Saturday, October 01, 2022

Exploring the Lakes of Mars

Freie Universität Berlin's Jezero Crater interactive map allows you to take a virtual tour of the landing site on Mars of the 2020 Perseverance rover. This tour includes a synthesized 360 degree panorama of the crater as it might have once looked, when water still existed on Mars. 

The interactive Jazero Crater map shows the track of Perseverance, revealing the parts of the Jezero crater which have already been explored by the Mars rover. The map also includes a number of synthetic and real interactive 'Street View' panoramas. The real 360 degree panoramas use imagery captured by the Mars rover to show the view from inside the Jezero crater. The synthetic panoramas have been rendered from orbital image data of Mars. 

The synthetic panoramas include one, labeled Paleo Lake View, which shows the crater filled with water. This recreation of how the crater might have looked when water still existed on Mars is based on 'putative paleolake-shorelines and the upper delta-top boundary'. The Paleo Lake View panorama and all the other panoramas  include  Martian soundtrack. This soundtrack was created using data from the air pressure sensor on NASA's InSight lander, to give an impression of the sound of wind blowing through the Jezero crater.


You can follow the Perseverance rover's continuing mission on the Mars 2020 Mission Tracker. The Mars 2020 Mission Tracker is a 3D interactive map of Mars, developed by the Spatial Studies Lab at Rice University, which is being used to track the Perseverance Rover on Mars. Using this 3D map you can follow the progress of the Perseverance Rover on Mars and view all the latest images captured by the rover and the Perseverance drone. 

NASA's 2020 Mars mission is examining the geology of Mars looking for the biosignatures of past microbial life on the red planet. In order to carry out this mission the Perseverance Rover is equipped with the Ingenuity helicopter drone. The Ingenuity drone is being used to help scout for points of interest for the Perseverance rover to investigate and study during its exploration of Mars.

The date control at the top of the Mars 2020 Mission map allows you to view the movements of the Perseverance Rover and the Ingenuity drone over the course of the mission's duration. If you select a date on this control the markers on the 3D map of Mars will show where Perseverance and Ingenuity were located on that day. When you select a day from the date control the image gallery also updates to display the images captured by the drone and rover on the selected day.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Liberating Ukraine

The Financial Times has taken a close look at the September counter-offensive which resulted in the reclamation of Russian held land in the north-east of Ukraine by the Ukrainian army. In The 90km journey that changed the course of the war the FT uses maps, photos and video to illustrate and explain how Ukraine managed to take back over 6000km of land and forced the Russian army to retreat.

A Mapbox GL story-map is used by the FT to map the territory regained by Ukraine during the early weeks of September. As you scroll through this map you can see where and how the Russian army was forced to cede land as the month progressed. The map shows how before the counter-offensive began long range missiles were used to destroy Russian stores and arm depots and disrupt supply lines by destroying key bridges. At the same time Ukraine managed to fool Russia into believing that they were actually launching an attack in the south of the country. Russia responded by redeploying large numbers from the north-east to Kherson in the south.

As you continue scrolling through the map Ukraine's significant gains are shown on the map as the Ukraine held territory (shown in yellow on the map) grows and the Russian held territory (shown in red) retreats. In less than a week the Ukrainian army was able to recapture more than 6000km. It has been the most successful military manoeuvre of the entire war so far and hopefully marks a significant stage in Russia's eventual defeat. 

In the second half of the FT report the paper shows the progress made by one regiment, the 92nd Mechanised Brigade. Using a Mapbox GL satellite map the FT shows the regiment's rapid advance from 6th September until the 10th September. In just 6 days the regiment was able to advance nearly 90km.

In response to this rout by the Ukrainian army Putin has declared a 'partial mobilization' and continues to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. The mobilization appears to be a very unpopular move among Russians and seems to have severely weakened Putin's own position at home.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Using CSS Filters for Custom Map Designs

Sketchy Map is a new interactive map which (I think) uses a combination of Mapbox GL's custom styling and CSS filter effects to create an artistic hand-drawn 'sketch' effect. Using Sketchy Map you can zoom in on any location in the world (or use the search box) to view the location in this sketchy map style.

Sketchy Map includes a customizable heading overlay (in the screenshot above the heading reads '富士山' (Mount Fuji)). If you click on this heading in Sketchy Map you can edit the text to say anything you want.

