Friday, August 14, 2020

Choropleth Paintings

Earlier this week, while reviewing Map Mercer (which is an interactive map portrait), I joked that "I definitely haven't spent the last few hours trying to work out how to use hexbins to create my own pixelated interactive map portrait". Which of course is exactly what I had been doing.

In fact this week I have spent more than a few hours thinking about how to hexbin a photograph. Or, in other words, how to overlay a hexbin on top of an image and retrieve the color of each hexagon. My thinking is that once you have the color value of each hexagon it will then be a very simple process to overlay the completed hexbin portrait on any location on Earth using an interactive mapping library.

Unfortunately I'm not clever enough to actually code this process. Fortunately, however, the Internet is full of people far cleverly than I am. For example there is Datawrapper's Elana Levin Schtulberg. Just one day after I started wondering about how I would begin to paint pictures on maps Elana published a number of examples of interactive maps which are also pictures. And of course Elana's solution to how to draw pictures with maps is much more elegant than my idea of painting with hexbins.

In Painting by Numbers Elana has created a number of pictures by coloring administrative level geographies as choropleth visualizations. Her examples include London MSOA boundaries colored to create a picture of Big Ben, New York's electoral wards colored to create a picture of the Empire State Building and Berlin's electoral districts colored to create an interactive map painting of the Brandenburg Gate.

Street View of 1940's New York

If you visited Broadway in 1940 then you were spoiled for choice for a wonderful night out. In 1940 Ethel Barrymore was starring in The Corn is Green at the National Theater on West 41st Street. If you didn't like theater, and your tastes ran a little more towards the prosaic, then you could always walk one block up to West 42nd Street, where the Republic Theater had its notorious Girlie Stage Show.

The Republic Theater was Broadway's first burlesque house. It's most famous performer being Gypsy Rose Lee. If a striptease seems a little tasteless then you might have preferred popping to the cinema next door, where the Apollo Theater was showing Mademoiselle Mozart, a French comedy starring the famous French actress Danielle Darrieux.

I know all this because I have been virtually exploring 1940's Broadway on 1940's NYC. 1940's NYC is a fantastic interactive map which allows you to view an eighty year old photograph of any address in New York. Using the map you can explore NYC as it appeared in 1940, just one year before the USA entered the Second World War. These photographs of 1940's New York were taken between 1939 and 1941 by the Works Progress Administration. During these years the WPA took photographs of every building in the five boroughs for the New York City Tax Department.

Broadway in the mid 1980's also had a lot to offer.  Karate Kid Part II was on at the cinema, Cats was being performed nightly at the theater and on Times Square you could buy just about any drug that you wanted. If that sounds appealing to you then get ready to jump into another New York Street View time machine.

80s.NYC is a fantastic collection of vintage photographs of New York City street scenes, all taken in the 1980s. The photos were taken by the Finance Department of New York City in the middle of the 80's. In order to accurately assess building taxes the department photographed every single building in the five boroughs. The pictures could then be used to estimate property values.

Thanks to Brandon Liu and Jeremy Lechtzin you can now travel the city streets of 1980's New York City. Their 80s.NYC map allows you to browse the City's photographic collection by location. Just click anywhere on the map of the city and you can instantly view the vintage Street Views of that location. The map also includes a number of curated 'Stories'. These stories provide historical background to some of the more interesting photos and historical buildings in the collection.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Where Women Feel Unsafe

Earlier this year Plan International carried out a map survey in four German cities to find out where women in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Munich feel safe and unsafe. The survey revealed that nearly all women have felt unsafe when out & about in these cities. 80% of the places identified in the survey were locations where women have felt unsafe.

Among the reasons why locations were identified as unsafe in the survey were poor lighting on streets and in parks. Women also cited feeling unsafe in locations where men use alcohol or drugs in public. Women also reported feeling uncomfortable while waiting for or using public transport. Bars and restaurants were often reported as locations where women felt safe.

The Safer Cities Map is no longer accepting input but it can still be used to see the locations in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne & Munich identified by women as being unsafe. Select a city from the side menu and you can view all the locations identified in the map survey. Green pins indicate locations which were identified as somewhere a woman felt safe. Red pins are the locations where women said they felt unsafe. If you click on these map pins you can read the comments left by the woman who identified the location.

You can read more analysis of the Plan International survey at Women experience fear, harassment and violence in their cities (in German). The results of the survey are important not just for city planners in the four German cities surveyed. The results identify common city locations where safety needs to be improved, for example areas with poor lighting and isolated public transport stops and routes.

Women in Brazil who have experienced harassment can share their experiences on the Chegu de Fiu Fiu interactive map. Chega de Fiu Fiu is a campaign against sexual harassment. The campaign includes a Chega de Fiu Fiu Google Map which is used to map the most troublesome and dangerous places for women in Brazil.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The 2020 Census Self-Response Rate Map

Currently only 63.4% of households have responded to the 2020 census by phone, internet or post. The U.S. census is carried out every ten years and plays a huge role in how much money is spent in your area on health clinics, educational services and on other important infrastructure. The census is also used for apportioning seats in congress and the number of Electoral College votes your state has.

You can see the self-reporting rates for the 2020 census on the Hard to Count interactive map. Using the map you can view the current state and county self-response rates for this year's census and compare these rates to the self-response rates for the past two censuses. Currently Alaska (49.8%) and New Mexico (53.4%) are the two states with the lowest self-response rates. Although the self-response rate in Puerto Rico at 28.1% is even worse.

Many census experts believe that the Trump administration's attempts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census (which was overruled by the Supreme Court) may still be suppressing responses to the census in areas with large immigrant communities.

The United States 2020 Census website also maps self-response rates at both the state and county levels. The U.S. 2020 Census map also allows you to compare this year's self-response rate with that of the 2010 census.

This Man is an Island

John Donne famously said that 'No man is an island'. But then John Donne had never met Matthew Mercer. Matthew Mercer is not only an island he is also an interactive map.

