Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Build Your Own Subway Map

The map above shows the new metro system I've been designing for Dallas, Texas. I've decided that Dallas needs more of its DART light rail network to run underground. I've therefore been using MetroDreamin' to design the subway network that Dallas truly deserves.

MetroDreamin' is a tool for designing the subway system of your dreams. If you've ever wished that your town had a large underground rail network then you can now actually design one for yourself. You can use MetroDreamin' to map out your town's ideal subway transit system, with multiple lines and as many stations as your passengers will need. Once mapped out all that remains is to raise a few billion dollars and to buy a few spades. 

Using MetroDreamin' it is simple to build a subway system map for any location in the world. This easy-to-use map creation tool allows you to add different colored lines to your town and to add stations at any location. To add a station you simply need to click on the map where you wish it to be located. MetroDreamin' will automatically name your new station using the name of the nearest road (although you can rename the station if you wish). Once you have added a station you simply need to select which colored subway line(s) you wish it to serve and it will be automatically connected to the rest of your emerging subway network. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

The Real-Time NYC Subway Map

The Weekendest - Real-Time New York City Subway Map shows you the real-time location of trains on New York's vast subway network. 

If you select a station on the Weekendest subway map you can discover how long until the next trains are due to arrive in each direction. You can also see where those trains actually are in real-time on the map. Select a train on the map and you can not only view its current location but you can see how far behind schedule it is and view its estimated arrival time at each station along its route.

The Weekendest uses real-time GTFS-RT data provided by the MTA. If you click on a line on the map you can view all the current delays, service changes and service irregularities which are currently affecting that line. 

If you prefer traveling by bus then you should have a look at the MTA's real-time map of bus locations. MTA Bus Time is a Google Map that shows the live position of buses on New York's bus system. The bus locations are determined by on-board GPS. 

It is possible to search the MTA Bus Time map by intersection, bus route or individual bus stop. If you click on an individual bus you can also view its next three scheduled stops.

If you are a fan of live real-time maps of train networks then you might also like:

Travic - animated maps of over 700 transit systems around the world
OSM Tchoutchou - shows real-time trains in France, Ireland, Denmark and Finland
Train Map - a live map of the Belgium rail network
Réseau SNCF en Temps Réel - the live position of all SNCF's trains throughout France
Swiss Railways Network - the original real-time map of Swiss trains
Trafimage - the entire public transit network of Switzerland in real-time
Mini Tokyo 3D - a live real-time map of Tokyo's public transit system (in 3D)
Zugverfolgung - real-time train tracking in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Lightship Earth

Dutch broadcasting company KRO-NCRV has released an interactive map which visualizes light pollution in the Netherlands. Spaceship Earth allows you to enter any address in the Netherlands to discover how many stars can be seen from that location. The map also explores some of the most (and least) light polluted areas in the country.

Spaceship Earth begins with a little scrollytelling tour of the Netherlands which uses night-time satellite imagery to visualize the scale of the light pollution in the country. This tour takes you to the Westland, where huge greenhouses are lit up at night (to speed-up the growth of crops) and which severely limit the number of stars which can be seen at night. The tour also takes you to the Drenkelingenhuisje dark sky park, where it is possible to see more than 10,000 stars at night.

If you scroll to the end of Spaceship Earth you can enter a Dutch postcode or address to see how many stars are visible at that location. The colors of buildings on the map reflect the number of stars which can be observed in the night sky from there. If you zoom in and click on any individual building an information window will reveal the exact number of stars that are visible from the selected building.

If you live outside of the Netherlands then you can explore the Light Pollution Map to find out more about light pollution in your country. In fact this interactive map allows you to explore the whole world as it appears at night using VIIRS (infrared imaging) data collected by satellites.

Friday, February 24, 2023

A Year of War in Ukraine

On February 24th last year Russia lauched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As a result of Putin's illegal war at least 200,000 people have been killed or injured. In Ukraine over 13 million people have been forced to abandon their homes, and many buildings, cultural artifacts and important infrastructure have been destroyed by the invading Russian army. 