You can view more CSS filter effects applied to an interactive map on Blurd. On this map CSS filter effects are applied to blur and unblur the map when you pan and zoom around the world. 

I don't know for certain but I suspect that both Sketchy Map and Blurd were inspired by a recent Stamen blog post on applying CSS filter effects to interactive maps. In More Ways to Make Your Map Go Dark Mode Stamen explains how CSS filters can be applied to a map canvas to invert a map's colors.

You can view the outcome of Stamen's CSS filter experiments on their Invertorator interactive map. On this map CSS filters have been applied to the map canvas to invert every color on the map.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hurricane Ian Tracking Maps

Hurricane Ian is expected to reach Florida later today. At the time of writing the hurricane is a category four storm and is expected to cause major damage when it makes landfall, probably in the Tampa Bay region later today.

NOAA's National Hurricane Center has produced a number of maps showing the forecast track of Hurricane Ian, wind speed probabilities, storm surge warnings and rainfall potential. The Warnings map includes a layer which provides information on the most likely arrival times of tropical storm winds along the hurricane's forecast path.

Felt's Hurrincane Ian Resources interactive map includes a forecast path, showing the times and dates the hurricane is expected to arrive. It also includes a layer which displays Florida evacuation routes and provides links to Florida's latest evacuation orders. Other links are provided for the NOAA website and the latest Tweets from the National Hurricane Center.

NBC has created a live streaming YouTube channel Tracking Hurricane Ian which is switching between a map using the latest satellite images to track the storms progress and a map showing the storm's forecast path with estimated times of arrival along the mapped path. You can also follow the storm in near real-time using the Earth interactive map. This animated wind map updates every three hours to show the latest weather forecasts around the world.

Journey to the Moon in 3D

NASA's Artemis program will build a Lunar Gateway space station which can then be used to establish a permanent home base on the Moon and to launch human missions to Mars. Unfortunately the launch date for Artemis 1 has been postponed on a number of occasions due to engineering problems and adverse weather conditions (with the latest planned launch yesterday postponed because of Hurricane Ian). 

You can learn more about the Artemis program on ZDF's Mission Artemis. ZDF's interactive introduction to the Artemis mission includes 3D models of the Earth, the Moon, Mars and even the Gateway Space Station.

The Lunar Gatway Station will be the first space station in orbit around the moon. It will serve as a communication hub, science laboratory, and habitation module for astronauts. The station will also be used as the staging point for human missions to the Moon and hopefully in the future as a staging point for NASA's Deep Space Transport manned missions to Mars.
an Orion transport module docking with the Lunar Gateway Station

ZDF's 3D introduction to the Artemis program includes an animated 3D recreation of an Orion transport module docking with the Lunar Gateway Station. It also shows the location of the Shakleton Crater at the Moon's South Pole, where a future Moon base station could be built. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How Well Do You Know Your Boundaries?

You can find out how well you know the extent of your neighborhood by playing Axios' new interactive boundary drawing game. In Draw Your Neighborhood you are asked to draw an outline on a map to show where you think your neighborhood boundary lies. Once you have drawn the boundaries for a few of your city's neighborhoods you can compare how well your local knowledge compared to other Axios readers. 

There are twenty U.S. cities to play in Draw Your Neighborhood, including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas and Chicago. After you select a city you are then asked to draw on an interactive map the boundaries of five city neighborhoods. When you have drawn all five you can view a map showing the average boundary for each neighborhood (as drawn by other players) and are given a percentage score for each neighorhood indicating how different your guess was from the average. 

If your neighborhood isn't one of the twenty cities featured in Draw Your Neighborhood don't worry. You can make your own interactive Draw Your Neighbohood map by cloning my Where is Texas map. To make your own map simply click on the fish icon and select 'Remix on Glitch'. You can then change the instructions to ask people to draw any neighborhood in the world. Every time someone draws on your map the boundary will be added (in GeoJSON format) to the map side panel. 

Annotating Vintage Maps

At the weekend I released an annotated translated version of the Borgia Mappa Mundi, a German map of the world which was made around the middle of the 15th Century. This annotated version of the map was very easy to make using my Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON web application.

Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON allows you to view and annotate IIIF images in a Leaflet.js interactive map. 

With Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON you can: 

  1. View IIIF images inside a Leaflet map 
  2. Use the provided drawing tools to then annotate the image 
  3. Save your annotations as a GeoJSON file 
  4. Load and view GeoJSON data on top of any IIIF image 

Demo - this will open a blank copy of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON. 

If you want to view an image with Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON you need to append the URL of a IIIF manifest to the URL of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON. For example, 

https://leaflet-iiif-geojson.glitch.me/?manifest=https://media.getty.edu/iiif/manifest/85f146bd-257f-4ecf-bd2c-50beb045fda5 

 will open The Drawing Lesson by Jan Steen inside Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

You can view more examples of Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON in action on its GitHub page. The Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON GitHub repository also includes a number of demo geojson files which you can dowload and view on Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

IIIF is a standardized method of describing and delivering images over the web. It is a standard for creating interactive image tiles for images of documents, manuscripts, photographs and paintings. Many major art galleries, museums and universities around the world are adopting the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). This means that there are thousands of porential sources for IIIF images which you can view in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON.

One major source for vintage maps to view in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON is the David Rumsey Map Collection. In the screenshot above you can see how to retrieve the IIIF manifest image for a map in the David Rumsey Map Collection by selecting Share > IIIF Manifests.

Once you have copied the IIIF manifest address of a map on the David Rumsey website you can simply append it to the Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON URL. For example,

https://leaflet-iiif-geojson.glitch.me/?manifest=https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/iiif/m/RUMSEY~8~1~341290~90109436/manifest 

will open a geological survey map of the United States. Now you can draw and annotate the map in Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON and save the results as a GeoJSON file.

Monday, September 26, 2022

What Four Words

The global addressing system What3Words has been receiving a lot of free publicity, thanks to its use by the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The department's tracking website for the 'Queue' (the line of people queuing to visit the Queen's coffin), used W3W in order to provide an updated record of where in London people could join the end of the line. Unfortunately a lot of that publicity was very negative.

If you want an alternative to What3Words you can now use the open sourced pataddress global addressing system. This new addressing system allows you to pinpoint any location on Earth using Only4Words. pataddress comes with its own default word database (the words used to describe a location) but also allows you to build your own database with a built-in word frequency analyser.  - via weeklyOSM

There are of course many alternatives to W3W and pataddress. You can use Google's much ignored Plus Codes or even the obscure and antiquated latitude and longitude system. You could even try the iconic  what3emojis or the profane Four King Maps.

Italian Election Maps

Italy appears to have voted in its first Fascist leader since Benito Mussolini. The main winner in yesterday's national elections has been Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy, a party which traces its roots back to Mussilini's National Fascist Party.

Sunday's election saw an historic low turnout of just 63.91% of the electorate. The Right Alliance (consisting of Brothers of Italy, Forza Italia, League and Us Moderates) will now form the next Italian government, having won a majority of seats in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.

You can explore the Italian election results on The Guardian's Italian Election 2022: Live Official Results. The Guardian's results page includes an interactive map which shows the winning coalition in each electoral seat. You can hover over individual seats on this map to view a breakdown of the votes cast for the 'Right Alliance', 'Left Alliance', 'Five Star', 'Center Alliance' and 'Other'. 

Corriere Della Sera's Election Results 2022 also includes an interactive map which shows the winning coalition in each electoral district. Both The Guardian's and Corriere Della Sera's maps show that the Right Alliance has been the most popular coalition in seats across the whole country. If you click on individual seats on the Corriere Della Sera map you will be taken to a more detailed breakdown of the results in that seat.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

A 15th Century Map of the World

The Borgia Mappa Mundi is a map of the world which was made around the middle of the 15th Century. The map is orientated with south at the top, differing from earlier medieval mappa mundi and earlier T and O maps which tended to be oriented with east at the top (at least three other 15th Century world maps were also orientated with south at the top - the 1448 world map of Andreas Walsperger, the 1459 Fra Mauro world map, and the Zeitz mappa mundi.

The Borgia map, however, does resemble other early western global maps in that it divides the world into three continents - Asia, Africa and Europe (with Asia being roughly the size of Africa and Europe combined). It also resembles other early western maps in that its view of the world is shaped by the Bible, Ptolemy's Geographia and many dubious myths and legends. 

