Monday, February 28, 2022

Mapping Attacks on the Free Press

Every year the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) releases an annual report on the number of journalists imprisoned and killed by countries across the world. Nearly every year China tops the chart as the worst offender, most years killing and imprisoning more journalists than any other country in the world. You probably won't be surprised to hear that Putin's Russia also consistently imprisons journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists' Attacks on the Press 2021 documents and maps the numbers of journalists who were killed and imprisoned in every country in the world last year. In 2021 a record number of journalists were jailed around the world. In total 293 journalists were jailed last year and at least 27 journalists were killed.

The CPJ map colors the world's countries based on the number of journalists that were imprisoned during 2021. The yellow dots show where journalists were killed in 2020 in relation to their work. As you scroll through the story the map pans to explain the attacks on the press in the worst offending countries. A menu allows you to switch between imprisoned journalists, journalists killed in 2020 and an 'explore' option. If you select 'explore' you can then click on the individual yellow dots on the map to learn more about the individual journalists who were killed around the world during the course of last year.

Mapping Media Freedom is another organization which is dedicated to tracking attacks on the free press. Mapping Media Freedom maps threats to the media throughout the European Union and neighboring countries. It is a joint initiative from the Index on Censorship, the European Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders. The map uses clustered markers to show the locations of crowdsourced reports of threats, violations or limitations faced by journalists, newspapers or other media.

You can filter the reports shown on the map by location, date range or category. The categories include different types of censorship and limits to press freedom. They also include the option to filter by sex, type of journalist and the source of the threat to media freedom.

Friday, February 25, 2022

The Russian Invasion in Real-Time

Update: Lisa Charlotte Muth has been doing a fantastic job collating links to maps being created by the news media to visualize the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Her Twitter map thread includes links to maps created by just about every major global newspaper and news organization. 

I'm not going to link to all these maps as you can find the links on Lisa's thread. However here are links to some of the prominent news sources which are most likely to feature recently updated maps of the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

  • The BBC's Ukraine maps: Tracking Russia's invasion includes a map showing 'the fight for Kyiv'. A timestamp at the top of the article shows when the page was last updated
  • The New York Times has a Maps of the Conflict section dedicated to explaining the on-going situation in Eastern Europe
  • The Washington Post's In videos, photos and maps is a live stream covering the war, therefore the latest news, maps and other media appear at the top of the page. The Washington Post also has a Maps of Russia's invasion which features the latest maps of the war created by the newspaper.

For the last eight years the Live Universal Awareness Map (Liveuamap) has been mapping Russia's attempts to destabilize Ukraine (although since 2014 the map has also expanded to cover other areas of the world suffering from on-going conflicts, including Syria and Israel-Palestine). 

Liveuamap uses web crawlers to find the latest news stories about border conflicts and military deployments. These stories are then fact-checked and if found to be accurate are added to the interactive Live Universal Awareness Map. The latest events are plotted on the map using categorized map markers and are also listed in a map side-panel. The blue map markers relate to Ukrainian and NATO actions and the red markers show the actions of the Russian military.

People living near the Russian border are obviously going to have a very close view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many of these eye witnesses will then post video and photographic evidence of Russia's invasion on social media. 

Thanks to the Centre For Information Resilience you can now explore these social media posts on an interactive map. The Russia-Ukraine Monitor Map allows you to explore crowdsourced media of Russia's military attack on Ukraine. The Centre for Information Resilience is an independent, non-profit organization which attempts to counter and expose disinformation campaigns, such as those run by Russia to try and garner support in the west for its attack on Ukraine. 

The Russia-Ukraine Monitor Map includes links to video and photographs of Russian military action posted to social media. The Centre for Information Resilience has collated, geolocated, and, where possible, verified these posts. The Centre's Eyes on Russia Project also publishes a weekly summary of its research into Russia's military campaign against Ukraine, detailing verified troop and equipment movements, and broader updates on Russia's other efforts to destabilize its neighbor. 

Wikipedia's Russo-Ukrainian War Detailed Map is a crowd-sourced map which shows the current status of towns and cities in Ukraine in terms of whether they are under Ukrainian or Russian control. Cities marked blue on the map are currently under Ukrainian control and cities shown with a red circle are under Russian control. 

The map is created from the Wikipedia article Cities and Towns during the Russo-Ukrainian War. The status of each town is determined by a creditable source. However it is worth remembering that all the maps on this page are snapshots of a quickly developing situation and can become quickly out-of-date.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Best in the World

It often feels like Maps Mania is nothing more than a constant stream of depressing map visualizations. For days and days it can seem like I post nothing more than interactive maps of war, global warming, racism, and sexism.

