Saturday, April 30, 2022

Coal Power & Extreme Heat

India has been experiencing weeks of extreme heat. As Indians have struggled to cope with temperatures approaching 46°C the demand for electricity has soured. In recent years the Indian government has responded to souring energy demands by building more & more coal fired power stations. Coal is of course the single largest source of global heating. 

Build more coal power plants → the world gets hotter → turn on air conditioning → need more power → build more coal power plants → the world gets hotter →

In Early Season Heat Waves NASA reports that this year India experienced its hottest March ever. These extreme temperatures have continued and in April temperatures have been 4.5 to 8.5°C (8 to 15°F) above normal for the time of year. As a result of this extreme heat power demand has spiked across India leading to increased blackouts.

In recent years one way that India has responded to the country's increasing energy demands is by building more coal power plants. In We Switch Off They Heat Up German newspaper Zeit has mapped out where coal fueled power plants are being closed across the world. And where new ones are being built!

The map above shows coal power plants which have been closed in green and newly built power plants in red. The map shows fairly clearly that while the U.S. and Europe have begun to move away from coal power this decrease has been more than made up for by thousands of new coal power plants being built in Asia. Particularly in China and India.


This doesn't mean that China and India are most responsible for global heating. Before anyone in Europe or the U.S. gets too smug they might want to also take a look at the World Map of Climate Sinners. This interactive map shows which countries around the world are currently exceeding 2.7 tonnes of CO2 output per person, and in which countries the population are outputting less. The countries colored red/pink are largely responsible for climate heating. The countries colored green have reasons to be very upset with the rest of the world. 

The Historical Global Emissions Map also paints a very clear picture that countries in the so called West are responsible for a large majority of the world's historical CO2 emissions. The map visualizes carbon dioxide emissions around the world from 1750 to 2010. It reveals that countries in the West have historically been the largest polluters of CO2 and even today the USA still leads the way, with 19 tonnes of CO2 being emitted per person - more than double the per capita emissions of nearly every other country in the world. 

Zeit's 'We Switch Off, They Heat Up' interactive map was also published before the outbreak of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. Because of the consequent soaring price of gas Germany and the UK are just two of the countries in Europe to announce they are 'temporarily' going to burn more coal. So maybe Zeit was a little too quick to proudly announce that 'we switch off'. 

It looks like India and the rest of the world can expect to see many more extreme heat records being broken in the coming months and years.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Street Widths in American Cities

American streets tend to be much wider than streets in other countries. The average width of a residential street in the United States is 55 ft. For comparison, in Paris in post-1990 developments the average street width is less than 20 ft. While in Tokyo the average street in post-1990 developments is just 16.4 feet wide.

Street widths obviously differ in different U.S. cities. Streets in Cleveland for example are on average 71.5 feet wide (or about 4.5x the width of the average Tokyo street). While streets in Philadelphia are on average only 26.6 feet wide.

The UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies argues that America's wide streets have huge economic consequences, particularly in areas where housing is expensive and where land is scarce. Dedicating so much land to street space reduces the amount of housing that can be built and consequently pushes up the cost of local real-estate. 

In Street Widths - the widths and values of residential streets the Institute of Transportation Studies has published a number of interactive maps visualizing the widths of streets in U.S. cities and the land value of those streets (based on local housing values). The main interactive map in the study allows you to explore the widths and land worth of individual streets in 20 large U.S. counties. Other interactive maps in the study look at the average worth of streets in these 20 counties, show the average width of streets in cities in other countries around the world, and chart the frequency of different street widths in U.S. counties.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

A New Global Population Explorer

Population Explorer is a new interactive map for visualizing and exploring global population density. Using the tool you can explore where people live around the world and access basic demographic data (such as gender and age) for defined areas.

To create this new interactive tool Meta used artificial intelligence to estimate population density from buildings identified in satellite imagery. The result is a population density map which estimates population at a 30 meter resolution. The map currently has data for over 160 countries around the globe.

