Tuesday, July 31, 2018

U.S. Wildfire Maps

On Sunday I reported on two useful maps for helping to keep track of the spread of wildfires this summer. The San Francisco Chronicle's California Fire Tracker is mapping and providing information on the wildfires currently burning across California. You can also view information about wildfires inside and outside of California on the US Wildfire Activity Public Information Map.

Esri has now also released an interactive map to track the raging fires across the United States and to provide context to the severity of the California fires. If you select a fire indicated on the USA Wildfire map you can view information about the chosen fire, including the start date, containment and links to the latest news and social information. Esri's map also includes an NWS animated smoke risk forecast, this layer is visualized to represent the smoke output of a fire.

The fires and fire perimeters on the map come from GeoMAC, a mapping application designed to provide fire managers with access to online maps of current fire locations and perimeters. GeoMAC members include the USGS, National Interagency Fire Center, National Weather Service and Bureau of Land Management, Remote Sensing Application Center, Bureau of Land Management, National Geophysical Data Center. The data is updated manually based on information from a host of sources including those on the ground. It is important to note that the map is not up-dated in real-time and the fire perimeters are only a guide.

This is an AI World

Google is building a new world designed by artificial intelligence (and it is a world that is actually a lot less creepy than it sounds).

World Draw is an AI experiment which you can take part in simply by submitting simple drawings. World Draw takes user submitted sketches and uses artificial intelligence to recognize what has been drawn. It then turns those recognized objects into 3d models and adds them to an ever expanding 3d map.

You can visit World Draw and create your own drawing. If your drawing is good enough the World Draw artificial intelligence might even recognize what you've drawn and add it to the interactive map. If drawing isn't your thing then you can just go straight to the World Draw interactive map and explore the world as drawn by the people of the world.

Obviously Google is building another AI world that I'm not allowed to tell you about. But don't worry you are better off not knowing. 'Google World' has been designed by artificial intelligence to be a seamlessly connected and networked existence. Those invited to live in Google World will be connected to the Googleplex at all times. Citizens will be tracked constantly, 24 hours a day, for their own safety and convenience. All consumption and transactions entered into will be monitored and recorded by Google. All data will be owned by Google but users will be able to download their data at any time. All citizens will be required to recite the daily mantra 'Do no evil' every day ........ you might not have realized it yet but you are already living in Google World. 

The Native People of Australia

Back in 2015 Native-Land started mapping the territories and languages of the indigenous peoples of the United States and Canada. Native-Land now also shows the territories and languages of the indigenous peoples of Australia and New Zealand.

The map consists of two main layers, one showing the 'territory' of indigenous peoples and the other showing the geographical spread of indigenous languages. In the USA and Canada the map also includes the option to view a 'Treaty' layer which overlays areas which have been subject to government treaties.

If you select a territory on the map you can view the name of the indigenous people whose territory is shown. You can learn more about these indigenous groups by clicking on the group's name. This commonly leads through to a Wikipedia article on the selected indigenous people or the indigenous language chosen from the map.

Native-Land is beginning a process which will see the site transition into a non-profit organization overseen by indigenous people. You can learn more about this process and the future development of the map on the Native-Land blog.

Monday, July 30, 2018

How Gerrymandered is Your District?

The United States is one of only a few democratic countries that allow politicians to play a major role in redistricting. Most countries appoint an independent commission to handle how political districts should be defined. It is almost as if the American system was designed to encourage gerrymandering.

The ACLU's What the District map allows you to explore how your election district has changed over time by showing you how your local district boundary has changed since the 1950's. The way congressional districts are drawn can determine who wins elections. You can see how much your district has been redrawn over time by entering your address into the ACLU map. What the District will then show you when and how your district has been redrawn over time. It will also inform you about who has the power to redraw your district.

The Washington Post has created an interactive map which allows you to see how gerrymandered your election district actually is. It does this by giving a gerrymandered score for each congressional district in the United States.

The Washington Post has determined the gerrymandered score of each district based on the "ratio of the district area to the area of a circle with the same perimeter". This is because districts which follow a regular shape tend to be more compact and have therefore been less gerrymandered. Districts which have a lot of squiggles and offshoots score highly because they tend to have been more gerrymandered.

The How Gerrymandered is your Congressional District? map colors each congressional district based on this gerrymandered score. You can mouse-over each district on the map to view its gerrymandered score, the state average score and the name & party of the district's representative. You can also read a little more about how the scores were determined and which states have the most gerrymandered districts in the Post's article on America's Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts.

PlanScore has also mapped the level of gerrymandering in all 50 states in the USA. PlanScore includes a comprehensive historical dataset of partisan gerrymandering, so you can examine the history of gerrymandering in each state and which political parties the districts have been gerrymandered to support.

The PlanScore choropleth map shows the level of gerrymandering in each state for both the U.S. House and State House elections. The darker the red or blue colors on the map then the more skewed the districts are towards the represented political party. If you select a state on the map you can view a more detailed report on the partisan bias in that state and how that compares to the level of gerrymandering in other states.