My annotated Borgia Mappa Mundi is an interactive version of this 15th Century map of the world on which the original German placename labels have been translated into English. This translated version of the map really allows you to explore the world as seen by a 15th Century European. Search hard and you can find the location of Paradise (east of India), the mountains of the moon, and the provinces of Gog and Magog. While exploring the world make sure you also keep a wary eye out for the huge men with horns four feet long (in India), the Ethiopian Saracens with their faces of dogs and the Bavarian stags which vomit boiling water.

The Borgia map used in my annotated map belongs to the David Rumsey Map Collection. The translations come from The Borgia/ Velletri World Map DATE: 1410 - 1458 (PDF) and A Fifteenth Century Map of the World (PDF).

If you like my annotated Borgia map then you might also like Historia Cartarum's Annotated Claudius Map. This provides an interactive annotated map of Matthew Paris's medieval map of Britain, revealing the modern British placenames for all the locations depicted on the original 13th Century map.

Friday, September 23, 2022

The RAF Map of Post-War London

Layers of London is an interactive map which gives you access to lots of historic maps and historical information about the capital city. This morning I've being exploring the Layers of London RAF Aerial Collection (1945-1949).

After World War II the Royal Air Force methodically flew over the whole of Britain to photograph the country from the air. This resulted in 24,000 photographs of London. This aerial imagery provides a stunning visual record of London just after World War II. Bomb damage from the Blitz is clearly visible in lots of the imagery. 

In the screenshot of West Ham above you can clearly see where the bombs fell. The rows of Victorian era terraced housing are interrupted by temporary white prefab buildings (at the center of the image). This is where houses were bombed out during the war. If you walk this neighborhood today you can still easily see where the bombs fell. If any building was clearly built after World War II then you can be sure it was built on the location of a bombed out Victorian era building. 


You can get an even better idea of where German bombs fell on Layers of London's Bomb Damage Map. On this map individual buildings are colored to show the extent of any bomb damage. Buildings colored black on the map were totally destroyed by a bomb. Dark red buildings were 'Seriously Damaged'. Buildings colored green were cleared (presumably as a result of bomb damage).

Thursday, September 22, 2022

The United States of Extinction

The Eastern Elk once ranged across the northern and eastern United States. In the 15th Century the Eastern Elk inhabited the Eastern Woodlands region, as far west as the Mississippi River, in huge numbers. Then the Europeans colonized the United States. By the end of the 19th Century, due to over hunting and the destruction of their natural habitat, the Eastern Elk no longer existed.

The Eastern Elk is of course only one of a number of indigenous species which have been driven to extinction in the United States. The United States of Extinction is an interactive map which highlights just one species in each state which no longer exists. Select a state on this map and you can learn more about one indigenous species of plant, fish, animal or bird which is now extinct.

The United States of Extinction map was created by the Center for Biological Diversity, a charity dedicated to saving species on the brink of extinction.

Of course whole species of animals are not only threatened with extinction in the United States. What is Missing? is a global map and timeline of animal species around the world that have either become or are in danger of becoming extinct. What is Missing? includes both a global map and a timeline view of these animal species. In both the map and timeline view you can select any of the individual markers to learn more about the individual endangered or extinct animal species.

What is Missing? includes a number of videos and stories providing information about some of the planet's most endangered species. It also includes information about actions that you can take as an individual to help protect endangered animals, prevent habitat loss and reduce emissions.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources's Red List of Threatened Species is a comprehensive database of animal and plant species which are at risk of extinction around the world. 

The IUCN Red List website allows you to search for specific animals or plants and view an interactive map showing where the species still exists in the wild and any protected areas provided for the species. You can use the IUCN Red List search tool to view interactive maps showing the range of any threatened species. Using this tool you can search for a species using either its common or scientific name.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Number of Cars in Berlin

How Many Cars is an interactive map which shows the number of cars in Berlin in April 2019. On the map you can see every single moving car in the city (highlighted in pink) and every parked car (colored blue).

Last year more than 40 volunteers used a custom made map tagging tool to identify all the cars on an aerial image of Berlin. The composite aerial image was captured on the 1st and 6th of April 2019. How Many Cars shows the result of this analysis. At the time of writing the tagging of cars in most of the city center is complete. 

