Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mapping American Sanctions

One way that the United States can attempt to influence or punish companies & individuals around the world is by imposing economic sanctions. Sanctions effectively prohibit non-sanctioned businesses and individuals from engaging in economic activity with sanctioned entities. The punishment for breaking a sanction can involve huge fines and / or civil or criminal penalty.

Enigma Labs has released the Sanctions Tracker in order to provide an historical overview of United States economic sanctions and to track new sanctions levied against individuals and companies. The Sanctions Tracker includes an interactive map which visualizes Specially Designated Nationals issued across the globe since 1994.

The color of the dots on the map indicate one of five different sanctions programs. Using the timeline you can see how different sanction programs have shifted spatially over time. For example in the 1990's the USA concentrated narcotics trafficking sanctions mainly in Colombia. If you press play on the timeline you can see how US sanctions have now spread to cover individuals and companies in every single country in Central America.

Parallel Computer Mapping

MapAnt is a huge interactive orienteering map of Finland. The map includes all of the features that you would expect from a good orienteering map, such as contour lines and topographic features.

Perhaps the most distinctive thing about MapAnt is the way it was constructed. MapAnt is an auto-generated map compiled by parallel computing. To make MapAnt 100 computers analyzed and extracted data from lidar maps and topographic maps of Finland. The computers used the lidar maps to extract the necessary data to map the contour lines, cliffs, open land, and dense vegetation. The topographic maps were used to extract the data to map features such as roads, paths, railways, lakes etc.

You can turn map labels on or off on MapAnt by using the 'Feature names' button. The map also includes an 'export' feature which allows you to copy any part of the map and then print it out.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mapping Seattle Crashes

Seattle Collisions is a mapped visualization of Seattle vehicle collisions since 2006. The tool allows you to analyze Seattle Department of Transportation data by location and calculate the economic cost of the vehicle collisions.

You can filter the vehicle collision data by date and by current map bounds. Seattle Collisions also allows you to view the collision data and economic costs for each individual Seattle neighborhood. If you select a neighborhood from the map you can view a graph showing the number of collisions since 2006. You can also view details on the severity of the collisions, the type of vehicles involved, the weather, road & light conditions and an estimate of the likely economic cost.

The economic cost calculations are based on the National Safety Council's estimated cost of motor-vehicle injuries.

The 'About' section of Seattle Collisions includes an informative section outlining the front and back-end technology used in creating this impressive data visualization of vehicle collisions.

Historical St. Louis in 110 Drawings

In the 1870's a printer named Richard J. Compton employed an artist called Camille N. Dry to draw a birds's eye view map of St.Louis. Dry's map had to include every building, street and landmark in the city. The result was the magnificent 'Pictorial St. Louis', a huge oblique map consisting of 110 individual drawings or plates.

You can examine Compton and Dry's Pictorial St. Louis with this new story map. The map uses Leaflet.js to provide a fully interactive version of this bird's eye view of St. Louis.  The interactive version of the map allows you to zoom in on the amazing details and pan around this large portrait of the city.

If you scroll down on the page you can also learn about some of these details. The sidebar provides information about some of St. Louis' landmarks in the Nineteenth Century, such as the world's longest arch bridge, the Social Evil Hospital and the world's tallest free-standing Corinthian column.

I you want to learn more about how Pictorial St. Louis was turned into an interactive map you should read How to Make an Interactive Story Map Using Leaflet and Non-Geographical Images.

BTW - if you are a fan of "well-crafted pictorial maps, detailed panoramic cityscapes, broad aerial vistas (and) intricate bird's-eye views then you will enjoy the Paper Towns subreddit.

Monday, May 29, 2017

World Population Trends

The citizens of Hong Kong have the highest life expectancy in the world. The life expectancy at birth is 83.7 years. The lowest life expectancy is in Swaziland, where citizens have an average life expectancy at birth of 49.19 (UN DESA 2015).

World Population - Uneven Development is an interesting mapped visualization of global population data & trends. The map uses data from the United Nations to compare countries around the world in terms of life expectancy, birth & fertility rates, population ages and migration trends.

The map is particularly useful for educators as it includes a number of questions and prompts in each section. The questions are designed to make users think about the population differences between countries and regions of the world and to examine the changing trends in the data.

How Students Travel

Every day around 184,000 post-secondary students in Toronto travel to their lectures via foot, bike, car and public transit. In order to help universities, transportation agencies and students make better decisions about transport infrastructure and programs StudentMoveTO surveyed Toronto students about where they live and how they travel to and from campus and home.

