Saturday, June 06, 2020

The National Gallery of Art in 3D

I have really missed visiting art galleries and museums during the lock-down. The National Gallery of Art, like nearly every other museum and gallery in the world, is currently closed to visitors. However that doesn't mean that you can't still visit the gallery virtually.

During the National Gallery of Art's temporary closure you can still explore some of the gallery's collections and exhibitions of paintings by visiting its virtual exhibitions. Currently the gallery has three virtual exhibitions: Degas at the Opéra Virtual Tour, True to Nature Virtual Tour (European landscapes of the 18th & 19th Centuries) and Raphael and His Circle Virtual Tour.

The three virtual tours have been designed to be viewed in Virtual Reality but if you don't have a virtual reality headset you can still explore the tours on a desktop computer or tablet. While exploring any of the 3D exhibitions you can navigate around by clicking on the circles dotted around the floor of each gallery. Click on the yellow circles (on the walls) to view the name and details of individual paintings. If you click on a red circle you can listen to an audio tour guide to the painting. The green circles allow you to read the gallery wall panel text.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art also has a number of virtual exhibitions which you can explore from the comfort of your home. The Met 360° Project is a series of six 360° movies which allow you to explore the museum and some of its galleries. The videos include tours of the Great Hall, the Met Cloisters and the Charles Engelhard Court. As each video plays you can pan around 360°, just like you can in Google Maps Street View.

You might also enjoy these other virtual museum tours:

The National Gallery - London's National Gallery has a number of virtual tours & can also be explored using Google Maps Street View
The Rijksmuseum Masterpieces Up Close - a virtual tour of the museum's Gallery of Honour
The Sistine Chapel Virtual Tour - explore the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's astonishing ceiling
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Museum - has created a number of virtual tours
The Stonehenge Virtual Tour - places you in the center of this mysterious pre-historic monument
Louis XIV's Palace of Versailles can be explored in this Google Arts and Culture tour

Friday, June 05, 2020

Street View's Secret Depth API

a screenshot from the now defunct Urban Jungle

One of the hidden secrets of Google Maps Street View imagery is that it contains hidden depth map data. That depth data has been used in the past by applications such as Urban Jungle (no longer working) to superimpose other objects on top of Street View images.

In the screenshot above you can see how Urban Jungle used Street View's hidden depth map data to superimpose foliage in front of buildings in Street View. Urban Jungle is no longer working but you can see Street View's Depth Map data working in Callum Prentice's new Street Cloud Simple.

the now defunct World Under Water

I suspect Street Cloud Simple is built upon the GSVPanoDepth Street View depth library. A library which is at the heart of some of the most impressive applications built with Google Maps Street View.

Callum's Street Cloud Simple allows you a glimpse into how Street View's depth mapping works. This depth map data can be used to create some really visually striking applications with Google Maps Street View. As well as the amazing Urban Jungle (now defunct) the equally amazing World Under Water (also now defunct) used this depth map data to allow people to view what their street would like after massive sea level rise.

Police Use of Force Measures Work

Last weekend Al Jazeera mapped out Where black people are most disproportionately killed by police in the United States. The map revealed that Black Americans are two and half times more likely to be killed by a police officer than white Americans.

Of course that isn't the whole story. The Al Jazeera map used data from Mapping Police Violence. The 2019 Mapping Police Violence interactive map plots 1,099 people killed by the police across America last year. In other words in 2019 on average the U.S. police killed over three people every single day. In fact there were only 27 days in the whole of last year when a person wasn't killed at the hands of the police.

According to Mapping Police Violence black people are actually three times more likely to be killed at the hands of the police, even though black people are 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed than white people. Where people are killed by the police also has little to do with rates of violent crime across the USA. In Buffalo, which has a violent crime rate of 12 per 1000, 0 people were killed by the police from 2013-2016. In comparison in Orlando, with a violent crime rate of 9 per 1000, 13 people were killed by the police from 2013-2016.

According to the Police Use of Force Project there is a clear correlation between the levels of recorded police killings by individual police departments and the number of restrictive use of force policies these departments have. Police departments which have clear guidelines designed to de-escalate violent situations are less likely to kill people than police departments that don't have these use of violence policies.

These policies don't just protect the public from police violence - they also protect the police. Police working in police departments with more restrictive use of force policies are less likely to be assaulted on duty and less likely to be killed in the line of duty. More restrictive use of force policies also do not have a detrimental effect on crimes rates. According to the Police Use of Force Project departments with more restrictive use of force policies have similar crime rates as those with less restrictive policies.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Sounds of the Wild West

Yesterday Esri announced a number of new features available in ArcGIS Story Maps. These new features include a swipe control (to swipe between two different map views), new embed tools for sharing your Story Maps and more basemap options. Maybe because I've been trapped in inner-city London for the last three months during lockdown I particularly like the new audio tools. These make it much easier for developers to add audio clips to their Story Maps.

