Monday, October 31, 2022

The 30DayMapChallenge is Back

The 2022 30DayMapChallenge begins tomorrow (1st Nov). The idea behind the 30DayMapChallenge is to create a map around a different theme every day of November. You can use any tools or technologies that you want to create your maps (and of course there is no actual requirement that you have to make a map every single day). 

You can view a calendar showing each day's unique theme on the 30DayMapChallenge website. The challenge kicks off tomorrow with the category of 'points'. If you do create a map then you can share it with the world on social media using the hashtag #30DayMapChallenge.

If you would like a little inspiration for your maps then you can refer to the 30DayMapChallenge Portfolio. In the Portfolio section of the 30DayMapChallenge website you can view maps submitted in previous years under each day's theme. The Portfolio includes the maps which received the most likes on Twitter for each day's challenge. 

Brazil Final Election Maps 2022

Brazil yesterday returned former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the leadership. In yesterday's Presidential election the left-wing Lula beat far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in a very close run race. Lula eventually won 50.9% of the votes in a very divisive election. However, despite the at times rancourous election campaign, in his victory speech the new President promised that he will govern for all Brazilians.

Bloomberg's Brazil Election Live Results includes an interactive map showing the results of yesterday's election in each state. On this map the winning candidate in each state is indicated by the color of a scaled circle. The size of each circle represents the number of voters in the state. You can also view the number and percentage of votes cast for each candidate by hovering over a state on the map.

Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo has also published an interactive map of the results. Their Interactive Map of All Cities shows the results down to the city level. Like the Bloomberg map the Folha maps reveal a rough north-south split in support for the two main candidates. The incumbent Bolsanoro won most of his seats in the south of the country, while ex-President Lula proved the most popular candidate in most areas in the north.

The poorer northern regions of Brazil have historically voted in greater numbers for the candidates of the left. The Bloomberg map includes an option to compare this year's election results with the results of 2018 and 2014. This roughly north-south divide in support for the left and right parties is also apparent in the election maps for 2018 and 2014. 

This rough north-south divide in Brazil's political affiliations can also be seen on Globo's Brazil Election Map. This interactive map of the Presidential election again shows the results for each individual electoral area. If you click on a seat on the map you can view the number and the percentage of votes made for each candidate.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Longest Train in the World

In order to celebrate 175 years of the railway in Switzerland today Rhaetian Railway will run the world's longest passenger train. The train will take 4,550 passengers on a journey along the UNESCO World Heritage Albula/Bernina route from Preda to Alvaneu. It is one of the most spectacularly beautiful railway routes in the world and passes over the stunning Landwasser Viaduct.

You can view a simulation of the world-record breaking attempt on the interactive map 1 Train - 100 Carriages. This interactive map animates a representation of the 1,910-metre-long train along the route from Preda to Alvaneu. The animated map includes a number of options which allow you to adjust the speed of the train, and quickly navigate to different points along the route.

a train approaching the Landwasser Viaduct on Street View

If you want a first person view of the train's journey then you can also check out the route on Google Maps Street View.

Friday, October 28, 2022

US Level 0

My social media accounts have been lit up today by people posting their US Level and Europe Level scores. US Level and Europe Level are two very simple interactive maps which can score your globetrotting experience by awarding you points based on the number of states or countries you have visited.

Working out your US Level is very easy. All you have to do is click on each U.S. state and choose whether you have Lived, Stayed, Visited, Stopped, Passed, Want to Visit, or Never Been. You are awarded 5 points for having lived in a state, 4 points for having stayed, 3 points for having visited, 2 points for having stopped and 1 point for having passed. Your final US Level is calculated based on your total score.

The US Level and Europe Level maps were inspired by the original China Hegemony Generator. The China Hegemony Generator is a very similar interactive map which can give you a score for your travels in China based on which provinces you have visited.

If you truly are a global trotter then you might want to work out your Global Domination score. The Global Domination Generator is another map inspired by the original China Hegemony Generator. This time however you get to play on the world stage (country placename labels in Chinese). 

If you live in Japan then you might also want to try the JapanEx version of this popular new format.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Lost Rainforests of Britain

The Lost Rainforests of Britain is an interactive map of the surviving temperate rainforests of the United Kingdom.  Around 20% of Great Britain has a climate which is wet and mild enough to sustain a temperate rainforest. However less than 1% of modern Britain is covered by temperate rainforest.