Today of all days I need something a bit more uplifting and positive. Something which will remind me that the human race is capable of acts of outstanding beauty, intelligence and grace. To that end may I present to you the Because Every Country is the Most Beautiful at Something interactive map.

Information is Beautiful scoured the internet to discover something positive about every country on Earth. The result is Because Every Country is the Most Beautiful at Something, an interactive map which labels every country with one beautiful thing which they were the first to do or which they are the world leader in. For example the U.S. has the most generous donors to charity, Austria invented postcards and Colombia has the most bird species.

If only Vladimir Putin could settle for living in a country with a plentiful supply of mandarins then the world would surely be a happier and much more peaceful planet.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Interactive Map of Sundown Towns

In the United States some neighborhoods and towns have traditionally managed to largely exclude non-white residents. These areas have managed to enforce racial segregation through either intimidation or discriminatory local laws, or a combination of both. These largely white municipalities are often known as sundown towns, so called because of the practice of posting signs ordering "colored people" to leave town by sundown.

The Sundown Towns interactive map uses the Sundown Towns Database to show the distribution and location of sundown towns across the United States. On the map towns are shown using different colors, which indicate the 'confirmation status' of each town shown (ranging from 'possible' to 'surely'). If you select a town on the map you can then view its entry in the Sundown Towns Database. This entry includes information on the methods that have been used to exclude black residents and census records showing the white, black, Asian and Hispanic populations in the town from 1860 to the present. 

The Sundown Towns Database does not claim to be a complete record of all sundown towns in the USA. In fact the database comes with a note which states that there are "too many sundown towns for us to have found them all". Which is why users are actively encouraged to submit information about towns not in the database and to submit comments on those towns which are in the database. 

You may also be interested in exploring interactive maps exploring the enduring legacy of Redlining Maps on the racial distribution of American towns and cities.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Colonizing America

In 1862 the U.S. government passed the Homesteading Act in order to encourage people to move west. Under the act people were offered 160 acres of free land. The only requirement was that they had to live on the land and farm it for at least five years. As a result of the 1862 act and later homesteading acts Native Americans were robbed of a huge proportion of their land in the American West.

The Digital Scholarship Lab of the University of Richmond has released an interactive map which allows you to explore the over 2.3 million claims made after the 1862 Homesteading Act. The Land Acquisition and Dispossession map also plots some of the raids, massacres and battles by which the indigenous people were dispossessed of their land during this same period. 

On the Land Acquisition and Dispossession map individual land office districts are colored to show the relative amount of land claimed or patented (red indicates a large number of claims, while green represents a smaller number of claims). The map also includes a timeline so that you can view the number of claims made in a specific year (at the state or territory level). 

The Digital Scholarship Lab admits that the map shows a far from complete picture of the frontier clashes by which Native Americans were dispossessed of their land. However this is addressed in a special section of the map which looks in more detail at Homesteading and Indigenous Dispossession

You can learn more about how Native Americans were robbed of their land on eHistory's Invasion of America interactive map. The Invasion of America visualizes Native American land cession between 1776 and 1887. During this period the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from the indigenous people of the USA.

The Invasion of America map includes a powerful animated timeline feature which allows you to view how the United States spread westwards by seizing Native American land through treaties and executive orders. The map reveals how the United States managed in a little over one hundred years to steal nearly all Native American land.


In the early 19th Century Texas was one of the most diverse regions in the North American continent. It was home to a number of Native American tribes. It was also home to a large Mexican population and a growing number of illegal immigrants from the United States.

After the formation of the independent Republic of Texas in 1836 relations between Native Americans and Euro-Americans was often strained. The nationalist faction in the new republic led by Mirabeau B. Lamar, advocated for the expulsion of all Native Americans from Texas. Conversely some of the Native American tribes, such as the Comanches, opposed the new republic.

The University of Texas' Border Lands interactive map is an attempt to document and map the locations of the many incidents of conflict between Native Americans and Euro-Americans in Texas during the period from the creation of the First Mexican Republic to the outbreak of the U.S.-Mexico War (1821-1846). 

The interactive Border Lands map includes three main views. The Timeline view allows you to explore all the mapped sites of conflict by date. This timeline view includes a date control which allows you to filter the incidents shown on the map by date range. It also includes an animation view which adds all the sites of conflict to the map in chronological order. The Heat Map view provides a a visualization of the density of conflicts by location. This view provides an overview of which locations in Texas witnessed the most violent conflicts during the period 1821-1846. The Fatalities map view uses colored markers to visualize all the violent conflicts between Native Americans and Euro-Americans by the resulting number of deaths.

