Thursday, September 20, 2018

What Causes California Wildfires?


What do you get if you combine huge forests, global warming and lots of people? The answer is devastating wildfires. At least that appears to be what is happening in California.

According to The Guardian the extensive California forests are full of dead trees, nearly 129 million of them. Because of global warming the past five years have been the hottest recorded in California and the state has only just emerged from a six year drought. The result of this extended hot dry weather and 129 million dead trees is you have almost the perfect conditions for wildfire. All you need now is human beings.

Humans are responsible for 84% of wildfires and California has a lot of them. These people are also increasingly living in the state's high-risk fire corridors. The result is a highly combustible situation. Of course when those inevitable wildfires do occur the drought conditions mean that there is little rain and groundwater around to help put out those fires. You can learn more about Why California's Wildfires are So Bad on this Guardian story map.

The Football Fans Optimal Road Trip


Randy Olson has worked out the optimal road trip for football fans. If you undertake his optimal football fan road trip you can visit 48 different stadiums, watch 90 different teams, and witness 6 of the biggest rivalries in college football. All within this year's 51-day season schedule.

To create the Optimal Football Fan Road Trip Randy set himself a number of rules. The trip only includes Division I FBS teams, there is a maximum of one game every day, and you are allowed to fly between different locations. The use of flights means that this is more of a tour of the different stadiums rather than a strict road trip.

Here is where you can view the map of the Optimal Football Road Trip for the 2018 Season. However you will also need to refer to the trip itinerary which tells you which stadium you need to visit and on which date / game you need to be there. You can view this itinerary on How many college football teams can you watch in-person in one football season?


If you aren't a football fan then you might be more interested in Randy Olson's other optimal road trips:

The Optimal Road Trip Across the U.S.
The Optimal Road Trip Across Europe.
The Optimal Road Trip of U.S. National Parks

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

School Road Safety


Zendrive has released an interactive map which allows you to check how safe the roads are around your local schools. Zendrive's School Safety Snapshot provides a safety rating for all schools in the USA based on driver behavior around each school.

To grade each score Zendrive measured the number and type of unsafe driving events, as detected by the Zendrive platform, around the school. The grades are based on a snapshot of driver behavior around the school in April 2018. You can compare each school's safety rating for 2018 to the rating given to the school in 2017.

The School Safety Snapshot interactive map works at different zoom levels. When zoomed out the map provides a choropleth view showing the overall school safety record in each state. If you select a state on the map you can then view the school safety ratings for each county. If you select a county on the map you can view the individual ratings for all the schools in the county.

Getting to Know Basle


Most Americans in Basle live in Altstadt Grossbasel. Germans living in Basle prefer the neighborhoods of Riehen and Bettingen, which are right next to the German border. The Riehen and Bettingen neighborhoods are also popular with old people. Most young adults (20–39) live in Rosental, Gundeldingen, Matthäus and Altstadt Kleinbasel. These are also some of the least popular neighborhoods for people over 50.

I discovered these interesting facts about Basle on Getting to Know Basle Districts. This data visualization tool maps out all kinds of demographic, economic and census data about each of the Swiss city's 21 different districts.

Getting to Know Basle starts with an interactive map which allows you to select any of the city's neighborhoods to view a breakdown of the district's population, including the number of residents born overseas, the average net income and the district's income & wealth inequality. As you progress through the data visualization Getting to Know Basle Districts maps out lots of different economic and demographic variables using official data from the city's Statistics Department.

Mapping Migration Flow


Migration in Latvia is a wonderfully designed interactive map which visualizes the country's internal migration flow. The map was developed by Latvia's Central Statistics Bureau.

The overall choropleth view of Latvia visualizes the number of people who have left each town and region in Latvia since the year 2000. You can also toggle this choropleth view to show the number of people who have moved into each town and region since the turn of the century.

Select a town or region on the map and flow lines are added to the map showing where people from that area moved to between 2000-2018. You can also switch this to view instead the inward migration flow of people into the selected town or region. You can also switch to view the migration flow between three different periods of time; during the last 18 years, the last 7 years or just the migration flow in the last year.

The map sidebar also breaks down some of the migration flow data for the selected town or region. This analysis includes a list of the top 30 locations where people moved to or from. It also includes a breakdown of the number of people who moved into the area during the selected time period and the number of residents who moved out of the area.

Also See

American Migration - visualizing migration flow to and from American cities
US Migration Flow Map - a map showing migration flow between US states
Population Explorer - visualizing the migration flow of towns & regions in New South Wales, Australia

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hurricane Florence Aerial Imagery


NOAA’s Remote Sensing Division has been flying its airplanes along the North and South Carolina coast since Saturday. The planes have been collecting damage assessment imagery in order to help and support emergency response after Hurricane Florence.

