Saturday, March 31, 2018

Where's Waldo on Google Maps

If you open Google Maps during April 1st then you just might find Waldo waving out at you. Click on Waldo and you can play Where's Waldo?

If you accept the offer to play Where's Waldo? Google Maps turns into an interactive version of the famous Where's Waldo? books. You are shown a series of pictures showing scenes from around the world. All you have to do is find Waldo (and his friends) in each of the pictures.

Each picture works just like Google Maps. This means that you can move around each image and zoom in and out in your search for Waldo and his friends. In your hunt you might find yourself on the slopes of the Andes Mountains, Chile, on the beach in Surfer's Paradise, Australia, at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in South Korea or even at the tomato festival in Buñol, Spain.

Good luck with your search and tell Waldo I said 'Hi' when you find him.

The Esri MOOC Cartography Entrance Exam

Esri's Cartography MOOC is a new free online course. By taking this course you can learn about making maps from some of the world's most accomplished cartographers.

If you want to know if you have what it takes to complete Esri's cartography course you can take the new Esri Mooc Entrance Exam. Just answer the six questions in the exam and you can find out your current level of cartographical knowledge.

Whether you pass the entrance exam or not you can still sign up for the Esri Cartography MOOC. The online course starts on April 18th. The entrance exam, however, can only be taken on April 1st. If you want to learn more about the difference between good and bad cartography then you should also have a look at the Cartonerd blog.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Mapping 150 Years of Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is 150 years old this year. It was founded in 1868 through the merger of the private College of California and the public Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Arts College in Oakland. In 1873 the campus consisted of two buildings, the North and South halls. It is a little bit bigger today.

The Daily Californian has created a story map which allows you to view how Berkeley has grown in size from those initial two buildings. Building Berkeley consists of an interactive map and synchronized building chronology. As you scroll down through the building chronology the interactive map updates to show the building footprints as they appear in the chronology timeline.

The building footprints which appear in the current decade in the timeline are colored green on the map. Just select an individual building footprint on the map to view the building's name.

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 increase the size of its physical footprint 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 since its beginnings in 1867. 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 has 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.

The Dotless Maps of Brasil & the USA

Nobody Lives Here is an interactive map which highlights the unpopulated areas of Brasil. The map uses data from the 2010 Demographic Census' Statistical Grid to show the square kilometers in Brazil where nobody lives.

The population map grid consists of 13,566,488 squares. 10,902,382 are colored yellow to show that no-one lives in those squares. This reveals that roughly 80% of the whole country is unpopulated. The remaining squares on the map are shaded white to indicate the squares where people actually live in Brasil.

Nobody Lives Here (USA) maps the unpopulated census blocks in the USA, the areas where nobody lives. 4,871,270 census blocks, totaling 4.61 million square kilometers, have no-one living inside them. In other words 47 percent of the USA remains unoccupied.

Nobody Lives Here (USA) is not an interactive map in itself. However the Leaflet platform has been used to provide a little interactivity to what was originally a static map image.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The 1968 Washington, D.C. Riots

The Washington Post has created an informative story map which recounts the Washington, D.C. riots that took place after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1968 Riots: Four Days that Reshaped Washington, D.C. the Post explores the causes, the events and the consequences of the 1968 riots.

As you progress through the 1968 Riots interactive the map explores some of the significant events, in chronological order, and shows where they took place. The map also shows the locations of more than 2,000 secret service reports into the riots. When you get to the end of the Post's narrative account of the riots you can click on these secret service markers to read a brief summary from the report.

The Washington Post's story map includes video recordings and photos of the riots captured in 1968. It also includes recently videoed interviews from eyewitnesses recounting their experiences of the riots and its aftermath. Towards the end of the story the map also shows the locations of all the buildings which were damaged during the riots.

Firebomb that City

Outrider's Bomb Blast map rightly acknowledges Alex Wellerstein's NUKEMAP as a source of inspiration (and data). Alex's Restricted Data - Nuclear Secrecy Blog provides a fascinating insight into the history of nuclear weapons and the secrecy around them. It also features some interesting data visualizations.

In Firebombs USA Alex explores some historical data visualizations of the American nuclear and firebombing campaigns against Japan during World War II. For this blog post he also creates a modern interactive map using data from an historical US Army Air Force's magazine map of the American air campaign against Japan. The historical map attempts to show the human cost of the American air campaign on Japan by showing an American map on which American cities have been paired with Japanese cities of roughly the same population. The map shows the percentage of the population that were killed in each of these partnered Japanese cities.

Alex's Firebombs USA map uses the same city names and damage percentages to similarly visualize the number of deaths caused by the American air campaign in Japan. Alex's map also pairs American cities with Japanese cities of similar population sizes. It uses scaled circles (or pie charts) to show the percentage of the citizens who died in each of the Japanese cities.