Using the map's drawing tools it is possible to define, search and download demographic data for defined areas. Draw around an area on the map and you can view the total estimated population living in that area and view a breakdown of the population based on gender and age.

There are also a number of other interactive map which allow you to visualize and explore population density around the world. For example, 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 also includes a tool to draw an area on the map to see an estimate of the population that live there.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Step Inside a New York Tenement

The Washington Post has created a virtual tour which allows you to step inside a New York tenement building and explore how people lived in the city at the beginning of the 20th Century. The tenement at 97 Orchard Street, Manhattan is one of two historical buildings owned by the Tenement Museum. Each building has been preserved to provide a sort of time capsule of life in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The Post's Tenement Museum Virtual Tour provides you with a unique first-person view of a preserved tenement building. As you scroll through the Post's interactive tour you are taken through the front door into the building's basement saloon. Keep scrolling and you progress through the property, visiting the saloon kitchen, the back courtyard and the upstairs apartments. Each room in the tenement building represents a particular period in history. Many rooms in the museum have been left as they were found, while others have been recreated to look as close as possible as to how they would have appeared during a specific period in time.

In order to create this amazing photogrammetry tour the Washington Post used a lidar scanner, drone-shot imagery and handheld cameras to scan and photograph the building and rooms from all angles.

The use of photogrammetry to create interactive 3D models is a growing trend in data journalism. Here are links to some other great examples of news organizations using 3D models to illustrate and explain major news events or to provide an interactive tour of an historical site:

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Mapping in the Shadows

JveuxDuSoleil is an amazing interactive map which simulates the location of shadows.If you are looking for the perfect spot to catch a little sun (or escape from the sun) then you can open up JveauDuSoleil and quickly discover which areas will be shaded at any time of the day. 

The JveuxDuSoleil interactive map includes a date control and a time slider. Which means that you can use the map to see where building shadows will fall at any hour of the day on any day of the year. The map will also tell you the time of sunrise and sunset on your selected day. 

In a number of French cities JveuxDuSoleil also shows the locations of restaurants with outdoor terraces. Therefore, if you are looking for the perfect spot to eat alfresco, you can the interactive map to quickly discover which nearby restaurants will have tables in the sun and which will have tables in the shade at the exact time when you want to eat.

Shade Map is an interactive map which allows you to view the location of shadows from the sun throughout the day. The map is very handy for finding shade on a hot summer day or for trying to work out where you can find the most sun at any hour of the day and for any day of the year.

Search for any location in the world on Shade Map and the application will show you which local areas are currently in shade. The map uses a grey colored overlay to show you shaded areas based both on the local terrain and on the height of nearby buildings. 

At the bottom of the map is a timeline control which allows you to view shadow locations for any time of the day. Drag this time slider back and forth and the map will automatically update to show how the shadows move during the course of the day. If you click on the date then the time control will switch to show months instead of hours of the day. Now you can use the time control to show where shade will fall during the different months of the year. Just click on the time to switch back to showing the hours of the day.

Shadowmap is another interactive 3D map which allows you to view the location of building shadows around the world for any time of day and on any day of the year. If you want to know what kind of shade you will have (if any) at a certain time and place then you can just look up the location on Shadowmap. Enter the date and time of day, and Shadowmap will show you the shadows that will be cast by nearby buildings at that precise moment.

Shadowmap uses OpenStreetMap data with a global 3D building overlay. This map also includes a simple to use slide control which allows you to view the shadows cast by the buildings for any time of day. If you slide this control back and forth you can watch as the shadows cast by the buildings move around on the map. If you subscribe to Shadowmap Pro you also get access to the date control which allows you to change the date so that you can view the shadow positions for any specific day of the year.

If you live in New York then you can also use the New York Times' Mapping the Shadows of New York City interactive map to visualize the shadows cast by the city's famous skyscrapers (and all of its other buildings as well) during the different seasons. 

