Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bike Thieves of Toronto

CBC Toronto has used data from Toronto police to map where bikes were stolen in Toronto from 2014 to 2016. The Toronto Bike Theft Map reveals that downtown Toronto experiences the most bike thefts but other neighborhoods, such as Willowdale West and Lansing-Westgate have also seen a rise in bikes being stolen since 2014.

The map includes a number of options which allow you to filter the map by year, type of bike and the type of location where they were stolen from (e.g. apartment, outside, house). When you select a type of bike or type of location the map automatically updates to only show the bike thefts which match your selected type. The actual number of bike thefts matching your type is also displayed.

The accompanying article explores the data and reports on the neighborhoods which have seen the most bike theft crime and the types of location which are seeing a rise in bike crime. It also includes some handy tips about how you can secure your bike and help protect it from being stolen.

The Worldwide Wind Power Map

Earlier this year the World Bank released the Global Solar Atlas, an interactive map which allows you to carry out a simple solar power output calculation for nearly any location in the world. The map provides estimations of the likely solar power potential for any location.

The Technical University of Denmark and the World Bank have now worked together to create a similar tool for wind energy. The Global Wind Atlas is designed to visualize the potential for wind power generation across the globe. The map uses both mesoscale and microscale modeling in order to help utilize wind energy.

The Global Wind Atlas can provide wind resource information for individual countries & regions or you can use the drawing tools to view wind resource data for a custom defined area. This wind data includes information on power density, wind direction and wind speed.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Leaflet is Riddled with Bugs

British photographer Levon Biss is using the Leaflet mapping library to present a series of photos in his latest project, Microsculpture. Microsculpture allows you to view high resolution photos of insect specimens from Oxford University Museum of Natural History up close and in fine detail as Leaflet maps.

Using the Leaflet mapping library as a platform for browsing images isn't new. However it has rarely been done so beautifully. There are some gorgeous insects in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History collection and Levon Biss has captured them exquisitely.

Each insect's completed image consists of around 8,000 individual photographs (the large scale photographic prints are up to 3m high), captured using optical microscopes. The Leaflet mapping library really allows the user to fully explore these high resolution photos by zooming in close on the insects. The map scale in the top right-hand corner of the map provides a useful guide to the size of the insects as you zoom in & out on the images.

You might also be interested in the Art of Mapping Art, which looks at a number of examples of the Leaflet mapping library being used to provide an interface for zooming-in on and exploring works of art.

Mapping Population in 3D

UK developers Parallel have released an interactive map which visualizes UK population density in 3D. Their ONS Population Estimates map shows the population density in each UK Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) and the age breakdown of the population in each LSOA.

The population density view on the map uses Mapbox GL's extrusion property to create 3D towers on the map. The height of the towers represents the population density of the LSOA. In other words the higher the tower then the greater the population density.

If you switch to the 'Age Profile' option then you can view a breakdown of the numbers in each age group of both the male & female population in each LSOA. In this 'Age Profile' mode the map still shows a choropleth view of the population density. However if you hover over an LSOA on the map then you can view a population pyramid chart which visualizes the area's age profile.

Mapbox has also used the extrusion property to visualize population density. Their Population Density Inspector allows you to view the number of people living in each census block in America as a 3D tower.

On The Population Density Inspector 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 their map (with a little help from Turf.js and Tippecanoe) on the Mapbox blog.

You don't have to use Mapbox GL's extrusion property to map population density in 3D. Bjørn Sandvik has posted an interesting tutorial on how to use Three.js & D3.js to visualize population density in 3D. The tutorial includes a 3D map of Oslo's population density

The second tutorial in Mapping Grid-Based statistics using OpenLayers, Three.js and D3.js provides a 3d visualization of Oslo's population data, with each grid's population density shown as a 3D tower or block on the map. The tutorials in the post are in Norwegian but the source code is available on GithHub and should be easy to follow for anyone familiar with OpenLayers and D3.js.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Videos on Maps

Earlier this year the Leaflet mapping library followed Mapbox GL's example by releasing a L.VideoOverlay class which allows you to add videos as an overlay to your Leaflet maps. This means that you can add playable videos on top of both Mapbox GL and Leaflet maps. This feature is particularly useful if you want to add animated timelapse satellite images to a map.

If you are interested in how you can make a video from satellite images and then overlay that video on top of a Leaflet map then you might be interested in Spatially Enabled Video Editing with FME. This tutorial walks you through the process of using FME and FFmpeg to create videos from a series of still images. The tutorial includes some demo Leaflet maps which have satellite video overlays.

If you are interested in overlaying video on top of interactive maps then you might also like this video map of Winter Storm Jonas. And, if you like Mapbox's snow storm map, then you might also like their other weather maps of Hurricane Patricia and Animated Atmosperic Water map.

