Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sounds of Life in the Bay

The San Francisco Bay Area Sound Map is an interactive map which allows you to listen to over 150 different sound recordings captured in locations all around the San Francisco Bay Area.

The original recordings on the map were captured by students from the Santa Clara University's Department of Music. In these days of lock-downs, empty streets and shuttered businesses the San Francisco Bay Area Sound Map provides an eerie reminder of life before coronavirus. Using the map you can listen to the sounds of the crowd watching a baseball match, the chatter of customers in a packed pizza restaurant and the street-life of a busy Half Moon Bay. These are all sounds which have now faded into silence.

Let's hope that it isn't too long before we can hear some unrecorded sounds of normal life again. Until then you might like to explore some other sound maps using the Maps Mania Sound Maps tag.

Geography Treasure Hunts

Esri's Geography Treasure Hunts is a collection of map based quizzes which require you to explore a map of the world in search of the answers to a number of geographical questions. The Treasure Hunts include games where you have to find the location of World Heritage Sites, Cities, Mountains,Places & Food etc.

In each Treasure Hunt you are asked to solve a series of questions. Each of the questions requires you to find a location somewhere in the world. To answer the question you just need to center the map on the correct location. Get the answer right and you can move on to the next question in your treasure hunt of the world.

If you enjoyed playing Esri's Treasure Hunt games then you might also want to test your geographical knowledge on Click that 'hood!

Click that 'hood! is a geography game which tests your knowledge of city neighborhoods. To play Click that 'hood! you first need to select a city or town from the long list of locations available. You are then shown an interactive map of your chosen city. Your task is to correctly identify the location of twenty neighborhoods as quickly as possible by pointing them out on the map.

City-Guesser is a fun map quiz which tests your knowledge of world cities. In City-Guesser you are shown the maps of major cities around the world. All you have to do is name which city is being shown in each map. To ensure that the game isn't ridiculously easy all the place-name labels have been removed from each city map.

If you guess correctly you proceed to the next round. Guess wrong and it is game over. You get points for each correct answer. The game keeps a record of the maximum level you reach (the number of correct answers in one game) and your highest score. Your aim therefore is to beat your own high score and your highest level reached. Or you can try and beat me. So far I've reached level 7

You might also like these other map based games:

Quizzity - point to the named locations on a map of the world.
Map Quiz - a compendium of a number of different map games in one package.

Mapping French Accents

The Sound Atlas of the Regional Languages ​​of France is an interactive map which allows you to listen to French accents and regional languages from the different areas of France and its dependent territories.

The map itself is colored to show where the different language groups spoken in France (mainly grouped here into Romance and Occitan). If you click on a region on the map you can listen to a native reading an Aesop fable. The links above the map also allow you to listen to people reading the sane Aesop fable in regions of Italy and Belgium.

LocalLingual is a global map which allows you to listen to how people speak around the world. Click on a country on the LocalLingual map and you can hear an audio recording of a local speaking the name of the country and the country's capital. You can even listen to a recording of the country's national anthem.

LocalLingual is a crowd-sourced map, Which means in many countries you can also listen to user contributions of recordings of other words and phrases spoken in the local language. In many countries on the map you can even drill down to listen to recordings in more localized languages, dialects and accents.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Falling Air Pollution Map

Gizmodo has created an interactive map which allows you to compare air pollution around the world from before and after the coronavirus outbreak. The Earther Time Series map uses a slide control to allow you to directly compare NO2 levels across the globe on four separate dates from 2019 to 20 March 2020.

The map uses data captured by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite. The maps show nitrogen dioxide levels. Nitrogen dioxide is produced by burning fossil fuels and is created by motor vehicles and electricity power plants.

The Gizmodo article accompanying the map, Coronavirus Has Slashed Global Air Pollution, includes a note to remember that these are just four snapshots of NO2 levels around the world. Lots of things can effect the readings, such as weather patterns and natural sources of NO2. Despite this the reduction in NO2 levels in many locations around the world appears to be pretty clear. In their article Gizomodo examines in more detail the drop in NO2 levels in the different regions of the USA.

At Home in Italy

Italy has been under lock-down for three weeks now. Under the lock-down Italians are only allowed to leave their homes for work or health reasons. The lock-down has obviously had a huge impact on the distances that people are moving and traveling, compared to their normal pre-coronavirus activity.

La Repubblica has used mobile phone data to map the intensity of movement by people in Italy since the 23rd of February. The Covid-19 Mobility Impact animated map is a powerful visualization of how the whole country has practically come to a stop over the course of only a few weeks. As the timeline animation plays out the map starts turning from red (indicating high levels of movement) to blue, as Italians are forced to remain at home.

The map uses data from Teralytics to visualize how far people traveled in Italy between 23 February and 25 March. Where Italian's moved and traveled in that period is determined by the location data from 27 million mobile phones (all the data is anonymous). If you click on a region on the map you can view the percentage drop in movement in that area since Feb 13th.

La Repubblica's article is illustrated with a few photographs of famous tourist locations looking deserted, without the normal throng of people. The Guardian has also published a series of photos, Italy coronavirus lockdown leaves streets deserted, showing public spaces which are normally busy with life and traffic looking practically empty.

