Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mapping the Polar Vortex

It is quite cold in America at the moment. For example in Park Rapids, Minnesota temperatures have fallen as low as -42F (-41C).

Joshua Stevens created the above visualization of the polar vortex, which is causing the extreme weather in the USA at the moment. The map uses seven days of GEOS-5 NASA EOSDIS Worldview data to show how the polar vortex has affected air temperature above the United States.

While some areas of America are experiencing subzero temperatures on the other side of the world Australia is sweltering under record high temperatures. In Adelaide, last week, the temperature topped a scorching 115.9F (46.6C). Joshua Stevens has got us covered again. Here is Joshua's animation of the same seven days of NASA data, this time showing air temperatures in Australia

500 Years of the Russian Empire

Borders of Russia 1462-2018 is an interactive map which shows the political boundaries of Russia ever since the 15th Century. The map visualizes how Russia has shrunk and grown over the centuries as different regions and countries have joined or left its empire.

You can view Russia's borders on the map for any year of its history by selecting a year from the map timeline. In the years where there has been a change to Russia's border numbered map markers provide information on the reasons behind the historical border changes in that year. The regions or countries that have been affected by these border changes are also highlighted on the map.

Two buttons in the map menu allow you to view more information on the map. One of the buttons allows you to view the name of Russia's ruler in the year currently displayed on the map. The other button provides extra information on any territorial changes that took place in that year and displays the number of square kilometers which were added or lost.

If your lack of Russian deters you from the previous map or if you want to go back further into Russia's history then you might prefer Histography's interactive map of Russian history. Last year, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution, Histography released an interactive map which visualizes Russia's changing borders from the year 862 right up until the "adoption of Crimea into Russia" in 2014. Russian History looks at centuries of Russia's history, particularly as to how it has affected the country's ever changing borders.

This history map is controlled by an interactive timeline, which chronicles Russia's rulers and history. As you scroll through this interactive timeline the background map automatically updates to show how Russia's border has changed and how the country has grown in size over the centuries. A menu also allows you to quickly jump to any century on the timeline and map.

Rising Rents in Germany

On average the cost of renting a property in Germany rose by 4.8% last year. They have also risen by a total of 13.2% in the last five years. However the level by which rents were increased depends a lot on where you live in the country. In Berlin rents have actually increased by over 25% in the last five years.

Zeit Online has released an interactive map which shows the average cold rent (no heating, water or other utilities included in the rent) cost per square metre in every district in Germany. If you mouse-over a district on the map you view the number of Euros it costs to rent in the district and the percentage that rent has risen (or fallen) in the last five years.

Munich is the most expensive place to rent a property in Germany. On average it costs 17.30 Euros per square metre to rent property in the city. The cheapest place to rent is in Vogtlandkreis. Renting in Vogtlandkreis will only cost you around 4.52 Euros on average.

If you want to rent a property in Berlin then you might want to refer to another interactive map. The Berliner Morgenpost's map of Berlin rent allows residents to see how much of their monthly income they will have to spend (on average) when renting a property in the German capital.

Wo Sie sich Berlin Leisten Können uses a sliding income control to allow users to enter their monthly income. The income control generates a heat map of Berlin that shows what percentage of the entered monthly income will on average go on rental costs in the city's neighborhoods. It is also possible to enter the number of bedrooms your require in order to adjust the map to show the rental costs for different sized apartments.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Flying Why Tesla Burns

The Washington Post has managed to get hold of the flight records of Elon Musk's private jet. They have used this data to create an impressive animated map showing how the Tesla chief jetted around the world in 2018.

The Post's animated map is accompanied by a breakdown of Tesla's recent poor fortunes. In What 150,000 miles in a private jet reveal about his ‘excruciating’ year the Post makes a number of connections between the fate of Tesla and the many plane flights of Elon Musk. For example it points out that the flight records shows that Musk flew to Northern Ireland to visit a film set for Game of Thrones just three weeks after Tesla laid off 3,500 employees, or 9 percent of its workforce.

The Post also points to Musk's championing of alternative energy sources. It says that in September Musk called fossil fuels "the dumbest experiment in human history." Days later he took a private plane journey from L.A. to Oakland just to be a spectator at a video-gaming event.

Every Building in Toronto

MapTO has mapped Every Building in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The map provides an interesting insight into historical land use and planning trends in the Greater Toronto area.