Heatmaps of Home-Campus Trips in the Toronto Region is a mapped visualization of the commuting routes and modes of travel of Toronto's students. It allows you to explore where students travel from to get to each Toronto campus, the different modes of transportation used, the critical travel routes used and the length of student journeys.

Using the map's filter tools you can explore the student travel data for individual campuses and for the different modes of travel. This allows you to explore the average trip time for each campus and the percentage of students using the different modes of travel.

The map was created entirely with open source software. You can read more about what tools were used and how the map was created on the map's GitHub page.

Europe's Population Mountains

Topi Tjukanov has discovered how to give the Netherlands mountains. The answer is to turn population data into elevation. If you do that then the densely populated Netherlands becomes a mountaineer's dream of climbing heaven.

Topi Tjukanov's 3D Global Human Settlement is a threejs powered mapped visualization of European population data, in which population is expressed as elevation. The higher the population the higher the elevation on the map.

While the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe its cities aren't among Europe's most populated urban centers. Istanbul is the city that towers over this map. With a population of around 14.7 million residents Istanbul is Europe's most populous city. Moscow is the next most populated city in Europe with around 13 million residents.

You can explore a 3D map of America on Mapbox's Population Density Inspector. This interactive map visualizes the population density of each census block as a 3D tower.

The Population Density Inspector allows you to explore the number of people living in each census block in America. The height of each census block on the map represents the population density (based on census block population counts). You can read about how Mapbox created the map (with a little help from Turf.js and Tippecanoe) on the Mapbox blog.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Vintage Maps of Toronto

The Geospatial Centre at the University of Waterloo has been busy digitizing its collection of historical maps. You can view these vintage Canadian maps at Kitchener-Waterloo: 1955 to present.

The maps available include historical maps of Toronto, Ottawa, Galt and Dundass. Also available is a map of the Centre's 1955 air-photo collection. Both the vintage maps and the vintage aerial imagery have been made accessible using Esri's Swipe & Spyglass Story Map formats. Using these formats means that you can compare the vintage maps of Toronto, Ottawa, Galt & Dundass with the modern map of the same areas and compare the historical aerial imagery with Esri's current satellite view.

Chris Olsen has also used Esri to showcase some vintage maps of Toronto. Toronto Historic Maps presents a series of historical maps of the Canadian city. Toronto Historic Maps includes the 1858 Boulton Atlas of the City of Toronto. You can also explore Goad fire insurance maps from 1880, 1889, 1913 & 1924 and maps from 1818, 1842 and aerial photographs from 1947.

You can view more historical vintage maps of Toronto (and anywhere else) in the David Rumsey Map Collection. If you use the site's Maprank Search to zoom in on Toronto you can find all the available vintage maps of the city

Friday, May 26, 2017

Live Satellite Images of the Earth

I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked whether I know any maps with real-time satellite imagery of the Earth. The short answer is that we aren't quite there yet. There is no map that can show you real-time satellite imagery of the whole Earth. However there are websites that can show you satellite imagery which was taken just a few hours ago.

NASA and USGS' Landsat 8 completes an entire picture of the world every 16 days. Mapbox's Landsat-live map actually uses the latest Landsat imagery to provide one of the most up-to-date satellite maps of the whole Earth.

Landsat-live uses the latest Landsat 8 satellite imagery to provide a near real-time satellite view of the Earth at 30 meter resolution. Because the map uses the most recent Landsat 8 satellite imagery many locations around the world will be affected by cloud cover. If you find your town is obscured by clouds you can always return to the map in 16 days time to see if the next pass of Landsat 8 has provided clearer imagery.

Japan's Himawari-8 satellite is in stationary orbit over New Guinea where it captures some truly amazing imagery of the Earth. Every day the satellite captures imagery of the western Pacific, Australia, and parts of Asia, Antarctica & Alaska.

There is no live feed from Himawari-8 but you can view time-lapse animations of the latest Himawari-8 satellite imagery on Himawari-8 Real-time Web. Himawari-8 Real-time Web includes views of Earth that were actually taken today. You can also use the calendar to view historical imagery from Himawari-8 for any other date.

You can also view some of today's imagery of Earth captured by Landsat 8. NASA's FarEarth Observer displays near-real time imagery from Landsat 7 and Landsat 8.

Using the menu to the right of the map you can select to view recordings of the Earth which were captured today. As the recordings play you can see the moving imagery of the Earth that was captured by Landsat 7 or 8. The small inset map shows you the moving position of the satellite at the time of the recording as the satellite orbits the Earth.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Medieval Map Wizards

The Medieval Fantasy City Generator is a fun tool for creating random fictional maps of medieval towns. Just choose your size of town or city and the Wizard of Maps will magically create your very own fantasy medieval map.