One result of this huge reduction in people's movements has been a drop in air pollution from the huge fall in motor vehicle traffic. Earlier this month the European Space Agency released an animated map showing nitrogen dioxide emissions over Europe from Jan 1st to March 11th. ESA's Nitrogen dioxide emissions drop over Italy uses data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite to show NO2 levels over Europe. Claus Zehner, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager reports that, "the reduction in emissions that we can see, coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities."

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Official Coronavirus Maps

There have been many hundreds of maps created which purport to show the spread of Covid-19 around the world. A large percentage of those maps aren't very good. However there are a few maps that you can trust.

If you are interested in the global situation regarding Covid-19 then you can refer to:
The World Health Organisation has also created a map dashboard which concentrates purely on the European region:
If you need to travel internationally then you can refer to the United Nations travel restrictions map:

If you want the most accurate data on the number of Covid-19 cases in your region or country then you should probably bookmark your official government Covid-19 dashboard or map. Here are links to a few official government Covid-19 tracking sites (and some Esri dashboard maps where there seems to be no official map):
  • USA: The CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. - includes daily updated totals of the number of confirmed cases and deaths. A poor choropleth map shows the number of cases reported in each state. If you click on a state on the map you will be taken to that state's health department. In light of the government's poor national data on Coronavirus the New York Times has released data and an interactive map showing the number of cases at county level. Covid Act Now has published an interactive map which shows the current stay-at-home policies in every state.
  • Canada: Health Canada's Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update page provides details on the number pf confirmed cases in each province. Esri Canada has released a map dashboard for Canada. The Covid-19 Canada uses data from the ViriHealth website to show the number of cases in Canada's provinces.
  • UK: The NHS's UK Coronavirus Dashboard map records the total number of confirmed cases across the UK. The map shows more refined results as you zoom-in.
  • Italy: Dipartimento della Protezione Civile's Covid-19 Dashboard includes running totals of cases and fatalities. It also has an interactive map showing the number of cases in each Italian region.
  • Spain: The Ministerio de Sanidad's Situación actual includes the total number of cases in Spain and a link to a PDF showing the latest number of cases and deaths in each Spanish region.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Mapping the Coronavirus Family Tree

Coronavirus, like all viruses, is a sub-microscopic scrap of genetic code wrapped in a protein and lipid (fat) overcoat. Viruses hijack the cells in our bodies and turn our cells into virus factories to crease more viruses. These new viruses then spread from person to person through human contact.

As coronavirus replicates random mutations occur. This rapid evolution allows viruses to quickly adapt to changes in their host environment. These rapid mutations in a virus' genomes can also help scientists track the spread of the virus and learn more about it is spread.

Nextstrain analyzes and creates visualizations of virus evolutions. Nextstrain's phylogenetic tree of the novel coronavirus (pictured above) shows the evolutionary relationships of hCoV-19 viruses. On the tree mutations in the virus are shown with colored circles. On the interactive Nextstrain virus family tree you can hover over a branch line of coronavirus to see how many mutations that branch has.

The Nextstrain coronavirus interactive map shows where and when the virus has spread around the world and where the different mutations of the virus have been seen. The map includes a date filter which allows you to track the spread of the novel coronavirus over time. The map also includes a 'play' option which allows you to watch this spread from December 2019 until recent days.

The colors of the circles on the map relate to the evolutionary mutation colors used on the family tree. By mapping the different strains of coronavirus it is possible to interpret how the virus was spread. For example if the virus in a region is part of the same cluster or branch on the coronavirus family tree then it is likely that there was one host who introduced the virus to the area. If a region has lots of different clusters then there were lots of different hosts introducing coronavirus to the area, creating lots of small clusters.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mapping a Virtual Village

Welcome to Lower Upping, a small rural village, consisting of a handful of houses, a local pub, a small chapel and a village shop. Lots of people live in Lower Upping - they are just waiting for you to tell their stories.

Lower Upping is a virtual village. Which means that you can help to tell the many stories of the village's exciting and wonderful inhabitants. If you click on any of the buildings on the village's interactive map you can read about the people who live there. If you don't like any person's or any building's story then you change the story in any way that you want.

There are very few rules in Lower Upping. However you should be aware that if you decide to add a new story to a building you will replace the text which is already there. But it is up to you!

Clone the Map on Glitch

If you like Lower Upping you can clone the map on Glitch and then create your own village and buildings. I created this map using Mapbox GL so if you do decide to clone the map please use your own access token. If you don't have a Mapbox account you could replace the map library with Leaflet.js. Lower Upping doesn't use any map tiles to it should be perfect fit for Leaflet.js.

The British Library's Digital Globes

The British Library is busy digitizing its collection of globes and making them available as 3D interactive visualizations. The library's collection of around 150 globes dates from the 17th century up until to the present day. The globes are fragile objects and so are not generally open to the public. Which is partly why the library wants to make them accessible as virtual globes online.