The MapTO building footprint map includes a guided tour of some of the most interesting patterns which can be found in Toronto's urban landscape. If you use the forward and back buttons the map will zoom to different locations in the GTHA. The map information window updates as you progress through the tour, explaining some of the historical development trends in the GTHA area.

MapTO's map was inspired by the New York Times' popular Map of Every Building in America. The NYT map used Microsoft's US Building Footprints open data to create an interactive map of every building in the USA. The Microsoft data set includes the building footprint polygons of 125,192,184 buildings in the USA.

If you color Toronto's building footprints by the year of construction you could create a Toronto building age map. Alternatively you could color the building footprints by their height. For example, Jonathan Critchley has used data from City of Toronto Open Data to map the height of Toronto's buildings.

The City of Toronto Building Height map colors building footprints by the height of each building. If you hover over individual buildings on the map you can view the selected building's height in meters and whether the building is zoned as residential, commercial or for some other purpose.

The World Corruption Index

The United States has now fallen out of the list of the top 20 'cleanest' countries. Every year Transparency International ranks the world's countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The United States lost four points since last year and has dropped out of the top 20 countries on the CPI for the first time since 2011.

The report says that the United States is currently witnessing threats to its system of checks and balances and an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power. It goes on to say that the U.S. is suffering from growing nativist populist sentiment, a rise in hate crimes and the longest government shutdown in US history. All of these factors combine to undermine trust in American institutions.

You can view how other countries around the world rank on the index using the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 interactive map. If you select a country on the map you can read the country's score and where it ranks among all 180 countries in the index. An arrow also indicates whether the selected country has risen or fallen in the rankings since last year.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Burning California - 123 Years of Wildfire

Earlier this month the Huffington Post used data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to map out more than a century of California wildfires. Capital Public Radio has now used the same data to create their own interactive map.

Both the Huffington Post map and Capital Public Radio's A History of California Wildfires map visualize the perimeters of all the wildfires in the state from 1878 to 2018. The Capital Public Radio map however includes a timeline which allows you to view the scope of all the state's wildfires for every individual year. This timeline allows you to see that in recent years the scale of wildfires in California appears to have significantly grown.

In the last 123 years the equivalent of 33.8% of California has burned in wildfires. The Huffington Post's 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 Huffington Post map shows how 40% of the total acreage burnt in the last 123 years has actually occurred in just the last 20 years. While the Huffington Post map doesn't include a timeline it does use the story map format to explore in a little more detail the size of the land that has been involved in California's wildfires. It also highlights the locations of California's three largest fires. All of three of these largest fires have taken place in just the first few years of this century.

The Interactive Map of Chinese

Hanzi, the written language of Chinese, has tens of thousands of separate characters. Many of those characters are not widely used. However, to be truly literate in written Chinese, you need a knowledge of at least three to four thousand characters.

The Hanzi Universe is an interesting experiment in mapping 8,615 Chinese characters according to their visual similarity. The Structural Similarity Index was used to create a map of the Chinese characters organized by their visual similarity. The Mapbox interactive mapping platform has then been used to allow users to explore this map of 8,615 different Chinese characters.

You can explore the Hanzi Universe map just as you would any other interactive map by zooming in and out and by panning the map. You can also search the map by pinyin, the official romanization system for Chinese. Characters on the map are colored by one of the five tones used when pronouncing the word in Mandarin. If you select a character on the map you can listen to the word by clicking on the headphones icon. You can also view the character's meaning, learn the number of strokes that are used to make the character and view the word's pinyin spelling.

If you are interested in spoken Chinese then you might also like the Phonemica interactive map. Phonemica is a really interesting map of Chinese spoken stories. The project was conceived as a way to preserve spoken stories in China as spoken in the local vernacular.

Anyone can record a story at home and submit it to the map. Different Chinese languages and dialects are differentiated on the map by different colored map markers. You can also filter the results shown on the map by location, keyword and language / dialect. If you click on a map marker you can click through to listen to the recording of the submitted story.

You can find more maps about languages spoken around the world by using the languages tag.

The Amsterdam Tree Map

Amsterdam is one of Europe's greenest cities. There are around 400,000 trees in Amsterdam. Around 75,000 of those trees are elm trees. You can see the location of all those elm trees and Amsterdam's other trees on the city's Tree Map. The City of Amsterdam's Tree Map is an interactive map of the trees maintained by the city authorities. The map shows the location, the height and the species of all Amsterdam's public trees.