All the maps created by the Medieval Fantasy City Generator include a number of similar features. Each town or city is centered around a central market place. Each town is surrounded by a city wall. The city wall has up to four gates, where up to four roads enter the city. All of these roads end at the central market. A castle is also placed somewhere along each city's wall.

The Medieval Fantasy City Generator has some development potential. A church / cathedral could be another random element added to each generated map. The generator could also include a random chance of having a river run through the town or city. For now, however, I'm happy to settle for my generated map of Keirstown, the smartest little town in all of medieval Clarkeshire.

Executive Travel

The Executive Abroad is an interactive map which plots the overseas visits of every U.S. President and Secretary of State. The map starts in 1905 because no president traveled outside the country during their term of office before Theodore Roosevelt traveled to Panama in 1906.

If you select a President or Secretary of State's name on the map you can view all their international trips. The colored dots on the map show where the selected leader traveled around the world (the color of the dots equate to regions of the world and the size of the dots represent the number of visits to that country). You can click on the individual dots to view details about the presidential trips made to that country.

The graph around the outside of the globe shows the frequency to each part of the globe over time. The graph really shows how international travel only became common place for American leaders after 1958. As the map explains this was a result of advancements in international flight. In particular the introduction of the Boeing 707 jet for presidential travel in 1959.

The Interactive Map of Unobtrusive Design

Ongesigneerd (translation: 'Unsigned') is a podcast about unobtrusive design by Dutch broadcasters VPRO. To accompany the new season of the podcast VPRO has released the Ongesigneerd Interactive Map.

In the podcast series broadcasters Tjitske Mussche and Laura Stek discuss the design of everyday objects that we find in the world around us. The interactive map presents a hand-drawn city scene, which has been made interactive using the Leaflet.js mapping platform.

You can use the map to navigate to and listen to different episodes of the new season of the Ongesigneerd podcast. The links to the podcast episodes can be found by hovering over the colored parts of the city scene. The colored-in objects are related to the subject of each podcast. For example, if you hover over the zoo on the map you get a link to episode 12 of the series which discusses how the design of animal enclosures must meet the needs of both the animals and the zoo's visitors.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tsunami Travel Times

A tsunami that started off the coast of Japan would take about ten hours to cross the Pacific Ocean before it hit the coast of Los Angeles.

You can find out out the estimated travel times of tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean using NOAA's Estimated Tsunami Travel Times map. The map displays pre-computed tsunami travel times. NOAA haven't provided a lot of information about how the travel times were estimated, except to say that the model uses Huygen's principle and bathymetry data.

The Tsunami Mapper makes use of the Google Maps elevation service and a flood fill algorithm to display the likely effects of a tsunami hitting the shore anywhere in the world.

The map allows you to enter a location and then set the parameters of a possible tsunami. These include the wave height, the direction of the wave and the tsunami starting point. The map will then display the areas that are likely to be effected by water damage if such a tsunami hit your location.

Predicting the travel times, height and effect of tsunamis is an inexact science and there are of course lots of complex variables at play that can't be predicted. Therefore both these maps are intended only as a general guide. Go to NOAA's Tsunami Warning System for real-time tsunami information.

The Geography of Hip-Hop

The Geography of Hip-Hop is an interactive map documenting the history and geography of hip-hop. The map (and accompanying essay) explore how hip-hop has spread around the world and how different cites have developed their own distinct sounds and styles of hip-hop.

The interactive hip-hop map allows you to browse and listen to hip-hop music by location. The map features 955 songs, most of which you can listen to directly from the map. The size of the markers on the map reflects the number of artists featured from that location. In this way you can get a rough idea about the size of the hip-hop communities in these different urban locations.

By listening to the songs listed in one city you may begin to get a feel for the sound and style of hip-hop from that location. You can learn more about the development of hip-hop in the accompanying essay, The Syncopated Geography of Hip-Hop. The essay explores the influence of geography on the communities & local styles and how hip-hop music reflects the influence of the different urban locales where it is made.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This Town was Named for You

Many places around the world have decided to celebrate your life by naming roads, neighborhoods and towns in your honor. You can discover all the wonderful locations which now bear your name using the Where the Streets Have Your Name map.

Where the Streets Have Your Name is a great application that you can use to create a Google Map showing all the places around the world that have your name. Just enter a name into the search box, press 'Map it!' and a map will display towns, parks, rivers and other locations which share your name.

