Saturday, September 25, 2021

High Vaccination, Low Hospitalization

Kenneth Field has posted a nice critique of a Washington Post bivariate choropleth map showing America’s hospitalization and vaccination divide.The Post's bivariate map uses colors to visualize two different variables on one map - the Covid-19 vaccination rate and the Covid-19 hospitalization rate in every U.S. health region.

Kenneth's Cartoblography post praises the map for making it very clear that "Regions with more vaccinations have fewer hospitalizations." This is where I have to make an embarrassing carto-confession - I often find bivariate choropleth maps difficult to read. When I first looked at the Post's map I thought that the dark colors in Texas, Florida and Oregon identified these areas as having high rates of vaccinations and also high rates of hospitalizations. I also read the map as saying that the light colored Kansas has a low rate of vaccinations and a low rate of hospitalization.

The Post's article also includes a scatterplot of the same two variables which I find a lot easier to read. Looking at this scatterplot reveals that Kansas probably is an outlier (although because the plot isn't interactive I am having to guess that one of those two dots in the bottom-left segment indicates Kansas). However this scatterplot also reveals that there are no regions in the highest vaccination / highest hospitalization sector (however it does appear that parts of Oregon and Florida are in fact close to that sector)

I think that I find the Post's bivariate choropleth map hard to read because it has 16 different colors and it isn't just a matter of light hues = good / dark hues = bad (or vice versa). As Kenneth points out in his critique the Post does help the reader by using annotations both on the map legend and on the map itself to help the reader understand the data.However I do find that the use of so many colors on bivariate maps means that I often have to work towards comprehension. That in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing but it might be a factor worth considering if you want to visualize two different variables on one map.

Obviously the Post's accompanying article also makes clear the correlation between vaccinations and hospitalizations. The data is unequivocal - vaccinations work. Areas of the country which have the highest vaccination rates tend to have the lowest hospitalizations for Covid-19. Conversely those regions of America with the lowest vaccination rates tend to have some of the highest hospitalization rates for Covid-19. 

The message couldn't be clearer. If you haven't done so already then you need to get vaccinated! 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Your Probable Future

Climate change is likely to seriously effect your life in the coming decades. Many of these effects are hard to predict. However scientists are able to predict with some certainty how global heating is likely to effect such things as the temperature, extreme precipitation and the occurrence of droughts around the world.

Probable Futures has mapped out how different climate change scenarios could effect future weather conditions around the world. This includes interactive maps which show you how different levels of global heating will effect the likelihood of extreme drought conditions, the number of extreme heat days you can expect, and the frequency of extreme precipitation events.

Using Probable Futures' maps you can explore how different climate change scenarios are likely to effect the climate where you live and at other locations around the globe. The Probable Futures visualizations are part of a growing trend to help explain how global heating is likely to effect our lives.If you live in the USA you can also discover how climate change will effect you on a ProPublica interactive map.

In New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States ProPublica show how different parts of the U.S. are likely to be affected by global heating. The ProPublica map shows where extreme heat will become commonplace, where growing food will become very difficult and where dangerous 'wet bulb' conditions will become the norm.

The New York Times has also released an interactive map which attempts to explain how global heating will effect the climate where you live. If you enter your county into Every Place Has Its Own Climate Risk. What Is It Where You Live? you can find out which climate risks will become most extreme in your area.

The NYT's interactive map colors areas of the United States to show the climate risks which will be most extreme in different part of the USA. For example most of the East Coast will face increased risks from severe hurricanes, much of the Midwest will experience extreme heat, the Western states will face extreme droughts and the Western states will see higher risk from wildfire. If you hover over your county on the map you can see the risks that your county will face in six different categories; hurricane risk, extreme rainfall risk, water stress risk, sea level rise risk, heat stress risk and wildfire risk.

Of course as a result of global heating most countries will experience higher average temperatures. A National Geographic interactive feature can show you how hot your region will become by comparing it to a city which currently experiences average temperatures that your home town can expect in the year 2070.

If carbon emissions continue to rise at the current rate then by 2070 the world will experience devastating climate change. For example Boston, Massachusetts will experience temperatures 5 degrees centigrade hotter than today and 49 mm more rain will fall. This is similar to the climate that Bardwell, Kentucky has today.

In Your Climate, Changed the National Geographic uses an interactive map to show the future climate analogs of 2,500 cities around the world. These analogs are based on worst-case climate change scenario assumptions. The map automatically detects your location to show you your nearest future global heating twin. The map also explains what kind of climate zone your city currently experiences and compares that to the likely climate it will have in 2070.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

1914 Street View of New York

Chris Whong has mapped out a collection of vintage photos from the New York Historical Society to create a virtual Stroll Down Flatbush Avenue circa 1914. Chris recently discovered the society's Subway Construction Photograph Collection, 1900-1950". This collection of vintage photographs of New York includes a continuous series of photographs taken on Flatbush Avenue, from Grand Army Plaza to the present-day Barclays Center. Chris has geolocated and mapped every one of this series to create an historical Street View tour of 1914 Flatbush Avenue.

It is not often that you get a chance to travel back in time over 100 years. I had a lot of fun walking down Flatbush Avenue on Chris's map just noting the many sights that you now no longer see in New York. These sights include barber poles, cigar store Indians, trolley stations, hat cleaners and horse-drawn delivery carriages. 

Being a bit of nerd I also took a virtual walk along the same section of Flatbush Avenue using Google Street View. The 21st Century walk is a lot more unpleasant than the early 20th Century walk. Nowadays there are four lanes of busy car traffic (with an additional two lanes of street parking), 90% of the stores seem to sell fast food and worst of all there are far fewer hats than there used to be. 