You can see (or listen) to Esri Story Maps' new audio feature in action on Sounds of the Wild West. This audio tour of Montana is broken into four sections, exploring the sounds of each of Montana’s four major ecosystems: Greater Yellowstone, the Crown of the Continent, the High Plains and Upper Missouri.

In each section you can listen to a selection of environmental and animal sounds. In Yellowstone you can listen to the sounds of geysers, bears and wolves. In the Crown of the Continent you can listen to the wind whistling through the Rockies, black bears and mule deer. In the High Plains you can hear the song of the meadowlark, the chirping of the prairie dog and the howl of the coyote. In the Upper Missouri ecosystem you can listen to the gurgling of the Missouri River, the croak of the Boreal chorus frog and the song of the red-winged blackbird.

If you want some inspiration for creating your own audio tours with the new Story Maps features then you should have a look at the Maps Mania Sound Maps tag, which includes many examples of maps which feature audio and sound clips.

How New York City Grew Over Time

A couple of week's ago Maps Mania, in The Street Age Map, featured an interesting map which used vintage historical maps to plot how the Mamoroneck Village in New York grew over the last 150 years. Since then the Running Reality project has reminded me about their platform which maps how towns and cities have changed over time.

In New York City Running Reality shows how the city grew over a period of more than two hundreds years from 1624 to 1859 in almost yearly increments. The animated GIF above shows the growth of New York over the 18th Century. It uses ten maps from Running Reality (one per decade) from 1710-1800. You can explore the whole of New York's historical growth for yourself on the Running Reality interactive map.

As well as New York City Running Reality has mapped the historical development of many other cities around the world. These include Rome, Athens, London, Beijing, and Tokyo. Recently they have also been working more closely on the early development of Washington DC and Alexandria.

If you are interested about New York before the Europeans arrived on America's shores then you can explore the Welikia Project. Before there was Manhattan there was Mannahatta. The Wlikia Project provides an imagined satellite view of Manhatta before New Amsterdam was first established.

The project maps the natural landscape of New York's valleys, forests, fields, freshwater wetlands and salt marshes. If you click on any New York neighborhood on the Welikia Google Map you can discover a wealth of information about the area's ecology as it existed before 1609.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Scrollytelling Artworks

Last week the New York Times published a fascinating examination of a painting by Thomas Eakins. Eakins' painting 'The Gross Clinic' is a gruesome depiction of a 19th Century operating theater.

Taking Lessons From a Bloody Masterpiece is a great scrollytelling crtique of the painting by art critic Jason Farago. As you scroll through Taking Lessons From a Bloody Masterpiece Farago explores in close detail the composition and technique used in The Gross Clinic. This detailed examination of the painting is made possible by creating images tiles of the painting just as map tiles are used in interactive maps.

On Maps Mania I've often lamented the fact that interactive mapping libraries, such as Leaflet.js, are not used more often in order to look more closely at works of art. One reason why we don't see lots of great scrollytelling examinations of paintings, such as the NYT's brilliant Taking Lessons From a Bloody Masterpiece, might be that there aren't that many working examples. I therefore decided to create my own scrollytelling painting critique using Leaflet.js.

The Drawing Lesson is the result. In this scrollytelling examination of Jan Steen's painting of an artist teaching two young pupils how to draw I have used the Leaflet mapping library to take a close detailed look at a 17th century Dutch masterpiece.

As you scroll through The Drawing Lesson the interactive zooms in on different details in Jan Steen's paintings. This allows us to explore the symbology used by the painter and to take a close look at what the painting tells us about the life and work of a Dutch painter in the 17th Century

If you want to clone my map of the painting you can easily do so on its Glitch page.

At the heart of The Drawing Lesson is the leaflet-iiif plug-in. Museums and art galleries around the world use the iiif format to present artworks as zoomable images. The leaflet-iiif plugin allows you to use iiif manifests with the Leaflet mapping platform. To use a different image in my Drawing Lesson map you just need to change the manifest URL to a different iiif manifest.

I have also used the waypoints JavaScript library in my presentation of Jan Steen's The Drawing Lesson. Waypoints is used to control the scrollytelling elements. It is what triggers the panning and zooming elements as the user scrolls through the page.