You can also use How Many Places Are Named ... to view an interactive map showing all the places named after you. You can use the map to search your own name but you can also use it to search for locations around the world sharing any other name or word. For example you could try using swear words to find rude place-names around the world (here's a map of everywhere called 'Fart').

Who Owns England?

There has been a lot of speculation recently about who owns England? Land ownership in England is a closely guarded secret. The reason why the ownership of English land is kept such a closely guarded secret is because the answer is - the French.

England is owned by the French. Or, more accurately, the Normans.

In 1066 William the Conqueror and an army of northern Frenchmen successfully invaded England. Following his success William proceeded to divide England up among his supporters. And there you have it. Because of the almost complete lack of social mobility in England the families mentioned as owning land in the Domesday Book are probably the same families who own the land today.

At least that is my theory. I might be wrong - but then there is no way of checking. You could have a look at the new Who Owns England interactive map. Unfortunately because the Normans want to keep land ownership a secret the Who Owns England map only really shows land which is owned by the government, government bodies or charities.

If you want to know who owns a piece of land which is blank on the map (most of the country) then you might as well look up the place-name in the Domesday Book. That is probably the closest you will get to discovering the real owner of the land. Alternatively you could check this Farm Payments for Environmental Stewardship map. This map shows where landowners are claiming Environmental Stewardship grants. If you click on a highlighted area on the map you can see who is the recipient of the grant. The recipient might just be the owner of the land (although for tax avoidance reasons the person named may also not be the owner of the land).

BTW - if you don't believe me when I say that the Normans still own and rule England then explain to me how 950 years after the Norman conquest students with Norman surnames are still over-represented at the countries elite universities.1

Monday, May 22, 2017

Climbing the Himalayas

The Discovery Channel's Mount Everest in 3D is probably the closest that you will ever get to climbing Mount Everest.

In effect the climb is just a video of (what I assume is) a 3D map of Everest. However the video is linked to an elevation scale and as the video plays you can keep track of the rising elevation. On your ascent of the mountain you can also stop off at the Khumbu Icefall.

The Khumbu Icefall is where sixteen Nepalese guides died in an avalanche in 2014. The avalanche occurred near Everest Base Camp on the southern side of Mount Everest and resulted in the deaths of the sixteen guides and serious injuries to nine other guides.

An Eye at the Summit is a planned expedition to climb the Baruntse mountain in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal. In October of this year a team of French mountain climbers will begin a 35 day expedition to ascend the Méra Peak (6,476 m), reach the summit of Baruntse (7,129 m) and finally climb Lobuche Est (6,120 m). The Baruntse climb has been organized in order to raise funds for the visually impaired.

You can follow the planned route of the 35 day expedition on the Carte du Parcours. The map not only shows the expedition's route it also includes some stunning panoramic imagery of Baruntse. If you click on the black circular markers on the map you can explore these custom Street Views which allow you to actually observe for yourself some of the spectacular views of the Himalayas from the Baruntse mountain.

It is also possible to view panoramic imagery from the Everest region of the Himalayas with Google Maps Street View. To capture these stunning panoramas Google teamed up with Apa Sherpa (a Sherpa mountaineer who holds the world record for reaching the summit of Mount Everest 21 times) and the Nepalese nonprofit organization Story Cycle.

During a 10-day trek through the Khumbu region with Apa Sherpa Google managed to capture Street Views of mountain trails and a number of Sherpa villages. The best way to explore this Street View imagery is to visit the Khumba map on Google Treks.

The Khumba site on Google Treks includes some lovely hand-drawn maps of the featured villages. Each of the maps include map markers which lead to Street Views captured on Google's 10-day trek. These include Street View imagery of monasteries, temples, trekker's lodges and of course some wonderful mountainous scenery.

Interactive Geological Maps

William Smith was an English geologist who created the first nationwide geological map of the UK. A geologic map reveals the distribution of geological features such as different types of rocks. Smith's beautiful 1815 map visualized Britain's geological types using different colors for different types of geological feature.

You can view interactive versions of William Smith's Maps online. These allow you to explore his geological maps of England, Scotland & Wales in close detail. The interactive map interface allows you to view geo-rectified overlays of a number of William Smith's maps including his original 1815 geological map and his 1828 New Geological Map of England and Wales.

Digital geological maps can add a level of interactivity to the visualized geological strata. In other words they can allow you to click on the different colors to learn more about the visualized geological features. A good example of this is the Geological Map of the Grand Canyon and Vicinity.

