Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mapping the Impact of Agriculture


Esri has released the second installment in its Living in the Age of Humans series. This new story map, entitled The Living Land, explores how humans use the Earth's limited land space.

This installment of Living in the Age of Humans focuses on the impact of agriculture, which accounts for the vast majority of the Earth's surface which has been modified by humans. Just half a percent of the total land area on Earth is used by humans as urban areas. However twenty one percent of the land area of Earth is used by us for agriculture, including cropland and intensively used pastureland.

As you progress through The Living Land you can view where this cropland and pastureland exists around the world. You will also learn more about which crops are grown in different areas of the world and in which quantities. You will also discover what effects these crops have on the land where they are grown.

Unequal Education in the USA


ProPublica's Miseduction map shows where black and Hispanic students are missing out on educational opportunities compared with white students. The map uses data from the U.S. Department of Education to show which schools and districts have the best and worst racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline.

The map allows you to view racial disparities between either educational opportunities, school discipline, segregation or achievement. You can also switch between viewing the racial disparities for either black or Hispanic students.

ProPublica has also created a table which lists how much more likely white students are likely to be in an advanced placement class than black or Hispanic students in every state. The table also shows how much more likely black or Hispanic students are likely to be suspended compared to white students. The columns in this table can be switched to show the results in ascending or descending order so you can quickly view which states have the best and worst records.


Earlier this year Vox looked at how American schools could become less segregated. They argue that the segregation of students in the country's schools is a political decision. There is no good reason why schools are segregated and this segregation can be easily overcome if there is the political will to give all Americans equal educational opportunities.

In We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated Vox looks at how school districts can be gerrymandered to make them less segregated. The article includes a map tool which allows you to visualize how segregated schools currently are in your town. If you enter your school district into this tool you can view a choropleth map showing the percentage of students in each elementary school zone who were black or Hispanic in the 2013 school year.

The map allows you to view the current situation in your district using the current zoning regulations and compare this with how it would look if students were just assigned to their nearest school. Beneath the map you can see a graph which reveals if your local zoning regulations are lessening school segregation or making segregation worse

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Every House of Representatives Election


Electing the House of Electives is a new interactive data visualization of every House of Representatives election since before the Civil War. The map allows you to explore the historical swings of political power at both the national level and, closer to home, at the regional level.

The interactive map is easy to navigate. You can view the election results for any year simply by selecting a year from the timeline beneath the map. This timeline also acts as a chart showing the number of Republican and Democrat representatives elected in each election. The map itself is colored to show which party won in each district. If you click on a district on the map you can view the name of the winning representative and the percentage of their vote.

The map allows you to switch between a choropleth and a cartogram view. The cartogram view provides a better picture of the political balance across the population as it more accurately visualizes the urban vote which is under-represented in the choropleth view.

Electing the House of Electives was created by the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond and the Department of History at Virginia Tech. The data for the maps comes from a number of sources. This data can be downloaded from Virginia Tech.

Fly Me to the Moon


The movie First Man, about the first ever manned landing on the moon, has reignited interest in our lunar neighbor. If you are interested in following Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the moon then you could take your first tentative footsteps by exploring NASA's Moon Trek.

Moon Trek is an interactive map of the moon created by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Caltech. The map allows you to explore the named features of the moon, learn about lunar exploration and access current research about our nearest neighbor. The map also includes a 3D globe of the moon and the ability to create your own fly-overs of the lunar surface.

Moon Trek has a number of different layers which can be added to the lunar map. These layers include imagery and observations from NASA's missions to the moon. Moon Trek also includes a number of different tools which allow you to measure distances on the map and create elevation plots. You can also use Moon Trek with VR headsets to take a virtual tour of the moon and download data to 3D print selected areas of the moon's surface.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Charles Darwin Map Projection



Benjamin Schmidt has created a map projection which has been optimized to show the track of the route of the Beagle during Charles Darwin's 1831-1836 famous survey voyage. Data-driven projections: Darwin's world is an Observable Notebook which visualizes the track of the Beagle on a map that preserves continuity near the areas where the Beagle sailed, at the expense of areas of the world that are distant from the path of Darwin's voyage.

Because the map is created in Observable you can change the data to create your own data driven map projections. If you click on the arrow next to the 'path' section of the notebook then you can edit and change the polyline co-ordinates for the Beagle's voyage to any polyline that you want. The notebook will then create a map projection based on your data.


The 'Data-driven projections: Darwin's world' notebook is a fork of the Voronoi Projection. This Observable Notebook creates a map projection based on the centroids of the 43 largest countries in the world.

Mapping the Damage from Hurricane Michael


NOAA's Hurricane Michael Imagery is an interactive map visualizing the damage caused by Hurricane Michael. After the tropical storm struck last week NOAA captured aerial imagery of some of the locations which suffered the most damage in order to support homeland security and emergency response requirements.

If you use the map layers menu you can turn NOAA's recent aerial imagery on & off. This allows you to make a direct comparison of the post-hurricane aerial imagery with the aerial imagery from before Hurricane Michael. This before & after comparison is a little easier if you use Esri's Hurricane Michael Damage Viewer.

This interactive map display's NOAA's Hurricane Michael aerial imagery side-by side with aerial imagery captured before the tropical storm. The two sets of imagery are synchronized with each other so that as you move around on the map the two sets of aerial imagery move to always show a side-by side view or the chosen location.

You can learn more about when and how the post-Hurricane Michael aerial imagery was captured at NOAA's National Geodetic Survey damage assessment imagery.

Flooding Kerala


In August over 200 people were killed in Kerala by the worst flooding to hit the Indian state in over 100 years. One reason for the dramatic flooding was that many of Kerala's hydroelectric dams were forced to release water with little warning to those who live downriver from the dams.