Nuke That City - the Sequel

Potential megalomaniacs with strong homicidal leanings have a wide choice of virtual ways to destroy the world. For example, if you want to practice dropping a nuclear bomb on your least favorite cities then you can choose between NUKEMAP or Ground Zero.

Both of these interactive maps allow you to view the potential damage that a wide choice of nuclear weapons could have when dropped on locations around the world. Now you can also use Outrider - Bomb Blast - which comes with far more realistic looking nuclear fallout effects.

Like its predecessors Outrider - Bomb Blast allows you to view the likely devastation of dropping a nuclear bomb on any location in the world. You can choose from a range of different types of nuclear weapon and choose whether you want to detonate it at ground level or as an air burst. You can then view the likely damage on an interactive map. The map shows the likely radius of the fireball, radiation, shock wave and heat. It also provides an estimate of the number of fatalities and injuries your nuclear weapon would cause.

Once you've had some fun virtually destroying your least favorite cities you should sober up by visiting Outrider's Nuclear Weapons section, which includes a series of articles exploring the history & human cost of nuclear weapons.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pornhub's Premium Places

The village of Fucking in Austria is always having its road signs stolen by souvenir-hunting tourists. Pornhub think that it is unfair that the citizens of Fucking have to keep paying for new road signs. They have therefore decided to give all the residents of Fucking free premium membership of the Pornhub website.

It isn't only the citizens of Fucking who are getting free access to Pornhub Premium content. Pornhub's new Premium Places scheme gives free membership to anybody who lives in a town with a rude place-name. They even have a Premium Places Rude Place-names map. This map shows all the rudely named towns around the world that can now sign-up for free Pornhub membership. Including the residents of Cocking, Tit and Rectum.

If you are also titillated by towns that sound a bit rude then you might also like the The Vaguely Rude Map.

How to Talk to Martians

Communicating with Martians isn't simply a language problem. The biggest problem is the 24 minute delay it takes for your message to reach the red planet, compounded by the further 24 minute delay waiting for the Martian's reply to reach Earth.

This can lead to some very stilted conversations. But why bother speaking to Mars when you can write?

This is where the new Aerial Bold Typewriter comes in. The Aerial Bold Typewriter can help you write letters on a truly planetary scale. It does this by using buildings and natural features on Earth which, when looked at through a telescope from Mars, look like letters.

Type out the written message that you want to send to Mars on the Aerial Bold Typewriter. Pay the transcription fee (currently $5 million per letter) and then just sit back and wait the 5 years while your chosen letters are dug up and reassembled into your loving message to Mars.

Communicating with Martians isn't a language problem, it's an engineering problem.

Disclaimer: other satellite alphabets are also available, such as the Latvian Alphabet or Rhett Dashwood's - Google Maps Typography.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

Some parts of the United States saw record levels of snow this winter. In Mapping Snowfall in the United States the Washington Post has mapped out the accumulation of snow across the whole country. This animated map shows every inch of snow in the lower 48 accumulate over time from October through to the end of March.

The Washington Post's story includes a static map colored to show the areas that saw more and less snow than Washington DC this winter.

Now that spring is here you can begin to forget about all that snow and begin looking forward to the first green shoots of spring. In Hang On, Northeast. In Some Parts, Spring Has Already Sprung the New York Times has mapped out where spring has already arrived in the United States, and where it is late.

The Time's story also includes a really impressive animated map which shows when the first leaves usually begin to appear across the United States. On the map spring begins at the southern tip of Florida in January and then quickly creeps up through the rest of the United States in the following months.

The Global Migration Map

Immigration is a major political issue in a number of countries. It often is during economic downturns or when income inequality is very high. A new map from the Pew Research Center allows you to check the number of immigrants in your country and the number of emigrants from your country. It also allows you to see where all those people are from and where they are moving to.

The Pew Research Center has mapped the Origins and Destinations of the World’s Migrants, 1990-2017. If you select a country on the map you can view the number of people living in the country who were born in other countries. You can also view the number of people born in the selected country who now live in other countries.

When you select a country on the map other countries are colored based on the number of immigrants that have come from that country. A table below the map also shows the total number of immigrants from different countries.

From Slavery to Jail

Last week Spencer Baucke created a very faithful interactive reproduction of an 1860 Census Slavery Map. The original map, on which Spencer's map is based, was made in 1861 by the United States Census Office "for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers". The map was based on data from the 1860 and shows the distribution of slaves in the southern United States. You can view the original map online at the Library of Congress website.

