Thursday, December 01, 2022

How Rising Seas May Impact Your Home

Coastline Paradox uses Google Maps Street View imagery to visualize how rising sea levels are likely to affect locations around the world over the next three hundred years. The map was created by Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho to provide a powerful visualiztion of likely sea level rises and their effects on global migration.

Using Coastline Paradox it is possible to view the likely effects of rising sea levels at locations around the world for any year between now and 2300. Select one of the global locations marked on the map with a blue dot and a panoramic Street View image will appear. Superimposed on top of this image is a glowing white line which shows the likely future sea level at that location. You can adjust the date for the sea level prediction at any location by using the timeline control above the map.

A text box is also superimposed on top of the Street View image informing you of the year displayed, the number of feet that the sea will have risen by that date and the number of people who will likely have been displaced at the selected location by the rising sea level. The sea level rises displayed on the map are based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019).

It is possible to make a sea level rise visualization a little more realistic by using AI to add a little water to a Street View image. Foe example, the picture above shows how the Louvre art gallery might appear after global sea level rises have flooded Paris. This imagined view of the Louvre was created by ThisClimateDoesNotExit.

ThisClimateDoesNotExist is a clever Google Street View based application which allows you to see how your house might look after your street has flooded. To create an imagined view of your flooded house you just need to type your address into ThisClimateDoesNotExist's Google Map. If Google Street View imagery is available at this address you can then view an 'AI' generated image of your home under a few feet of water.

ThisClimateDoesNotExist claims to be "an AI-driven experience based on empathy". What this means is that the application does not use any real rising sea level predictions to picture your house under water. It just portrays an imagined scenario. As long as the user is clear that the enhanced Street View image isn't based on any real climate change science then the generated picture of an address can have a strong emotional impact. Nobody wants to really see their home flooded by rising waters.

I suspect that both Coastline Paradox and ThisClimateDoesNotExist have used the GSVPanoDepth Street View depth library to visualise sea level rise in such a powerful way.

Almost 20% of Singapore is reclaimed land. The country is therefore very worried about the likely effects of rising sea levels. In order to illustrate the possible impact of sea level rise the Straits Times has created a virtual reality visualization called Singapore Underwater. 

Singapore Underwater uses virtual reality to show how Singapore might look in the future if global warming leads to rising sea levels. Singapore Underwater explains the reasons why sea levels are rising around the world. The visualization also looks at how Singapore might try to mitigate against rising seas and the possible impact of land loss and saltwater contamination of the country's farmland & reservoirs. 

Singapore Underwater is best viewed with a VR headset but it can be viewed on a desktop, tablet or mobile device.

The recent devastating floods in Pakistan and Australia have obviously led many people to wonder about how susceptible their homes are to flooding. One consequence of global heating and rising sea levels is that flood risks are increasing across the world and these kind of lethal floods are going to become much more common. 

Climate Risk's Coastal Risk Map allows you to view your risk from projected sea level rise and coastal flooding by year, water level, and by elevation.Share your location with the Coastal Risk Map and you can view the potential flood risk for different years and for different levels of sea level rise. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

England is No Longer a Christian Country

New data from the 2021 UK census shows that for the first time less than half of the people of England & Wales identify as Christians. In last year's census 5.5 million fewer people described themselves as Christian than in 2011.

The Church of England plays an integral role in UK life. 27 bishops are automatically given seats in the House of Lords (the upper house of the UK parliament) and schools in the country are required to teach and worship the Christian religion. The new census data has led to renewed calls for the disestablishment of the Church of England, to end its status as the official church of the UK.

You can explore support for the Christian religion and the support for other religions on the Office for National Statistics Census Mapper. This interactive choropleth map allows you to view the percentage of people who identify with the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh religions, or who identify as non-religious. 

One interesting pattern revealed by the map is that inner-city census tracts seem to have fewer Christians than suburban and rural areas. This doesn't mean that these areas necessarily have more people identifying as non-religious. The drop in the percentage of people identifying as 'Christian' in inner-city areas appears to be because these areas are more ethnically diverse. In other words more people in these areas identify with non-Christian religions.

Across England & Wales 37.2% of the population said they had no religion. 46.2% of people said that they were Christian. On current trends by the time of the next census in a decade's time there will be more non-religious people than Christians in England & Wales. 