Matthew Mercer is an American voice actor. According to Wikipedia he is best known for his work in anime, video games and cartoons. Matthew Mercer is now also an interactive map. Map Mercer is a very strange interactive map in which the face of Matthew Mercer is portrayed like a tropical island in an otherwise empty sea.

Red Giant Maps has used QGIS to turn a portrait of Matthew Mercer into a topographical map. That map has then been made interactive using Mapbox GL. I have no idea why Red Giant Maps felt the need to make a huge interactive map from the face of a voice-over artist. The whole exercise seems a little pointless to me and I definitely haven't spent the last few hours trying to work out how to use hexbins to create my own pixelated interactive map portrait.

Map Mercer is I think the first non-geographical map I've seen use Mapbox GL. Leaflet.js has been used extensively to create map-like interfaces to explore non-geographical images. I recently linked to a few of these non-geographical interactive maps in the post Microscopic Mapping.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Driving on Mars

Last month NASA launched a new rocket to Mars. The Mars 2020 mission will deliver the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter drone to the red planet. The Ingenuity drone will be used to scout for points of interest which the Perseverance rover will then study. Perseverance is equipped with a number of scientific instruments which it will use to investigate the Mars environment.

Perseverance won't be the only rover on Mars. The Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012, initially for a planned two year mission. Eight years later Curiosity is still operating. During its eight years on Mars Curiosity's cameras have captured over 200,000 images. NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab have turned those photos into a 3D model which is used to study the surface of Mars.

JPL and Google have now joined forces to create Access Mars so that you can also explore the surface of Mars in 3D. Access Mars uses 360 degree panoramic imagery to virtually place you on the surface of Mars. You can move around and visit important locations and learn more about the planet from a narrated tour provided by JPL Mission Scientist Katie Stack.

A number of 360 degree panoramic images of Mars, created using imagery from the Curiosity Rover are also available on 360cities. The screenshot above comes from a 360 degree panorama captured at a patch of flat outcrop called 'John Klein', which was selected as the site for the first rock-drilling activities by Curiosity.

If you open any of the 360cities panoramas of Mars you can navigate around the image just as you would in Google Maps Street View. If you have a virtual reality headset you can even view the panorama in VR.

The Death of the High Street

The Ordnance Survey's High Streets interactive map shows the location of all High Streets (main streets) in Great Britain. 'High Street' is the most common street name in the UK. This map however is not about mapping all the roads named 'High Street' but identifying all the main retail streets in Great Britain.

To be classified as a 'High Street' for the OS High Streets map a road must have a name and be a street which predominately consists of retail outlets. The road must have a cluster of at least 15 retail addresses within 150 metres. For the purposes of this map other retail centers such as retail parks, industrial estates, and isolated shopping centers are excluded.

The OS High Street map is a great resource for finding the main retail streets in Britain's cities and towns. It is particularly useful if you want to assess the health of the country's main shopping streets. For example the Office of National Statistics uses the OS High Street data to explore trends in businesses, employment and those living near high streets.

Yesterday the ONS published its latest analysis into the health of Britain's high streets in High streets in Great Britain. This analysis finds that retail employment in high streets fell in three quarters of local authorities between 2015 and 2018. However employment in pubs & bars and in food services all rose on the high street during the same period. Overall high streets account for 14% of all employment in Great Britain so this year's lock-down is likely to have a huge impact on UK employment. Struggling shops are likely to be adversely affected as are the pub and food services sectors which were previously taking up much of the slack within the retail sector on Britain's high streets.

The OS High Streets interactive map shows center lines, building outlines and bounding boxes of each high street. If you click on a high street on the map you can view its name, how many buildings it contains, and how many of these are shops & how many are offices.

Monday, August 10, 2020

US House Prices Continue to Rise

The U.S. property market is bucking the general economy. Usually when unemployment rates rise house prices tend to stagnate or even fall. However despite the poor economy house prices in the USA continue to rise year-on-year. In July the median price of a home in the USA was 8.5% higher than properties listed in July of last year.

Of course this isn't a uniform trend across the whole of the country. You can explore's interactive Real Estate Price Map to explore the median listing price of properties across the United States. This map allows you to see the average price of a property in each zip-code area. It also allows you to see month-on-month and year-on-year price comparisons. This shows you where median house price listings have fallen or risen in the last month or in the last year.

Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Cincinnati have seen the biggest year-on-year increases in median house price listings. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (both in Flrorida) were the only two metro areas in the country to see a year-on year decline in house price listings compared to July of last year.

There are two reasons why house prices may be continuing to rise despite the economic outlook. One reason is the historically low mortgage rate. The other is the decline in newly listed properties. There is a big fall in the number of properties being put up for sale compared to last year. believes that the "lack of newly listed homes on the market, coupled with pent-up buyer demand, is driving inventory to all-time lows and is also steadily pushing prices up higher".

Climate Heat Inequality

By the end of this century, due to climate heating, 75% of the world will have a higher mortality risk from extreme heat. That increased mortality rate will be far higher in the world's poorest regions, where investment in protective infrastructure and care for the vulnerable will not be able to cope with the increased risk of mortality from extreme temperatures.

In Life and Death in Our Hot Future Will Be Shaped by Today’s Income Inequality Bloomberg reports on a new study by Climate Impact Lab which suggests that global heating will result in far higher mortality rates from extreme heat than was previously thought. The study also finds that the world's poorest regions will experience the highest mortality rates from extreme heat.

Bloomberg's article includes an interactive map which shows the estimated change in death rates from extreme heat over the 21st Century. The map reveals that rising global temperatures will result in higher mortality rates. However the highest mortality rates will be in those countries and regions with the lowest incomes. To show the impact of inequality on heat mortality Bloomberg compares regions with similar future climates but very large economic differences. For example, by the end of this century Tehran is expected to have 119 more deaths per 100,000 from extreme heat, while Washington DC (with a similar climate) is expected to have just 32 more deaths per 100,000.