Most media outlets today are marking the anniversery of Russia's invasion with some kind of summary of Ukraine's heroic year long resistance to Russian aggession. Among the best of these is the Grid's Ukraine, One Year at War: An Interactive Timeline of the Conflict

Using an interactive timelined map the Grid has mapped the progress of Russia's invasion so far. This interactive map features a calendar control which allows you to recount the war in Ukraine day-by-day in chronological order. As you scroll through the article the map updates to show the areas which were under Russian or Ukrainian control by date. Significant dates in the conflict are highlighted in grey on the calendar control. When you scroll to these important dates information windows on the map are used to provide background context to the unfolding invasion and to Ukraine's resistance. 

Over the past twelve months news organizations have published many interactive maps to document the progress of the war and to monitor the war crimes being committed by the Russian army. Links to some of these maps can be found by exploring the Ukraine tag on Maps Mania.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Mapping Fictional Spy Balloons

The map above shows the paths of a dozen spy balloons as they travel across the United States. At least that is what the creators of the Spy Balloon Simulator want you to think. They really don't want you to think that the USA is being attacked by a fleet of extra-terrestrial UFOs.

The Spy Balloon Simulator allows you to launch an imagined spy balloon anywhere in the world and view its possible flight path over a 20 day period. The simulated flight path is calculated using atmospheric data from ERA5, produced by the Copernicus Climate Change Service. At the bottom of the map are some time controls which allow you to see the simulated balloon's position along its calculated flight path for any hour during the 20 day period. 

Of course just because the map is called the Spy Balloon Simulator and uses balloon markers doesn't mean that the mapped objects are actual simulated spy balloons. In my mind they are just as likely to be fictional flying saucers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Depopulation Pyramids

During the colonization of the United States museums and the federal government routinely stole the human remains of Indigenous people. Many of America's universities still hold on to these remains today even though the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act ordered that they be returned.

The National Park Service has created a database of all the Native American human remains that institutions have reported under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. This data is self-reported by insititutions and some institutions have failed to report the remains in their possession.

ProPublica has mapped out where Native American remains have been taken from. In Does Your Local Museum or University Still Have Native American Remains? ProPublica has used the National Park Service database to visualize where the remains were stolen from and the percentage which have been returned. On this map each county has a pyramid marker. The height of each pyramid or peak shows the minimum amount of remains taken from that county. The color of each pyramid represents the percentage of the remains which have been made available for return to Native American tribes. If you hover over a county on the map you can view the exact number of human remains reported by institutions that were taken from the county and the percentage made available for return.

Of course counties are territorial areas which were imposed during the colonization of Native American land. You can use the impressive Native Land interactive map to view Indigenous territories. This map attempts to show the territorial and language ranges of Indigenous people across the whole world. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Police Carry out 5% of Homicides

Mapping Police Violence report that the police killed 1,192 people in the U.S. during 2022. This means that the police committed 1 in every 20 homicides. So far this year there have only been two days when the police didn't kill an American citizen and the police have already killed 158 people in 2023.

The Mapping Police Violence website features a prominent interactive map which animates through a whole year of police homicides. As the map runs through 2022 the victims of police homicides in the US are added to the map by date. If you select a marker on the map you can view the name of the victim and read more about the incident that led to the fatal shooting.

According to Mapping Police Violence's tracking of police homicides the police killed more people last year than in any other year in the last decade. Despite Black Americans being less likely to carry a firearm than white Americans they are 3 times as likely to be killed by the police. Some police forces however are more racist than others. From 2013-2023 the Minneapolis and Boston police killed Black people at 28 times the rate that they killed white citizens. In Chicago the police killed Black residents at 26 times the rate of white residents. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Southerners Have Poor Credit & Poor Health

I've never given a Tweet a standing ovation, but last week I did nearly stand-up and applaud this Hannah Fry's witty response to a British MP.  

However, even though correlation does not imply causation, causal analysis can still try to establish correlation by eliminating the possibility of common and alternative causes. For example in the United States the correlation between poor health and poor credit scores in the South may imply that health debt causes poor credit.

The Washington Post recently discovered that people in the South have poor credit scores and decided to find out why. An academic study of credit scores in the United States revealed that people in the South appear on average to have lower credit scores than people who live elsewhere in the United States.

This map of average credit scores in Why Does the South Have Such Ugly Credit Scores? reveals a huge band of poor credit all the way across the South of the United States. A series of other maps in the article point to a correlation between medical debt, chronic health problems and health insurance with this trend for low credit scores in the South.