Temperate rainforests exist in temperate zones that receive heavy rain. They grow mainly in oceanic moist regions, for example the Pacific temperate rain forests of the North American Pacific Northwest and the Appalachian temperate rainforest. According to The Lost Rain Fotrests of Britian temperate rainforests "are very damp woodlands – so damp that plants grow on other plants. ... If you want to recognise temperate rainforest in Britain, the key indicator is an abundance of mosses, lichens and polypody ferns festooning the branches and trunks of trees."

According to The Lost Rainforests of Britain the UK's surviving temperate rainforest fragments exist mainly on the west coast, in Cornwall, Wales, North-west England and West Scotland. The interactive map also includes a layer which shows Britain's 'Rainforest Zone', the areas of the country where the climate supports the existence of temperate rainforests. The map also contains layers to display public records of different species of mosses, liverworts and lichens that are considered to be good indicators of temperate rainforest.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Mega Mega Warehouse Map

The growth of online shopping has led to a huge rise in the construction of massive regional distribution and storage facilities around the country. The location of these mega warehouses can have a huge impact on local communities, leading to increased levels of air and noise pollution and increased traffic.

Mega warehouses tend to get built where zoning is welcoming and land is cheap. This means that the impact of these storage facilities is often felt more by those on low incomes and by communities of color. 

According to the Sierra Club there are currently 39,116 warehouses and distribution centers larger than 100,000 square feet in the United States. You can view the distribution of these mega warehouses on the Sierra Club's interactive map Is There a Mega Warehouse Near You? 

The map shows the locations of 'mega warehouses' with a footprint over 100,000 square feet. When zoomed out the map uses arrowed placename labels to highlight six urban hotspots where the Sierra Club has analyzed the location of mega warehouses in relation to the local community's racial and economic makeup.

For example in California's Inland Empire a scatterplot is used to show how 75.1% of mega warehouses in the region are in majority non-white areas and 20.2% of mega warehouses are in majority non-white & low income neighborhoods. Select an individual warehouse on the map and you can also find out the number of residents living within 5 miles of its location, the percentage of those residents who are non-white and the percentage who are low-income.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Mapping the Australian Census

A quarter of Australians were born overseas and almost half have a parent who was born abroad. You can view the top country of birth (excluding those born in Australia) in Australian suburbs on SBS News's interactive map How Mulitcultural is Your Suburb?

The SBS News map uses the latest 2021 census data to show the overseas country where the most people in each suburb were born. On the map each suburb is labeled with the name of the country where the most people were born. Other maps in the SBS News article also show the top languages (excluding  English) spoken at home in each suburb, and the top religion in each suburb.

According to the 2021 census India is the third largest country of birth of Australians, after Australia and England. Mandarin however continues to be the most common language spoken at home in Australia (after English). Although Punjabi has seen the largest increase of languages spoken at home since the 2016 census. 

Australian men don't do housework. The Australian 2021 census reveals that across Australia women are expected to do the washing, cooking, cleaning and laundry. The census found that in only one postcode area in the whole country (Oodnadatta) are men and women doing equal amounts of unpaid housework. Even in homes where women earn more than men it is the women who do more unpaid housework. 

ABC News has also used data from the 2021 census to explore how Australian neighborhoods compare. An interactive map in What Australia’s 2021 Census reveals about the changing face of our neighbourhoods allows you to enter your postcode to view local data on the age profile & gender ratio, on people's religions, on country of birth and on the amount of housework carried out by both men & women.

The 2021 census results show that for the first time, first and second-generation migrants to Australia make up the majority of the population (51.5%). If you enter your postcode into the interactive map you can view the neighborhoods of your city colored by the top country of birthplace outside of Australia. In the state capital cities England remains the country of origin (outside of Australia) for the majority of people.  However each of these cities have areas where migrants from other countries make up the majority of first and second-generation Australians. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

The New Global Air Pollution Report

The Swiss air quality technology company IQAir has released the first major global air quality report using the new air pollution guidelines from the World Health Organization. The 2021 World Air Quality Report tracks the air quality in 6,475 cities in 117 countries.

The IQAir report is accompanied by an interactive map which allows you to view the 2021 PM2.5 average in each city and to view where it ranks in comparison to the other 6,474 cities in the report, based on its levels of air pollution.