The Bloomberg interactive map shows the predicted increase in mortality rates from extreme heat, not how much extreme heat countries will experience due to global heating. The University of Hawaii has released an interactive map which uses expected temperature increases to predict the number of deadly days we can expect from extreme heat around the world for each year up to 2100. Heatwaves: Number of deadly heat days provides a timeline control which allows you to select any year from 1950-2100. The blue dots on the map show historic extreme heat events that have occurred around the world before 2014.

If you click on the map you can view two charts for the selected location. One chart visualizes the number of annual deadly days over time and the other shows the humidity vs. temperature for the current year.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

The London Building Age Map

In my continuing quest to document every building age map in the world it has been very apparent that towns and cities in the UK do not have many interactive maps showing the ages when buildings were built. While many other countries seem to routinely collect data on the age of individual buildings, national and local governments in the UK really don't seem very interested in documenting the age or construction date of buildings.

This is one of the reasons why Colouring London was created. Colouring London is an open data project from University College London which is being used to collect statistical data on individual buildings in London. Using the Colouring London interactive map anyone can add information about individual buildings in London, including data on building age, the building's original type (residential, commercial etc) and its current use.

Using the Coloring London interactive map you can explore the open data already gathered on London buildings. For example if you select the 'Age' layer you can view a map of all the building ages already crowd-sourced. This map shows individual buildings colored by the year that they were constructed. Some areas of London have so far had more crowd-sourced data collected than others. The building age map at the moment is pretty comprehensive in the West End and the East End. At the time of writing it has little data for South London and most London suburbs.

You can view the ages of buildings in the rest of England & Wales using the CDRC Maps 'dwelling age' layer. The UK doesn't have any open data showing the ages of individual buildings. CDRC Maps has therefore used data from the Valuation Office Agency which does publish building ages in ten year bands (e.g. 1960-70).

The CDRC Maps dwelling age layer allows you to study the geography of residential building ages in towns and cities throughout England & Wales. Buildings built before the 20th Century are all classified by the Valuation Office Agency in one catch all pre-1900's band. Therefore while CDRC Maps is very good for exploring building developments in the 20th Century it isn't particularly useful for exploring the age of buildings built before 1900.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Virtual Tours of the World

Over the last few months I've been slowly curating a list of my favorite virtual tours of museums & galleries across the world. This list provides links to virtual tours created by museums and galleries around the globe, using a variety of technologies, such as 360 degree panoramic imagery. Of course I'm not the only cultural vulture who has been scouring the world's museums for interesting content. During lock-down a number of interactive maps have sprung-up which provide links to the best virtual tours created by the world's cultural institutions. is one of these interactive maps of cultural virtual tours. It provides links to virtual content created by museums, galleries, aquariums and zoos around the world. The virtual tours on can be filtered by category and by country, which makes it very easy to search for the kinds of venue which you are most interested in. Another really useful feature of is that is keeps a record of which tours you have visited. This means that if you return to after a few days you can quickly see which virtual tours you have already visited.

Digital Museums is another interactive map dedicated to curating the best interactive content being created by the world's museums. This map is part of a project looking at museum digital strategies developed in response to lock-down, which is being led by Dr Chiara Zuanni at the University of Graz. On this map content is categorized into 'virtual tours', 'streaming content', 'online exhibitions' etc.

Virtual Museums has also created an interactive map of virtual tours created by cultural institutions around the globe. If you create an account with Virtual Museums you can create a favorites list and track which virtual tours you have visited. Virtual Museums also includes an option to submit missing virtual tours via a very short form.

An Atlas of Literature

An Ocean of Books is an interactive map of over 100,000 authors and 145,162 books. On this map every island is an author and every city is a book. If you search the interactive map for your favorite writers you can find other writers that you may enjoy based on how near they appear on the map to your favorites.

The size of an author's island on An Ocean of Books is determined by the amount written about them on the internet. The more times they are mentioned on the world wide web then the bigger their island on the map. The position of the islands and the proximity of authors to each other is determined by the number of connections between them on the internet. If two authors are mentioned in lots of the same articles on the web then the closer they will be on An Ocean of Books.

The connections between authors and therefore their proximity on the map is determined by a machine learning algorithm. If you select an author's name on the map then you can read a short biography. If you zoom in on an author's island then all the writer's books will appear as cities on the map. Click on a book's title and you can read a short introduction to the selected book.

An Ocean of Books is not the first interactive map which has tried to arrange the world's literature based on machine learning algorithms. 100 Years of Sci Fi is an interactive map of science fiction novels listed on Good Reads. All the sci-fi novels on this map are organized by thematic similarity. In other words novels which share common sci-fi themes are grouped closer together. Using the map you can therefore search for your favorite sci-fi novels and authors and find other works of science fiction which share common themes.

Novels on the map are linked when they share common keywords on Good Reads. The novels are placed in clusters of works which share similar keyword signatures. If you click on the 'Legend' button in the map sidebar you can filter the map to show all the works that share a common keyword theme. The map menu also allows you to filter the maps shown by theme, concepts and date of publication.

If you click on an individual novel on the map you can read a brief synopsis of its plot, view its list of keywords and its date of publication.

Last year The Pudding created an interactive map from the covers of 5,000 books, in which the books were arranged by their visual similarity. All 5,000 books mapped on 11 Years of Top-Selling Book Covers, Arranged by Visual Similarity have appeared on the New York Times' 'Best Selling' or 'Also Selling' lists since June 2008.

Color seems to play a very prominent role in determining 'visual similarity' in the machine algorithm used by The Pudding. If you zoom out so that you can see all 5,000 book covers you can see that a lot of the grouping and organization appears to be strongly influenced by the dominant color of each book.