Last year The Pudding used the same data used in the 1860 Slavery Map to explore the legacy of slavery on modern incarceration rates in the United States. The Pudding's The Shape of Slavery allows you to view the 1860 distribution of slaves in the Southern States alongside present day incarceration rates in each state.

America likes to put people behind bars. The NAACP reports that 21% of the entire world's prison population is living in American jails. This propensity to lock up its citizens affects African Americans more than most other Americans. The NAACP says that African Americans are incarcerated at nearly five times the rate of white Americans.

There is a geographical factor at play in these incarceration rates. The Prison Policy Initiative states that "the South has consistently had a higher rate of incarceration than the other regions of the United States". The Pudding decided to explore if there was any connection between the high rate of incarceration in Southern states and the legacy of slavery. By mapping 150 years of census and incarceration data they wanted to see if historic incarceration rates differ between the former slave states and the non-slave states of the North.

They do. The Pudding concludes that "we still see the shadow of the undeniable, institutionalized, strategic racism of the 100 years after the Civil War".

Monday, March 26, 2018

Get Outta My Bike Lane

Last year Nathan Rosenquist released an interactive map which allowed cyclists in New York to submit photographs of cars parked illegally in bike lanes. Cars in Bike Lanes NYC no longer appears to exist but Nathan's code lives on at GitHub.

Nathan's code has been used to create Cars in Bike Lanes Boston and Things in Bike Lanes Denver. The new Things in Bike Lanes Denver map is a joint project from Bicycle Colorado and BikeDenver. They want cyclists in Denver to report obstructions on bike lanes to the interactive map. Adding photos and details of bike lane obstructions to the Things in Bike Lanes map will help Denver Public Works identify areas which are often obstructed. It could also help the city keep bike lanes open for cyclists.

Cars in Bike Lanes (CIBL) is "a browsable geographic database for crowd-sourcing traffic violation reports ... (and) ... can be adapted to document any sort of observable traffic violations within a defined geographic area." So far CIBL seems to have been exclusively used to report obstructions to bike lanes. It obviously could be used in many other contexts as well. I'm sure there are many different ways it could be used to crowd-source citizen concerns to local government.

Sexist Street Names

Earlier this year Zeit Online released a fascinating analysis of the most popular German street names. As part of this investigation they looked into how street names reflect society's prejudices, beliefs and attitudes. One thing the project revealed was the under-representation of women in city street names.

In Streetscapes: Mozart, Marx and a Dictator Zeit Online looks at the trends of naming streets for people and historical events. One thing that they discovered is that streets are far more likely to be named for men than they are for women. For example in Hamburg 2,511 streets are named after men and only 397 are named after women.

Zeit are not the only ones to have noticed the lack of representation of women in the names we give to our streets. Geochicas have also been investigating the under-representation of women in street names. They have looked at a number of Latin American and Spanish cities to explore the number of streets named for men compared to women.

Las Calles de las Mujeres is an interactive map which shows all streets named for men and women in Asuncion, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cochabamba, Lima and Montevideo. In each city roads named for men are colored blue and roads colored yellow have been named for women. The colors on the map provide a quick overview of how many streets have been named for women compared to men. Just to make sure that there is no doubt about the issue the map sidebar also includes a pie chart that shows the percentage of streets named for both men and women in each city.

Las Calles de las Mujeres also aims to celebrate the small percentage of women who have been commemorated by having streets named after them. It has therefore linked to the Wikipedia articles (where available) of the women whose names appear on the map. You can read more about the project (in Spanish) at Geochicas.

Both Zeit Online and Geochicas used OpenStreetMap data to compare the number of streets named for men and women. If you want to create a similar map yourself then you could use Overpass Turbo to explore street names on OpenStreetMap.

If you run a query like:
in Overpass Turbo then you should be able to get a list of street names from the current map view.

The Global Map of Football Fandom

There is a well known joke that the majority of Manchester United fans actually live in London. Of course that is untrue. Most Manchester United fans live in Tunisia. At least Tunisia is the country with the most concentrated number of Manchester United fans (based on the number of followers on Facebook).

Going Global uses data from Facebook to show where English Premier League (EPL) football fans live in countries around the world. Using the map you can view the relative popularity of each club in different countries. You can also use the map to see the most popular team in each country (out of Man Utd, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Man City).

Twitter has also analysed the global reach of English Premier League teams and mapped the results. The Where are your club followers? map is based on the number of followers a team has in each area. Using the map you can view the most followed team in each area of the world. Alternatively you can select to view the global reach of any of the individual teams playing in the EPL.

There seems to be a huge difference between the map based on Twitter data and the map created from Facebook data. For example, Going Global claims Man Utd are the most supported team in Tunisia. According to the Twitter map Manchester United aren't even in the top three most popular clubs in the country.