Reuters has been investigating why the waters in Kerala's dams were too high before the monsoon struck. In How Kerala's Dams Failed to Prevent Catastrophe the news organization has mapped the locations of all the state's dams and in particular the Idukki & Idamalayar reservoirs and the Periya River. Reuters argues that if the water levels in these two reservoirs had been lowered prior to the start of the monsoon then they could have coped with the rain that fell in the August storms.

Because the water levels in the Idukki & Idamalayar reservoirs were at 90% of their capacity before the August monsoon they both quickly reached capacity after the rains began. Both reservoirs were then forced to release water into the Periya River. The result was the severe flooding of communities living along the river.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

One Mile of Devastation


The photos and videos that have emerged showing the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael have been shocking and evocative. None of these images has been more effective in showing the scale of the disruption caused by the tropical storm than the New York Times' Hurricane Michael: One Mile of Devastation in Florida.

This simple but powerful visualization simply stitches together a series of oblique aerial views of one mile of Mexico Beach. As you scroll down - the web page scans horizontally, flying over one whole mile of a devastated stretch of the Florida coastline. The aerial images are labelled with road names and the locations of different buildings which used to exist along U.S. Highway 98.

So many of the buildings along Mexico Beach have been completely destroyed that the New York Times has felt it necessary to also add a map of all the destroyed buildings to its article. As you scroll horizontally along this map the footprints of all the destroyed buildings are shown in red and the severely damaged buildings are colored yellow.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Map of all the Books


The HathiTrust Digital Map is an interactive map which allows you to browse and explore the 14 million volumes in the HaithTrust's repository of digitized texts. The map not only provides a visual interface with which you can navigate the books in the HaithiTrust digital library it also includes a fascinating discussion about how the texts are organized on the map. A discussion which explores how organizing digital texts may require a whole new system of library classification.

The Library of Congress Classification system categorizes books into different broad subjects and then by sub-classes within each of these subjects. The HathiTrust Digital Map uses an entirely different method of classification. On this interactive maps texts are organized by the similarity in the vocabulary of individual texts.

The interactive map has two distinct modes: 'Read' and 'Interact'. If you select 'Interact' you can zoom in and pan around the map. If you then select an individual dot on the map you can actually open the selected text on the HathiTrust Digital Library website. However if you select 'Read' you can learn more about the vocabulary similarity classification system used by the digital map.

This 'Read' section takes you on a story map tour of some of the interesting patterns that emerge when you organize the HathiTrust Digital Library by vocabulary similarity. The story map shows you how this classification system diverges or resembles subject based classification systems, such as the Library of Congress Classification system. It also explores some of the new 'clusters' of books that emerge when you classify by vocabulary similarity. New clusters of texts which have some syntactical similarity but which under a subject based classification system would be classified far apart.

This story map tour also provides a great illustration of how a digital map of a library can actually use a number of different library classification systems at the same time. On the HathiTrust Digital Map the texts are organized spatially by their similarity in vocabulary. However as  you progress through the story map the texts are also organized by language and then by subject matter by applying different colors to the markers of books in different categories. In this way the map is able to pick out interesting clusters of texts which have similar vocabularies within subject classes, texts which have widely different vocabularies but are still in the same subject class or texts which have similar vocabularies but are in different subject classes.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Deserting Central USA


From 2000-2010 the population of the central United States declined. A combination of a higher death rate than birth rate and outward migration led to a fall in the population of counties running down the nation’s midsection.

You can view the population trend in every county in the USA from 2000 to 2010 on the Population Change Estimates 2000 - 2010 interactive map. When you run the choropleth animation on this map you will quickly notice the blue band emerging down the center of the country as the populations fall in counties throughout this central area of the country.

This animated population change map is actually one of 64 example maps available on GitHub which demonstrate different features of Microsoft's Azure Maps library. You can view all 64 maps and the source code for each map at Azure Maps Web Control Samples.

The Swiss Solar Power Potential Map


Homeowners and businesses in Switzerland can now find out the solar power potential of their buildings at the click of a button. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy has released an interactive map which shows the solar potential of every rooftop in the country.

To find out how much solar energy a building can produce you just need to click on a building on the How much electricity or heat can my roof produce? interactive map. Roofs on the map are colored to show their solar power potential (with red showing the houses with the best potential and blue indicating roofs with low solar potential). If you click on a building you can view details on how many potential kilowatt hours the roof can produce and how much that energy is worth.

The potential solar power that can be generated by individual buildings is calculated based on the size, orientation, inclination and the amount of potential sunlight of the building's roof. You can view the solar power potential for a building based on the whole roof being used, or for half or three-quarters of the roof being used for solar panels.

If you live in the USA you can try Google's Project Sunroof instead. This potential solar energy tool from Google calculates how much sunlight buildings in America are likely to receive throughout the year. It can therefore help you make a more informed decision about whether you should install solar panels.

Enter an address into Project Sunroof and you can view an estimate of how many hours of sunlight your roof receives per year, the square feet you have available for solar panels and the estimated net savings that you could make.

Australians can use the SunSPoT Solar Potential Map which shows the solar power potential of buildings in an ever growing list of Australian cities.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Mapping Racial Diversity in the USA


National Geographic has created a wonderful interactive map which visualizes the racial diversity of America block by block. The map provides a fascinating insight into the diversity of American towns and cities and also reveals how these same towns and cities can be divided along racial lines.

Back in 2013 the University of Virginia made the Racial Dot Map, a Google Map which shows the geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the USA. The Racial Dot Map uses data from the 2010 US census, with each of the 308,745,538 dots representing the location and race of one American citizen.