In Denmark you can use Septima Skyggekort, an interactive map which visualizes the shadows cast by Denmark's buildings at any hour of the day and for any day of the year. This map was created using the OpenLayers mapping library using height data from Styrelsen for DataForsyning og Effektivisering, the public data agency of the Danish government.

Cool Walks is a really useful route-planning tool which can help you find walking routes across Barcelona which prioritize shady sidewalks and the locations of drinking fountains. Enter your starting point and destination into Cool Walks and it will show you a route which avoids direct sunlight as much as possible. The map includes a shadows layer which allows you to see for yourself where building shadows will be cast at different times of the day.

Monday, April 25, 2022

2022 French Election Maps

Yesterday the people of France, given a choice between a center-right candidate and an extreme right-wing candidate, decided to vote for the center-right politician. Which means that Emmanuel Macron will serve a second term as President of France. 

Two weeks ago, in the first round of voting for the French President, Macron and Le Pen finished first and second from a field of twelve. This led to yesterday's national election between the leaders of the En Marche and the National Rally parties. Macron won yesterday's election with 58.6% of the vote.

You can view a detailed geographical breakdown of the votes cast for each candidate on Le Monde's 2022 Presidential Election Map. This map (pictured above) shows the results won by each candidate at the individual commune level. If you click on a department on the map you can view a detailed breakdown of the number of votes and the percentage of votes cast for each candidate in individual communes. 

Le Monde's map shows that Le Pen was the favorite candidate across much of the north-east of the country and in parts of the south-east. Macron was popular in the west of the country and in much of central France.

The Guardian's French Election 2022 interactive map shows the level of votes cast for the two candidates at the department level. The map uses shades of orange and blue to show the percentage of the vote cast for the leading candidate in the department. If you hover over a department on the map you can view details on the turnout, and the percentage of votes and total number of votes cast for both Macron and Le Pen. 

The Guardian's map, showing results at the department level,  provides a broader brush stroke than Le Monde's map of votes cast at the commune level. However The Guardian map also shows the same geographical pattern of support for both candidates. With Macron faring particularly well in the west and in central France and Le Pen proving popular in the north-east and parts of the south.

Liberation's Results of the Presidential Election includes a cartogram map of the results. This cartogram colors each department by the candidate who received the most votes and scaled by the size of the population.If you click on the 'territoire' button on this cartogram you can view a more traditional map view of the results.

Le Parisien in Six Maps to Understand the Presidential Election attempts to explain the election result in terms of geography and social history. The newspaper points out the Le Pen tended to be more popular in rural areas, while Macron did particularly well in large cities. Another map is used to show where voter turnout was good and bad. The 2022 French Presidential election had the lowest turnout since 1969.

One of the biggest stories of this election is revealed in an Economist map showing the change in support for Le Pen and Macron since the 2017 French Presidential election. In 2017 the election was also a contest between Le Pen and Macron. This means it is possible to compare where in the country support has risen and fallen for the two candidates over the last five years. Despite Macron's victory the Economist's Change Since 2017 map shows that the extreme right candidate gained in popularity across nearly the whole of France. The obvious corollary of this is that support for Macron fell in most areas of France.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Global Warming is Happenng

Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening. According to the Yale Climate Opinion Maps the majority of people in every state in America believes that 'global warming is happening'.

Every year Yale surveys the opinions of Americans, aged 25 and over, about their attitudes, beliefs and policy preferences towards global warming. You can view the results of this year's survey at Yale Climate Opinion Maps. This interactive map visualizes the results at the state, congressional district, metro area, and county levels, allowing you to view how opinion on climate change breaks-down across the country.

According to the 2021 survey West Virginia (57%), Wyoming (58%) and North Dakota (60%) are the states with the lowest percentage of the population believing in global warming. The belief in global warming is strongest in the District of Columbia where 87% of the population believe in global warming. 