If you enjoy exploring the New York of yesteryear then you can also explore vintage photographs of the city on the excellent Street View of 1940's NYC and Street View of 1980s.NYC. In the 1940's, and again in the 1980's, the New York Works Progress Administration took photographs of every building in the city, in order to help estimate property values and property taxes. These two interactive maps allow you to browse these huge collections of New York street scenes by location. Like Chris's map they allow you to travel back in time and explore Street View scenes of New York during different eras of its history.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The La Palma Volcano Eruption

On Sunday the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma erupted. The lava flow from this eruption has already destroyed over 200 homes and led to the evacuation of 5,000 people. Like all of the Canary Islands the island of La Palma was originally formed from volcanic activity. Along with Tenerife La Palma is one of the most volcanically active of the Canary Islands.

Mapbox's Jonni Walker has used data from the Copernicus Rapid Mapping Team to create a bird's eye view map of the lave flow (shown at the top of this post). This map does an impressive job of showing the scale and direction of the lava flow.

You can view an interactive map of the lava flow which was created the Instituto Geográfico Nacional de España. The institute's map shows the extent of the lava flow, the location of the volcanic eruption and the location of all recorded earthquake tremors on La Palma recorded in the last ten days. 

Spanish newspaper El Pais has mapped out the forecast path of the lava flow over the next few days. A slowdown in the advance of the magma means that the lava flow has yet to meet the sea. The red areas on this map are those which are most likely to be affected by the lava flow.

It is estimated that the eruption has led to the emission of around 6,000-9,000 tons of sulfur-dioxide (SO2) per day into the atmosphere. The impressive animated weather map Windy includes a SO2 layer, which means you can view an animated forecast of where this S02 is likely to end up over the next few days. The map suggests that the SO2 is already drifting over northern Africa reaching as far as Turkey and Syria.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

America's Falling Prison Population

The Marshall Project has used 2020 census data to compare the incarceration rates of different U.S. counties and to visualize the trend in incarceration rates since the 2010 census. The headline story in the Marshall Project's analysis of the data is that There Are Fewer People Behind Bars Now Than 10 Years Ago.

The Marshall Project's analysis includes two maps. One (pictured above) uses proportional circles to show the number of incarcerated people in each county. Another cartogram map shows the change in the incarceration rate in every state, from the 2010 to 2020 censuses.Only four states - West Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska and Arkansas - had a higher incarceration rate in 2020. In every other state the incarceration rate was lower in 2020 than it was in 2010. 

The Marshall Project warns that the effect of the Covid pandemic on the court system and on prison and jail populations means that it may be "impossible to draw any long-term conclusions from the apparent drop seen in Census data." 

Last month CNN used the newly released 2020 census data to create a racial dot map of America. The interactive map in Race and ethnicity across the nation uses colored dots to visualize the population density and racial mix of every neighborhood in the country. Ben Schmidt's All of US is another interactive dot map which allows you to compare population data from the 2020 and 2010 US censuses.Ben's 'dot' map actually uses Wee People rather than dots to represent the U.S. population.

Canadian Election Maps


Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party has won a third term as a result of Monday's election in Canada. The Liberals will probably win 156 seats overall, which is one less than in the 2019 election and some way short of the 170 seats needed to form a majority government. For the second election in a row it looks like the Conservative Party has won the popular vote but won fewer electoral districts than its main rival.

The Globe and Mail's Live Updates page includes an interactive map which colors electoral districts based on the party currently winning in the count. If you click on a riding on the map then you can view the total number of votes cast for each candidate and their percentage of the overall vote.

The Globe and Mail's map is a pretty good example of how a geographical map of Canadian election results can be very visually misleading. On this map large rural electoral districts distort the overall picture. For example despite having won only 25 seats the NDP seem to be the largest party in Canada (because they are the most popular party in many of the largest rural electoral ridings). Conversely the Liberal Party (who have won the most seats but predominantly in the geographically smaller urban electoral districts) on this map appear to have done very poorly. 

This visual distortion of the results is also apparent on the Toronto Star's Live Results interactive map. Like the Globe and Mail map the Star's map is great if you want to check the results in an individual electoral district but isn't so great at representing the overall picture of the 2021 Canadian election. This is also true of the election results map on CBC's Federal Election Results page.

A better way of visualizing the Canadian election results could be by using a cartogram. The Electoral Cartogram of Canada provides a fantastic overall view of election results in Canada (although at the time of writing they haven't yet added this year's election results). This map represents each electoral district as an equal sized hexagon. The advantage of using a cartogram is that this map doesn't visually exaggerate the results of large rural electoral electoral areas with low population densities over smaller urban ridings with much higher population densities.

This cartogram view much more clearly shows the overall picture of an election. For example the Liberal Party's narrow win in 2019 is far more legible on this map than on the Globe and Mail's 2021 electoral map. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Russian Election Map

Russia has just held a parliamentary election. However, when the main opposition leader has been thrown in prison and most opposition candidates have been banned from standing, there really isn't much point in creating an election map of the Russian election results. What is far more interesting is Karta Narusheniy (Violation Map), an interactive map of voting irregularities reported in the 2021 Russian parliamentary election.

The Russian election is so rigged that I haven't even bothered to check the results this morning to see how large Putin's election victory is. I suspect Putin's United Russia party will be decided to have won over 100% of the vote in most areas of the country. 