The National Geographic map uses the same 2010 census data, as geographically refined by the University of Virginia Demographics Research Group and the University of Minnesota. Where we Live, Block by Block colors each census tract by the majority racial / ethnic group in the block. Using the map you can zoom in on any city or town in the USA to view the racial diversity of the local neighborhoods.

The National Geographic map also includes a number of guided tours of American cities and regions which have an interesting history of racial diversity. These tours explore the current racial diversity of these areas and often attempt to explain the historical reasons for this diversity.

Where M&S Gets its Fish


The M&S Supply Chain Map now shows where the company sources its fish & shellfish from. British retailer Marks and Spencer created the M&S Interactive Map in order to be more transparent with their customers. The map has been used in the past to show the factories around the world where M&S source their branded clothing, clothing accessories, footwear, food, non-alcoholic drinks and household products. It now also shows where the company sources its farmed and wild fish & shellfish.

Using the map you can view details on individual factories around the world which are part of the M&S supply chain. If you select an individual manufacturer on the map you can view a few details about the factory, such as the total number of employees and the percentage of female & male employees.

If you select 'Raw Materials' from the map sidebar you can now also view where M&S source their wild fish & shellfish and where they source farmed fish and shellfish. These fish & shellfish sources can be filtered on the map by individual country or by individual fish species. For example you can filter the map to just show where M&S sources rainbow trout.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Hurricane Michael Maps


The Washington Post has used data from the National Weather Service to create an interactive map of the forecast track of Hurricane Michael. The map includes forecast impact times which show when the hurricane is expected to hit locations in Florida and Georgia.

The WaPo map includes scaled markers which show the forecast category of the storm along its forecast path and the forecast wind speeds. The chance of experiencing tropical storm force winds is indicated on the map by colored polygons. The WaPo post on Hurricane Michael also includes a static map which shows the sea surface temperature anomalies currently being experienced in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. This warm water is expected to help intensify the strength of the storm as it approaches the coast of Florida.


You can follow the progress of the storm in real-time using the Earth animated weather map. This real-time map uses weather data from the Global Forecast System to show current wind and wave patterns around the world. The map also includes a 3 Hour Precipitation Accumulation layer which shows how much rain has fallen in the last three hours. Earth's animated weather layers really do provide a dramatic visualization of the power of tropical storms like Hurricane Michael.

The National Hurricane Center has produced a series of maps tracking the progress of Hurricane Michael. These maps show the forecast path of Hurricane Michael, wind speed probabilities, the forecast arrival time of winds, rainfall and flash flooding potential and storm surge warnings.

Maps for Drones


The AirMap is an interactive map for drone pilots. The map provides an easy way to view local airspace rules, up-to-date flight advisories and the latest weather for your current location.

To start using AirMap you need to choose the type of drone mission that you require. This can be either flying for fun or a commercial drone mission. After you select your mission type the map sidebar displays the contextual airspace rules for your type of drone flight. The map sidebar also warns you if there are any current advisories for your location.

The areas where drone advisories are in operation are shown in red and yellow on the map. If you select one of these yellow or red areas on the map you can view the current drone restrictions in operation at that location.

After flying a successful mission if you have any photos or video of your flight you can post them to Dronestagram. Dronestagram is an Instagram type application for sharing aerial photos captured by drones. Users can post aerial pictures to Dronestagram and share their photos with the world.

Browsing Dronestagram is a fun way of exploring aerial views of the world. Just search a place-name to find nearby drone captured photos and videos. 

Cork in 3D


Cork Guide has released a mapped guide to Ireland's third largest city. This bird's eye view interactive map provides an interesting categorized guide to the city and its major points of interest, hotels & heritage bars.

At the heart of the Cork Guide is an oblique map of the city showing the city's buildings in 3D. The 3D map is a little bit of a cheat as an interactive 3D map as it is built on an image map rather than from vector map tiles. Using a static image of the city as the map means that more details on the buildings aren't revealed as you zoom in on the map. As the map image of the city doesn't have any map labels it also means that there aren't any road names displayed on the map, even at the highest zoom levels.

However the map is still interactive and you can click on areas of the city to discover more about Cork, its history and places to visit in the city. The map information windows also include links to OpenStreetMap, which means that if you decide to visit somewhere you discover on the map you can get the address details (and road names) you need from OSM.

The main advantage of the image map library developed for the city guide is that it can also be used for building plans. If you click on the Cork Public Museum link you can view the library has been used to create a floor map for the museum. Again an oblique bird's eye view is used, this time showing a roofless plan of the museum. Click on the individual rooms in the museum plan and you can find out more about what you will find in that exhibition space. This is a much better use of the Cork Guide static image mapping library.

If I was developing the Cork Guide going forward I would restrict the use of the static image map library for creating interactive building plans for major buildings in the city. I would then look to replace the main mapped guide to the city using an established 3D mapping platform such as OSM Buildings.

Monday, October 08, 2018

A New Mapping Platform is HERE


Stamen has been playing around with HERE's new map building platform XYZ. XYZ includes a range of tools of API's, SDK's and tools which can help you make interactive maps. HERE XYZ is a full stack of interactive mapping tools which allow you to create a spatial database and visualize & style that data on top of an interactive map.

Stamen has created a nice introduction to the HERE XYZ mapping platform in the form of tutorials and demo maps. Stamen has created four demo maps which they built using XYZ with Leaflet.js, Tangram and Cesium.js. New Maps in the Cloud with Here XYZ includes four very different maps, including this 3D Globe with Live Flights. This live flights map visualizes the movements of planes in real-time flying in and out a number of major airports on top of a Cesium powered interactive globe. Alongside the four demo maps Stamen has also created a number of tutorials on using HERE XYZ.

