files. You can therefore get a very quick understanding about each of the features provided by Geo Sentences by just testing each of the suggested examples sentences with the demo data.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse

Tonight, beginning at around 10.30pm (EDT), you will be able to watch a full lunar eclipse. On May 15th the sun, moon and Earth will align. Between 10.30pm and 2am the Earth will move between the sun and the full moon and as a result the Earth's shadow will pass across the surface of the moon. As the Earth's shadow passes over the moon it will cause the moon to have a reddish hue. This is why a lunar eclipse is also called a blood moon. At the moment the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. Therefore the moon appears in the night sky at its biggest and brightest. This is known as a supermoon. 

The lunar eclipse will be visible in the USA on Sunday evening and before dawn Monday morning in most of Europe (in London the partial eclipse will start at 3.27am). You can find out when you can view the lunar eclipse at your location on Time and Date. Enter a location into Time and Date and you can view an animation of the full lunar eclipse, revealing the times when the penumbral, partial and full eclipses start and when the full, partial and penumbral eclipses end.Time and Date also shows you the time of the maximum eclipse at your location. 

Time and Date has provided information on the direction and altitude of the moon in the night sky. In the USA, if the sky is clear and free of clouds, you shouldn't have too much trouble viewing the eclipse. In you live in the UK, because of the moon's very low position in the sky, your best chance of seeing the eclipse will be from a high altitude such as a tall building or from the top of a hill.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Mapping Rising Seas

NZ SeaRise is an interactive map which reveals how rising sea levels might effect locations around the coast of Aotearoa based on different climate change scenarios. Using the map you can view the likely impact of sea level rises at 7,434 sites around New Zealand (covering every 2km of coastline).

Because New Zealand suffers from a lot of techtonic activity mapping the impact of sea level rises in the country also involves calculating where coasts are moving up (uplift) and down (subsidence) in relation to sea level. NZ SeaRise includes data on the likely rate and direction of vertical land movement for every 2 km of Aotearoa's coast. 

The colored dots on the map show the projections of vertical movement around the coast. If you click on one of these dots you can view a graphed projection of sea level rise at that location until 2150 or 2300. This graph uses different colored lines to show the projected sea level rises under different climate change models. 

If you want to know how rising sea levels could affect other locations across the world you can use Climate Central's Coastal Risk Screening Tool. This interactive map allows you to see which areas around the globe are most threatened by sea level rise and coastal flooding. The map uses coastal elevation data with the latest projections for future flood levels to model how rising seas will impact all coastal communities.

The NYPD is Spying on You

There are thousands of surveillance cameras in New York which can track your movements around the city. The New York Police Department's facial recognition software can identify individuals as they move around New York and pass in front of any of the city's pervasive surveillance cameras. The system works using millions of profile pictures scraped from social media accounts without users' permissions. Black and minority communities are most at risk of being misidentified by facial recognition software and therefore most at risk of being wrongfully arrested.

Amnesty International, with the help of 7,000 volunteers, has analyzed Google Maps Street View imagery in New York to identify the locations of the city's security camera locations. Amnesty found and located over 15,000 surveillance cameras across the city.

In Inside the NYPD's Surveillance Machine Amnesty International has created a route finder which allows you to discover how many surveillance cameras you will pass on any journey in New York City. For example if you walk from the Empire State Building to the Museum of Modern Art you will be filmed by surveillance cameras on 80% of the journey. 

Amnesty claims that the pervasive level of surveillance in NYC coupled with facial recognition software means that you are 'never anonymous' in the city and that your movements can be tracked at any time. You can explore the density of the city's surveillance cameras on Amnesty's Decode Surveillance NYC interactive map. The Decode Surveillance heat-map shows the density of surveillance cameras across the city. You can view the locations of individual cameras by exploring the Inside the NYPD's Surveillance Machine interactive map.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

24 Hours of Global Flight Traffic

Google has released an animated map visualizing 24 hours of global flight traffic around the world. The WebGL Air Traffic Demo has been released to illustrate what can be achieved using the WebGL features of the Google Maps JavaScript API.

The WebGL overlay view in the Google Maps API allows developers to add and animate 2D and 3D graphics on top of a Google Map. In the WebGL Air Traffic Demo this feature has been used to create a visualization of one day's worth of flights longer than three hours between 645 airports around the world. The map is an impressive demo of the Google Maps API, animating thousands of data points at any one time. The map also includes an animated day/night layer which moves across the map to show the current time of day across the world. 

The WebGL Air Traffic Demo was demonstrated yesterday at Google I/O, where Google also gave a sneak peak of a new Immersive View' for Google Maps. Coming later this year for a number of global cities Immersive View combines satellite views, height data and Street View to create what looks like a truly impressive 3D map. The new 'Immersive View' hasn't been launched yet but Google did release a short video demo (shown above).