Sunday, December 21, 2014

Maps of the Week

Edinburgh Library has created a wonderful map featuring historical stories, photos and maps about life in the Scottish capital.

Our Town Stories - Edinburgh is a great showcase for some of Edinburgh Library's collection of historical documents, photographs and maps. My favorite aspect of Our Town is that you can view historical photos of the city actually overlaid on your choice of historical maps of the city.

The map includes a handy time-line feature which allows you to search through the stories, photos and maps by date. Enter a date range on the time-line and all the documents for that period are shown on the map using categorized markers.

The Washington Post has published an interesting account of the escape of three detainees from Alcatraz in June 1962. No one knows if the three prisoners survived their attempted escape or died while trying to navigate the strong currents of the San Francisco Bay,

The Washington Post's report, The Alcatraz Escapees Could have Survived, is based on the work of Dutch researchers who have been working on a model which simulates the movement of particles and detritus in bays. Based on this model the Dutch researchers have concluded that the three Alcatraz prisoners may have survived, but only if they left the island at the right time.

The report includes two animated CartoDB maps, one showing the worst case scenario and one showing the best case scenario. Both maps use tidal records to model the water-flow in the San Francisco Bay on the evening of the escape.

As the animation plays out on both maps you can view the likely track of the escapees based on the different times during the evening when they could have left Alcatraz. The animated boats on the map are colored to show the time of escape. In the best case scenario, as long as the escapees left before 1 a.m. and paddled north, they may have made it to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge and freedom.

One of the most popular posts on Maps Mania in 2014 looked at the heat maps generated by joggers and cyclists using wearable technology. One of these maps was Mapbox's '1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides', created using data from Runkeeper users.

Mapbox has now updated that map to include 150,000 additional routes and higher levels of zoom. Mapbox was able to achieve this extra detail by using Tippecanoe, a library developed by Eric Fischer for making vector tiles from large data sets. You might remember Eric's 6 Billion Tweets Map, from earliest this month, which also made great use of Tippecanoe.

The Superpowered 1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides map overlays Runkeeper routes on top of a Mapbox powered map of the world. The map includes some quick links to jump to the maps of a few major cities around the world and you can also pan and zoom the map to view the popular running routes at any location in the world.

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