Thursday, January 17, 2019

Taking the Measure of America


Measure of America has developed the American Human Development Index to measure the well-being of Americans in a number of different areas, including health, education, and income. You can explore these well-being scores at the county, state and congressional district level using the Measure of America interactive map.

Mapping America allows you to view choropleth maps visualizing the well-being scores at different administrative levels. Select one of the individual indices from any of the different topic areas and you can view how counties, states or congressional districts score on that metric. As well as the choropleth map showing the well-being score in every county a bar chart organizes every county in the USA from best to worst.

If you select an individual county or congressional district on the map an information window opens with details on all of the area's well-being scores for each of the individual health, education and income indices.

Mapping London's Trees & Tree Cover


The London Tree Canopy Cover interactive map provides a high resolution view of tree canopy cover in the Greater London area.

The map was created by a European Space Agency funded project called Curio Canopy. Curio Canopy uses machine learning based techniques to identify tree canopy cover from ESA satellite imagery. The project also uses crowd-sourcing to get citizen science volunteers to check the results on the ground. These checks are then fed-back into the system to improve the system's image recognition algorithms. You can read more about how Curio Canopy identifies tree canopy cover in their methodology report, Measurement & spatial analysis of London’s tree canopy cover (PDF).

London has over 8 million trees. You can learn more about some of those trees on the Greater London Authority's London Tree Map.  This interactive map shows the locations and genus of 700,000 of London's trees.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Political Donations in the Midterm Elections


Money for California's congressional candidates in the midterm elections came from all over the USA. The Mercury News has mapped out every city where the Democratic or Republican candidates raised at least $10,000 in the seven congressional seats flipped by the Democrats in November.

The interactive map in From Moscow (Idaho) to Jupiter (Florida), follow the money that flowed into California’s high-stakes congressional races the newspaper visualizes how much money was raised by congressional candidates and where that money came from. The map uses colored scaled markers to show the amount of money raised and for which party. You can also click on the individual markers to see how much money was donated to each party and the percentage difference in the money donated to each party.


73% of the total money given to House candidates in the 2018 midterm elections came from outside each candidate's district. You can now find out where each candidate's contributions came from on this interactive map from Axios.

Axios' map Outside Money Floods House Campaigns allows you to see where every House candidate's money comes from. If you select a candidate's name from the drop-down menu you can view a map of the USA which includes flow-lines showing all the money flowing into the candidate's election campaign. The flow-lines on the map are also colored to show where each donation comes from. The blue lines show donations which have come from within the candidate's district. The green lines show money that has been donated from within state and the grey lines show all the donations coming from other states.

The total money donated to the candidate is shown above the map. This total is also broken down to show the percentage that came from within the candidate's district, the percentage from within the candidate's state and the percentage that came from the rest of the USA.

Mapping the Ebola Outbreak


In the last six months there have been 600 cases of Ebola in the Congo and there have been over 400 deaths. It is now the second largest outbreak of the deadly disease in Africa.

Reuters has used the story map format to tell the story of the disease from its discovery near the Ebola river in 1976 to the current time. In Africa, a Virus Spreads Reuters shows where major outbreaks of the disease have occurred. It also examines some of the similarities in these locations. For example Ebola outbreaks often start in "areas near to dense, equatorial forests, which make a natural home for the virus".

Ebola can be spread by bats, monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas. Reuters maps out the range of these species in central Africa. It goes on to show how these areas can be used to predict the likely areas where the Ebola virus might appear.

The World Health Organization records the latest figures on the number of cases and the number of deaths from Ebola on its Ebola Situation site. The WHO's technical and general information on Ebola can be accessed here.

Brexit & the Irish Border


One of the major considerations in the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK is the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is the only land border between the UK and the EU. When free movement and free trade between the EU and the UK ends there may need to be a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The 1998 Belfast Agreement ended the Troubles in Northern Ireland and removed the hard border. The worry is that a return to a hard border would destabilize the Belfast Agreement and could even reignite anger and violence. If anyone is in any doubt about the level of violence experienced along the old hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland they should check out the Irish Times' Explore the Border interactive map.

Explore the Border maps a sample of just some of the border incidents experienced during the Troubles. Click on a marker on the map and you are taken to one of the old crossings along the border. The map sidebar reports on any major violent incidents which occurred at this crossing. The number of bombings, shootings and arson attacks are also listed.

Explore the Border also shows Google Street View images of each mapped crossing on the border. This allows you to explore the border for yourself and highlights how a hard border would not only be difficult to implement but would be an ugly scar on a very beautiful country.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Mapping Austin's Dockless Journeys


The Austin Transportation Department has released the city's Dockless Vehicle Trips dataset. This data records where and when the city's dockless bikes and scooters are used. The data is updated everyday and includes records of more than two million dockless trips.