The percentage of the entire U.S. population who believe in the truth of global warming is 72%. However only 57% of Americans believe climate change is 'caused by human activities'. As the evidence for global warming has become more and more irrefutable.climate change deniers have shifted away from denying global warming is happening to arguing that it is just natural. The argument that the unprecedented and alarming rate at which the planet is now heating is somehow 'natural' appears to be believed by a worrying number of Americans. 

Since the 2018 Yale Climate Opinion survey the percentage of the people who believe that global warming is happening has risen by 2%. However the percentage of the American population who believe that global warming is caused by human activities has remained exactly the same on 57%. Somehow 43% of the population still believe that the current rate of rising global temperatures is somehow natural.

Ed Hawkins' clever Climate Stripes visualizations show global heating over time. The colorful image shown above uses colored stripes to show the average annual temperatures for every year over the course of more than a century. The result is a very powerful and clear visualization of how temperatures have begun to rise very quickly over the last few years when compared to previous norms. Such a rapid rise in the rate of global warming is unprecedented. It is also completely unnatural and almost completely a result of human activity. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Earth Day Doodles

satellite imagery showing the glacier retreat occurring at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Today's Doodle on the Google homepage features animated time-lapse imagery, providing evidence of the impact of climate change. In honor of Earth Day 2022 Google is displaying four different animated GIF's, each one showing how global heating is effecting one of four different locations around the world. 

If you use Google search today you will see one of these four animated satellite time-lapse clips instead of the Google logo. The four different images will be rotated throughout the day. The timelapse shown at the top of this post uses satellite imagery from 1986 to 2020 to show the retreat of the Kilimanjaro summit glacier. Other timelapses show evidence of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier reef, deforestation in Germany, and glacier retreat in Greenland.

coral bleaching on the Great Barrier reef

The four animated Google Doodle timelapse images were created using Google Earth Timelapse. Google's Timelapse site includes many other examples of timelapse images showing how the Earth has changed over time. It also gives you access to a global interactive map featuring historical satellite imagery from the past 37 years. It is therefore possible to use Google Earth Timelapse to create your own animated timelapse image for any location in the world.

Earth Day is held every year on April 22nd to help promote environmental protection. The official Earth Day website includes news of events, information on climate change, and advice on how you can help protect the planet and contribute to stopping climate change.

You can view all four Earth Day Google Doodle timelapses on the Google Doodle Earth Day page.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

64 Days Since a Global Warming Record

The United States has gone 64 days without a daily temperature record being broken somewhere in the country. On Feb 15th Borger, Texas recorded a temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the hottest Feb 15th in Borger on record. That day was also the last time a record daily temperature was recorded in the United States (at least until the next time a daily temperature record is broken).

The Pudding's Safety First! interactive map is designed to resemble one of those ubiquitous safety record signs that can be seen in factories, building sites and in other work places. These safety record signs usually draw attention to the 'number of days without injury or accident'. The Pudding's interactive Safety First! map copies the format in order to highlight the frequency with which climate records are now being broken.

Thanks to global heating the United States is seeing a record daily temperature record being broken at least every few months somewhere in the country. The Pudding's map uses temperature data collected from the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS). ACIS collects weather data from around 400 U.S. cities. The map updates daily with the latest temperature data. The numbers on the map show the number of days since a daily temperature record was broken at each location across the country. 

Scanning the map there don't appear to be many cities in America which have gone over a year without a daily temperature record having been broken. The big outlier on the map appears to be Bluefiled, WV, which has gone 753 days since a daily temperature record was broken.

The Safety First map can also show you how many days or years since the overall highest ever daily temperature record was set in each U.S. city.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The Las Vegas Building Age Map

Las Vegas was founded in 1907. During the early years of its existence the city had a relatively small population. In 1930, one year before gambling was legalized, the population was 5,165. The city now has a population of over 640,000. Over the last one hundred years a lot of new buildings have had to be built in order to accommodate Las Vegas' expanding population and industry.

