Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bird Migration is Beautiful

National Geographic has created a series of beautiful maps to visualize the amazing migrations of different bird species in the Western Hemisphere. Where Do They Go? is a wonderfully presented introduction to the annual flight patterns of a number of American bird species.

Where Do They Go? starts with an impressive animated satellite map showing the fall migration of a Broad-Winged Hawk. This map animates the route of the birds' migration on top of a moving cloud cover satellite map showing some of the strong winds the birds encounter as they travel around the Gulf of Mexico.

As you scroll through Where Do They Go? a map of North, Central and South America is used to visualize the flight paths of different bird species, the major centers of human population and the seasonal changes in vegetation cover across the whole Western Hemisphere. These maps not only help to explain why the birds undertake these migrations but also beautifully visualize the huge distances that they travel.

The People & Languages of the Arctic

Global warming is going to effect the whole world. It is likely to effect the climate, environment, and people of the Arctic very soon. This month the Arctic has been experiencing freakishly high record temperatures. Temperatures have reached levels as much as 35 degrees centigrade higher than normal. It has been a warm winter that the indigenous peoples of the Arctic have had little experience of before.

The Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic is an Esri story map about the peoples who have lived in the Arctic for millennia. It looks at where indigenous populations live in the Arctic, where indigenous languages are spoken and the regions of the six Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council.

As well as exploring the different indigenous cultures and languages and where they live in the Arctic this story map looks at the history of colonialism in the Arctic and more recent attempts to establish the indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. It includes a detailed look at the Arctic Council and how it operates.

Memorials for Vienna's Nazi Victims

The Politics of Remembrance is an interactive map showing the locations of memorials in Vienna to the victims of political violence during the Austrofascist (1934-1938) and the National Socialist (1938-1945) regimes. The map includes the locations of monuments, sculptures, plaques and other types of memorial for those who lost their lives during Vienna's fascist past.

The memorials on the map can be explored in a number of different ways. A prominent timeline above the map allows you to explore the memorials by their date of erection. Using this timeline you can see in which periods of Vienna's post-war history the city has been most active in remembering the victims of fascism. The categorization of the periods used in this timeline are explained under the map.

The individual memorial markers on the map are color-coded depending on the filter you use to search the map. For example, if you filter the map by 'social identity' the red markers show memorials for victims of persecution in red (mainly Jewish victims of the Nazis) and 'resistance and liberation' memorials in grey (victims in the resistance movements). If you hover over an individual memorial marker you can read more about the individual or group being memorialized.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Mapping Meteors, Asteroids & Exoplanets

Meteor Showers is a WebGL map of major meteor showers which can be seen from Earth. The map allows you to select and view from a number of different meteor showers which can be observed at different times of the year. These showers originate from multiple comets and asteroids.

You can select to view all of the meteor showers at once on the map or select to view an individual meteor shower from a drop-down menu. The menu includes the times of the year when each meteor shower is visible from Earth.

From the same developer the Asterank 3d Asteroid Orbit Space Simulation is an impressive WebGL application that shows a view of our solar system with over 600,000 asteroids mapped. It is possible to rotate, zoom and pan the simulation. It is also possible to refine the asteroids shown by most valuable and most accessible (just in case you have any asteroid mining plans).

The Exoplanets Viewer is another WebGL visualization (with a little help from Unity). This map of the Universe shows the location of all the exoplanets discovered so far. The Exoplanets Viewer shows the position of all the known exoplanets as seen from your current location and time.

The color of a planet on the map represents its temperature. The green exoplanets are those situated in the habitable zone. The hottest planets are colored red while ice worlds are colored blue.

Travel Time Fireworks

The usual way to visualize travel times on a map is by using an isochrone layer. An isochrone layer uses lines to connect locations on a map that can be reached in the same travel time.

Isochrone maps are an established method of visualizing travel times on a map and have been used at least since the nineteenth century. That doesn't mean that cartographers shouldn't experiment with other methods of visualizing travel times on a map. For example 'accessibility fireworks' and 'time cartograms' are two other methods that can be used if you want to display travel time on a map.

Topi Tjukanov has created a really interesting travel time map which shows journey times from Kallio in Helsinki to everywhere else in the Helsinki region using different modes of transport. In Topi's animated map Accessibility Fireworks a number of colored dots are all released on Kallio on the map at the same time. They are then animated as they travel through the city to their destination when they then disappear from the map. Each second of the animation represents one minute of travel time.

This animated isochrone technique works really way in some areas. For example the slowest yellow dots, representing public transit, which linger on the map in the north-east of Helsinki really emphasize how ill-served this part of the city is by public transport. The uniform distribution of the green dots. representing travel by bike, reveals how most parts of the city can be reached in a fairly uniform time by bicycle (although again the far north-east of the Helsinki region takes the longest to reach).