You can access and use the data yourself using the Austin Dockless API. You can also access and explore the data using the Dockless Data Explorer interactive map. Using the map you can explore  dockless travel patterns in the city. If you place a point on the map you can view the number of dockless journeys that have taken place to and from that location. Shaded hexagons on the map show where trips from that area ended or, if you switch to view where trips started, the hexagons show where trips to that area started.

You can access more information about dockless bike and scooter trips in Austin using the Dockless Mobility Overview dashboard. The Dockless Mobility Overview provides month by month summary statistics, providing information on the total number of trips made using the city's bikes and scooters and the total number of miles traveled.

Modeling Crisis Migration Routes


Visual Perspective has developed a model which uses different factors to predict the likely migration routes people might take away from an area in a time of crisis. To explain its model and how the model works Visual Perspective has released an interactive map which provides a demonstration of the model in action in the Yemeni city of Dhama.

In Predicting Migration in Response to Crisis Visual Perspective uses a story map format to demonstrate its migration prediction model. This demonstration starts with a fairly blank map of the region around Dhama. Variables that play a role in the routes that migrates might take to escape a crisis in the city are then added to the map in turn. These include elements such as elevation, roads, administrative boundaries and unstable areas.

When all these layers have been added to the map Visual Perspective runs its model and visualizes the probable migration routes that the model predicts. Visual Perspective also allows users to set their own values to the different variables and see how these changes affect the predicted migration routes on the map. I have no idea about the accuracy of the migration prediction model developed by Visualizing Perspective but this interactive map provides a superb explanation of how the model works.

How Will Your MP Vote on May's Deal?


Today MP's in the UK parliament will finally have a 'meaningful vote' on the European Union Withdrawal Agreement, commonly known as 'May's Deal'. If the MP's vote against the deal it will have serious consequences for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

What those serious consequences will be are uncertain. If the Prime Minister, Theresa May, loses the vote she will then have just three days to present a 'plan B' to Parliament. It is also likely that the opposition Labour Party will call for a 'no confidence' vote in the Conservative government and try to force a new national election. Some Conservative MP's will undoubtedly push for a 'Hard Brexit'. Other MP's will also propose a new national referendum on leaving the EU and some MP's will push for postponing the March 29th date for the UK leaving the EU.

If you want to know where your Member of Parliament stands on 'May's Deal' then you can refer to Flavible's interactive map May's Deal. On the map each parliamentary constituency is colored according to how the Member of Parliament intends to vote on May's Deal. If you hover over a constituency you can view the MP's name, how they intend to vote and their preferred policy (from Hard Brexit, May's Deal, Labour Policy or People's Vote). You can also switch the map view to see each constituency colored to show the MPs' preferred policy.

Note: I can't find any explanation for how Flavible determines each MP's preferred policy and support for May's Deal. From my limited knowledge of UK politics and MPs' expressed views the map seems fairly accurate. Obviously some MP's are likely to change their position today under pressure from the whips (or their consciences).

Monday, January 14, 2019

100 Years of Californian Wildfires


In the last 123 years the equivalent of 33.8% of California has burned in wildfires. The Huffington Post has used data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Fire and Resource Assessment Program to map out more than a century of California wildfires.

This Is What More Than A Century Of Wildfires In California Looks Like includes an interactive map which visualizes the scale of damage caused to California by wildfires over the years. The map shows how 40% of the total acreage burnt in the last 123 years has actually occurred in just the last 20 years. Using a story map format the visualization continues to show the size of California's three largest fires. All of California's top three largest fires have taken place this century.


The largest Californian wildfire in the last 123 years occurred in 2018. In 2018 nearly 20,000 homes in California were lost and more than 100 people were killed by wildfires. According to analysis by the LA Times one in ten buildings in California are in the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's highest-risk fire zones.

In A million California buildings face wildfire risk the LA Times has created a series of hexagon density maps showing the concentration of buildings in severe fire hazard zones. This series starts with a map showing the areas in California with the largest concentration of endangered homes. It continues with individual maps showing the areas with the largest concentration of fire risk buildings in and around Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The LA Times article also has an interactive map which shows the location of every one of California's 8,900 very severe hazard zones. The LA Times says that the total number of at risk homes in California is likely to be more than 114,000.

White Supremacist Flyering in the US


For a number of years the Southern Poverty Law Center's interactive Hate Map has tracked the growing number of hate groups operating in the United States. Now the SPLC has also mapped out where white supremacists have been flying banners or posting flyers in the United States. The Map of White Supremacist Flyering in the U.S. provides an overview of the number of white supremacist flyering in each state and the precise locations where these flyers have been posted.

When zoomed out the map shows the number of flyers posted by different extreme right-wing groups in each state. It is important to note that this view has not been normalized for each state's population. The map just shows the total number of flyers posted and banners flown in each state. If you use the filter controls you can see where Identity Evropa, the Patriot Front and the Ku Klux Klan have been active. These filters reveal that the Patriot Front is particularly active in Texas, while the Ku Klux Klan has been very active in many north-eastern states.