London Bans Fried Chicken

Many councils in the UK have introduced 400 meter fast food exclusion zones around schools. These zones don't apply to existing fast food outlets but do apply to anyone planning to open a fast food restaurant in the future. The purpose of these exclusion zones are to help fight the rise of child obesity.

Later this week the London mayor Sadiq Khan plans to announce a fast food exclusion zone around London schools. You can see the areas that will be affected on Dan Cookson's interactive map London Schools 400m Exclusion Zones. Dan's map places a 400m circle around every school in London to visualize all the places where new fast food outlets will be banned under the new policy.

You can see from the map that huge areas of London will be exempt from new fast food restaurants. For example nearly the whole of the East End will be a fast food exclusion zone. Perhaps the London mayor is unaware of how big an impact this policy could have. London's high density of people (and therefore more schools) means that a 400m fast food exclusion zone affects a huge percentage of inner London.

The bricks & mortar retail sector is already suffering in many areas of London. At the moment fast food is about the only expanding sector of the retail sector, especially in economically deprived areas
like London's East End.

In Fast Food England the Guardian mapped the number of fast food restaurants per 1,000 people in England. The newspaper found that "the poorest areas of the country have disproportionately higher numbers of fast food outlets." Tower Hamlets, which will almost be completely covered by the new fast food exclusion zone, has seen a growth in fast food outlets since 2014. The new exclusion zones will kill this expanding sector of the retail sector. In the long run the consequence of this policy could be the closure of many bricks & mortar shops in London's most deprived areas.

Of course the mayor will probably argue that fast food outlets lead to obesity in a high proportion of people living in economically deprived areas. Therefore this new policy could have wider long term health benefits for London, not just for London's children, but for the population as a whole.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Map of the Year 2017

The Journal of Maps has named their Best Map of 2017. Their choice for map of the year is a flow map visualization of people moving between U.S. states. The map certainly proved an inspiration to a number of cartographers this year.

Migration in the United States 2009-2013, which we first featured on Maps Mania back in May, uses flow lines to visualize the numbers of people moving between different states in the USA. It includes options to see which states have the biggest exchanges of citizens and to view the most popular state destinations for each individual state.

The US Migration Flow Map is an illustration of a "force-directed method to automatically lay out migration flows". This method has been designed to reduce clutter and improve readability when using flow lines on a map. You can read more about the design principles behind the method in Automated layout of origin–destination flow maps: U.S. county-to-county migration 2009–2013 in the Journal of Maps.

I first stumbled across the US Migration Flow Map in a link in the introduction to Sarah Bellum's Canvas Flowmap Layer. This popular ArcGIS JavaScript API library allows you to map objects flowing from one location to another.

The library uses Bezier curves to visualize the movement of objects on an interactive map. One purpose of using Bezier curves is that you can show the direction of flow by using either a convex or concave curve on your flow line.

The ArcGIS flowmap layer in turn inspired the Leaflet.Canvas-Flowmap-Layer. You can get a great idea of what you can achieve with the Leaflet.Canvas-Flowmap-Layer on this fully adjustable demo map. The map provides a visualization of airport destinations using animated Bezier curves. It includes a number of options which demonstrate the range of animation options provided with the Leaflet flowmap layer.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Street View Tag

Street Tours is a new mapping tool which allows you to easily create interactive tours using Google Maps Street View. Using the tool you can tag locations on Google's panoramic imagery to provide additional information for the tour's users.

The image above shows a Street Tour of Bournemouth Beach in the UK. In this demo tour the pier, the Oceanarium and the Tourist Information office have all been tagged on Street View. When the user clicks on the these label tags, while taking the Street Tour, information windows open to provide useful information on these Bournemouth landmarks.

Creating your own tour with Street Tours is very easy. The application uses Google Maps to highlight the area of your tour. You then simply click on the Street View panorama to add labels to the locations that you wish to feature on your tour. You can style the tags to change how they look and  add any information which you want to appear in the location's associated information window.

Street Tours is a great way to use Google Maps Street View imagery to provide a virtual tour of a location. The tours are quick and easy to create. Finished tours can be added to your website or blog using the provided embed code. Alternatively you can just share completed tours with your family and friends using the link of your finished tour.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Power Plants of North America

The North American Power Plants interactive map shows the location of nearly 10,000 power plants in the USA, Canada & Mexico. The map also provides a breakdown of how much capacity is provided by each type of power plant. Currently natural gas provides over 40% of capacity in the whole of North America.

6,400 of the power plants on the map (generating one or more megawatts) use renewable sources, such as hydroelectric, wind, solar, pumped storage, biomass, geothermal and tidal. 3,300 of the power plants use non-renewable sources (natural gas, coal, nuclear and petroleum).