If you select 'No religion' on the ONS map you can view the areas of England & Wales where the majority of the population already identifies as non-religious. South Wales in particular has a cluster of census tracts where the majority of the people have no religion. Norwich and Brighton and Hove also stand out as cities where over half the population identify as non-religious. Interestingly both Norwich and Brighton & Hove have a relatively high percentage of White residents, compared to other cities in England & Wales. This may suggest that there is a higher percentage of people identifying as non-religious in the White population than there is in other ethnic groups.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Explore Inside the Pyramid of Giza

Go Inside the Great Pyramid of Giza is an amazing virtual 'Street View' tour of the normally closed inner chambers of the Khufu Pyramid in Egypt. This guided tour allows you to explore the interior three chambers of the pyramid, including the King's Chamber, the Queen's Chamber and the subterranean chamber, which is cut into and decends into the bedrock below the pyramid itself.

The Khufu Pyramid or Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest of the Egyptian pyramids and is the tomb of the pharaoh Khufu, who died in 2566 BC.The Great Pyramid was the world's tallest building for more than 3,800 years. Very few people are allowed inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. Today you are one of them.

The tour enters the pyramid via a robber's tunnel believed to date back to 820 BC. At the entrance of this tunnel you have two choices. You can either take the Guided Tour or use the Free Explore option. The guided tour uses custom made 360 degree panoramic 'Street View' imagery to lead you inside the pyramid and into the three chambers. This guided tour includes contextual annotations which explain what you are seeing during the tour. The 'Free Explore' option allows you to enter and explore the pyramid alone. In this mode you are left to your own devices to use the navigation circles added to the panoramic imagery to virtually explore inside the Great Pyramid. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Do You Live in A Disadvantaged Neighborhood?

A new interactive map identifies neighborhoods in the USA which are "considered disadvantaged communities". The Climate and Economic Justice Tool was developed by the Council on Environmental Quality in order to help the government meet the Justice40 initiative, under which federal funds should be targeted at communities which are "overburdened by pollution and historic underinvestment."

If you enter your address or zip-code into the map you can discover if your census tract is designated disadvantaged or not. You can also view a host of data which reveal how your census tract ranks in comparison to other areas using a number of socio-economic and environmental metrics. 

The map identifies 27,251 census tracts in the U.S. as disadvantaged or partially disadvantaged. A tract can be identified as disadvantaged if it is seen to have a 'burden' related to climate change, poor transportation, legacy pollution AND where average household income is less than or equal to twice the federal poverty level.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Earthquakes with Depth

Earthquakes with Exaggerated Depth is an interactive globe which visualizes one year's worth of earthquake activity around the world. The map was created by Esri's Raluca Nicola using data from the USGS.

On Raluca's transparent globe earthquakes which occurred between July 2017 and July 2018 are shown with their depth exaggerated by a factor of eight. Each earthquake is shown on the map using a colored circular marker. The color and size of the markers indicate the displayed earthquake's magnitude.

More than 75% of the world's volcanoes and around 90% of earthquakes occur in and around the basin of the Pacific Ocean. This area is commonly called the Ring of Fire. The reason for all this seismic activity in the Ring of Fire is the presence of converging tectonic plates.
The Pacific Ring of Fire can also be clearly seen on John Nelson's Seismic Illumination visualization. This map uses historical earthquake data going back to 1898 to show how earthquake activity reveals the Earth's tectonic plates. By concentrating on the Pacific Ring of Fire the map is able to show how continental drift causes seismic activity where the world's tectonic plates meet each other.

The Seismic Explorer interactive map also uses historical earhquake data to visualize 40 years of earthquake activity on Earth, including information on the magnitude, depth, and location of each recorded quake. The map uses data about recent seismic activity from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and data from the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program on historical seismic activity around the world. 

On this map individual earthquakes are shown using colored and scaled markers. The colors of the markers represent earthquake depth and the size of the markers indicate the magnitude of the quake.The timeline control below the map allows you to view the seismic activity around the world for any date range. You can also press the play button to view an animation of global earthquakes from 1980 to the present day. 

Seismic Explorer also includes a cross section tool which allows you to view the depth data of earthquakes in a 3D view. You can use this tool to view an area of the globe as a cross-section, providing a three-dimensional view of the earthquake activity in that region. This allows you to view the depths of the earthquakes in that cross-section for any selected date range.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Grand Theft Auto GeoGuessr

Lostgamer allows you to play a GeoGuessr type Street View game in your favorite game worlds. This amazing game uses custom made 360 degree panoramic Street View type imagery of your favorite game-worlds to create an awesome geographical virtual world game. 

Fans of GeoGuessr will be familiar with the gameplay of Lostgamer. In GeoGuessr you are required to identify real-world locations from Google Maps Street View imagery. The gameplay in Lostgamer is exactly the same. Only in this case you have to identify where you are in a virtual game-world based on 360 panoramic imagery of that world's map. 