Another approach to visualizing travel time on a map is to use a time cartogram. In a time cartogram geographic distance on the map is replaced by a time attribute such as travel time (Eric Fischer has posted a few time cartograms of San Francisco to Flickr). However the problem with time cartograms (as with all cartograms) is legibility. When you distort a map by some other variable apart from distance the map can quickly become illegible, as users struggle to recognize the area which has been mapped.

Nate Parrott has created an interactive time cartogram to show NYC Subway Travel Time. If you click on a subway station on Nate's map then the subway map automatically redraws itself so that the distance to all stations is based on the journey time from your selected station. This interactive time cartogram works really well as a visualization of journey times and it doesn't suffer so much from the usual problems of illegibility common to many time cartograms. This is partly due to the fact that the map's users are already familiar with the concept that transit maps distort geography and are not strictly geographically accurate.

The Geography of Health Care Costs

People who live on the Dutch border are costing the Netherlands health service the most money. In North and South Pay the Most for Health Care Dutch radio station BNR has mapped out how much different areas in the Netherlands have claimed for different types of heath care.

Using data from health insurers BNR has mapped the amount of money spent in different Dutch neighborhoods for various health care needs. The map reveals that overall health care costs are highest in Heerlen and Pekela. Mental health care costs are highest in Zutphen, Assen and Renkum and General Practitioner (family doctor) costs are highest in Waddeneilanden.

For me the map raises as many questions as answers. The user needs access to demographic data alongside the health care data to really understand the geography of health care costs in the Netherlands. For example are the areas with the most spent on healthcare the areas with the most elderly population?  Or do these areas have a higher percentage of lower income groups? Perhaps the geographical differences in health care costs can be explained by doctor's bills. Are these areas just where doctors charge more for the same services (maybe Dutch readers of BNR are assumed to know this already).

Monday, February 26, 2018

Mapping the Civil Rights Trail

A new interactive map features over one hundred locations which are important to the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. The Civil Rights Trail launched last month in order to encourage people to visit landmarks in 14 different states and learn more about American history.

The Civil Rights Trail map features schools, churches, museums and courthouses important to the formation and history of the American Civil Rights Movement. It allows you to walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr or visit the location where Rosa Parks boarded a public bus and refused to give up her seat. If you select a location on the map you can click through to learn more about the role the selected location played in the Civil Rights Movement.

As well as the interactive map you can explore the locations on the Civil Rights Trail through a number of themed journeys. For example you can view locations important in the life of Martin Luther King Jr, you can follow the route that voting rights activists took in 1965 during the marches from Selma to Montgomery, or you can visit locations important in ending educational segregation & ensuring public school integration.

The 3D Globe Maker

Trans World Airlines. TWA World Routes. U.S.A. 1958 (David Rumsey Map Collection)

Map to Globe is an amazing website which can take any 2D map and turn it into a 3D interactive globe. Using Map to Globe you can take any image of a map (or any other image) and drape it over a three dimensional ball to create your very own interactive globe.

If you want to have fun playing with Map to Globe then I recommend browsing the David Rumsey Map Collection for world maps. The David Rumsey Luna Browser includes an export option for all maps, which allows you to download the image of a map to your computer (the Luna Browser filtered to only show only 'world atlas' maps). Map to Globe works best with images that have a 2:1 ratio, where the width of the image is twice the height of the image. For the very best results you might want to use a photo image editor to tweak any downloaded map into the correct ratio.

After you have created your interactive globe on Map to Globe you can download an animated gif of  your creation. If you select the 'Animations' option from the menu then Map to Globe will automatically generate an animated image showing your new interactive globe spinning around.

Mapping Police Killings

There were only 14 days in the whole of 2017 when the police in the USA didn't kill a member of the public. If you are black then you were three times as likely to be killed by the police. In fact 13 US City Police Departments kill black men at higher rates than the actual US murder rate.

Mapping Police Violence has released its interactive map showing the location of all 1,147 people killed by the police in the USA last year. If you click on a marker on the interactive map you can view details about the person killed, including information about their race and whether they were armed. The information provided also includes a link to the news report which was the original source for the Mapping Police Violence database.

The vast majority of people killed by the police last year were shot by guns - but not all police killings involve guns. Deaths Involving Tasers is an interactive map from Reuters which shows all 1,032 deaths involving the police use of tasers.

On the map the yellow markers are scaled to show the number of deaths from tasers in that county. The larger the yellow circle then the more people have died after being shocked by tasers in the county. If you click on a marker you can can read details about each of the victims, including details on the official cause of death.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The 10 Tallest Mountains in 3D

You've probably seen illustrations of the world's tallest mountains placed side-by-side before. However I bet you've never seen it done in 3D, allowing you to rotate your point of view and examine the mountains from many different angles.