The Twitter map includes QPR, who were relegated from the EPL after the 2014–15 season. The data for the Twitter map is therefore at least three years old.

If you live in England & Wales and you want to know which EPL team you should support then you probably need to know which is your nearest football team.

The Which Team Should I Support map uses a voronoi overlay to divide England & Wales into areas assigned to the closest Premier League teams. You can therefore use the map to quickly see which football team you should be supporting. You can also enter your address into the map to see which team's catchment area you currently live in.

This map dates from 2015 and includes Norwich & Aston Villa.

Also See

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Earthquake Risk Map

Turkey's new Earthquake Risk map uses information about the location of earthquake fault lines and local geological conditions to show the risk from earthquake damage in all of Turkey. By taking into local ground conditions the most dangerous (red) locations have been extended in much of the country, including in Istanbul.

If you click on the 'Raporlama' (report) button in the map sidebar you can view an earthquake risk assessment for a location. Just enter the coordinate information for the required area and you can view an earthquake risk report for that location. If you select the 'Bilgi Al' option in the map menu you can drop a marker on the map to view the peak ground acceleration (PGA) measure at the chosen location.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mapwork Quilts

When I was a lad we were so poor we had to make our own interactive maps, stitching together the old scraps and castoffs we found on the cobbled streets outside the New York Public Library.

OpenWhateverMap is a very useful map for anyone looking for distinctive map tiles for their latest interactive mapping project. OpenWhateverMap is a random map of the world made up of a hotchpotch of different map styles, sourced from lots of different interactive mapping providers.

OpenWhateverMap is a showcase for a number of different base map styles that can be used with any of the leading interactive map libraries. It includes base maps designed by Mapbox, OpenStreetMap, Thunderforest, Stamen and CartoDB. If you like the look of any of these map styles then click on the tile on the map. This will open an information window containing the base map's template URL and the attribution you need to use the style in your own interactive maps.

When I first saw OpenWhateverMap I thought it might be interesting to create a similar map using random map tiles from vintage maps. I have therefore completely ripped off OpenWhateverMap to create Random USA.

RandomUSA creates a random map of the USA made from 18 vintage maps held in the NYPL Digital Collections. The effect, as I suspected it would be, is a bit of a mess. The good thing is, if you don't like the look of a random vintage map of the USA, then you can just zoom in and out to change the look of the map.

It is definitely not as useful as OpenWhateverMap.

The Submarine Cable Map 2018

Every year the company Telegeography release a new updated undersea cable map of the world. The map shows all the submarine cable systems across the globe that are active or are under construction.

Telegrogaphy's 2018 Submarine Cable Map has a much more utilitarian style than some of the previous years' maps. This year's map is designed to highlight the areas where cables traverse and connect to landing stations. To that end the map is possibly a little less fun than some of Telegeography's previous maps but also possibly a little more useful to those working in the industry.

If you want to view the company's Submarine Cable Maps from previous years you can just change the year in the URL. For example, my favorite 2015 Submarine Cable Map can be found at The 2015 map was inspired by medieval and renaissance cartography and features not only a vintage map style but sea monsters, cartouches and map border illustrations.

Fremont - More Money Than Sense

You can tell a lot about a neighborhood by the types of businesses and stores it attracts. For example, a lot has been written (mostly by me) about how you can determine which neighborhoods are becoming gentrified by the ratio of coffee shops to fried chicken restaurants in an area.

But why only look at coffee shops and fried chicken restaurants? Perhaps the proliferation of other types of businesses and stores could tell us more about the unique characteristics of different neighborhoods. For example, if a neighborhood was dominated by stores offering massage therapy, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine and skincare, what might that tell us about a neighborhood?

It might tell us that the residents of Fremont, Seattle have more money than sense (or if you are Amber Thomas that the neighborhood is 'artistic and entertaining'). But I digress ...

The Pudding has published a great story map exploring the most unique businesses in Seattle and New York neighborhoods. In A Tale of Two Cities Amber Thomas and Ilia Blinderman have mapped out the businesses which are found more distinctly in a neighborhood than in the city as a whole. This 'uniqueness' is determined by comparing the ratio of businesses in each neighborhood to their ratio in the city as a whole.

As you progress through the story map you can explore which businesses are most unique to different neighborhoods in both Seattle and New York. Anyone who knows either city reasonably well will probably quickly recognize that the distinct characteristics of some of the featured neighborhoods are definitely reflected by the types of unique stores and businesses which flourish within their borders.

The method definitely seems to have merit. I can also see how it might be applied by different web services. For example, real estate websites could use this 'over-index' to list the top 5 unique businesses found in each neighborhood to give customers an insight into the characteristics of different neighborhoods.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Pre-Trade War Planet Earth

Data Labs has created a 3d visualization of a pre-apocalyptic planet Earth. The visualization shows import and export rates around the world before Donald Trump's first global trade war. Global Corridors for Trade - Imports and Exports by Country shows how trade helped goods and services travel around the world before the Orange One began to impose arbitrary tariffs.