Of course the leaflet-iiif plug-in can also be used with vintage maps which have been digitized using the iiif format. For example here is Matthew Paris' Map of Britain. I created this scrollytelling story-map to explore Matthew Paris' geographical conception of Britain in the 13th Century. This interactive also includes modern English translations of the map's medieval place-names. Just click on the map labels to view the modern day translated names.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

The US Curfew Map

The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children and other critical situations - like police curfews. Customers of wireless companies that sign up to the Wireless Emergency Alerts system receive geographically targeted WEAs on their mobile phones. This involves receiving text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area.

Over the last few days many Americans will have received WEAs warning them of curfews being imposed in their areas. If you want to see where in the United States curfews are currently in place then you can refer to PBS's Realtime WEA Alert Map. The map shows all the current WEAs that have issued in the USA. The colored polygons on the map show the areas currently covered by a WEA and the color of the polygon relates to the severity of the warning.

Obviously not all the WEAs shown on the map relate to curfews. It is also possible that some city curfews are not being shown on the map.

Another way to get a real-time picture of what is happening around the country is Snap Map. Snap Map allows you to see where other Snap Chat users are in real-time and view any media that they may have submitted using the application. At the moment Snap Map in the United States is providing a pretty accurate view of where protests against the killing of George Floyd are taking place.

Obviously Snap Map is not a heat-map of the current protests. All the map really shows is where the most people are currently using Snap Chat to share their locations and videos. However the map does seem to provide a fairly accurate picture of where protests are presently taking place. Snap Map has the added benefit of allowing you to view video being shot by people on the ground. If you zoom in on any of the hot-spots shown on the map then videos will appear which you can view directly from the map. Most of the videos at the moment seem to be from and of the protests.

Fun Lessons About Maps

The UK's national mapping agency the Ordnance Survey has a great Mapzone section which has been designed to help children develop their understanding of Maps, Geography and GIS. If you are currently home-schooling then Mapzone is a superb way to introduce some cartographical educational fun into your day.

In each of the three main subject areas (Maps, Geography & GIS) Mapzone includes lessons, interactive tests and quizzes and games. For example the Map Skills section of Mapzone contains a number of fun lessons which explain how to read maps. These include activities teaching you how to measure distances, understand scales, read map symbols and use a compass. Each of these individual lessons includes instructions and interactive exercises designed to test your learning.

The Geography section includes lessons on rivers, glaciation, the climate and urban development. In the GIS section you can learn about how geographical information systems are used in all areas of society and employment sectors.

The Mapzone also includes a number of map based quizzes and games.

If you want to include some math in your map lessons then you can also try some of Mathigon's learning exercises. Mathigon has a neat introduction to graph theory which includes some fun interactive map problems.

Mathigon's Graphs and Networks lesson requires you to try coloring maps with as few colors as possible and to try to solve Euler's famous Bridges of Königsberg challenge. What makes Graphs and Networks such a great introduction to graph theory is that it includes a number of interactive map based puzzles which you can actually try to solve. For example you can try to solve Euler's bridge challenge by tracing a route around the city of Königsberg, crossing each of the city's bridges only once.

The Seven Bridges of Königsberg is a notable problem in mathematics. The river Pregel divides Königsberg into four separate parts. These four parts are connected by seven Bridges. The challenge is to walk around the city, visiting all four parts but only crossing each bridge exactly once. Leonhard Euler's resolution of the problem laid the foundations of graph theory.

Another mathematical problem that involves maps is Map Coloring. For example how many colors do you need to use to color in all the states of the USA when adjacent states can't have the same color. Using the interactive map in Graphs and Networks you can attempt to find out how few colors you need by coloring in all the states in the USA. You can also test your math skills by coloring a number of other interactive maps of different countries.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Mapping Police Killings

Black Americans are two and half times more likely to be killed by a police officer than white Americans. Of course not all states are equal. Black Americans in Utah actually have an incredible 9.2 times more chance of being killed at the hands of the police than a white person. In Rhode Island 8.74 black Americans are killed by the police for every white person killed.

Al Jazeera has mapped out Where black people are most disproportionately killed by police in the United States. When mapping numbers by geographical area cartographers often have to make a decision between mapping total numbers or numbers adjusted by population. Al Jazeera has responded to this challenge by mapping both the total number of black Americans killed in each state (using proportional markers) and the disproportion rate in every state (the number of black Americans killed for every white American killed).

While Utah has the highest disproportion rate of all states California is the state where the highest number of black Americans have been killed at the hands of the police between 2013 and 2019. Just in that 7 year period 186 black Americans were killed in California by the police.