7 Summits is a guided tour around the world, looking at the tallest mountains on each continent. There is some disagreement over which are the tallest mountains in each continent so 7 Summits actually takes you on a tour of ten of the world's tallest mountains.

While it is interesting viewing where the tallest summit is in each continent the most interesting part of 7 Summits comes towards the end, when you get to see all ten summits placed side-by-side on a 3D map. 7 Summits takes you on a little tour of each of the summits in this 3D visualization and then you are free to explore the imagined scene on your own, zooming in and spinning around the different summits at will.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Some Friday Street View Fun

This is the 235th Where in the World? game to be made from Google Maps Street View imagery. However, despite its lack of originality, Where in the World? is still a fun game to play.

Where in the World? follows the now well established format of these types of Street View games. You are shown a series of random(ish) Street View images from Google Maps and you have to guess the location shown in the image.

In some Street View games guessing the correct location can be very hard. Wherein the World? makes it a little easier to guess the correct location by only showing you well-known locations around the world. It isn't ridiculously easy though. You only get twelve seconds to pick the right answer!

If you want more fun with Street View then you might also enjoy 10 Street View Games to Kill Your Day.

America's Internet Speed Map

You can now find out what companies offer broadband services in your area and the speeds that they offer. Enter your address into the Federal Communications Commission's new interactive map and you can view the names of all your local broadband providers and the upload and download speeds that they offer.

The FCC Broadband Map is color-coded to show the number of fixed residential broadband providers in each census block in the USA. If you click on a census block on the map you can view a list of the available broadband providers, the technology they offer (cable, ADSL or satellite) and their upload and download speeds (which I assume are self-reported by the companies and not the actual speeds experienced by consumers).

The Mapbox blog has a brief explanation of how Mapbox GL and Tippecanoe have been utilized by the FCC to display over 68 million records on their fast interactive map.

Global Risk Maps

The global political landscape looks to be fairly turbulent in 2018. The UK's negotiations to leave the European Union, the USA's continuing threats of trade protectionism and North Korea's growing militarization all point towards increasing political instability around the world.

The Marsh Political Risk Map uses data from BMI Research to help visualize the issues that multinational organisations and investors need to consider in the year ahead. The interactive map rates countries around the world based on their political and economic stability. It gives each country a score out of 100 based on a number of factors, including social and political stability and external and internal threats.

If you want more concrete examples of the risks in countries around the world then you might also want to explore RiskMap. RiskMap is a free to use security and risk mapping portal which allows you to access news and real-time intelligence about the current risk situation in countries around the world.

The map displays hundreds of the latest events and incidents related to security events across the globe. Click on the colored markers for these events and you can read a summary of the event (referenced to the original news source).

Behind the scenes the RiskMap algorithm looks at events and incidents of interest from over 1,000 different sources, This algorithm calculates the risk represented by each incident and attempts to identify the type of risk posed and the facts of the incident such as the number of fatalities or casualties, A second algorithm then selects the most important information from the original source and creates a summarized copy of the event for the map.

If you are thinking about traveling abroad and want to know the associated risks then you might want to refer to the International SOS Travel Risk Map. International SOS provide a very basic interactive map of the travel risks in each country of the world. The 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 provides a very basic guide as to where it is safe to travel in the world. Unfortunately it doesn't provide much information on the specific risks that you might encounter in each country.

Many governments provide useful advice for their citizens who are planning to travel abroad. For example the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date Foreign Travel Advice. If you do use the Travel Risk Map then please also check your government's latest travel advice which will hopefully provide more detail on the specific risks associated with countries across the globe..

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Finding Qibla

As someone who works with location data and digital maps I really should love Augmented Reality. However, despite being initially excited by a few AR projects, I don't think there is one AR project that I've ever visited more than once. Perhaps if I were Muslim Google's Qiblar Finder would be the AR application to finally earn a permanent bookmark on my phone.

Qibla is the direction of Mecca. The direction that should be faced during salah prayers. The Qibla Finder allows you to find the direction of Qibla from wherever you are in the world. The website uses Google Maps Street View and GPS to provide an augmented reality view of Qibla. Visit the Qibla Finder on your phone and you can view a Street View image of your current location with a map marker and line indicating the direction that you should pray.

If you visit the Qibla Finder from a desktop then you can view a Google Map of your direction with a line leading from your location towards Mecca.

The Cannabis Price Index Map

If you want to live your life stoned & high then drag your ass down to Paraguay. At only $2.22 a gram the Paraguayan city of Asuncion is one of the cheapest places to buy cannabis in the world. Colombia and Ecuador are two other countries where you can buy weed on the cheap. I suspect it has something to do with supply & demand.