You can access the data itself on the Car Tagging Data page on GitHub.  This repository also includes a number of suggestions for how the data might be used, e.g. for analyzing how much space cars take up, for analyzing informal parking (the number of cars not parked in official parking zones), or the number of parking spaces without parked cars.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

CSI Suspect Mapping

Feasible Route Mapping is an interactive map that can be used to find out all the possible routes that could be taken from one location to another. The map was designed to be used during criminal investigations to determine all the locations a suspect could have traveled to in a specific time. The map can therefore help investigators to quickly evaluate a suspect's possible movements in and around a crime. 

Enter a starting point and a destination into Feasible Route Mapping and it can calculate the areas that a suspect could have reached within a set time frame, taking into account the suspect's mode of transport. An isocrone map is then displayed which shows the reachable areas. This isochrone layer includes time interval steps which indicate the length of time it would have taken to reach each point in the possible travel areas. 

The map uses the Valhalla open-source routing engine to calculate possible routes and the isochrone layer. The map was created by Mario Širić as part of his master's thesis. You can learn more about the application and view its code on the project's GitHub page.

You can find more examples of visualizing travel time under the Maps Mania isochrone tag.

Monday, September 19, 2022

If the Romans did Data Visualization

If you've ever wondered how the ancient Romans might have visualized population density then you might like Gridviz - Mosaic Style. Gridviz - Mosaic Style is an interactive map which visualizes European population data in the style of a Roman mosaic. 

For clarity I must point out that this interactive map does not show population density in Europe as it was during the Roman Empire. This is actually a map of the current population density of Europe visualized in the style of a Roman mosaic floor - using data from the European Commission. 

On this map individual tiles are colored to show the number of people living in that area. As you zoom out on the map the tiles represent ever larger equal areas of Europe. Gridvis - Mosaic Style is an interesting way to visualize population density in Europe. I also can't help thinking that the map could be of great use to any map fanatics who are thinking of redecorating their bathrooms. 

You can view a more traditional map of European population density on the EU Population 2011 by 1km Grid interactive map. On this map Dan Cookson has visualized the population of the European Union at the 1km square level. 

The EU Population 2011 by 1km Grid visualizes the number of people living in each square kilometer of the whole EU. You can hover over individual 1km squares on the map to view the total number of people living in that square. If you zoom in on individual cities the map reveals the most densely populated areas and also the outlying satellite commuting towns and suburbs.

You might also be interested in this 3D Global Human Settlement visualization of European population density. This map provides a 3D view of Europe's most densely populated areas as population mountains. 

If you want to view population density across the whole world then I recommend the SEDAC Population Estimator (GPWv4). This interactive map uses NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) data to show where the world's population lives. The SEDAC Population Estimator map includes a tool to draw an area on the map to see an estimate of the population that lives there. 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Documenting Russian Aggression in Ukraine

Over the last couple of weeks the Ukrainian army has made some incredible advances against the Russian occupying forces, retaking thousands of square miles in the east of the country. Video clips of joyous local citizens welcoming the liberating soldiers have been shared around the world. 360war wants to ensure that images of the damage caused by the occupying Russian army are also seen by people around the world.

360war is documenting the destruction of Ukrainian towns and villages, showing the aftermath of Russian air strikes and artillery fire on the infrastructure and buildings of Ukraine. Using panoramic 'Street View' imagery 360war allows you to explore in close detail some of the devasting destruction left behind by the Russian army.

An interactive map shows the location of all the available 'Street View' images (mainly concentrated in Kharkiv, Kyiv and Chernihiv). On this map aerial panoramic images are indicated using a drone shaped marker, while ground based panoramic images are shown with black dots. Many of the interactive panoramas include a 'learn more' link which provide more information on the location depicted and the damage caused by the invading Russian army.

The Department of Tourism of the Kyiv Oblast State Administration is also determined to record and document the destruction being caused in their region. In order that no-one is ever able to forgot the crimes committed in the Kyiv region they have established a Virtual Museum of War Memory.

The main exhibit in the Virtual Museum of War Memory is a number of custom made Street View panoramas. These 360 degree panoramic images, taken at different locations in the Kyiv Oblast, allow you to take a virtual walk through some of the horrific destruction inflicted by the invading forces.

