Saturday, October 01, 2022

Exploring the Lakes of Mars

Freie Universität Berlin's Jezero Crater interactive map allows you to take a virtual tour of the landing site on Mars of the 2020 Perseverance rover. This tour includes a synthesized 360 degree panorama of the crater as it might have once looked, when water still existed on Mars. 

The interactive Jazero Crater map shows the track of Perseverance, revealing the parts of the Jezero crater which have already been explored by the Mars rover. The map also includes a number of synthetic and real interactive 'Street View' panoramas. The real 360 degree panoramas use imagery captured by the Mars rover to show the view from inside the Jezero crater. The synthetic panoramas have been rendered from orbital image data of Mars. 

The synthetic panoramas include one, labeled Paleo Lake View, which shows the crater filled with water. This recreation of how the crater might have looked when water still existed on Mars is based on 'putative paleolake-shorelines and the upper delta-top boundary'. The Paleo Lake View panorama and all the other panoramas  include  Martian soundtrack. This soundtrack was created using data from the air pressure sensor on NASA's InSight lander, to give an impression of the sound of wind blowing through the Jezero crater.

You can follow the Perseverance rover's continuing mission on the Mars 2020 Mission Tracker. The Mars 2020 Mission Tracker is a 3D interactive map of Mars, developed by the Spatial Studies Lab at Rice University, which is being used to track the Perseverance Rover on Mars. Using this 3D map you can follow the progress of the Perseverance Rover on Mars and view all the latest images captured by the rover and the Perseverance drone. 

NASA's 2020 Mars mission is examining the geology of Mars looking for the biosignatures of past microbial life on the red planet. In order to carry out this mission the Perseverance Rover is equipped with the Ingenuity helicopter drone. The Ingenuity drone is being used to help scout for points of interest for the Perseverance rover to investigate and study during its exploration of Mars.

The date control at the top of the Mars 2020 Mission map allows you to view the movements of the Perseverance Rover and the Ingenuity drone over the course of the mission's duration. If you select a date on this control the markers on the 3D map of Mars will show where Perseverance and Ingenuity were located on that day. When you select a day from the date control the image gallery also updates to display the images captured by the drone and rover on the selected day.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Liberating Ukraine

The Financial Times has taken a close look at the September counter-offensive which resulted in the reclamation of Russian held land in the north-east of Ukraine by the Ukrainian army. In The 90km journey that changed the course of the war the FT uses maps, photos and video to illustrate and explain how Ukraine managed to take back over 6000km of land and forced the Russian army to retreat.

A Mapbox GL story-map is used by the FT to map the territory regained by Ukraine during the early weeks of September. As you scroll through this map you can see where and how the Russian army was forced to cede land as the month progressed. The map shows how before the counter-offensive began long range missiles were used to destroy Russian stores and arm depots and disrupt supply lines by destroying key bridges. At the same time Ukraine managed to fool Russia into believing that they were actually launching an attack in the south of the country. Russia responded by redeploying large numbers from the north-east to Kherson in the south.

As you continue scrolling through the map Ukraine's significant gains are shown on the map as the Ukraine held territory (shown in yellow on the map) grows and the Russian held territory (shown in red) retreats. In less than a week the Ukrainian army was able to recapture more than 6000km. It has been the most successful military manoeuvre of the entire war so far and hopefully marks a significant stage in Russia's eventual defeat. 

In the second half of the FT report the paper shows the progress made by one regiment, the 92nd Mechanised Brigade. Using a Mapbox GL satellite map the FT shows the regiment's rapid advance from 6th September until the 10th September. In just 6 days the regiment was able to advance nearly 90km.

In response to this rout by the Ukrainian army Putin has declared a 'partial mobilization' and continues to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. The mobilization appears to be a very unpopular move among Russians and seems to have severely weakened Putin's own position at home.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Using CSS Filters for Custom Map Designs

Sketchy Map is a new interactive map which (I think) uses a combination of Mapbox GL's custom styling and CSS filter effects to create an artistic hand-drawn 'sketch' effect. Using Sketchy Map you can zoom in on any location in the world (or use the search box) to view the location in this sketchy map style.

Sketchy Map includes a customizable heading overlay (in the screenshot above the heading reads '富士山' (Mount Fuji)). If you click on this heading in Sketchy Map you can edit the text to say anything you want.

You can view more CSS filter effects applied to an interactive map on Blurd. On this map CSS filter effects are applied to blur and unblur the map when you pan and zoom around the world. 