In 2021 only 222 cities around the world reported average air quality that would meet the WHO’s guideline for safe PM2.5 levels. Of the world's capital cities New Delhi, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh recorded the average worst air pollution. Bangladesh, Chad and Pakistan have the worst population weighted air pollution levels of individual countries. In the United States Los Angeles has the worst air pollution of the cities featured in the report.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Mapping in Time & Space

The ESA Star Mapper visualisation is an interactive map of the Universe. It allows you to explore in 3D 59,921 stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue

If you select the 'Motion' option at the bottom of the map you can view an animated visualiztion of how stars move through space. You can orient yourself on the map by turning on star names, the outline of the constellations, and/or a graticule of grid lines.

If you select the 'Explore' option you can also turn on star colors. The colours used are based on the Harvard Spectral classification OBAFGKM and relate to each star's surface temperature.


The area of the universe that we can observe from Earth consists of around 200 billion galaxies. You can also explore this observable universe on Google Sky. This interactive uses a Google Maps interface to enable you to explore the stars.

The Google Sky map is made up a mosaic of images of stars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Digitized Sky Survey and the Hubble Space Telescope.



You can explore a little closer to home on NASA's Your Galactic Neighborhood. This is a digital orrery which shows the real-time position of the planets in our solar system. Like a traditional mechanical orrery Your Galactic Neighborhood provides a model of the Solar System which shows the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons.

As well as visualizing the position of the planets and moons Your Galactic Neighborhood shows the real-time position of some of NASA's spacecraft. For example you can see the current position of the Parker Solar Probe, which is on target to pass through the Sun's atmosphere closer to the Sun's surface than any spacecraft before.

If you select a planet or moon on NASA's digital orrery you can view a 3D model of the planet. This close-up view includes information on the planet, its moons and distance from the sun. It also includes a link to NASA's dedicated page on the selected planet.

NASA don't seem to have a direct link to its digital orrery. To access Your Galactic Neighborhood you need to click on the small animated solar system graphic in the header of NASA's Solar System Exploration website.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Minard's Map of Worldwide Migration

Charles Joseph Minard is probably most famous for his visualization of Napoleon's march on Moscow. Charles Minard was a pioneer of the use of graphics in engineering and statistics and his flow map of the French army’s loss during Napoleon’s campaign against Russia in 1812-13 is rightly seen as a classic of data visualization. During his March on Moscow Napoleon faced freezing temperatures and starving conditions (the Russian army burnt anything that might feed or shelter Napoleon's army as it retreated). Minard's flow map visualizes this eastward march of Napoleon's army, showing where units split off and rejoined, the freezing temperatures and the ever declining size of his army.

Perhaps less well known is Minard's flow map 'Emigrants of the World' (shown above) which visualizes the global movement of migrants in the year 1858.

This map was published at a very interesting time of global migration. Slavery had been abolished in Britain in 1838 and in France in 1848. Because of this there had been a reduction in migration from Africa to the plantations in the Americas and elsewhere. To compensate for the reduction in slave labor indentured workers from India and China were instead contracted to work in the plantations in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean.

Elsewhere the discovery of gold in Australia and California in the early 1850s was another driver of global migration. It led to a direct increase in migration from Europe and China to both California and Australia as poor migrants sought to make their fortunes overseas. 

You can view my interactive version of Minard's 1858 Emigrants of the World flow map on Minard's Flow Map. On this interactive version of the data visualization I have displayed Minard's map using the Leaflet.js mapping library. Nearly all of the 'colored zones' on this map are interactive. If you click on any one of these colored flow lines you can read an explanation of why people in 1858 were moving from the origin country to the flow line's destination country.


You can explore an interactive version of Minard's March on Moscow on TASS's story map 1812 - When Napoleon Ventured East. This interactive map uses MapboxGL's oblique view and an extruded polygon to create a 3d version of Minard's flow-map on top of a modern map of eastern Europe. The shrinking height of the polygon as it moves eastwards visualizes the dwindling size of Napoleon's army. As you progress through 1812 this 3d flow-map is drawn directly on to the modern interactive map while the accompanying text provides an historical account of Napoleon's campaign. 