Black Americans appear to be safest (at least in terms of being killed by the police) in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Vermont. These are the only states in the USA where black Americans (between 2013 and 2019) were not killed at the hands of the police at a higher rate than white Americans.

The 9.24 to Watford Junction

You can now explore the 1947 train timetable for the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company in more detail than ever before. The London Midland & Scottish Railway Company timetable for certain suburban services June 16th to October 5th, inclusive, 1947 uses the Leaflet.js mapping library to allow you to zoom in on every single line on the 432 pages of this vintage UK train timetable.

Putting all jokes about trainspotting and trainspotters aside this is a really good example of how the Leaflet mapping library can be used to create a functioning image viewer. While everyone may not share the Image Viewer's esoteric interest in historical train timetables most people can surely appreciate that this is a superb way to browse and read digitized historical documents.

One of the great advantages of flexible JavaScript mapping libraries like Leaflet.js is that they can be used to create far more than just interactive maps. By swapping map tiles for your own image tiles, you can quickly create an impressive interactive interface for viewing digitized images.

Another fantastic example of Leaflet being used as an image viewer is in this presentation of a painting by El Greco. The Minneapolis Institute of Art has used Leaflet.js to provide an interface to view works of art in its extensive collection. This Leaflet map of Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple allows you to examine El Greco's painting in all its stunning detail.

British photographer Levon Biss also used the Leaflet mapping library to present a series of photos in his Microsculpture project. Microsculpture allows you to view high resolution photos of insect specimens from Oxford University Museum of Natural History up close and in fine detail as Leaflet maps. Using the zoom controls you can zoom in on the incredible detail captured by Biss's high resolution insect photos.

The Getty Museum has also used Leaflet to provide a way of exploring the beautiful designs which can be found in Roman mosaics. The Getty's Roman Mosaics website includes a Leaflet map showing the original locations of the Roman mosaics in its collections. Leaflet wasn't used just for the map. If you click through on the links provided in each mosaic's marker on the map you can actually explore the mosaics themselves using an individual Leaflet image viewer.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Snapchat Protests

Snap Map can often be a very good guide to how events are unfolding in real-time. With much of America still reeling from the killing of George Floyd you can get a sense of the anger being felt across the country from the videos currently being submitted to Snap Chat.

Snap Map allows you to see where other Snap Chat users are in real-time and view any media that they may have submitted using the application. At the moment Snap Map in the United States is providing a pretty accurate view of where protests against the killing of George Floyd are now taking place.

Obviously Snap Map is not a heat-map of the current protests. All the map really shows is where the most people are currently using Snap Chat to share their locations and videos. However the map does seem to provide a fairly accurate picture of where protests are presently taking place. Snap Map has the added benefit of allowing you to view video being shot by people on the ground. If you zoom in on any of the hot-spots shown on the map then more videos will appear which you can view directly from the map. Most of the videos at the moment seem to be from and of the protests.

Friday, May 29, 2020

London's Victorian Industry

I am fascinated by maps which provide a snapshot of my local neighborhood during different periods of history. Today I've been poring over an interactive map which shows London's industrial buildings at the end of the Nineteenth Century.

Up until the Dissolution of the Monasteries my neighborhood was encompassed within the grounds of an abbey. After the Dissolution not a lot changed locally for the next four hundred years. After the abbey was destroyed in the early 1500's the area remained very rural with a tiny population for a very long time. Then, in the late 18th century, a nearby river was canalised. This attracted industry and residential development. In the 1850's a railway line was built through the neighborhood and a train station was opened. And that was it. Within a few years of the railway opening the area was completely urbanized.

A signpost which now stands near where the gatehouse to the Stratford Langthorne Abbey once stood.

Because of my neighborhood's closeness to the Lee Navigation system and the railway during Victorian times there was a lot of local industry. This can be seen on the London Industry 1893-1895 interactive map. This map uses data taken from vintage Ordnance Survey maps of London to identify industrial buildings during the Victorian period.

The Leather Gardens Estate, built in the 1960's on the site of the Leather Cloth Works.

Nearly all the industrial sites shown on the map have long since disappeared. Around my area the map shows a cluster of chemical and leather works. All of which have now closed. The last of these local industries to go was the Leather Cloth Works, which survived the heavy bombing in the area during World War II, only to go out of business in the 1960's. The huge factory of the leather works was quickly demolished and the Leather Gardens Estate now consists of two ugly 1960's tower blocks and low level housing.