The HERE XYZ Tutorials include help on installing the XYZ command line interface and tutorials on building the four interactive maps introduced in the Stamen blog post. The tutorials provide an easy to follow guide to start building maps with HERE XYZ.

Anyone who is familiar with Mapbox Studio and the Mapbox GL mapping library should find the tools available in HERE XYZ reasonably easy to conceive and understand. XYZ even has a product to help you style your spatial data called XYZ Studio.

Brazil Election Maps


The extreme far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the most votes in the first round of Brazil's presidential election yesterday. However the candidate failed to win 50% of the vote and so he will now face a second round election on 28 October against the the left-wing Workers' Party candidate, Fernando Haddad.

Globo has created an interactive map visualizing the results of yesterday's election in Brazil. G1 Elections 2018 allows you to view the results of the presidential elections in each electoral district. On the map the electoral districts won by Fernando Haddad are colored red and the districts won by Jair Bolsonaro are colored green. The intensity of the colors for each candidate show the level of the candidate's support in the districts in which they won.

The map reveals a pronounced north-south split in support for the extreme Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro seems to be much more popular among the richer voters of the south than in the poorer northern regions. The poorer northern regions have historically voted in greater numbers for the candidates of the left. It now looks like their southern neighbors are on the brink of condemning the whole country to the rule of an anti-democratic despot.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

If Car Companies Hadn't Lied About Diesel


In 2014 the International Council on Clean Transportation discovered that the diesel cars of a number of different car manufacturers exceeded legal levels for nitrogen oxide emissions. The result of diesel cars emitting higher levels of pollution than claimed by the manufacturers has been far higher levels of air pollution across the world. This has been starkly visualized by Da Standaard.

Last month Belgium newspaper Da Standaard mapped out the results of a huge citizen science project to test the quality of air in Flanders. You can view the interactive map of Flanders air quality on the newspaper's Curieuze Neuzen Vlaanderen feature. Now that Flanders has an accurate map of air quality in the region, based on measurements from over 20,000 sensors, it has a decent base layer with which to see how clean the air would be without the emissions from diesel engines.

In What would Flanders look like without tampering with diesel cars? Da Standaard has created a number of side-by-side visualizations which allow you to compare air pollution in different locations around Flanders with diesel engine emissions and without diesel engine emissions. These visualizations show what the air pollution would have looked like if the car manufacturers had obeyed the legal limits for diesel engines and what air pollution would look like if diesel was banned completely.

These visualizations clearly show that diesel cars have contributed hugely to air pollution in Flanders. They also show that if diesel cars were removed from the roads most of Flanders' most polluted roads would instantly fall within European standards for safe levels of air pollution.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Follow the River


The USGS's Streamer map allows you to trace rivers or streams upstream to their source or downstream to their final destinations. The interactive map can create very dramatic visualizations of river watersheds, particularly when you trace a river upstream to show all of its tributaries.

Streamer is incredibly easy to use. Just click on a river on the map and select either the 'upstream' or 'downstream' buttons (for the best results click on the Mississippi and then the upstream button). You can also get a detailed trace report for your selected river. This report includes information on the river's origin, length and the number of states it flows through. It also provides details about the streamflow gaging (measuring) stations found along the visualized river route.


FernLeaf Interactive has also created an interactive map which allows you to view over 100,000 watershed regions. This map shows the topological relationships between the USGS level 12 hydrologic units for the entire United States.

The Watersheds Map allows you to visualize watershed regions throughout the USA. As you mouse-over the map it automatically updates to show upstream areas in red and downstream areas in blue. You can click on the map at anytime to freeze the map view (click on the map again to unfreeze & re-enable the dynamic loading of the watershed data).

The map also includes a dynamic URL facility. This means that you can share a watershed view highlighted on the map simply by cutting and pasting the map's current URL.

Unboxing the Shetlands


Yesterday the Scottish government passed a law which makes it illegal to place the Shetlands Islands in an inset box on a map of Scotland.

Just as Hawaii is often shown in an inset box on maps of the United States the Shetland Islands are often placed in an inset box on maps of Scotland. By making it illegal to place the Shetland Islands inside an inset box the politicians have created a huge problem for cartographers.

Or have they?

My solution to this problem is simply Unboxing the Shetlands and placing the rest of Scotland in an inset box instead. This simple and elegant solution to the new law will hopefully satisfy everybody.

Obviously my solution does not quite fit the letter of the new law which requires that the islands be "displayed in a manner that accurately and proportionately represents their geographical location in relation to the rest of Scotland". However I think it does fit the spirit of the law in that it more accurately reflects the huge cultural and historical significance of the islands. My map obviously has the additional benefit of putting Scotland back in the box where it belongs.

The Living Conditions of Children in France


The French government's Department of Research and Statistics has published an interactive map which shows the levels of access children in France have to childcare, health facilities and other important services.  The Living Conditions of Children in Metropolitan France map visualizes a number of different variables which allow you to compare child services across different regions of the country and the economic and family conditions in which children live.

The map sidebar organizes the different data views under a number of headings, such as Education and Health. This menu allows you to select from a number of different childcare services. For example, if you select "accessibilite aux places en creche" you can view a choropleth layer which shows how many creche places are available, per child, in each district.

The Living Conditions of Children in Metropolitan France map also includes a number of demographic and economic layers which allow you to compare the distribution of children across France and the different types of family and economic backgrounds in which French children are living in.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

The Leaflet Travel Time Plug-in


Trafford Data Lab has released an isochrone plug-in for Leaflet.js, which allows you to show travel time reachability on your interactive maps. leaflet.reachability uses the openrouteservice Isochrones API to visualize how far you can walk, cycle or drive in different periods of time on a Leaflet.js powered interactive map.