You can use the drop-down menu to filter the map by type of of power production. When you filter the map then the map sidebar also updates to provide a breakdown of the capacity within the selected sector. This sidebar also automatically updates as you zoom & pan the map to provide a breakdown of capacity for only the power plants shown in the current map view.

Carbon Brief also provides a comprehensive map showing How the US generates electricity. The map visualizes how & where electricity is generated in the USA and the amount of electricity generated by the different types of electricity production.

The map allows you to filter the results by type of electricity production. This allows you to see where in the country the different types of electricity production create the most output. For example geothermal power plants are all based in the west of the country while nuclear power plants seem to be mostly built in the east.

All the power plants are displayed on the map using colored scaled markers. The colors indicate the type of power plant and the size of the markers represents the plants' output capacity. The graph in the map sidebar shows the percentage that each type of production contributes to the total of electricity production in the United States. You can select a state from the drop-down menu to view the makeup of the capacity mix for that state.

The Global Croplands Map

The USGS has released an interactive map which shows all the land used for crops and all the possible cropland in the world. As the world's population continues to grow the USGS believes that monitoring global croplands and their water use is essential to ensure future food security.

The Global Croplands map provides 30 meter resolution cropland data for the entire world. The data comes from analyzing Landsat satellite data using the Google Earth Engine cloud computing platform. Europe, India, the USA, China and Russia have the highest cropland areas and combined have about half of the world's cropland.

The 30-m global cropland data used in the Global Cropland map is currently in the peer-review stage. Once this peer review process is over the data will be released and available to download.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Australia's Marriage Law Survey Results

In September Australia held a non-binding national postal survey into the issue of same-sex marriage. There was a high response rate, with over 80% of eligible voters participating in the survey. An overwhelming 61.6% of voters voted 'Yes' to same-sex marriages while 38.4% voted 'No'.

You can see how people voted in your area on Esri's interactive map of the results. Their Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey map shows the 'yes' & 'no' votes in each electoral district. The map also reveals the response rate of eligible voters in each district.

Esri's map uses data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics who have released detailed results and participation rates from the survey. The ABS has published two interactive maps the Participation Map and the Response Map. These maps allow you to view the participation rates and the results of the survey by State/Territory and Federal Electoral Divisions.

How the World has Changed

Urban Radiance compares historical night-time satellite views of the Earth to analyse urban development across the world. By comparing recent night-time satellite imagery with historical night-time satellite views of the same locations Urban Radiance is able to show how countries have changed in terms of urbanization, electrification and population density.

Urban Radiance has compiled time-based night-time satellite composites of Asia, the Middle East, North America, North Africa, Europe and the whole World. On each map the newer night-time view uses orange to show light pollution while the older night-time uses blue to show light pollution. In this way it is easy to pick out areas in the map where light pollution has grown over time.

On each composite map Urban Radiance has picked out significant areas which have seen a growth in light pollution. For example in North America Urban Radiance highlights how the growth of shale gas fields in the Dakota and South Texas regions has led to more light pollution in these areas. Below each map graphs show the total growth (or fall) in radiance in each country shown on the map.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Geography of the Thanksgiving Meal

Tomorrow across the United States people will be sitting down to eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The tradition largely depends on where you live in the country.

The traditional Thanksgiving menu can be hugely influenced by geography. For example if you live in the north or west then you will probably have cranberry sauce with your turkey; while those who live in the southern states will mostly be enjoying sweet potato casserole. Nearly everyone will be eating turkey. But how you prepare your turkey can also be shaped by where you live. Tell me if your turkey is smoked, roasted or fried and I can probably tell you if you come from the mid-west, the east coast or California.

The Los Angeles Times has used data from Google to determine the Thanksgiving foods searched for in different regions of the United States. You can read the results of their analysis in What will be on your Thanksgiving plate? It depends on where you’ll be. The article includes a little tool which can show you the Thanksgiving foods that are most searched for in each state.

This Thanksgiving America will consume around 250 million turkeys, millions of barrels of cranberries and hundreds of thousands of acres worth of green beans. If you are interested in where your turkey was raised and where your brussels sprouts were grown then you need Esri's Where Does Your Thanksgiving Meal Come From? interactive map.

The map looks at the origins of the traditional Thanksgiving vegetables, turkey and sweet dishes. It includes separate maps showing where turkeys, cranberries, sweet potatoes, potatoes, green beans, brussels sprouts, pumpkins and pecans are grown and farmed in the United States.

UK Car Accidents Mapped

The Co-op's Car Accidents Map can help you plan a UK driving route and tell you the number of collisions that tool place along the route in 2016. The map uses data from the Department of Transport to show you where collisions have taken place on the UK's roads.