You can explore this development of Las Vegas building stock for yourself on the Las Vegas Review's interactive Las Vegas Building Age Map. On this map every building in Las Vegas is colored to show its year of construction. As the Las Vegas Review notes the city's building age map resembles the building age maps of many other cities, with the "oldest real estate ... largely concentrated in centrally located areas, while newer buildings are in its outer rings".

The buildings on the Las Vegas Building Age Map are colored in 20 year stages. The color-key itself is interactive, which means you can click on an individual color on the key to highlight on the map only those buildings which were constructed in the selected 20 year period. You can also click on individual buildings on the map to see their exact year of construction.

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


Tuesday, April 19, 2022


Explordle is a fun geography game which requires you to identify the correct locations shown in a YouTube video. It is kind of like a game of GeoGuessr - except it is played with a video rather than Google Street View. 

The rules of Explordle are very simple. You are shown a video of a random location and all you have to do is pick the correct location from a choice of four. After you have made your guess (whether right or wrong) you can view the actual location of the video on an interactive map. 

What makes Explordle a little harder (for non-Chinese speakers) is that the answers are given in Chinese. This isn't a problem if you use Chrome with Google Translate turned on. In other browsers you can get around any language problems by clicking on the map icon next to each multiple-choice answer (in order to view a map of the location).

If you really can't be bothered playing in Chinese then you could try 'City Guesser' instead. This is an almost identical game - but it is in English. 

Just like Explordle City Guesser is a fun location guessing game, which requires you to identify a location in a video. To play you just need to point to the location depicted on an interactive map. The game shows you a random video of  a location somewhere in the world. You have to pick up on the visual clues in the video (such as the languages & words used in street signs and the design of the street furniture) to identify where you think the video was shot. Once you have made your guess you just need to click on an interactive map and you are awarded points based on how close you got to the location in the video.

Both City Guesser and Explordle (like GeoGuessr) require you to pick-up on visual clues to identify the game location. I like all three games because they rely on a sense of place, requiring you to think about the unique qualities that make a place what it is.

Monday, April 18, 2022

What Two Numbers?

A mysterious new website is causing confusion around the world. Visit What 2 Numbers and you are presented with two seemingly random numbers. 

What is truly spooky is that I have found that if you cut and paste the two numbers presented into Google then you will be shown a map revealing your current location. Eerie!

On a completely unrelated note I really like this xkcd explanation of Coordinate Precision:

If this chart is correct then a coordinate number with five decimal points is accurate to a 'specific person in a room'. 

In other news the controversial global addressing system what3words continues to encourage criticism and parody sites in equal measure. Some of the most popular parodies of what3words include what3emojis and my own WTF (what2figures). In the past there has also been what3pictures and what3pokemon (both no longer exist).

Another popular parody of what3words was what3fucks - which could identify any location on Earth using just three swear words. Unfortunately what3fucks no longer works. But don't be alarmed at the demise of what3fucks - because you can use Four King Maps instead. This global addressing system can create a unique four swear word address for any location in the UK & Ireland (OK - it isn't really global).

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Europe's Refugee Backlog

On the 4th March the European Union enacted a 'special protection system' which gives Ukrainian refugees near-automatic asylum. The system is designed to quickly provide residence & work permits for those fleeing the war in Ukraine. While this is obviously fantastic for anyone fleeing the atrocities and war crimes being carried out by the Russian army it may not be so great for refugees from elsewhere in the world, who even before the invasion of Ukraine were on average facing application delays of around 15 months.

On 31st December 2021 there were 761,060 pending asylum applications across the EU. Civio, a Spanish non-profit organization which monitors public bodies, has taken a closer look at the asylum application backlogs in countries across Europe. The interactive map in Europe welcomes Ukrainian refugees with an asylum system that averages more than 15 months of delay allows you to click on individual EU countries to view how many pending refugee applications there were on 31st December 2021. 