You can choose to play Lostgamer in three different game-worlds; Grand Theft Auto's Los Santos, World of Warcraft's Shadowlands or the Fortnite game-world. Choose either GTA, WoW or Fortnite and you will be randomly dropped in your chosen game's game-world. Using the custom made Street View imagery you now have to work out where you are in that world. If the location isn't immediately apparent you can use the arrows to move around (just as you would on Google Maps). When you think you know where you are you can submit your answer by dropping a pin on the map of your game-world. You will then be awarded points based on how close you guessed to the correct location.

Lostgamer allows you to 'play solo', where you play against yourself and attempt to set your own personal high-score. Alternatively you can play 'multiplayer', in which you get to test your knowledge of one of the three featured game-worlds against other players.  

Even if you aren't interested in playing a Geoguessr type game you can still have a lot of fun with Lostgamer. Instead of trying to work out where you have been randomly dropped in a virtual game-world you can just use Lostgamer to virtually explore Los Santos, the Shadowlands or the Fortnite world. Each game has been fully mapped using custom developed Street View like panoramas. This means that you can explore each of these three game-worlds exactly as you might explore your own town using Google Maps Street View.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Future of Forests

Climate change is already leading to temperature changes in biomes, and effecting the development of the species which depend on them. As a result of global heating and increased temperatures the natural habitats of forest tree species are beginning to change. According to Appsilon (creators of R Shiny dashboards) predicted "climatic changes will significantly affect living conditions for trees. Increased temperatures and decreased precipitation during the growing season will affect particular tree species differently."

In order to show how climate change will affect individual tree species Appsilon has released Future Forests, an interactive map which visualizes the current range of a number of tree species and predicts their future ranges under three different climate change models. If you choose a species of tree from the map's drop-down menu and a climate change scenario (optimistic, moderate or pessimistic) you can see the tree species' current range and its predicted range in 70 years time. 

For example, the map above shows in red where the Douglas fir will stop growing in Europe under a pessimistic climate change scenario. Under this scenario the Douglas fir's habitat will move dramatically. The map shows in blue the areas where the Douglas fir is predicted to start growing outside its current habitat under this pessimistic climate change model.

The map allows you to view the predicted habitats of 12 different tree species which currently grow in European forests. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The lutruwita place names map

pulingina to lutruwita (Tasmania) Place Names Map is an interactive map which shows the original palawa kani names for lots of locations in lutruwita (Tasmania). palawa kani is the language of Tasmanian Aborigines. The map was created by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre using research undertaken by the palawa kani Language Program.

According to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre only "a handful of places in lutruwita still bear their original names". These handful of palawa kani place names are also given using English spellings, which do not convey the original sounds. The pulingina to lutruwita Place Names Map includes audio recordings of each place name spoken by a palawa kani speaker. Click on a place name's marker on the map and you can also learn a little about the history of the name.

You can learn more about the map and the palawa kani Language Program on the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre website.

You may also be interested in:

  • New Zealand - the Te Reo Māori Web Map shows the Te Reo place-names of New Zealand towns, cities, lakes, rivers, mountains and other notable locations.
  • Australia - The Land is a Map shows locations in Australia with names of Indigenous Australian origin. Click a place name marker on the map to learn more about a place name's etymology from its Wikipedia entry.

The New FCC National Broadband Map

Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its most accurate map of national broadband provision. Enter your address into the FCC National Broadband Map and you can discover which Internet Service Providers are available where you live and the types of service and speeds which you can expect.

The ISP availability and service speed data are provided by the providers to the FCC. If you think the data for your address is wrong then you can submit a 'Location Challenge' directly on the map. You can also report if your address is missing from the map.

The new FCC National Broadband Map will be used by the government to help to determine where to distribute money from the $42.45 billion in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. Every state will receive $100 million from the BEAD program. Extra funding will then be distributed, using the FCC map, to areas which are currently unserved or underserved by Internet Service Providers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Explore the First Route Around the World

On September 20 1519 five ships set out with 239 men from Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain. Their goal was to find a new route to the Moluccan Islands, in Indonesia. On September 6 1522 just one of those ships, the Victoria, landed back in Spain. It was the first ship to have circumnavigated the globe. 

Only 18 men returned to Spain on the Victoria. Many of the others died on the journey, including the original captain, one Ferdinand Magellan, who was killed in the Philippines in April 1521.

In order to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first ship to sail around the world the Spanish broadcaster RTVE has released an interactive map of the route taken by Magellan's expedition to  cicumnavigate the globe. In The First Around the World you can follow this whole voyage from Spain, to South America, through the Strait of Magellan, across the South Pacific, to the Phillipines, around the Cape of Good Hope and (nearly three years later) back to Spain.

As you follow the route taken by Magellan's expedition you pass a number of milestones. These milestones including the kidnapping and chaining up of two indigenous South American of the Tehuelches people, the burning of a village in Guam, and an attack on the island of Mactan (during which Magellan died).