The car routing engine used in the Car Accidents Map doesn't take into account the number of collisions along the route. In other words it won't necessarily show you the safest route. It just maps one possible route and tells you the distance, estimated driving time and the number of collisions along that route.

The map does show every collision last year in the UK for every route you search. This means you can manually check the proposed route and try to work out a safer route for yourself. The map would definitely be more useful if it included an option to search for safer routes. Perhaps the map should include a warning that the route shown isn't necessarily the safest route. I definitely assumed when first using the map that it would automatically try to route me around hazard hotspots.

This is the second interactive map for car drivers that the co-op has released this year. In August Co-op Insurance also released an interactive map to help UK car drivers see where vehicle crime is most frequent.

Enter your location into Park Smart and you can view the location of nearby car crimes that have occurred in the last six months. Numbered and scaled markers show the number of car crimes reported at each location. It is therefore possible to quickly identify roads and blocks which experience high or low levels of car crime.

As well as the interactive map Co-op Insurance has released some handy tips for parking your car safely. Such as parking with your wheels facing the kerb to deter car thieves looking for a quick getaway.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Censored on Google Maps

Since the earliest days of Google Maps a big multi-colored circle has obscured a part of Noordwijk aan Zee in the Netherlands. It isn't the only location in the world which is hidden on Google's satellite imagery. However no one seems to know why Google is so keen to censor what appears to be just a normal Dutch residential neighborhood in Noordrwijk aan Zee. No other online map service censors the area and even on Google Maps you can walk around the neighborhood on Street View.

Back in 2006 this Dutch website suggested that the area was censored on Google Maps because a liquid fuel pipeline had once run through the area. However the pipeline was removed from the area a very long time ago (before Google Maps even started).

Another reason why this censorship in the Netherlands is so strange is because it is very unsubtle. Anyone looking at the area on Google Maps can be in no doubt that Google is trying to hide something here. Google is not usually so unsubtle when hiding locations on Google Maps.

A slightly more nuanced way to hide locations on satellite maps is by blurring the image. For example this building in Greece appears to have been intentionally blurred out on Google Maps. An even more subtle approach is to use a lower resolution image for censored locations. This French prison appears in lower resolution on Google Maps compared to the area around the prison. The low resolution imagery means that the casual user may not be aware of Google's censorship while at the same time successfully obscuring any details in the prison.

Even more subtle is to use older satellite imagery to hide new constructions or additions to locations. For example, it is believed that an older satellite image of this Irish prison has been superimposed on top of newer satellite imagery on Google Maps. If you look closely around the boundary wall of the prison it does appear that different images have been stitched together here.

Wikipedia maintains a useful list of Satellite map images with missing or unclear data. The list keeps track of locations which are censored on the most popular satellite map services. It has also mapped these locations so that you can view the results of this censorship for yourself.

Ignore Google's Thanksgiving Travel Advice

According to Google for most people the best time to travel home for Thanksgiving is early Wednesday morning (3-4 am).  Google analysed traffic data from last year's Thanksgiving holiday to determine the best and worst times to travel by car from a number of major cities. But ignore Google's advice about the worst time to travel. It isn't during rush-hour tomorrow. The worst time to travel is during rush-hour today.

Mapping Thanksgiving includes a tool which allows you to discover the best and worst times to leave a number of American cities. Select the city where you live and the tool will tell you the best time to travel - before and after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately Google has only looked at data starting the day before Thanksgiving. Which is why I've told you to ignore Google's travel advice! Google claims that the worst time to travel for most people is around 4 pm tomorrow. The actual worst time to travel is during rush hour today. This is because a lot of people will actually finish work before their usual time tomorrow.

The AAA says that in 8 out of the top 10 congested cities the worst time to travel is during rush hour on Tuesday (if you live in Atlanta or Houston then Google is correct & Wednesday rush hour is the busiest time). The AAA has also listed the worst times to travel to America's busiest airports. Some are busiest Tuesday & some busier on Wednesday (check the AAA list for the different airport times).

The University of Virginia agrees with the AAA that Tuesday evening rush hour is normally the worst time to travel. They have released an interactive map which uses data from last year to show the best and worst times to travel in Virginia this week. The Virginia Thanksgiving Holiday Historic Travel Trends map allows you to use a timeline to see how busy the state's roads are (historically) during this whole holiday week.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Still Building Trump's Wall

Donald Trump wants to spend millions of hard working Americans' tax-dollars on a wall between the United States and Mexico. KPBS claims that 653 miles of that wall already exists, 90% of which was built in only the last 12 years by Presidents Bush and Obama.

KPBS submitted a number of Freedom of Information requests to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in order to learn where that 'wall' is and when these sections were built. You can explore the data on their new interactive map America's Wall.