For example if you click on Ireland you can see that on the 31st December there were 6,565 pending refugee applications. This means on average, at the current processing rate, a refugee applying to live in Ireland will have to wait around 2.5 years before their application is even processed. Germany has a backlog of 19.2 months of applications. France has a backlog 14.7 months and in Spain the backlog is 17.4 months. 

When you click on an individual country on the map you can also view a graph showing the number of applications received in the country in each month and the number of pending applications in each month. These graphs show that in many European countries the backlog of refugee applications is growing larger and larger by the month.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Movie Maps

a lot of movies have been set in Chicago

A very good friend of mine will soon be moving from the UK to live in Visalia, California. In preparation for the move I thought it might be fun to watch a movie set in Visalia. I therefore looked up the city on Wikidata's the Narrative Locations of Movies Map.

Larry Clark's controversial movie 'Ken Park' seems to be the only movie that was ever set in the city of Visalia. The only other time that Visalia seems to have appeared in the movies is when the name of the city was briefly seen written on a truck door in 'Big Trouble in Little China'.

It is a shame my friend isn't moving to Chicago. The Narrative Locations of Movies Map shows a lot of movies have been set in the Windy City.  

According to the Film Map of the World the most popular film set in Chicago might be Suicide Squad. The Film Map of the World shows the 10 most Wikipedia'ed films which are set in every country in the world. On the map the ten biggest cities (or highest mountains / point of interests) in each country are labelled to show one of the ten most popular movies which were set in that nation.

You can use the map to find the name of popular films made in the largest cities around the world. Some films are set in more than one location so they may appear in more then one country or city on the map. The top ten films in each country were determined by the average daily number of views of the film's entry on Wikipedia between 2015 and 2019.

The Narrative Location of Movies Map was made with Wikidata. Here is the query which was used to make the map. Of course using the Wikidata Query Service we aren't limited to searching for movies set in our favorite locations. This map shows the Narrative Location of Books and this map shows the Narrative Location of Novels (unfortunately the narrative locations of books and novels hasn't been as well documented on Wikidata as has the narrative location of movies).

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The New Racial Dot Maps of America


The University of Virginia's Racial Dot Map of America has been taken off-line. After 9 years the popular interactive map, visualizing the distribution of race and ethnicity in the US, has finally come to an end. 

In a statement announcing the map's removal the Demographics Research Group at the University of Virginia stated that there are several reasons why the map has now been ended.Chief among these reasons is that the map is now out of date. The Racial Dot Map used data from the 2010 census. The release of the 2020 census data means that the map no longer provides the most accurate story of race in America. Unfortunately the university says that a new map is currently "beyond our organization’s financial and personnel resources."

However there is no need to despair as there are alternative racial dot maps available. Since the release of data from the 2020 census a number of new racial dot maps have been released.

CNN has used the 2020 census data to create their own racial dot map of America. The interactive map in Race and ethnicity across the nation uses colored dots to visualize the population density and racial mix of every neighborhood in the country. Each colored dot on CNN's map represents 150 people from a particular race or ethnic group. The data is mapped to the census tract level and the locations of the dots are randomized within each tract.

Ben Schmidt's All of US is a racial dot map which allows you to compare population data from the 2020 and 2010 US censuses.Zoom in close on this 'dot' map and the colored dots even become Wee People

All of US allows you to compare how the population density and racial mix of neighborhoods has changed over the last decade, since the 2010 census. If you switch between the 2010 and 2020 census data you can see how the racial mix and population densities have changed at the neighborhood level.All of US also includes a number of interesting base map options. For example you can view the 2020 census data overlaid on top of redlining maps from the 1930s. This allows you to see which racial groups now mostly live in neighborhoods which were deemed at risk for lending purposes by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

Esri's Race and Ethnicity in the US by Dot Density also uses the 2020 census to visualize the racial distribution of the U.S. population. On Esri's map each colored dot equals 24 people. 