Massacres in the United States is a fascinating but gruesome map showing the locations of the worst massacres in the history of the United States. The history of the United States is of course littered with many acts of extreme violence, from the slaughter of Native Americans by settlers to the massacre of African Americans.

According to the map the largest massacre in U.S. history occurred in the 1850's in California. Soon after California became the 31st state (in 1850) legislation was introduced giving settlers the right to organize lynch mobs and kill Native Americans. It is estimated that between 1856-1859 over 1,000 Yuki people were killed by white settlers. 

On the Massacres in the United States interactive map the colored markers are sized to show the number of people killed in each massacre. The colors of the markers indicate the massacre 'category' (Native American, African-American, Labor Unions etc). If you click on a category in the map sidebar you can filter the map to show only massacres from that category. For example if you select 'Native Americans' you can see that 19th Century California witnessed a succession of massacres carried out against the indigenous people.

Only massacres with 5 or more victims are shown on the map. The data for the map comes from Wikipedia, so only massacres with a Wikipedia entry are shown on the map.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Mapping History

Maps are just as much historical entities as they are geographical. Maps provide a representation of spatial relationships as they exist at a particular moment in time. In recent years a number of interactive mapping projects have sought to show how geography changes through history by plotting historical borders and movements by date. These interactive historical maps provide a great way to explore how countries and borders have developed through time.

Historic Borders is a project which maps country borders over 4,000 years of history (2000 BC-1994). Using the Historic Borders' interactive timeline you can view a map of the world at specific periods within this 4,000 years of history.

Like all maps Historic Borders is only as good as its underlying data. When exploring the map it is worth remembering that historical borders and boundaries are unlikely to have a high degree of accuracy and are likely to be just as disputed or even more disputed as modern boundaries. Having said that Historic Boundaries is very useful in providing a general overview of historical movements. For example, it provides a great visualization of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.


Histo Atlas is a free platform that can be used to create interactive maps which visualize the evolution of events over time. These interactive maps can therefore be used to show the development of historical events, and how country borders and areas of cultural influence have changed in response to these events. 

You can observe some of the capabilities of Histo Atlas on this map of the Roman Empire. This interactive Histo Atlas created map shows the growth of the Roman Republic from 272 BC to 27 BC and the Roman Empire until 115 AD. Using the map's time slider you can see how Rome swept all before it to conquer vast areas of Europe and North Africa. 

The Histo Atlas home page includes a number of links to other historical maps created by users, including maps visualizing the Spanish Civil War and the Unification of Italy.

Running Reality is an interactive map which is trying to build a map of the world over time. Using Running Reality you can view a map of any location in the world at any time during its history. In this way you can see how towns and cities have grown and fallen over time. You can also learn more about the people who lived there and the buildings in which they lived and worked.

To see how Running Reality works you can zoom-in on an individual city and then use the timeline to see how the city has changed over time. For example if you zoom in on New York and set the timeline to 1600 you will see no roads or buildings. Adjust the timeline to 1700 and a few roads and buildings can be seen in Manhattan. Advance another 100 years (to 1800) and the city has spread north as far as Greenwich Village and small developments have also appeared in Brooklyn.

Chronas is another interactive map which aims to provide a view of historical events across the globe through time. This interactive map visualizes Wikipedia entries by date and by location and also shows country borders for different dates in history.

Chronas not only maps historical events but also provides a mapped overview of country boundaries for any given date. If you select a year from the time slider (running along the bottom of the map) the map will update to show how the world's borders existed at the chosen time. If you then click on a country or geographical area on the map a Wikipedia article on the selected historical region will open in the map sidebar. For example, if you select the year 573 AD from the time slider, you can select the Visigoths region on the map to learn more about these nomadic tribes during the first millennium. 

The Ancient History Encyclopedia's Map of the Ancient World is an interactive map of the world from around 6,000 BCE to 270 BCE. The map plots historical civilizations and places by date. Change the date and the map changes to show the rough borders of the civilizations and people of your selected time

The map carries a disclaimer that it is "only complete in the Mediterranean until around 270 BCE". However the map isn't limited to this period and location. If you only use the back and forward arrows to navigate the map then you might not realize that the map actually does include data for the rest of the world. You can also move forward in time beyond 270 BCE (although the map doesn't continue past the time of the Roman Empire). 

OpenHistoricalMap is another interactive mapping project which allows you to find and explore maps of places around the world during specific dates in their history. Change the date on OpenHistoricalMap and you can view a map of the world as it looked at that time. OpenHistoricalMap is therefore another great way to explore how locations have changed over the centuries (for example the animated map above shows the USA's changing state borders from 1800 to 1960).