The implication arrived at by the Post from these correlations is that people in the South have the biggest medical debts and it is this debt which leads to their poor credit scores. The reason for this medical debt is implied from the poor health in the South (people "in the South are substantially more likely to suffer from four or more chronic conditions"), the fact that many Southern states didn't expand Medicaid, and the fact that health insurance lags in the South.

The Washington Post has tried to eliminate alternative causes for these poor credit scores. For example it looked for correlations between race and poverty with the poor average credit card ratings in the South. What the Post found however was that poor credit in the South seems to effect all races and within "every income bracket, the typical Southerner has a lower credit score than someone who lives in the Northeast, Midwest or West."

By eliminating alternative causes for lower credit scores the Post has therefore strengthened its case for inferring that medical debt in the South is a major cause of the South's 'ugly' credit scores.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Meres, Lochs & Llyns

This week in Twittens, Ginnels and Jitties I spent a little time exploring the regional variations in the names given to alleys and narrow walkways in the UK. Of course it isn't just alleyways which get called different things in different parts of the country. Geographical features such as mountains and lakes can also be named different things deoending on where you are in the UK.

The three maps above show the locations of lochs, meres and llyns in the UK. 'Loch', 'Mere' and 'Llyn' are just three of the many different words that mean 'lake' in the UK. As the three maps above show the use of each of these three individual words for 'lake' is fairly geographically restricted to distinct areas of the UK. 'Loch' is almost exclusively used in Scotland in the placenames of lakes (there is a Lochvane in Wales but that doesn't seem to be related to a lake). The Welsh word for 'lake' is 'llyn' and unsurprisingly the distribution of placenames containing the word 'llyn' shows that the vast majority are in Wales. A 'mere' is a lake. However in the UK placenames containing the word 'mere' appear to be almost exclusively restricted to England.

I created these three maps showing the distribution of 'loch', 'mere' and 'llyn' in UK placenames using the new Placename Heatmap tool. This impressive map can visualize the distribution of different words, prefixes, or suffixes in placenames used in the UK. The tool uses data from the Ordnance Survey. Using the map you can explore lots of different geographical patterns in UK placenames, often determined by those who have settled in or conquered different parts of the UK in its long history..

Placename Heatmap was almost definitely inspired by the Placename Patterns Using Regular Expressions map. Placename Patterns Using Regular Expressions is another 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, Germany, Romania, Canada, and Japan).

Friday, February 17, 2023

Where People Will Die from Global Heating

The Washington Post has visualized data from a study published in Harvard’s Quarterly Journal of Economics to explore the likelhood of increasing numbers of deaths from heat exposure and decreasing numbers of death from cold exposure as a result of global heating. The study looked at how increased temperatures will lead in some areas to an increase in deaths from heat exposure but will also lead in some places to a decrease in deaths from cold exposure.

In the article Where More People Will Die ... and Live ... Because of Hotter Temperatures a 3D globe is used to show where in the world more people are projected to die from heat exposure due to global heating. On the globe different hues of blue are used to show the areas of the world which are predicted to see an increase in deaths in the last two decades of this century in comparison to the expected deaths without additional emissions. Green hues show where there are expected to be less deaths from cold exposure.

The Post's globe shows how climate change is likely to lead to increased deaths from heat exposure in many hotter and poorer parts of the world. At the same time colder, wealthier countries could see a decrease in deaths from cold exposure. For example Niger is expected to see the largest increase in deaths from hotter temperatures while the wealthy country of Finland is likely to see the biggest decrease in temperature related mortality. 

The Post's article includes a scatterplot which clearly shows the relationship between GDP and the likelihood of increased deaths from heat exposure. On this scatterplot GDP is shown by circle size, with the smallest circles (showing the lowest GDP) dominating the increased mortality section of the graph. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Trash Can Earth

The animated map above shows over 26.000 man-made objects orbiting the Earth. Of those 26,000+ objects only about 3,500 to 4,000 actually work. Those working satellites are shown in orange above. The majority of the colored dots on this map are just junk or space debris. 

The University of Texas' interactive AstriaGraph map tracks the locations of around 26,000 satellites. The map includes a number of options which allow you to filter the objects shown by country of origin, type of orbit or constellation. The use of colors on the map to show active satellites, inactive satellites and debris means that the map is a stark visualization of the growing problem of space junk. 