The University of Virginia's Racial Dot Map of America was also the inspiration for a number of other dot maps visualizing the racial distribution of populations in other countries.

The Racial Dot of Brazil is a Google Map showing the racial distribution of the Brazilian population. Each dot on this map represents one Brazilian. There are over 190 million dots on the map, with each dot colored to show the person's race.

Mapping South Africa with Dot Distribution shows the racial distribution of the population across South Africa and also the first languages spoken by every citizen. This map is based on data from the 2011 South African census.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

AI Generated Maps

Latent Diffusion is a very clever AI powered tool which can create images from a text prompt. Tell Latent Diffusion what you want a picture of and it will generate a synthesized image based on your request.

I asked Latent Diffusion to design some maps in the style of different artists. Here are the (mostly awful) results:

a map painted by Piet Mondrian 
a map of New York painted by Van Gogh

a map in the style of Kandinsky

a map of the US painted by Pablo Picasso

a map of the world painted by Salvador Dali

... and because I'm always looking for a little love I also asked Latent Diffusion for 'a map of the heart'.

Yesterday a lot of the map nerds I follow on Twitter were getting a little excited by a Tweet from Russell Crowe in which he stated, "Maps. I love them. Love reading them , love planning adventures. Love seeing how things relate topographically".

I thought it might be nice to have an image of 'Russell Crowe looking at a map' to accompany this Tweet. I'm not entirely happy with the result.

Of course I've always wanted "a road sign that says 'I love maps'". 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Mapping the French Election

On Sunday the French voted in the first round of the 2022 presidential election. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen emerged as the two leading candidates in the election and will go forward into the second round of voting to be held on 24 April.

Yesterday Le Monde published an interactive map of the election which colors each commune based on the candidate who received the most votes in the first round. Because of the large number of candidates in the first round of the election Le Monde's 2022 Presidential Election Map doesn't portray a particularly clear overview of the votes across France. Because there were 12 different candidates standing in the election and because the map uses very similar colors to represent each candidate the map is a little hard to read at the national level.

A much clearer overview of the geographic patterns in votes cast for the three main candidates emerges in this static map by Dominic Royé. This map only shows the leading three candidates (Macron, Le Pen and Mélenchon) each shown with a different color. When each department is colored to show the candidate who won the most votes out of Macron, Le Pen and Mélenchon a very interesting geographic pattern emerges. Le Pen seems very popular in the north-east and south-east, Macron seems very popular across most of the west of France, while Mélenchon seemed to be the most popular candidate in a lot of departments around Paris. 

However Le Monde's map does win out when you want a more detailed view of the local results. If you click on the newspaper's interactive map you can view a more detailed map of the votes cast in the selected commune. If you hover over an area on the map you can also view the exact number of votes cast for each candidate in that commune.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Exploring Patterns in Placenames

Placename Patterns Using Regular Expressions is an interactive mapping tool for exploring the distribution of different patterns in placenames. For example in the map above I have plotted the distribution of placenames ending in 'thorpe' and 'chester' in the British Isles and placenames starting with 'Beau''. 

The distribution of the placename suffix 'thorpe' (the old Norse word for 'homestead') in the UK seems to match quite closely to the Danelaw (the area settled by the vikings). The 'Chester' suffix (Latin for 'castle' or 'camp') shows that a town or city was likely established by the Romans. The prefix 'Beau' (beautiful) is probably a good sign that a town was established by or settled by the Normans.

The Placename Patterns Using Regular Expressions map can currently plot the distribution of placenames in a number of different countries (the United States, the British Isles, France, Romania, Canada, and Japan).

mapping the link between German placenames and altitude

The 'about' section of the map provides two interesting examples of how Placename Patterns Using Regular Expressions can be used. One example shows the link between German placenames and altitude. The other example visualizes the distribution of places in France whose names end in 'ac' (the -ac placename in France comes from the Gaulish language so towns ending in -ac are most likely to predate the Roman invasion of France). 