Where OpenHistoricalMap differs from many of the other maps linked to here is that it is an open source and crowdsourced project. This means that anyone can contribute to OpenHistoricalMap. If you are disappointed that OpenHistoricalMap appears to lack detailed data for a particular location at a specific point in history you can actually add the mapping data to the project yourself. Also because OpenHistoricalMap is built on open data you are free to download the data and reuse it in your own historical mapping projects.  

Open History Map is another example of an impressive interactive mapping platform which visualizes global spatial historical (and archaeological) data. The goal of Open History Map is to create an open interactive map of the past. One of the main differences between Open History Map and some of the other historical mapping platforms is that Open History Map is built on academic data and information.

The screenshot above shows the Open History Map map view of Europe in the year 1001 CE. This map view includes an interactive timeline control which allows you to view the map for other dates in world history. The small black dots on the map represent historical place-names, which appear as you zoom in on the map. 

Because Open History Map relies on academic data it relies on lots of different historical datasets. You can view and access all these datasets on the Open History Map Data Index. This allows you to view an index of the datasets used in Open History Map, a list of the sources for these datasets and the individual datasets (with links to the original sources).

Dividing America by Population

Engaging Data has released a new interactive map which allows you to divide the United States into areas with equal populations. The map uses 2018 county population data from the US Census Bureau to allow you to see the different ways that the U.S. could be divided into different population areas. 

Using the Splitting the US by Population interactive map you can visualize US population density in a number of different interesting ways. The map can split the country into 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 10 different segments, each section having an equal population. There are a number of different ways that you can make these divisions. For example you can split the country East to West, North to South or even into concentric rings. 

A good example of this is the animated map above. Here you can see the U.S. being divided into a North area and a South area, both of which have an equal population.  

You can also play around with equal population areas using Slate's Equal Population Mapper. This interactive map allows you to compare the populations of select cities and counties with other locations in the United States. 

The Equal Population Mapper lets you click anywhere on a map of the United States to view a circular region of equal population to New York around the selected area. The map is a very effective tool to visualize the population density of New York in comparison to other regions of the US. The map isn't restricted to only visualizing the population of New York. You can also use the map to view the populations of Los Angeles County, Wyoming, New Jersey, Texas and the coastal areas of the United States.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Street View of Middle Earth

Let me start this post with a disclaimer:

There are no real Street View images of Tolkein's fictional land of Middle Earth

I believe that Google did try to hire a Hobbit to drive the Street View car but unfortunately his feet couldn't reach the pedals. 

But do not despair! For while I may not have interactive 360 degree panoramic imagery of Middle Earth I do have photographs. For the last 20 years photographer Ingo Scholtes has been traveling across the length & breadth of Middle Earth capturing a series of beautiful landscape images.

You can explore Ingo's amazing photography for yourself on Photographing Middle Earth. This amazing Lord of the Rings photo gallery uses an interactive map of Middle Earth to showcase the landscape photographs captured by Ingo Scholtes on his artistic journey. The map includes photographs of all your favorite Middle Earth locations, including Hobbiton, the Lonely Mountain, Mirkwoord and even Mordor.

(any resemblance between the Lonely Mountain & the Matterhorn is purely coincidental)

If you are a fan of Tolkien's novels then you can have more fun exploring the interactive maps created by the LOTR Project. These include interactive maps of both Beleriand and Middle Earth. The LOTR Project interactive maps include place-name labels and lots of optional layers which allow you to overlay time-lines, route and events from Tolkein's novels directly on top of the interactive maps.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

How Far Can I Walk in 10 Minutes?

I try to complete a 1 hour walk every day. While I enjoy walking I do also get bored with walking the same old routes around my neighborhood. Which is why I've been using Mirumi's Walking Distance Map to find whereas I can walk within 1 hour of my home. 

The Walking Distance Map is an isochrone map which was designed to help Japanese house hunters to define a property search area within a 30 minute walk of a work location. Luckily for the rest of the world the Walking Distance Map isn't restricted to only Japanese locations. It can be used anywhere in the world and it can also be used by cyclists and car drivers as well as pedestrians.

If you enter a location into the Walking Distance Map you can view a map showing how far you can travel within a set number of minutes (max 30 mins). The map supports walking, cycling or driving. You can use the drop-down menu to select how many minutes you want for your own isochrone visualization. 

One problem with many isochrone maps is that they assume everybody walks, cycles or drives at the same speed. The Walking Distance Map has addressed this problem by allowing you to adjust your travel speed. If you click on the slide-out menu you can then enter a meters per second speed which the map will then use to calculate how far you can travel within your defined period of time.

If for some reason the Walking Distance Map doesn't work for you then you can find many more interactive travel time maps using the isochrone label on Maps Mania.