The trees shown on the interactive map are color-coded by species. The map also includes a legend which allows you to select to view individual species of trees on the map or a combination of species at the same time. If you zoom in on the map the markers become scaled to reflect the height of individual trees. The map legend also includes the total number of trees and the total number of each species of trees which are maintained by the city.

Also See

The New York City Street Tree Map
Edinburgh Tree Map
London Tree Map
The Trees of Madison
Nine Cities That Love Their Trees National Geographic has mapped the trees in 9 US cities
phillytreemap - Philadelphia's trees

Monday, January 28, 2019

Commuting in the USA

The average American will spend over one year of their life commuting to work. For most Americans that year will be spent sitting alone in a car. More than three-quarters of American commuters drive to work alone.

CityLab has used 2017 commuting data from the American Community Survey to map how Americans get to work. The Great Divide in How Americans Commute to Work includes a number of maps showing the percentages of people in different metro areas who commute using the different transportation options. These maps include maps showing the number who drive alone, the percentage who carpool, use public transit, cycle and walk. It also includes a map showing the percentages of Americans who work from home.

In total the average American spends 408 days commuting to and from their workplace. However the average commuting time for the residents of Liguori, Missouri is just 1.2 minutes. This is quite a lot shorter than the national average commuting time. If you want to know what the average commuting time is in your zipcode area then you can use Auto Accessories Garage's interactive map of Average Commute Times.

If you enter your commute time and zipcode into the map you can find out how your commuting time compares with that of your neighbors. You can also discover how your commute compares to the average in your city, state and in the whole country. The Average Commute Times map uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A couple of years ago Mark Evans used the Google Maps API to create a hypnotic visualization of commuting flows, showing the distances and 'journeys' that American's make to and from work. Using the ACS Commute Map you can zoom in on any U.S. county and view an animated map showing where people live and work.

Mark Evans' maps don't show the actual journeys that commuters make but does give a great sense of how town and city centers suck in commuters from surrounding suburbs. The data for the maps comes from the American Community Survey. You can learn more about how the map was made from this data on Mark's blog post ACS Commuter Data Visualizations. Mark's ACS Commute Map was originally inspired by Alasdair Rae's mapped visualizations of commuting in the Bay Area.

New Jersey's Population Mountains

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the USA. However not all parts of the state are as densely populated as others. Three New Jersey towns appear on the list of the top 50 most densely populated places in the world. At the opposite extreme the town of Walpack has a population density of less than one person per square mile. has created a 3D map which shows the number of people living in each square mile in every New Jersey township. In 3D maps show parts of NJ are the most densely populated on the planet has used the Mapbox platform to show the population mountains of New Jersey towns. The taller the 3D towers on the map then the more densely populated the township. You can also click on the map to view the total number of people per square mile living in the selected area.

If you want to see how New Jersey's population density compares to other locations around the world then you should explore The Pudding's Human Terrain interactive map. This interactive map shows population density across the globe using 3D population pyramids. The Pudding has also analyzed their own map to explore some of the most densely populated areas of the world. In Population Mountains The Pudding takes a closer view at the population patterns in some of the world's most populated cities and regions.

The National Dutch Bird Count

The sparrow remains the most common bird to be seen in Dutch gardens. Every January tens of thousands of Dutch people take part in a National Garden Bird Count. Since 2001 citizen scientists across the Netherlands have recorded the different species of birds visiting their gardens in the last weekend of January. This year's count took place over this last weekend and the results are already in.

The National Garden Bird Count results page includes an interactive map which allows you to view the numbers of different species of birds spotted in each region of the Netherlands over the  weekend. Select a bird from the map menu and you can view a choropleth map showing how many birds of that species were counted by the volunteer citizen scientists during Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th January 2019.

The National Garden Bird Count is an important tool for evaluating the health of different bird species. For example in recent years the count has recorded a decrease in blackbirds. A virus may be to blame for this decrease. The National Garden Bird Count could provide an invaluable tool in helping to track the spread of this virus across the different regions of the Netherlands.

The sparrow is also the most populous bird in UK gardens. The UK Big Garden Birdwatch also took place this weekend. Unfortunately the RSPB don't seem to be so keen on publishing maps as their Dutch counterparts. You can view the top ten list of birds counted across the UK in last year's count on the Big Garden Birdwatch results page.

The UK Big Garden Birdwatch has been an annual event in the UK for 40 years. Even though the house sparrow was the most counted bird in 2018 the number of house sparrows in British gardens has fallen by 57% over the last 40 years. The number of starlings has fallen by 80% and the number of song thrushes by 75%.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Mapping the Holocaust

Between 1941 and 1945 the Nazis murdered six million European Jews. This amounted to two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies has identified the locations of 1,096 ghettos created by the Germans in Nazi-occupied Europe. They have also identified the locations of 868 concentration camps.