The Street View images for each of these virtual tours have also been added to Google Maps. This means that while exploring one of the museum's virtual tours you can click on the 'View on Google Maps' link to reveal the exact location on Google Maps. The 'i' information icon in the top right hand corner of the Street View image also reveals the name of the town where the panorama was taken.

You can also view some of the terrible destruction inflicted by the invading Russian army through the incredible 3D models created by Hidenori Watanave on his Satellite Images of Ukraine and 3D Data & 360 Panoramas Map of Ukraine.

These maps use data from images and videos captured in Ukraine to recreate incredible 3D models of some of the devastation caused by the Russian army. 3D photogrammetric models have been created of buildings and vehicles which have been destroyed during the war using drone captured imagery and photos taken on the ground. The result is two shocking interactive 3D maps which allow you to view some of the devastating destruction in Ukraine from an almost first person perspective.

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Bird Migration Explorer

American bird species are beginning to or have already begun their Fall migrations. This year you can learn more about the migratory journeys of over 450 different species of birds on Audubon's new Bird Migration Explorer. 

The Bird Migration Explorer is a new interactive map that visualizes the migratory patterns of 458 bird species that breed in the United States and Canada. Using the map you can explore the journeys of individual bird species and discover when different species of birds are likely to migrate through your town or city. 

The Bird Migration Explorer allows you to view animated maps showing the full migration of all 458 species of birds. Enter a location into the interactive map and you can also discover which bird species migrate to or through that location and what time of year that they are most likely to be seen.


The Bird Migration Explorer uses data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird Status models and from other data sources. eBird Status and Trends collects and documents data on bird distribution, abundance, habitat use, and trends. It has detailed information on more than 1,000 bird species around the world. 

In July eBird updated its own Bird Status maps so that they can also be used to view the migratory journeys of individual bird species. Select a species of bird on the eBird Status and Trends webpage and you can view an interactive map which shows the species' 'Abundance', 'Range' and 'Habitat'. If you select the 'Weekly' option you can actually watch an animated map showing the species' relative abundance for every week of the year, revealing that individual species' annual migratory patterns.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Classic Map Arcade

Driving Simulator on Google Maps

Out Run was one of the great arcade driving games of the 1980's. Now we can't offer you an online version of Out Run but we can point you towards the fantastic Driving Simulator on Google Maps.

This driving simulator allows you to drive a car (or bus) around on top of a Google Map. We have to warn you that Driving Simulator on Google Maps is a fairly simplistic driving game. The game does not have any crash detection physics. You can therefore drive through buildings and on top of rivers and oceans. 

I find the fun of this driving simulator comes from desperately trying to stick to the roads and in driving around the maps of famous cities (especially in the satellite mode).

Map Breakout

The classic Breakout arcade game, first released in 1976, is probably one of the most addictive computer games ever created. In fact all that was missing from the original Breakout game was a map. That has now been rectified with the release of Map Breakout. 

The purpose of the original Breakout game was to destroy rows of colored bricks by deflecting a ball with a player controlled paddle. In Map Breakout the rows of colored bricks have been replaced with a map of the world. Your objective in the game is to keep the ball in play using your paddle and knock out as many countries as you can. Use the 'a' and 'd' keys on your keyboard to move the paddle left and right. I can't find a 'start' button so I've just been refreshing the page to start a new game.

OSM Map Asteroids


Readers of a certain age may remember the Atari video game Asteroids. Asteroids was one of the most successfully computer games of the 1980's, the golden age of the arcade. The object of Asteroids was to control a spaceship while avoiding and destroying asteroids. If (and inevitably when) an asteroid managed to hit your ship you lost a life. 

Asteroids is of course a classic game which deserves a permanent place in the arcade Hall of Fame. However how much better would Asteroids be if you could shoot maps rather than asteroids? Well now you can find out with OSM Map Asteroids.

Geo Guns

Geo Guns is an impressive tank fighting game that takes full advantage of Google Maps' 45°(Bird's Eye) satellite view. 

With Geo Guns you can engage in a tank battle anywhere on Earth. You can choose from a number of pre-set battlefield locations for your tank fight or simply enter a location into the map. After you have selected your location the four tanks in your army are displayed at the bottom of a Google Map. The enemy tanks attack in waves from the top of the screen. 