Monday, February 14, 2022


If you enjoy the daily Wordle word challenge then you might enjoy some of these geography games inspired by Josh Wardle's now world famous word game. 

Globle is a daily geography challenge which requires you to guess a designated country of the world. Each time that you guess a country it is colored in on a globe to show how close you are to today's country. The deeper the shade of red then the hotter (or closer) you are to guessing the correct country.

Every day there is a new mystery country for you to guess. Your aim every day is to guess the mystery country using the fewest number of guesses. 


Worldle is another daily geography challenge. This game requires you to name a country from just its map outline. Like the original Wordle game you have six goes in which to get to the right answer. And, like Wordle, there is only one game to play every day.

Where Worldle differs a lot from Wordle is in the clues given after each answer. Instead of green and yellow squares Worldle uses arrows and percentages to help you get to the correct answer from your incorrect guesses. After each guess, you are told the distance you were from the correct country, the direction you need to move on a map and the proximity of your guess to the target country. With just these clues it should be possible to work out the correct answer within the permitted six guesses (particularly if like me you cheat and use a world map).

My own (not so good) Worlde game is a clone of Josh Wardle's original Wordle game. My game however requires you to guess the names of countries and major global cities rather than words from the dictionary. No maps are involved in this challenge and I've even provided a cheat button which allows you to view the complete list of countries and cities that the game draws upon for each answer.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Black Elevation Map

The Black Elevation Map is a comprehensive guide to the black cultural sites, black historical landmarks and black owned businesses which can be found in America's towns and cities. This new interactive map uses data from a number of sources to show the concentration and locations of black owned businesses and black historical markers across the country.

The initial Black Elevation Map view of the United States uses elevation as a means to represent the density of either black owned businesses, black population density or black historical markers in the USA. For example the screenshot above shows the density of black historical markers (with the greatest density appearing to be in the north-east). The screenshot below shows the density of the black population. This map uses data from the Decennial 2020 U.S. Census.

Comparing the two maps it is very apparent that while southern states have a high black population density they also don't appear to have a particularly high density of black historical markers. It is almost as if black history isn't valued very highly in most southern states.

If you open the map menu and select 'Tour the Culture' you can select to view one of eleven guided tours of the black cultural data shown on the map. These include tours of restaurants that fueled the civil rights movement, the work of black architects,  and venues that helped shape American music. The Black Elevation Map also has 12 city guides, which provide suggestions on things you can see, place you can eat, and things that you can do in cities such as New York, Chicago, LA, and beyond.

You can also use the The Black Elevation Map to explore the black businesses, history and culture of your own town. Enter the name of a US location into the map and you can view local black owned businesses and local black cultural & historical places of interest. You can even save your favorites or share locations via social media or e-mail.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Redlined for Ever

FiveThirtyEight has released a new data visualization tool which allows you to see the lasting effects of redlining on American towns & cities. In the 1930s, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, black homeowners across the United States were discriminated against through the creation of redlining maps. These maps identified areas with significant black populations and labeled them as too high risk for mortgage support. Black homeowners living in these areas were therefore very unlikely to be successful when trying to refinance home mortgages from the government sponsored Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

It is now over eighty years since neighborhoods in American towns & cities were designated by the HOLC as 'best', 'desirable', 'declining' or 'hazardous'. Despite this long passage of time the effects of redlining are still apparent in the continuing segregation of American cities. In The Lasting Legacy of Redlining FiveThirtyEight allows you to explore maps which show the racial segregation of American cities based on data from the 2020 U.S. decennial census. 

For each city you can select to view maps of the HOLC zones ('best', 'desirable', 'declining' or 'hazardous') alongside a breakdown of the percentage of each racial group now living in each of these zones. For example the map of Cleveland shows that 59.5% of the population of the city's 'hazardous' designated zones is black. While the city's 'best' zones have a 68.7% white population. 


It is clear that the racial discriminatory mortgage assessments of the 1930s have had a lasting legacy on American cities. A legacy which can still be felt in the United States today. Neighborhoods which were redlined as too high risk for mortgage lending in the 1930s have suffered from decades of under-investment in critical infrastructure. This historical under-investment means that anyone living in a once redlined neighborhood today is still likely to have less access to health care, be more at risk from extreme summer heat and is even at more risk of flooding than people living in neighborhoods which weren't redlined under Roosevelt's New Deal.  

Bloomberg's Redlined, Now Flooding compares historical redlining maps with modern flood risk maps. This comparison reveals that in cities across the United States there is a greater risk of flooding in formerly redlined neighborhoods than in more affluent neighborhoods in the same city.