In November 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 in particular highlighted the ever growing problem of the space junk visualized in the AstriaGraph map.

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. 

Astrophysicist Donald J Kessler's theory the 'Kessler Syndrome' predicts that as collisions in space occur they will create more and more debris. This increasing amount of space debris will then cause even more collisions until soon a chain reaction of collisions will make low Earth orbit hard to access, preventing manned spacecraft from leaving Earth's orbit. As part of its exploration of space junk the Financial Times looks at the damage that can be caused by even a fleck of paint traveling around Earth at over ten times the speed of a bullet.

You can learn more about the thousands of man-made objects in orbit around the earth on 'What Goes Up'. What Goes Up takes you on a guided tour of the history of the Earth's conquest of near space, from the oldest object still in orbit (the Vanguard 1 satellite launched in 1958), through the start of the construction of the International Space Station in the late 1990's, to the current mass space littering by Elon Musk. 

The interactive 3D map which accompanies this guided tour shows the location of all these thousands of objects currently orbiting the Earth. If you mouse-over any of the satellites shown on this map you can view details about when it was launched and by which country. You can also discover what type of satellite it is.

Satellites is another visualization of the man-made debris which is currently floating in orbit around planet Earth. This 3D globe shows 10,000 orbiting objects that are tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network.

There are currently tens of thousands of objects, mostly rocket bodies, debris, and satellites in orbit around our planet. This map simulates around 10,000 of those objects orbiting the Earth based on real data. Three different types of man-made object are shown on the map, these are designated as Payload, Debris or Rocket Body. These three different types of object are represented on the map by different shapes. If you select an object on the map you can also see what type of object it is and more details from its entry on the Space Track database.

Twittens, Ginnels and Jitties

In December Mapping Urban Form and Society published a fascinating article exploring how language and mapping intersect in the names people use to refer to a 'narrow walkway between buildings.' In the UK these walkways or alleys might also be called a 'passage' 'cut', 'entry', 'gennel'. 'ginnel', 'jitty', 'snicket' or 'twitchel'. Which one of these terms is used is normally determined by where the speaker lives in the UK. 

The article refers to an interactive map created by Our Dialects which maps out the names used for these walkways in the UK. This map shows that in the north-west of England in particular there is a huge variation in the name given to these alleys or walkways, with 'a few clear patterns, such as ginnel around Greater Manchester and Leeds, entry around Merseyside, and gennel around Sheffield.'

The map was created from dialect surveys in which people were asked to complete a questionnaire. In other words the geographical lexical variation in these names for walkways is derived from the location of the survey's participants. The colored dots on the map therefore show the locations of each surveyed individual and not the location of an alley named 'passage', 'gennel', 'cut' etc. 

I thought it might be interesting to carry out some geographical analysis to find out if the actual naming of alleyways on the ground matches the regional variations defined by the dialect survey. And it doesn't (in most cases). According to this Overpass Turbo query there are only three alleys called 'Ginnel' in the north-west of England and based on this query only six alleys which are called 'Entry'. 

This lack of actual walkways named 'Ginnel' or 'Entry' is in itself interesting. It suggests that many of the local names given to these back streets or alleyways are colloquial in nature and aren't usually reflected in the actual mapped names of these features on the ground. Although I did find three alleys called 'Jitty' in Loughborough. 

Alleys named Twitten in Sussex

Oddly one dialect name for an alleyway which is reflected in official street names is one that isn't featured in the Our Dialects survey. In Sussex the word 'Twitten' is often used to refer to a narrow walkway between buildings. This Overpass Turbo query shows that the name 'Twitten' actually does often appear on the map in Sussex.

The regional variations for names given to types of street is often mirrored in regional variations given to the names of geographical features. For example John Nelson has mapped out the different names given to navigable passages between mountains in the USA. In some places these passages are called 'passes', elsewhere they may be called 'gaps', 'notches', or even 'saddles'. In his Gap, Pass, Notch and Saddle story map John has mapped out the regional variations of these names for valleys across the United States.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Prague in 3D

This morning I've been touring the Czech Republic using the 3D map layer of Mapy.cz. Mapy.cz is an interactive map of the world, which creates and uses its own map data in the Czech Republic and OpenStreetMap data for the rest of the world. By using its own map data within the Czech Republic Mapy.cz is able to provide a fantastic 3D map view created from its own aerial imagery.