Election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) didn't even bother to oversee this year's election in Russia because of the proposed limitations that the Russian government had tried to impose on them.Russia's Violation Map is currently reporting nearly 5,000 reported voting irregularities across the whole of Russia and even reports violations in overseas voting booths in Russian embassies around the world. These irregularities include reports of ballot stuffing and of forced voting.

The Violation Map was created by Golos, an independent vote monitoring group. The violations shown on the map are crowdsourced by voters across Russia. Voters can report violations that they have witnessed either by completing a form on the Violation Map website or by calling a phone hotline. Reports of voting violations sent to Golos are also passed on to election commissions and, where necessary, to law enforcement agencies and the media.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Traffic Simulation Game

A/B Street is a fun traffic simulation game which lets you explore how changes to your streets could effect the traffic in your neighborhood. The game allows you to experiment with adding or removing bus lanes, traffic signals, street parking, bike lanes, sidewalks and other road infrastructure and then simulate how these changes might effect your local traffic.

A/B Street can be played in your browser or downloaded to your computer. If you download the game you can play A/B Street in any location in the world using data from OpenStreetMap. This allows you to explore how small decisions to your streets could effect the traffic in your neighborhood.A/B Street actually includes a lot of different options which you can change to improve or worsen your local traffic. Luckily the game comes with a tutorial and also gradually introduces many of the game's features while you actually play the game.

While the A/B Street simulation runs you can observe the traffic in real-time on the game's interactive map. On this map you can follow individual vehicles to see how changes to the map effect a vehicle's behavior and journey times. Alternatively you can zoom-out and watch the traffic flow across the whole town or neighborhood. 


If being the traffic controller of a whole city seem over-complicated then you might enjoy 15 Minute Santa instead, a game from the same developers as A/B Street.15 Minute Santa is a fun game which requires you to deliver Christmas presents to the children of Seattle by guiding Santa around the city on an interactive map.

The object of 15 Minute Santa is to drive Santa around Seattle. As you navigate around the map of the city you earn points based on the density of the housing that you pass (the higher the density of people then the more presents you are delivering). Santa's sleigh only has so much fuel so you also need to occasionally refuel. You can do this by simply driving past a store on the map.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Brussels' Grand Canal Plan

The Brussels–Charleroi Canal runs through the city of Brussels for about 14km.This canal was once an essential part of the city's industrial infrastructure and was home to thousands of warehouses, factories and other businesses. However following the arrival of the automobile and the de-industrialization of the city in the second-half of the 20th Century the canal fell into disuse. Consequently many of the industrial businesses along the canal moved elsewhere or simply went out of business. 

Following de-industrialization the canal sides in Brussels became dominated by abandoned industrial buildings and brown-field sites. This fall in local employment in turn led to a deterioration in the local housing stock. So eventually the Brussels canal became synonymous not with industrial prosperity but with poor housing and low-income groups. 

Brussels however has a plan to revitalize and improve the neighborhoods on the Brussels-Charleroi Canal. The 'Canal Plan' includes a set of objectives to create new housing, attractive public spaces, and more economic activity on both sides of the canal. You can learn more about the specific development proposals in the Canal Plan in L'Echo's wonderful overview of the plan.

In Can the Canal Plan Relaunch Brussels? L'Echo uses maps, photos, drone imagery and 360 degree panoramic presentations to showcase some of the Canal Plan's visions for revitalizing Brussels. The newspaper's presentation includes an impressive satellite view fly-over of the canal. As you scroll through L'Echo's article a 3D satellite map of the city pans along the the canal, illustrating the prominent position that the canal occupies in Brussels. As the map pans around the city the accompanying scrolling text explains the Canal Plan's development proposals for each part of the city. 

L'Echo's article also includes a number of panoramic aerial views of the canal. These 360 degree drone images use map markers to provide a more detailed account of some of the Canal Plan's specific development ideas. Select one of these map markers and an information window will open with more information about how the area will develop and an artist's impression of the finished development.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Norwegian Election Maps


The Labor Party was the biggest winner in Monday's general election in Norway, bringing to an end the center-right government, led by Erna Solberg’s Conservative Party. Jonas Gahr Støre of the Labor Party will become Norway's next Prime Minister, if he can successfully negotiate a coalition of left-wing parties.

Aftenposten's 2021 Norway Election Map allows you to view the party which won the most votes in each electoral district. This map view colors each district to show the political party which won the most votes.Another map layer visualizes the degree to which each district voted for the left or the right. Under this view each district is colored to show the extent that they voted for left wing or right wing parties. Both of these map layers reveal that the south-western tip of the country is a stronghold of the right, while the rest of the country is very much behind the left-wing parties.

The Aftenposten election map also allows you to view a choropleth layer for each political party. Select a party from the drop-down menu and you can see the degree of support that party achieved in each electoral district. For example, if you select the Labor Party you can see that it performed less well in the south-west than it did in the rest of Norway. 

One of the biggest issues in this year's election was climate change and the future of Norway's oil industry. The oil industry makes up around 14% of Norway's GDP and is a major employer. However the election results suggest that there is an appetite to start moving away from oil. One factor that may hinder environmental progress is the fact that the Green Party failed to achieve 4% of the national vote. Parties that fail to get 4% do not qualify for equalization mandates. This means that the Green Party will have less seats in parliament and have less influence over the government.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Two Months of the Dixie Fire

The Dixie Fire has been raging for over two months and is now the second largest wildfire in California's history. Since the beginning of July the fire has destroyed more than a thousand homes and over $540 million has been spent on fighting the blaze.

To help readers visualize the sheer scale of the Dixie fire the Washington Post has created an animated map which shows the spread and reach of the fire over the course of the last two last months. The fire originally began on July 13 on Dixie Road in the Feather River Canyon near Cresta Dam. It has now burned through nearly 1 million acres of California. 