The Hurricane Florence Imagery interactive map allows you to view the latest imagery on top of a map and pre-Florence aerial imagery. The map includes three layers of aerial imagery, captured on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The imagery captured on the 15th covers the coast from Cape Henry, Virginia to Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. The imagery from the 16th is from Charleston, South Carolina to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. The imagery captured yesterday is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and from Oak Island to Oregon Inlet in North Carolina.

As well as aiding emergency response to the storm NOAA's aerial imagery will be used to assess the damage caused by the storm and flooding. Aerial imagery provides one of the most cost-effective ways to analyse storm damage to both property and the environment.

Mapping Gentrification in Austin


The University of Texas was commissioned by the Austin City Council to research and map neighborhoods in the city where residents are being displaced by development and the rising cost of property. You can view the results of this research on the Austin Gentrification and Displacement Indicators interactive map.

The map allows you to see which Austin neighborhoods are most vulnerable to displacement, which are becoming more vulnerable, which neighborhoods have experienced the biggest changes in property values and which ones have experienced the most gentrification. The different gentrification and displacement indicators can be selected and viewed by selecting them from the menu above the map.

Also See

Turning the Corner - mapping gentrification in Detroit
Urban Displacement - mapping gentrification and displacement in Los Angeles
Displacement Project Alert Map - mapping displacement pressures in New York City
The UCB Urban Displacement Project Map - mapping gentrification & displacement in the San Francisco Bay Area
Ungentry - mapping demographic change and gentrification in Boston

The Land Use of Berlin


Back in July Bloomberg mapped out how American uses its land. In Here's How America Uses its Land Bloomberg discovered that 41 percent of land in the contiguous United States is given over to livestock. Urban areas make up just 3.6 percent of American land use. Of course that urban land is also made up of a number of different types of land use, including buildings, parks and roads.

Now I can't tell you how any American cities are constituted by land type but thanks to Tages Spiegel we can explore how Berlin uses its land. Parts of Berlin is a story map which explores how much of Berlin is dedicated to different types of land use.

The map reveals that Berlin is a very green city. In fact the green areas of the city are as large as the five districts of Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Pankow, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Spandau combined. That is quite a large proportion of the city. Another 133 square kilometers of the city are dedicated to traffic and travel. These areas are made up of parking lots, roads, railways and sidewalks. The amount of Berlin given over to traffic and travel is about the size of the districts of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Schöneberg, Friedenau, Tempelhof and Mariendorf put together.

Stealing the Maldives


In 2014 and 2015 the Maldives Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb with the help of President Abdulla Yameen and a number of corrupt local businessmen began leasing out islands and coral lagoons as tourist resorts. These deals were carried out without legally mandated public bids and the profits were embezzled by Adeeb and his cronies. The government and Maldives citizens were in effect robbed of $79 million.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project has now mapped out which islands were embezzled under the corrupt reign of the now imprisoned tourism minister. The Explore the Maldives Island Deals interactive map includes a number of options to filter the data. For example the reader can select the 'Worst Deals' option to just see the island leases which have been singled out as among the worst deals for taxpayers. The 'International Brands' option allows you to see which international hotel brands have been building on the embezzled islands. There is also an option to view 'Local Businessmen, Tycoons, and Cronies' to view which of the deals involved local citizens and who those corrupt businessmen are.

You can learn more about how this corruption occurred in How Paradise Was Carved Up and Sold. You can find out more about who benefited from these crimes in Meet the Businessmen and Global Brands that Got the Islands.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Naming Philadelphia's Neighborhoods.


Everybody loves to argue about neighborhood boundaries.

Don't they?

What makes these arguments so great is that with no official boundaries no-one can prove that their views are correct. Except if you live in Philadelphia.

Residents in Philadelphia who are involved in an argument over a local neighborhood boundary can just refer to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Philadelphia Neighborhood Map. The map settles once and for all where every Phili neighborhood begins and ends.

Or does it?

In fact the Philadelphia Inquirer doesn't want to ruin your arguments. They even invite you to argue with their boundary decisions. If you click on a neighborhood on the map you can tell the Inquirer whether you agree with their choice or not. If you disagree with their name for a neighborhood you can tell them what you call it.


The Inquirer isn't the first newspaper to map their local boundaries. Back in 2015 the LA Times asked their readers to draw the boundary of the Eastside neighborhood.

The boundary of the city's Eastside neighborhood is particularly hard to define because there seems to be no official map of the area's extent. The Los Angeles Times therefore decided to settle the argument by asking their readers to draw Eastside on a map. On the L.A.'s Eastside: Where do you draw the line? map you can use the Leaflet drawing tools to draw your idea of where Eastside's boundaries lie. You can then compare your concept of the neighborhood with the view of the Los Angleles Times and with the views of other readers.

You can view more neighborhood boundary maps on this Crowdsourcing Neighborhood Boundaries post.