Redlined neighborhoods don't just face a greater risk of flooding. Since the New Deal's racially discriminated mortgage lending assessments of American cities redlined neighborhoods have continued to face under investment in infrastructure compared to their more wealthy greenlined neighborhoods. In How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering the NYT shows how across the United States neighborhoods which were redlined are now more likely to suffer from the urban heat island effect than neighborhoods which weren't redlined.

The legacy of the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) redlining maps can also still be seen in the health inequality in cities today. The Digital Scholarship Lab and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition has used maps to show how redlined neighborhoods suffer severe health disparities in the 21st Century compared to more wealthy neighborhoods.Not Even Past: Social Vulnerability and the Legacy of Redlining allows you to directly compare redlining maps with modern maps which visualize the modern health disparities in U.S. cities. 

Of course one of the biggest lasting legacies of redlining has been the continuing racial segregation seen in many American cities. Wenfei Xu's Redlining Mapvisualization (like FiveThirtyEight's) allows you to explore for yourself if the HOLC redlining maps have had a lasting impact on segregation in your city. Using modern census data alongside the HOLC redlining maps you can see for yourself which neighborhoods  have a high percentage of black, white or Hispanic people and see if these areas correlate with areas which were deemed at risk or safe for lending purposes in the 1930's.

Thursday, February 10, 2022


A couple of week's ago I released Worlde, a Wordle type game which requires you to guess the names of countries and major global cities rather than words from the dictionary. Now comes Worldle, an even better Wordle inspired geography game.

Worldle is a fantastic game which requires you to name a country from just its map outline. Like the original Wordle game you have six goes in which to get the right answer. And, like Wordle, there is only one game to play every day.

Where Worldle differs a lot from Wordle is in the clues given after each answer. Instead of green and yellow squares Worldle uses arrows and percentages to help you get to the correct answer from your incorrect guesses. After each guess, you are told the distance you were from the correct country, the direction you need to move on a map and the proximity of your guess to the target country. With just these clues it should be possible to work out the correct answer within the permitted six guesses (particularly if like me you cheat and use a world map).

Worldle is the inspired creation of @teuteuf.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Isochrone Maps by Time of Travel

An isochrone map shows the area that you can travel to from one point within a certain time. For example it can show you how far you can drive from your home in one hour. Ironically, despite being a visualization of time, most isochrone maps actually completely ignore the actual time of day when you wish to travel. For example they mostly ignore the fact that the distance you can drive during rush hour is likely to be a tiny fraction of the distance that you could drive at 2am in the morning. 

TravelTime has being working on visualizing how the time of day can affect how far you can travel within a set period of time. In Visualising How Far You Can Travel from New York’s Grand Central Station by Time of Day TravelTime has created an animated isochrone map which shows the distance you can travel by train in one hour throughout a 24 hour period. The map uses the TravelTime API to calculate travel times based on the scheduled timetable. 

The animated map shown at the top of this post concentrates just on the evening rush hour period between 6pm and 7pm. You can view the YouTube video of this map here. Both of the animated maps assume that the traveler must first walk into Grand Central station and walk to the train platform, wait for a scheduled connection and have enough time to exit the station on the other side. You can check the routes shown on the map yourself using the TravelTime interactive travel time map. 

You can view many more travel time maps by checking out the isochrone label on Maps Mania.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Population Density Around the World

Tom Forth has released a new interactive map which allows you to explore how many people are living within a set distance from any point on Earth. The Population Around a Point tool is a great way to explore and compare the population density of different cities around the world. 

The map includes a distance slider control which allows you to select any distance from 3 to 50 km. Once you have chosen a distance you can then click on the map to discover how many people live in the selected area. For example in the screenshot above I clicked on a point in Barcelona and discovered that there were over a million people living within 5 km of that point.

If you are interested in population density then you might want to read Alasdair Rae analysis of population density around the world (with a focus mainly on Europe). In Think your country is crowded? These maps reveal the truth about population density across Europe Rae has mapped Eurostat’s population density grid data for 2011. This map visualizes the population density in each square kilometer in Europe.

Alasdair has also created a table which shows the population density of each European country. This table includes a column showing how many people in each country live in the the most densely populated one square kilometer of that country. By comparing this figure for each country you can see where the most densely populated square kilometers are in Europe. In Barcelona more than 53,000 people inhabit a single 1km². This is the most densely populated area in Europe. Paris has the second most densely populated km², with a 1km² containing more than 50,000 people. Alasdair's article includes a brief discussion of some of the most densely populated areas outside of Europe.

These aren't the only maps which allows you to explore population density around the world. Duncan Smith's interactive map World Population Density uses data from the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) to visualize the number of people living in each square kilometer of Earth. 