Three Mills at Bow

The London Industry Interactive map also shows that a number of mills seemed to be flourishing in my neighborhood in the 1890's. The only surviving mills in the area now are the ones at Three Mills. The present mills at Three Mills date back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. However there have been mills on this site since the 13th century when the mills belonged to Stratford Longthorne Abbey.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

How to Persuade with Maps

The Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library has created an online exhibition which explores how maps can distort the truth. The exhibition includes a number of interactive maps which have been used to visualize how cartographers attempt to represent reality and how that representation always involves some form of distortion.

In Bending Lines: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception a number of maps from the library's collection (and from elsewhere) are used to illustrate the choices that cartographers make when illustrating the real world. The exhibition is divided into thematic sections. The first section looks at how maps are used to persuade in politics, business and other areas of life. The second section looks more closely at the technical decisions made by cartographers when mapping a three dimensional world in two dimensions (lots on map projections). The third section looks more closely at who makes our maps and whose world views are being portrayed in those maps. Each of these sections is illustrated with a carefully selected choice of interactive maps.

Many of the interactive maps in the exhibition are accompanied with an 'education tour'. These education tours include a number of questions about the highlighted map which are designed to encourage readers to think about the choices the cartographer has made in creating the map. Each map is also accompanied with details on the year it was created, who it was made by and which map collection it belongs to.

Postcards from the Great War

Return to Sender is an interactive map which allows you to explore and view postcards which were sent during the First World War. The map allows you to explore images of postcards which were sent during a time when many young men were posted to locations a long way from home. Using the map you can also read the often poignant messages which were written by these men to their loved ones back home.

The map is an interface for browsing the postcards collection within the Europeana 1914-1918 thematic archive. Postcards are shown on the map at the location from where they were sent. Animated flow lines reveal where the postcards were delivered to. If you click on one of the blue markers on the map you can view an image of the postcard and the details listed in the Europeana archives.

The map includes a comprehensive search facility which allows you to search the postcards by location, date and by different image archives.

If you are intrigued by the personal stories revealed in the postcards sent during the First World War then you might also be interested in Europeana's Love Across Borders series. This series uses items from the Europeana collections to explore stories of romance and love during the time of World War I.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Communities at Risk from Covid-19

The Washington Post has created an interactive map which allows you to explore which census tracts in your town or city might be most at risk from the coronavirus. We now know that some areas are more susceptible to high rates of Covid-19 than others. Some of the factors contributing to higher rates of mortality include overcrowded housing, high levels of existing health conditions and high percentages of non-white populations.

The Post has created an interactive map which identifies the census tracts in every town in America which have overcrowded households, the most uninsured, a minority population greater than 50 percent and a high proportion of the population ranking highly on the CDC vulnerability index. If you search for a location on the Explore chronic health rates in your community interactive map and then select one of these four metrics the map will highlight the census tracts which are most at risk under that metric. All census tracts on the map are also colored to show the health risk in each tract compared to the national average.

The Washington Post article accompanying the map looks more closely at those areas where non-white Americans have been experiencing higher rates of Covid-19 than the white population. For example in Washington DC 64% of the population is non-white and yet non-whites have made up 89% of deaths. New York has a 68% non-white population but the non-white population makes up 83% of deaths.

The Campaign for Wider Sidewalks

One of the problems local authorities are struggling with around the world is - as we emerge from lock-down how can we best support social-distancing in our urban environments? One worry is that crowded public transport systems could contribute to a second wave of Covid-19 in areas which are beginning to lower their death rates. Many towns and cities are therefore keen to promote walking and cycling as a safe and healthy way to travel.

One problem in making our cities safe is that many towns and cities have been designed around car travel and have not been designed to promote walking or cycling. Many local authorities are now looking at how they can transform the urban environment to dissuade people from driving and to walk and cycle instead.

One area which authorities might want to consider is pavement / sidewalk width. In order to promote pedestrianization it could be helpful to identify where it is currently impossible to practice safe social-distancing while walking. By mapping pavement width it is possible to identify those areas where infrastructure change is needed in order to make it possible for citizens to walk safely.

In the UK Esri has released the GB Pavement Width Indicator. This vector tile layer for Esri maps colors Great British pavements by width. The map uses three colors. The red pavements show paths which are narrower than 2 meters and show where social distancing is impossible to maintian while walking. Orange pavements are between 2 & 3 meters in width and the blue pavements are 3 meters wider or greater.

Sidewalk width maps are also being developed in other countries around the world. The Florence Sidewalks Map visualizes the widths of sidewalks in the Italian city of Florence. It allows users to see where in the city it is possible to observe social distancing and where it is impossible to maintain a gap of 2 meters between yourself and other pedestrians.