The Pudding's map comes with a number of filters which allow you to explore the book covers by genre and by visual motif. The visual motif filter allows you to highlight on the map images which contain 'faces', 'landscapes', 'smiles' etc. Therefore the motif filter provides another way to explore the book covers by visual similarity.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Satellite Imagery of the Beirut Explosion

The devastating ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut yesterday damaged windows and walls up to 5 km away. It is also being reported that 300,000 homes have been damaged, many of them now left uninhabitable. DigitalGlobe has released satellite imagery of the Beirut explosion as open data. Under the DigitalGlobe Open Data Program anyone is able to copy and reuse this satellite imagery of the devastating damage caused by the explosion.

Web Geo Data Vore has used DigitalGlobe's satellite imagery to create a before and after visualization of Beirut. Their Beirut map allows you to directly compare satellite imagery from before and after the explosion using a number of different comparison tools. The map includes a side-by-side view, an above-and-below view and a magnifying glass view. All of which allow you to explore the damage caused by the explosion across the Lebanese capital.

The interactive before & after interactive map was created using the OpenLayers mapping library. In particular it uses the ol-comparison-tools library for comparing two different map layers in OpenLayers.

Mapping U.S. Unemployment

The New York Times has mapped out an estimation of unemployment levels in every American neighborhood. In These Neighborhoods, the Jobless Rate May Top 30% the NYT has mapped the estimated unemployment level in every census tract based on national economic statistics.

The NYT article includes side-by-side maps for New York, Chicago and Los Angeles which compare the unemployment in each city's neighborhoods in February of this year and in June. The article also includes a larger interactive map which shows an estimation of unemployment rates in every U.S. census tract. The maps reveal that unemployment has hit some communities much harder than others. In general people living in the census tracts with the lowest average incomes have been hit the hardest by job losses. Conversely census tracts with higher average incomes have not been hit as hard by the shrinking economy. 

Sites USA has created an interactive map which also visualizes the astonishing rise in the unemployment figures over the course of this year. The Unemployment Map shows the AGS labor force estimates at county level across the whole of the United States. 

The map includes a date option which allows you to view the weekly unemployment numbers since the beginning of March. As you can see in the animated GIF above there was an incredible rise in the unemployment figures during lock-down across the whole country. If you want to know how your local job market has performed since March then click on your county on the map. You can then view a graph showing the unemployment figures from the 7th March to the end of July in the selected county. 

The History of Women's Voting Rights

In 1838 Kentucky allowed widows and some unmarried women who owned property to vote in elections relating to schools. It was the first time that women were allowed to vote in any state election. It would be nearly another eighty years before the 1920 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, requiring all states to allow women to vote. (although it is important to remember that black women were only officially allowed to exercise their vote when the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965). From 1838 to 1920 there was a slow spread of women's suffrage across the United States as suffrage campaigns steadily won voting rights for women across the country.

The University of Washington's Mapping American Social Movements Project has created an interactive timeline map of women's voting rights in the United States. The Woman Suffrage Timeline and Map shows when each state introduced women's suffrage, covering the years from 1838 to 1919.

The animated map of women's suffrage is just one of a number of interactive maps chronicling the history of the women's suffrage movement in America that have been created by the Mapping American Social Movements Project. The Woman Suffrage History and Geography 1838-1920 includes links to a story map exploring the history of the National Woman's Party, a map of the National Woman's Party offices and political actions in Washington D.C. and a map of National Woman's Party actions nationwide.
In the UK women over 30 (who met minimum property qualifications) were allowed to vote from 1918. Younger women had to wait until 1928, when all women and men over 21 were given the vote on equal terms. These voting rights were only agreed after many years of campaigning by the women's suffrage movement. 

Mapping Women’s Suffrage is a map of some of the thousands of Votes for Women campaigners who were active across England in 1911. By 1911 the women's suffrage movement in England had been active for over 50 years. In the 20th Century many women, frustrated at the lack of progress, became more militant in their campaigning. Many suffragettes pursued a strategy of ‘spectacle politics’, which included smashing windows, arson and other headline grabbing protests.

The Mapping Women's Suffrage map uses data from the 1911 census to map the locations of women suffrage campaigners in England. The 1911 census itself became an issue in the campaign for votes for women. Some suffragettes called for women to boycott the census with the slogan 'No Vote, No Census'.

On the interactive map the location of suffragettes are shown using colored markers. The colors of these markers indicate the suffragette society belonged to. If you click on a marker you can view the selected woman's census and all available information, including home address, age and occupation. Where available there is also detailed biographical information about her role in the suffragette movement.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

From Mountain High to Valley Low

Over the last few months, during lock-down, I have been enjoying expanding my horizons by exploring virtual tours of the world's museums. However it is not healthy to spend so much time inside - even virtually. Sometimes you also need to virtually explore the great outdoors.

Google Art & Culture's The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks takes you on a virtual journey to parts of America's National Parks that you normally don't get to see. This extended virtual tour uses a combination of Street View, 360 degree video, sound recordings and photographs to reveal some of the hidden wonders of nature in five of America's many National Parks.

There are five virtual tours in The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks. These are:
  • Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico
  • Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah
  • Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida 
On each of these five separate tours of the National Parks a Park Ranger takes you on a virtual journey to see some of the park's hidden wonders. For example in the Dry Tortugas tour you get to dive underwater to view a shipwreck, a coral reef and also get to visit a civil war era fort. In Carlsbad Caverns you get to experience the incredible flight of thousands of bats. In Hawaii you can fly over flowing lava. In Alaska you can Kayak through icebergs and in Utah you can ride on horseback through a canyon.

After diving through a shipwreck you are probably ready to climb El Capitan. In 2015 Google decided to climb El Capitan in Yosemite. El Capitan, Yosemite is an incredibly thrilling Street View tour up the 3,000 foot vertical cliff of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. To capture this vertigo inducing panoramic imagery Google employed the help of three experienced climbers: Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. Are you brave enough to join them by undertaking this virtual Street View climb? The reward is some astonishingly beautiful views.

If you enjoyed exploring the great outdoors with these virtual tours you may also enjoy Submarine Streetview, which looks at the virtual tours created by U.S. aquariums & zoos and also at the wonderful underwater Street View imagery available on Google Earth's The World's Ocean collection.