The first ten of the 3D digitized globes are now available to view. Sylvia Sumira, one of the world's leading authorities on historic globes, introduces the first ten globes in European globes of the 17–18th centuries. In her article, on the British Library website, Sylvia explores how globes were made and used in the 17th and 18th centuries. The article is illustrated by ten historic vintage 3D globes.

These first ten globes include both celestial and terrestrial globes. It even includes what could be the first small pocket globe, made by Joseph Moxon in 1679. You have probably seen maps before which show California as an island. Richard Cushee's 1730 globe (3D globe available in the article) also displays the island of California floating off the western coast of North America.

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

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

More Traffic Free Cities

On Monday, in Traffic Free Cities, we saw how Buzzfeed and the Los Angeles Times had mapped the fall in road traffic in cities around the world. Both Buzzfeed and The LA Times used Mapbox telemetry data to show the impact of Covid-19 on the traffic on our normally busy roads. Mapbox has now used the same data to create their own maps of Where and when local travel decreased from COVID-19 around the world.

Mapbox's maps show where road traffic decreased between the week of January 13th and the week of March 16th. The maps show large decreases in traffic in Europe and South America. In the USA traffic has also decreased in lots of locations. In Italy and Spain road traffic has decreased by about 80%. Rome has seen a decrease of 87%.

Mapbox has also looked at the decrease in traffic over time. The UK and the USA started seeing decreases about a week after traffic in Italy and Spain began to fall. This decrease in traffic over time is visualized on both a line graph and an animated timeline map.

It isn't only the traffic on the roads which has been effected by Covid-19. With many people now working from home and stay-at-home orders in operation the levels of traffic on public transit systems has also dropped dramatically in many cities.

Moovit has created visualizations of the fall in public transit traffic around the world. The Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Public Transit Usage charts the decline in public transit use, as compared to typical usage from before the outbreak of Covid-19. The data for the charts comes from the users of the Moovit app.

Bringing the Outside In

Because of stay-at-home orders many of us are having to forgo the pleasures and joys of the outside world. One solution could be to bring the outdoors inside. For example you can listen to birdsong from home using the fantastic 50 Birds Species and the Songs they Make.

This interactive visualization consists of pictures of 50 common backyard birds. If you click on a bird on the visualization you can listen to a recording of the bird's song. Using the images and the songs is a great way to identify birds that frequent your backyard. Each bird image also includes a little map which shows you the species' normal habitat.

Right now, while stuck indoors in my city home, I'm listening to the sound of the rain falling on the roof of Maweni Farm in Tanzania. Earlier today I was listening to the sound of the dawn chorus in Tempe, Arizona. Later on I might be listening to the natural sounds of the Pacific Forest in Costa Rica.

All this is possible thanks to the wonderful Locustream SoundMap. This map allows you to select and listen to live microphones positioned around the world. Just select one of the microphones on the map and you can listen live to what ever is being recorded right now at that location.

The map includes the Night - Day layer plug-in for the Google Maps API. This means that you can tell at a glance where in the world it is currently night or day. This is very handy if you want to catch the dawn chorus on one of the live microphones, as birds greet the morning sun-rise.

From the insect chorus of the Borneo rainforests to the crooning baritone song of an Atlantic humpback whale, the Nature Soundmap can also serenade you with the sounds of nature. Nature Soundmap is a map featuring the sounds of nature captured by professional nature sound recordists around the world.

Maps have always been a fascinating way to explore the globe. Satellite imagery and Street View imagery have made armchair exploring even more immersive. Add in the sounds of the monsoon in Borneo and the soundscape of the Brazilian rain-forest and you can almost imagine that you really have been transported to the other side of the world.

This map allows you to recreate the soundscapes of different locations around the world by creating your own mix of bird and frog songs which can be found at that location.

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility now includes rich media (sound, images, and video) in their open global biodiversity records. GBIF Soundscape has created a Leaflet map which allows you to reconstruct the 'soundscapes' of particular regions around the world by mixing the various bird and frog sounds that can be heard in those regions.

Select a region from the map and you can listen to a mix of all the bird and frog sounds which have been added to the GBIF data records at that location. At each location you can listen to all the recordings playing at once or listen to a nature sound mix of your own creation. You can also click on the 'random' button to listen to a random mix from that location's sound recordings.

America's Lockdown Map

The American government has yet to issue a national lock-down order. However a number of states have issued 'shelter-in-place' orders. For example from midnight Thursday 19th March the residents of California were ordered to stay at home except to shop for groceries, collect prescriptions, get health care or to commute for jobs considered crucial.

Covid Act Now has published an interactive map which shows the current stay-at-home policies in every state. States which have issued legal orders or a 'strong recommendation' to shelter-in-place and home quarantine are shown on the map in green. The orange states have voluntary shelter-in-place recommendations or orders for high-risk groups and all schools & bars / restaurants are closed. The red states currently have minimal mandated restrictions but you are still recommended to practice social distancing.

If you click on a state on the map you can view a projection of the likely number of cases in your state and when shelter-in-place orders should be issued in order to prevent hospital overload.