Vice is living up to its name with an interactive map showing the price of cannabis around the world.  The 2018 Cannabis Price Index interactive map shows you the cost of a gram of weed in 120 cities around the world. Click on a city's marker on the map and you can not only view the price of a gram but also the legality of cannabis in that city and the amount of cannabis consumed.

The Vice map is an interesting overview of the global prices of cannabis. However I think that a map showing your nearest dealers, each one with a menu of currently available varieties and near real-time prices, would be much more useful. I think the police would also appreciate such a handy map.

As well as the interactive map Vice has summarized the cheapest & most expensive cities to buy cannabis around the world. This Is How Much Weed Costs in 120 Cities Across the World also looks at which cities consume the most and the least weed in an average year.

All Aboard the SS Great Britain

In the mid 19th Century the SS Great Britain was the longest passenger ship in the world. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel the SS Great Britain was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic. During its operating life the SS Great Britain traveled to 5 different continents and circumnavigated the globe 32 times. The SS Great Britain is now permanently at dock in Bristol Harbour enjoying a new life as a visitor attraction and museum ship.

You can now learn more about the SS Great Britain's many voyages and about life on board the ship on a new interactive map. Using information taken from letters, diaries and logbooks Brunel's SS Great Britain allows you to explore the routes of each of the ship's 47 outward and return journeys. It also allows you to learn more about its passengers and crew and their daily life on board the ship.

If you select to view one of the steamer's voyages you can view the route of the voyage outlined on a Google Map. Each route includes a number of markers which allow you to read entries made about the voyage in letters, diaries and logbooks. You can also view details about the number of passengers and crew on board and the name of the captain for the voyage.

If you want to learn more about life on board the SS Great Britain then you might also want to look at the Ship section of the SS Great Britain website. This includes photographs of some of the decks, galleys and sleeping quarters which can be found aboard Isambard Kingdom Brunel's great iron ship.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Cesspits of San Francisco

NBC say that many San Francisco streets have conditions which are comparable to some of the worst slums in the world. An NBC Bay Area Investigation surveyed over 150 streets and discovered a number of San Francisco's streets are littered with trash, discarded needles and even human feces.

In Diseased Streets you can view an interactive map visualizing the results of NBC's investigation. The map shows the overall sanitation score given to each street by NBC. You can also filter the map to show individual scores for the amounts of trash, needles or feces found on each street. If you click on a street on the map you can see exactly how many needles, feces and trash NBC found on that street.

According to NBC over the years reports of needles and human waste to 311 have steadily risen. Therefore it looks like the conditions on San Francisco's streets are getting worse not better. In fact you often get cleaner conditions in some of the world's worst slums. People who live in slums tend to try to keep them as sanitary as possible. Because San Francisco's homeless are continually moved on there is no need for them to worry about sanitation.

The USA - A Democracy for Sale

Saudi Arabia wants to build two nuclear reactors. This might seem surprising for a country with lots of oil and a seemingly unlimited potential for solar energy. So why does Saudi Arabia want to go nuclear? Obviously Saudi Arabia is keen to join the ever growing list of countries that own their own nuclear weapons. Perhaps that is why it wants two nuclear reactor and is also reluctant to deny that it might use them to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Luckily nuclear non-proliferation treaties mean that the USA can't sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately the Trump administration is pursuing a deal to try to sell the Saudi's the two nuclear reactors anyway.

You might wonder why the Americans would want to help another brutal dictatorship get nuclear weapons. There are two possible reasons. One is that this could be just another example of Trump's 'America First' policy. America just grabbing the money while it can and screwing the consequences for the whole world. Another reason could be the influence that Saudi Arabia has over American legislators.

We all know that in American politics money talks. So let's take a look at Middle East Lobbying: The Influence Game. Al-Monitor's interactive map reveals the amount of money that Middle East countries spend on lobbying the American government. Every year Al-Monitor reveals how much money Middle-East countries spend on lobbying and also assess how successful each country has been in its lobbying.

The kings of Middle-East lobbying are of course Saudi Arabia. Last year Saudi Arabia spent $14 million in lobbying American politicians. Obviously just spending that money doesn't mean that they were successful in buying any influence. To determine if the USA's democracy is really for sale we would have to see if the Saudi's actually achieved anything, such as becoming Trump's first official visit or successfully buying nuclear technology.

The Queen's Travel Scratch Map

I've visited 10 countries. Which is 3.4% of the countries in the world. If you are interested in which countries I've been to then you can visit my personal travel scratch pad.

However, rather than looking at my travel map, you can have far more fun creating your own map of all the countries that you have seen. Scratch the World is a fun little interactive map which you can use to boast about all the places you have visited around the world. Just click on all the countries you have been to and Scratch the World will mark them off, work out the total number of countries you have been to and tell you what percentage of the world's countries you have visited.