You can explore the potential of the leaflet.reachability plug-in on the demo map. If you open the menu on the map you can select from the three different modes of transport (walking, cycling or driving) and select a period of time. If you then click on a location on the map you can view how far you can travel, using your selected mode of transport, in your chosen period of time.

At the moment the plug-in doesn't have any documentation (although "Detailed step-by-step instructions and a full implementation guide will follow here shortly"). For now if use the demo map as a guide the plug-in looks like it should be relatively easy to implement. Just remember that the plug-in uses the openrouteservice API so you will need to register with openrouteservice and then use your own API key with the leaflet.reachability plug-in..

Which Countries Take the Most Refugees


Earlier this week Australian broadcaster SBS released an interactive map of migrant deaths around the world. The broadcaster has now created a map showing the countries where refugees come from and the countries where refugees end up. This new map uses data from UNHCR to visualize the number of refugees or asylum seekers living in each country and the number of refugees who have left each country.

As you can tell from the screenshot above the richest countries in the world aren't exactly pulling their weight in looking after the world's most needy. In fact the country who has taken in the most refugees is Turkey, followed by Pakistan. Germany is about the only leading economic power who has accepted its responsibility in supporting the world's dispossessed.

The interactive map in SBS's Seven Surprising Facts About Human Migration allows you to view both where refugees have ended up and where they come from. The countries which have created the most refugees are Syria (6.1 million), Afghanistan (2.9 million) and South Sudan (1.9 million).

You can view SBS's map on where migrants have died around the world at How many asylum seekers never make it to their destination. This map uses data from the Missing Migrants Project to show dead and missing migrants across the globe from 6 January 2014 to September 2018.


The UN refugee agency says there are more than 25 million refugees in the world. It isn't exactly a global crisis. About 85 percent of those 25 million refugees are being helped by low and middle-income countries. Countries in the developing world have housed about 15% of the world's refugees.

The Center for Global Development has created an interactive map visualizing refugee numbers in 31 of the 37 developing countries hosting at least 25,000 refugees. You can click on individual countries on the map to view the total number of refugees living in the country. The map was created to show how many refugees are living near urban job opportunities but it also (inadvertently) provides a good visualization of how many developing countries are taking on the burden of housing the world's refugees.

The World Bank has also created an interactive map showing the number of refugees living in each country. The Refugee Population by Country or Territory of Asylum uses data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to visualize how many refugees lived in a country in each year from 1990-2016. Again the map reveals that countries in the developed world have taken in the least refugees. For example in 2016 the USA had a refugee population of around 273,000. In the same year Jordan and Turkey both had refugee populations of over 2,800,0000.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Near Real-Time Pedestrian Counting


The City of Melbourne has implemented a fully automated pedestrian counting system to measure foot traffic and to help inform future decision making and planning. The counting system uses sensors that are fixed on street lights and awnings and which are able to count pedestrians as they walk below. The sensors are able to count pedestrians in each direction and the data is then uploaded every 15 minutes.

You can view the data from the sensors on the City of Melbourne - Pedestrian Counting System interactive map. Because the sensors upload the data automatically every 15 minutes you can use the map to actually view pedestrian traffic in Melbourne today. Just open the map calendar and select today's date and you can view an animated visualization of today's pedestrian traffic across Melbourne since the beginning of the day.

The map uses three colors of map marker to show how today's count compares to the average pedestrian numbers for the same times on the four preceding days of the week. If you select a sensor's marker on the map you can view a graph showing the hourly pedestrian count for the selected day. The graph also includes lines showing the four week average for the sensor and the yearly average.

The Anti-Immigration Money Industry


Some companies are making a lot of money out of Donald Trump's repressive immigration policies. The amount of government money pouring into ICE contracts has almost doubled in the past year. Companies profiting from this expansion include some expected names in the prison and detention industry, such as the GeoGroup who have earned over $438 million from ICE contracts. However a number of house-hold names in other sectors of industry are also turning a profit from Trump's repressive immigration regime. These include Amazon, Dell and LinkedIn, who are all happy to make money from ICE contracts, whatever the cost to individual immigrants or their children.

Back in June Torn Apart / Separados Volume 1 began mapping the locations of ICE facilities across the United States. These are the facilities where more than 2,300 children separated from their parents and families are being held as part of Donald Trump's 'zero tolerance' immigration policy. In Torn Apart / Separados Volume 2 you can view an interactive map showing who is profiting from all the government money being poured into ICE.

The Torn Apart / Separados website includes a number of different visualizations of the ICE money trail. The 'Districts' visualization provides a map view of the total number of ICE dollars flowing into each congressional district. Hover over a district on the map and you can see how many ICE dollars have been spent in the district and who the district's largest recipient of ICE money has been.

The 'Gain' section of Torn Apart / Separados provides a 'scroll of shame'. Keep watching and this page slowly scrolls through the names of companies who are profiting by helping ICE and how much they are profiting by. This isn't the best way to view this data (although if you read the 'Textures' section there is an explanation as to why this approach was taken). If you want to view a database of all the companies profiting from ICE then you should instead browse through the open data repository for Torn Apart / Separados on GitHub.

Where Can You Afford to Live?


The short answer to the question of where young people can afford to rent in the UK is 'practically nowhere'. For example if you want to live in London then you might just be able to afford a one bedroom apartment if you earn north of £51,000. If you earn the average wage for a person in their 20's then you could move to Brighton where you would only have to pay around 50% of your salary, on average, for renting a one bedroom apartment.

If you are prepared to move anywhere in the country then your best bet is to move to Argyll and Bute where your rent would be a very affordable 15% of the average income (for someone in their 20's). If you want to know how much the average rent costs in the rest of Britain then you should refer to the BBC's interactive map Where does rent hit young people the hardest?