PlanScore has also developed a scoring service which allows you to test how fair or gerrymandered new district plans are. To use this service you just need to upload a shapefile or GeoJSON file of a district plan. PlanScore will then reveal the levels of the plan’s underlying partisan skew, showing how much the plan has been gerrymandered.

The uneven spread of electors per state in the United States means that if you live in Wyoming your vote is worth 3.52 times more than a voter in Florida.. Wyoming has more votes in the Electoral College per registered voter than any other state.

What's Your Vote Worth is an interactive story map which explores the history of America's voting system, the right to vote and how voter representation is skewed under the present system and map. The story map includes a choropleth view of how much one vote is worth in each state compared to Wyoming. For example, it takes 3.19 voters in California or 3.4 voters in Pennsylvania to equal one Wyoming voter.

After exploring the uneven voting power of different Americans What's Your Vote Worth goes on to examine how gerrymandering is used to skew your vote even more. It looks at examples of gerrymandering in a number of states. In particular it looks at examples where voting district boundaries have been redrawn to 'pack' or 'crack' votes. Packing involves redrawing boundaries so that you pack voters who tend to vote for a particular party into one district. Cracking involves diluting like minded voters into many different districts.

Petrichor GeoViz Studio examines the issues behind their interactive map in more detail in an article called What Your Personal Geography Means to Your Voting Power.

FiveThirtyEight, as part of its Gerrymandering Project, has had a go at redrawing America's voting districts for themselves. In the Atlas of Redistricting FiveThirtyEight has created a number of new congressional maps, each designed with a different goal in mind.

These alternative congressional maps show how voting districts could be redrawn in order to favor Republicans, to favor Democrats, to promote proportionally partisan representation and to maximize the number of majority-minority districts.

The World According to Strabo

The title 'Father of Geography' could be given to the Greek philosopher, historian and geographer Strabo. Strabo lived during the transitional period when the Roman Republic developed into the Roman Empire. He is most well known for his 'Geographica', an historical and descriptive account of the people and places living in the different regions of the western world, during his era.

Strabo himself had traveled extensively. He boasted that "Westward I have journeyed to the parts of Etruria opposite Sardinia; towards the south from the Euxine to the borders of Ethiopia; and perhaps not one of those who have written geographies has visited more places than I have between those limits." He used his own extensive geographical knowledge and his wide Greek and Roman educational studies to inform his encyclopedia of geographical knowledge - the Geographica.

I've added a world map based on Strabo's Geographica to my Mappae Mundi collection of world maps. If you click on the date '0' in the map menu you can view an 1814 world map which attempted to map the world based on its description in the Geographica. While it is most definitely not a map of the world dating from the Roman Republic it is a map which attempts to visualize the world as it was known in the west during the time of Christ.

You can also view a more geographical accurate map of the locations mentioned in the Geographica in the Strabo Map. The University of Cambridge Press' interactive map of all the locations mentioned in Strabo's Geographica, the Strabo Map, uses Mapbox to add place-names mentioned in the Geographica to an interactive map.

The map tiles used in the Strabo Map are the same AWMC map tiles, as used in the Pleides gazette of ancient places.

The Art of Location Tracking

Painted Earth is an amazing interactive map which can turn the track of your location history into a unique and original work of art. Just open Painted Earth on your phone and the map turns the whole world into your canvas and transforms your location into a paintbrush.

If you open Painted Earth on a mobile phone when you move around a colorful line will be painted on a blank canvas. While you move around you can also see where other people have been using Painted Earth by the colorful location tracks that they have also left on the Painted Earth canvas.

If you open Painted Earth on a desktop then you can view the results of the applications' use around the world. On a computer Painted Earth pans and zooms around the Earth to show you the colorful abstract art that has been created by people using the app at different locations.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The California Wildfire Map

The San Francisco Chronicle has released a California Fire Tracker in order to map and provide information on all the wildfires currently burning across California. Fires are shown on the map when they are larger than 500 acres, have caused damage to property, or when people have been injured or killed as a result of the fire.

The fire perimeters and hot spots shown for each wildfire are based on infrared and thermal imaging from Satellite imagery. These perimeters are coarse and not real-time. They should therefore only be used as a rough guide to the extent of a wildfire. The California Fire Tracker also allows you to view current air quality data on the map. This layer is near real-time (it is updated every 30 minutes) and shows concentrations of air pollution particulates.

You can view wildfires outside of California on the US Wildfire Activity Public Information Map. The US Wildfire Activity Public Information Map visualizes US wildfire locations, perimeters, fire potential areas, global burn areas, wind conditions, and precipitation using a variety of different official sources. This map also includes news & media concerning wildfire activity taken from social media.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The World as Seen in Vintage Photos

Ajapaik is a gallery and interactive map showcasing historical and vintage photographs of Estonia. The site allows you to view over 130,000 old images of Estonia, about 75,000 of which have been mapped.