You can even get a unique URL which you can use to share with your friends when you want to boast about your global travels.

Mind you, no matter how much of the world you have seen, the Queen's travel map is still much better than yours. After all she has visited hundreds more countries than you (if I had my own plane, train, and ocean liner I would have also have visited more countries than you).

The Travels of Queen Elizabeth II is an interactive map of every country the Queen has visited since 1953. In total the Queen has visited 110 countries. This is 43% of the countries featured on Scratch the World. Therefore there are still quite a few countries for the Queen to visit.

If you are in anyway interested in the global travels of the Queen then you can use her travel map to view all the countries she has visited by decade and by type of visit (state or commonwealth visit (royal beach holiday is missing from the available options)).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Europe isn't where you think it is

Africa, Europe and South America aren't where you think they are. According to John M Nelson lots of us think that Europe and Africa are a lot further south than they really are and that South America is further west than it really is.

In Misconceptions Nelson explores these three commonly held geographical misconceptions. Obviously whether he is correct or not depends on how good your mental map of the world actually is. Where he is right, as always, is in his immaculate cartography. I particularly like how his maps seamlessly transition from the style of a hand-drawn map sketched in a school exercise book to a full-sized globe in your grown-up office or library.

If you are also impressed by the realistic looking globes then you can find out how to create them in Globification - Turn Your Maps into Plausibly Realistic Globes. The tutorial even includes some downloadable images which you can use as the background for your own interactive globes.

Pennsylvania's Non-Gerrymandered Map

One consequence of redrawing electoral districts to try to squeeze all the voters of one political party into one district is that you end up with some very oddly shaped districts. Back in 2014 the Washington Post mapped America’s most gerrymandered congressional districts. One conclusion that they reached from mapping loads of oddly shaped districts was that you can get a good idea of how gerrymandered a district is by how irregular its shape is.

You might want to think about this irregular shape rule when reading the New York Times' article The New Pennsylvania House Districts Are In. We Review the Mapmakers’ Choices. Yesterday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new congressional map to replace the one gerrymandered by Pennsylvania Republicans.

The Time's article includes a series of maps which allow you to compare the Republican gerrymandered districts with the Supreme Court's redrawn districts. When switching between the two maps for each district you can look out for irregular shapes where boundary lines are snaking out to capture neighborhoods that don't seem to be a natural fit. The Supreme Court's district maps do seem to be much more compact than those drawn by the Republicans. The Supreme Court maps don't have as many "squiggles and offshoots and tentacle-looking protuberances" that are common to gerrymandered electoral districts.

The Washington Post map of America's most gerrymandered districts gives the old Pennsylvania congressional districts gerrymander scores mostly in the 80's & 90's. Scores that indicate the districts have been highly gerrymandered to favor one political party over another. The fact that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has redrawn a much fairer map doesn't appear to be very good news for the Republicans. However we will have to wait until the elections later this year to see which party really wins in each new Pennsylvania district.

The World's News - 2017

2017 was a momentous year. It began with the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. It ended with the USA withdrawing from the UN's New York Declaration, a policy adopted unanimously by 193 states to help improve the fate of refugees and immigrants. You can read more about the major events of last year in World 2017.

World 2017 is a summary of the major news, sports events and scientific discoveries that happened last year. It provides an overview of the global political, economic and social events which shaped 2017. As you scroll through World 2017 you progress chronologically through the year. As you progress an interactive globe rotates and shows you the locations of major events around the world, while the scrolling sidebar provides a summary of each of these global events.

Under the hood World 2017 is using Klokan Technologies' WebGL Earth. WebGL Earth is an open-source virtual globe. The WebGL Earth JavaScript API is based on the popular Leaflet JavaScript API and is therefore relatively simple to use, especially if you have experience of using the Leaflet mapping library.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Carpooling Map of Europe

BlaBlaCar is an online carpooling service. It connects passengers looking to make a journey with car drivers who plan to take that route. Passenger and driver then share the cost of the trip. BlaBlaCar operates in 21 countries, most of which are in Europe.

BlaBlaCar has around 60 million users and it matches lots of passengers with car drivers willing to give lifts. For example last month 39,752 BlaBlaCar drivers passed through Paris on route to other locations. You can view how many rides passed by your location with BlaBlaCar's Destinations map.

Enter a location into the map and you can view all the trips which passed nearby in the last month. The map uses Mapbox's pitch feature to provide a neat oblique overview of the extent of all the journeys that passed through your selected location.

The Over Emotional Map of New York

Crying in Public is a crowd-sourced map of New York's emotions. A place to share those New York moments when everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

Sign in to Crying in Public and you can mark those New York locations where you too have felt overpowering emotions. To show what kind of emotional episode you experienced at your selected location you can choose from a number of different emojis. For example a broken heart emoji can be used to show the location of a break-up, a flame emoji can be used to show a spot where you were once fired or a green face can be used to mark a place where you have vomited.