Another interactive map which visualizes worldwide population data is 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 live there. You can therefore draw a square kilometer on the map to make your own comparisons of population density. For example, I drew a square kilometer at random in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the map gave me a population estimate of 107,804. This is over twice as many people as the 52,000 people living in Europe's most densely populated 1km² in Barcelona. 

Monday, February 07, 2022

Here Be Climate Change

It is shocking how quickly climate scientists are pivoting from visualizing the future impact of climate change to visualizations showing the impact that climate change is having right now

Interactive maps such as Climate Central's Coastal Risk Screening Tool (projected sea level rise) and the Analog Atlas (global heating) allow us to see how climate change is likely to impact us directly in the future. These are maps which rely on climate change models to show future climate projections. Unfortunately we no longer need to rely on visualizations of future climate change. In fact climate scientists are already increasingly releasing data visualizations which show the impact that climate change is already making on our climate and on our lives. 

Yesterday The Guardian published an interactive map which visualizes how much temperatures have risen in every US county over the last 125 years. The map in A third of Americans are already facing above-average warming allows you to see how much the average annual temperature has already risen in every single county in the contiguous United States. Shockingly at least 499 counties have already seen temperature increases of over 1.5C.

You can also see how much average annual temperatures have increased where you live via a powerful 'warming stripes' visualization. In 2018 Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, released a powerful data visualization to illustrate how temperatures have risen around the globe over the last century. His warming stripes visualization shows the average yearly temperature for every year over 100+ years.

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


Other publications have begun to examine the direct effect that climate change is having on people's lives. In Who Damages the Climate the Most and Who Bears the Consequences, the German newspaper Tagesspiegel looked at the effects that climate change is already having on many African countries. 

CrisisGroup's interactive map How Climate Change Fuels Deadly Conflict shows where in the world climate issues, like water scarcity and climatic volatility are already leading to conflicts between different communities and countries. You can also explore the impact that climate change is already having on people across the world on the Communities in Crisis interactive map. Communities in Crisis is an online book which looks at the impact that climate change is having on communities around the globe. The book consists of 12 chapters, each of which deals with a specific threat from climate change, including threats such as rising sea levels, drought, extreme heat waves and food and water insecurity.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

The Age of Disappearing Glaciers

Last year The Guardian published a shocking map which visualizes the amount of ice that glaciers around the world are losing every year. The map uses profile plots to show the amount of ice lost (or in very rare occurrences gained) by glaciers around the world in a single year. 

The Guardian's map in Speed at which world’s glaciers are melting has doubled in 20 years uses data from the paper Accelerated global glacier mass loss in the early twenty-first century to help show how glacial melt is driving sea level rise. Between 2000 and 2019, as a direct result of global heating, glaciers lost 267 gigatonnes (Gt) of ice per year. This contributed to around one fifth of the rise in sea levels over that time.

You can see for yourself how much Svalbard's glaciers have shrunk in the last 80 odd years on Yoni Nachmay's interactive map Svalbard 1936/1938. Yoni's map compares historical aerial imagery of Svalbard's glaciers (captured in the 1930's) to the modern aerial imagery of the same glaciers captured by Maxar Technologies. 

In 1936 and 1938 Adolf Hoel used a scout plane to capture aerial imagery of much of Svalbard archipelago. Yoni's Svalbard 1936/1938 map places the vintage photographs of Svalbard's glaciers (taken by Adolf Hoel) side-by-side with modern aerial imagery to clearly show the dramatic extent which these glaciers have shrunk. The result is that you can see for yourself just much these glaciers have melted over the last 80-90 years. 

You can explore other powerful interactive visualizations of glacial melt in the Maps Mania post Melting Glaciers

Friday, February 04, 2022

Enhanced Zoom & Multiple Map Views

John Nelson and Jinnan Zhang have released a simple Esri experimental map which shows multiple scales of the same location at the same time. Their interactive map Optica shows three different map views of the same place but at three different zoom levels. 

The map includes a number of options which allow you to switch the number of map views shown and to switch between having the maps display vertically or horizontally. You can also switch between a number of different map layers (including satellite, terrain and road maps). There is even the option to add your own map layers by adding a link to an ArcGIS online 2D web map.

The Optica map does allow you to get some very interesting map views of locations around the world and it can be very interesting to explore a place with a number of different zoom levels appearing on the same map (for example this view of Bryce Canyon). However Optica isn't the only interactive map which allows you to explore locations using different map views.

Map Channel's Quad View Maps allows you to view locations using Google Maps Street View alongside four different synchronized satellite views. If you use the Map Channels Geocoder map you can quickly find locations anywhere in the world and then click the Quad View Map link to view the searched location on Street View and from four different oblique aerial views.