In Mapping the Holocaust PBS has mapped the 1,096 ghettos in Eastern Europe and the 868 concentration camps where Jewish people were murdered. The map represents just a small proportion of the number of Nazi ghettos and camps. The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies believe that the true number of sites to be closer to 42,000.

The camps indicated by yellow markers on the map feature in the film Memory of the Camps. The documentary, Memory of the Camps, features some of the film that was captured at the camps when they were first liberated by the Allied forces towards the end of World War II.

Auschwitz concentration camp is just one of the 868 concentration camps featured on the Mapping the Holocaust map. Auschwitz was established by the Germans in occupied Poland in 1940. In the next few years it became the most deadly Nazi extermination camp. It is estimated that 1.1 million people perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940-1945.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum has 38,916 registration photographs taken of Auschwitz prisoners. They are working with Brazilian photo colorization specialist Marina Amaral and a team of academics, journalists and volunteers to colorize these photographs and to research and share the stories of those photographed.

You can explore these photos and the biographies of just some of the people killed by the Nazis on Faces of Auschwitz. The Faces of Auschwitz interactive map shows the home town locations of the individuals and stories completed so far. If you click on the map markers you can view the prisoner's colorized photograph and click through to read what is known about that individual's story.

The Vilnius Ghetto was a Jewish ghetto established and operated by Nazi Germany in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania. During the two years of its existence, starvation, disease, street executions, maltreatment and deportations to concentration camps and extermination camps reduced the population of the Vilnius Ghetto from an estimated 40,000 people to zero.

Exploring the Vilnius Ghetto: A Digital Monument is a Leaflet powered map that shows over two hundred points of historical significance, pulled from memoirs, archives, original Ghetto documents & artifacts, and oral and historical accounts. Users can explore the map on their own, using filters to find places and events of interest; or they can follow a number of curated stories.

Yahad – In Unum is an organization dedicated to identifying mass Jewish execution sites and mass graves in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The organization collects forensic evidence and seeks out eyewitnesses to the executions of Jews and Roma to identify holocaust sites where the Nazis and their allies murdered Jews in towns and villages throughout Eastern Europe.

The Map of Execution Sites is an interactive map of the sites that Yahad - In Unum has identified so far. The red markers on the map indicate the location of execution sites where Yahad - In Unum has added details of their investigations. If you select a red dot on the map you can read details about the site, including the number of witnesses interviewed and details and videos from eye witnesses to the site's use in the Holocaust.

Friday, January 25, 2019

125 Million US Buildings in 3D

note - screenshot is of Cesiumjs not the new U.S. cityGML data

Open City Model is a project which has been working on creating cityGML data for every building in the United States. The first release of Open City Model is now live, with the 3D building data for 125 million buildings in the USA.

You can grab the open cityGML data for the United States on the project's GitHub page. On Open City Model the U.S. 3D building date is available in two formats, cityGML and cityJSON. The data for each state is available in separate folders. The files for each state are further divided into each county.

If you want to use the data then check out the Open City Model GitHub page for a list of software that supports the format. CesiumJS being perhaps the best known of these. If you want to know what cityGML looks like in action then you should check out Finland's Helsinki 3D which uses cityGML with CesiumJS. The Open City Model GitHub page links to a number of other examples of 3D maps using cityGML.

Helsinki in 3D

The 3D Model of Helsinki is about to be updated with new imagery. Currently the city's 3D map is based on satellite imagery from 2015. Over the summer of 2017 an airplane captured 50,000 aerial photographs of the city. Now ten dedicated computers have turned those 50,000 aerial photographs into a new and improved photo realistic 3D model of the city.

The CityGML data of the city's 3D model will be released as open data early in 2019. Currently the 3D Helsinki map is used by Helsinki's urban planners. For example the city is currently running a pilot project to simulate wind speed and direction. This could then be used to model what wind circumstances would be generated by planned new buildings. In the future the city also wants the public to be able to preview planned new buildings in context on 3D Helsinki before they are even built.

You can learn more about the coming improvements to 3D Helsinki, how the map is currently used and the city's future plans for the map at The Best 3D Model in the World Improves with Age.

How Well Do You Know the UK?