The map was created with the Leaflet mapping library but uses the Google Street View Image API to show a static Street View image of emotional locations shown on the map.

If you like emojis with your maps then you might also like Air New Zealand's new #EmojiJourney map.

The Noise Map of Berlin 2018

Every five years, the Berlin Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection calculates the noise levels of every house in Berlin. The Berliner Morgenpost has used the data to create an interactive map showing road, public transit, airport and industrial noise throughout the city.

If you hover over any part of the Berlin Noise Map you can view the noise levels at that location. The information includes the recorded decibel levels for both day & night-time and a breakdown of the decibel levels from road and transit noise (and planes where relevant). The map does not include ambient neighborhood noise, for example from nearby pubs and nightclubs.

The map doesn't reveal too many surprises. As you might expect properties on the flight path into and out of Tegel Airport are among the noisiest. Elsewhere it seems that the busier the road you live on then the noisier it is (which makes sense when you're measuring road noise).

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Emoji Map Search

Air New Zealand has invented a new way to explore New Zealand. Just Tweet your favorite emojis to Air New Zealand and they will send you a personal interactive map of fun places to visit in New Zealand.

If you use the #EmojiJourney hashtag and three emojis in a Tweet then Air New Zealand will send you a link to a Google Map of New Zealand featuring recommended things for you to see and do - based on your choice of emojis. For example if you send a wine glass emoji, a bike emoji and a ski emoji you will be sent a link to a map showing wineries, great places to cycle and places to ski.

If you don't want to use Twitter you can just go to the #EmojiJourney map and search the tourist map of New Zealand by selecting your favorite emojis. You can even get your own emoji map by simply appending emoji symbols to the end of the map's URL.

Emojis can also be used as a simple universal non-written location coding system. For example, What3Emojis is a revolutionary new way of addressing the entire world using the only common language of the entire human race, the emoji.

With What3Emojis the Earth is divided into 4m x 4m squares which are randomly assigned a unique three-emoji combination. If you want to share your location with someone else all you need to do is send them the three emojis assigned to that location. They can then enter the emojis into What3Emojis and be shown that location on the interactive map. Simple!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saying Goodbye to the American Dream

California's 46th Congressional District is set to lose $529,600,000 from its annual GDP. Arizona's 7th Congressional District is set to lose $495,900,000 and Texas's 15th Congressional District will lose $411,800,000. This is the amount of local GDP which is contributed by non-citizen and DACA recipients. It is the amount of the local economy which could be lost if Trump is successful in phasing DACA out.

Esri has released an interactive map which visualizes the areas of the USA with the highest percentage of non-citizen residents & DACA recipients and the estimated economic impact that their removal will have on an area's GDP.

Using data from the American Community Survey and other sources, Esri's Where Will Changes to Immigration Policy Have the Greatest Potential Impact? visualizes the percentage of non-citizen foreign-born residents in each state, county, and city, along with information about sanctuary areas. The map also uses data from the University of Southern California to show which congressional districts have the largest number of DACA recipients and how their removal would effect the district's annual GDP. In many areas the percentage of non-citizen residents is very large and their removal will have a devastating effect on the local economy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Redlining in Modern America

Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal black homeowners were discriminated against by redlining maps. These maps identified areas with significant black populations as risky for mortgage support. Black homeowners living in these areas were more unlikely to be successful when trying to refinance home mortgages using the government sponsored Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned racial discrimination in lending. However new research from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting shows that people of color still face discrimination when applying for property loans, particularly in a number of Southern cities. The year long analysis discovered that in 61 metro areas redlining is still effectively in place.

An interactive map in Reveal's For People of Color, Banks are Shutting the Door to Home Ownership identifies the locations of these 61 metro areas. If you click on any of the identified metro areas on the map you can discover what evidence Reveal discovered of discrimination in the area, including how much more likely black, Asian, Latino or Native American applicants were to be denied home loans than white applicants.

Another interactive map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition allows you to explore how the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) redlining maps are affecting cities today. The interactive map allows you to compare modern data about income status and the minority population with the HOLC's historical redlining security ratings.

Using the maps you can see if neighborhoods in your city with 'good' HOLC redlining ratings have remained largely white and wealthy or whether your city has become a beacon of social and racial equality.

You can view the original redlining maps on the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab website. The Home Owners' Loan Corporation was a government-sponsored corporation created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Its purpose was to refinance home mortgages which were in default to prevent foreclosure.

The HOLC is often cited as starting the practice of mortgage redlining. Redlining is the process of denying services to residents of certain areas based on the racial composition of those areas. Mapping Inequality, Redlining in New Deal America allows you to view the residential security maps created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments.