Using the map you can select sections of the wall to see when it was constructed and what type of physical barrier it is. You can also use the timeline chart to see how much of this existing wall was built in any particular year. This timeline is synced to the map. When you click on the chart the map is filtered to only show the sections built in the selected year.

USA Today flew & drove along the entire 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. During these journeys they mapped every known piece of the existing border fence between the two countries. You can view the locations of this existing border fence and also view the aerial video USA Today shot during their flight along the border on their interactive map.

Should we build a wall? A 2,000-mile search for answers not only maps the existing border fence but also explores some of the problems the USA could face in trying to build Trump's wall between Mexico & the USA. The map shows where the existing fence consists of vehicle barriers, pedestrian fencing, other fencing and where no fencing currently exists.

The beginning of 'Should we build a wall' is in a story map format. This section explores some of the geographical, economical and legal problems the USA could face in trying to build Trump's wall. You can view some of these geographical problems yourself in the USA Today's aerial videos. If you scroll to the bottom of the story map and click on the 'Explore the map' button you can click on the map to view videos of the aerial footage captured during the flight along the border.

'Should we build a wall' is just one part of USA Today's special report The Wall - an in-depth examination of Donald Trump's border wall. In the rest of the report you can read interviews, listen to podcasts and explore the border in virtual reality.

Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, has also been collecting data on the US-Mexico border for a number of years. They have spent a long time mapping the existing border fence using satellite imagery and government PDF maps of the border.

From this data Reveal has discovered that around 700 miles of the 1,954 mile-long U.S.-Mexico border is already fenced. Trump's new wall will therefore need to be at least 1,300 miles long. That's a lot of Chinese steel. You can explore Reveal's work on their The Wall interactive map. The map shows the current fence and shows where it is a 'vehicular' and where it is a 'pedestrian' fence. The map also shows where no fence currently exists.

You can get a good sense of the scale of construction needed to build Trump's new wall in a video from the Intercept. The Intercept downloaded and stitched together 200,000 satellite images to create a huge strip map of the U.S.-Mexican border. You can view this strip map in Visualizing the U.S.-Mexico Border, a short video which pans along the whole border.

From Donald Trump's 'detailed' construction plans we know that the Trump Wall will be up to 15 meters high, made of concrete and steel (but also possibly fencing) and will be 1,954 miles long. If you are having difficulty envisioning just how far 1,954 miles is then you can use the Berliner Morgenpost's interactive map. The Trump Wall Comparison Map allows you to overlay an outline of Trump's proposed border wall between the USA and Mexico on any other location on Earth.

If you want to create your own Trump Wall map then you can get Reveal's data for the US-Mexico border fence on Github. You can read more about how this data was collected and mapped in the Reveal article The Wall: Building a continuous US-Mexico barrier would be a tall order.

The Cost of Going Outside

Apparently Americans have to pay an entrance fee to 'enter' the great outdoors. Some National Parks in the USA charge an entrance fee. And the National Parks Service wants to put those prices up.

Mapbox has therefore released the NPS Fee Explorer Map. This interactive map allows you to select a national park, a mode of entry (car, bike or on foot) and the number of visitors to find out how much your visit could cost after the proposed increases to entrance fees. It also explains how much more this would cost than it costs now to visit the same national park.

The proposed increases only affect 17 national parks. The national parks are highlighted on the map by using a different shade of green than for the surrounding natural areas on the map.

Forget the map though. My big take away from this is that Americans have to pay money to go outside.

Mapping the Irish Rebellion

I've been experimenting a lot recently with the Leaflet-IIIF plug-in. The plug-in allows you to display IIIF manifests in Leaflet maps. This map of Van Gogh's Self-Portrait Dedicated to Gauguin shows how you can use the plug-in to pan & zoom around an IIIF manifest. While this Compendium of Victorian Map Games shows how you can load different manifest URLs into the same Leaflet map.

One of the main advantages of using Leaflet to display IIIF manifests is that you can switch between a map and an IIIF manifest with some ease. In other words Leaflet can be used to show the location of geo-tagged images and provide an interface in which you can pan & zoom around these very same images. You can get a better idea by looking at this demo map of Dublin 1916.

This map uses a number of postcards created after the 1916 Rising in Dublin. These postcards are held by the UCD Digital Library. The map shows the location depicted in each of the images. If you click on a marker then you can view the postcard selected and pan & zoom around the image.

Switching between a basemap map layer and an IIIF manifest is not as straightforward as you might think. The reason for this is that the map and the IIIF manifest use different map projections. Therefore you need to change the map projection every time you switch between a manifest and the map.

Who Else Owns England?

Who Owns England? has set itself the task of mapping who owns land in England. Earlier this year it released an interactive map showing all the land in England owned by the government, government bodies or charities. The map was partly an extension of earlier work done by Anna Powell-Smith for the satirical magazine Private Eye.