The Post's Anatomy of a Wildfire provides an impressive mapped chronology of the fire, showing both how the fire has spread over the last two months and an overview of the vast area affected by the fire.If you want to keep up-to-date with the current location of the Dixie Fire (or of any other wildfires currently burning in California) then you can also refer to the LA Times' California Wildfires Map. The LA Times map uses data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites and from Calfire to show the locations of all the current wildfires active in the state.

Denver's KKK Members

This is a map of Ku Klux Klan members living in Denver in the 1920s. The home addresses of these racists comes from two Ku Klux Klan membership books owned by History Colorado.

Around one third of white U.S. born men in Denver were members of the KKK During the 1920s. During that decade the party successfully infiltrated and took over Denver's power structures. In fact the Colorado governor, the mayor of Denver, the police chief, many judges and many state senators were all KKK members in the 1920s.

You can view the complete map of the addresses of Denver's KKK members on History Colorado's Ku Klux Klan Ledgers. The ledgers and the map of the members' home addresses reveal how much of Denver's white population was seduced by the racism of the KKK. The map makes clear that it wasn't just the city's power structures that were taken over by the KKK. The people that the KKK targeted and intimidated would encounter KKK members in just about every street, store, bank and local business.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Global Heating Predictions

Bread for the World has released an interactive map which visualizes estimated temperatures around the world by the end of this century. The map is based on climate change models developed by NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The August 28, 2100 interactive map shows the predicted maximum temperatures around the world in the year 2100. If you hover over the map you can also view a graph showing the global warming rise at that location over the course of 150 years from 1950 to 2100. The text above the graph announces the number of degrees that the temperature is estimated to rise at the selected location over that very short period of time. 

Another powerful method of visualizing global warming is through the use of warming stripes. You can get warming stripes for different regions and countries around the world (and for individual U.S. states) on ShowYourStripes. Select a region and then a country from the drop-down menu on ShowYourStripes and you can view and download an image showing how the temperatures have risen over the last 100+ years at your selected location.

Global warming stripes are able to visualize a complex issue with one simple and easy to understand image. The general progression from blue to redder stripes is both visually striking and very hard to dispute. The temperature data used for creating the stripes come from the Berkeley Earth temperature dataset and from a number of national meteorological agencies.

The Anti-Democracy Party

Urged on by Neo-Nazi Steve Bannon far-right extremists have begun a fifth column campaign to infiltrate the Republican Party and ultimately overturn American democracy. Since President Biden's election ProPublica has been tracking the rising number of far-right extremists enlisting as precinct officers. They are then signing-up as Republican nominees to be poll workers, with the ultimate aim of disrupting the democratic process and stopping fair elections in the United States.

In Election Deniers Organize to Seize Control of the GOP ProPublica has mapped out where there has been a sudden increase in low-level Republican Party officers across the country. Forty-one out of the 65 key counties that ProPublica surveyed have had an unusual increase in precinct officers. The interactive map in the article only shows the results of the counties surveyed. The 65 counties surveyed were identified by ProPublica as politically competitive and discussed as targets on Neo-Nazi websites and discussion boards. ProPublica didn't have the resources to survey all 3,000 counties. 

The influx of new far-right extremists into low-level roles in the Republican Party is just part of a wider concerted campaign to overturn democracy in the United States.ProPublica's article also reports on the surge in volunteers to become election judges, election inspectors and nominees to election boards. It is abundantly clear that the Republican Party is being infiltrated by far-right extremists and is becoming increasingly anti-Democratic. For example only yesterday Larry Elder refused to acknowledge that he would accept the result of the California recall election. This infiltration of the Republican Party by Neo-Nazis is obviously extremely worrying for the future of Democracy in the United States.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Mapping 9/11

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has released an impressive and graphic 3D map which recounts the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. The Attacks of 11 September 2001 commemorates the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack by providing a chronological account of the day's events in New York. 

As you scroll through the 'Attacks of 11 September 2001' article a 3D map of the World Trade Center and surrounding buildings rotates to give you an overview of this area of New York.As you continue scrolling an airplane enters the map before crashing into the North Tower. Scroll even further ahead and the clock progresses forward in time and another airplane enters the map and flies into the south tower.

The Corriere della Sera's account of 9/11 includes a 3D map of the pentagon. This map also features an animated plane crashing into the building. The Italian's newspaper's reconstructions of the 9/11 attacks are pretty graphic.I'm guessing most people already know what happened so it could be argued that the maps are a little superfluous. However the article also includes a 3D plan showing the internal construction of the Twin Towers and an explanation of why they collapsed (in Italian). The newspaper has also created an impressive 3D reconstruction of the Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center) which was built on the northwest corner of the World Trade Center.

The Human Development Index

The Human Development Index (HDI) was developed by the United Nations to provide a more comprehensive measure of a country's development than purely economic measures (such as the gross domestic product GDP). The HDI looks at health, education and living standards to measure the individual performance of countries and to provide a means to compare how development differs between the countries of the world.

You can view global 2019 HDI rankings on Global Data Lab's Human Development Indices interactive map. The map allows you to view the overall HDI score for sub-national regions around the world and individual scores in the health, education and living standards measures which are used to provide the overall score. The map also allows you to view the Gender Development Index which measures gender gaps in life expectancy, education, and living standards in individual countries. 