Enter a postcode into the map and you can find out how much it costs to rent a one bedroom apartment in the area, as a proportion of the average wage. If you are feeling rich then you can adjust the map to show the rents for apartments with more than one bedroom. You can also adjust the map to show the cost for the average wage for all ages.


The Guardian newspaper has created an interactive map which allows you to see where you can afford to buy a property in England and Wales based on your annual income. If you earn the national average wage in England or Wales then you can not afford to buy a house in 93% of the country. Don't worry though, if you do well and manage to raise you income to twice the national average salary then you just might be able to afford a house in one of the country's poorest neighborhoods

Unaffordable Country is a choropleth map which colours postcode areas based on the affordability of properties in the area. Type in your average salary and the map will show you all the areas where you can afford to live - or, as is more likely, all the places in the country where you can't afford to live. For example, where I live, in one of the poorest boroughs in the whole country, you would need to earn around three times the average salary to be able to afford a house. In other words you would need to be in the top 5% of earners to be able to afford to buy a property in one of the country's poorest boroughs.

Where Was Germany Divided?


Today is the Day of German Unity. The day on which Germans celebrate the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. The question that Waz would like you to answer on this day is, 28 years after reunification Do You Remember Where Germany Was Divided?

All you need to do to test your knowledge is draw the historical internal border between East and West Germany on a map of the country. Once you've drawn the old border on Waz's German map you will be shown where the border actually was and the lines that every other Waz reader has drawn. You will also be rated based on how well you did compared to all the previous lines drawn on the map.

Of course there is very little new in map making and Waz's interactive has more than a passing resemblance to the Berliner Morgenpost's Einheitsreise interactive feature, which they ran back in 2015. The Berliner Morgenpost map still works so you can draw the internal border between East on West Germany on their map as well (and get a better score - now you know exactly where the border was).

The Morgenpost map recorded around 13,000 responses to their map quest in just a few days back in 2015. The Webkid blog took a little time to analyze the results. The blog post includes a nice video which draws some of the results on a map one by one. The video starts with some of the wildest guesses and slowly begins to show the more accurate drawn borders as the video progresses. The blog also includes a heat-map showing all of the guesses made and the original border between East and West Germany.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Mapping Migrant Deaths Around the World


Australian broadcaster SBS has mapped out migrant deaths around the world. Their How many asylum seekers never make it to their destination uses data from the Missing Migrants Project to show dead and missing migrants across the globe from 6 January 2014 to September 2018.

The map shows that the Mediterranean is still the location where the most refugee deaths occur as people try to enter Europe from Africa. However SBS says that the number of deaths of migrants is now falling in the Mediterranean.

The interactive map has a rather misleading heat map layer which at the lowest zoom levels covers most of the globe. However if you zoom in on the map the heat map layer is removed and circular markers appear instead. These markers are scaled to show the number of migrant deaths reported at that location. If you click on one of these markers you can see the number of deaths and view links to the source for the reported migrant deaths.

You can view five other interactive maps plotting the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean on this Maps Mania post

Mapping Mass Graves in Iran


Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979 the new Iranian government began to violently purge itself of non-Islamic opposition. After the 1988 Iran-Iraq war the Iranian government began further mass executions of its political opponents. PainScapes has now identified over 100 locations across Iran that they believe are the sites of mass graves created by the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 1980's.

PainScapes has created an interactive map which shows the locations of mass graves and enforced disappearances in Iran. The map is based on data from Justice for Iran who have carried out three years of research into mass graves and forcibly disappeared individuals in Iran. The PainScapes map shows the location of over 70 mass grave sites. A further 50 sites are still under investigation. The colors of the map markers relate to how certain PainScapes is that they have identified the correct location of a mass grave.

If you click on a marker you can read the full details about the selected site. The details provided about each mass grave include a detailed map and an historical report about the crimes carried out at the site. They also include victim testimonies where available. The identity of the perpetrators is published where known.

London to Brighton in Four Minutes


In 1953 the BBC filmed a non-stop train journey from London Victoria to Brighton. The journey took one hour, but the filmmakers sped up the movie to compress it into just 4 minutes. You can watch the whole four minutes of this sped-up train journey on YouTube.

In 2013, sixty years after the original film was made, the BBC filmed the same London to Brighton train journey. You can now watch the London to Brighton Train Journey 2013 synced to an interactive map. This demo allows you to watch the 2013 BBC film of the sped-up train journey from London to Brighton while following the synced location of the train on an OpenStreetMap map.

The BBC also filmed the London to Brighton train journey in 1983, thirty years after the original film was made. This means that the BBC now has three films of the journey, one from 1953, one shot thirty years later in 1983 and one shot a further thirty years later in 2013. You can view all three films side-by-side on the BBC website. Their How the London to Brighton train ride has changed in 60 years syncs all three films so that you can really see how the landscape has changed at thirty year intervals.

The synchronized video map of the BBC's 2013 film was made with WebVMT, a mapping library designed for synchronizing video with an animated interactive map.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Mapping the American Dream


The American Dream is based on the idea that everyone in the USA has the same opportunities to achieve prosperity and success. No matter where you are born, no matter who your parents are, with hard work, ambition and determination you can achieve wealth and success.

A new interactive map from Opportunity Insights visualizes the average outcomes in adulthood for people in every census tract in the USA. The Opportunity Atlas allows you to see which neighborhoods in America offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty and in which neighborhoods kids are trapped by their upbringing. It can help you see where the American Dream remains just a pipe dream.

The map uses anonymous data following 20 million Americans from childhood to their mid-30s. Click on a census tract on the map and you can find out the average wage earned by people who grew up in that neighborhood. The map allows you to refine the data to explore the differences within neighborhoods for children of different races, genders and parental income. For example, you can compare the outcomes in adulthood for black men who grew up in low-income families in a census tract with white men in low-income families who grew up in the same tract.