An example of exploring placename distributions in the US is this map showing the locations of placenames ending in 'pass'. 'gap' and 'saddle'. This map shows the regional variation in the use of different words for navigable valleys.If you are interested you can explore the distribution of different valley placenames further in John Nelson's map Gap, Pass, Notch and Saddle

Via: weeklyOSM

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Four Seasons in One Map

This animated map shows the temperature of the sea surface changing over the course of one year. Sea surface temperature influences the weather and the climate around the globe. The temperature of the sea effects the temperature of the air above it and influences atmospheric wind, warmth and water content. On the map you can see the cycle of warming and cooling with the passing of the seasons. Ocean currents and circulations can also be seen as the year progresses. 

This animation of sea surface temperatures was created using ESA's Climate from Space interactive map. The Climate from Space map allows you to explore 40 years of climate data from the European Space Agency's Climate Change Initiative.on an interactive globe. The map includes over 20 key climate measures, including cloud cover, CO2 levels, permafrost and global temperatures.

The map includes 40 years of data. So, as well as exploring seasonal climate changes over the course of one year, you can use the map to explore how climate change has effected key climate measures since 1982. The Climate from Space map also includes a number of Climate Stories in which climate scientists help explain the influence of these key climate measures on our climate and their importance in tracking global climate change.

You can also explore how the weather changes through the course of a year on Climatemaps' interactive weather visualization. Climatemaps shows how different weather metrics change over the duration of 12 months across the whole world. The map animates average global monthly climate data from 1961-1990 to show you when every location in the world has its hottest, driest or wettest weather.

You can select from a range of weather layers from the drop-down menu (including precipitation, cloud cover and average temperatures). You can then view the weather data animated on the map through a whole year (you might need to let the animation play through a couple of times before all the monthly layers load completely).

The Digital Sandbox also visualizes the changing seasons on Earth. This time on an interactive 3D globe. The Digital Twin Sandbox includes an animated snow layer visualizing the global levels of snow over the course of one whole year. As the globe spins you can view the levels of snow rising and falling across the whole world during the passing of 365 days. 

If all that snow leaves you feeling cold then you can visualize other data on the interactive globe instead. Foe example, select the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) layer and you can view the growth and fall of vegetation around the world over the course of the year. 

The data for both the snow and vegetation layers visualized on the interactive globe comes from Sentinel-2 satellites. You can read more about how the data can be accessed and how the interactive globe was created on the Sentinel Hub blog post, Digital Twin Sandbox Sentinel-2 collection available to everyone.

Friday, April 08, 2022

The Floating Shiny Knot is Back

One of my favorite Street View experiments (from the days when Street View experiments were all the rage), is back.

Ten years ago I described the Floating Shiny Knot as,

"an impressive experiment using canvas with Street View. The application superimposes an animated shiny knot on top of any Street View image (you can choose a chrome or glass finish for the knot). You can even rotate and drag the Street View around and the Floating Shiny Knot soars to even higher levels of impressiveness."
The original Floating Shiny Knot used the GSVpano.js library to stitch together Google Maps Street View images, from any requested location, into a 360 degree panorama. Unfortunately Google eventually asked for the GSVpano.js library to be removed as it was enabling people to break the terms of the Google Maps API.Thus the original Floating Shiny Knot stopped working (around 9 years ago I think).

Now it is back. The new Floating Shiny Knot uses PanomNom.js (described as 'a spiritual successor to GSVPano.js') to create the Street View panoramas. Despite this change under the hood the new Floating Shiny Knot is essentially the same as the original. Search anywhere in the world (where Google Street View imagery is available) and you can view a 360 degree panorama of the location decorated with a floating shiny knot.