Leeds Live has a fun little geography quiz to brighten up your Friday. How Well Do You Know the UK is a Leaflet.js based quiz which asks you to pinpoint the location of ten UK towns and cities.

How Well Do You Know the UK follows the well-known format of most interactive map games. For each question you are asked to point to the location of a town on a blank map. You are then scored based on how close your guess is to the actual location. There are ten questions in all.

Once you have pointed out the locations of all ten towns you are given your overall score and given a rating based on your UK geography knowledge. How Well Do You Know the UK has three different skill levels. If you don't know the UK very well you might want to start on the 'easy' level.

If you don;t want to play a quiz about the UK then you might prefer to play one of the many Outline Maps geography quizzes. Outline Maps is a Leaflet.js based series of map games which tests your geographical knowledge of the countries of the world and their capitals.

Outline Maps consists of two different types of game. The 'Find by name' games require you to point out named locations on a map of the world. The 'Find by feature' games highlight an area on the map and ask you to type in the identified location's name. Outline Maps features map quizzes for all the continents of the world so hopefully you should find a game suitable for your geographical area of expertise.

Outline Maps is available in GitHub. You can therefore fork the game and create your own map game. To create an Outline Maps game for another part of the world you just need to add a GeoJSON file containing the geographical borders for the regions you want players to identify.

You might also enjoy these other map based games:

How Well Do You Know Europe - test your knowledge of European countries
WikiWhere - can you identify locations based on their Wikipedia entries
Quizzity - point to the named locations on a map of the world.
Guess the world city from its cold war Soviet spy map
Guess the city from its bike lane map
Click that 'hood! - a geography game that tests your knowledge of city neighborhoods.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Who's Listening to Hikaru Utadu?

#HikaruUtada #(Songs) is an interactive globe which is tracking where people are listening to and commenting on the music of Hikaru Utada around the world. Hikaru Utadu is a Japanese-American singer, who is one of Japan's all time top-selling recording artists.

The success of Hikaru Utada’s latest single 'Face My Fears' can be followed live on this interactive globe. The globe uses 3d bar charts to show how high the song Face my Fears is in the Spotify and Apple Music charts in countries across the globe. If you click on a country on the map you can see how many times the single has been streamed from that country on Spotify and its position in the Apple Music Best chart.

The map also allows you to view the number of times the song has been played on YouTube and view comments being made about the song on Instagram and Twitter. If you select a song from the drop-down menu you can change the map to show the latest news about any of the tracks on Hikura Utadu's latest 4-track CD release as well as the digital single 'Too Proud'.

Earthquake Activity on a WebGL Globe

Nine Point Five is a WebGL visualization of earthquakes around the world from 2000 to 2010. It shows, and allows you to explore, U.S. Geological Survey data of ten years worth of earthquakes on top of an interactive globe.

The globe includes a timeline which allows you to filter the results shown on the globe by date range and by the magnitude of the quakes. Nine Point Five lists the significant earthquakes in the time period selected next to the interactive globe. A tour option allows you to open a non-interactive globe which takes you on a tour of some of the significant earthquakes during the chosen time.

The globe also has options which allows you to view the earthquakes displayed on the map as a particle cloud, as lines or as circles.

The Pacific Ring of Fire stands out on the Nine Point Five interactive globe. You can learn more about earthquakes and the Ring of Fire on John Nelson's Seismic Illumination. This map uses historical earthquake data going back to 1898 to show how earthquake activity reveals information on the location of the Earth's tectonic plates.

Seismic Illumination visualizes historical earthquake activity, particularly around the Pacific Ocean. By concentrating on the Pacific Ring of Fire the map is able to show how continental drift causes  seismic activity where the Earth's tectonic plates meet & grind beneath each other.

If you like the luminescence effect and the curved place-name labels used on Seismic Illumination then you might like John's two tutorials: Luminescence Hack and Envelope-Transformed Label Shadows.

Where the Europeans Hate Europe

While the British argue among themselves about the least catastrophic way to leave the European Union, the rest of Europe just continues to quietly hate the idea of European integration. You can see for yourself where Europeans don't like the concept of the European Union on an interactive map created by the European Commission.

The Geography of  EU Discontent maps the level of support for political parties strongly opposed to European integration. As it happens the UK isn't even the country that is most fed-up with the European Union. That honor seems to belong to the French where, apart from tiny pockets of support, the whole country seems discontented with European integration. In fact the only countries which seem to wholly support European integration are in the old Eastern Bloc, and, for some reason, Spain.