Using the drop-down menu you can select to center the map on a country of your choice. The map will then show you the total amount your select country spends and makes on importing and exporting goods (in minerals, machinery and agriculture).The lines on the map show the countries around the world that your chosen country has trade deals with.

You can select to view either imports and exports on the 3d globe. You can also break this trade down to show imports and exports of minerals, machinery and agriculture. The date tool at the bottom of the page allows you to view the trade figures for individual years and to a view a graph of import and export totals over time.

Worldwide Climate Change

A new interactive map from the University of Cincinnati shows how climate change could effect every location on Earth. The map uses 50 years worth of data from 50,000 different locations around the globe to predict how the climate could change in the next 52 years

ClimateEx provides a map layer which show the changes to the climate between the years -6000 and 2000. It also provide two different layers which use a predictive model to show how the climate could change between -6000 and 2070 and between 2000 and 2070. The green areas on these three different map layers show where the climate has (or will) change the least. The brown and white areas have (or will) see the most climate change.

Clicking on the map opens an information window displaying a climatogram for the selected location. This climatogram shows values of temperature and precipitation. Clicking between the different map layers will update the climatogram to show the results from the predictive model for the chosen location.

Old Toronto

You may remember Sidewalk Labs from such maps as OldSF and OldNYC. They are now back with a completely new enterprise - Old Toronto.

Old Toronto is an interactive map showing the locations of more than 30,000 historic photographs of Toronto from the City of Toronto Archives. The photos in the archives date back to 1856, so Old Toronto is a great way to explore the Toronto of yesterday and to view how Toronto looked in the past.

Using the map you can find and view old photographs of Toronto by location and by date. The date-range tool in the map sidebar allows you to filter the photos shown on the map by the year that the photos were taken. If you click on a photo on the map then you can view the picture, the archival details and click-through to view the photo on the City of Toronto Archives website.

Sidewalk Labs has also released all the photo locations as a GeoJSON file. If you want to view vintage photos of other locations then you might enjoy OldSF and OldNYC. If you want to see vintage photos outside of Toronto, San Francisco and New York then you could also have a look at Historypin.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Award Winning Mapping from the Times

The New York Times has created another stunning mapped visualization. In Easter Island is Eroding the Times has created a 3d map of the island showing the locations of all the island's famous moai statues. It also shows the position of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean.

The purpose of the New York Times' story is to raise awareness of Easter Island's vulnerability to rising sea levels. One of the purposes of the map is to help emphasize this vulnerability. It does this with a stunning cinematic zoom-out from the island to a view of the whole Earth - revealing the island's isolation in the Pacific Ocean. Easter Island is one of the remotest inhabited islands in the world and this cinematic zoom-out from the island to the whole globe demonstrates this superbly.

If you want to make your own award winning mapped visualizations then you might want to check out Derek Watkins' How We Animated Trillions of Tons of Flowing Ice and Adam Pearce's Hurricane How-To. These two articles, by developers at the Times, explain how the Times' created two of their award winning mapped visualizations from last year.

Mapping UK Taxi Fares

You might think that London's black cabs are expensive. But the capital's taxi drivers don't charge the highest fares in the UK. That honor goes to the city of Coventry, where taxis charge an average fare of £3.11 per mile traveled.

You can now compare the taxi fares charged in the UK's largest cities using a new UK Taxi Price Index and interactive map. The UK Taxi Price Index uses local authority data to compare the price of a taxi journey in different UK Cities. The interactive map uses numbered markers to rank 25 UK cities in terms of the fares charged by the city's cab drivers.

At the top of the list, with the highest taxi fares, is Coventry. Liverpool is the cheapest city to hail a cab, costing a full 20p less per mile than Coventry's taxis. London doesn't even come in the top three most expensive cities, being listed at number 5, with a cab fare per mile of £2.60.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Car Thieves of San Francisco

The San Francisco Chronicle has mapped the thousands of locations in San Francisco where cars were broken into last year. Breaking down San Francisco’s car break-in epidemic is a story map analyzing some of the geographical hot-spots for car break-ins during 2017.

As you scroll through the Chronicle's story the background map zooms in on different locations in the city which experienced exceptionally high levels of car break-ins. Proportional sized markers are used to show the number of break-ins at a location. These are contrasted with the purple markers which show where police actually made arrests of car thieves.

The Chronicle's story doesn't make too many connections between the various hot-spots highlighted on the map. However it does mention that some popular tourist areas and parking garages and lots appear to be regular hot-spots of car break-ins.