The Ajapaik interactive map allows you to browse this huge collection of old photos by location. If you select a marker on the map the selected photo will be highlighted in the map sidebar. The marker itself shows where the photo was taken and the direction of the camera. If you click on the photo in the map sidebar you can view details about the picture, including any copyright restrictions on using the chosen photo.

You can also browse Ajapaik by albums. In the albums section the vintage photographs have been grouped by theme. These themes includes categories such as sports, transport and also themes organised around individual Estonian towns and cities.

Also See

OldSF - vintage photos of San Francisco
OldNYC - old photographs of New York
Old Toronto - historic photos of Toronto from the City of Toronto Archives
Wymer's DC view images of D.C. from the John P. Wymer Photograph Collection
The Yangon Time Machine - a map of vintage photographs of Yangon, Myanmar
Smapshot - historical images of Switzerland
OldAms - thousands of vintage photographs of Amsterdam
Tids Maskinen - explore photos of Norway by location & date
Helsinki Ennen - historical maps and photographs of the Finnish capital
Our Town Stories - Edinburgh - vintage photos & maps of the Scottish capital
Vintage Greece - geo-located vintage photographs and historical maps of Greece
Historypin - a huge collection of mapped vintage photos from around the world

Friday, July 27, 2018

An Extremely Misleading Election Map

Yesterday the New York Times published an interactive map of the 2016 presidential election which succeeded in annoying a lot of cartographers. The NYT's Extremely Detailed Map of the 2016 Election allows you to explore the 2016 presidential election at the voting precinct level.

The map is a great tool for exploring how many votes were cast for each presidential candidate at precinct level. It also allows you to see at a glance which precincts overwhelmingly voted for either candidate. It does this by shading each precinct by the percentage of votes cast for the winning candidate. The darker a precinct is colored red on the map then the higher the percentage of votes cast for Donald Trump. The darker a shade of blue then the higher the percentage of votes cast for Hillary Clinton.

It is this choice to shade precincts by the percentage of votes cast for a candidate that has upset a lot of people. The reason why many people are arguing that the NYT map is misleading is because it places too much visual weight on the large rural precincts won by Donald Trump and distorts the overall result of the election. For example Jon Schleuss of the LA Times posted this direct comparison of the NYT election map with the LA Times Election map -

Both are maps of the same precinct level data. However the LA Times map shades the precincts by the number of people who live there rather than by the percentage of votes cast for the winning candidate.Therefore in the LA Times precinct election map more visual weight is given to precincts with the most voters rather than to the most partisan precincts. The result is a much more accurate map of the number of votes cast for each candidate in California.

If you want a detailed explanation of the problems with the NYT election map then you should check out Kenneth Field's Cartographic Hyperbole post of the map. Kenneth Filed's considered thoughts on election maps also feature prominently in the Wired's Is the US Leaning Red or Blue? It All Depends on Your Map. The Wired article looks closely at how the different cartographic and data visualization choices you make can greatly influence the story your maps tell. The article is illustrated with a number of different maps of the 2016 presidential election visualizing the data in a number of different ways.

The upshot of all this criticism is not that the NYT election map is wrong. It is just that the visualization choices made have resulted in a map which could easily mislead users about the level of support for the winning candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

Tonight's Total Lunar Eclipse

Tonight much of the world can view a total lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth casts its shadow over the moon. Because the moon is currently at its most distant point from the Earth (apogee) this lunar eclipse will last longer than usual. We won’t get to see such a lengthy total eclipse again until June 9, 2123. However because the moon is so far away it will also look smaller than usual.

Time and Date has created an interactive map for the event. Their Map of the Total Lunar Eclipse shows where a total eclipse will be visible and where a partial eclipse can be seen. If you click on the map you can view the length of the eclipse at the selected location and the times when the eclipse will begin and end.

As you can see from the screenshot above North and Central America are about the only locations in the world where you won't be able to see the eclipse. If you live anywhere else in the world you will be able to see at the very least a partial eclipse of the moon.

At the moment Mars is making its closest approach to Earth (it will be at its closest on July 31). This means that if we have clear skies tonight you should also be able to see the red planet. The Mars and the Moon will be separated by only five degrees. That is about the same as the width of your three middle fingers held at arm’s length. Mars will be slightly to the right and below the moon in the night sky.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pakistan Election Maps

The results of yesterday's election in Pakistan are beginning to come in. Early results suggest that the ex-cricket star Imran Khan is currently in the lead but may fall short of an overall majority.

Al Jazeera's Pakistan Elections map is showing the results live as they are released. The cartogram map view represents each of the 272 election seats as a hexagon. Each hexagon is colored to show the winner in the seat when the result has been announced. The Al Jazeera map includes the option to view the election results for 2013 and 2008.

BBC Urdu also has a live election map for the Pakistan election. The BBC's election map is the only one I've seen which shows a proper geographical view. On the BBC's map each constituency is colored by the winning candidate. You can also click on a seat to view the number of votes cast for the winning candidate. The map also includes an option to view the 2013 election results in each constituency.