1812 - When Napoleon Ventured East is therefore far more than just a modern reworking of Minard's flow-map. It is also an in-depth history of Napoleon's campaign. The TASS map explores the background to Napoleon's March on Moscow and provides a detailed account of the campaign and the many reasons for its failure.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Climate Change & Global Conflict

As global climate change begins to have a direct impact on regional and local ecosystems we are likely to witness incressed human conflict over the control of dwindling natural resources. Climate & Conflict is a new website developed by the German Foreign Office which explores how deteriorating climate conditions could directly lead to food insecurity, increasing food prices and an increase in human conflict around the world.

Climate and Conflict has identified a number of 'hotspot' regions around the world where a combination of climate change, social conditions and ongoing conflicts leave people especially vulnerable to increasing levels of conflict as global heating intensifies. Climate & Conflict believes that in these areas climate change is likely to"exacerbate existing tensions and grievances ... may affect the duration and intensity of existing conflicts ... (and be) a potential threat multiplier".

Climate & Conflict go on to take a closer look at landuse conflicts in Nigeria to show how climate change may already be leading to increased human conflict. In the Sahel region of Nigeria climate change has led to changing crop cycles and has directly resulted in increased conflict between herders and farmers over productive land. 

Rising temperatures associated with human induced climate change has led to increasingly dryer and less fertile soil in Sahel. This has in turn led to lower crop yields and failing crops. Using a series of maps Climate & Conflict demonstrates how grassland and cropland have both deteriorated over time in Sahel as a result of global heating. They also use mapped visualizations to show how Nigeria has responded to this challenge through more intensified crop farming and how this has decreased the areas of grassland needed by nomadic herders. 

Finally, by plotting the location of violent conflicts involving herders between 2000 and 2001, Climate & Conflict show how the pressures of changing land use inflicted by climate change are leading to increased violent conflict between different herders and farmers.


As the planet warms issues like water scarcity and the economic insecurity resulting from climatic volatility are heightening existing tensions between different regions and countries. The non-profit organization CrisisGroup has also mapped out where and how climate change is already leading to diplomatic and military conflicts around the world. 

In How Climate Change Fuels Deadly Conflict CrisisGroup has mapped the risk factors of future conflicts arising from dwindling resources. Using the MapBox storymap template CrisisGroup also takes a close look at where climate change and global heating are already exacerbating existing tensions between countries. Concentrating on Africa the map examines a number of conflicts which are now being heightened as a result of climate change.

Many countries in Africa are already experiencing climatic distress resulting in resource competition and the displacement of people. These issues are in turn leading to conflict and heightened security risks. For example in South Sudan three consecutive years of extreme flooding has led to food and economic scarcity and the displacement of over half a million people. Elsewhere the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has led to diplomatic conflicts between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. As climate change worsens and downstream Nile water supplies are threatened these conflicts have the possibility of escalating into more serious disputes. 

You can read more about CrisisGroup's work on how climate change could fuel conflict around the globe on the groups' Climate Change and Conflict page. This includes the group's suggestions as to "how policymakers might best influence and respond to these complex changes to mitigate conflict risks".

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Space Junk 2.0

Zeit has created an amazing 3D simulation of the destruction of the Iridium-33 satellite in 2009. On Feb 10th 2009 a malfunctioning Soviet-era satellite smashed into Iridium-33 at ten times the speed of a flying bullet. The crash shattered both satellites and turned them into two clouds of debris containing more than 1,700 pieces of space junk. Even now, 13 years later, that debris is still orbiting the Earth, and makes up just a tiny part of the garbage that is now littering Earth's near space.

This 3D simulation in the article Space Junk: Our Garbage is Space is used to help illustrate the growing problem of space debris and the danger that it creates to other space missions. The article also includes a 3D visualization of the millions of pieces of space debris now in low Earth orbit, in medium Earth orbit and further out in geo-stationary orbit around the Earth. In total there are around 130 million particles of debris now littering space. 
As you progress through Zeit's Space Junk visualization different colors are used to show the different types of space debris now in orbit around the Earth. These include burned out rockets, defective satellites, collision splinters, and other scraps of space debris. All of which race around the Earth threatening the safety of satellites and manned space capsules. 


In November 2021 Russia fired a missile at one of its own satellites, exploding it into over 1,500 pieces of large orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris. This debris caused pandemonium aboard the International Space Station, where the seven crew members were forced to shelter in capsules. Luckily (and purely by chance) the debris passed by the ISS without causing any damage. This incident helped to highlight the growing problem of space junk. 