The areas marked in blue on the maps are the neighborhoods which were deemed desirable for lending purposes. The yellow areas show neighborhoods deemed 'declining' areas. The red areas are the neighborhoods considered the most risky for mortgage support.

The result of these redlining maps was that residents in the more affluent and largely white neighborhoods were far more likely to receive financing. Residents in the poorer and black communities were deemed more risky and were therefore less likely to receive financial support.

Most Popular Citi Bike Routes

The NYC Citi Bike App is a Leaflet based interactive map which allows you to explore the number of bikes borrowed and docked from each Citi Bike station. The interactive map visualizes the most popular stations and journeys for any time of day and day of the week.

Bike stations on the map are colored to show which of the docking stations have the most bikes borrowed from them during the selected times and days. Stations colored red have more bikes borrowed from them than are docked at them. This means that they lose bikes during the selected time. The green stations are stations where more bikes are docked than borrowed. These stations therefore end up with more bikes than they start with for the selected time period.

The orange lines show the most popular routes. If you follow the orange lines from any bike station you can see the most poplar journeys between that station and other New York bike stations. The data behind the map only shows where and when a bike was borrowed and docked. Therefore these orange lines don't show the actual routes between two bike stations.

The map includes the option to filter the data by time of day. Notice how the orange and green stations change during the morning and evening rush hours. In the morning the red stations (the ones losing bikes) tend to be on the outskirts of the Citi Bike network. In the evening commuting hours the red stations (the bike stations where more bikes are being borrowed than returned) are concentrated in the city center. This pattern obviously reflects the movement of people into the city in the morning for work and then traveling out of the city after work.

German Street Names

Back in January Zeit Online released a fascinating analysis of the most popular German street names. They have now extended their examination to explore what the names given to roads reveal about the past and how the attitudes of Germans have changed over the centuries.

In Streetscapes: Mozart, Marx and a Dictator Zeit Online explores how there is a distinct east-west split to some German street names, which owes a lot to the differing politics of the former East and West Germany, before reunification. One thing that is probably true in both east & west is that women are much less likely to be commemorated by having streets named for them than men. For example in Hamburg 2,511 streets are named after men and only 397 are named after women.

Zeit Online has also analysed which periods of history are commemorated in Berlin's street names. The most popular period is the period of the German Empire (1870–1918). The Nazi era is, for obvious reasons, very unpopular and "all street signs bearing the names of leading figures in the Nazi era have been removed." However you can still find street names from that period which "typify their ideology".

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mapping a Californian Wildfire

In January the Thomas Fire burned around 281,893 acres, becoming the largest wildfire in modern California history. The Los Angeles Times has used WebGL to visualize the spread of the fire and the damage it caused. The Thomas Fire: 40 Days of Devastation is a story map which provides a day-by-day account of the spread of the fire and its effect on Californian neighborhoods.

The LA Times visualization uses a WebGL powered 3d model of the area affected by the fire. Enhanced satellite imagery of the area has been overlaid on top of an elevation terrain model. The terrain and satellite imagery are very effective in visualizing both the size of the fire and the damage it caused.

A story map format has also been used to help explain the development of the fire and to highlight some of the areas most effected by the fire. As you progress through the story map you are told how the fire developed day-by-day, while the 3d map zooms in on different locations to highlight neighborhoods which suffered significant property damage.

WebGL can be a very effective way to visualize environmental damage or change. Satellite imagery overlaid on top of a 3d digital elevation model can provide the user with an easily recognizable representation of familiar terrain. You can view other effective examples in this post on WebGL models of potential rising sea levels.

How to Traumatize Your Baby & Get a Good Night's Sleep

Crying babies are a universal problem. Which is why every culture in the world has invented its own lullabies - those sweet sounding songs that are used to scare babies into silence.

If you listen to the words of most traditional lullabies you will quickly realize that while the tunes may be soothing the lyrics are frankly highly unsettling. In cultures around the world when people sing to babies they usually sing about babies being stolen, being haunted by frightening monsters or being brutally murdered.

For example in Indonesia parents sing to their children to warn them of the giants who search at night for crying children. Parents in Iceland sing to their children about the monsters outside hunting for children who do not stay in bed. In Haiti lullaby lyrics warn of a crab that likes to eat children who should be sleeping. While in Russia children are warned that if they sleep too close to the edge of the bed a wolf will come and drag them off into the woods.

You can listen to all these creepy lullabies from around the world on a new interactive map from Mattress Online. The World's Creepiest Lullabies allows you to listen to these lullabies and to read their disturbing lyrics. If you are inclined you could even traumatize your own children for life by singing them these songs while they try to sleep.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


OpenAerialMap is an interactive map for sharing and finding openly licensed satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery. The current map was started in 2015 by the Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT) (although there was an earlier version which ceased operating in 2008).