All sidewalks on the Florence Sidewalks Map are colored red if the sidewalk has a width of less than 2 meters. Blue colored sidewalks have a width of over 8 meters. It looks to me like Florence is a city crying out for pedestrianization. Much of the street layout and street widths in Florence date back to at least the Renaissance. Perversely because the roads were designed to accommodate people and horses Florence's streets aren't wide enough to accommodate both cars and wide sidewalks.

If you live in New York then you can use the Sidewalks Width Map to see where it is safe to walk in the city while maintaining social distancing with other pedestrians. The Sidewalks Widths map uses New York City's Sidewalk dataset to show where it is possible to maintain social distancing while walking in the city and where social distancing is impossible.

Blue colored sidewalks on this map are the widest and indicate a sidewalk where social distancing should be easy. Green sidewalks are less wide but still wide enough so that social distancing should be possible. Red sidewalks are narrower than 10 feet and show where a path is too narrow to practice social distancing. Just hover over a sidewalk on the map to view its width in feet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Changing Cities

Last week Kyle Walker released his Mapping Immigrant America interactive map which is a dot map showing the number and origin of immigrants in America at the census tract level. Kyle's map is an interesting way to explore where immigrants from different regions live in the USA.

If you want to explore how the racial and ethnic diversity of neighborhoods are changing over time then you can refer to the Changing Region interactive map. The Visualizing a Changing Region, Block by Block map allows you to view the change in the racial make-up of neighborhoods in America's largest cities. The two side-by-side maps show the largest ethnic group in each census tract for two different dates. Using the slide control the user can easily make direct comparisons of how the racial and ethnic mix of neighborhoods and cities has changed over time.

If you want to know more about the racial and ethnic mix of a block then you can click on the map to view the percentage of the white, black, Asian and Hispanic populations. The Changing Region interactive map uses data from the U.S. Census bureau and shows race and ethnicity for 2000 and 2010.

You can also explore the racial diversity of American cities in 2010 on the University of Virginia's Racial Dot Map. This map uses colored dots to visualize the geographic distribution and racial diversity of every neighborhood in the USA. The map contains 308,745,538 colored dots. Each dot represents one American and the color of the dot indicates the represented person's race and ethnicity.

In Lockdown No One Can Hear You Scream

The Listening Passport is an interactive map of sounds recorded during the Covid-19 lock-down. The Listening Passport project was originally designed for people in Cornwall, England to record the sounds that surround them during isolation during Covid-19. However the map is actually being used to record the aural soundscapes of coranavirus by people throughout the UK and even further afield.

Anyone can contribute a recording to the map by completing a short form and sharing their location on an interactive map. All recordings submitted to the Listening Passport can be listened to via the project map. Just click on any of the yellow markers on the map and you can listen to the submitted recording.

The Listening Project is not the only map which is interested in recording the sounds of the coronavirus lock-down. Over the last few months many of us have witnessed a dramatic change in our aural landscapes. The huge reduction in air and road traffic has allowed other sounds, like birdsong and the wind blowing through the trees, to come to the fore.

Pete Stollery has created a Google Earth sound map which aims to capture the new soundscapes which have emerged as a result of the huge reduction in normal human activity around the globe. The Covid-19 Sound Map includes recordings from all across the world. These sounds include recordings of now empty city centers, people clapping for health workers, croaking frogs and traffic free streets.

You can add your own sounds to the map by sending recordings and a short explanation of the recording to Pete Stollery. The instructions for how to record your sounds and the form for submitting your recordings are on the Sound website.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Past Climate Explorer

Past Climate Explorer is a fascinating interactive map which allows you to explore historical climate records for any location on Earth. Using the map you can explore average temperature, average precipitation, wind speed and cloud cover anywhere around the globe.

If you click on the Past Climate Explorer interactive map you can view a range of different historical climate records from the ERA5 dataset (1981-2010). For example if you click on New York you can view the records for air temperature, frost days, warm days, precipitation, rainy days, humidity, wind speed and cloud cover.

These records are shown using a number of different visualization methods. For example if you select to view air temperature you can see a warming stripes visualization for your chosen location, showing the average temperatures by year (1981-2010). This warming stripes visualization provides a useful guide as to whether global heating is leading to rising temperatures at the location you selected on the map.

The other charts and graphs allow you to explore the seasonal patterns of weather around the world. They let you see at a glance the hottest, wettest, coldest and windiest months at different locations around the world.

Myriahedral Map Projections

In 2008 Jack van Wijk devised a new method for visualizing the Earth in two dimensions. His Myriahedral projections manage to map the Earth onto a flat surface with very little angular and area distortion.