The Global Data Lab map shows HDI scores at the regional level. You can view the country level HDI scores on Wikipedia's List of countries by Human Development Index. Norway, Ireland and Switzerland (respectively) make up the top three countries in the 2019 HDI rankings. The USA, which tends to lead the world in most rankings of GDP, is 17th on the 2019 HDI list. This is a drop of three places since the 2015 rankings. Of the 189 countries on the list Niger has the worst ranking. The Central African Republic comes second to last. While Chad is the third worst country on the 2019 HDI list.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The 1864 Bird's Eye View of Glasgow

Thirty four years before the invention of the airplane illustrator Thomas Sulman drew a bird's eye view map of Glasgow, depicting the city from a unique perspective somewhere high above the southern neighborhoods of the city. It is believed that Sulman probably used a hot air balloon to create this intricate map, which was originally published in the Illustrated London News on 26th March 1864.

Glasgow Heritage has now released an interactive version of Sulman's bird's eye view of 19th Century Glasgow. Gallus Glasgow allows you to explore Thomas Sulman’s intricate 1864 map in close detail by zooming in on any location in the city. This interactive version of the map includes a number of bonus layers which allow you to discover more about some of the prominent surviving and lost buildings shown on the map and other famous landmarks depicted in Sulman's bird's eye view of Glasgow.

You can learn more about the 19th Century city depicted in Thomas Sulman's map in a series of articles written by the University of Glasgow Library. In the 1864 Bird's Eye View of Glasgow you can discover more about the Glasgow of the 19th Century, including articles on the industry, railway stations and churches depicted on Sulman's map.

Friday, September 10, 2021

The Urbanization of France

Calum Loftus has created an impressive animated map which visualizes the dramatic urbanization of France since the middle of the 19th Century. In France: Population Density Through History Calum uses historical census data to map population density in France in every year that the census has been held from 1876 to 2017. The result is an animated map which dramatically shows the urbanization of France, as a huge percentage of the population moved from a rural way of life to living and working in cities. 

Industrialization came later in France than it had in England. Until 1850 population growth in France was seen mainly in rural areas. However in the second half of the 19th Century the railways and growing industrialization led to a steady growth in urbanization. However even by 1914 40% of the French population still worked in agriculture. Urbanization in France was largely a 20th Century phenomenon. By the end of the 20th Century around 80% of the French population lived in towns and cities. 

Calum's animated historical population density map clearly shows the rapid urbanization of the French population during the 20th Century. As well as this animated map 'France: Population Density Through History' includes a small multiple visualization in which a series of individual population density maps also visualizes this urbanization trend in France over the last 150 years.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

The Sounds of Caracas

Caracas can be a very noisy city. It's streets are full of the sounds of busy traffic, of cars and motorcycles zooming by. The streets are also full of the sounds of the city's inhabitants talking, playing music and going about their everyday business. Listen carefully and you may even hear some sounds of nature, made by dogs, frogs and crowing roosters.

You can experience the various soundscapes of Venezuela's capital for yourself on Valeria Escobar's Caracas Soundscape interactive map. Valeria's map allows you to actually listen to the different sounds which can be heard in the city's different neighborhoods. It even allows you to experience how these soundscapes change and fluctuate during the course of a normal day.

One of the things I really like about Valeria's sound map is the use of colored audio contour lines to visualize the different sounds which can be heard in different parts of the city. If you mouse-over a neighborhood on the map then you can listen to all the sounds indicated by these different colored lines. The map sidebar explains what sounds the different colors signify. You can also use this sounds key to turn on & off the different categories of sound shown on the map. 

A timeline control allows you to listen to the sounds of Caracas during different hours of the day. If you press play on this control then you can listen as the sounds of the city automatically change to give you a taste of the different aural landscapes which can be heard in the city during the course of a day. 

If you want to compare the sounds of Caracas to other major cities around the world then you might like:

If you want even more noise then you can also check out the Sound Maps tag on Maps Mania to discover many more exciting audio mapping projects

Interactive Train Sets

Mapbox with Trains is a very impressive interactive map which allows you to watch a 3D train moving around on top of a map of Oakland, California. This fun interactive virtual train set includes a number of user options which allow you to control the number of carriages on the train and the camera's point of view.

In essence Mapbox with Trains animates a 3D model of a train on top of a Mapbox map, following the Bart train tracks in Oakland. The map is presented as an Observable Notebook which means you can fork the project and create your own interactive train set for your own town. You could even create a version of Mapbox with Trains so that the train simulates in real-time the actual location of a train on an actual transit network - something like Mini Tokyo 3D.

Mini Tokyo 3D is a live real-time map of Tokyo's public transit system. The map shows the live position of Tokyo's trains in 3D as they move around the city.

Mini Tokyo has two different map views. If you press the eye icon button you can switch between the 'underground' (pictured above) and 'overground' layers. The underground mode highlights the city's subway system with colored subway lines on top of a dark base map. In this mode the overground trains are shown faded out on the map. The overground mode shows all the city's buildings in 3D. In this mode all the subway trains are shown faded out as they move around under the city and all of Tokyo's overground trains are shown in full color.

If you hover over a train on the map you can view details about its number and when it will arrive at its next stop. If you double click on a train you can center the map on the train and the map will track the train as it moves around the city.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

The Average Seasonal Colors of the USA

Earlier this summer Erin Davis published a series of interesting maps showing the average colors of countries around the world based on Sentinel satellite imagery. The Average Colors of the World includes maps of each continent and a map of the world on which each country is colored based on its average satellite color.