In How Space Debris Threatens Modern Life the Financial Times explores the growing problem of pollution in Earth's low orbit. According to NASA there is around 9,000 tonnes of debris now floating around Earth at speeds of up to 25,000 km an hour. In its scrollytelling visualization the Financial Times maps out the tens of thousands of satellites now in low Earth orbit and explores some of the dangers to modern life from the increasing amount of junk accompanying those still active satellites.

Monday, October 17, 2022

How Climate Change Affects Bird Migration

The Copernicus Earth Observation Programme has been examining how climate change is affecting the migratory habits of a number of different species of birds. Human created climate change is having a huge effect on wildlife and the ecosystems on which we and they depend. Around 50% of bird species migrate, traveling huge distances between breeding and wintering grounds. These migratory patterns are influenced by environmental triggers, such as the length of the day and changing temperatures. 

In Birds in a Changing World the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme uses a number of animated interactive maps to show how global warming is affecting the migratory patterns of a number of specific bird species. In particular maps are used to show how the migration dates of Barn Swallows, Black Kites, European Bee Eaters and White Storks have changed over the last 40 years in repsonse to changes in the climate.

You can learn more about the migration patterns of American bird species on the impressive Bird Migration Explorer. The Bird Migration Explorer is a new interactive map that visualizes the migratory patterns of 458 bird species that breed in the United States and Canada. Using the map you can explore the journeys of individual bird species and discover when different species of birds are likely to migrate through your town or city.
 
The Bird Migration Explorer allows you to view animated maps showing the full migration of these 458 species of birds. Enter a location into the interactive map and you can also discover which bird species migrate to or through that location and what time of year that they are most likely to be seen.

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

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

Benjamin Becquet has used data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to create a mesmerizing animated map visualizing the annual migration patterns of ten different bird species. His Bird Tracking Map uses time-stamped GPS data to reveal the annual migratory journeys of ten different species traveling between Africa and Europe. 

Press the play button on Benjamin's map and you can watch how these different bird species journey back and forth between northern Europe and southern Europe/Africa over the course of a single year. As the map animates through the year the Spring and Autumn migratory patterns of each species of bird becomes apparent on the map.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Mapping the Growth of a City in 3D

Zurich 4D is an interactive 3D map of Switzerland's largest city. The map was developed by the city's Building Department in order to provide a freely accessible 3D model of the city. 

The Zurich 4D map allows you to explore more than 50,000 buildings in Zurich in glorious 3D and is used by the city for planning construction projects, modeling noise pollution, and city planning etc. What interests me more however is that Zurich 4D is also being used to show how the city of Zurich developed over the centuries. Currently, as well as the 3D map of the modern city, Zurich 4D also includes digital 3D models of the city in 3000 BC and in 1800. Alongside the modern 3D map of the city these two historical maps provide a fascinating insight into how the city of Zurich has developed over time.

If you closely explore the ancient 3000 BC model of Zurich you might be able to spot a few Neolithic stilt houses nestled among the trees. The 3D model of the city in 1800 shows a city which is still largely confined within its medieval city walls. Skip forward to view the 3D model of the modern city and it is now hard to even discern the location of the historic city walls amongst the modern sprawl of Zurich. 


The historical maps in Zurich 4D remind me a little of Welikia Project's Beyond Manhatta map. This interactive map displays Manhattan Island and its native wildlife, as it would have looked in 1609. The map allows you to explore New York's original natural landscape of hills, valleys, forests, wetlands, salt marshes, beaches, springs, ponds and streams. 

Beyond Manhatta was developed by consulting the earliest historical maps of Manhattan Island. The historical environmental conditions were also determined by taking soil surveys and examining tree rings. These surveys were reinforced by early historical accounts of New York, that were consulted for descriptions of the natural environment which existed before the city's development.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

How to Lie With Maps

Nicholas Lambert has created an excellent demonstration of how easy it is to lie with maps. His interactive visualization of France's national strike allows you to customize the appearance of the turnout based on your own political persuasion. The map helps to underline the truth that design choices made when creating data visualizations can have profound effects on the messages that they ultimately convey.