The Daily Pakistan's General Election 2018 map shows each constituency as a dot. Each dot is colored to show the winner in that constituency. If you hover over an individual constituency's dot you can view the number of votes cast for the winning candidate. The Daily Pakistan interactive also shows a running  total of the number of seats won by each party.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

When Birds Attack

During the nesting season (April-July) crows can become aggressive, particularly when they perceive a threat to their brood. Sometimes crows will even attack humans. Crows attacking students became such a big problem at Langara College in Vancouver that GIS instructors Jim O’Leary and Rick Davidson decided to create an interactive map that enables people to report locations where crows have attacked.

The CrowTrax map allows anyone to add a location where they have been attacked by a crow. So far the map has had thousands of locations added to the map. And not just in Vancouver. Crowtrax has been in operation for three years now. You can view the locations added to the map in previous years by selecting a year from the map menu.

This isn't the first time that Maps Mania has had to report on aggressive birds. For over six years the University of Waterloo's GooseWatch map has tracked the locations of all known nesting geese on the university's campus. The map also allows you to view the locations where geese have been known to nest in previous years.

The heart of the Goose Watch interactive map is the Brooding Goose Problem routing engine which helps students avoid the brooding (and sometimes aggressive) geese. The search engine even allows you to define how scared of geese you are - which it then takes into consideration when suggesting a safe route around the campus.

Mapping Three Buses at Once

You can wait ages for a bus and then three will turn up all at once.

The phenomenon of bus bunching effects public transit systems around the world. Bus timetables are usually scheduled so that buses on the same route are evenly spaced. Unfortunately in reality passengers often end up waiting ages for a bus, which eventually turns up late and overcrowded - followed closely by one or two other near-empty buses. This is bus bunching.

There are many explanations as to why bus bunching might occur. But before exploring why bus bunching occurs perhaps we should look first at where and when bunching occurs. Pittsburgh's Bus Bunching does exactly this. It uses real-world bus tracking data from Pittsburgh to visualize how bus bunching happens on the city's bus network.

Pittsburgh Bus Bunching uses Carto's Torque library to create an animated map visualization of the city's buses on routes 61, 71, P1 and G2 during March 2016. Press play on the map and you can view an animated heatmap showing the spatial frequency of bunching in Pittsburgh. The map reveals that Oakland, and the intersection of Murray and Forbes in Squirrel Hill are areas where bus bunching appears to occur frequently.

Now that we've identified where the problem occurs all we need to do is work out why ...

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

OSM World

Little Big City is a fun WebGL experiment which creates a small world based on OpenStreetMap data. Pan the inset map on Little Big City and you can view a little city made big on a small 3D globe.

The globe visualizes buildings, roads and water from OpenStreetMap on top of a small 3D globe. A radius control allows you to change the scale of the map data shown on the map. Increase the radius and you can view a slightly bigger small 3D globe.

The map itself is initially zoomed in on Manhattan. Unfortunately the map doesn't include zoom controls or a search facility. This makes it a little difficult to pan the map to a new location. For example, I assume it would take about 15 minutes for me to pan across the Atlantic to view my neighborhood in London

Little Big City reminds me a little of Ecolapse, which creates a similar 'small world' effect using Google Maps Street View imagery.

Ecolapse is a nice extension of the Hyperlapse library created by Teehan+Lax (Hyperlapse itself unfortunately seems to no longer exist - although the source code for Hyperlapse is still available on Github). Using Ecolapse you can create an animated Street View drive with a very clever overhead 'small world' effect. Ecolapse distorts the Google Street View imagery to portray an overhead view rather than the normal Google Maps landscape view.

You can create your own animated Ecolapse tour simply by dropping two map markers onto a Google Map. When the animation is created you have the option to pause the animation, zoom in and out of the Street View and use your keyboard arrow keys to scroll through the route frame by frame.

Swimming to America

Ben Lecomte is attempting to swim across the Pacific. For the next six months he is swimming eight hours a day, accompanied by a support sailboat, from Japan to San Francisco. He is now 521 nautical miles into his 5,000 nautical mile swim.

You can follow Ben's journey on a live interactive map. The Longest Swim Live Tracker shows the track and current position of Ben in the Pacific and the location and track of his support vessel. Ben has so far been swimming for 171 hours and he still has a very long way to go.

The map has a number of dynamic animated layers which allow you to view current, waves and wind data on the map. For example if you turn on the current layer you can see that Ben is at the moment taking advantage of the Kuroshio Current off the east coast of Japan.

Mapping the Billionaire Yacht Club

Forbes has used data from MarineTraffic to track the journeys of the super-rich over one year. Their Billionaires on the Sea interactive map shows you where the likes of Giorgio Armani and David Geffen sailed their over-sized yachts during 2017.

The Forbes interactive map shows the tracks of 17 of the most expensive privately owned yachts over the course of one whole year. You can select to view the year's track of individual yachts by vessel name. If you select an individual yacht on the map you can view the owner's name and details on the distance traveled and the locations where the yacht spent the most time. The 'Destinations' button on the map allows you to view a heat-map view of the locations most visited by the super-rich. The Mediterranean and the Caribbean are two of the most popular locations.