Building Up Walls

Donald Trump wants to build a 2,000 mile wall between Mexico and the USA. This American Life has been wondering about the effect that border walls have on the lives of the people who live near them. In The Walls This American Life has compiled a number of stories from around the world. In these stories This American Life correspondents visit and talk to individuals and communities living in the shadows of walls.

The Walls is accompanied by an interactive map which shows the locations featured in all the podcast stories. This map allows you to zoom-in on the various locations and view the border walls (using Mapbox GL's extruded polygons to visualize the border walls). Each location includes aerial imagery and and a very short description of the border wall.

If you are having difficulty envisioning just how far big Trump's proposed wall would be then you can use the Berliner Morgenpost's interactive map. The Trump Wall Comparison Map allows you to overlay an outline of Trump's proposed border wall between the USA and Mexico on any other location on Earth. You can also get a good sense of the scale of construction needed to build Trump's wall in a video from the Intercept. The Intercept downloaded and stitched together 200,000 satellite images to create a huge strip map of the U.S.-Mexican border. You can view this strip map in Visualizing the U.S.-Mexico Border, a short video which pans along the whole border.

Berlin - Along Each Transit Line

The Berliner Morgenpost has published an impressive data visualization exploring how the social universe of the German capital transforms from one S-Bahn stop to the next. The visualization allows you to travel along any one of Berlin's 250 bus, train or tram lines and view the economic, demographic and cultural differences of each neighborhood along its route.

At the top of Berlin is Ticking on Your Line is an animated map showing vehicles moving on all 250 lines of the BVG and the Berlin S-Bahn. The map shows the typical traffic on a weekday over the whole 24 hours of the day. Vehicles on the map are color-coded to show whether they are trains, buses, trams or underground trains. Their movement on the map is based on the departure and arrival times of a normal Wednesday timetable.

Beneath the map you can select any one of Berlin's 250 transit lines to explore in detail the socioeconomic differences that can be found between each station or stop along the line. The application uses statistical data to show how different Berlin can be along each of its bus, train and ferry lines.

An interactive graph is used in the visualization of each public transit line. The x axis of each line graph shows all the stops along the line. The y axis is used to show different variables at each stop, such as the average age, the average rent, voting patterns and economic wealth.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Population Density of Slaves in the USA

In 1861 the United States Census Office "for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers" created and put on sale a map showing the distribution of slaves in the southern United States. The map was based on data from the 1860 census and was the Census Office's first population density map..

You can view the map online on the Library of Congress website. The map uses different shades and patterns of gray to show the percentage of the population in each county who are slaves. If you have problems determining the differences between the different shades and patterns of gray you can zoom in on this interactive version of the map to read the actual percentage labels written on the map.

You might also like this modern version of the 1860 Census Slavery Map. Spencer Baucke has created a very faithful interactive reproduction of the original map in Tableau. On Spencer's map each county is interactive. If you hover over a county you can view the name of the county and the percentage of residents who were enslaved.

Oil Spills in the Niger Delta

The Niger Delta in Nigeria is the most productive oil-producing region in Africa. It has been relentlessly exploited, mostly to the economic benefit of western oil companies and corrupt politicians. It has also had a devastating impact on the local environment. Since oil drilling started in the 1950's it is estimated that between 9 and 13 million barrels of oil (1,400,000 and 2,100,000 m3) has been spilled. The government and oil companies have made little effort to control the environmental impact of the oil industry, nearly always deny responsibility for oil spills and try their hardest to avoid having to clean-up after spills.

Amnesty International's Niger Delta Oil Spills is an interactive map of oil company spills in the Niger Delta. This map is the result of a crowd-sourced effort to analyse oil spill investigation reports by volunteers around the world. This crowdsourced campaign analysed thousands of reports and photographs produced by companies in relation to oil spills in the region.

Using the interactive map you can view the locations of the oil spills derived from reading the oil spill investigation reports. The markers show the location of spills and are color-coded by the severity of each spill. The map includes options to filter the results shown by the two main oil companies operating in the region, Shell and Eni. If you click on a marker on the map you can view details about the spill and click through to read the oil spill report and any photos included in the report.

You can read more about how crowdsourcing was used to analyze oil spill records and the effect of oil spills on the Niger Delta in Amnesty International's Niger Delta Negligence.

Time Travel on the Thames

One of the best ways to view London is from the Thames. A boat trip through the city allows you to sit back and relax while the vistas of London unwind around you. While you drift through London's historic sights you might even begin to wonder what it would have been like to sail down the river in Georgian times.

A Riverside View of Georgian London can help you picture the view from the Thames in 1829. This tourist guide to London, published in 1829, provides a hand-drawn view of both banks of the Thames from Westminster to Richmond upon Thames.