The Opportunity Atlas includes a number of guided tours which explore some of the insights which can be revealed by using the map. These stories explore such issues as whether economic booms always benefit local residents, whether upward mobility is higher in urban or rural communities and where in the USA American Indian children thrive.

Where Temperatures are Rising the Fastest


Temperatures are rising faster in the Swedish town of Kiruna than anywhere else in Europe. So far this century temperatures have risen 3.4° C above the 20th Century average for the Swedish town. The town with the second highest rise in temperature in Europe is Fredrickstad in Norway, where temperatures have risen by 3.0° C.

Der Spiegel has mapped out where temperatures have risen this century across Europe. Their Interactive Map on Global Warming uses historical temperature records for 500 different locations across the continent to show where temperatures this century are averaging above the average temperatures recorded in the Twentieth Century.

If you click on a location on the map, or on the list of locations below the map, you can view more details about the weather in the selected town. This includes a chart showing the average recorded temperature every year since the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. It also includes details on the number of extremely hot and cold days and how local temperature rises compare to the trends in other European cities.

Inside the Houses of Parliament


CNN has created an interactive tour of the Palace of Westminster or, as its more commonly called. the Houses of Parliament. The tour consists of a number of custom 'Street Views' of the building comprising of annotated 360 degree panoramic videos and images of the building's most famous rooms.

CNN's Houses of Parliament tour allows you to take a guided tour around one of the world's most iconic buildings. This includes 'Street View' tours of Big Ben, the House of Commons, the Robing Room and the Act Room. Each of these panoramic 360 degree images includes a narration which explains the history and purpose of the displayed room. Each image also includes a number of map markers which provide further explanation of some of the features which are found in the selected room.

The narration on CNN's Houses of Parliament also includes background sounds captured in the Palace of Westminster and historical recordings of the Queen and some of Britain's past Prime Ministers.


The official residence of the British Prime Minister and the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government is 10 Downing Street. Google Maps includes Street View images of 10 Downing Street and its many rooms. 

From the outside the home of the Prime Minister looks quite small but it is actually a lot bigger than it first appears. To help you navigate around the home of the British government here are some quick links to some of the many rooms in 10 Downing Street.

First (ground) Floor
Entrance Hall
The Pillard Room
The Terracotta Room
The White Drawing Room
The Main Staircase

Second Floor
Small Dining Room (Breakfast Room)
State Dining Room

Third Floor
Cabinet Room
The Study

You can also tour the White House on Street View. Here is a guide containing some quick links to some of the White House's most famous rooms on Google Maps Street View.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Global Crop Map


RTBMaps shows the distribution of different crops around the world. You can use the map to see where potatoes, bananas, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables & tubers are grown across the globe. The map also includes a number of socio-economic layers which allow you to view such things as population density alongside where the different crops are grown.

Select a crop from the map's drop-down menu and you can view where the crop is grown around the world. Unfortunately RTBMaps is one of those maps which dislike legends so we have to guess what the different colors means. My guess is that the different colors have something to do with the yield of the selected crop but which colors indicate a high yield and which colors indicate a low yield is anybody's guess.

The map also includes layers which show the potential yield of a crop and crop suitability. These layers provide an overview of where yields of the selected crop could be increased and areas around the world where the land is suitable for growing the chosen crop.

If you are interested in which crops are grown in the USA then you might like Bloomberg's The Consolidation of the American Harvest which maps where different crops are grown in America.

Extreme Heat = Less Greenery


There have been a number of maps which have attempted to visualize the extreme weather that much of the world has experienced in 2018. In Mapping One Hot Summer Maps Mania explored weather visualizations from the Berliner Morgenpost, the BBC and the Washington Post. Another stark effect of the extreme heat in Europe this summer is the sharp drop in the continent's green vegetation.

The EU NDVI 2018 interactive map is a very effective visualization of how this summer's extreme heat has affected Europe's vegetation. The map includes two map views showing the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index for 2017 and 2018 side-by-side. This side-by-side visualization allows users to easily compare the amount of green vegetation in Europe this August with the amount of green vegetation measured in August of last year.

The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NVDI) is a simple graphical indicator that uses remote sensing measurements, typically from satellite imagery, to assess the levels of live green vegetation. The EU NDVI 2018 map uses Google's Earth Engine application to simply compare the NVDI measurement for Europe from August 2018 with the NVDI measurement for the same month in 2017.

Belgium Air Pollution


20,000 Belgiums have taken part in a citizen science project to measure air pollution in Flanders (the northern region of the country). For the project volunteers installed air quality sensors on a street facing window of their homes. These sensors measured NO2 levels during all of May 2018.

You can view the results of the project on the Curieuze Neuzen Vlaanderen interactive map. The map uses colored circles to show the amount of NO2 measured by each of the 20,000 air quality sensors. The map reveals that air pollution levels can vary widely from street to street. In general air quality in Flanders is pretty good. However there are areas with lots of air pollution, mostly in cities and the larger towns.

Antwerp stands out with nearly the whole city showing worrying levels of air pollution. The pollution is particularly poor in narrow streets with lots of traffic. However even small towns often have locations where NO2 levels are high. These tend to be in areas with lots of stop-start road traffic, such as roundabouts, busy crossroads and traffic lights.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Tunnels Under Capitol Hill


Underneath the palatial government buildings on Capitol Hill lies an underground network of tunnels connecting the United States Capitol to the Library of Congress, the Senate Office Building, the Home Office Building, the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives and other government buildings.