If you zoom in on the map you can identify specific locations where flyers and banners have been posted. If you click on an individual state you can also view a chronological summary of flyering in that state. This view allows you to see how flyering rose or fell in the state over the course of 2018.

The Anti-Defamation League also has an interactive Hate Crime Map. The ADL has used data from the Justice Department from 2004-2017 to map the number of hate crimes reported in all cities with a population over 100,000.

Mapping America's Protected Land


Around 14% of land in the United States is protected. This includes more than three billion acres of land managed by nearly 15,100 agencies and nongovernmental organizations, consisting of 200,000 separate parks and protected areas.

The Protected Lands Database of the U.S. (PAD-US) records all land areas which are held in public trust in the United States. This includes public lands managed by government agencies, preserves owned by nonprofits or private lands protected by conservation easement. This database of protected land is maintained and published by the U.S. Geological Survey.

ProtectedLands.net has used the PAD-US to create an interactive map of America's public land. On the map protected land is color-coded by management type. Federal protected land makes up the majority of protected land in the USA. However the map also shows protected land which is managed by the state or local government, native Americans, and non-government agencies. If you click on an area of protected land on the map you can view its name, designation and size in acres.

ProtectedLands.net also allows you to generate reports at the state, county or city level. For example, if you select a state on the map you can view a report showing the size of the state, the size of all protected lands and what percentage of the state is protected. The report outlines the number of acres of each management type of protected land in the state and the percentages of each type.

The USGS's own interactive map the Protected Areas Viewer also allows you to explore protected lands in the USA.

Who Owns England - Part III


For the last two years Who Owns England has been diligently trying to discover who owns what land in England, Scotland and Wales. This is quite hard because the UK government doesn't want its citizens to know who owns their country. This task is also complicated by the fact that 15% of land in England & Wales is unregistered.

That is why Who Owns England has now released Where is the Unregistered Land. This interactive map shows where land in England and Wales is not registered with the government's Land Registry. Who Owns England has also published a blog post, The Holes in the Map, where they explain why so much land is unregistered in England & Wales. This post also attempts to explain who might own some of this land and why it is so important to know who land is owned by.


While we are on the subject of who owns England and Wales - last year the BBC discovered that 97,000 properties in England and Wales are owned by overseas companies. In Firms on Caribbean island chain own 23,000 UK properties the BBC has mapped all the properties in England & Wales which are owned by these overseas companies.

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

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Solving San Francisco's Housing Crisis


San Francisco is generally perceived to be in a housing crisis. Many reasons are given for this crisis. One reason could be that rent controlled properties are becoming less affordable. Another reason is that home prices in the city have far outrun inflation for over a decade. Underlying both of these  reasons is the fact that housing demand far outweighs supply in San Francisco.

In San Francisco buildings with more than 5 units account for 52% of the city's housing units. These buildings only occupy 19% of land in the city. Conversely 62% of San Francisco's land area is occupied by single-family homes. These single family-homes account for only 27% of the city's housing units. So one solution to the city's housing crisis is to ensure a higher percentage of land is used for buildings with multiple housing units.

Converting some of the land currently used by single-family homes into buildings with more housing units would help to address the lack of housing in the city. Alternatively (or in addition) the city could ensure that the majority of new buildings include multiple housing units.

The problem with this solution of building more multiple housing unit buildings is San Francisco's zoning laws. You can see how difficult it is to build new multiple housing unit buildings in the city on the SF Zoning Laws Make it Illegal to Build Apartments in Most of the City interactive map. The red areas on the map show the 73.5% land area of the city where it is illegal to build apartment buildings. Apartment buildings are defined as buildings with more than 3 housing units. New buildings with more than 5 housing units are illegal in 87% of San Francisco.

Creating more buildings with more than 5 housing units would have a material affect on how the city looks. For example it would contribute to an overall increase in building heights. You can view the current heights of all San Francisco's buildings on the SF Building Height map.

Animated Population Cartograms


In December Engaging Data created an interesting animated map to show the 'true size' of countries around the world. The Real Country Sizes Shown on Mercator Projection map allows you to switch between countries as they appear using the Mercator projection and their 'true size'.

Engaging Data has now created a similar map which scales each U.S. state by the size of its population. Press the 'Click to Show Population Size' button on the Scaling the Physical Size of States to Reflect Population map and each state on the maps shrinks to effectively create a cartogram of the United States where the size of each state relates to their relative populations. Each of the states are also colored to reflect the size of the state's population. The result is therefore a choropleth cartogram. Just click on the 'Click to Show Physical Size' button to switch back to the choropleth map view.

