Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Where Mountains Rise From Oceans

an elevation heat map of Iceland showing OceanJut rankings

Last year PeakJut invented the Jut Score in order to rank mountains based on how sharply they rise above their surroundings. Now they have introduced a new OceanJut score - a unique method of measuring where land most dramatically rises from the ocean around the world.

The OceanJut interactive map allows you to see how quickly and dramatically the land rises from the sea all around the globe. In other words the map can help you find the most spectacular mountain-meets-ocean views in the world. The OceanJut rankings work in the same way as PeakJut scores. A location's ranking is determined not just by elevation, but by how steeply it rises from sea-level. 

Exploring the coastlines which I'm most familiar with, in southern England, I can attest that OceanJut works well in identifying the Seven Sisters & the Isle of Wight's Undercliff as locations where the land rises dramatically from the sea (relative to the rest of southern England). Conversely the lack of any significant OceanJut scores in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk is one reason why these English counties are so worried about rising sea-levels.

I don't know which locations around the world have the highest OceanJut scores. Fjords obviously score very highly on the OceanJut algorithm. For example Milford Sound in New Zealand scores an impressive 1317m on the OceanJut rankings. Lots of the Norwegian coastline of Norway also scores very highly on the OceanJut scale, largely thanks to its many fjords. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

Guess This City 2.0

a map of New York with much of the city obscured by blue squares

My daily map challenge game Guess This City has now been updated to provide a number of clues which should help you identify each day's new location. At the same time the cities which you have to identify have become a bit more obscure.

Thanks to Map Channels the game now uses a json feed for each day's map. I think Map Channels realized that the daily scores I was posting to X weren't exactly unaided. The fact that I was choosing each day's city meant that I had a huge advantage when playing Guess This City (i.e. I knew the name of the city). 

Map Channels therefore put together a list of 'world capitals and UK and US cities with a population of > 100,000.' He then created a json feed for the game which selects a random city from this list every single day. Guess This City now uses this feed for each day's city (the feed and the game both update a few seconds after midnight GMT). I'm hugely grateful to Map Channels for creating and providing this feed for the game. Not least because it means that I can now play the game myself (and I am no longer posting fake/cheat scores to X). 

Because the Map Channels' list contains a large number of cities which I think are very difficult to guess I have now also added a number of clues to the game. Now on every 10th click of the map a letter of the city name is revealed (in the order that the letters appear in the city name). Only the first ten letters of a city name are revealed (if there are that many). Which means you are on your own after clicking 100 squares.

The other major clue comes on your 20th click of the map. On click twenty the country where the city is located is also displayed over the map.

Today's Global Heating Forecast

world map showing where today's temperatures have been affected by climate change

Global average temperatures in May broke all previous records. It was the 12th consecutive month in which global temperatures reached a record high. Every three months Climate Central publishes a seasonal analysis of how temperatures around the world have been changed by global heating. Their latest report People Exposed to Climate Change: March-May 2024 confirms that from 'March 2024 to May 2024, the effects of human-induced climate change were evident in all regions of the world, particularly in the form of extreme heat.'

Climate Central has also recently updated their Climate Shift Index map to cover the whole globe. The Climate Shift Index shows you how much global heating has influenced each day's weather. Every day the Climate Shift Index map reveals where in the world temperatures have been affected by climate change. The map shows just how much global warming could be affecting the weather where you live on any given day.

The colors on the Climate Shift Index map visualize where in the world today's temperatures are more or less likely a result of climate change. The darkest areas on the map indicate those areas where climate change has had the greatest heating effect on today's weather. For example, an area shaded dark red, with a CSI score of 5, is experiencing weather which climate change and global warming has made five times more likely. In other words the local temperatures being experienced in those locations would be nearly impossible without carbon pollution creating global heating.

The Climate Shift Index is updated daily in order to show the local influence of climate change for every single day. You can learn more about the Climate Shift Index and how it is calculated on Climate Central's Climate Shift Index FAQ.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Some More Maps of Sounds

Yesterday Hacker News featured a thread on Sounds of the Forest, an interactive map of sound recordings made in forests around the world. Also linked in the Hacker News thread was the wonderful Radio Aporee, which, like Sounds of the Forest, has featured on Maps Mania before. Also mentioned in the thread were two interactive sound maps which I haven't seen (or heard) before.

Audiomapa

map of the world showing the locations of sound recordings featured on audiomapa
Audiomapa is a sound map which focuses on sound recordings from South America (although many users have contributed recordings from elsewhere in the world). Anyone can add a sound recording to the map simply by clicking on a location and uploading an MP3 file.

As well as browsing the submitted recordings by location on the map it is also possible to filter the sounds by category. This allows you to search for 'urban' or 'rural' recordings, or recordings of 'birds', 'machines', 'markets' or myriad other categories of sound. Just click on a marker on the map to listen to the submitted recording.