My tour of the Czech Republic included a number of impressive tourist destinations. Here are some quick links to view some of Czechia's most beautiful spots in 3D on Mapy.cz:

Hněvín Castle
Ceský Krumlov Castle
Brno's Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul
Hluboká Castle
Mount Sněžka

Alongside its impressive 3D map layer Mapy.cz includes a number of other features including a route planner for traveling by car, public transport, bike and on foot. The map also features a large number of points of interest, many of which include descriptions from Wikipedia, user submitted photos & reviews, and opening times & contact details.

Monday, February 13, 2023

The World's Most Democratic Countries

Every year the Economist Intelligence Unit ranks the state of democracy in 167 countries around the world. This year's Democracy Index rankings show a very, very small rise in democracy around the world. Since 2016 the world has been experiencing a democracy recession, with a higher number of countries seeing an annual fall in their Democracy Index scores than the number seeing a rise. This year the global score actually rose by 0.01. 

The Economist has mapped out the country rankings of the Democracy Index in its article The World's Most, and Least, Democratic Countries. On this map authoritarian regimes are colored red and democratic countries are colored blue. If you hover over a country on the map you can view its Democracy Index score and its overall ranking.

Norway leads the way in the country rankings, with the highest Democracy Index score of all countries. In 2022 Russia saw the largest decline in its Democracy Index ranking, falling to 146th overall. Afghanistan achieved the worst score and comes bottom of all 167 countries around the world.

The United States is ranked 30th overall, with a Democracy Index score of 7.85. This score means that the Untied States is ranked as a 'flawed democracy'. Democracy Index scores are determined based on five measures, "electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties."

You can read the full Democracy Index 2022 report on the Economist Intelligence Unit website.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

The Population Density of West Coast Cities

A couple of days ago Maps Mania featured Nat Henry's 15-Minute Map of Seattle. Nat has also created interactive maps which visualize the population density of the West Coast’s six largest cities. These Population Density maps color census tracts in each city based on the local population density (population per square mile). 

Nat's population density maps use data from the 2020 census to show which census tracts in each city have the highest and lowest population density. You can hover over individual tracts on each map to view the exact population/square mile and to see how the tract ranks (in terms of population density) compared to all the other census tracts in the city and all the census tracts in the West Coast's six largest cities. According to Nat's analysis "San Francisco contains eight of the top 10 densest census tracts" in all of the six largest West Coast cities.

Nat has also used 2020 census data to map the most populous racial / ethnic group (and second most populous group) in each census tract in the six featured cities. He has also used the Simpson Diversity Index to map the racial diversity in each tract in all six cities. On these racial diversity maps census tracts colored red score low on the diversity index (meaning a lot of the population are of the same racial / ethnic group) and census tracts colored blue score high on the diversity index (the population is evenly divided among racial / ethnic groups). 

Friday, February 10, 2023

24 Hours of Ship Traffic in the Bay

Every day hundreds of container ships, high speed ferries, and pleasure boats navigate the San Francisco Bay. The job of orchestrating much of this marine traffic falls to the Coast Guard’s vessel traffic service, based on Yerba Buena Island. You can get a great idea of what this job entails on Mapbox's interactive map Ships in the San Francisco Bay.

Ships in the San Francisco Bay animates 24 hours of marine traffic in the Bay, as recorded by the Coast Guard on September 1st, 2014. On this map you can watch as container ships and other large vessels actually navigate in and out of the Bay and its various shipping ports. The map also includes a guided tour which explains some of the nuances of ship navigation and traffic in the Bay. This tour explains the role of harbor pilots, anchorages for explosives (designated anchorages for oil & gas tankers waiting to unload), and the use of turning basins in the Oakland estuary.

Like San Francisco Bay the North Sea also sees enormous amounts of shipping traffic. Delft University of Technology has mapped the section of North Sea marine traffic which travels past the Netherlands. 

As you scroll through Crowds on the North Sea the map zooms and pans to highlight and explore the different types of shipping traffic active off the coast of the Netherlands. This includes large ferries (used for shipping passengers to and from the Netherlands) and the container ships constantly (sailing in and out of the huge Dutch commercial ports). The AIS tracks of dredging ships can also be seen as they work to keep the main shipping routes open for all other shipping traffic.