Mapping a sphere onto a flat surface always requires some level of distortion. For example the Mercator projection has a large degree of area distortion and famously makes Europe and North America appear disproportionately large compared to Africa. Myriahedral projections attempt to reduce area and angle distortion as much as possible. In praising Jack van Wijk's Myriahedral projections CartoNerd's Kenneth Field says, "He managed to achieve a projection that reduces angular deformation to an absolute minimum and preserves area – not an easy trick."

You can explore a number of different Myriahedral Projections on Unfolding the Earth: Myriahedral Projections In WebGL. This interactive, WebGL powered, application allow you to view a number of different Myriahedral projections of the Earth using a number of different methods, including graticules, recursive subdivisions, platonic solids, archimedian solids and geography aligned meshes. For each map projection you can use the 'unfold' slider to see how the two dimensional map emerges from the spherical shape of the Earth.

If you are interested in learning more about map projections then have a look at Projection Face. Projection Face is a great illustration of the distortions created by different map projections. The interactive shows how 64 different map projections effect our view of the world by showing each projection's effect when applied to something very familiar, the human face.

The distortions of each of the different projections can be illustrated further by clicking and dragging any of the mapped faces. This illustrates how the different map projections can be distorted themselves simply by changing the center of the map.

Projections Face is an interactive version of a 1924 illustration from Elements of Map Projection with Applications to Map and Chart Construction.

Degenerate State's Map Projections tool is another interesting visualization of how different map projections distort our picture of the world. Map Projections is a very similar tool to Projection Face but this interactive shows you how map projections effect maps of the Earth and not maps of a face.

The tool allows you to view a map of the world using 11 different map projections. This in itself is a good demonstration of the choices cartographers make when depicting a three dimensional sphere on a two dimensional plane. However Map Projections also allows you to explore how these different map projections would change if you changed the 0,0 point of latitude and longitude on the map. If you click anywhere in the world then the map will automatically change to show the distortion needed if this was the origin of the map.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Dot Map of Immigrant America

Kyle Walker of Texas Christian University has updated his Mapping Immigrant America to include the latest ACS data.

Mapping Immigrant America is a dot map showing the number and origin of immigrants throughout the United States. The data for the map comes from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey carried out at the census tract level. Each dot on the map represents different numbers of people from the same geographical region. The number of people represented by each dot differs at different zoom levels. At the highest zoom level one dot equals approximately 25 people.

The map legend shows which colored dots represents which region of origin. This legend is interactive and allows you to turn individual groups on or off on the map. This means that you can more easily visualize where immigrants from distinct regions have settled within the USA. It also allows you to more clearly see the distribution of different immigrant groups within individual towns and cities.

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Street Age Map

Mamaroneck Village in Westchester County, New York was incorporated in 1895. The village first developed as a small farming community on both sides of the Mamaroneck River. The two built areas on both sides of the river were joined into one commercial village in the 1890's. The population of Mamaroneck village in 1895 was 1,500. Over the last 125 years the population of Mamarneck has grown in size and is now approaching 20,000. Over that same period the village has expanded to accommodate that ever growing population.

You can see how Mamoroneck Village has developed over the last 150 years on How Mamaroneck Village NY Grew. This interactive map colors the village's streets by the year of their construction. Michael Meaney created the map by scouring vintage maps of Mamoroneck to determine when the village's streets were first constructed. If you select a street on the map you can see the street's name, when it first appeared on a village map and an estimation of when the street was built.

I am big fan of building age maps, which I think often provide a fascinating insight into how towns and cities have developed over time. One problem with building age maps is that in older cities they only show the oldest buildings, which are still standing. They can present a distorted picture of historical development because they don't show where newer buildings have been built on top of demolished older building footprints.

By mapping street ages instead of (or alongside) building ages you largely overcome this problem. Obviously old streets can be demolished and a complete new street pattern can be developed in its place. However I suspect that this is much less common than a more organic development of cities where the street layout stays the same but where older buildings are gradually replaced over time. Therefore a street age map, such as How Mamaroneck Village NY Grew, in most cases will usually provide a pretty accurate picture of how a town or city has developed over time.

Of course building a street age map of a larger city will take a lot of work. A lot of work that Myles Zhang out in to create this animation of the evolution of New York.

