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.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Explore the World in 3D

San Francisco as seen using Google's new Photorealstic 3D Tiles

At Google I/O this year the Google Maps team unveiled the release of Photorealistic 3D Tiles. Google Maps' Photorealistic 3D Tiles are a new way to view the world in 3D. In essence the new tiles allow map developers to use Google Earth's 3D buildings and terrain in their interactive maps. The new 3D tiles are ideal for creating immersive 3D map experiences, such as virtual tours, architectural visualizations, and city planning applications. 

To use Google Maps Photorealistic 3D Tiles, you will need to use a 3D Tiles renderer, such as CesiumJS or Once you have chosen a renderer, you can begin accessing photorealistic tiles simply by specifying the Photorealistic 3D tileset URL. 

If you want to use Google's new 3D map tiles then you should check out the Map Tile API Documentation. You will also probably want to peruse the CesiumJS documentation as well.

If you want to see Google's new Photorealistic 3D Tiles in action then you can explore Carto's story map How important is vegetation for cities.This mapped visualization uses the new 3D tiles and to examine the social, environmental and economic benefits of green spaces in urban environments. 

If you want to see your own city in 3D then you should explore Map Channel's Street Earth Map. Map Channel's Street Earth Map is a relatively old project that originally synchronized a Google Earth 3D map witht a 2D Google Maps view. The map has now been updated to work with the new Photorealistic 3D Tiles. Using the map you can explore any location in the world with three different but synchronized map views from Google: Street View, Google Maps, and the new Photorealistic 3D view.

The new Photorealistic 3D Map Tiles are currently available in over 2,500 cities in 49 countries. So if you are unlucky there is a chance that you won't be able to view your home town in 3D just yet.

Friday, May 19, 2023

How big are London, New York & Tokyo?

Alasdair Rae has used the leaflet-truesize plug-in for the Leaflet mapping platform to create a map which allows you to compare the size of Greater London and the Tokyo metro area with any other location in the world. 

Alasdair's How big is Greater London map contains two draggable polygons. One polygon represents the size of Greater London (placed over London) the other is the size of the Tokyo metro area (placed over Tokyo). You can simply click and grab either of these polygons to drag it around the map and compare its size with any other global location.

The leaflet-truesize plug-in is a great tool for quickly creating a map visualization showing the geographical size of something. You can also use the Google Maps API's draggable polygons to create simple comparison maps.

Comparison maps such as:

How much of America does Bill Gates own?
How Big is Glastonbury?
How Big is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
How Big is Occupied Ukraine?

If you don't want to create your very own map you can use Hans Hack's Reprojector map instead to compare different geographical locations. The Reprojector mapping tool allows you to compare different areas with each other by moving GeoJSON shapes around. The tool is great for comparing two (or more) different geographic areas with each other.

The Reprojector tool allows you to upload any GeoJSON polygon onto an interactive map. This GeoJSON can be anything you want, including country or state borders. Once you have uploaded a polygon onto the Reprojector map you can move the shape around to overlay the polygon on any location in the world. When you are happy with the location of your polygon you can then download a GeoJSON file with the data to display your polygon in its new position.

You can see in the screenshot above an example where I positioned a GeoJSON polygon of Italy on top of the state of Texas. If you want to experiment with moving different country polygons around on the Reprojector map then you might find GeoJSON Maps of the Globe useful. This simple tool allows you to click on a country on an interactive map and then download it as a GeoJSON file (which you can then upload onto the Reprojector map).

Thursday, May 18, 2023

US Military Bases Around the World

The United States has over 800 military bases in more than 80 countries around the world. This makes the U.S. the largest operator of military bases in the world. These bases are used for a variety of purposes, including training, logistics, and intelligence gathering. They also play a role in projecting American power and influence around the globe.

World BEYOND War has created an interactive map that allows users to view the locations of 867 U.S. military bases in countries other than the United States. In the USA's Military Empire you can filter the military bases on the map by country, government type, opening date, number of personnel, or acres of land occupied. The yearly cost to the U.S. of its foreign military bases ranges from $100 – 250 billion. 

The largest number of U.S. military bases are located in Europe, with over 200 bases in Germany alone. Other major concentrations of U.S. bases are found in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Presently World Beyond War only maps U.S. foreign military outposts. However there are plans to add data on all foreign military bases maintained by all nations in future editions of the map.