Randy Majors has also created a useful Google Map which shows where in the USA Shelter-in-Place and Stay-at-Home orders are in effect. His Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place & Stay-at-Home Orders map shows states, counties and cities which have issued Shelter-in-Place or Stay-at-Home orders in dark orange. States with closure orders for all non-essential businesses are shown in dark yellow. The map also shows in red the one mile containment area in Rochelle, New York, which is the center of a large cluster of Covid-19 cases.

I assume that most people will not be traveling internationally during this epidemic. If you do have to travel abroad then you might want to refer to the United Nations World Travel Restrictions map. This map explains the travel restrictions put in place by individual countries around the world.

You may also be interested in this post on Official Coronavirus Maps, which links to Covid-19 tracking maps and dashboards being operated by individual governments and countries around the world.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Florence Nightingale's Covid-19 Map

Kenneth Field has been channeling his inner Florence Nightingale to create a new coronavirus map. Kenneth's Corona Coxcombs map uses coxcomb charts to show the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in countries around the world.

The coxcomb charts on Kenneth's map show the increase (and decrease) of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in a country over time. Each chart consists of 57 segments. Each segment represents one day (starting January 22nd) and is read clockwise from the top, with the earliest dates first and moving forward in time around the circle. The size of the outer circles shows the total number of confirmed cases for each country scaled in relation to one another.

Florence Nightingale is credited with creating the coxcomb chart (although she didn't call them coxcomb charts) to visualize the number of deaths in the British Army from preventable diseases during the Crimean War.

Coxcomb charts are good for visualizing patterns in data. In printed form coxcomb charts can be less useful for showing exact numbers. However this problem with coxcomb charts is largely overcome on Kenneth's map because you can zoom-in on the map to enlarge a country's chart. The charts are also interactive so you can click on individual days to view the number of new cases, the cumulative total and the number of recovered and dead.

Bad for Airbnb, Good for Renters,

Covid-19 is proving very bad news for Airbnb hosts. However Airbnb's loss may be good for renters. There are reports from around the world that Airbnb hosts are facing a huge hit to their incomes. Over recent years the number of Airbnb properties has been growing & growing in cities and tourist hot-spots around the world. Now, thanks to Covid-19 and the collapse in tourism, Airbnb hosts are facing a massive drop in custom.

Airbnb themselves have also upset many of their hosts around the world by over-riding their usual refund policy in response to the coronavirus epidemic, allowing travelers to cancel their Airbnb reservations and receive full refunds. In other words hosts are having to bear the majority of the financial burden of cancellations by having to reimburse their customers.

In response many Airbnb hosts appear to be putting their properties back onto the rental market. For example in Dublin, according to property website Daft.ie, there has been an increase of 64% of new rental properties across the city in March. An increase they believe which is caused mainly by the collapse of the short-term holiday letting market. This glut of new rental properties could be good news for renters, who now appear to be in a good position to find properties and negotiate competitive rents.

The situation seems to be similar in many cities around the world. Vice reports that there has been a jump in new properties to the rental market in Toronto. There appears to be plenty of anecdotal evidence that during the last two weeks lots of other cities around the world have seen a sudden increase in the number of rental properties being advertised.

In response to the collapse in tourism and the short-term rental market Airbnb has written to the US Congress to ask that any economic relief packages put in place by the government includes,
"measures to financially support American short-term rental operators and travel industry solo-entrepreneurs and small businesses during this time of crisis and recovery."

It seems that a lot of Airbnb hosts are not waiting for possible government economic relief and have already turned to the longer term rental market instead. This can be only good news for those who are looking to rent a property.

Supporting Mom & Pop Stores

Small mom & pop stores are finding it harder than ever to survive in this economic climate. Because of ever increasing rents, the competition from internet shopping and now the threat of Covid-19 many stores are facing the threat of bankruptcy. wesurvived.nyc is a crowdsourced project to document store changes in New York City. The project is designed to support small businesses in New York and advocate for rent stability.

wesurvived.nyc is documenting store front changes in NYC in order to record stores which have closed or changed hands. It is also recording the survival stories of small businesses and local stores which are managing to succeed against all the odds. You can help wesurvived.nyc by recording your memories of disappeard mom-and-pop stores, cafes, and community spaces or by telling your story of how a successful business has survived.

To tell your story of a local store you first need to click on a neighborhood on the map. You can then select the store on Street View. Once you've found a store (or disappeared store) on Street View you can enter details of the store's disappearance or the story of how it has managed to survive. If you just want to browse the histories of store changes that have been recorded by others you need to select the 'Memories & Stories' tab. This will allow you to browse the stores submitted by other people or the notable changes to store fronts which have been identified by others in NYC.

Monday, March 23, 2020

How Covid-19 Went Global

The New York Times has created an informative story map which explains how coronavirus has quickly spread around the world. In How the Virus Got Out the NYT uses an interactive map to show how Covid-19 spread from just one city in China to the rest of the world.

The first known cluster of Covid-19 emerged around the Huanan seafood market in the city of Wuhan, China. Wuhan is a major transportation hub. By the time the Chinese realized that they were dealing with a new deadly virus and alerted the World Health Authority the virus had already spread to thousands of people. Covid-19 also emerged around the time of the Chinese New Year when millions of people travel to visit and stay with their families. Partly because of this movement over the New Year about 7 million people left Wuhan before travel restrictions were finally put in place.