The Geologic Map of the Grand Canyon and Vicinity is a beautiful Leaflet.js based interactive map of the Grand Canyon. The map is based on data gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The map uses different colors to show the different rock units and geologic strata in the Grand Canyon and surrounding area. The map also includes contour lines. If you hover over the map the geologic strata at that location is revealed in the small information window. If you click on the map you can learn more about that geologic strata in the information dynamically loaded below the map.

Another good example of an interactive geological map is the Geologic Map of Arizona. The Geologic Map of Arizona also includes interactive colored geological features. If you mouse over a feature on the map the geological information is shown on top of the map.

The Geologic Map of Arizona also visualizes different types of geological faults in Arizona. There is also a map legend which can be accessed by the 'View the legend' button. This legend isn't interactive but it would be possible to turn this legend into a menu which could be used to turn on and off the different geological strata (the different colors) on the map. This could be useful if you wanted to view all the locations with a specific type of geological feature while hiding all the other strata.

Beer Travel Time

The most important criteria to use when choosing a new house is the length of time it takes to get home from the best pubs. That's why Lauri Vanhala has worked out the time it takes to get to every address in Helsinki from the city's top 20 pubs.

In order to find the best places to buy property in Helsinki Lauri worked out the travel time on public transport from every address in Helsinki to every other address in the city during the morning rush-hour (7:30-8:00 am). This allowed him to see which areas were the best for commuting to work in the morning. He then worked out the travel time to every address in the city from the top 20 bars in the city after closing time (1:30 am).

You can view the results of Lauri's research on his Helsinkiläisen Parhaat Asuinpaikat map. Building footprints on the map are colored by their commuting times to work. You can view how long it takes to get to each building from the city's best pubs by clicking on the 'IPA' button. You can switch back to the work commute times by clicking on 'Duuni'.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scotland's Clan Battlefield Map

Following the success of their Clan Map of Scotland tartan makers Lochcarron of Scotland have released a new interactive map documenting all the major battles that took place between the Scottish clans throughout history.

The Clan Map of Scotland divides Scotland into geographical areas associated with the historical kinship groups of the country. If you select a clan region on the map you can learn more about the individual clan, including the origin of the clan and its historical ties to the area associated with it. You can also discover who the current clan chief is and view its heraldic badge, motto and its distinct tartan.

The new Clan Battlefield Map provides historical information about historical battles between Scotland's clans and shows you where those battles took place. You can use the interactive timeline to explore the battles by date. Alternatively you can use the drop-down menu to filter the battles displayed by individual clan. If you select a marker on the map you can read a detailed account of the chosen battle.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ice Flow in Antarctica

Like nearly everything else glacial land ice obeys the law of gravity. Therefore ice sheets flow downhill. They normally do this very slowly. Unfortunately we don't live in normal times.

Global warming has caused the the oceans to also get warmer. The warmer ocean waters undercut Antarctica's glaciers, causing them to flow quicker and quicker. Over 60% of the world's freshwater is locked in Antarctica's ice. If it melts we will see a global rise in sea level and coastal cities around the world will find themselves underwater.

The New York Times has created a series of maps to help explain how global warming could lead to the melting of Antarctica's ice sheets and cause rising sea levels around the world. In Antarctic Dispatches glacier ice flow is beautifully illustrated in a series of animated maps. The danger of global rising seas is explained in maps showing areas of Antarctica that have lost ten feet or more of ice since 2010.

Part 3 of Antarctic Dispatches uses a scrolling map to help illustrate the amount of water locked up in Antarctica's ice sheets. The scale of the Ross Ice Shelf is illustrated by overlaying the route of the New York marathon on top of satellite imagery of the ice shelf. The Ross Ice Shelf is huge!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Death of Bear 71

For ten years wildlife conservation officers in Banff National Park tagged and monitored Bear71. In the ten years up to her untimely death Bear71 was also often captured by trail cameras in the park. Some of this trail camera footage can be viewed in a new interactive web documentary exploring the life of Bear71.

At the heart of Bear71 VR is a 3D map of Banff National Park. The documentary is narrated from the perspective of Bear71. As the narration plays the map pans and zooms in relation to the content of the narration. If you want you can explore the map for yourself. Just click on the 'story' button at any time to synchronize the map back to Bear71's narration.

The interactive 3D map of Banff National Park also includes a number of interactive points of interest. You can click on these interactions to view webcam captured footage of some of the park's animals. The map also contains links to view traffic webcams and other images of wildlife in the park.