If you click on a state on the map you can view the state's actual population. You can also view how much the new size of the state is as a percentage of the state's original size on the map. This figure gives you an indication of how densely or sparsely populated a state is. For example, the re-scaled Alaska is just 0.1% of its original size. This is because the state is very large and has a relatively small population. New Jersey on the other hand remains the same size (100% of its original size), reflecting that it is America's most densely populated state.

Friday, January 11, 2019

3D Sketch Maps


Raluca Nicola has written up a tutorial which shows you how to create a 3D map which has the feel of a sketched drawing. Sketch Your City with ArcGIS API for Javascript walks you through the process of turning a web scene into an impressive three dimensional sketch style interactive map.

Before creating your own sketched 3D maps you can explore some of the cities already mapped by Racula. Sketch the City includes 3D maps of San Francisco, New York, Paris and Berlin. Each of the 3D sketched scenes include quick links that allow you to instantly zoom-in on well known locations. For example, the map of Paris includes links to zoom to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe.

Mapping America's Falling Fertility

Yesterday the CDC announced that fertility rates in the USA had reached a thirty year low. In fact only two states, South Dakota and Utah, currently have fertility rates high enough to maintain current levels of the working population.

The U.S. needs a total fertility rate of 2,100 births per 1,000 women in order to replace its population over time, without recourse to immigration. The fertility rates in 48 states are below the level needed to maintain the current population. Esri's 2017 US Fertility Rates by State shows the fertility rates in each state.


Esri's map shows the overall total fertility rate in each state and the fertility rate for the three largest race and Hispanic-origin groups. The District of Columbia had the lowest total fertility rate in 2017. The highest fertility rate was in South Dakota.

One result of America's falling birth rate is that in a couple of decades it is likely that there will be more people over 65 years of age in the USA than there are children, for the first time in the country's history. By 2030 it is projected that 1 in every 5 people will be of retirement age. In order to replace the falling numbers of Americans of working age it is likely that the USA will have to rely on higher levels of immigration.


Americans over 70

By 2030 everyone of the baby boomer generation will be older than age 65. This ageing generation is already pushing up the average age in many areas of the U.S.. In 1970 the median age was 28.1. In 2016 it was 37.9. Obviously the median age varies from county to county. Last year City Lab mapped out the number of Americans over 70 in Mapping America's Aging Population.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Mapping Superdiveristy


Superdiversity is a new website exploring the rise of super-diverse cities around the world. A number of major cities have populations which are approaching 'majority-minority' status, where the percentage of people who are minorities is greater than the majority ethnic/racial population.

Vancouver, Sydney and Auckland are three cities which have populations of whom around 40% were born overseas. Superdiversity uses these three cities to explore the relationship between diversity and socio-economic outcomes. The site uses a number of clever data visualizations in this exploration of each city's diversity and how this relates to and affects local socio-economic opportunities and outcomes.

One of these clever data visualizations is a superb interactive map. This map allows you to view simple choropleth visualizations showing the location of each city's minority populations. However the map also allows you to view a series of bivariate choropleth maps for each city, which provide an insight into five different types of diversity. You can select any two of these five variables to see both visualized as a bivariate choropleth map. These variables allow you to view the degree of correlation between two different types of diversity in different neighborhoods of the selected city.

If you are interested in learning more about bivariate choropleth maps and how to make them you should refer to Joshua Stevens' Bivariate Choropleth Maps: A How-to Guide.

The Chicago Parking Ticket Map



The Chicago Parking Ticket Map is a Bokeh powered visualization of Chicago's parking ticket data. This interactive map allows you to explore where and when parking tickets were issued in the city from the beginning of 2013 through to May 2018.

The map has a number of options which allow you to filter the data by time of day, day of the week, by type of violation and by date range. If you select the 'Hover' tool from the map tools you can mouse-over individual blocks to view the total dollars in penalties issued to motorists through parking tickets in the selected locality.

The data from the Chicago Parking Ticket Map comes from Propublica, who obtained the data from the city using Freedom of Information requests. Last year Propublica used the data themselves in a number of articles and data visualizations exploring how the city of Chicago has been pushing many car drivers into debt. For example, the Ticket Trap allows you to see how many tickets have been issued in any ward of Chicago and compare the data to other city wards.

The History of Rising Seas


Since 1933 the UK's National Oceanography Centre has been maintaining the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), a repository for tide heights around the world. The PSMSL provides an invaluable guide to long-term sea level change across the globe.

CORRECTIV has used the PSMSL data to map out the history of sea levels around the world since 1985. Steigende Meere includes an animated map which shows recorded tide gauge data across the globe for every year since 1985. The article accompanying the map is in German but the map itself is easy to understand. The red spikes show the size of rising seal levels and the green spikes show the size of recorded falls in the sea level.

CORRECTIV reports that the oceans absorb 80 percent of the extra heat from global warming. Warmer water expands and therefore needs more space. The result is rising sea levels. Global warming also causes glaciers to melt, which also contributes to rising seas. In some places, such as in southern Scandinavia, the melting glaciers put pressure on the land masses, so they lift up. Therefore global warming can actually cause rising land levels on some coastlines.