Who is Buying in Spain?

Germans prefer Mallorca, Brits prefer Ibiza & Menorca

Spain is a popular destination for European retirees. It is also a popular location for people who can afford a second home. The joint attractions of the sea and the sun make Spanish coastal resorts a very attractive destination for people from all over the world.

The Spanish real-estate listings company idealista looked at where overseas visitors to their webiste were most interested in viewing and buying Spanish coastal properties. In Where Do Expats Invest in Property on the Spanish Coast? idealista has mapped out which nationality made up the most overseas visitors to each Spanish coastal area on its property listings website in June.

British, Germans, French & Americans (in that order) are the nationalities which seem most interested in buying a coastal property in Spain. However they are not all interested in buying properties in the same parts of Spain and it seems like different nationalities prefer different coastal areas. The Brits are very fond of the Costa del Sol (Malaga). Lots of Brits are also very keen on properties in Ibiza. Mallorca seems to be a very popular destination for Germans. Americans on the other hand prefer the north-east, where various coastal areas around Barcelona have more Americans searching for property than potential buyers from any other country.

As you move the interactive map around the sidebar updates to show the nationalities most searching in the current map view. The colors on the map show the average unit price of property in each coastal area. You can use the filter control in the map sidebar to show you all the coastal regions with an average unit price of your selected range. You can therefore use this filter to discover where the cheapest and most expensive coastal properties are. Formentera is the most expensive region (most favored by Italians), the region of Xove is the cheapest (most favored by Brits).

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

The Mega Map of Minerals

Last month in Microscopic Mapping I looked at a number of examples of mapping libraries being used to map and visualize high resolution imagery of cells, tardigrades and insects. Now it is the turn of minerals.

British & Exotic Mineralogy is a beautiful visualization and map of James Sowerby’s astonishing 19th Century drawings of minerals. This 'interactive map' allows you to zoom-in and explore 2,242 illustrations of minerals made by James Sowerby’s between 1802–1817. The map is interactive, which means you can click on individual minerals to read James Sowerby's own original notes on the selected illustrated mineral.

James Sowerby was an English naturalist and mineralogist. He was also a very talented illustrator. Among his many achievements Sowerby published two landmark illustrated books on mineralogy. These two books included hundreds of Sowerby's beautiful illustrations of minerals found in Great Britain and elsewhere. You can now explore these illustrations in close detail using the British & Exotic Mineralogy interactive map.

On the map all Sowerby's illustrations have been organized and sorted by color. After determining the key color in each illustration the individual minerals have been sorted by hue and brightness. The huge collage of all Sowerby's mineral illustrations was turned into map tiles by using Zoomify. The created map tile images are then presented as an interactive map using the OpenSeadragon viewer for high-resolution zoomable images.

The Melbourne 5km Travel Map

Due to a spike in Covid-19 cases the Australian government has introduced strict new lock-down rules in the city of Melbourne. If you live in Melbourne you are now only allowed to leave your home to shop for food & essential items, for care & care-giving, for daily exercise and for work.

There is also now a 5 km travel restriction in place. You can only exercise and shop for food within a 5 km radius from your home (except if the nearest supermarket is further than 5 km). ABC News has created a simple Leaflet.js interactive map which can show you this 5 km radius around your home. Enter your address into ABC's What is within 5km of your Melbourne home? map and you can view a red 5 km circle centered on your house, showing the area within which you are now allowed to travel.

Philip Mallis has also created a quick map which visualizes a 5 km circle around every Melbourne supermarket. Supermarkets in Melbourne with a 5 km Buffer uses OpenStreetMap data to reveal that most residents of the city will not need to travel further than 5 km to visit a supermarket. Although there do seem to be a number of food deserts in the city's outer suburbs, where residents may have to travel further afield.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Why Won't Wyoming Stay Home?

In 12 U.S. states people are visiting retail and recreation venues more now than they were before lock-down restrictions were put in place. In Wyoming retail and recreation venues have actually seen a 13% increase in visits over the February average. At the other end of the scale Washington D.C. is currently seeing a 48% drop in visits to retail and recreation venues on its February average.

Google's Community Mobility Reports provide insights into how people's movements in countries around the world have altered during the period of lock-down and also how mobility has changed since countries have begun to ease movement restrictions. The reports use aggregated, anonymized data gleaned from your mobile phones to chart movement trends over time. They show how visits to different categories of venues (retail & recreation, groceries & pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential) have been effected by government lock-downs.

Google's Community Mobility Reports show that people in Wyoming just don't want to say home. You can explore this for yourself using Gramener's visualization of community mobility in each of Google's mobility categories.

Gramener's Community Mobility in the United States visualizes how visits in each of Google's movement categories has changed during the period between February 15 and June 23 in each state. The visualization uses small multiples to show the movement history in each state over time from before movement restrictions were imposed up until mid-June.

13 states in the United States now have higher transit station mobility than before the lock-down. Which suggests that in those states more people are using public transport than they were in February. I guess the lock-down is effectively over in those states which are showing increased levels of mobility in both the retail and transit categories. Wyoming is showing increased levels of mobility in both areas.

Apple's daily published Mobility Trends Report also provides a useful insight into how well different areas around the world are managing to restrict movement. The Apple Mobility Trends Reports shows the level of requests made on Apple Maps for walking, driving and transit directions.

Not that I'm obsessed about Wyoming but the Mobility Trends Report shows that there are more and more driving requests being made to Apple in that state. For Wyoming Apple currently only shows driving routing requests. On the latest day with recorded data (Aug 1) there was a 298% increase in the number of driving requests than were made on Jan 13. It is becoming more and more clear that people in Wyoming just don't want to stay home.

Facebook's Movement Trends uses a number of different metrics to estimate mobility rates for people in the USA and in other countries around the world. Currently Facebook's Movement Trends map of the United States shows just one state where the rates of mobility are not lower now than they were in February. You guessed it - that state is Wyoming. Wyoming also seems to have one of the lowest percentages of 'people staying put'.