If you scroll down past the map then you can read some pen portraits of the boats' owners and a brief summary of where their yacht's traveled in 2017.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Why New York Deviates from the North

Geoff Boeing's Comparing City Street Orientations has led to a trend of people mapping out the street grid orientations of cities around the world. It also inspired the amazing Streets Orientations Mapbox map, which allows you to instantly create a street orientation compass rose for any location in the world.

One trend that becomes apparent after looking at so many of these street orientation visualizations from around the world is how many cities are laid out on a grid pattern based on the cardinal compass directions. So many cities are laid out with streets running north-south and west-east. Except New York. New York deviates from the north by nearly 29 degrees.

New York's grid was devised in the 1811 plan. In 1807 the New York state legislature appointed Gouverneur Morris, John Rutherfurd, and Simeon De Witt to devise an orderly street plan for Manhattan. So began the formation of New York's grid street plan.

Part of the purpose of the new map of New York, as the New York City Council stated, was "laying out Streets... in such a manner as to unite regularity and order". This is how New York became the orderly and restrained city that we love today. The Interactive 1811 Plan allows you to explore an original map of the 1811 plan overlaid on top of a modern map of New York. In this geo-rectified map you can clearly see how the city was laid out so that the avenues run parallel with the city's rivers, tilting to the northeast, rather than being aligned with true north.

If you click on the 'Key Features' button at the top of the Interactive 1811 Plan you can explore some of the decisions made in devising the 1911 plan. For example, decisions made about the width of New York's streets, the length and width of blocks, the limited provision of parks and the numbering system of New York's roads.

Mappae Mundi on Monday

This week's historical world map is Oronce Fine's 'Modern and Complete Map of the Entire World'. published in 1531. It is the earliest known map on which the name 'Terra australis' appears. You can view the map in detail on Mappae Mundi, my collection of vintage world maps (to view Fine's map just click on the 1531 button).

Terra Australis (Latin for South Land) was a hypothetical southern continent which had been believed to exist by some from at least the 5th century onward. The existence of Terra Australis was supposed on the idea that all the land in the Northern Hemisphere should be balanced by land in the south. It is believed that Oronce Fine based his map of Terra australis on a 1523 globe by Johannes Schöner (now lost). The shape and outline of Terra australis on Fine's map is presumably completely imaginary.

Under the map label 'Terra australis' are the Latin words 'center inventa sed nondum plene cognita' (recently discovered but not yet fully known). Antarctica is still labelled 'Terra Australis Incognita' (Southern Land Unknown) on the world maps of Gerardus Mercator (1606), Pierre Mariette (1642) and Joan Blaeu (1664) - all of which can also be viewed on Mappae Mundi.

The interactive version of Oronce Fine's 'Modern and Complete Map of the Entire World' used in Mappae Mundi has been retrieved from the Library of Congress.

Cassini's 3D Globo Terrestre

Giovanni Cassini was an astronomer, mathematician and cartographer. In cartography he is probably most known for his family's Carte de France, the first ever topographic map of an an entire country. Started by Giovanni the Carte de France or the Cassini Maps were created by four generations of the Cassini family in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Cassini Maps were the first truly accurate national survey based on geodetic triangulation.

You can view all 182 pages of the Cassini Maps overlaid on top of Google Maps at the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Giovanni Cassini also made globes. You can view a virtual 3d version of Cassini's 1790 Globo Terrestre on this Esri Old Globe map. The globe shows the routes of three of Captain James Cook's voyages. It also includes many of Cook's discoveries in the Pacific, including fairly accurate representations of New Zealand and Australia.

If you are interested in viewing more historical terrestrial globes then you might also enjoy the Virtual Globes Museum. This site includes 3d versions of the 1507 Waldseemüller globe, a number of Earth and celestial globes by the Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu and globes by the Venetian Vincenzo Coronelli.

You can view 3d versions of Mercator's Earth Globe and Mercator's Celestial Globe on the University of Lausanne's website. Finally, you can view Miranda's World Map (1706) and Coronelli's Terrestial Globe using the State Library of New South Wales's Meridian application

Average Income by Metro Station

DataParis is a data visualization of Paris census data centered around the individual stations of the Paris Metro. The visualization allows you to explore information on the average wages, taxes paid, the unemployment rate (and lots of other social and economic data) by individual Parisians in neighborhoods around each Metro station.

DataParis is actually a few years old now and uses data from the 2009 census. Despite the slightly dated data the map is effective in visualizing some overall trends about the economic divide in Paris. For example for many of the metrics visualized there is a clear east-west split - with the west side of Paris being far wealthier than the east side.

In London the city's docks were sited in the East End. The Thames also flows eastwards, which means that sewage (and the associated smell) were also far worse in the East End than up river. It is therefore fairly obvious why London's East End became where the poor were able to afford to live. However, in Paris, the Seine flows in the opposite direction. Therefore the river presumably has had little impact on the economic divide in Paris.