The whole of Scandinavia seems to be against the idea of European integration. Elsewhere Italy and Germany are both split down the middle. In Italy the poorer south are in favor of European integration, while the richer north aren't. In Germany it is the poorer east of the country that opposes European integration, while the richer west of the country is in favor.

One thing the map does make clear is that Europe really isn't united in support of the idea of European integration. However it also isn't united in its discontent with the idea of integration.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Average Temperature World Map

Following yesterday's beautiful Average Earth from Space 2018 interactive map I went hunting for a map of average temperatures around the world. The trophy I bagged was Temperature Sensei's Temperature and Weather Conditions of the World.

Temperature Sensei's Temperature and Weather Conditions of the World includes a map of the average temperatures in countries around the world. It also includes a series of maps showing the average temperature, precipitation and snowfall in each U.S. state. Greenland is the country with the coldest average annual temperature at -1.44 Fahrenheit. The hottest county I could find was Ghana, with an average yearly temperature of 80.96 degrees.

Surprisingly the average yearly temperature of the USA is a chilly 47.39 Fahrenheit. According to the maps the highest temperature ever recorded in the USA is 134.1 Fahrenheit. The state with the highest average yearly temperature is Florida with a temperature of 70.7 degrees and the state with the lowest average temperature is Alaska at 26.6 Fahrenheit. The wettest state is Louisiana with an average total yearly precipitation of 60.1 inches. New York is the state which receives the most average annual snowfall with a total of 123.8 inches.

What Powers America?

Coal is still the main source of energy for the USA. However, despite President Trump's campaign promises, the use of coal continues to fall. The consumption of coal during 2018 is expected to be the lowest in 39 years.

You can explore America's power supply on the U.S. Power Plants map. U.S. Power Plants is an interactive map showing the locations, size and type of America's electric power plants. The map is a great way to see where different types of power plant are located, how much each type of energy source contributes to the country's power supply and how much each source contributes to CO2 emissions.

The number of map filters on U.S. Power Plants means that the map can provide lots of different insights into American power supply. For example the individual fuel filters allow you to see where different power sources are concentrated in America. Select hydro power and you can see that hydro power plants are concentrated in the north-west and north-east of the country. While solar power plants are mainly located in California.

If you click on an electricity power plant marker on the map you can view details on the plant's capacity, net generation and CO2 output. The drop-down menu also allows you to re-scale the map markers by the the amount of CO2 produced by each power plant.

Esri's Atlas of Electricity is another great way to explore where the USA gets its electricity from and how it distributes this power across the country. At the heart of an Atlas of Electricity is an interactive map plotting the location and size of the grid's power plants and transmission cables. This map allows you to explore the location and capacity of the country's electricity producing power plants and how they connect to the national grid.

As well as mapping the physical infrastructure of the electricity grid this story map examines the primary energy sources used to generate electricity in the USA. It maps the size and capacity of coal-fired power plants, natural gas power plants and petroleum power plants. Alongside these fossil-fuel sources of power An Atlas of Electricity plots the size and capacity of the U.S.'s nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants and solar & wind power plants.

One Hundred Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige was one of Japan's finest ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) artists. Hiroshige is probably most well-known for his series of woodcut prints, such as The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo and Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces.

You can view some of the views from these three series of prints on the Ukiyo-e Map. This interactive map has placed each Hiroshige print on the actual location depicted in Hiroshige's landscapes. If you select a marker on the map the image will open in a new tab or window. It is a shame that the images don't open in their own information window on the map. However Hiroshige's brilliance makes it worth the effort of switching between different tabs in your browser.

If you want to view some of Hiroshige's work in more detail the Chester Beatty Digtial Collections and the Wellcome Collection both own some of Hiroshige's woodcut prints which you can explore using their respective iiif viewers.

Geo-tagging and mapping artworks is an old idea. Perhaps the best example of an art map is the Tate's Artmaps, an interactive map showing 23,000 works of art in its collection. All the mapped artworks are associated with a specific location, either through information in the work's title, in its description or as depicted in the artwork itself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Washington's Environmental Hazards Map

The Washington State Department of Health has released an interactive map which shows details about the environmental and public health risks in every census tract in Washington state.The Washington Tracking Network allows you to see the level of environmental-health hazards across the state and to view local socio-economic details in every census area.

Using the map menu you can select to view from a range of environmental-health hazards on the map. For example you can select to view the levels of diesel pollution or the local risk of lead exposure. When you select an individual environmental-health hazard from the menu the map updates to provide a choropleth view of the selected risk in each census tract area. 