The area of the North Sea off the Belgium coast is also one of the busiest seas in the world. In fact Belgian territorial waters are so busy that the North Sea off the Belgian coast sees more marine traffic than both the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal.

To help illustrate the huge amount of marine activity which takes place off the coast of Belgium the financial newspaper De Tijd created an animated map which visualizes 24 hours of marine traffic, using data from marinetraffic. On this animated map different colors are used to show four distinct types of marine vessel. In the story The North Sea is Teeming container ships are shown in yellow, the blue vessels are fishing boats, dredgers are shown in red and other types of ship are shown in gray.

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Is Seattle a 15-Minute City?

Nat Henry has released an interactive map that shows which areas of Seattle satisfy the requirements of a 15 Minute City.

The concept of the 15 Minute City was first developed by Professor Carlos Moreno of the Sorbonne. The idea of the 15 Minute City is that urban living can be more liveable and sustainable by ensuring that all the essential needs of individuals can be accessed without having to get in a car or use public transport. In other words residents should be able to access all their essential health, educational, retail and leisure needs within a short fifteen minute walk or bike ride of their home

Nat's 15-Minute Map of Seattle uses travel time data with data on essential services to show how long it takes to walk to different amenities from each Seattle block. Using the map you can select from a number of different amenities (including supermarkets, libraries, parks, stations and schools). When you select amenities from the menu the map automatically updates to show the walking time to these amenities from each city block.

Blocks on the map are colored to show the walking time to the selected amenities. You can also hover over individual blocks on the map to view the average walking time in the block to each of the selected amenities. 

If you live elsewhere in the United States then you can use HERE's 15-Minute Cities map to discover if you live in a 15-minute city. Enter your address or zip-code into HERE's map and you can see all the Groceries, Medical Facilities, Cultural Sites, Educational Facilities, Transit Stops and Leisure Facilities within a 15 minute walk of your home. The map will also tell you if your address currently qualifies as a 15 Minute City or not. 

HERE's 15-Minute Cities map only appears to work for addresses in the USA. If you live in New Zealand you can find out if you live in a 10 Minute City using Urban Intelligence's X Minute City interactive map. This map allows you to discover how far you have to travel in New Zealand's major cities in order to access education, healthcare, greenspace/recreation, food, and other essential services.

If you live elsewhere in the world then you can find out if you live in a 15 minute city using the CityAccessMap. This interactive map from Delft University of Technology visualizes how accessible essential services are to the local population in cities around the world (the map should work for any city with a population over 100,000).

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

A Heat Map of U.S. Road Fatalities

Hot Spots of Fatal Crashes

The US Department of Transportation has released a series of interactive maps to visualize the impact of motor vehicle deaths on communities across the United States. In Our Nations's Roadway Safety Crisis you can view a heat map of fatal crashes, a map of county roadway fatalities compared to the national average, a map comparing fatality rates and population size, and a map showing the distribution of fatalities in disadvantaged communties.

In recent years the 30 year decline in roadway fatalities has stalled. In fact the number of fatalities on the country's roads actually increased in 2020 and 2021. In response the U.S. Department of Transportation has launched the National Roadway Safety Strategy in order to address the number of serious and fatal injuries on US roads. The maps in Our Nation's Roadway Safety Crisis help to identify where roadway fatalities occur on the nation's roads.

Locations of NYC Road Fatalities

The Hot Spots of Fatal Crashes map shows a heat map of roadway fatalities over the last five years. If you zoom in on your town on this map you can view the locations of all the local roadway fatalities over the same period. Click on a roadway fatality marker on the map and you can view details of the crash (including date, time, day of week, number of vehicles involved and the number of fatalities.

Number of County Road Fatalities Compared to National Average

The Concentration of Roadway Fatalities map visualizes the number of roadway fatalities in each county compared to the national average. On this map individual counties are colored to show if they had higher or lower fatalities than the national average. Brown counties had higher than average and blue counties had lower than average.

Fatality Rate vs. Population

Obviously some counties have much larger populations than other counties which may have a significant impact on the number of road fatalities in that county. The Fatality Rate vs. Population map allows you to compare the levels of road fatalities in relationship to local population levels. On this map counties with a low population and high road fatality rate are shown in yellow. The counties colored blue have a high population and low fatality rate. 