During January international air travel continued as normal. This helped to spread the disease around the world. For example in an average month around 900 people fly from Wuhan to New York and over 2,200 to Sydney. Before international flights were stopped over 15,000 people flew from Wuhan to Bangkok. Researchers believe that around 85% of infected travelers flew undetected. In January the first case outside of China was reported in Bangkok.

By the time that China stopped international air travel Covid-19 had already spread to at least 26 countries. By March Covid-19 was detected across the globe and China was no longer the main driver of the outbreak. In fact during March the severe measures to halt the virus has slowed its spread in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. However by this time Covid-19 was already spreading dramatically in Europe, the USA and many other countries around the world, where it still continues to spread.

It is also possible to visualize the spread of Covid-19 by mapping the number of confirmed cases around the world over time. In fact animated maps showing the spread of an epidemic can help us to learn more about how a virus is transmitted and how it spreads. For example HealthMap's Novel Coronavirus Covid-19 interactive map shows how Covid-19 quickly spread from Wuhan to the rest of China, through Asia and out to the rest of the world.

The map visualizes the number of reported Covid-19 cases in locations around the world by date. If you press the 'Animate Spread' button at the top-left of the map you can watch a day-by-day animation of the data showing how the disease spread around the globe in just a few weeks.

NBC New York's Covid-19 map actually works better as a visualization of how Covid-19 spread across the world. This map uses Johns Hopkins data to visualize the spread of Covid-19 over time. The NBC map includes a timeline control which allows you to more easily explore the data by specific date.

Traffic Free Cities

One outcome of Coronavirus lock-downs around the world has been a fall in NO2 pollution. This fall in air pollution has been observed both in China and Italy. One of the major reasons for this drop in NO2 levels in the world's major cities has been the reduction in car and road traffic

With people being forced to self-isolate and work from home the levels of traffic on city roads has plummeted in countries across the world. Buzzfeed has teamed up with Mapbox to create a series of interactive mapped visualizations which show this reduction in traffic in a number of American and global cities.

In These Traffic Maps Show How The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Emptied Streets Across The Globe Buzzfeed presents a series of before & after maps which show traffic levels before & after the outbreak of Covid-19. In each of the maps the before sections shows normal traffic levels, from mid-January, while the after section shows the latest traffic data ("over the most recent calendar day, local time").

The Buzzfeed article includes interactive maps of San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City in the USA. It also includes maps of Rome, Paris, London, Seoul and Beijing.

The Los Angeles Times has created a very similar before and after interactive map comparing the level of traffic in L.A. on January 16th and March 19th. The March 19th map shows L.A.'s normally congested streets looking much, much emptier. One consequence of this fall in road traffic has been a marker improvement in air quality. The Times visualizes this drop in air pollution by comparing two maps of NO2 concentration in Los Angeles County. One is from March 2019 and the other is from March 2020. As you can see above there is a quite significant drop in air pollution in L.A. this year.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Fun with Coloring Maps

The Mapbox Coloring Book

If you or your children are looking for fun and educational activities then you could try spending some time coloring in blank maps. The Mapbox Coloring Book (PDF) is a printable collection of blank maps from around the world. The book includes maps from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and North & South America. All you need for this fun task is a printer and some colored pens, pencils or crayons.

If you or your children manage to complete all the maps in the book then the Mapbox Blog has instructions on how you can create your own coloring maps (you just need to create a free Mapbox account if you don't already have one).

The New York Public Library has also created its own coloring book. The NYPL's Color Our Collection book includes a number of black & white images from its Digital Collections, which are perfect for coloring-in. The #ColorOurCollections (PDF) even includes a map (District Map Section No. 13) from 1913. The other black & white images which you can color in include animals, Egyptian hieroglyphics and flowers.

If you want some more maps to color in then the UK's Ordnance Survey has created 14 coloring in maps of various UK locations - Coloring Maps.

Colour Your Own Map

If you don't own a printer or colored pencils then you could try Color Your Own Map instead. Colour Your Own Map allows you to color a black and white digital interactive map. The blank map is made up of a number of different elements, including buildings, roads, water and woodland. Colour Your Own Map allows you to select different colors for each of these elements so that you can create your own individual looking maps.

Color Your Own Map uses the UK's Ordnance Survey OpenMap Local so the map only really works for UK locations.

Map Coloring & Graph Theory

Coloring in maps can be a lot of fun. It can also teach you about graph theory. Mathigon's Map Coloring interactive exercise requires you to color in a number of maps using as few colors as possible (no two touching states, regions or countries can have the same color). If you use more colors than are strictly necessary when coloring in these maps Mathigon will tell you. For example when coloring in the United States you only need to use four colors.

Friday, March 20, 2020

America's Migration Corridors

For at least 8,000 years pronghorns have migrated south for the winter. In the last 100 years those well-worn migration routes have become a lot more dangerous. Mainly because of highways and cars. The Washington Post has created an interactive map which follows the migration of one pronghorn, fitted with a GPS corridor, to visualize the dangers to migrating animals from humans in cars.