If you click on a census tract on the map you can view demographic information about the local population, such as a breakdown of the tract by race, sex & age and the recent population trend. The map menu will also update to show how the chosen census tract ranks for the displayed environmental-health hazards. This combination of demographic / socio-economic data with local environmental-health hazards allows users of the map to explore which social groups and which areas of the state are most at risk from the different environmental-health hazards.

Average Earth 2018

Johannes Kroeger has created an interactive map which shows the average cloud cover across the world in 2018. The map shows the medium cloud cover experienced at every location on Earth based on information taken from daily satellite images.

To create the Average Earth from Space 2018 interactive map Johannes analyzed the per-pixel median color in the daily images of the satellite-based Soumi VIIRS sensor for the whole year of 2018. The result is a very beautiful map which provides a reasonable picture of where you can expect to experience cloudy days around the world on any average day. It is also a map which makes it very easy to find the locations of the world's major deserts.

You can read more about how the map was made and view many different projections of the Average Earth from Space 2018 map on Johannes' blog.

Where's Everyone Moving in Holland?

Relocations 2017 is an interactive map which shows where people relocated to & from in the Netherlands during 2017. The map uses data from Statistics Netherlands to show how many people moved between different Dutch municipalities.

If you hover over a city on the map all the flow lines to and from that city are highlighted on the map, showing where the city's residents relocated to & from in 2017. The thickness of the flow line between two municipalities reflects the number of people who moved between those two areas. When you hover over a town or city an information window also reveals the number of residents who moved out of the city and the number of residents who relocated to the city in 2017.

The map itself created with, a simple to use tool for creating flow maps. To create a flow map with you just need to have some origin-destination data in a Google Spreadsheet. Then to create your map you simply append your spreadsheet key to the URL.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Little Sports Atlas

How the rest of the world loves to laugh at baseball's 'World Series'. A competition which is only played by teams in North America. However it turns out that the rest of the world is wrong. Baseball is in fact a sport that is played in lots of countries around the world, including Cuba, Japan and countries throughout Europe.

I know this because Zeit Online has been busy creating world maps for lots of different sports. In the Little Sports Atlas Zeit Online has used OpenStreetMap data to show where different types of sport are actually played across the globe.

The popularity of many different sports has a geographical basis. For example ice hockey is most popular in a thin band of latitude in the northern hemisphere. A thin band of latitude which is often cold in the winter and where water often turns to ice. Cricket on the other hand is popular in a few different countries. Countries which were all at one point part of the British Empire. The one true world sport in the Little Sport Atlas is football. In fact the map of where football is played could almost double as a map of the world's population.

Mapping Shrinking Glaciers

The Rhône Glacier in the Swiss Alps is the source of the Rhône river. Over the last 120 years the glacier has shrunk by a very large extent. In recent years, during the summer months, the glacier has been covered with UV-resistant fleecy white blankets. These cover about 5 acres of the shrinking glacier and are believed to reduce its melting by up to 70%.

You can view how far the Rhône Glacier has melted using the superb maps produced by the Swiss Federal Office of Topography. The Karten der Schweiz, the official mapping platform of the Swiss Confederation, includes an option to view vintage maps made by the Swiss Federal Office of Topography. You can even animate through these vintage maps to show how locations have changed over time.

For example you can animate through all the maps of the Rhône Glacier from 1850 to the present day. The resulting animated map is a very effective visualization of the startling extent by which the Rhône Glacier has shrunk over the last century.

You can also use Google Earth Engine to view how the glacier has shrunk over recent years as seen on satellite imagery. Google Earth Engine only has satellite imagery going back as far as 1984. Therefore the extent of the glacier's retreat isn't as pronounced as can be seen by viewing the historical Karten der Schweiz. However even since 1984 it is possible to observe that the glacier has visibly shrunk in size.

Since 1850 Switzerland's glaciers have shrunk by around 50%. The World Glacier Monitoring Service say that this process is likely to continue and that 80 to 90 percent of glacier ice mass will be lost by 2100.

In 2017 the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger visualized the extent of Switzerland's shrinking glaciers over the last 160 years. In So Schmolzen die Schweizer Gletscher in 160 Jahren Weg the paper produced a series of multiple maps visualizing the change in size of the country's 38 largest glaciers. These maps show the size of the glaciers in 1850 compared to the size of the glaciers in 2010. Each mini map includes data on the surface area lost in kilometers and as a percentage of the glacier's size in 1850.