Google's Community Mobility reports show that in Wyoming there is a 4% increase in people staying home since Feb 15 (the residential category). While it is encouraging that some people in the state are actually staying home more it is still the second lowest state percentage after Montana (3%). Washington D.C. has the highest increase, with a 20% increase in the number of people being tracked at home.

New confirmed cases in Wyoming

Google, Apple and Facebook all seem to show that people in Wyoming are on the move now more than they actually were before lock-down. Wyoming currently has one of the lowest death rates for Covid-19. The fact that people in Wyoming feel relatively safe and have less direct experience of the effects of Covid-19 might be one reason why people in Wyoming are less inclined to isolate at home than in other states. However if I lived in Wyoming I would also be very worried by the Johns Hopkins' Recent Trends graph, which is showing a steady uptick in the number of Covid-19 cases being reported in the state.

Mapping Banglatown

Brick Lane in London's East End has a fascinating history. The name 'Brick Lane' comes from the brick and tile workshops that sprung up in the area in the 15th century. In the 17th Century French Huguenots settled in the area and the neighborhood soon became well known for its many weavers and tailors.

During the 20th Century the area around Brick Lane became a popular destination for immigrants from Bangladesh. To cater to these new arrivals many Bengali restaurants and shops were opened in Brick Lane. In the later half of the 20th Century London's Brick Lane became best known for its many 'Indian' restaurants and the street has long been a popular destination for diners in search of a curry.

In the 21st Century Brick Lane has begun to undergo another process of change. Its proximity to Shoreditch and London's creative industries has led to the incursion of a number of niche, boutique shops and coffee shops.

In fact there are now two fairly distinct Brick Lanes. The southern end of Brick Lane has a large concentration of Bangladeshi restaurants and shops. While the street's northern end is dominated by more gentrified retail outlets, catering to a younger more 'hipsterish' clientele.

You can explore this new hybrid Brick Lane for yourself on Beyond Banglatown, a fantastic new interactive map of the modern Brick Lane. Between July 2018 and June 2020 Beyond Banglatown carried out face-to-face surveys with shop proprietors and employees in Brick Lane. They carried out in-depth interviews with the street's restaurant owners, former restaurant owners & other residents to document the modern Brick Lane.

The Beyond Banglatown interactive map colors building footprints by building category, (restaurant, textiles, art etc). If you click on the Bangladeshi restaurants on the map you can often read a detailed history of the restaurant and its owners. These detailed profiles provide a fascinating glimpse into the history of Banglatown and into the problems that its restaurant owners face in the 21st Century. The Bangladeshi restaurants in the southern half of Brick Lane have been experiencing dwindling footfall in recent years. There is obviously now a huge worry that the recent lock-down may bring an end to many of the most famous Brick Lane curry houses.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Which are New York's Greenest Boroughs?

Staten Island is New York's greenest borough. 59% of Staten Island is covered in either landscaped or natural greenery. A large percentage of that green land cover is provided by the borough's 5,566 acres of forest. At the other end of the scale is Manhattan. Only 28% of Manhattan is covered with natural or landscaped greenery making it New York's least green borough.

A new interactive map from the Natural Areas Conservancy can help people in New York find their nearest green spaces. The NAC's Nature Map shows where you can find green spaces in New York and how much green land cover can be found in each neighborhood. If you select a borough on the map you can not only view where all its green spaces are but you can also view how many acres of forest, freshwater wetland, salt marsh and stream can be found in the borough. For example once upon a time Manhattan had hundreds of freshwater streams. Most of those streams however have long been buried or filled, and today it only has 2,224 feet of streams. In contrast Staten Island has 471,575 feet of freshwater streams.

Here are the percentages of green land cover in all five New York boroughs:

59% Staten Island
41% Bronx
40% Queens
31% Brooklyn
28% Manhattan

The Nature Map can also tell you which are New York's greenest and least green council districts. Select a district from the map's drop-down menu and you can view the amount of green land cover in a district and how much forest, freshwater wetland, salt marsh and stream can be found in the district.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Future of 3D Tours

Over the last few months I have spent a lot of time exploring 3D tours created by museums and art galleries around the world (here is a list of links to museum virtual tours). A lot of these museum virtual tours were created with the Mattterport, 3D data platform.

Matterport is an easy way to capture imagery and create a 3D tour. It allows you to capture your own imagery and create what are essentially custom Street View tours from this imagery. However Matterport tours can be a little disappointing. Using a Matterport virtual tour of a museum is a little like exploring a museum on Street View. It simply allows you to navigate around a series of static photographs. It isn't really a truly immersive experience.

To create a truly immersive 3D virtual tour you need to use photogrammetry. Using photogrammetry you can reconstruct a space in 3D and then explore it from any angle. The New York Times Research & Development team has created an awe inspiring demonstration of photogrammetry in action.

In Reconstructing Journalistic Scenes in 3D you can explore a New York loft and a shanty town in Haiti in immersive 3D. In these two 3D tours you can see how photogrammetry can be used to create narrated 'scrollytelling' like tours around a 3D scene. You can also see how you can add annotations and interactive elements to objects in the scene, so that users can explore the scene for themselves.

The problem with photogrammetry is it involves a lot of work. You need to capture extensive overlapping photographic images of the location that you wish to map. You then need the photogrammetry software to stitch all these images together into a seamless 3D scene. And you need the programming skills to be able to create a useful 3D tour of your photogrammetry scene.

As you can see from the NYT's examples the results are really astonishing. The NYT's article includes a few tips on how to make the process easier and how to deliver the finished 3D scenes to different devices and different bandwidths. Even so creating tours like these still requires an incredible amount of work. For most users looking to create a 3D tour Matterport is going to be the easier and more realistic option.