Exploring Fatalities and Equity

43% of the communities with the highest roadway fatalities are historically disadvantaged. The Exploring Fatalities and Equity map visualizes the levels of roadway fatalities in 16,514 disadvantaged census tracts. The darker the color of the tract on this map then the higher the number of roadway fatalities.

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Scrollytelling Video Mapping

Last year ProPublica posted a story map in the article The Tragedy of North Birmingham which includes an impressive combination of a story map with a scrolling video. As you read through the ProPublica account of the industrial air & land pollution being caused by industry in this Alabama town you might notice how a Mapbox story map seamlessly and impressively elides from a satellite view to an overhead aerial drone video.

If you watch the GIF above closely you can spot the transition from overhead satellite view to scroll driven aerial video. The transition is used to move from a general discussion of the dangerous overall levels of pollution in Birmingham to a focus on one resident, Lamar Mabry. In the story this focus on Lamar is used to personalize the effects of the dangerous levels of toxic contamination in Birmingham. This personalization of the story is achieved visually by transitioning from an overhead map aerial layer of Lamar's neighborhood to a drone video pan into a close-up of his home.

This visual transition is achieved by cutting from a Mapbox Storymap to a ScrollyVideo.js driven video. The Mapbox Interactive Storytelling template allows users to tell stories with maps. It allows you to create mapped data visualizations which include scrolling information windows, that are used to provide written context as a map pans and zooms to show different locations or data. 

In The Tragedy of North Birmingham ProPublica has combined the use of a Mapbox Story Map with ScrollyVideo.js. ScrollyVideo is a JavaScript library which creates responsive scroll driven videos. Apply the library to a video file and you can progress (or rewind) through the video by scrolling on a web page. Using time-stamps in the video you can overlay scrolling information windows, which (as in a Mapbox Story Map) can be used to provide written context to the visual media.

ProPublica combines a Mapbox map with ScrollyVideo video in its article by simply replacing the map element with the ScrollyVideo element. The transition works so well because the map ends with an aerial view which is almost identical to the first frame of the overhead video. 

Sunday, February 05, 2023

Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2023

The ACLED Conflict Severity Index uses four different indicators to assess and rank the complexity and severity of conflicts in countries across the world. Based on violence measured in countries around the globe in 2022 the Index has identified 46 countries and territories which are experiencing severe levels of conflict.

You can explore Conflict Severity Index rankings for individual countries and the 46 countries identified with severe levels of conflict on ACLED's new interactive map. The map includes a choropleth layer which shows the number of incidents of political violence in each country. In 2022 political violence was seen in nearly every country but in some countries the incidents and number of incidents were more severe.

Ukraine witnessed the highest number of political violent events and the most fatalities from political violence in 2022. Myanmar saw the second highest number of fatalities from political violence. ACLED's Index uses four indicators to measure the severity of conflict within countries: deadliness, danger, diffusion, and fragmentation. Countries such as Syria, Haiti and Yemen measured severely on all four indicators during 2022.

The International Crisis Group has released an interactive storymap which highlights ten locations around the world where conflict crises could become apparent (or continue) in 2023. As you scroll through the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2023 you are taken on a guided tour of the world visiting ten locations that Crisis Group believes may experience conflict during the coming year.

The Crisis Group list of the ten countries to watch includes countries, such as Ukraine, where conflict is already ongoing. The list also features Taiwan where tensions continue to grow as China maintains its claim over the country and continues its frequent incursions into Taiwan's air space.

Elsewhere in the world conflict in Pakistan may be evident as the country enters an election year (with 'a deeply divided body politic'), while struggling to recover from last year's catastrophic flooding. The rampant gang violence in Haiti continues to have a devastating effect on that South American country. While in Africa tensions continue to mount in the Sahel region in the north of the continent and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Global Population Density

Top Row: Paris, Barcelona, New York, 
Bottom Row: London, San Francisco, Los Angeles

US cities tend to have lower population densities than cities in most other countries in the world. The maps above show the populations living within a 5km radius of the centers of a number of major cities. As you can see San Francisco and Los Angeles have significantly lower population densities than Paris and Barcelona. Only New York rivals its European counterparts, with a population density higher than London.