You can learn more about Washington D.C.'s underground tunnels on the Capitol Hill Tunnels story map.  The interactive map not only shows you the tunnels and the buildings that they connect but provides a history of their construction. As you progress through the story map you can learn about when each of the government buildings and their connecting tunnels were constructed and what the tunnels are used for.

The Capitol Hill tunnels aren't the only subterranean networks in the capital. You can view maps of Washington's other transportation, utility and pedestrian tunnels on the Washington Tunnels website.

The Most Dangerous Places


The Most Dangerous Places interactive map visualizes the most dangerous locations in Africa and Asia. The map provides an overview of the number of fatalities from armed conflict that have happened since the beginning of 2017.

The map uses data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) to plot the number of deaths from conflict per 100,000 people in each 3,000 km2. Click on any of the colored squares on the map and you can view how many fatalities there were from Jan 2017 to July 2018 (per 100,000 people). The colors of the individual squares on the map aren't actually related to how dangerous they are but provide a choropleth view of population density. The most dangerous locations are indicated by the larger red circles on the map.

When you click on a square events in the ACLED database for that location are also added to the map timeline. You can hover over the individual events on this timeline to read more details about the armed conflict which happened at that location on the selected date.

Mapping the 1848 Vienna Revolution


The 1848 Revolution in France, often known as the February Revolution, was followed by a number of other revolutionary uprisings across Europe. In Austria the authoritarian government was determined to quell the spread of the liberal ideas associated with republicanism and stop the rise of nationalist movements within its large Empire. The Austrian Empire had already restricted freedom of the press, curtailed student activities and banned fraternities. After the February Revolution it was even more keen to repress any revolutionary ideas.

Despite this repression - or because of it - in March of 1848 people took to the streets of Vienna calling for more freedom and the liberalization of authoritarian rule. The government deployed troops to forcibly end the rebellion. From March until the end of the October Revolution Vienna witnessed a number of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary battles between the rebels and the army.

The Association for the History of the Workers' Movement (VGA) in Vienna is currently hosting an exhibition about the 1848 Forgotten Revolution. For this exhibition it has created an interactive map of some of the barricades erected by the revolutionaries in Vienna during the 1848 Vienna Revolution. The locations of these barricades are shown in red on the interactive map.

You can get a better idea about how these barricades looked by clicking on the numbered markers on the map. If you click on these markers you can view contemporary paintings of the barricades. These paintings have a slide control which allow you to compare the historical view shown in the picture with the same view as it looks today in modern day Vienna.

Norway's Secret Military Sites


Norway has released an interactive map of all the military locations where it is forbidden to operate a drone and some security experts are not happy. All the markers on the Innmelding av Sensorflygning map indicates an area where it is illegal to take aerial photographs or video using a camera or any other type of sensors.

The map shows many of Norway's most secret military installations, such as Norway's secret war headquarters and the location of one of Europe's two transmitters for communicating with NATO's submarine fleet. The map also shows the location of 237 other important military and security locations. Some military and security experts have been shocked by the map's release. For example former Chief of Maritime Safety and Naval Home Guard Commander Svein Jarle Jacobsen said that the map is "disastrous for operational safety. I can't believe that they've really done this."

The Deputy Director of NSM, (Norway's National Security Authority) Frode Skaarnes, has dismissed claims that the map reveals the country's military secrets. He claims that the map shows nothing that cannot already be viewed on any map with aerial or satellite imagery and that the map "doe not say anything about what exactly is there and what these facilities are used for."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Global Warming is Here


Global warming has already increased temperatures around the world. You can find out how much temperatures have risen where you live on a new map from Carbon Brief,. The map shows how far global temperatures have risen since 1850 and how much they are expected to rise by the end of this century.

If you click on your location on the map you can view a temperature chart showing the rise in the local temperature since 1850 and the predicted rise up to the year 2100. The map shows that in New York the temperature has already risen by 1.7C and that by 2100 it could rise to 5.2C. In London, thanks to global warming the temperature has risen by 1.2C and could rise by another 4.5C by the year 2100.

Elsewhere around the world the map shows that in Paris the temperature has risen by 1.4C since 1850, in Tokyo temperatures have risen by 1.3C, in Sydney temperatures have risen by 1.1C, Delhi has seen a rise in temperature by 1C and in Cairo the temperature has risen by 1.6C.

If you want to know how much temperatures have risen near you and the further temperature rises that you can expect this century then just click on your location on Carbon Brief's How every part of the world has warmed – and could continue to warm interactive map.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tracking Nobel Scientists


Physics Today has tracked out the lifetime movements of every Nobel Prize winning physicist. Nobel Physicists on the Move allows you to watch an animated track showing the significant movements of any of the 206 Nobel physics laureate on an interactive map of the world. Select a Nobel physics laureate from the map's drop-down menu and you can view an animated map which shows where they were born, where they were educated, the places they lived & worked, and, ultimately, where they died.

The map only shows the movements of the selected physicist so it won't show you their entire career. For example if a physicist studied and then worked in the same city the map will only show when they moved to and from the city, not when they moved between institutions within the city. The only exception to this rule is that the map does mark Nobel-related milestones and the scientist's death, if they happen in the same city.

Below the map Physics Today notes that the locations that appear to have been most visited during the lives of all 206 Nobel Prize winning physicists are Cambridge, Massachusetts; New York City; Princeton, New Jersey; Cambridge, UK; and Berkeley, California.


If you want to know where every scientist ever nominated for a physics laureate was working when they were nominated then you might also like Physics Today's map The International Aspirations of the Nobel Prize. This map depicts the place of work of every nominated scientist at the time that they were nominated for the physics Nobel.

Select a year on the map and a map marker shows you where every scientist nominated for the physics Nobel Prize that year was working at the time. If you hover over a year in the timeline you can view how many scientists were nominated for the prize in that year.