This isn't the only mapped visualization of the historical Permanent Service of Mean Sea Level data by CORRECTIV. CORRECTIV has also mapped the records from 500 of the over 2,000 PSMSL gauges to provide an insight into how sea levels have changed in the last century and how they might change in the future.

Using CORRECTIV's Rising Seas map you can select any of the 500 mapped meters anywhere in the world. When you click on a meter you can view a graph of the meter's measurements since 1933. The map sidebar also provides an overview of how sea level has changed at this location since the measurements began. As well as measurements from the 500 meter readings the Rising Seas map includes an overlay which shows you coastal areas which are within 10 meters of sea level and therefore most at risk from rising sea levels.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Where is it safe to travel?


The Travel Map is a useful tool for anyone who is planning to travel abroad. The interactive map provides travel advice and vaccine recommendations for countries around the world. It can also tell you about the prevalence of different vaccine-preventable diseases across the globe.

The Travel Map is very simple to use. Countries are colored on the map by how safe they are to visit.  If you select a country on the map you can view more information on the level of caution you need in travelling to that country. The map sidebar also provides information on the type of vaccines you might need and the prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases in the chosen country.

If you select the 'Disease Prevalence' tab in the map sidebar you can view choropleth maps showing the prevalence of a number of diseases around the world. Choose a disease from the list of vaccine-preventable diseases and you can see a visualization of how prevalent that disease is in all the world's countries.


If you are worried about traveling abroad then you might also want to refer to International SOS's map of the travel risks in every country of the world. Their Travel Risk Map provides an overview of the travel risks in each country for medical, security and road safety.

Countries are colored on the Travel Risk Map to show the International SOS assessment of the travel risks in these three categories. The map therefore provides a very basic guide as to where it is safe to travel in the world. You should also check your government's latest travel advice as well. Many governments provide useful advice for their citizens planning to travel abroad. For example the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date Foreign Travel Advice.

Where Federal Workers Aren't Being Paid


Trump's government shutdown is affecting federal employees across the country. The Washington Post has mapped out exactly how many employees are affected in every state.

The WaPo's Where Federal Agents Aren't Getting Paid map reveals that DC has the highest concentration of federal workers. Outside of DC the state with the highest percentage of federal workers is Alaska, closely followed by Montana. The WaPo choropleth map shows the number of federal employees affected by the shutdown per 100,000 workers in each state.

The three government agencies with the most workers affected by the shutdown are Homeland Security, Justice and Agriculture. In total 411,900 employees in these three agencies are not being paid. Overall over 800,000 government workers are having to survive without pay.


The main reason why these government workers aren't being paid is the President's demand that American taxpayers pay for his border wall. Earlier this year USA Today attempted to answer the question of whether we should build Trump's wall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mapping UK Commuting Flows


Commute-flow is an interactive map which reveals the commuting flow patterns for every area in England & Wales. The map uses origin-destination data from the 2011 census to show where people commute to and from in their daily work lives.

If you select an area on the map you can view where people commute to for work. If you click on the burger menu icon you can switch to show the incoming commuter flows for the selected area. You can also switch between visualizing commuting flows on the map using polylines or polygons.


You can view these commute flows animated on Mark Evens' Commute Map of England & Wales. These hypnotic animated visualizations show workers traveling to and from English & Welsh cities. Using the two drop-down menus above the map you can select a region and then an individual city or town.

After you select an individual location the map animates the commuting flow into the city in the morning and then the commuting flow as workers return home in the evening. The four locations where the most workers commute from are indicated by the colored moving dots on the map. A list below the map also shows the locations where people commute from and the numbers that commute from each location.

If you want to see commuting flows in the U.S. then check out Mark's Commute Map, which animates commuting flows to and from American cities.


If you are interested in how people in England & Wales commute then you should also have a look at DataShine's commuting maps. DataShine Region Commute and Datashine Commute both reveal English & Welsh commuting patterns (at different regional levels). These maps also allow you to select a mode of transport, which allows you to see where people commute to by bike, train, car, on foot and by other modes of transport.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Where Are the Richest American Counties?


Loudoun County in Virginia is the U.S. county with the highest average wage earners. The median household income in Loudoun County is $125,672. That is over twice as much as the American median household income, which the U.S. Census Bureau reported in September 2017 as being $59,039.

Recently there have been a number of mapped visualizations of data from the American Community Survey (ACS). Maps Mania has already featured Bloomberg's interactive map of Neighborhoods Earning Over $200,000. In December we also linked to the American Ancestry map, which shows the most populous ancestry, Hispanic or racial group in each census tract based on ACS data.