Finding open aerial imagery with OpenAerialMap is very easy. You can either use the built in search facility or simply click on a location on the map to find nearby imagery. Any available imagery in your search area is displayed in the map sidebar. Select any of the listed choices of aerial imagery and you can view the imagery overlaid on the interactive map.

If you want to use any of the imagery in your own maps then you can simply copy the TMS URL for the imagery and use it with any of the popular interactive map libraries. You can also load the aerial imagery into your own maps using a WMTS URL.

Expanding Education in Illinois

The University of Illinois began life as as the Illinois Industrial University. Established in 1867 the school’s mission was to extend higher education to members of the working-class. The University started with two faculty members and 77 students. Today it has over 47,826 students.

To accommodate this huge increase in student numbers the University has also needed to grow in size over the years. A growth that you can now explore on the University's new website Mapping History at the University of Illinois. The project use historic maps, photos and interactive maps to explore and explain the history of the university and the growth of the university campus.

One part of Mapping History at the University of Illinois is a timeline map of the campus which shows how the campus has grown over time. This interactive map shows the building footprints of the campus' many buildings. The map includes a timeline slide control which allows you to show the buildings on the map by their date of construction. This timeline includes playback controls which allow you to watch as the interactive map animates through the growth of the campus over the years.

A number of other maps in the Interactive Maps section of the site allow you to discover more about the history of the campus and the university's most important buildings. This section is divided into a number of story maps which focus on exploring the university buildings by the historic era when they were constructed.

Britain's 100 Favorite Walks

One of the UK's main television channels, ITV, surveyed 8,000 walking enthusiasts to discover the country's favorite walking routes. From the results of the survey they have compiled a list of Britain's 100 favorite walks.

The Ordnance Survey has mapped all 100 walks in the list. In Britain's Favorite Walks: Top 100 you can not only discover your nearest popular walking routes but you can also view the route of each walk on its own interactive OS map.

Select an individual walk from the top 100 and you can view the route details on an OS map. The details include the walk's length, a brief description and even an elevation chart of the entire walk. The walk itself is shown on an interactive OS map with a link to export the route as a GPX file.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Canadian Pipeline Map

Gas pipelines can be very controversial (you can see the amount of opposition that the Northern Gateway Pipeline aroused in the Line in the Sand Map discussed below). The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association has therefore released a new interactive map to help inform the public about natural gas transmission pipelines.

The About Pipelines Map shows you where pipelines are, what they transport and who they are operated by. Using the map you can enter your address to view the locations of any pipelines near you and whether there have been any recent incidents associated with these pipelines. If you click on a pipeline on the map you can view details on what it transports, who it is owned by and who it is regulated by.

The Line in the Sand Map is a really well designed Mapbox map which contains video interviews with residents who live along the route of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in Canada. The Northern Gateway Pipelines Project was a plan to build a twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia.

The Line in the Sand was a collaborative campaign to help share the opinions and stories of those who would have been directly affected by the pipeline. This video map is a part of that project, which eventually led to a feature-length documentary. You can now view the entire documentary on the Line in the Sand website.

The Snapchat Map

Last year Snapchat introduced an interactive map to their mobile app. The map allows Snapchat users to share their location with friends and for Snapchat users to discover what other users are posting around the world.

Snap Map is now also available on the desktop. The desktop version of Snap Map provides a heatmap view of Snap Chat activity and allows you to watch Snaps submitted by Snapchatters anywhere in the world. Markers on the map show locations and / or events where a number of videos have recently been shared on Snapchat. If you click on the markers you can watch the latest submitted videos from that location.

If there is no marker on a location you can still click on the map to view the most recent videos submitted near that location. This means that Snap Map is a great way to get a sneak peak into any events happening right now. For example just click around Pyeongchang on Snap Map to view videos of the Winter Olympics.

Snap Map includes an embed view, which allows you to add a version of Snap Map to your own website or blog. The basemap and location data behind Snap Map is powered by Mapbox. It uses a custom designed basemap style which was developed from Mapbox Outdoors.

Who Owns England?

The BBC has discovered that 97,000 properties in England and Wales are owned by overseas companies. In Firms on Caribbean island chain own 23,000 UK properties the BBC has mapped all the properties in England & Wales which are owned by these overseas companies.

The map reveals that in central London a huge percentage of properties are now owned by overseas firms. For example in Kensington and Chelsea more than 6,000 properties are owned by overseas companies. If you want to know who owns a property you can click on the map marker to reveal the name of the company and the country of the owner.

Who Owns England? has set itself the task of mapping who owns land in England. It has created 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 also created an interactive map of land owned by UK corporate bodies, councils, UK companies, housing associations and more. This map uses Land Registry data, which 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.