Back in 2015 Private Eye created an interactive map showing the amount of English & Welsh land that has been bought up by offshore companies. Selling England by the Offshore Pound uses Land Registry data to plot all land parcels registered in the name of an offshore company between 2005 and July 2014.

Who Owns England? has now created an interactive map of land owned by UK corporate bodies, councils, UK companies, housing associations and more. This new map uses Land Registry data, which for the first time ever shows who owns around 3.5 million land titles. According to Who Owns England? the data shows that "companies and the public sector own around a third of England and Wales". The majority of land is owned by Limited Companies. The second largest category of land owners are local authorities and county councils.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Where can you travel without a visa?

Travelscope is an interactive visualization of all the countries in the world that you can travel to without a visa. The map also includes options to view the population and GDP of every country in the world.

I really like the animated transitions when you switch between Travelscope's two different map views. When you switch between the map and 3d globe view the map actually wraps itself into a sphere. The map also includes animated flow-lines, which are used to show all the countries that you van travel to from your selected country.

The visualization was created using d3.js and three.js and a number of other JavaScript libraries. You can find out more about how the visualization was created on the project's GitHub page. Travelscope is featured on Google's Chrome Experiments site. If you like interactive 3d globes you can find many more examples using the Chrome Experiments geographic tag.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mapping Earthquake Prone Buildings

The New Zealand Herald has created an interesting mapped tour of Wellington's Earthquake Prone Buildings. The map shows the location of the 95 Wellington buildings which have unreinforced masonry and the 699 buildings which are earthquake prone. The map also identifies hotspots where unsafe buildings are located in areas with large numbers of pedestrians.

The map effectively uses Mapbox GL to provide a bird's eye view of Wellington with 3d buildings (the earthquake prone buildings are colored red on the map). This 3d view of the city is combined with a story map format so that the Herald can take its readers on a tour of the city's vulnerable buildings and dangerous hotspots.

The map uses extrusions to display the 3d buildings. This is neatly combined with the story map format to give a real sense of flying over the city's buildings. This tour of the city is supported by the Herald's analysis of the city's earthquake prone buildings and the danger that they pose to the city. This analysis appears in the scrolling map side-panel.

In New Zealand all buildings need to be assessed by law to identify which buildings are earthquake prone. The New Zealand Herald were able to use this data to create their map of Wellington's earthquake prone buildings. In the United States the Oregonian had to take a different approach in mapping the Oregon buildings most prone to earthquake damage.

In 1974 Oregon enacted its first statewide building code. In 1993 western Oregon adopted its first seismic standards. Franz Rad, a professor of civil & environmental engineering at Portland State University, argues that these dates provide a "broad-brush look at the vulnerability of buildings".

Earthquakes: How Vulnerable are Portland’s Buildings? uses Portland building age data to assess which buildings are most earthquake prone. Building footprints are colored on the map to show buildings constructed before 1974, those constructed between 1974 & 1993 and buildings erected after 1993. You can therefore use the map to assess the ('broad-brush') vulnerability of any Portland building to earthquake damage.

Do you live near a gas pipeline?

Do you know how near you live to a gas pipeline? Well you can now find out using a new interactive map from the Sierra Club. Yesterday the environmental organization released an interactive map of gas pipelines in the USA. You can use the map to see how near your home, school or workplace is to a gas pipeline and if they are in a pipeline blast zone or evacuation zone.

The Sierra Club Gas Pipelines Map displays planned and already operating gas pipelines across the United States. If you zoom-in on the map you can also view the location of schools, hospitals, daycare centers and nursing homes. It can be a little difficult to select individual pipelines on the map. However if you do successfully click on a pipeline you can find out who it is owned by and whether it is in operation, planned or under construction.

Also See

Building the Dakota Access Pipeline
What Kinder Morgan's Pipeline will Mean for B.C.'s Coast
A Line in the Sand - mapping reactions to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in Canada

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The World's Most Dangerous Countries

This week I've seen a lot of reports recommending the International SOS Travel Risk Map. International SOS provide a very basic interactive map of the travel risks in each country of the world. Their Travel Risk Map provides an overview of the travel risks in each country for medical, security and road safety.

Countries are colored on the Travel Risk Map to show the International SOS assessment of the travel risks in these three categories. The map therefore does provide a very basic guide as to where it is safe to travel in the world. Unfortunately that is as far as the map goes. At the very least I would expect to be able to click on individual countries on the map to learn more about the travel risks in the selected country. If I'm travelling to a country I don't just want to know that there is a high security risk I want to know what those risks are.

Many governments provide useful advice for their citizens planning to travel abroad. For example the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date Foreign Travel Advice. If you click on Zimbabwe on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice page you can see that the travel advice has been updated today and takes this week's military coup into account.