The German Road Accident Map

Every nine hours in Germany someone is killed in a traffic accident where one of the drivers was speeding. In 2019 32% of all the people killed in traffic accidents in Germany involved speeding drivers. The good news is that the number of people dying from speeding motorists is likely to drop this year. In May of this year there was a 6.3% drop in fatalities on German roads compared to May 2019. Because of lock-down and the lower volumes of traffic on roads this year in May there was a 23% overall drop in all German traffic accidents.

You can explore all 2019 road accidents in Germany for yourself on the Accident Atlas, an interactive map showing the frequency of road accidents on German roads. On the map road sections are colored to show the frequency of all accidents involving cars. The map can be filtered to show the frequency of accidents with fatalities, accidents involving pedestrians, accidents involving bicycles and accidents involving motorcycles. It is also possible to filter the map to show the accident data on roads for 2016, 2017 & 2018.

You can also view an Accident Calendar of German road accidents. This calendar provides information on accident events by day. The calendar shows that there are some seasonal fluctuations in road traffic fatalities and also in the occurrence of bicycle and motorcycle accidents. It also shows that accidents where drivers were under the influence of alcohol occur more at the weekend and on certain holidays.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Where Foreign Born Residents Live

Social Explorer has released an interesting map which shows the percentage of the population who were foreign born in U.S. counties. The map reveals that the counties with the highest percentage of foreign born people are not to be found in high density Democratic voting inner cities but in rural Republican voting counties.

The Foreign-Born Population: 2010 or Later map uses 2014-18 American Community Survey data to show the percentage of foreign-born residents who arrived in each county after 2010. Each county on the map is therefore colored to show the percentage of residents who were foreign born.

Most of the counties with the highest percentage of foreign born citizens are not in the large cities and densely populated metro areas as you might expect. In fact if you use the interactive map legend to filter the map to show only the counties with the highest percentage of foreign born people you will see that these seem to be mainly in rural, sparsely populated areas.

The reason why the counties with the highest population of percentage of foreign born people may be to do with agriculture. The American Farm Bureau Federation says that around 80% of the agricultural workforce is foreign born. If a number of large farms have imported a number of foreign born workers into a very sparsely populated county then this is going to have a very big effect on the overall percentage of the population who are foreign born.

Therefore in these rural counties we are talking about a relatively small number of foreign born residents having a large impact on the overall percentages. In terms of the number of foreign born residents living in the USA then it is the large cities which do have the largest totals. One-third of the 7.9 million foreign-born people who arrived in the U.S. after 2010 settled in Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Phoenix, and Boston.

The Scots Place-Names Map

The Scots Map claims to be the first interactive map with place-name labels in the Scot's language. Scots is one of the three native languages of Scotland and is spoken by around 1.5 million people (according to the 2011 Scottish census).

Many of the Scot's place-names used on the Scots Map have been sourced from a 1994 MMA Maps in Glasgow map called 'The Scots Map and Guide/Cairte in the Scots Leid'. Many English names for Scottish places have been borrowed from the Scots, so English speakers may recognize some of the place-names on the map. Other place-names may be less recognizable to non-Scots speakers. The Scots Language Centre has produced a Guide and Gazetteer to the Scots Map which includes an explanation of some of the common forms found in Scots place-names, such as Auld (old), Brig (bridge) and Burgh (borough).

The Scots Map also includes a couple of fun tools for Scots speakers. A 'My Toun' tool allows you to zoom in on locations on the map and create a static map which can then be shared on social media. The 'Make a Road Sign' tool allows you to enter the name of a town to create your own image of a road sign, which again you are then free to share on social media.

Scots speakers may also be interested in The Scots Syntax Atlas. The Scots Syntax Atlas is an interactive map which records the different ways that Scottish people talk in the different areas of Scotland. The map includes sound recordings of Scottish syntax which were recorded across the country. The map also allows you to explore in which different areas of the country different types of Scottish syntax are spoken.

To create the map the researchers visited 145 communities in Scotland interviewing local people and recording their answers. In these interviews the researchers were particularly interested in the syntax of local dialects and in the ways that sentences are built up in the different areas of Scotland.

If you click on the markers on the map you can listen to interesting examples of Scottish syntax which were recorded in different parts of the country. You can also discover where these different types of Scottish syntax are spoken by selecting the 'who says what where' button. This option shows you where different types of syntax are spoken in Scotland. The 'stories behind the examples' button provides a grammatical explanation of the recorded examples of Scottish syntax and information on how Scottish syntax differs from more 'standard' English.

If you are interested in learning more about the meanings of Scottish place-names then you might also enjoy the Berwickshire Place-Name Resource. The University of Glasgow's Berwickshire Place-Name Resource allows you to explore and learn more about the names of villages, towns and other locations in the Scottish Borders county of Berwickshire.

The Place-Name Resource allows you to search for place-names in the county using a number of different methods. You can search for place-names alphabetically. Alternatively you can search using a string (for example entering '*hall' to find all place-names ending ....hall). You can also search using the element glossary which allows you to search by different common elements found in Berwickshire place-names.

Clicking on an individual marker on this map will open an information window providing details on the selected location. These details include its entry in the OS Name Book. If you are interested in the meaning of a place-name then the 'elements' section allows you to view a definition (where available) of any unfamiliar parts of the place-name. For example both Kimmerghame (cow's bridge) and Birgham (a settlement beside a bridge) contain derivations of 'brycg' - which means bridge.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Comparing Map Projections

Comparing Map Projections is a clever visualization of different map projections. It allows you to directly compare different types of map projections and see the levels of distortions which each map projection introduces by visualizing a globe in two dimensions.

This interactive visualization provides a useful overview of the advantages and the disadvantages of specific map projections. For example if you select the much maligned Mercator map projection you can see that it scores very low for angular distortion. This means that all the lines of longitude are straight (compare the vertical lines of longitude on the Mercator projection to those on the Sinusoidal projection). The result is that a Mercator projection is really useful for navigation.