I don't know the history of Paris well enough to know where and how its economic divisions developed geographically. Perhaps the economic divide in Paris was caused by the predominantly westerly wind, which would have blown smoke and pollution eastwards in the city, making it a less attractive place to live.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Geography of UK Pub Names

Constantly Plotting has been busy mapping out the geographical distribution of pub names in the UK. In The Geography of UK Pub Names he has created hundreds of static maps showing the distribution of different pub names in the UK.

The results are endlessly fascinating. Some of the maps make immediate sense. For example pubs named 'Miners Arms' seem to be most popular in areas where lead and coal mines once dominated the landscape. Other geographical patterns are less obvious to explain. For example I can't explain why pubs called 'The Bull' should be mostly located in the south while pubs called 'The Black Bull' are more likely to be found in the north.

The maps in the Geography of UK Pub Names are very basic. They provide a a general overview of where individual pub names are distributed in the UK but aren't detailed enough to show you exact addresses. If you want to know the exact co-ordinates of all the pubs then you should check out the project's GitHub which includes a csv file of all the pubs with their latitude and longitude co-ordinates.

You might also be interested in this dot map of Every UK Pub, which uses pub data which, like the Geography of UK Pub Names, was also derived OpenStreetMap.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Homeless in Seattle

As part of its Project Homeless series the Seattle Times has mapped out the results of the 2018 Point in Time count of homelessness in King County. The map shows the change in the rate of homelessness since 2017 in each census tract in the county.

Homelessness across the county is up 4 percent from last year. The Where are people homeless in King County? map colors each census tract by the rate that homelessness has risen or fallen. Census tracts are colored white where there has been no significant change in the number of homeless people. If you select a tract on the map you can view the number of the homeless counted in 2017 and 2018 and the percentage change in the number of homeless people. The census tracts outlined in black on the map feature in some of the Seattle Times homelessness series of articles. If you select one of these tracts you can view the links to the featured articles.

The Seattle Times has also created a series of static maps which compare the city's homelessness crisis to other cities in the USA. Is Seattle’s homeless crisis the worst in the country? maps out the ten worst places for homelessness in the U.S. using a number of different metrics. These include the top 10 homeless populations in America per 10,000 residents, the top ten cities by the percent of people living outside and the top 10 cities by number of people in homelessness. No matter how you measure it Seattle is in the top 10 worst cities for the numbers of people in homelessness.

Also See

Understanding Homelessness - a dot map showing where the homeless are located across the U.S.
Bussed out: How America moves its homeless - the Guardian has mapped out the homeless bus relocation programs that American cities use to try to shift their homeless problems on to other cities
Where are L.A. County’s Homeless? - a dot map of Los Angeles homeless people (from 2015)

The Map of Languages

The Europa Polyglotta is an eighteenth century map of the world's languages and alphabets. The map was published in 1741 as part of Gottfried Hensel's early work on comparative linguistics, the Synopsis Universae Philologiae.

The map is divided into four continents of Europa, Asia, Africa and America. Each of the four continent segments includes a map of the continent and a list of the alphabets used in those continents. Countries on the maps are labeled by the languages that are spoken there. Each country also includes the first (and sometimes second) phrases of the Lord's Prayer written in the local language ('our father who art in heaven (hallowed be thy name)').

The languages of Europe seem to be very well covered. Asia appears to feature many of the major languages (although the Chinese and Japanese characters look very odd to me). The languages of Africa and America are hardly shown at all.

The map is colored to show the areas of the world which were settled by the three sons of Noah. Japhet is pink, Shem is yellow and Ham is green. I believe that in the Synopsis Universae Philologiae itself Hensel argues that all languages derive from a common origin in Hebrew (presumably from the Tower of Babel myth).

Mapping the History of Liverpool

Historic Liverpool allows you to explore and learn more about the history of Liverpool through historic vintage maps of the city and an interactive map highlighting the city's most historic buildings and monuments. The site includes a number of interactive vintage maps dating from 1847 through to 1898.

My favorite vintage map of the city in the collection is Ackermann's Panoramic View of Liverpool (1847). This panoramic map shows the city in the mid-nineteenth century at a time when the city's docks were at the center of global trade. Albert Dock, which opened the year before this map was made, had recently revolutionized the way docks operated by halving the time in which ships could be unloaded and turned (with modern developments such as hydraulic cranes and fireproof warehouses).

By the end of the 19th century 9% of all world trade passed through the docks in Liverpool. You can see in Ackermann's map that even in the middle of the 19th century the entire north bank of the Mersey in Liverpool was dominated by the city's docks and warehouses.