Luckily for us Panorama of the Thames has provided a great tool for viewing A Riverside View of Georgian London. Its Compare Panoramas tool allows you to travel along the river in 1829, comparing Georgian London to the same river views as can be seen in modern day London.  Press play on the 1829 panorama and on the 2013 panorama and you will be taken on a simultaneous journey down the Thames with synchronized views of Georgian and modern London.

Via: Londonist

E-mail a Tree Today

A new interactive map allows you to e-mail any one of Singapore's half a million urban trees. is a new map from the National Parks Board of Singapore. The map allows anyone in Singapore to look up and discover the species name of any of their favorite trees. It also allows them to leave a message for their favorite tree.

Users can click on any tree on the map to find out details about its species, when it was planted and its ecological benefits. More importantly you can also send a tree a personal  'treemail'. This might be just a general message of support for the tree. Or, if you want to be more serious, you could leave a treemail about the health of the tree or post a photo you've taken of the tree.

It is possible to search both by location and by species of tree. also provides details of walking tours where you can see and learn more about some of Singapore's most interesting and important trees.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

5...4...3...2...1 Ignition - Launch SpaceX in 3D

I've seen a number of 3D maps over the years but this has to be one of the coolest. Concept3D's SpaceX map is a 3D map of the launch site of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. This on its own would be pretty amazing but this map also allows you to actually launch the 3D model of the Falcon Heavy into space.

Using the map you can explore the SpaceX launch site in 3D, rotating around and zooming into the model of the Falcon Heavy. When you are happy that everything looks ready for take-off turn on your computer's sound and press the 'launch' button. You can then listen to the actual countdown from a Falcon Heavy launch and watch as the 3D model rocket on the map takes off and shoots into space.

This animated 3D map was made in Mapbox GL using Three.js. If you want to create your own 3D scenes in Mapbox then you should look at threebox, a plugin for Mapbox GL JS that supports basic animation and advanced 3D rendering.

The Hate Crime Map of India

Amnesty International has released an interactive map that allows Indians to report hate crimes. Halt the Hate maps crimes which have been committed against people or groups in India because of their caste, religion or ethnicity.

Unfortunately the Halt the Hate map is a very basic interactive map. In fact it is less of a map than a yellow blob that happens to be in the shape of India. Obviously the main reason for using a map to document hate crimes is to enable users to browse and search by location. The fact that you can't zoom in on the map and because the map has no place-labels it is very difficult to search this map by location.

Because there is no marker clustering and all 489 hate crimes have been placed all on top of each other on the map it is actually impossible to select a huge number of the hate crimes from the map. You can partially overcome this problem by filtering the number of markers shown on the map. If you filter the hate crimes shown by year, motive, location etc. it does become a little easier to select individual markers on the map.

The Halt the Hate map is a great idea. It does therefore pain me to conclude that Amnesty International's hate crime map is a bit of a crime against mapping.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Free Map Backgrounds for Your Phone

If you want a beautiful map background for your phone then you should have a look at Alvar Carto's Map Backgrounds. This tool allows you to make your own background map image for a mobile phone, centered on any location in the world.

To make your background map you just need to zoom and pan an interactive map to your chosen location. You can then choose between four different map colors.

And that's more or less it. Just select your phone from a drop-down list (Map Backgrounds supports iOS, Android and Windows 10) and you are ready to download your new phone background map.

If you really love your new phone background (or you just want to buy a map poster) then you can head on over to Alvar Carto's Map Poster site. Map Poster is an equally easy to use tool for creating and ordering a map poster of any location in the world.

Deindustrialization & Population Decline

Population change from 1990-2010: (green = rising population, purple = falling population)

This week's release of the Alperin-Sheriff/Wikipedia Population Dataset provides us with a great resource for studying American population trends. This Introduction to the Alperin-Sheriff/Wikipedia Population Dataset, in the form of a story map, provides a great introduction to the data and briefly examines where populations in the USA are growing and where they are in decline.

The story map is mostly concerned with introducing and explaining the data but it does briefly touch on the declining populations in the industrial Midwest. This decline is perhaps explained in this Financial Times article, Shrinking cities: population decline in the world’s rust-belt areas. The article explores how deindustrialization is happening across much of the world, as manufacturing and industrial jobs in industrial heartlands move elsewhere in the world.

Cities with the largest population decline 2005-2015

This decline from deindustrialization isn't just limited to the American rust belt. It is also happening in former industrial powerhouses throughout the world. Cities in the German industrial heartland are in decline and even China's north-eastern rust belt is beginning to experience decline.