If you do use the Travel Risk Map please also check your government's latest travel advice as well.

Building a Map of the Roman Empire

The Pelagios project is currently working on creating vector tile map layers to work with the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire. A vector based Atlas of the Roman Empire will allow Pelagios to offer the user many more options. For example users could be given a choice to view place-name labels in Latin, ancient Greek or using the modern place-names. The vector based map will also have many more zoom levels which will allow Pelagios to actually map individual Roman Empire buildings.

Pelagios has been documenting the process of creating their vector tile map of the Roman Empire. You can read about how the vector tile map is being built on The Roman Empire Vector Map Project and Building the Roman Empire Vector Tile Map. A final post (yet to be published) will explore more the new possibilities that the vector tile map will provide for Pelagios and users of the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.

This early demo version of the vector tiled map of the Roman Empire provides a drop-down menu that you can use to change the language of the map labels.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The DC Transportation Model

Property developers in Washington DC must provide trip generation estimates in their project planning applications. In order to show how a project will impact on local traffic and public transit these reports include estimates of both morning and evening trips to and from the proposed development.

A new online mapping tool, developed by Stamen for transportation consultants Fehr & Peers and the District Department of Transportation (ddot), can now make these trip generation estimates for you. TripsDC is an interactive map tool "for estimating vehicle, walk, bike, and transit trips based on a proposed development's characteristics and its context".

Using the tool you can enter the address of a proposed development project. You then need to enter the number of residential units, the number of parking spaces and the retail square footage. That's all you need to do. With this information the tool can automatically produce your project's morning and evening trip generation estimates.

If you aren't planning any major development projects in DC you can still use the map to view the data behind the model. These include an interesting layer which shows the distance to the nearest Metro for every location in the capital.

Lead Poisoning in New York

In 69 New York neighborhoods at least 10 percent of small children tested have elevated lead levels. The Reuters news agency has been examining childhood blood testing data in New York, at the census tract level, to determine where children are being exposed to high levels of lead.

You can view the results from the Reuters investigation on their Lead Poisoning interactive map. This choropleth map provides an overviews of the number of children who tested with elevated levels of lead. You can hover over each census tract on the map to view the exact percentage of children with elevated levels and the number of children tested in that census tract.

The interactive map provides quick links to view other cities where children have tested with worryingly high levels of lead. However the map can also be used to view lead testing results in locations throughout the United States.

The Density of Housing in London

The UK government has set a target of building a million new homes by 2020. This raises the question of where do you put a million new homes. In the past the government has wanted to relax laws which restrict new buildings on green field sites. However building on green field sites is usually very unpopular with voters. An alternative approach would be to build more densely in already built-up areas.

EMU Analytics and London YIMBY has teamed up to show that there may be many opportunities to build new homes in London. The London Housing Density map shows the number of homes in each Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) in London. The map uses a 200x200m grid and clips around known non-residential areas (such as large parks) to give a reasonably accurate picture of the housing density in each LSOA.

The London Housing Density map also includes layers which show residential and non-residential building heights. These additional layers show where there might be more scope for increasing the number of homes by building taller apartment buildings.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mapping Hate Crimes

The FBI has released its Hate Crime Statistics for 2016. The data shows that the number of hate crimes has risen for the second year running. As in previous years the highest number of hate crimes are race based crimes, with more than half of those crimes aimed at African-Americans. Alarmingly the number of religious based crimes against Muslims increased by 19 percent in just one year.

The Anti-Defamation League has updated its Hate Crime Map with the FBI's 2016 data. If you select the 'Hate Crime Data' tab on the map you can view which cities (with a population over 100,000) have reported hate crimes for any year since 2004. The blue dots indicate those cities which have reported hate crimes for the selected year.

Earlier this year the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) also reported a huge increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States. They reported that the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in America grew from 34 to 101.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the overall rise of hate groups is a direct result of the 'incendiary rhetoric' used by Donald Trump. In its annual census of extremist groups the SPLC claims that "Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country".

The SPLC's interactive Hate Map tracks the growing number of hate groups operating in the United States. The map uses colored markers to indicate the category of each hate group shown on the map. If you select a marker on the map you can click-through to learn more about what this type of hate group believes and how they operate.

Estimating Crowd Sizes with Maps

Estimating crowd sizes can be a very controversial subject. For example Donald Trump claimed there were a "million-and-a-half people" at his inauguration and said that the press were "going to pay a big price" for reporting figures way below his expert opinion.

One way to estimate the size of a crowd is to use maps to calculate the surface area of a crowd and then to multiply that surface area by the estimated density of the crowd. MapChecking is a very simple interactive map tool that can do this for you. It allows you to draw the surface area of your crowd, demonstration, march or gathering on a Google Map. It then allows you to enter an estimate for the number of people per square meter in your crowd. Once you have entered those two variables MapChecking automatically works out the crowd size.