Historic Liverpool also includes a modern map of the city on which the city's most important historic buildings and monuments have been marked. The History Map contains a number of categorized map markers showing the locations of archaeological sites, buildings, monuments and natural features important in Liverpool's history.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mapping America's Education Deserts

11.2 million Americans live in education deserts - in areas which are more than 60 minutes from the nearest public college. For many students (for example older students, students with child-care duties, students who work full time or those who attend college part time) higher education is only possible if they can attend a local public college. If there isn't a college nearby then they can't continue their education.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has mapped out where Americans are living in education deserts. Who Lives in Education Deserts? is a superb story map which cleverly visualizes America's education deserts. The story map starts by adding 1,500 two and four year public colleges to a map of the USA. It then adds 60 minute drive time isochrones around each of those colleges to identify the areas of the USA within an hour drive of a public college. Who Lives in Education Deserts? next adds in all the census blocks that fall outside these areas to calculate the population of the country who don't live within 60 minutes of a college.

3.5% of the adult population live in the education deserts identified by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Most of these areas are rural and predominantly in the west. Over three quarters of the people living in these rural education deserts are white. Native Americans also often live in education deserts. Nearly 30% of Native Americans live more than 60 minutes drive from a public college.

Given the number of people living in education deserts it is is astonishing the U.S. really has no equivalent of the UK's Open University (OU). The OU is a public distance learning and research university where students study principally off-campus. It is one of the UK's biggest providers of undergraduate education. Many of those undergraduate students are the students (older students, students with child-care duties, students who work full time or those who attend college part time) that the American system is currently failing.

Britain's Broadband Speed Map

The Financial Times has mapped the average broadband speed in every postcode area in Great Britain. Surprisingly the map reveals that the inner cities often have the worst broadband speeds.

You can enter your postcode into the FT's Broadband Speed Map to see the average broadband speed in your area and how that compares to the national averages. The red areas on the map are the areas with the slowest average download speeds and the yellow areas have the fastest download speeds.

As well as the interactive map the FT article includes a small multiple map visualization showing the average download speeds in nine of Britain's largest cities. These maps show that city centers often have slower internet speeds than city suburbs and many rural communities. The FT explains that one reason for this is that most recent investment has been into installing ultrafast broadband networks in the suburbs. While rural and inner-city areas have been left behind.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Māori Map of New Zealand

Andrew Douglas-Clifford has created an interactive map of New Zealand with Māori place-names. The Te Reo Māori Web Map is a Mapbox map of New Zealand which shows the Te Reo place-names of New Zealand towns, cities, lakes, rivers, mountains and other notable locations.

The map uses the Te Reo place-name data from OpenStreetMap. This meant that in order for the map to work in the whole country Andrew had to spend months adding Māori names as alternate language names in OSM. If you like the Te Reo Māori Web Map then you can buy a print of a similar static Te Reo language map of New Zealand from Andrew's website.

Earlier this year the New Zealand Herald created an interactive map which colors place-names depending on whether they are English or Māori. The Our Place Names map reveals that North Island is dominated by Māori names and South Island is dominated by English place-names.

The map is made using data from Te Pūnaha Matatini, Dragonfly Data Science and Te Hiku Media. They used algorithms to identify Māori words in the New Zealand Gazetteer of place-names. If you hover over a place-name on the map you can view the actual name.

Apparently most automated voice systems struggle to correctly pronounce many Māori place-names. To rectify this problem Vodafone and Google created an interactive map to crowdsource all the place-names that Google Maps manages to mispronounce. Anyone can drop a pin on the Say it tika map to show a location where Google struggles with the correct Māori pronunciation.

If you click on a place-name's marker you can listen to how Google Maps pronounces the name. If Google gets it wrong then you can drop a map pin to inform Google of its mistake. All these highlighted place-names will then be sent to Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), who have promised to teach Google the correct pronunciations of Māori place-names.

Street Orientations - Anywhere Edition

Today I was going to post a lot of other street orientation visualizations for global cities that have been posted to the Data is Beautiful subreddit over the last few days. But now I don't need to because you can create your own street orientation compass rose for any location in the world with the Streets Orientations Mapbox map.

Visit any location on the world on the Streets Orientations Mapbox map and you can view a compass rose showing the street orientation in the current map view. Instantly! Want a street orientation visualization of Istanbul? Then just center the map on Istanbul and you have one. All roads lead to Rome, right. But where do Roman roads lead? Find out with this map showing the street orientations of the Italian capital.

Obviously the main advantage of this Street Orientations map is that you can instantly create your own street orientation roses for any town, city or village anywhere in the world. However, another great advantage is that you are also able to compare the completed street orientation rose with the map itself. One of the most interesting things for me in looking at these visualizations is exploring why the street orientations in certain cities (like New York in the picture above) veer from the cardinal directions of the compass (north-south, west-east). Having the map and the orientation compass rose side-by-side allows you to see which geographical or natural features might play a role in  the directions of a city's street orientations.

The Street Orientations Mapbox map was made by Mapbox employee and Leaflet.js creator Vladimir Agafonkin. You can explore the code behind the map on the Street Orientations GitHub page. You can also learn how the map was made in just 80 lines of code on the Mapbox Blog (in particular you might be interested in the two Mapbox libraries the map uses - cheap-ruler & lineclip).