The Berliner Morgenpost's Where the population of Europe is growing – and where it’s declining allows you to explore more closely recent population decline in Europe. It shows that there is some decline in the German industrial heartland of the Ruhr valley. However this decline doesn't seem much worse than elsewhere in Germany and isn't as bad as the decline being seen in the former East Germany.

Obviously not all population decline can be explained by deindustrialization. The Washington Post used the same data to explore some of the population trends that are shown in the Morgenpost's map. Their article on Where Europe is growing and where it is shrinking notes that populations are declining in the former East Germany and other former countries of the Eastern bloc (except for Poland which has experienced growth). It appears that some areas of western Europe have managed to mitigate against the population decline normally associated with deindustrialization by taking in economic migrants from countries in the former Eastern bloc.

The Sounds of Istanbul & London

The Soundscape of Istanbul is a project dedicated to mapping and archiving the urban sounds of Istanbul. The project was created by Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi during her doctoral studies, however anyone can record and upload sounds to the map.

Individual sounds are displayed on the map by categorized markers. If you select a marker on the map you can listen to the street sounds recorded at that location. If you select the 'Thematic Map' option you can view the sounds organised by category rather than geography. Both the thematic and the spatial maps include a timeline which allows you to filter the sounds by the year they were recorded.

If you like the Soundscape of Istanbul then you might also enjoy the Soundscape of London. This map was also created by Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi, in collaboration with the British Library. This project uses exactly the same format to map the urban sounds of London. Again if you want to listen to any of the recorded sounds you just need to click on the markers on the map.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

America's Quietest & Most Scenic Roads

Geotab has mapped out the quietest stretches of road in each state in America. In America's Quietest Routes you can view details about the quietest roads in each state and also browse through the ten most scenic routes, as chosen by landscape photographer James Q Martin.

If you click on a state on the map you can view details about the state's quietest stretch of road. These details include the name of the road and the route length. They also include a Street View image captured on the route by Google Maps.

Each state's quietest road was determined by the traffic count data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System. The quietness of a road was determined by the annual average daily traffic measured by the number of vehicles. The routes with the lowest average daily traffic were deemed the quietest.

The Secrets of the Sea Revealed

Robert Dudley was the 17th century author of Dell’Arcano del Mare. This huge maritime encyclopedia covers all aspects of maritime life including shipbuilding, astronomy and navigation. It also contains 130 beautiful maritime charts covering all parts of the world.

One of the 130 maps in his Secrets of the Sea is the Carta Particolare della Terra Nuoua con la Gran Baia et el Fiume Grande Della Canida, a sea chart of the Newfoundland era. Norfish has created an interesting story map which explores some of the more interesting details in Robert Dudley's sea chart of Newfoundland.

As you progress through the story map Norfish examines the map's projection, calligraphy, place-name labels, prevailing winds and fathom soundings. You can also explore the map for yourself. Robert Dudley's sea charts are completely unique, enjoying a distinctive technical style with beautiful calligraphy and elaborate compass roses and cartouches.

Synchronized Street Views of the World

Street Image Compare is a fun little tool which allows you to directly compare Google's Street View imagery with Mapillary's crowdsourced alternative. Using the tool you can virtually walk around any location while comparing Google Maps Street View coverage with the street-side images available in Mapillary.

Mapillary is a free to use and crowdsourced service which provides street-level imagery around the world. Street Image Compare places the Mapillary street level imagery of a location directly beneath the Google Maps Street View imagery of the same location. You can explore around a location using the navigation button on either street level image or by using either of the maps. Street View Compare automatically updates, as you move around a location, showing you the closest images from both Google and Mapillary.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pi Day on Planet Earth

The best way to celebrate Pi day is to take a little tour of some of the many natural and human-made circles which can be found on planet Earth. Luckily Esri has created a World of Circles interactive map to help you find these beautiful landmarks of striking symmetry.

This Esri map contains aerial imagery of natural and human-made circles of various sizes, locations and origins. These circles include circular crop fields, thousand year old human earthworks, dormant volcanoes and even a defunct particle accelerator. If you would like to create a similar tour of interesting shapes then you can get started at Esri's Story Maps website.

Mapping the Last Ice Age

IceMap is an animated map of the last Eurasian Ice Age. It allows you to view the ice sheets, sea levels and temperatures which affected the Eurasian Arctic 38 thousand years ago.

The map includes an interactive timeline which allows you to view the conditions from 37,000 years ago through to 8000 years ago. If you press play on the timeline you can watch as the ice sheets grow and move and the sea level falls and rises.

If you select the graph icon on the map you can view an interactive graph of the ice volume, mean annual temperature and sea level over the period of the Eurasian Ice Age. The graph includes an interactive bar which allows you to select a year to view the ice volume, temperature and sea level totals and to view these levels shown on the interactive map.