Four Pillar Freedom has now used median income data from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey to map the 3 counties with the highest median household incomes in each state. The three richest counties in each state are colored blue on the interactive map. You can also hover over any county on the map to view the median household income in the area. Beneath the interactive map Four Pillar Freedom has also listed the three richest counties and graphed the median household incomes in each state.

2018 - the Year of Climate Change


In 2018 the biggest trend in online mapping was climate change. Last year there were numerous interactive maps released designed to visualize how global warming will effect the world in the coming years. These maps visualized the future that we can now expect, including rising sea levelsrising global temperatures, and increasing air pollution.

Alongside these portents of our depressing future there were also numerous maps visualizing the current effects of global warming. This included maps of record breaking temperatures, devastating flooding, hurricane damage and incredible wildfires.

The links above are just a small snapshot of the huge number of climate change related maps posted on Maps Mania during 2018. If you explore the weather and environment tags you will find many, many more.

Unless you are completely hiding your head in the sand you will have noticed the effect that global warming is already having on the world around you. The Guardian certainly noticed that 2018 witnessed more than its fair share of extreme weather events. It has even mapped out the Human Impact of 2018's Climate Disasters.

As you scroll through The Guardian's overview of all the global deadly weather events of 2018 an interactive map is used to show where in the world these events happened. Different markers are used on the map to show whether the displayed events were floods, storms, droughts etc. The map also includes a running total showing the number of global deaths caused by extreme weather in 2018 and the number of people who were effected by these events around the world.

Monday, January 07, 2019

12 Months of Global Winds


Reddit user anvaka has created an impressive video visualizing 12 month's of global surface winds. The 2018 Global Wind map uses GFS (global forecasting system) data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

While watching the video it is possible to spot the world's prevailing winds. There are a number of dominant wind patterns around the globe which are influenced by the Coriolis effect. The trade winds move in an easterly direction at low and medium latitudes nearer the equator. In the mid-latitudes, further from the equator, the westerlies move in a westward direction around the world. Both the trade winds and the westerlies are clearly legible on anvaka's map.

Across the globe there are many names for local wind patterns. Even at the global extent of the 2018 Global Wind map it is possible to pick out some of these local wind patterns. Can you spot the Haboob and the Chinook on the 2018 Global Wind map?

How Big is the SkyDome?


Toronto's SkyDome stadium overlaid on Central Park

Mapto has developed a neat way to show the comparative size of a building by overlaying its 3D model on top of an interactive map. The map allows you to place the 3D model on any spot in the world, allowing the user to view the building in relation to a familiar location.

In the Mapto example, SkyDome Map, you can view a 3D model of Toronto's SkyDome stadium and move it to any location in the world. The map includes a number of quick links that show the stadium overlaid on four other well-known Toronto locations. You can also click on the 'Move SkyDome' button to move the model of the SkyDome to a location of your own choice.

Mapto's map was developed from Andrew Harvey's Add a 3D Model to a Mapbox GL Map. Both Mapto and Andrew use Mapbox GL, which allows you to tilt the map view and explore the 3D model from different angles. Something which you wouldn't be able to do with a traditional top-down interactive map view.

The 3D model in Andrew's map uses the glTF file format for 3D scenes and models. This is a well used format and there are plenty of freely available glTF files of 3D models on the internet. If you want to experiment with adding other 3D models to Mapbox GL then you are spoiled for choice of ready made 3D objects (for example try Sketchfab).

America's Million Dollar Neighborhoods


3.65% of American homes now cost more than one million dollars. You can find out where America's most expensive homes are located on the Million Dollar Neighborhoods map.

This interactive map uses data from Trulia to show neighborhoods where the median house price has exceeded $1 million. The map uses different shades of blue to show which year the median house price in the neighborhood exceeded a million dollars. Green is used to show the neighborhoods where the median house price has not yet exceeded one million dollars.

Six of the top ten neighborhoods, with the highest concentration of million dollar homes, can be found in California. The other four are Seattle, Honolulu, Long Island and New York.


If you want a nationwide view of where America's most expensive real-estate exists then you can refer to Metrocosm's Average House Price by County 3D map. This map uses data from Zillow (from 2016) to show the average house price by square foot at the county level. The taller a county is displayed on the map then the higher the cost of property in that area.

If you are interested in where Americans earn the most then you might also be interested in Bloomberg's map of America's high earners. Using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey Bloomberg has mapped out the neighborhoods which are attracting America's highest earners.

Americans Earning Over $200,000 Are Flocking to These Neighborhoods includes a map showing the concentration of households earning $200,000 or more in each county. Bloomberg has also mapped the 100 neighborhoods which have seem the highest growth in high earners since 2000.

The census tract which has seen the highest growth of households earning at least $200,000 is in Cook County, Illinois. Four of the top ten census tracts showing an increase in high earners are in commuting distance of Washington DC. According to Bloomberg in some of these areas "around half of households earn more than $200,000".