I don't know for certain but I suspect that both Sketchy Map and Blurd were inspired by a recent Stamen blog post on applying CSS filter effects to interactive maps. In More Ways to Make Your Map Go Dark Mode Stamen explains how CSS filters can be applied to a map canvas to invert a map's colors.

You can view the outcome of Stamen's CSS filter experiments on their Invertorator interactive map. On this map CSS filters have been applied to the map canvas to invert every color on the map.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hurricane Ian Tracking Maps

Hurricane Ian is expected to reach Florida later today. At the time of writing the hurricane is a category four storm and is expected to cause major damage when it makes landfall, probably in the Tampa Bay region later today.

NOAA's National Hurricane Center has produced a number of maps showing the forecast track of Hurricane Ian, wind speed probabilities, storm surge warnings and rainfall potential. The Warnings map includes a layer which provides information on the most likely arrival times of tropical storm winds along the hurricane's forecast path.

Felt's Hurrincane Ian Resources interactive map includes a forecast path, showing the times and dates the hurricane is expected to arrive. It also includes a layer which displays Florida evacuation routes and provides links to Florida's latest evacuation orders. Other links are provided for the NOAA website and the latest Tweets from the National Hurricane Center.

NBC has created a live streaming YouTube channel Tracking Hurricane Ian which is switching between a map using the latest satellite images to track the storms progress and a map showing the storm's forecast path with estimated times of arrival along the mapped path. You can also follow the storm in near real-time using the Earth interactive map. This animated wind map updates every three hours to show the latest weather forecasts around the world.

Journey to the Moon in 3D

NASA's Artemis program will build a Lunar Gateway space station which can then be used to establish a permanent home base on the Moon and to launch human missions to Mars. Unfortunately the launch date for Artemis 1 has been postponed on a number of occasions due to engineering problems and adverse weather conditions (with the latest planned launch yesterday postponed because of Hurricane Ian). 

You can learn more about the Artemis program on ZDF's Mission Artemis. ZDF's interactive introduction to the Artemis mission includes 3D models of the Earth, the Moon, Mars and even the Gateway Space Station.

The Lunar Gatway Station will be the first space station in orbit around the moon. It will serve as a communication hub, science laboratory, and habitation module for astronauts. The station will also be used as the staging point for human missions to the Moon and hopefully in the future as a staging point for NASA's Deep Space Transport manned missions to Mars.
an Orion transport module docking with the Lunar Gateway Station

ZDF's 3D introduction to the Artemis program includes an animated 3D recreation of an Orion transport module docking with the Lunar Gateway Station. It also shows the location of the Shakleton Crater at the Moon's South Pole, where a future Moon base station could be built. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How Well Do You Know Your Boundaries?

You can find out how well you know the extent of your neighborhood by playing Axios' new interactive boundary drawing game. In Draw Your Neighborhood you are asked to draw an outline on a map to show where you think your neighborhood boundary lies. Once you have drawn the boundaries for a few of your city's neighborhoods you can compare how well your local knowledge compared to other Axios readers. 

There are twenty U.S. cities to play in Draw Your Neighborhood, including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas and Chicago. After you select a city you are then asked to draw on an interactive map the boundaries of five city neighborhoods. When you have drawn all five you can view a map showing the average boundary for each neighborhood (as drawn by other players) and are given a percentage score for each neighorhood indicating how different your guess was from the average. 

If your neighborhood isn't one of the twenty cities featured in Draw Your Neighborhood don't worry. You can make your own interactive Draw Your Neighbohood map by cloning my Where is Texas map. To make your own map simply click on the fish icon and select 'Remix on Glitch'. You can then change the instructions to ask people to draw any neighborhood in the world. Every time someone draws on your map the boundary will be added (in GeoJSON format) to the map side panel. 

Annotating Vintage Maps

At the weekend I released an annotated translated version of the Borgia Mappa Mundi, a German map of the world which was made around the middle of the 15th Century. This annotated version of the map was very easy to make using my Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON web application.

Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON allows you to view and annotate IIIF images in a Leaflet.js interactive map. 

With Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON you can: 

  1. View IIIF images inside a Leaflet map 
  2. Use the provided drawing tools to then annotate the image 
  3. Save your annotations as a GeoJSON file 
  4. Load and view GeoJSON data on top of any IIIF image 

Demo - this will open a blank copy of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON. 