In my June post on Erin's Average Colors of the World maps I noted that the colors in the satellite imagery of the Earth would change throughout the year, reflecting how the landscape changes during the seasons. The same thought obviously occurred to Erin has he is now back with another post showing the Average Seasonal Color of the USA

The screenshot above shows the average colors across the USA on the first day of 2020 (as derived from Sentinel 2 satellite imagery). If you visit Erin's post the Average Seasonal Color of the USA you can view 35 other maps showing how the average colors of the USA change over the course of the year. The post also includes a fantastic animated map which shows these colors automatically changing on the map as the seasons change. 

Erin isn't the only person to map the average colors of 2020. In January The Average Earth Map 2020 was released. This interactive satellite map is constructed from imagery captured by NASA satellites over the course of 2020. Each pixel on the map shows the average color of that location over the whole of 2020.

In order to create the map cartocalypse used 365 daily satellite composite images of the Earth. All 365 satellite images (one for every day) were then merged together and the average color of each pixel was determined. The result is a satellite view of the Earth which shows cloud patterns, permafrost and prevailing wind patterns. 

You can read more about how cartocalypse's Average Earth Map was created, including how the satellite images were downloaded, processed and analyzed on his Satellite Composite of Earth 2020 blog post. This isn't the first time that cartocalypse has created an average Earth map. You might also enjoy his interactive Average Earth from Space 2018 map. 

The Battle of Medusa Map

Operation Medusa was one of the most significant land battles ever fought by NATO. The 2006 battle was a Canadian-led offensive during the war in Afghanistan (which has very recently ended with the withdrawal of  American-led troops). The Battle of Medusa led to NATO establishing government control over the area of Kandahar Province west of Kandahar city.Although the operation was a success it also resulted in the deaths of 12 Canadian soldiers and 14 British military personnel.

The Operation Medusa interactive map includes a number of map layers. The Objectives layer highlights on the map a number of villages in the Arghandab River valley which were a Taliban stronghold. The IED Heat Map layer and the IED Strikes and Finds layer highlight on the map the improvised explosive devices encountered by the Canadian troops during the battle. 

The Operation Medusa interactive map also includes a map overlay which appears to be satellite map which (judging by the numbered labels and colored annotations) appears to have been used to plan the battle operations. I can't be sure if this satellite map was actually part of NATO's resources for the battle. This is because the Operation Medusa map is critically missing an 'About' section. The result of this omission is that the Operation Medusa map desperately needs a written introduction to the battle, an explanation of how it progressed and an overview of the outcome of the battle.

Interactive military maps don't appear too often on Maps Mania. However I did post a very good map of the The Battle of Hong Kong 1941 last week. This map recounts the story of the Japanese capture of Hong Kong in the Second World War. The timeline control and text in this map provide a great example of how the context of a complex battle can be explained on an interactive map. 

You can view more military related maps using the military label on Maps Mania.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Talking About Climate Change

Hopefully most people would agree that there has been too much talk about climate change and far too little action to stop it.More talking is planned for November, when world leaders will meet for the United Nations COP26 conference.

Despite the environmental disasters currently taking place a round the world I am not very hopeful that our politicians are suddenly going to acknowledge that the time for facing the difficult challenges ahead has arrived. So, although the time for talking should have passed decades ago, we cannot stop talking. We have to keep pushing the conversation about climate change until our politicians finally listen.

So we need to talk about climate change. You can join in the conversation about climate change by taking part in Talk Climate Change's 26,000 Climate Conversations. The goal of this campaign is to generate 26,000 conversations about climate change around the globe by 1 November 2021. To take part you just need to hold a conversation with somebody (it can be anybody you want) about anything at all related to climate change. 

If you want you can submit the details of your conversation to the 26,000 Climate Conversations interactive map.This map features information about climate change conversations which have taken place around the world. If you want inspiration for your own climate change conversations then you can browse this map for topic ideas and conversation starters. Conversations can also be submitted to the map in any language and (if you want) can be submitted anonymously.

Singapore 2030

Land is scarce on the small island city-state of Singapore. To ensure that this limited resource is exploited to the full the authorities have developed meticulous long-term development plans. These plans include a number of major infrastructure projects designed to boost the economy, provide housing and protect the environment.

The Straits Times has released a very impressive scrollytelling map which shows you how the city-state plans to develop over the next decade.As you scroll through Singapore 2030 an interactive 3D map flies over the island of Singapore taking you on a tour of some of the country's planned developments. A combination of this 3D map and artists' impressions of the planned projects provide the reader with a detailed view of how the developments will change the landscape of Singapore. 


The seamless 3D panning map in Singapore 2030 is another wonderful achievement by the graphics team at the Straits Times. Over the last few years this team has created some awesome spatial visualizations. 

One of my favorites of their previous work is 'Singapore Underwater'. Almost 20% of Singapore is reclaimed land. The country is therefore very worried about the likely effects of rising sea levels. In order to illustrate the possible impact of sea level rise back in 2018 the Straits Times released a virtual reality visualization called Singapore Underwater.

Singapore Underwater users virtual reality to show how Singapore might look in the future if global warming leads to rising sea levels. Singapore Underwater explains the reasons why sea levels are rising around the world. The visualization also looks at how Singapore might try to mitigate against rising seas and the possible impact of land loss and saltwater contamination of the country's farmland & reservoirs.  

The Straits Times' impressive 3d mapping skills were also evident in their investigation into Who Owns Orchard Road. In 2017 the paper carried out an investigation into who owns the buildings on Singapore's most famous shopping street. Who Owns Orchard Road? explores the diverse ownership of individual buildings on the city's main retail street. The article is illustrated with an impressive 3D mapped visualization of the street.