As you scroll through the Safe Passages story-map you can follow the movements of a pronghorn, romantically named 700031A, as its migration is animated on an interactive map. As you continue scrolling through the story the animal's track moves further and further south. During its migratory journey information windows appear updating you on the obstacles faced on this journey (such as highways and rivers) and how they are overcome.

Eventually 700031A reaches Interstate 80 - where her migration comes to a sudden end. Interstate 80 runs across the USA from San Francisco to New York. The highway acts as an unnatural barrier to migrating animals. Fences along the highway stop animals crossing the road. If the animals manage to get through those fences they then face the dangers of speeding cars.

The Post's story-map follows the I-80 westwards, showing the tracks of different animal species, revealing how their migrations are all stopped by the road and its fences. As you scroll westwards proportional symbols litter the I-80 showing where animals have been hit by cars as they try to cross the highway.

The Washington Post's map is a fantastic illustration of the dangerous barrier that roads create for migrating animals. The Safe Passages story map was created using Mapbox's new Scrollytelling Template. This template is designed to help you create 'scrollytelling' map stories. This Mapbox scrollytelling demo introduces the scrollytelling map format and shows you what it is possible to do with the template.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Spring is Here!

Today is the first day of spring in the USA But does it feel like spring? Does the sun bless you with the warmth of its rays or have the lingering frosts of winter outstayed their welcome and remained?

Although today is the vernal equinox, the day when we have almost exactly an equal amount of daylight and nighttime, it doesn't necessarily mean we will have spring like weather conditions. In Alaska the first day of spring has seen temperatures as low as 24°F. At the other extreme on the first day of spring in Florida the temperature has reached highs well into the 90's.

NOAA's U.S. spring extremes map visualizes the warmest and coldest temperatures recorded on the first day of spring across the United States. You can choose to view either the coldest or warmest days on the map. The color of the markers reflect the coldest or warmest temperatures recorded. You can click on these markers to view the coldest and warmest recorded temperature at that location and when those temperatures were recorded.

We can track how warm spring is this year by tracking the first leaves and first blooms to appear on trees and plants across the country. The National Phenology Network (NPN) tracks the timing of seasonal events in plants and animals in order to understand and record the years' seasons. In Spring the NPN uses its First Leaf and First Bloom Indices to measure how early or late spring has begun.

On the NPN's Status of Spring page you can view maps which show locations which satisfy the First Leaf conditions and locations which have satisfied the First Bloom locations. The Status of Spring page also includes two animated maps showing on which dates the First Leaf and First Bloom arrived in locations across the country. These animated maps provide a good indication of where in the United States spring has really begun.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Oldest Map of Britain

Perhaps the very first reasonably geographically accurate depiction of the British Isles can be found in the Anglo-Saxon Mappa Mundi from the Cotton manuscript collection. The map was created sometime between 1025 and 1050, probably in Canterbury England.

You can explore interactive digitized views of the Anglo Saxon Mappa Mundi on the Virtual Mappa Project or on the British Library website. To view the map on Virtual Mappa select 'Cotton World and Zonal Maps' and then 'Cotton World Map.

The British Library argues that the Anglo-Saxon Mappa Mundi contains "the earliest known, relatively realistic depiction of the British Isles". The British Isles had obviously been depicted in maps before - however the Anglo-Saxon Mappa Mundi depicts the British Isles more accurately than other contemporaneous maps. In fact there is a gap of about 200 years until a more accurate map of Britain appears in Matthew Paris' 13th Century Map of Britain.

The map, like most medieval maps, is orientated with East at the top. Europe, Asia, and Africa all feature on the map. The world view depicted in the map appears to derive from a number of different sources, including Roman maps, the Bible and Isidore of Seville.

The British Isles appear on the bottom left hand corner of the map. The Orkneys, Scillies, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Isle of Wight are all shown on the map. To the north-west of the British Isles is the Island of Tylen - this is Thule - the most northern location mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman literature and cartography. Thule has been identified by modern historians and cartographers as being just about every northern country from Norway to Iceland.

The Cornish Peninsula appears on the map as very elongated. Over Cornwall is a figure which has been variously interpreted as representing a city (such as Exeter) or two fighting men. London and Winchester are the only two cities which are actually named on the map. Also named are Morenwergas (possibly moor-dwellers), Cumri (Cumbria or Cambria) and Hibernia (Ireland).

You might also like:

The First Map of America
The First Map of Australia

Worldwide Travel Restrictions

Today five different people have contacted me about the Australian government's new travel advice map. The Australian government is advising that people "do not travel overseas at all at this time". Therefore all the other countries in the world are colored red on its World Travel Advice map.

Of course travel advice is not the same as travel restrictions. While many countries around the world, like Australia, are advising their citizens not to travel, many countries are also putting in place travel restrictions and closing borders. These restrictions obviously differ from country to country.

