Monday, January 19, 2015

All the Roads in Japan

Mapbox has released a gorgeous map of all the roads in Japan. OpenStreetMap in Japan only shows roads and streets and omits all over map features.

The roads on the map are colored by the last date that they were edited on OpenStreetMap. Roads colored blue haven't been edited since 2007. The yellow roads have been edited in the past year. The Mapbox post on the map includes a link to a full-screen map. The map embedded in the post however includes a button to quickly toggle to view close-ups of major cities on the map.

If you like the Japanese road map you might also like Andrew Hill's map of United States rivers. This map shows all United States rivers colored by the direction of flow. The U.S. Rivers Colored by the Direction they Flow map only shows the colored river locations on a black background to create a visually striking map of the United States.

Railroads: A Staple in World Growth is a neat interactive map showing only all the world's railway lines and no other features. There are enough railway lines around the globe for a recognizable map of the world to appear.

Looking at the emergent map the former eastern bloc countries in Eastern Europe seem to have the densest concentration of railway lines. The map also clearly shows, via the absence of railway lines, some of the world's last remaining great undeveloped areas, such as the Brazilian rain forest, the Saharan Desert and the Australian Outback.

Using the Google Maps API's Styled Maps feature it is possible to create a similar map showing only the world's roads. When Google first released the option to style maps I created this World Road Map.

Unfortunately when you zoom out Google Maps does not show roads, so at the lowest zoom levels you get a blank map. However the advantage of Google Maps showing different details at different zoom levels is that more roads appear as you zoom in on the map. At lower zoom levels you only see highways and major roads on the map but, as you zoom in, you begin to see the whole road network appear.

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