Saturday, January 05, 2019

2018 Journalist Deaths


76 journalists around the world were killed in 2018. The Committee to Protect Journalists' database includes journalists who were murdered in the last 12 months and also journalists who were killed in action (from crossfire or combat on assignment).

Afghanistan, Mexico and Syria, receptively, were the three countries where the most journalists were killed in 2018. The CPJ's 2018 Map of Journalism Deaths includes four motive confirmed murders of journalists in the United States in the last year. All four of these deaths were from the attack on the Capital Gazette. On June 28th Jarrod Ramos shot and killed five employees of the Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. Four of the victims were journalists working for the newspaper, the other victim was a sales assistant.

The CPJ map includes a number of filters which allow you to explore the database of journalist deaths by location and type of death. The map also includes a date filter which allows you to directly compare the year's map of journalist deaths with maps for previous years (going back to 1992).

Friday, January 04, 2019

The Geography of the World's Religions


Recently Pew Research released an interactive map called How Religious is Your Country?. This map visualized how many people in each European country identify as being religious. If you were wondering which religions those European believers follow you can find out with the World Religions Map.

The World Religions Map shows the most practiced religion in each country of the world. On this interactive map countries are colored to show the largest religious group. If you select a country on the map you can view the percentage of the population which follows the major religion and the percentages which follow all the other main world religions.

The World Religions Map also allows you to view the global distribution of the all the main religions. Select a religion from the map's drop-down menu and you can view a choropleth map showing the level of the religion's believers around the globe.

The Sound Maps of the the Wild West


Montana State University and Esri have collaborated to map Montana's varied ecosystems. The Sounds of the Wild West takes you on an audio tour of the state's prairies, mountains, parks, rivers and national parks.

The Sounds of the Wild West includes four audio tours in total, Yellowstone National Park, the Crown of the Continent, the High Plains and Upper Missouri. Each ecosystem's tour combines photography with audio recordings of the natural soundscapes. For example in the Yellowstone National Park tour you can listen to waterfalls, geysers, elk calls, wolves and bears. While in the High Plains tour you can hear bird song, bison, coyotes and prairie dogs.

All the sounds featured on The Sounds of the Wild West come from Montana State University’s Acoustic Atlas. The Acoustic Atlas includes over 2,700 natural sound recordings. You can browse these recordings geographically and listen to the recordings on the Acoustic Atlas' own Sound Map.


If you enjoy natural sounds then you will love Cornell University's amazing Wall of Birds map, which features recordings from every surviving bird species in the the world.

The GBIF Soundscape is another interactive map which allows you to  listen to natural sound recordings from across the globe. This map allows you to recreate the soundscapes of different natural environments around the world by creating your own mix of bird and frog songs recorded at specific different locations.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The OpenLitterMap


I am sure that you are aware of the huge environmental damage being caused to the world's oceans by plastic waste. One way you can try to minimize that damage is by minimizing your use of plastic. The creator of OpenLittterMap believes you can also help to minimize that damage by recording and reporting waste.

The OpenLitterMap is an open mapping application that anyone can use to record and report litter that they find on the streets. If you photograph and report enough litter you might even make it to the OpenLitterMap high score list of most active users or help your county win the OpenLitterMap World Cup.

All the data on litter you contribute to OpenLitterMap becomes free and open data. The OpenLitterMap is working to make this data available to anyone who wants it. Until that data is made downloadable you can always use the map to help organize your local clean-up teams in their efforts to keep our streets beautiful and clear of litter.

The Racial Dot Map of U.S. Prisons


The University of Virginia's Racial Dot Map is one of those maps which I find myself referring to over and over again. Nearly every time I see a geographical breakdown of social and economic conditions in the USA I find myself referring to the Racial Dot Map.

For example, The Opportunity Atlas allows you to see which neighborhoods in America offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty and in which neighborhoods kids are trapped by their upbringing. The map uses data from the lives of 20 million Americans, following them from childhood to their mid-30s, to show which neighborhoods offer the best opportunities for children.

The Racial Dot Map uses data from the 2010 US census to show the racial composition of every neighborhood in the USA. If you compare the Opportunity Atlas with the Racial Dot Map you can see a similar pattern repeated in towns and cities across the USA. Those neighborhoods where children have the most opportunity just happen to be mostly those neighborhoods with a large white population. Conversely those neighborhoods which seem to have offered very little in economic or educational opportunity are often those with the largest black populations.

Of course educational and economic opportunity aren't the only areas of American life which seem to be racially segregated. 25% of the world's prisoners are in American jails. America likes locking people up. It really like locking black people up. The NAACP reports that "African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites" in the USA. If you don't believe them you can always look at prisons on the Racial Dot Map.