Using a Reuters photo of Trump's inauguration with Map Checking gave me a figure of 357,143 people in the National Mall on January 20, 2017. If anything this might be being a bit generous as I haven't allowed for what look to be sizable gaps in the crowd in the Reuters photograph.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Mortgage Dot Map

An interactive view of the housing boom and bust is a dot map which shows the number of mortgages awarded in the United States for every year since 2001. As the animated map plays out you can see how the housing boom and bust has effected mortgage lending throughout the country.

Each dot on the map represents 10 mortgages. The color of the dots show the ethnicity of the mortgagees. A line graph below the map shows how the number of mortgages has risen & fallen over the same period. The timeline includes significant dates when economic events had a significant impact on the housing market.

The map includes a link to an article examining how restrictions to credit availability has disproportionately affected black and Hispanic households. The map includes filter controls which allow you to restrict the mortgages shown by ethnicity. You can therefore use the timeline with the filter controls to see for yourself how significant economic events have effected mortgage lending to different ethnic groups.

Ai Weiwei in New York

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei currently has a city wide art exhibition in New York City. 'Good Fences Make Good Neighbors' is inspired by Robert Frost’s poem 'Mending Wall' and explores issues around immigration and the plight of refugees. Until February 11th 2018 you can view the artwork featured in Ai Weiwei's exhibition at locations throughout New York.

As part of the Good Fences Make Good Neighbors exhibition 200 banners have been hung around the city. These banners feature portraits of refugees (who featured in Ai Weiwei's documentary Human Flow). The exhibition also features a number of new site-specific works of art which are located in public-spaces throughout New York.

If you need help finding the over 300 works of art in the exhibition, as you navigate the city, then you might want to refer to the Good Fences Make Good Neighbors interactive map. The map uses categorized markers to show the locations of structures, bus shelters, lampposts and advertising spaces used in Ai Weiwei's exhibition. The map also allows you to access the exhibition notes for each of the featured art pieces.

How Well Do you Know the World?

It's always good to start a new working week with a relaxing but educational map guessing game. Outline Maps is a Leaflet.js based series of map games which tests your geographical knowledge of the countries of the world and their capitals.

Outline Maps consists of two different types of game. The 'Find by name' games require you to point out named locations on a map of the world. The 'Find by feature' games highlight an area on the map and ask you to type in the identified location's name. Currently the game involves naming countries in either Africa, Europe, South American or the USA. There is also a game that requires you to know the capital cities of the world.

Outline Maps is available in GitHub. You can therefore fork the game and create your own map game. To create an Outline Maps game for another part of the world (e.g. the states of America) you just need to add a GeoJSON file of the geographical borders.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

21 New World Heritage Sites

In July UNESCO announced that 21 new sites around the world have been given World Heritage status. The new sites include the first locations in Angola and Eritrea to be given World Heritage status and many other places of special cultural and natural significance across the globe.

You can explore all of these new locations on Esri's story map the 21 Newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Using the map you can view photos, fast facts and satellite imagery of each of the sites. The map also includes the UNESCO descriptions for each site.

You can view the location of all 1073 UNESCO World Heritage Sites on this UNESCO World Heritage List Interactive Map. The color of the markers on this map show which are cultural (yellow) & natural (green) sites and which sites are in danger (red).

Friday, November 10, 2017

Americans With Honor

On Tuesday Syria agreed to sign the Paris climate agreement. When that happens every country in the world will have signed up to the Paris Accord. Unfortunately that world also includes Donald Trump.

Obviously the Paris Accord only has a chance of succeeding if all those countries honor what they signed up for. So does Donald Trump have any honor? Apparently not-  as he is threatening to withdraw the United States from the agreement. Not every American is happy with that decision. For example the We Are Still In movement is a collection of U.S. states, cities, counties, businesses, universities and civil society organizations who have agreed to "stand by the Paris Agreement and are committed to meeting its goals".

Data-Driven Yale has released an interactive map of just some of those organizations that have pledged to honor the promise the USA made when it signed up to the Paris climate agreement. You can click on the markers displayed on the map to learn more about the individual organizations and any ecological commitments that they have made.

How Green is Your Valley?

Under 6% of all the land in the UK is built on. Over half of the land is farmland and around a third of the land is natural.

The BBC has released a new map tool which can tell you how land is used in your Local Authority Area. Just enter a postcode into the BBC's How much of your area is built on? and you can view a map of your LEA which shows what land is built on, farmland, green urban (parks, gardens etc) and  natural.

The maps use data from the Co-ordination of Information on the Environment (Corine) project, which uses satellite imagery and map data to determine land use in European countries.