To defeat the enemy tanks select one of your own tanks from the map and click on the tank that you wish to attack, or click anywhere on the map to move to that location.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The First Summer of the Rest of Your Life

If you thought that this summer was hot then you were right. During the course of this summer over 7,000 daily temperature records were smashed in the United States. You can find out when and where on a new interactive map released by the Washington Post.

The animated map in the Post's Maps show where extreme heat shattered 7,000 records this summer show the locations across the U.S. where daily temperature records were broken from June 1 through September 7. Daily temperature records are broken when the highest ever temperature is recorded at a weather station on a specific calendar date. 

As you can tell from the animated map above the heat came in waves. You can also see that record temperatures were set in locations across the whole of the country. Heat-waves struck at different times in different parts of the country but no parts of the country escaped the record heat entirely. 

I would say that you should get used to this but unfortunately it is going to get hotter. Unfortunately, as a result of global heating, in the future you will be praying for summers with temperatures only this high. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Disastrous Growth of Arctic Wildfires

Temperatures in some parts of the Arctic this year have risen as much as 30C. Because of global heating the Polar Jet Stream is slowing down, which in turn can lead to extended punishing heat waves in the Arctic. Another effect of global heating is an increase in lightning strikes in the Arctic. 

This combination of extreme high temperatures, slower air circulation, and increased lightning strikes means that wildfires are shifting further north and are beginning to increasingly blaze through boreal forest and tundra - releasing huge amounts of greenhouses gases from an area blessed with carbon rich soil. 

In Why Arctic Fires are Releasing More Carbon Than Ever Reuters has mapped out the organic compounds released by wildfires in the Arctic between June 1st and September 15th 2021. Last year Artic wildfires caused the release of over 16 million tonnes of carbon. On average Arctic wildfires release around 15% of the world’s annual carbon emissions from fires. That percentage is now rapidly increasing due to the combination of the growing number of wildfires in the Arctic and the area's carbon rich soil. 

Last year the Arctic accounted for nearly 33% of the total global carbon emissions from fire.

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Queen's Procession Route in London

On Wednesday the Queen's coffin will be carried in procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster. Here the monarch will lie in state until her funeral on Monday 19th. The coffin will be carried by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and will be accompanied by the Royal Family, led by King Charles.

If you want to attend the coffin procession in person then you can view the route on the Queen's Funeral Route Map. This map shows the route of the procession from the Palace, along the Mall, through Horse Guards, down Whitehall and finally to Westminster. The map includes an option to view the whole route animated using Google Street View.

The procession is scheduled to leave Buckingham Palace at 2.22pm. It will arrive at Westminster Hall at around 3pm. The Queen will then lie in state and the public will have the opportunity to pay their respects. The government says that you should expect long queues and that you may have to stand for many hours throughout the night.

Does the UK Really Want a King?

After the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II the United Kingdom now has a new head of state. Charles III became King immediately upon the death of his mother, however the official coronation isn't likely to take place for a number of months.

Obviously there is no election for King Charles III. However it is also probably true that the continued existence of an unelected head of state is dependent to a certain extent on the continued will of the people. Unherd Britain has mapped out support for the Royal Family across the UK. In What each constituency really believes about the Roayl Family you can see the level of support for the Royal Family in every political constituency in England, Scotland and Wales. Overall the map paints a happy picture for Britain's most powerful family with only 10% of the country strongly disagreeing with the continued reign of the Royal Family and only 10% mildly disagreeing.  On the other hand 24% 'strongly agree' to the continuing reign of the Royal Family and 29% mildly agree.

However things are not quite as rosy for the Royal Family as it might appear. As you can see from the image of the Unherd Britain map above support for the Royal Family is least strong in Scotland and parts of Wales. This obviously does not bode well for the future of the United Kingdom. The Scottish National Party continues to call for a referendum on Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom. I suspect that support for independence might be particularly strong among those who believe that an unelected head of state is an undemocratic anachronism. 

The other mild note of warning for the new King is that the Unherd Britain poll of support for the Royal Family was held in 2019. At that time Elizabeth II was Queen. It would be interesting to see a more recent poll, to see if the new King has as much support as his much loved mother. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Animating the Weather

Leaflet.Rain is a plug-in for the Leaflet JavaScript mapping library which allows you to add a rain animation to your interactive maps. 