Tages Anzeiger reports that the Rhône Glacier has shrunk by 4.7 km² or about 23.4% in size.

London's Bike Sharing Network

London Bicycle Hires 2017 is an interactive map of around 1.5 million trips made on the city's Santander Cycle Hire network. The map visualizes the number of trips started from individual docking stations on the network and the most popular journeys taken between different stations.

As you might expect the most busy individual docking stations in London's bike sharing network are the city's mainline train termini. In particular King Cross and Waterloo stations stand out on the map as being very popular docking stations. It appears that cycling is a popular way for visitors to the center of the city to get around once they arrive by train.

It is also very apparent that hire bikes are also a very popular way of exploring some of London's larger parks. On the map Hyde Park in central London and the Olympic Park in the East End stand out as almost separate networks within the larger citywide network. I suspect that many users find the parks safe and attractive places to cycle and also find the bikes a great way to explore the respective parks.

You can explore the journeys for yourself by hovering over individual docking stations on the map. If you hover over a station you can see all the trips made to and from that station to other stations on the network. The size of the flow-lines on the map show the number of journeys made between each station.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Hawaii's Sea Level Rise Map

The islands of Hawai'i are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. It is believed that 6,500 structures and 19,800 people in Hawai'i could be exposed to chronic flooding within the next 60 years. The Hawai'i Sea Level Rise Viewer has been released to show which areas of the state will be most affected by rising sea levels.

The map allows users to see which areas could be exposed to coastal hazards from sea level rise, modelling the effect of passive flooding (still water high tide flooding), annual high wave flooding (over wash during the largest wave events of the year), and coastal erosion. The map models sea level rise for four different sea level rise scenarios (these are sea level rises of 0.5 ft, 1.1 ft, 2 ft or 3.2 ft).

The Sea Level Viewer also includes two layers which model the economic loss that could result from rising seas and the possible impact of flooded highways. 38 miles of coastal roads in the state are vulnerable to rising sea level rises. If these become chronically flooded and impassible then access to many communities would become much more difficult. The economic loss layer visualizes the possible cost from land and structures being flooded in the mapped area.

The Hawai'i Sea Level Rise Viewer uses global sea level rise projections from the UN. This model predicts seas could rise by as much as 3.2 feet by the year 2100. More recent models suggest that a rise of 3 feet or more could happen as early as 2060.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Illinois' Lost Bet on Gambling Machines

ProPublica has been investigating how the state of Illinois is having to pay out for its bet on legalizing video gambling. Around ten years ago the state changed the law to allow video slot and poker machines. The state now has more of these machines outside casinos than any other state.

Illinois' lawmakers assumed that the legalization of video gaming would raise huge amounts of tax dollars for the state. Unfortunately the popularity of relatively low-tax video gambling machines has led to a large fall in higher-tax casino gambling. The result is that despite the rise of gambling in Illinois, and the high social costs related to that rise, the state has raised nowhere near as much money from video gambling as the lawmakers predicted when they changed the law on their use.

In How Illinois Bet on Video Gambling and Lost ProPublica has mapped out the monthly terminal income by location. The map shows data from 2012 to November 2018. Unfortunately the 3D markers used on the map make it a little difficult to determine the data at individual locations. The map is therefore not particularly useful for a detailed investigation of gambling use in different locations. However the map does provide a general picture of how the use of these machines has spread across the state since 2012. The map dashboard also provides details of how gambling income for the state has fallen well below the state revenue projected by lawmakers.

How Long Since You Saw the Sun?

The citizens of France have been deprived of one hour's worth of sun (compared to the average) in 2019. However some citizens of France have been denied far more hours of sun than others. For example the residents of Rouen have already lost three whole days of sun compared to the average year.

Franceinfo has mapped out the amount of sun recorded in France between January 1st and January 16th. In How Long Have You Not Seen the Sun the number of hours of sunshine recorded at different locations across France are shown using scaled circles. The smaller the circle the less sunshine recorded at that location. The yellow circles on the map indicate locations which saw more sun than average for the dates measured. The blue dots indicate locations which have seen less sun this year then normal.

This year Rouen has had 28 hours less sun than usual. Northern France has about nine hours of daylight in the month of January. So, strictly speaking, the residents of Rouen have actually received three days less sunshine already this year. If that doesn't make you feel sorry for the people of Rouen then I should reveal that this means the town has had only two hours of recorded sunlight in 2019.

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.