Tuesday, July 28, 2020

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.

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