Thursday, December 22, 2016

In the Age of Wooden Ships

National Geographic has published their round-up of the Best Maps of 2016. The collection includes fifteen maps, including vintage, interactive, digital and hand-drawn maps from around the world.

One of the maps featured in National Geographic's top fifteen maps is Wooden Ships, an interactive map which allows you to explore European maritime activity from 1750 to 1850. The visualization is based on digitized shipping logs from the Climatological Database for the World's Oceans 1750-1850.

Using the map menu you can view a mapped visualization of the marine journeys undertaken by British, Dutch, French or Spanish ships. You can use the time-line at the bottom of the map to select any range of years from 1750 to 1850. The map also allows you to filter the data by wind speed patterns and by other weather and climatic conditions. If you click on a hexbin on the map you can also read entries from the ship logbooks yourself.

Morgan Herlocker has also used the Climatological Database for the World's Oceans to create an interactive map of international ship traffic between 1750 and 1850. These historical ship logbooks contain a wealth of data both about the routes taken by ships and the weather conditions encountered by the ships during their voyages.

Morgan took the location data from these 100 years of ship logs and plotted them on a Mapbox map. The thousands of data points in Ships Logs were processed into vector tilesets using tippecanoe. One thing that clearly emerges from mapping all this data is the routes of the major shipping lanes from 1750-1850.

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