Thanks to the animated wind overlay developed by earth:: there is now an established tradition of representing weather conditions on interactive maps with animated graphics. Representing wind speeds and wind direction using animated flow lines is probably more useful for the user than an animated rain layer. However the Leaflet.Rain animation certainly has a visual impact and you can adjust the speed and size of the rain drops in each animation to represent the forecast (or current) levels of rain.

Leaflet.Rain includes a number of API options which do allow you to customize the width & length of the animated rain drops. There are also options to adjust the angle, spacing, interval and color of the rain drops in your animations. You can play with these options yourself in the demo of Leaflet.Rain. 

Grigory Golikov, the developer of Leaflet.Rain, has also released a Leaflet plugin which allows you to add an animated snow layer to a Leaflet map. Leaflet.Snow can animate snow flakes, with options to adjust the speed, density, size and color of the flakes. 

If you want to add an animated wind layer to your map then you can use the Windy Leaflet Plug-in. This uses the Windy API to add an animated global wind forecast to a Leaflet map. 

Friday, September 09, 2022

America's New Climate Change Map

The government yesterday launched a new website designed to help Americans face the challenges of extreme weather and other hazards arising from climate change. The new Climate Mapping for Resilence portal provides real-time information on climate related hazards currently effecting the United States and also information which can help will communities, cities and states states plan for the future impacts of global heating and climate change.

The home page of the new U.S. climate mapping portal features a prominent interactive dashboard which maps climate related hazards in real-time. This dashboard provides a count of the current number of wildfires, the number of people in the United States currently experiencing drought, and the number currently affected by flooding alerts. The accompanying map shows the locations of these wildfires, droughts and floods.

As well as providing detailed, location-specific data about climate threats, the Climate Mapping for Resilence portal provides information and tools to help communities prepare and respond to climate emergencies. An Assessment Tool can help communities plan for climate change by providing information at the census tract level about the likely future impacts of heat, drought and flooding. The portal also contains information and links to the federal data, programs, and funding opportunities that are available to support communities in their preparations for future extreme climate events.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Is Havana the World's Least Sexist City ?

Geochicas has been at the forefront of efforts around the world to reveal the under-representation of women in street names. Their interactive map Las Calles de las Mujeres explores the ratio of streets named for men and women in a number of cities in Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, Paraguay, Peru, Italy and Uruguay.

The Geochicas map now includes an analysis of street names in 32 cities around the world. While this is obviously a minuscule sample of the world's cities it is still interesting to compare the percentage of streets named for women in different cities and countries. For example, of the 32 cities analyzed so far by Geochicas Havana, Cuba has the highest percentage of streets named for women and Brescia, Italy has the lowest percentage.

According to Geochicas 37.8% of streets named for people in Havana are named after women and 62.2% are named for men. Although having nearly twice as many streets named to honor men as named to honor women is not perfect, this ratio is still better than every other city analyzed on the Las Calles de las Mujeres map. At the other end of scale the 5.3% of streets named for women in Brescia is really awful. What does it say about the value you place on women's lives and achievements when nearly 95% of all streets named after people in your city are named for men?

Apart from Havana the only other cities which have over 20% of streets named for women are all in Spain. For example, 25.6% of streets named after people in Alaquàs are named for women, in Gijón it's 22.1%, and in Madrid 21.4%. According to this article by Bloomberg many Spanish cities have been using laws designed to honor Franco's dictatorship to rename streets after women. 

Looking at the streets named after women in Gijón it seems to me that a lot of the female named streets in the historic center are named after saints. Outside of the historic center however there are a number of streets named after prominent 20th Century women (e.g. the biochemist Margarita Salas, poet Gloria Fuertes and the singer Carmen Amaya). This suggests that the city has recently attempted to address the gender imbalance in street names by actively naming more streets for notable Spanish women.

Geochicas is not the only attempt to analyze the gender imbalance in street names. You can explore the gender imbalance in street names in a number of other towns and cities around the world on the EqualStreetNames website. The EqualStreetNames project has now analyzed the inequality in street names in 47 cities around the world (including San Francisco, Berlin, Brussels and Vienna).