If you still insist on exploring ready made street orientation visualizations then check out:

Comparing City Street Orientations - Geoff Boeing's original visualization of American cities
Street Orientations Russia - a neat series of street orientation roses for Russian cities with accompanying road maps
UK Cities
Indian Cities
German Cities

Monday, July 16, 2018

Elevation Kaleidoscope

Landschach is a global kaleidoscope made from a map of the world.

It might not look like Landschach is made from a map but it is. What you are seeing is a map in which a sine wave has been applied to elevation values. This results in blocks of colors without the normal gradients you would get in a traditional elevation map. You can see this more clearly when looking at the same map without the kaleidoscope effect.

The kaleidoscope effect in Landschach is created by having four instance of the same map view. As you travel around the four map instances in sequence the map is flipped 180 degrees. This results in a trippy kaleidoscope effect.

Landschach was inspired by Rorschach Satellite. Rorschach Satellite is a fun little map which is designed to create a kaleidoscope effect using Mapbox aerial views. The map was created by Mapbox's Damon Burgett.

Essentially Rorschach Satellite places two maps side-by-side. On one map the satellite image is flipped so that it shows the mirror image of the other map. The result is that Rorschach Satellite creates patterns very similar to the ink blot patterns used by psychologists in Rorschach tests.

If you like a pattern created with Rorschach Satellite you can copy and past the map URL to share a link to your view on Rorschach Satellite.

#rorschmap uses the Google Maps API to create a very similar effect. #rorschmap can create a kaleidoscope view for any location on the Earth. Essentially the application displays the Google Maps satellite view of a location and, using the same principle of multiple reflection that you find in kaleidoscopes, creates an animated Rorschach test effect.

The map works in a similar way to Rorschach Satellite but actually has four different map views rather than two.

If that doesn't impress you then why not try #rorschmap Street View Edition. Just enter your address into the app and you can drop-down the rabbit-hole and create a kaleidoscope from the Google Maps Street View of your own home!

Mappa Monday

In the 7th century the scholar Isidore of Seville wrote an encyclopedia of universal knowledge. His 'Etymologiae' included a description of the known world. Some medieval manuscripts of  Etymologiae include a map based on Isidore's description of the world. These are widely known as T and O maps.

You can view a 15th century interpretation of a T and O map on Mappae Mundi, my collection of vintage world maps. To view the T and O map just click on the '600' date in the map menu and wait for the map to load.

T and O Maps are simple circular maps depicting half of the Earth. The antipodes, being unknown, are not shown. The simple depiction of the known world includes three continents Asia, Africa and Europe. Asia (east), which is twice the size of the other two continents, is shown at the top of the map. Jerusalem is often depicted in the center of the map (although not in this T and O map).

The T and O map I've included in Mappae Mundi comes from the Etymologiae in the Kraus Map Collection, at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas.

The Yangon Time Machine

The Yangon Time Machine is a Google Map showcasing vintage photographs of Yangon, Myanmar. Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, is steeped in history. The city boasts the highest number of colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia. It also boasts a large number of impressive Hindu and Buddhist temples.

You can browse the vintage photographs of Yangon by location by using the Yangon Time Machine interactive map. Select a marker of the map and you can view an historical photograph of the chosen location. This view includes a slide control which allows you to compare the vintage photograph with a photo of the same view today.

As well as showcasing beautiful historical views of Yangon's colonial buildings and religious temples the Yangon Time Machine allows you to view a 1914 vintage map of Rangoon. This vintage map viewer uses an OpenStreetMap map of modern Yangon with a spy glass tool which allows you to see the 1914 Rangoon map superimposed on top of the modern map.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Street Orientations - World Edition

Geoff Boeing's Comparing City Street Orientations has been very popular over the last week. Geoff's compass rose visualizations show the street orientation patterns of 25 major American cities. This series of compass roses reveals that nearly all U.S. cities adhere to a fairly strict grid system of roads.

Now Geoff has turned his attention to other major cities around the world. City Street Orientations around the World includes compass rose visualizations showing the street orientations of 25 cities across the globe. When you look at the street orientations of American cities side-by-side with some of the much older global cities you can see how older cities tend not to have the same strict grid cities of younger cities across the world.

It is also interesting to explore why some city street orientations deviate from the cardinal directions. You can probably guess why Manhattan doesn't have the strict North-South and East-West street orientation of most American cities. If you aren't sure of the reason then you might want to look at a map of New York.

A few years ago Visual Statistix also explored the road direction patterns in America and in a number of European cities. Visual Statistix included maps of each city next to the rose diagrams of urban road patterns. These maps allow you to explore how geographical and natural features (most often rivers) might contribute to the orientation of city streets in cities whose streets deviate from the cardinal directions.

Thanks to a number of Reddit users we now also have street orientations for cities in a number of other countries around the world. ddofer created (the above) compass rose visualizations for cities in Israel.

oxymiro made a similar visualization showing the street orientations of the sixteen biggest cities in France.

In the Netherlands bartkappenberg created compass roses showing street orientations for fifteen Dutch cities.

DSPublic made a visualization showing the street orientations of the most populous cities in each Canadian province.