However if you refer to the Mercator projection on the Comparing Map Projections interactive visualization you will also see that it has very large overall scale and angular distortion. A consequence of having a very low angular distortion is that the Mercator projection distorts scale (especially the further you move from the equator).

As you can see from Comparing Map Projections all map projections introduce some degree of distortion.

If you are interested in how different map projections distort the world then you will probably also like 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.

If you want a little help deciding which map projection you should use for your current map project then you can use the Projection Wizard to decide on the best projection.

This map projection guide allows you to select the extent of the map view you are working with by outlining the area on a Leaflet map. Once you've highlighted your map bounds you can choose a distortion property (Equal-area, Conformal, Equidistant or Compromise).

The Projection Wizard will then suggest which map projection you should use depending on the extent and the distortion property of the map. The suggested projections are based on 'A Guide to Selecting Map Projections' by the Cartography and Geovisualization Group at Oregon State University.

A Proj.4 link is provided next to each suggested projection, which opens a popup window with a Proj.4 library. Once you've settled on your map projection you might want to check-out the Proj4Leaflet plugin for using projections supported by Proj4js with Leaflet powered maps.

The Famous Greek Map of the World

The World Map of Greeks is an interactive map showing the most famous Greek citizen in every city of the world (based on 2019 Wikipedia views).

For some reason most famous Greek people seem to have been born in Southeastern Europe. However there are some famous Greek citizens who were born elsewhere. For example Tom Hanks was born in Concord, USA (earlier this year Tom Hanks was awarded Greek citizenship alongside his wife Rita Wilson). If you zoom-in on Greece itself then the map becomes much more detailed, showing you the most famous Greek person from every town in the country.

The World Map of Greeks was inspired by a similar map of famous Americans, created by The Pudding in 2019.

Last year The Pudding created an interactive map which showed the most famous person from each town in America. A People Map of the USA shows the person born in each town or city whose Wikipedia entry gets the most traffic. So on this map Dodge City becomes 'Wyatt Earp - Dodge City' and Memphis becomes 'Elvis Presley - Memphis'.

The People Map of the USA proved so popular that The Pudding soon followed the American map with a British version. The Pudding's A People Map of the UK shows the most famous person from each town in the UK based on each town's most Wikipedia'ed resident.

Other map makers realized that The Pudding had stuck meme mapping gold and so soon after the US & UK maps we also had Most Popular Natives of Czech Towns. This map by iROZHLAS reveals the most famous person from 1,749 Czech towns and cities.

The Pudding map also went on to inspire The Film Map of the World, an interactive map which shows the 10 most Wikipedia'ed films which are set in every country in the world. On this map the ten biggest cities in each country are labelled to show one of the ten most popular movies which were set in that nation.

How these Maps Were Made

All of these maps were made using Mapbox GL with a GeoJSON layer to hold the famous people (or film) data. Mapbox Studio allows you to add GeoJSON data to a map as a layer. This has one great advantage if you want to add place-label names to a map (which is essentially what these maps do - using the names of famous people instead of real place-names).

If you add your labels (or people names) to the map as a GeoJSON layer in Mapbox Studio then Mapbox will automatically handle how that data is displayed. You therefore don't need to worry about your labels overlapping or colliding as Mapbox will do all the heavy work for you.

All the GeoJSON data from your added layer can be accessed from JavaScript. This means that you can add interactivity to your map. In the maps above when a user hovers over a name a short biography of the selected person is displayed. This is achieved in Mapbox GL JS by using queryRenderedFeatures to access the properties of hovered-over map elements.

If you want to see queryrenderedfeatures in action then have a look at my Map of English Literature. The code for the map is shown beneath the map. When you hover over an author name on the Map of English Literature the map queries that layer and can access all the GeoJSON data associated with the selected author. In this way when you hover over an author's name the map displays the writer's date of birth, where they were born and some brief biographical information.

Monday, July 27, 2020

74,762 Things To Do in America

There are 74,762 things to do in America. That is according to Tripadvisor - which currently has 74,762 different venues that have been rated and reviewed by its users.

In Travel Like a Local The Pudding has analyzed the reviews posted by Tripadvisor users to see if there is any difference in the type of places liked by tourists and those liked by locals. To do this they separated all the reviews into 'tourists' and 'locals' (locals being defined as those living within a 30 mile radius of a venue and tourists as those living more than 30 miles from the venue reviewed).

It turns out that there is a huge difference between the sorts of places liked by tourists and those liked by locals. For example in New York locations such as the Statute of Liberty, Central Park and the Empire State Building are very popular with tourists. However locals seem to prefer venues such as the Noguchi Museum and Domino Park, which are mostly ignored by tourists.

Using The Pudding's interactive map you can zoom in on any town or city in the United States to discover which venues are most popular with tourists and which are favored by locals. You can obviously also use the map to quickly find places of interest to visit across the country. There are 74,762 of them.

Back in 2013 Eric Fischer made a similar (but global) map of places visited by locals and tourists. His Locals & Tourists map highlights areas of cities popular with locals and places where tourists visit. To determine who are locals and who are tourists Fischer used Twitter data.

The Locals & Tourists map shows the locations of Tweets sent by locals (those who post in one city for one consecutive month) and tourists (whose tweets are usually centered in another city). The map provides a fascinating insight into locations that are popular with tourists and those which seem to be frequented mostly by locals. For example, in the screenshot above (of my neighborhood in London) you can clearly make out the London Olympics stadium - a local venue which is much visited by tourists.

Before creating his Twitter map of Locals and Tourists Eric Fischer had created a series of Locals and Tourists maps made by Flickr users.

The Locals and Tourists - Flickr maps used a similar methodology as that used in the Twitter map. On the Flickr maps blue points show where pictures were taken by locals and red points show where photos were taken by tourists. The locals were determined by identifying the people who had taken pictures in a city over a period of one month or more. Tourists were defined as people who had taken pictures mainly in another city and who posted pictures to Flickr in the mapped city for less than a month.