Lights Out in Syria

In his recent Lights On & Lights Out comparison of NASA's 2012 and 2016 Black Marble maps John Nelson drew attention to how NASA's imagery revealed the incredible fall of nighttime lighting in war-torn Syria. The BBC has now created a series of map animations which also use nighttime satellite imagery to drastically illustrate the effect of the war on Syria's electricity supply.

In Syria from Space the BBC has created three mapped animations showing how the cities of Aleppo, Damascus and Raqqa have been suffering from a lack of electricity supply. Using nighttime satellite imagery from NASA the BBC has made an interactive map for each of the cities which shows the cities lit up before the civil war began and then go dark as the war takes hold.

As the mapped animations plays out you can view the devastating effect of the war on Syria's electricity supply. On each map the lights start to go out as the war takes its effect on the country's infrastructure.

The BBC has also used daytime aerial imagery to provide before and after images of power plants, dams and electricity substations in the country. These before and after images are used to show the damage being done to Syria's infrastructure and to explain why those lights are going off in Syria's towns and cities.

Live Buses in Reykjavík

Strætó BS is the public transport company responsible for operating public transit buses in Reykjavík. I don't know how good they are at running buses but they do know how to make a brilliant route planning map.

The Strætó BS Route Planner map allows customers to easily plan which buses they need to take to travel between any two locations in the city and where they can catch those buses. To find your bus route you can either type in your starting point and destination or you can enter the two locations simply by clicking the locations on the map.

As you would expect the results of a search provide you with a mapped route, step by step instructions of which buses to catch, the times of the bus arrivals and the estimated time to complete your journey. The Strætó BS Route Planner also shows you where the buses are in Reykjavík with animated markers. The yellow markers show the live position of markers and even point in their direction of travel.

If being able to see where your bus is on a live real-time map isn't enough you can also click on individual bus-stops on the map to view the estimated times of arrival of the next few buses for that stop.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mapping One Year of Life on Earth

A Breathing Earth is an animated map showing the seasonal growth and fall of the world's vegetation over one year. The map shows the extent of vegetation around the world for every week in 2016.

To create the map the 'greenness' variable in satellite imagery of the Earth has been mapped for all 52 weeks of the year. This greenness variable is determined from satellite images from the VIIRS sensor on board the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite.

To create the optimal animated map of a year's vegetation the developers tested a number of different web technologies. Links to the canvas and WebGL versions of the map can be found at the very bottom of the page on A Breathing Earth.

Mapping the History of the Underground

The world's first underground railway line opened in London in 1863. The Metropolitan Railway ran from Paddington to Farringdon Street. The line was a huge success (it carried 38,0000 passengers on its first day) and it wasn't long before the line was extended and new lines were built.

To this day the London Underground continues to grow. Last month tunneling began to extend the Northern Line from Kennington to Battersea. This extension to the Northern Line should open in 2020.

If you are interested in visualizing how the London Underground has grown since1863 then you can use the new Citylines interactive map. Citylines is busy mapping the history of the world's transport networks and provides mapped visualizations of the growth of city transit networks over time.

Click on a transit line or station on a city's transit map on Citylines and you can view details on when it was constructed and added to the city's transportation network. If you use the time slider in the map sidebar you can view the extent of the city's transit network for any year in its history. In other words you can use the time slider to view how the city's transit network has grown over time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Crime Fighter's Dashboard.

By day I'm a mild mannered cartography. By night I am the Masked Mapper! With my sidekick Compass Boy I roam the streets of New York fighting crime.

Of course I have my own superhero crime fighting map.

In the past when the Chief of Police needed my help he would shine a massive searchlight into the sky to grab my attention. However this proved pretty ineffectual, especially when I wasn't aimlessly staring up at the clouds. Therefore the Mayor of New York and Esri have worked together to build for me a super-new, super-hero, live-action, crime-fighting interactive map.

The name of my new emergency services dashboard is COP! COP is an interactive map which helps me to keep up to date with the latest police, fire and ambulance emergencies in New York City. In order to help me respond quickly to these emergencies I can also view road closures and live traffic cams in real-time on the map.

I like to turn on the 'zoom to new incidents' option. COP then keeps me informed about the most recent emergencies in the city. The dashboard panel also keeps me up-to-date on the number of incidents in each borough over the last hour. This provides a handy guide as to whether any super-villains are currently active in the city.

But that's enough idle chatter for now. There's more crime-fighting to be done!

Old Maps of Boston & New York

A few days ago I discovered this fascinating post by Bill Warner on how MIT at the beginning of the Twentieth Century acquired land and built a new campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This story of the construction of MIT's campus is illustrated throughout using old vintage maps of Cambridge.

