Thursday, May 06, 2021

Vaccination Rates & Active Cases

McKinsey & Company has released a bivarate map which visualizes both the percentage of the population in every county who have received a Covid-19 vaccination and the number of active cases of Covid-19 in each county. Because McKinsey's Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution map is a bivarate choropleth visualization it should help reveal if vaccinating people against Covid-19 is helping to reduce the numbers of people becoming infected from the the virus.

A bivarate map visualizes two (or more) variables on one map by using different colors to represents relationships between the variables. On McKinsey's map the color blue represents a county with a high vaccination rate and also a high number of active coronavirus cases. The color red represents counties with a low percentage of the population vaccinated but with a high rate of coronavirus. Therefore we would expect to see a lot of blue colored counties if vaccinations weren't working in reducing the spread of Covid-19. 

The turquoise color on the map shows counties with high vaccination rates and low numbers of active Covid-19 cases. If vaccinations work we should begin to see more and more counties colored turquoise as the majority of their population becomes vaccinated. McKinsey's Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution visualization includes a bivarate chart which also makes clear that a huge number of the counties in the United States with a large number of active coronavirus cases are also the counties with lower levels of vaccinations.

From Bohemia to the Czech Republic

The Czech Historical Atlas is a fantastic old-fashioned country atlas updated for the digital age. By describing the atlas as 'old fashioned' I really mean this in a positive way - because the Czech Historical Atlas reminds me of the many much loved hefty atlases which adorn my book shelves. Atlases which are full of maps visualizing geopolitical, social, religious and economic data. The kind of atlas which you I could study for hours. 

The Czech Historical Atlas is available as a printed book but it can also be browsed as a modern interactive map portal. This 'electronic map portal' contains over 160 maps exploring all aspects of Czech history and modern life. The Atlas is organized into different chapters which allow you to explore the history of the Czech Republic from medieval times right up until the modern day. 

The chapters contained in the Czech Historical Atlas include (but aren't restricted to) Borders and Territories, Religion and Faith and War Conflicts and their Consequences. All of these chapters are presented in the manner of separate story maps, with explanatory text accompanied and illustrated by a host of interactive maps. As well as exploring the maps as they occur within each chapter of the Atlas you can also take a closer look at each map and compare it with other maps in the Maps Compare section of the Atlas.

The Maps Compare section of the atlas allows you to choose any two of the 160 maps in the collection to compare them side-by-side. This allows you to compare two different selected topics to help discover and reveal parallels and connections in the historical development of the Czech Republic. 

If you have any interest in the history of the Czech Republic or are just a fan of maps and atlases then the Czech Historical Atlas is for you. The interactive online version of the atlas is available in both English and Czech.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Small Multiple Maps with OSM

I decided to make a birthday card today for a friend who is a big fan of motor sports and whose birthday happens to fall this year on the same day as the Spanish Grand Prix. I'm not overly pleased with the result (I'm no designer) but the process could be quite useful for creating small multiple posters. For example a poster showing the plans of all the Grand Prix circuits.

1. taginfo

OpenStreetMap is often the best source for geographical data. I didn't already know the tag used for motor racing circuits on OpenStreetMap. I therefore used taginfo to discover the correct tag (highway=raceway). As well as letting you find the tags used for geographic entities on OpenStreetMap taginfo also includes a link to query a tag on Overpass Turbo.

2. Overpass Turbo

If you click on the Overpass Turbo link on taginfo it will take you to Overpass Turbo with the correct query already written for you. In this case the query is:

// gather results
  // query part for: “highway=raceway”
// print results
out body;
out skel qt;

Go to the location of any motor racing circuit in the world in Overpass Turbo and run this query and you can download the GeoJSON data for the circuit.


The data I downloaded of the Spanish Grand Prix circuit from Overpass Turbo included a number of other polylines which aren't related to the actual circuit used in the Grand Prix. I therefore needed to clean-up the data using

Opening the GeoJSON data in allows you to delete any polylines which you don't need. If you click on a line or polygon in you can just select the 'delete' option to remove the feature. I did this to remove all the track lines not associated with the Spanish Grand Prix track. I then saved the edited data as another GeoJSON file. 

4. Mapbox Studio

I uploaded my saved GeoJSON file of the Spanish Grand Prix track into Mapbox Studio. In Mapbox Studio you can view and style your geographical data. This allowed me to increase the size of the circuit line from 1px to 5px. In Mapbox Studio I was also able to hide all the other map layers to leave just my Spanish Grand Prix track on a white background (which I then copied and pasted into Photoshop).


This is how I created my Spanish Grand Prix birthday card. Now to complete a small multiple poster of all the 2021 Formula 1 Grand Prix circuits I just need to do this another 22 times to get the data of all 23 Grand Prix circuits in this year's season of races.

The Brussels Melting Pot

20% of all migrants in the world live in just 20 cities. One of those cities is Brussels. In fact Brussels has the second  highest percentage of foreign born residents of all the cities in the world - after Dubai. 

Brussels has 2.1 million inhabitants. Around 6 in every 10 of them were born abroad. About 184 different nationalities make up the population of Brussels. Like in many cities people of the same nationality often live in the same neighborhoods and communities. You can explore where Brussels' foreign born communities live in the Brussels - A Lovely Melting Pot data visualization. 

