Sunday, May 17, 2015

Maps of the Week

Today is Norway's Constitution Day. So top billing has to go to Verdens Gang's A Game of Norway. In 2014, to mark the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Norwegian constitution, the newspaper released this story map to help tell the history behind the signing of the constitution.

A Game of Norway is a beautifully designed story map exploring and explaining the historical events which eventually led to the signing of the Norwegian Constitution on May 17th 1814. The map animations and narrative elements are made possible by using skrollr, a parallax scrolling JavaScript library. Skrollr allows you to animate any CSS property of any element based on the horizontal scrollbar position. Using skrollr A Game of Norway is able to move around the background map image and animate the movements of the ships, troops and other images on the map as the user scrolls down the page.

Mapzen has launched a free Vector Tile Service to complement their Tangram WebGL map renderer. The combination of vector tiles and Tangram allows Mapzen to render map tiles in real-time in the browser.

This means that the map tiles can be very dynamic. Check out some of the example maps on the Tangram page. The Day / Night Map shows how colors and building footprints can be updated in real-time in the browser. The Tron Map shows how you can apply animation to the map tiles (in this case to create the effect of moving vehicles on roads and streets).

My favorite style in the examples is this Cross Hatch map. I'm also rather fond of the Lego Style, made out of colored plastic brick textures. When panning around on these maps notice how the perspective on the 3d buildings change depending on your point of view.

The Web Mercator projection is not very good when it comes to providing accurate maps of the Arctic and Antarctic. Fortunately, however, there is now another solution for anyone who wants to create interactive maps of the Arctic. Arctic Web Map is a new Arctic specific web mapping tool, consisting of an Arctic-focused tile server, and a Leaflet-based client library.

There are six Arctic projections available, each using a Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area (LAEA) view of the North Pole region. The Arctic Web Map tiles are compatible with Leaflet maps, when used with the Proj4JS and Proj4Leaflet libraries. The map tiles are available to use free of charge for low-traffic users. If you need high-traffic use then you should contact Arctic Web Map. 

Streets of London is a map of the City of London which allows you to discover how individual London roads originally got their names. Click on a highlighted road on the map and you can find out why the selected road is called what it is and where its name originally came from.

There are some interesting themes in the names of London's streets. You can select from these themes using the map menu in the top right-hand corner of the map. When you turn some of the categories back on (after deselecting) you can learn a little more about the history behind the selected category.

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