Monday, September 06, 2021

The Human Slavery Map

It is estimated that around 40.3 million people around the world are currently living in slavery. The Freedom Map uses data from the 2018 Global Slavery Index to map the prevalence of slavery in countries around the world.

Individual countries on this Global Slavery Map are colored to show the modern levels of slavery. The map also contains a number of map markers which link to 'Field Reports' on specific examples of slavery in countries around the globe. The map sidebar is also very informative as it lists global products which are often produced using the forced labor of slaves. This sidebar also provides an overview of the products manufactured in individual countries which often involve slavery.

The Global Slavery Index rankings for individual countries can also be viewed on the Global Slavery Index's own interactive map. This map contains three main views. The 'Prevalence' view colors countries on the estimated number of people living in slavery. The 'Vulnerability' view shows how vulnerable a country's population is to slavery, and the 'Government Response Rating' ranks individual countries based on the steps they are taking to eradicate slavery. 

If you select a country on this map you can view more detailed information, such as the number of people believed to be living in slavery, the proportion of the population in slavery, and a ranking for the individual government's response to modern slavery.

The Life Expectancy Map

People in Mississippi on average die six years younger than people in California. Mississippi has the worst average life expectancy of any state. At birth a Mississippian can expect to live on average 74.9 years. The average Californian can expect 81.3 years on Earth.

The CDC's Life Expectancy at Birth interactive map shows you how long (on average) people in your neighborhood will live. The map reveals that there can be huge differences in life expectancy even between neighborhoods in the same city. 

I can think of a couple of reasons why some neighborhoods might have significantly lower life expectancy than others. For example you could compare life expectancy in your city with CNN's dot map of Race and Ethnicity Across the US. The two maps on this post show roughly the same area of Upper East Side and Harlem in New York City. The blue color on the top map shows areas with the highest life expectancy. Blue on the bottom map equals white people. Red on the top map equals lower life expectancy. Red on the bottom map equates to the Black and Hispanic population.

Perhaps not surprisingly you can also find similar correlations between levels of income and life expectancy in many U.S. cities. You can compare for yourself the CDC's Life Expectancy map with Esri's Predominant Income Range by Households map, which shows how much money people are earning in each census tract in the United States.

Life expectancy in the UK and the USA is falling, bucking a century long trend of people living longer lives. You can read more about falling life expectancy on this Why Are We  Dying Younger post.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Segregated Vaccination Rates

At the beginning of the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out in Australia the government set a target of inoculating the whole country by October. So far (at the beginning of September) just over 35% of the population are fully vaccinated. Among First Nation Australians the rate is even lower, with just over 21% fully vaccinated.

Last week the Australian government released data showing the percentage of the whole population and the population of Indigenous Australians who have been vaccinated in each Statistical Area 4 region. ABC News has used this data to map out the gap in the vaccination rates across the country. The interactive map in Why is the Indigenous COVID-19 vaccination rate 20 per cent lower than the national average? shows that the rate of vaccination of Indigenous Australians is lower in every single region, compared to the vaccination  rate of the whole population.In most regions they are significantly lower.

The Guardian has also been exploring the difference in vaccination rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. In Indigenous communities being left behind in NSW vaccine rollout the newspaper has created a map showing this vaccination rate difference across New South Wales. The Guardian's article also lists the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous vaccination rates in every NSW health district. In four of these health districts the vaccination rate for non-Indigenous people is over twice the rate of Indigenous people. In none of the districts are Indigenous Australians being vaccinated at the same rate as non-Indigenous Australians.

In March the Australian government claimed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were a priority group for Covid-19 vaccinations.

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Covid Trends in America

Esri's Which Way Are Things Going interactive map visualizes the week on week trend in Covid-19 cases at the county level. The map can show you at a glance whether the number of cases in your area has risen or fallen in the last week.The map can therefore help you to quickly assess whether things are getting better of worse in your county.

The color and direction of the arrow symbols on the map indicate whether Covid-19 cases have fallen or risen. Purple colored arrows pointing up indicate that cases have risen. Orange arrows pointing down show that cases have gone down in the last week. The size of the arrows show the rate of the increase or decrease in cases. If an arrow points straight up or straight down then it shows that cases have been rising or falling for nearly eight weeks in a row.

Using arrow symbols can be a very effective way to show the direction of travel for trends on a map. For example the New York Times used colored arrows after last year's presidential election to visualize the shift in the numbers voting for the Republican or Democratic candidate in an electoral district since the previous election in 2016. The arrows in the Shift from 2016 map view in Presidential Election Results 2020 show whether electoral districts have moved left or right politically since 2016.

Friday, September 03, 2021

New Orleans' Blackout from Space

NASA has published satellite imagery which shows a nighttime view of New Orleans on August 31st, after Hurricane Ida hit the city. In Satellite Observes Power Outages in New Orleans an interactive map allows you to swipe between two nighttime satellite views of New Orleans, one dated August 9th and one dated August 1st. The comparison of the two images clearly shows where power outages were experienced after Hurricane Ida.

The nighttime satellite imagery used shows light distribution at a 30m resolution. The August 9th imagery allows you to see how New Orleans is usually lit-up at night when observed from space. The post-Ida image clearly shows where electric power blackouts (from downed lines and damaged transmission towers) have effected the city. 