The United Nations World Food Programme has therefore compiled the World Travel Restrictions interactive map. This map allows you to view the travel restrictions put in place by individual countries around the world. For example the United States has put in place restrictions on travel to the United States from 30 different countries around the world.

As well as government travel restrictions the map includes airline information outlining which airlines have reduced or stopped flights in and out of each country in the world.

The UN map comes with a warning that, "The information shown is for guidance only ... Therefore we ask you check with appropriate authorities and/or carriers before taking any travel related action." If you do need to travel abroad you should obviously check with your own country's travel advice and the travel restrictions in place in the country or countries you plan to visit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Women in Government

The average percentage of women in national parliaments around the world is 24.3%. The United States is way below that average figure with a shocking 19.4% representation rate in the House of Representatives. Of the 435 members in the House only 84 are women.

Florencia Mangini has created a choropleth map which shows the percentage of women in parliaments around the world. Her Proportion of Women in National Parliaments map reveals that Rwanda has the highest level of female representation of all the countries in the world, with women making up 61.3% of parliament. Rwanda is actually only one of two countries in the world where women form the majority of elected representatives. The other country is Bolivia where women make up 53.1% of the national parliament. The country with the next highest level of female representation is Cuba, with 48.9%.

The data used seems to be from 2017 so the map might be a little out of date. However the data doesn't seem to diverge too much from the percentages listed in Wikipedia's Women in Government. What is clear is that women in the United States have about as much representation in government as women in the Kyrgyz Republic - a country which in 2013 passed a law banning women under the age of 23 from traveling abroad without a parent or guardian.

Equal Street Names

Over 93% of the streets in Brussels named for people are named for men. Only 6.27% of those streets are named for women. EqualStreetNames.Brussels is an interactive map which colors the streets of the capital of Belgium based on whether they are named for men or women.

The map is a very effective visualization of the shocking lack of recognition for women in Brussels. Streets named for women are colored in purple, so they should really stand out on the map. In truth what really stands out is the disparity between the huge number of lime green streets (named for men) and the handful of purple streets.

Of the women who have been recognized by having streets named for them in Brussels a large majority appear to be princesses or queens. If you select a colored road on the map you can view the street's name and click through to read more about the named person on Wikipedia.

Brussels is of course not unique in its sexist street names. Geochicas has been at the forefront in revealing the under-representation of women in street names. Las Calles de las Mujeres is an interactive map which reveals all the streets named for men and women in a number of cities in Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

Street Names in Vienna visualizes all the streets named for men and women in the Austrian capital.

Mapping Female versus Male Street Names - also maps the distribution of male and female street names in major cities across the world.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Mapping the World's Trees

Steve Bennett has created a global database and interactive map of open tree data from around the world. His OpenTrees.org map currently shows the location of nearly 14 million open data trees from 192 cities around the globe in 19 different countries.

Many local and municipal governments keep a record of all the trees that they are responsible for maintaining. OpenTrees.org uses this data to create a worldwide map of trees. When you select a city marker on the map you can explore an overview of the tree data kept by the city. This includes information on the number of different trees of different species and the type of data which the city records about each tree.

The map menu allows you to change how the trees appear on the map. For example you can see all the tree markers in a city colored by species, or sized by trunk size. If you select an individual tree on the map you can view its scientific and common name. You can also view images and information on the selected species of tree (this information is taken from Wikipedia). The map also includes a link to view the chosen tree on Google Maps Street View.

Super Self-Isolators

Why be a self-isolator when you can be a super self-isolator?

If, for what ever reason, you wish to avoid contact with other human beings then these maps can help you escape from the coughs and sneezes of outrageous fortune:

A Spot of Solitude by Topi Tjukinov is a series of maps highlighting ten locations, dotted across Great Britain, which are as far from buildings as possible. These are not the ten most isolated spots in the UK, which are mostly in Scotland, but a selection of solitary locations from across Britain.

Topi has created similar series of maps showing isolated locations in Finland, Denmark and Flanders, Belgium.

the most remote spot in the USA

According to Topi's calculations the spot furthest from any building in Britain is in Cairngorms National Park, a point which is 7.8 kilometers from the closest building. Of course finding the most remote location in a country depends on how you define 'remote'. In the USA Wikipedia says, that the "most remote point in the 50 states (is) Ipnavik River, National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska". Which is 120 miles from the nearest habitation. It sounds like Wikipedia has used the distance from the nearest building as their criteria as well.

According to a BBC article, entitled Where is the remotest spot in the United States?, the remotest spot in the lower 48 states is in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. In this case 'remote' is defined by distance from roads. The BBC's location in Yellowstone is 21.7 miles from a road (the exact location of the spot is not revealed by the BBC).

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Falling Air Pollution Around the World

Yesterday I posted news of the European Space Agency's animation of falling nitrogen dioxide emissions over Europe from Jan 1st to March 11th. Cristina Vrinceanu has used the same ESA data, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, to map NO2 emissions across the whole world from before and after the outbreak of Covid-19.

Comparison of Mean Tropospheric NO2 Concentration is a Google Earth Engine map which allows you to directly compare NO2 emissions from before the outbreak of COVID-19 to the mean emissions since Feb 20th. The map allows you to compare before and after NO2 emissions around the world. A drop in air pollution is particularly evident on the map over northern Italy.