How to Lie With Maps is an interactive map which visualizes the number of demonstrators who turned out in towns across France on 29th September during a national strike by workers. The map includes one simple user control which allows you to adjust the size of the map's proportional symbols. These proportional symbols represent the numbers of demonstrators attending at each location. 

By adjusting the scale used to size the proportional symbols it is very easy to adjust the story of the national strike. For example the 40,000 demonstrators reported in Paris can be represented by a huge circle over the French capital if you want to suggest that the demonstration was a huge success. Alternatively, if you want to suggest that the day of action was a failure you could instead use a very tiny circle to represent the 40,000 Parisian demonstrators. 

To help emphasise that data visualization design choices can be very ideological Nicholas's interactive map even changes the map heading when you adjust the size of the proportional symbols. Choose big circles and the map heading reads 'A Successful Day for the Unions!' Choose tiny circles and the heading instead reads 'The Big Failure'. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Declassified US Nuclear Targets

I would love to see a list of Russia's nuclear targets. Although where I live any four-minute warning of an immenient Russian attack wouldn't give me enough time to do anything except say goodbye to the world. 

Unfortunately I can't get my hands on Putin's latest plans for Armegeddon. What I can do is browse through a map of locations chosen as nuclear targets by the United States in the 1950s. The Future of Life Institute has mapped 1100 Declassified U.S. Nuclear Targets. This map shows you all the locations in Eastern Europe, Russia, China, and North Korea targeted by the United States, according to a recently declassified list from 1956. 

The Future of Life Institute has partnered with NukeMap to include an assessment of the possible casualties which could have occurred at each one of these 1100 locations if a nuclear weapon had ever been launched. If you click on one of the marked locations and select the detonate link you can simulate a nuclear explosion at that location. You can even choose what kind of nuclear weapon that you would like to detonate. 

New Maps of Westeros & Middle-earth

Amazon Prime's The Rings of Power is an epic tale which involves multiple charachters and plot-lines. So far we have been introduced to hobbits, dwarves, elves and humans. All of whom seem to be involved in their own individual journeys through Middle-earth. The show itself often uses maps to help illustrate these epic journeys being undertaken by the show's major characters. 

You can now also follow these Middle-earth journeys on an online interactive map. The Rings of Power Interactive Map is a very useful way to try to keep abreast of all the latest developments in Amazon's on-going series. The map features animated journey lines of some of the show's major journeys so you can follow along with the stories of Nori, Galadriel, Halbrand, Elrond, Elendil and Arondir. 

The map also includes a handy episode timeline which allows you to follow these individual journeys episode by episode.  If you select an individual episode on this timeline the map highlights the important Middle-earth locations featured in that episode. If you click on these location map markers you can learn more about each featured location. 

One of the many highlights from The Rings of Power have been the sumptuous and sweeping transitions from a map of Middle-earth straight into filmed (CGI) footage of the actual Middle-earth landscapes.  For example (shown above) in episode two when Elrond and Celebrimbor travel from Eregion (the Realm of the Elven Smiths) to Khazad-dûm (the Realm of the Dwarves) the journey is shown on a Tolkein inspired map of Middle-earth. 

If you want to explore these locations for yourself then the LOTR Project is another fantastic resource. The interactive map on the LOTR Project uses place names from the Third Age. The Rings of Power is set in the Second Age and many of the place-names used during this era have long since gone out of use by the time of the Third Age. 

For example Khazad-dûm is labeled Moria on the LOTR Project map (in the Second Age the dwarves were forced to leave Khazad-dûm. Subsequently this dark, empty underground kingdom became known as Moria, the Black Pit). Therefore if you want to find Khazad-dûm on the LOTR Project interactive map you need to search for Moria (the elven realm of Erigion can be found directly to the west of Moria on the map).  

If you want to have a better sense of the many locations featured in all the episodes of the House of the Dragon then you can refer to HBO's own interactive Map of Westeros. The first two episodes take place mainly at King's Landing. If you click on King's Landing on the interactive map you can learn more about some of the key locations in the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms. 

In the second episode Prince Daemon has taken up home at Dragonstone. A key scene of episode two takes place on Dragonstone, which you can find on the HBO map north-west of King's Landing at the entrance to Blackwater Bay.

Monday, October 10, 2022

The 2022 Austrian Election Maps

Alexander Van der Bellen appears to have won a clear majority in yesterday's election in Austria, winning a second six-year term as President. Van der Bellen is a previous leader of the Green Party. In the 2016 Presidential election he ran as an 'independent candidate', however his candidancy was supported by the Green Party.