The article uses screenshots from Mapjunction to compare before and after vintage maps of the area to show the development of MIT's Cambridge buildings. Mapjunction is Bill Warner's own impressive vintage map explorer which allows you to compare old vintage maps of Boston and New York side-by-side using an interactive map interface.

When you pan or move the map to a new location on Mapjunction the available historical maps for the current map view are automatically loaded into the two map layer menus. You can then simply select any two maps from the menus to view them side-by-side. A slider control on the map allows you to swipe between the two different vintage maps. If you move the slide control button up or down you can also adjust the opacity of the vintage maps.

Mapjunction currently seems to have a lot of vintage maps of Boston and New York - vintage maps of other cities may also be available but I have yet to find them.

Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia

More than one million acres of forest have been destroyed in Appalachia by mountaintop removal coal mining. This environmentally devastating form of strip-mining has also permanently destroyed over 500 mountains and 2,700 mountain ridge-tops in the region.

You can examine the huge scale of the destruction to the mountain environment of Appalachia on SkyTruth's Mountain Top Removal interactive map. The map uses Google Map's aerial imagery to show the environmental impact of strip-mining in Appalachia. It also allows you to view how that environmental destruction has progressed over the last 30 years.

To create the map SkyTruth examined satellite imagery of the area dating back to 1976. SkyTruth searched for evidence of strip-mining in the satellite imagery by looking for mines so large that they crossed ridge tops and impacted a significant area of ridge top. You can view the results of this research by using the 5 yearly active mining layers on the SkyTruth map. These layers allow you to view how strip-mining has progressed in the region since 1985.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Where's North Korea?

Can you correctly identify the location of North Korea on an unlabeled map? If you can then you are more likely to favor a diplomatic and non-military response to North Korea than someone who can't find it on a map.

The New York Times asked 1,746 people to find North Korea on a map. 36 percent got it right. These same 1,746 people were then asked a series of questions about what sort of measures they would support the USA in carrying out against North Korea. Those who could identify North Korea on a map were more in favor of economic sanctions. To be fair even only 9% of those who couldn't find North Korea on a map supported the idea of an American military response.

A similar experiment was carried out in 2014 asking Americans if they could locate Ukraine on a map of the world. The experiment, carried out by political scientists from Dartmouth College, Harvard University and Princeton University, had similar results. Only one in six Americans could correctly locate Ukraine on a map.

The Americans were also asked a number of questions about how the USA should respond to Russia's invasion of the Crimean peninsula. The further the respondents guess was from the correct location then the more likely they were to support military intervention by the USA.

It appears that geographic literacy makes people more diplomatic and less militaristic.

One Belt, One Road, Lots of Maps

Diplomats from countries around the world were in China over the weekend. Most of them were desperate to claim a share of the billions of dollars China plans to invest in its Belt and Road projects. China's ambitious One Belt, One Road strategy plans to connect Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa with a huge transport and oil & gas pipeline network.

An interactive map on Fortune magazine's website shows some of the rail, oil & gas pipelines and maritime connections that China has already constructed or plans to build. In effect this is just a static map which has been made interactive using Leaflet.js. However the map does show the scale of China's ambitious infrastructure plans. It also has a few markers where Fortune have provided a bit more detail on some of the more interesting projects under development.

The Fortune map was created using information from the Mercator Institute for China Studies. The Mercator Institute''s own map provides a more detailed overview of China's Planned Global Infrastructure Network. The map shows built and planned rail lines, oil & gas pipelines and ports with Chinese engagements.

In One Belt, One Road the Financial Times also explores some of the construction projects being created by China to transport people and goods around the world.

The map uses the Mapbox GL story map template to scroll and pan a map of the region to show some of the various railway lines, roads and gas pipelines that have already been constructed or are in the process of being built. These construction projects include gas pipelines between China and Central Asia, the China to Pakistan highway and new high speed railways throughout the region.

Back in 2013 the New York Times created its own story map template to take you on a journey along one of China's newly constructed railway lines, following the route of the old Silk Road.

Riding the New Silk Road follows the modern train route using a vertical scrolling map. The map is illustrated with photos and videos from one section of the modern route. As you scroll down the page you travel south along a strip map of the route. Animated polylines connect important locations on the route to the illustrative media in the map sidebar.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Real-Time Cyber Attack Maps

Yesterday's huge ransomware attack on websites around the world seems to have reignited interest in the live real-time mapping of cyber attacks. The malware WanaCrypt0r 2.0 encrypts files on infected computers and then demands payment from the computer owner to unlock the files.