Nitrogen Dioxide air pollutants comes from motor vehicle exhaust, from the burning of coal oil & gas and from manufacturing processes. The fall in NO2 in China and Italy could be due to cloud cover and changing atmospheric conditions, however scientists at the European Space Agency are confident that the fall in Italy is due to the reduction in road traffic and industrial activity from the quarantines and lock-downs put in place by the Italian government.

If you want to create your own Earth Engine visualization then you might also like Cristina Vrinceanu's write-up of how she created her before & after NO2 visualization, Monitoring emissions during the Italian COVID-19 epidemic lock-down.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Air Pollution Plummets in Italy

Two weeks ago NASA showed how the huge reduction in air & road traffic and economic activity in China has also led to a huge drop in air pollution. Levels of NO2 plummeted in China after the introduction of coronavirus quarantines and the shut-down of factories. NASA visualized this drop with two side-by-side maps comparing NO2 over China during January and at the end of February. Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China shows a huge drop in NO2 levels since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Since NASA released their visualization the number of Covid-19 cases in Italy has dramatically risen. In response the Italian government has initiated travel bans, quarantine zones, bans on public gatherings and suspended religious and cultural events. The result in Italy's northern industrial zone has been a similar drop in nitrogen dioxide that has been seen in China.

The European Space Agency has released an animated map which shows nitrogen dioxide emissions over Europe from Jan 1st to March 11th. ESA's Nitrogen dioxide emissions drop over Italy uses data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite to show NO2 levels over Europe. Claus Zehner, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager reports that, "the reduction in emissions that we can see, coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities."

Friday, March 13, 2020

Real-Time Bart Trains Map

If you are working from home in San Francisco and starting to miss your daily commute then you might want to play with the Track Live Bart Trains interactive map.

Select a line from the drop-down menu and you can view the live real-time position of all the operating trains on that line. Select one of the moving train markers on the map and you can view its next scheduled stop, its final destination and the number of cars.

Once you select a train's marker on the map you can follow its journey in real-time, as it moves on the map. Therefore, if you really want, you can undertake a virtual commute to work by selecting a train on the map and then following it live on the map until it reaches your chosen destination. Once you've finished your virtual commute you really should get back to doing some work.

If you normally get the streetcar to work in San Francisco then you can also follow your normal commute virtually and in real-time on NextBus. Select your route on NextBus and you can view a live map showing the location of all the current streetcars on the line.

Mapping & Finding Historical Markers

The Historical Marker Database records the locations of permanent outdoor historical markers and commemorative plaques. The database allows you to explore the locations of markers and plaques around the world which are used to mark sites of historical importance. It can therefore be a great way to find nearby points of historical interest.

If you go to the geographic lists section of the Historical Marker Database you can explore the database by interactive map. Select a region and you can see all the area's historic markers mapped by location. If you select a marker on this map you can then click through to view the location's entry in the database. This entry includes information and photos of the selected marker, links to nearby historical markers and information about the marker's location.

Read the Plaque has mapped the location of over 18,000 historical plaques around the world. Using the Read the Plaque interactive map you can search for plaques marking historical or interesting locations around you.

As well as searching for plaques by location you can search Read the Plaque by tag or by the most recently submitted plaques. You can also select to view a random plaque from the over 18,000 recorded plaques. When you select a plaque on the map you can view its dedicated page, which includes a photo of the plaque and a transcription of the text on the plaque. A map also shows the plaque's exact location and the location of nearby plaques.

Anyone can submit an historical plaque to Read the Plaque by taking a photo of the plaque and marking its location on an interactive map.

Flattening the Climate Heating Curve

The UN's 2019 Emissions Gap Report warns that the world is "on the brink of missing the opportunity to limit global heating to 1.5°C". In other words the staggering inaction of governments around the world in the face of global heating is making it more and more likely that the world will suffer widespread and catastrophic environmental disaster. The report is also very clear that the actions needed to avert environmental disaster become more and more severe the longer we put off responding to global heating.

Every fraction of additional warming beyond 1.5°C will result in increasingly severe and expensive impacts

Every year the UN looks at what progress countries are making to close the emissions gap and what degree of climate heating is likely to occur under these conditions. Of all the G20 countries so far only two, the UK and France, have passed net-zero emission target legislation.

The 1.5°C goal is on the brink of becoming impossible

The consequences of not restricting global heating to 1.5°C will be devastating. Global heating at 2°C will result in sea levels rising 1 metre higher than global heating at 1.5°C. At 1.5°C over 70% of coral reefs will die. At 2°C virtually all coral reefs in the whole world will be dead. Extreme droughts, storms and other weather events become much more likely the hotter the world becomes.

We need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year

The actions needed to avoid catastrophic environmental disaster become more & more severe with each passing year. If we want to restrict global heating to 1.5°C we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year. This percentage rises every year that we don't meet the current target. If we don't act now to enforce net-zero emission target legislation in countries around the world then the human and economic cost of avoiding global heating will continue to rise.