This is exactly what Libby Jones did. After she kept stumbling upon small compact areas with predominately black populations in rural areas on the Racial Dot Map Libby discovered that correctional facilities are reasonably easy to determine on the University of Virginia's map. For example the screenshot above shows the Louisiana State Penitentiary, which is the largest maximum security prison in the United States. The prison shows up as an isolated area with a large black population on the Racial Dot Map. Libby has a number of other examples in her article The Most Sobering Thing about the Racial Dot Map.

We have already established that America is very fond of imprisoning its black citizens. However some states are more keen than others. You can explore further the incarceration rates of individual U.S. states in the Maps Mania post Unequal Under the Law.

The BBC's Alarmist Migrant Map


The BBC has today come under fire for misrepresenting the scale of the number of migrants who have recently attempted to enter the UK. In 2018 539 migrants were discovered trying to enter the UK on small boats. The number of migrants attempting to enter the UK in this manner has risen over the last few months.

The BBC has attempted to visualize the recent rise in the number of migrants discovered trying to enter the UK using an animated interactive map. The BBC's Where Migrants Have Been Discovered by Authorities map animates through the time period from November 1st to Jan 3rd, showing the day and the locations where migrants have been found trying to enter the UK.

The map uses scaled markers to represent the number of migrants discovered at each location. It is these scaled markers where the BBC has run into trouble. To aid legibility the BBC has provided a handy key to this scale:



Can you see the problem with this scale? Jo Wood has. On Twitter she pointed out that on this scale "the '80 or more' circle is over 130 times the area of the 'fewer than 5' circle". Jo has even helped the BBC out by providing a proportional scale.



The issue of immigration is hugely contentious in a Britain preoccupied by Brexit. The BBC's map only serves to hugely exaggerate the problem of migrants trying to enter the UK on small vessels. I would like to think that this misrepresentation of the problem is an unintentional error by the BBC's cartographers. But then I would also like to think that the BBC would take a little more care over its graphics.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The 1940 Wooden Model of San Francisco


The David Rumsey Map Collection has released an interactive map of a 1940 wooden model of San Francisco. The 1940 WPA San Francisco Model allows you to explore up close the incredible detail in this hand crafted wooden model of the city.

At the end of the 1930's the Work Progress Administration in San Francisco spent three years creating a huge wooden model of the city. The completed model measured 38 x 42 feet and was intended to be used for both planning and educational purposes. The model was unveiled in a lightwell of City Hall in April of 1940. However the model was only briefly on display and was removed shortly after the start of the Second World War.

The 158 pieces of the model have now been reassembled. I understand that the model will be on display in different local libraries around San Francisco throughout this winter but that no permanent display home has yet been found for the model. If you can't track down the model's current location then you can at least now explore this digitized interactive map of the model. You can also learn more about the model at the David Rumsey Map Collection.


San Francisco isn't the only city with a huge historical town model. In the nineteenth century Swiss architect Auguste Magnin created an amazing 3d model of the walled city of Geneva. You can visit the model at the Maison Tavel in Geneva. If you can't get to Geneva then you will need to visit Geneve 1850 instead.

Geneve 1850 is an epic online interactive model of 1850's Geneva. The map allows you to immerse yourself in and explore Geneva as it looked in the mid-nineteenth century. To create this digital model of historic Geneva engineers scanned Magnin's original model in high definition. They were then able to recreate the 2,000 buildings (and their 40,000 windows and 8,000 skylights) in this digital 3D model of the original.


Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany is the world’s largest model railway. Miniatur Wonderland also includes detailed models of a number of German and Austrian towns and even a few famous places in America.

You can actually explore this amazing model for yourself using Google Maps Street View. The Miniatur Wunderland Street View includes a lovely custom designed map which allows you to navigate to the different Street View scenes which have been captured from around this huge model railway.

Mapping Medieval Comet Sightings


Medieval Comet Sightings is a story map exploring how comet sightings were recorded by medieval historians and used to explain subsequent unfortunate events. The map uses research by Dr Marilina Cesario which combines medieval history with astrophysics to explore how comets were understood in the Medieval period.

Medieval historians often used the appearance of a comet (in hindsight) as a portentous sign of some calamitous event. The map shows some of the locations where medieval historians reported comet sightings, sightings which they believe foreshadowed subsequent events. For example the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle notes that a comet in 676 anticipated the end of Bishop Wilfred's control of Northumbria.

One of the most significant events in British history is the Norman Conquest in 1066. Halley's comet is recorded in the famous Bayeux Tapestry. It's appearance in 1066 was possibly very bad luck for the English. Although strangely the comet appears to have had the completely opposite effect on the luck of the Normans, who went on to conquer Harold at the Battle of Hastings and subsequently the whole of England.

If you are interested in how comets are viewed and recorded in the 21st Century then you might want to visit the University of Maryland's Comet Wirtanen Observing Campaign. Comet 46P / Wirtenen is currently visible from Earth. The Comet Wirtanen Observing Campaign is attempting to provide a clearinghouse for observations of the comet.