Brussels - A Lovely Melting Pot includes a number of small multiple dot maps showing the geographical distribution of some of the different nationalities living in the city. The interactive data visualization also includes a single dot map showing all the nationalities on one map. This combined map shows that the foreign nationals living in southeast Brussels are mainly from the other EU countries. African foreign nationals tend to live in the northwest of the city and Turkish foreign nationals live in the north. 

Brussels - A Lovely Melting Pot doesn't include any economic data. It would be interesting to compare the geographical distribution of foreign nationals with economic indicators, such as average incomes and property prices. While looking at the overall distribution of where different nationalities live in Brussels I can't help making some assumptions about where the city's richest and poorest neighborhoods are located.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

The World Justified

The World, Justified is a work of art by the Brazilian artists Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain. The artwork portrays the world in four different ways. A traditional looking map uses horizontal lines to represent all the areas of the world. The other three representations justify these same horizontal lines in different ways - so that in one view of the world all the lines are centered, in one view they are all left-aligned and in the other they are all right-aligned.

Nicolas Lambert has now created an interactive version of The World Justified.Nicloas's version of the map represents the land using small dots. Using the map you can view these dots in four different ways: as a geographical atlas, as centered, as left-aligned or as right-aligned.

Viewing the land mass of the world justified in these three unusual ways provides an interesting view into where the world's land masses lie. It certainly helps reveal the top heavy (if you think of north as being up) nature of the globe, with far more land in the northern hemisphere than in the south. Now Nicolass just needs to add the option to view the world's land mass justified to the top of the page and to the bottom. This will help reveal how much land is in the east and how much is in the west.

The Valencia Building Age Map

Dr. Dominic Royé has created a building age map of the Spanish city of Valencia. He has also written a handy tutorial on how the map was created using the R Programming language for statistical computing and graphics. In Visualize Urban Growth you can not only play with an interactive building age map of Valencia but you can also learn how to create your very own building age map.

The article includes an interactive Valencia Building Age map, which uses Leaflet.js. On this map individual buildings in Valencia are colored according to the decade of their construction.Like many building age maps of European cities there is a fairly clear geographical pattern to the age of Valencia's buildings, with the oldest buildings being densest in the city center and the age of buildings generally becoming younger as you move out towards the suburbs.

You can explore how other cities around the world have developed over time using their own building age maps. Here are a few building age maps for other cities around the world:

Monday, May 03, 2021

How Climate Change will Affect You

Climate change is set to change life in America for ever. Even under the most optimistic scenarios the habitable zone (where temperature and precipitation are most suitable for human habitation) is set to shift drastically northwards in the next 30 years. Under this scenario much of the south and southwest of the country will experience extreme heat for most of the year. 

You can discover how climate change will affect your county using ProPublica's new interactive data visualization of how global heating will change the climate of the United States. In New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States ProPublica has used the latest climate change data to forecast and map temperature and precipitation levels in the USA in 30 years time.

If you enter your county into the ProPublica interactive you can view how global heating will affect your environment.The article includes maps which show the forecasts for extreme 'wet bulb' days, large wildfires, rising sea levels, farm crop yields and the economic damage expected from global heating. The maps all highlight and provide the forecast data for your entered county. The article also includes a table which ranks the most at-risk counties in the U.S. from the forecast levels of global heating.

Curate a Street View Art Gallery

One of the very many things that I miss during this global epidemic is being able to visit museums and art galleries. Wouldn't it be nice if we could turn our city streets into one huge al-fresco art gallery, with great works of art displayed outside where we could view them in relative safety? Unfortunately I don't think that the world's museums are going to risk exposing their priceless artworks to the elements.

Thanks to Street Galleries, you can create your own virtual outdoors art gallery. Street Galleries is a Google Arts & Culture project which allows you to decorate cities around the world on Google Maps Street View with works of art from some of the world's leading museums.

You can choose from one of ten locations in a number of the world's major cities. Once you have chosen a location, you can begin adding paintings to the Street View of that location. Pick a painting from the Google Arts & Culture digital collections and you can hang it anywhere within your Street View panorama. You can move the painting anywhere in the Street View, allowing you to hang the picture on a building, on the road or even hanging in mid-air.

Decorating city Street View scenes with your favorite paintings is a lot of fun. You can also explore the Street Galleries created by other people. My one quibble with Street Galleries is that you are limited to only ten locations around the world. It would be so much more fun if you could actually decorate your own neighborhood on Street View with fantastic works of art.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

How the US Post Office Conquered America


In 1899 there were five times as many post offices in the United States as there are McDonald's restaurants today. Digital Historian Professor Cameron Blevins has released a new historical account of how the American government rolled out the world’s largest communications network and in the process built the infrastructure that enabled it to exert its coercive power over the newly plundered land of the American west. Blevin's new book Paper Trails: The US Post and the Making of the American West recounts the extraordinary expansion of the U.S. Post during the Nineteenth Century and how this allowed it to exert the power of the state over the newly colonized western half of the United States.

The Gossamer Network is the companion website to Cameron Blevins 'Paper Trails' historical tome. The Gossamer Network is a mapped visualization of the US Post Office data which informs Blevin's history of the American West. As you progress through the Gossamer Network story map you can view visualizations of the incredible spread of Post Offices across the United States in just one generation (see animated map above).

As you continue through the Gossamer Network the huge network of newly established Post Offices is compared to the thinly spread military, judiciary and treasury infrastructures in Nineteenth Century America. The Gossamer Network also provides an incredible detailed examination of how the Post Office network actually spread across the west over the course of the second half of the Nineteenth Century.