Current projections suggest that Van der Bellen will receive around 56% of the vote (an increase of around 2.2% on the 2016 election). His nearest rival, of the far-right FPO, is projected to achieve 17.9% of the vote. By achieving over 50% of the vote Van der Bellen will be directly voted President and will avoid having to enter a second round of voting. 

Austrian newspaper Österreich has published an interactive map which visualizes the 2022 Presidential election at the individual electoral ward level, at the district level and at the state level. The state level map shows the large levels of support for Van der Bellen across nearly the whole country. The incumbent won over 50% of the vote in every state except for the southern state of Kärnten.

23degrees has also released an interactive map of the 2022 Presidential Election. This map allows you to view the number of votes cast for each candidate at the individual ward level. For example the screenshot above shows the number of votes cast for the FPO's Walter Rosenkranz in each electoral district.

Italy's Election Map Street by Street

voter turnout in Turin 2018 & 2022

Voting Street by Street is an interactive map which allows you to analyze the 2022 Italian General Election results down to the street level in four of Italy's largest cities. The map allows you to explore which party voters supported at the hyper-local level and compare the results to previous elections. The map also allows you to compare voter turnout and support with a number of demographic and economic variables.

The 63.9% turnout for the 2022 election was a record low. It was a full 9% below the turnout for the 2018 election. Using Voting Street by Street it is possible to view a side-by-side comparison of the 2018 and 2022 election turnouts. You can also compare the voter turnout percentages to local demographic and economic factors. My superficial reading of the Voting Street by Street map is that voter turnout tended to be highest in the center of Italy's major cities and lowest in the suburbs. Comparing the turnout data to the socio-economic census data suggests that voter turnout also tended to be lowest among the economically disadvantaged.

Voting Street by Street also allows you to view the support for each of the main political parties at a hyper-local level. Using the map you can compare each party's support at the street level in the 2022 and 2018 elections. You can also compare support for each party with the socio-economic and demographic variables (for example to see if there is a correlation between unemployment and voting for the Brothers of Italy).

You can view a number of national maps of the 2022 Italian election on the Italian Election Maps post on Maps Mania.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Watercolor World

Watercolor World has added the Scott Polar Research Institute's collection of watercolor paintings to its interactive map of watercolor paintings. Watercolor World is an interactive map and free online database of documentary watercolour paintings, all of which were painted before 1900.

The Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge owns a large collection of polar paintings by painter-explorers such as Edward Wilson and Captain Walter William May. You can now browse and view a selection of these polar paintings on Watercolor World.

Of course the Watercolor World interactive map doesn't restrict itself to polar paintings. In fact one of the great joys of Watercolor World is searching for historical watercolor paintings of locations near your own home. Using the interactive map you can search for watercolour paintings of your favorite locations. It is also possible to search Watercolour World's huge collection of digitized paintings by artist name, by art museum collection, by category or by tag.

Also See 

Ukiyo-e Map - an interactive map of geo-located prints by the Japanese artist Hiroshige 
Place to Paint - the interactive map for artists to share the locations where they paint and the artworks which they have created at those locations

Friday, October 07, 2022

Maps Sans Frontieres

Russia's interactive maps no longer have country borders. If you visit Russia's online map service Yandex you may notice something a little odd, especially if you are trying to find the international border between two neighboring countries. This is because Yandex no longer displays country borders on its map. 

The Moscow Times quotes a Yandex spokeperson as saying that the decision has been taken to drop international borders in order to "focus on natural features rather than on state boundaries. Our task is to display the world around us. So the map will show mountains, rivers, and other data usually found on such maps".

It isn't uncommon for interactive map companies to have issues with international borders. Google Maps for example may show you different international boundaries depending on which country you are accessing the map from. For example, according to The Guardian, if you

"Look at the Crimean peninsula on Google Maps UK – it’s separated from Ukraine by a dark-grey dotted line to mark a disputed border. Look at it on Ukrainian Google Maps and the dotted line is light-grey, of the sort used to demarcate states. On Google Maps Russia? A solid black country border, showing Crimea as part of the country."

What is unusual however is for an interactive map provider to remove international borders completely. As the Moscow Times reports Yandex's decision to drop international borders from its map coincided with the decision by pro-Kremlin officials to hold fake referendums in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine in order to try and illegally annex these territories.