Myles Zhang's The New York City Evolution Animation was created by analyzing hundreds of vintage maps of New York City. The data extracted from these vintage maps was then used to create cartographic snapshots of NYC for every 20-30 years. As the video progresses you can see how the city started as a small settlement in Manhattan and over a couple of centuries grew into the huge metropolis that it is today.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Covid-19 Trend Map

ProPublica has created an impressive interactive map which allows Americans to see at a glance the trajectory of Covid-19 in each state. As more and more states are lifting stay-at-home orders the map has been designed to give Americans an overview of whether the number of cases of Covid-19 are going up or down in each state.

On the Reopening America map each state is represented by a directional arrow. If the arrow is pointing upwards then the trajectory of Covid-19 positive tests is upwards over the last two weeks. An arrow pointing downwards shows that the number of Covid-19 positive tests in the state has gone down over the last two weeks.

The map doesn't compare the number of positive tests results between different states. It is designed purely so users can tell at a glance whether the number of positive Covid-19 tests is going up or down in their state and the relative rate of that rise or fall. It is worth noting that a state with a downward trajectory may still have a higher rate of Covid-19 than a state which is on an upward trajectory.

If you click on a state you can view a number of other metrics, which have been derived from government guidelines used by states when considering whether to loosen lock-down restrictions. These metrics include the number of positive tests per 100K people, the percentage of positive tests and ICU bed availability. When you select a state on the map you can also view whether it currently has a stay-at-home order in place.

The Scottish Isochrone Map

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who teaches in a school which is re-opening for students in two weeks time. She is very keen for her students to be able to go back to school. However she really doesn't want to start travelling again on the London Underground twice a day during the morning and evening rush hour. And I really don't blame her.

My friend knows that I cycle a lot in London so she was eager to find out how long it would take her to bike to work everyday and which would be the quickest and safest routes. I was surprised that my friend had very little understanding of the distance she could cycle in 30 minutes. Which obviously got me thinking about isochrone maps.

The fact that I had also just been playing with the Scottish Travel Isochrones map might also be why I immediately thought about travel time maps. The Scottish Travel Isochrones interactive map allows you to view cycling, walking and public transport isochrone layers for workplace zones in Scotland. The map allows you to quickly see how far you can travel in different amounts of time using different modes of transport within Scottish towns and cities. The map is particularly useful if you want to compare the effectiveness of public transport systems in different cities.

Obviously a Scottish travel time map isn't much use to my friend in London. Luckily my encyclopedic knowledge of interactive maps allowed me to point her towards Parallel's Schools in England & Wales map instead. This interactive map provides, walking, cycling and driving times for every school in England and Wales. Zoom in on any school and you can view isochrone layers showing the areas that you can walk, bike or drive to (from the school) in six minute increments.

If you want to view other interactive isochrone maps then you can explore the isochrone label on Maps Mania, which includes many examples of travel time maps from around the world.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Unequal States of America

If you live in Wyoming your vote is worth 3.64 times more than a voter in California. This is because of the uneven spread of electors per state in the United States. Wyoming has more votes in the Electoral College per registered voter than any other state.

With the 2020 Presidential election looming large on the horizon it seems like a good idea to look once again at the peculiarities of America's Electoral College. U.S. Presidents are not directly elected by the voters. The President and Vice-President are elected by the Electoral College. Voters in each state vote to select a set of electors to sit on the Electoral College. However the number of electors that each state has is not proportional to the population of each state. This results in a strange situation where every American's vote is not equal. Some votes count more than others - and the weight of your vote is entirely dependent on where you live.

You can see how much your vote is worth compared to voters in other states on Heinrich Hartmann's Electoral College map. Click on a state on this map to see how one vote in that state compares to the votes in other states. After you click on a state all the other states are colored to show whether their votes are worth more or less than your selected state. You can then hover over individual states to see the exact comparison of votes between two states.

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

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

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

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

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

The Lethal Heat Map

A new study shows how global heating is already causing extreme dangerous heat & humidity conditions in locations across the world. High wet bulb conditions, when there is a combination of high heat and high humidity, can be very dangerous to the health of human beings. A new study by climate scientists show how these conditions are beginning to emerge around the globe.

The study, called The emergence of heat and humidity too severe for human tolerance, argues that thanks to global heating extreme humid heat conditions are becoming extremely severe. Many scientists have warned that global heating will lead to dangerous and fatal bouts of extreme heat by the end of this century. This new study argues that those conditions are already here and identifies thousands of instances where previously rare occurrences of extreme heat and humidity have been seen in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and North America.

Colombia University has created an Interactive Map: Daily Maximum Wet-Bulb Temperature (°C) to plot the wet bulb conditions documented in the new report. The map shows the results of a survey of the climate records from weather stations around the globe. On the map the yellow and red colored locations signify the worst combinations as measured on the Centigrade 'wet bulb' scale.