Thursday, February 03, 2022

The Interactive Map Jigsaw Puzzle is a fun interactive map game which requires you to fit the outlines of geographical areas onto their correct locations on a blank global map. The game is a little bit like a map jigsaw in that it requires you to place shapes (in this case geographical/political areas) into their correct positions.

Each MapPuzzle round starts with a list of geographical areas which you have to fit onto a blank map. This list of puzzle pieces can be countries, states or cities (depending on the game you are playing). Each map puzzle piece in the list is shown with an illustration. When you click on a puzzle piece on this list this shape will start to follow your mouse. All you have to do now is to drag it to its correct position on the blank map (in the screenshot above you can see me dragging the outline of California onto a map of the United States).

The game includes a running counter which tells you how many pieces you have correctly placed on the map and how many pieces you have remaining. This counter also includes a timer. Your goal is therefore to finish the game in the quickest time possible. 

If you enjoy map jigsaws then you should like Jigsaw Explorer. You can make and play your very own online map jigsaws using the Jigsaw Explorer website. The Jigsaw Explorer interface allows you to create interactive online jigsaws from any image. Which means that you can make your very interactive jigsaw maps just from the image on any map.

Here are some interactive jigsaws that I've created from maps in the David Rumsey Map Collection:


If you don't want to make your own interactive map jigsaws then you can play some already created by Esri.

GeoJigsaw is a fun to play interactive map jigsaw game. The game allows you to select jumbled up map jigsaws from any location in the world. All you have to do is to put all the jigsaw pieces back together to complete the map.

You can select map jigsaw puzzles to play by location or by difficulty level. If you can't find a map that you like don't worry. You can just zoom in on any location in the world and automatically generate a map jigsaw puzzle for the location that you have selected.

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

The Sexist Streets of Budapest

Last week I published in The Sexist Streets of the World what I thought was a fairly comprehensive list of interactive maps visualizing the sexist traditions of street naming in cities around the globe. That post includes interactive maps which show how in city after city there are more streets named for men than there are streets named for women. However that list wasn't quite as comprehensive as I thought, as I omitted the very impressive 'Names & Spaces: Budapest'.

Names & Spaces: Budapest is a fascinating mapped analysis of the street names (& other public spaces) of Budapest.This map reveals that in Budapest 90% of streets which have been named for people have been named for men. Only 10% of the city's roads named for people have been named for famous females. This is almost exactly the same percentage (9%) of streets that has been named for fictional characters. In Budapest 208 public spaces have been named after fictional characters and only 224 public spaces have been named for  women.Of the 224 public spaces which have been given female names only 123 are named after real women.Therefore there are more streets in Budapest named for fictional characters than there are streets named after real women.

Names & Spaces: Budapest also looks at the number of streets named for Hungarians (1,816) and the number named for foreigners (206). The map also breaks down the city streets named for people by occupation. Of the different occupations recognized in Budapest's street names writers & poets have the most city streets. The next most recognized occupational group is statesmen & politicians. Soldiers and artists are among some of the other occupations which feature prominently in Budapest street names. 

Further analysis explores the periods of history with the most people represented in Budapest's street names. This analysis also looks at the history of renaming streets and public spaces. For example after the country's transition to democracy in 1989 many public spaces were renamed to replace streets and squares named for communist heroes. 

Via: The Data Vis Dispatch

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Distances to Abortion Providers


Forty nine years ago the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not excessively restrict a woman's freedom to choose to have an abortion. That right to choose is now under threat. This means that women in the United States may soon have to travel over a thousand miles to their nearest abortion provider.

Axios has created an interactive map which compares the distances that women currently have to travel to their nearest abortion provider to the distances they would have to travel if the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs Wade.

It appears likely that the Supreme Court will flout the clear public support for abortion rights in the USA by overturning or significantly weakening the 1973 landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade. Currently the average distance to an abortion provider in the United States is 25 miles. According to a new interactive map from Axios if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the average distance to an abortion provider will be around 125 miles. Of course some women will have to travel a lot further.

The interactive map provided in Abortions could require 200-mile trips if Roe is overturned uses the Myers Abortion Facility Database to show the current average distance to the nearest abortion provider for each county. It also allows you to view the projected distances to the nearest abortion provider if the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs Wade (using a report from the Center for Reproductive Rights which names those states which are "highly likely" to ban abortion).

You can hover over any county on the Axios map to view the current and projected distances to an abortion provider in that county. For example, if you hover over Cameron County in Texas the map reveals that currently the distance to the nearest abortion provide is just over 50 miles by road. If Texas succeeds in banning a woman's right to choose the distance will be over 832 miles. This means that women in Cameron County will face a round-trip of over 1,600 miles to their nearest abortion provider.