The removal of all international borders by Yandex does suggest that there is no limit to Putin's ambition. If Russia's neighbors were not already worried about Putin's future plans they probably are now. The only people who are probably sleeping a little easier after this decision by Yandex are Russian cartographers.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Parkulator

Parkulator is an interactive mapping tool which allows you to discover how much of your town is dedicated to parking lots, golf courses, brownfield sites, solar generators or parks.

If you draw an area on the Parkulator map you can choose to find out how much of that area's real-estate is claimed by parking lots (or golf courses, brownfield sites, solar generators or parks). Parkulator will also tell you how much housing or how many parks could be built instead on that area of land.

USA Parking Lots is an interactive map of the United States which blacks out every single parking lot in the country. Of course because this is America it means that if you zoom in on a major city the map displays a lot of black polygons.

Using USA Parking Lots you can quickly see which areas of your town or city have a high concentration of parking lots. You can then draw this area onto the Parkulator map to find out how many homes you could build in this area or how much parkland you could have if your city had better public transportation and dedicated bike lanes. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Why Trump Voters Eat at Wendy's

The Washington Post's Department of Data has discovered a curious correlation between the number of chain restaurants in a state and the number of Trump voters. Apparently the state's with the highest percentage of Trump voters also have the most franchise foods.

The Department of Data obviously knows that correlation isn't causation and that a tendency to vote for delusional wannabe dictators is not a direct result of poor nutritional choices. They therefore went looking for correlations between chain restaurants and other data. 

In the article Places in America with the most chain restaurants the Washington Post has published a number of interactive maps. For example at the top of this post you can see a screenshot of the most common restaurant cuisine in each state. One of the most interesting maps in the article is a map of the percentage of workers who commute by motor vehicle in each U.S. county.

According to the Washington Post alongside the strong correlation of the number of chain restaurants and Trump voters there is also a strong correlation between the number of chain restaurants in a state and the number of people who commute by motor vehicle. They therefore conclude that Trump won more counties with a high number of chain restaurants because he 'won more of the places with the most car commuters'.

The Post doesn't draw any conclusions from this, saying 'We still aren’t sure why Trump won areas with more car commuters'. Personally I strongly suspect that it may be tied to the urban-rural divide in Democrat and Republican support which manifests in nearly every election (i.e. rural Americans are more likely to have to commute by motor vehicle that urban Americans). 

However the Post does have a good explanation of why there are more chain restaurants in areas with the most motor vehicle commuters. They explain how highways and chain restaurants have been closely linked since the earliest days of the interstate highway. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Mapping the World's Public Transport

Transitland's Global Transit Map is an interactive map which shows the extent of public transport systems around the world. The map uses publicly available GTFS transit feeds to create a map of each city's transit systems.

Transitland aggregates feeds from over 2,500 operators in over 55 countries. However because transitland relies on the published GTFS feeds of public transit systems its coverage can be patchy or non-existent in some countries. 

Because GTFS has been widely adopted in the USA transitland can be used to compare the transit systems of American cities. For example in the screenshot above I have compared the public transport systems of Boston, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. (based on their published GTFS feeds).

Transitfeeds is another web service which aggregates the GTFS transit feeds of cities around the world. Both transitland and transitfeed provide their own APIs which allow you to programatically access their aggregated GTFS feeds. This means that you can use both transitfeed and transitland to download information on public transport systems around the world, including stop locations and route geometries.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Using CSS Filters for Custom Map Designs

Darren Wien's Mapbox Binoculars is a fun interactive map which gives you a view of planet Earth as it might appear standing on the Moon with a pair of binoculars. Using the map's binocular controls you can zoom in on any location and bring into and out of focus.

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

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

You can view more CSS filter effects applied to an interactive map on Blurd. On this map CSS filter effects are applied to blur and unblur the map when you pan and zoom around the world. This is another experimental map from Darren Wiens. Both Blurd and Mapbox Binoculars use CSS filter effects to bring the map into and out of focus.

Steve Attewell has also used CSS filter effects in his Mapbox Camera Lens Effect map. This time CSS filters are used to create a tilt-shift effect and to apply a blur effect to the map. The map includes a button which allows you to turn the camera effect on & off.

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

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