Back-up generators appear to have been successfully deployed at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and in the city's Business District. The brightly lit location across the river from the airport appears to be the Cornerstone Chemical plant. In the east the ExxonMobile and PBF Chalmette oil refineries also seem to have successfully deployed back-up gemerators.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

All of US

Ben Schmidt's All of US is an interactive dot map which allows you to compare population data from 2020 and 2010 US censuses.However this 'dot' map actually doesn't use colored dots but represents data in the United States as Wee People

Last month the Census Bureau released the first detailed data from the 2020 U.S. census. In 2020 Census Statistics - Local Population Changes and Nation’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity the Census Bureau published data from last year's census on population changes and on the racial and ethnic demographics of the United States. The All of US map uses this data to show the population density and racial mix of every neighborhood in the country.

This isn't the first interactive dot map of the 2020 census. CNN's Race and ethnicity across the nation uses colored dots to represent 150 people from a particular race or ethnic group living in each census tract area.'All of US' though has a few extra features which improves on CNN's map. For a start All of US allows you to compare how the population density and racial mix of neighborhoods has changed in the last decade, since the 2010 census. If you switch between the 2010 and 2020 census data then you should be able to see how the racial mix and populations densities have changed at the neighborhood level.

All of US also includes a number of interesting base map options. For example you can view the 2020 census data overlaid on top of 1930's redlining maps. This allows you to see which racial groups now mostly live in neighborhoods which were deemed at risk for lending purposes by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation in the 1930's.

Poles of Inaccessibility

A Pole of Inaccessibility is the location in a country which is furthest from the sea. A Pole of Inaccessibility can be defined as being the center point of the largest circle that can be drawn within a country without encountering a coastline. 

You can discover the furthest point from the coastline in every single country on Karim Douïeb's Observable notebook the Pole of Inaccessibility of Every Country. On this interactive map the largest possible circle (without encountering a coastline) has been drawn on every country. The Pole of Inaccessibility for each country is at the exact center of its circle. If you click on country's circle on the map then Google Maps will open showing the actual location of that country's Pole of Inaccessibility. 

Atlas Obscura has also worked out a number of Poles of Inaccessibility. Their collection of points on the Earth which are hard to access include the Arctic Pole of Inaccessibility (the northernmost point that is furthest from land), the Eurasian Point of Inaccessibility (the point on the Eurasian continent that is furthest from the ocean) and the North American Pole of Inaccessibility (the spot in North America furthest from the coast).

A Pole of Inaccessibility doesn't actually have to be the furthest point from the sea. You can use other entities from which to measure the furthest distance from. For example seas & oceans can have Poles of Inaccessibility which are calculated as being the furthest points from land.Another way to work out Poles of Inaccessibility might be to find the locations furthest away from a road.

Places of Inaccessibility is an interactive map which shows Germany's most inaccessible locations for car drivers. The map visualizes the points in Germany which are the furthest away from a road. Großer Knechtsand is Germany's Pole of Inaccessibility being 13.59 km from the nearest road. Part of the reason it is so far from a road is because it is on a road free island. A point in a military training area in Bergen is the most inaccessible place that is neither in the water, on an island or in the mountains.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Wet & Dry America

Around half of the United States is currently experiencing drought conditions. Parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska are facing extreme drought conditions. This drought isn't exactly unexpected. In recent years the western half of the United States has seen ever decreasing levels of precipitation leading to increasing incidence of drought. Not something that has been troubling the eastern US.

You can explore the current and historical drought conditions on Esri's interactive Drought Aware map. Esri's Drought Aware map allows you to view the latest drought conditions across the United States and also view historical drought records. The map uses data from NOAA's Drought Monitor to show all the areas of the United States currently experiencing drought conditions and the severity of those drought conditions. As you can see from the screenshot above the map currently shows drought conditions in much of the west.


The reason why the western half of the United States has been experiencing increasing levels of drought in recent years is due to global heating and falling levels of precipitation. In the western half of the country climate change has led to less rain. 

Interestingly global heating has led to opposing conditions in the eastern half of the United States, which in recent years has been seeing increasing levels of precipitation. You can explore this divide in more details in the New York Times' These Maps Tell the Story of Two Americas: One Parched, One Soaked. The screenshot above shows the change in annual precipitation in the last 30 years, when compared to the 20th Century average.

As you can see from the NYT's map the western half of the United States is becoming drier at the same time that the eastern half of the country is becoming wetter. According to the Times this conforms to climate change predictions which broadly suggest that as the planet becomes warmer historically wet places will get wetter and drier places will get drier.

The Battle of Hong Kong

On the very same morning that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor they also attacked the British Crown colony of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong garrison (consisting of British, Indian and Canadian units, the Auxiliary Defence Units and Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps) managed to hold out for a little over two weeks. However on Christmas Day 1941 the colony finally surrendered to the Japanese.

The Battle of Hong Kong 1941 is a new interactive map which recounts the spatial history of the Japanese capture of Hong Kong in the Second World War. The map is the work of the History Department at the Hong Kong Baptist University. The map itself provides both a spatial and temporal account of the Battle of Hong Kong. It includes a timeline which contains 51 different time-steps. This timeline allows you to follow the progress of the battle over eighteen days, showing the changing positions of platoon/squad/individual artillery pieces over the course of the Japanese attack.

The map also includes a 'Faces of War' layer. This map layer provides a number of short biographies on some of the key participants in the Battle of Hong Kong. As a result of the battle over a thousand Allied lives were lost and over a thousand were reported missing. It is believed that casualties on the Japanese side were at least as high. 

After the Battle the Japanese remained in Hong Kong for three and half years. During that occupation it is estimated that at leats 10,000 Hong Kong civilians were executed. Resistance groups of Cantonese and Han Chinese continued fighting until the end of the Japanaese occupation. On August 15th, 1945, Japan officially surrendered and on the 30th August the British army returned to Hong Kong. The Japanese occupation had lasted for three years and eight months.