Tom Forth's interactive map Population Around a Point allows you to click anywhere in the world to view the estimated population living within a defined distance. It is a great tool for exploring the differences in population density in different countries and continents. I used Tom's map to discover and compare the population densities of a number of U.S., European and Asian cities.

Top row: Dhaka, Mumbai, Manila
Bottom row: Kolkata, Beijing, Tokyo 

If you think Paris and Barcelona pack a lot of people into a small space then you haven't visited Dhaka. With a population of nearly 5 million people within a 5km radius of the city center it has almost well over twice the population density of Paris. However it was a surprise to me to discover that Paris actually has a higher population density than Tokyo. Despite being probably the most populated city in the world Tokyo actually has a lower population density than the capital of France.

If you are interested in population density then you might also want to read Alasdair Rae's analysis of population density around the world (with a focus mainly on Europe). In Think your country is crowded? 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.

Friday, February 03, 2023

Speed Limited Travel Times

The City of Winnipeg is introducing new speed limits on local and collector roads in four neighborhoods. In this reduced-speed pilot program speed limits will be reduced from 50km/h to 40km/h in the neighborhoods of Worthington and Richmond West. In Bourkevale and Tyndall Park speed limits will be reduced to 30km/h.

The city's Travel Time Estimator Tool allows drivers to see how the new speed limits are likely to effect their journey times. Using the interactive mapping tool drivers can enter a starting point and destination in Winnipeg. The map will then calculate a route and estimate the increased travel time for the route with both a 30km/h limit on local and collector streets and with a 40km/h limit. 

The map is an incredibly useful tool for drivers as it provides a very accurate estimation of how the city's new speed limits will affect driving times. It is also a pretty effective tool for the city as the map demonstrates the relatively small effect the new speed limits will have on travel times, with most journey travel times being increased by less than a minute.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Why Your Street Has That Name

James Joyce's novel Ulysees starts and ends in Eccles Street, Dublin. The novel's main character, Leopold Bloom, lives on Eccles Street with his wife Molly. I have just discovered that the street was named after John Eccles who was the mayor of Dublin (1710-1711).

You can discover where other Dublin street names originated on the Dublin Street Names map by Conor O'Neill. Click on a street on Conor's map and you can discover the meaning behind its name. For example if you click on the famous Grafton Street you will learn that the street was named for Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, an illegitimate child of Charles II.

The map includes a number of layer options which allow you to view the streets colored by year (the earliest appearance of a street name), by gender (revealing the streets named for men and the streets named for women), and by category (royals, politicians or nobility).

Also See

History of San Francisco Place Names - the meaning of San Francisco street names.
Strassenkrieg - the meaning behind Berlin's military themed streets
Open Etymology Map - MapComplete's global street name map based on WikiData.
Open Etymology Map - Daniele Santini' global street name map also using WikiData

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The Viking Invasion

The Vikings: The Invasion of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms is an interactive map, created by Nir Smilga, which documents the history of the Viking incursions into the British Isles during the early-Middle Ages. These invasions eventually led to the Danelaw and Viking control of much of eastern and northern England.

The map covers a period of 201 years from the Arrival of the Great Heathen Army in 865 to the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. The numbered timeline at the top of the interactive map allows you to progress through the history of the Viking invasion. This mapped history includes the Battle of York in 866, the Treaty of Wedmore (establishing Danelaw) in 886, the Battle of Maldon in 991, and the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 (when King Harold defeated an invading Viking army).

The Vikings interactive map provides a fascinating potted history of the Vikings in Britain. If you are interested you can explore evidence of the lasting legacy of the Vikings and Danelaw in the continuing prevalence of Viking placenames in some areas of England. 

The Placename Patterns map allows you to visualize geographical patterns in the distribution of different types of placename. Using regular expressions it is possible to explore the distribution of different suffixes and prefixes in placenames in a number of different countries.

For example we can use the Placename Patterns to explore the geographical distribution of placenames ending in 'thwaite', 'thorpe' and 'by'. When we map these old Norse words we find their geographical distribution matches quite closely the Danelaw, the area of the UK which was once ruled by the Vikings. 'Thorpe' is an old Norse word for homestead. 'Thwaite' means wooded clearing and 'by' means farmstead or small village.