If you want to view an image with Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON you need to append the URL of a IIIF manifest to the URL of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON. For example, 

 will open The Drawing Lesson by Jan Steen inside Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

You can view more examples of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON in action on its GitHub page. The Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON GitHub repository also includes a number of demo geojson files which you can dowload and view on Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

IIIF is a standardized method of describing and delivering images over the web. It is a standard for creating interactive image tiles for images of documents, manuscripts, photographs and paintings. Many major art galleries, museums and universities around the world are adopting the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). This means that there are thousands of porential sources for IIIF images which you can view in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

One major source for vintage maps to view in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON is the David Rumsey Map Collection. In the screenshot above you can see how to retrieve the IIIF manifest image for a map in the David Rumsey Map Collection by selecting Share > IIIF Manifests.

Once you have copied the IIIF manifest address of a map on the David Rumsey website you can simply append it to the Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON URL. For example, 

will open a geological survey map of the United States. Now you can draw and annotate the map in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON and save the results as a GeoJSON file.

Monday, September 26, 2022

What Four Words

The global addressing system What3Words has been receiving a lot of free publicity, thanks to its use by the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The department's tracking website for the 'Queue' (the line of people queuing to visit the Queen's coffin), used W3W in order to provide an updated record of where in London people could join the end of the line. Unfortunately a lot of that publicity was very negative.

If you want an alternative to What3Words you can now use the open sourced pataddress global addressing system. This new addressing system allows you to pinpoint any location on Earth using Only4Words. pataddress comes with its own default word database (the words used to describe a location) but also allows you to build your own database with a built-in word frequency analyser.  - via weeklyOSM

There are of course many alternatives to W3W and pataddress. You can use Google's much ignored Plus Codes or even the obscure and antiquated latitude and longitude system. You could even try the iconic  what3emojis or the profane Four King Maps.

Italian Election Maps

Italy appears to have voted in its first Fascist leader since Benito Mussolini. The main winner in yesterday's national elections has been Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy, a party which traces its roots back to Mussilini's National Fascist Party.

Sunday's election saw an historic low turnout of just 63.91% of the electorate. The Right Alliance (consisting of Brothers of Italy, Forza Italia, League and Us Moderates) will now form the next Italian government, having won a majority of seats in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.

You can explore the Italian election results on The Guardian's Italian Election 2022: Live Official Results. The Guardian's results page includes an interactive map which shows the winning coalition in each electoral seat. You can hover over individual seats on this map to view a breakdown of the votes cast for the 'Right Alliance', 'Left Alliance', 'Five Star', 'Center Alliance' and 'Other'. 

Corriere Della Sera's Election Results 2022 also includes an interactive map which shows the winning coalition in each electoral district. Both The Guardian's and Corriere Della Sera's maps show that the Right Alliance has been the most popular coalition in seats across the whole country. If you click on individual seats on the Corriere Della Sera map you will be taken to a more detailed breakdown of the results in that seat.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

A 15th Century Map of the World

The Borgia Mappa Mundi is a map of the world which was made around the middle of the 15th Century. The map is orientated with south at the top, differing from earlier medieval mappa mundi and earlier T and O maps which tended to be oriented with east at the top (at least three other 15th Century world maps were also orientated with south at the top - the 1448 world map of Andreas Walsperger, the 1459 Fra Mauro world map, and the Zeitz mappa mundi.

The Borgia map, however, does resemble other early western global maps in that it divides the world into three continents - Asia, Africa and Europe (with Asia being roughly the size of Africa and Europe combined). It also resembles other early western maps in that its view of the world is shaped by the Bible, Ptolemy's Geographia and many dubious myths and legends. 

My annotated Borgia Mappa Mundi is an interactive version of this 15th Century map of the world on which the original German placename labels have been translated into English. This translated version of the map really allows you to explore the world as seen by a 15th Century European. Search hard and you can find the location of Paradise (east of India), the mountains of the moon, and the provinces of Gog and Magog. While exploring the world make sure you also keep a wary eye out for the huge men with horns four feet long (in India), the Ethiopian Saracens with their faces of dogs and the Bavarian stags which vomit boiling water.

The Borgia map used in my annotated map belongs to the David Rumsey Map Collection. The translations come from The Borgia/ Velletri World Map DATE: 1410 - 1458 (PDF) and A Fifteenth Century Map of the World (PDF).

If you like my annotated Borgia map then you might also like Historia Cartarum's Annotated Claudius Map. This provides an interactive annotated map of Matthew Paris's medieval map of Britain, revealing the modern British placenames for all the locations depicted on the original 13th Century map.