A number of anti-virus and cyber security companies feature real-time maps which purportedly show cyber attacks happening across the globe right now. Most of these maps seem to have one thing in common - they appear designed to frighten as much as they are designed to inform.

Kaspersky's Cyberthreat Real-Time Map is a very impressive 3D globe. It features a number of frightening neon lines attacking countries around the world. It also includes some great transitions when you switch between the globe and map views.

The data for the map comes from users of Kaspersky's anti-virus and Internet security software. After looking at the Cyberthreat Real-Time Map Kaspersky hope that you too will be frightened enough to buy & install their products.

The Norse Attack Map also shows a lot of animated colored lines attacking countries around the world. The data for these attacks comes from Norse's '8 million sensors' around the world. The Norse map also kindly provides an e-mail address for anyone scared enough by all this cyber crime to want to esquire about how the Norse Intelligence Network can help protect you.

The Digital Attack Map is a map of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. While this map also has a cyber security company sponsor (Arbor Networks) it also seems a little more serious in providing some useful information. In particular the 'Gallery' view not only provides interesting historical snapshots of large DDoS attacks around the world it also provides a brief summary of the attack and who was targeted in the attack.

I may be being unfair to these cyber security companies and these visualizations might be of use to cyber security professionals. However to me they seem to offer little to the average internet user - beyond an attempt to scare you into buying the company's products.

Friday, May 12, 2017

India's Growing Cities

A little over 100 years ago Delhi wasn't even in the top 5 most populous cities in India. It is now the fourth most populated city in the world.

You can view the growth of India's cities on the Hindustan Times map of India’s 50 Most Populous Cities. This map shows the 50 most populous cities in 2011 and tracks how they have grown since 1901. The map includes a timeline which allows you to view the population size of each city for each decade since the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

As well as the interactive map the Hindustan Article on India's biggest cities includes an interactive list view of India's 15 most populous cities over the same time period. The data for both interactives comes from census results.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Beautiful Trash Route Mapping

Hopefully you'll find the design of this data visualization more stimulating than the actual data itself.

Beautiful Trash is a mapped visualization of the daily trash routes of the Cincinnati Department of Public Services. The map is very useful if you live in Cincinnati and want to know what day your garbage will be collected. Otherwise you might still be interested in the map's beautiful design.

The map shows each day's trash collection routes, the number of miles traveled each day and the number of trucks used. The simple beauty in the design comes from using a different color for each day's route and overlaying these colors on a muted black & grey base map. The overall cohesiveness of the design is helped by using the same colors for the day's buttons and using little inset maps of each day's route in these buttons.

The Election Dot Map

In just under a month's time the UK will hold yet another general election.

After the last UK election hexagonal grid maps seemed to be the most popular way to visualize the results. The use of hexagon grids helps to overcome the problems of political districts being based on equal population areas and not on equal geographical areas. Using hexagon grids stops an election map being visually overwhelmed by the results in those rural areas with geographically larger constituencies.

However one problem with a traditional grid map is that it only shows which party won each constituency and not the number of votes cast for each party in each constituency. Culture and Insight has attempted to address this problem by creating a dot map of the 2015 UK election results. The Colours of The 2015 Electorate map attempts to provide a better visualization of the number of votes cast for each party within each constituency by representing voters with colored dots.

Each colored dot represents one hundred voters for that political party. The location of the dots is randomized within each constituency.

You can click on an individual constituency on the map to view which political party won the seat, who came second and the size of the winner's majority. Although the stated purpose of using a dot map is to 'visualise (the) diversity of voting' in each constituency clicking on the a constituency doesn't reveal the number of votes cast for each political party.

Another way to show the number of votes cast for each party within each constituency is a 3D hexagonal cartogram. For example this Brexitogram map, showing the results of the UK referendum on the EU, allows you to see the number of votes cast for each side. The height of each hexagon represents voter turnout.

The disadvantage of such an approach is that you can only really see both colours in the stacks around the edge of the map. In election districts that appear in the middle of the country you can often only see the top colour. The map partly overcomes this problem by allowing you to turn the colours on & off. This allows you to at least view the results in much the same way as a more traditional 2D hexagonal cartogram.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all these approaches to visualizing election results. On the morning of the 9th June broadcasters & newspapers will want maps which best visualize the overall results in each constituency. They are therefore most likely to use a traditional choropleth or 2D heagonal cartogram map. A map that best visualizes the overall winner in each election district and in the whole country.