Freesound

map of the world showing sound recordings submitted to Freesound
Freesound, from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, is an interactive map of over half a million sound recordings. The map "aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, and all sorts of bleeps, ... released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse". 

As well as browsing the submitted sounds by location on the interactive map the Freesound homepage features a Random Sound of the Day, the latest sounds submitted, and the top rated and most downloaded sounds recordings. Using Freesound's tags and other search filters in conjunction with the interactive map can provide a wonderful insight into sounds around the world. For example have you ever wondered about how ambulance sirens sound in different countries or how similar church bells sound around the world.


Hundreds of other maps featuring sound recordings can be found under the Maps Mania Sound Maps tag.

Friday, June 14, 2024

The New Medieval Map of London

The new medieval map of London zoomed in on St, Pauls's Cathedral

The Historic Towns Trust has created a modern map of Medieval London. The map depicts London as it existed at the end of the 13th Century using modern mapping techniques. The map is based on archaeological and historical records. 

You can explore an interactive version of the Medieval London map on Layers of London (check the 'Use this overlay' box and then zoom in on the City of London area on the map. You might also want to select the 'Hide Pins' button).

One thing you will notice while browsing the map is that the street name labels are written in Middle English. For example the modern street name of 'Ludgate Hill' is depicted on the Medieval London map as 'Ludgatstrete'. If a Middle English placename confuses you then you can use the 'eye' button in the 'overlay tools' pop-up menu to turn off the Medieval Map and view the modern place-name underneath (presuming the street still exists). You can also use the Grub Street Project website to search for historical London place-names and to discover what those locations are known as now.

The Agas Map of London zoomed in on the area around St. Paul's Cathedral

Of course the Historic Towns Trust's modern map of Medieval London was not how a map of London would have actually looked during the 13th Century. At the time most depictions of London would have presented a panoramic view of the city and not a detailed true map. 

One of the first 'true' map depictions of London can be seen in the Civitas Londinum, more commonly known as the Agas Map of London.  The Agas map dates from the 1560s and provides a bird's eye view of London. It therefore doesn't provide a true overhead plan of the city (London is depicted from a viewpoint somewhere above the south bank of the Thames). However unlike earlier panoramic views of London the buildings on the Agas map don't obscure the streets behind those buildings. So the Agas map does work as a true map of 16th Century London.

You can also buy a print of the Medieval London map from the Historic Towns Trust.

Via: A New Map of Medieval London

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Mapping the Census

mapping showing percentage of 0-14 year olds in Toronto, revealing that ther are fewer families with young children in Toronto's city center than in the suburbs
percentage of 0-14 year olds

Jacob Weinbren has released an interactive map which allows you to explore data from the 2021 Canadian census by location. Using the map you can view the demographic and economic make-up of towns and cities across the whole of the country using over 2,500 different census variables. 

The Canadian Census map colors individual building footprints based on the results of the 2021 census, providing you with an incredibly detailed breakdown of the make-up of local communities. Just select a census variable from the drop-down menu to see that data overlaid on the map.

map of Toronto showing a higher percentage of people walking to work in the city center
percentage of the workforce walking to work

For example the screenshot above shows the population of the workforce who walk to work. The results suggest that people who live in the center of Toronto live far closer to their workplace than those who live in the city's suburbs. The screenshot at the top of this post shows the percentage of the population who are aged 0-14. As you can see there are fewer 0-14 year olds in the city center than elsewhere, suggesting that many people tend to move out of the city center to the suburbs once they have kids. 

You can explore the data for yourself in other Canadian towns and cities by simply changing the location on the Canadian Census map. You can also read more about the map and how it was made in the blog post Oh Canada - Census 2021.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Treats of San Francisco

Illustrated map of San Francisco's immigrant inspired food spots. A sidebar lists the places shown on the map

The California Migration Museum is celebrating one of the wonderful benefits of living in a multi-cultural city with a new interactive map of San Francisco’s food scene. Melting Spots: An Immigrant Map of San Francisco Food showcases some of the many immigrant-inspired dishes in the city which have added richer flavors to the city's food scene.

Did you know, for example, that the Mai Tai, the Tiki inspired classic cocktail, was originally invented by Bay Area bartenders in the 1940s? The Mai Tai is just one of the many immigrant inspired dishes to feature on the Melting Spots map. The map actually features 38 'bite-sized' stories celebrating the immigrant chefs, restaurants, and dishes of San Francisco. Select one of the markers on the map or in the map side-panel and you can watch a short video exploring that dish, chef or restaurant's history.

Map of North America from TasteAtlas showing popular regional foods, with images of burgers, sandwiches, seafood, traditional dishes, and desserts placed over their respective geographic locations.

If the Melting Spots map has whetted your appetite to learn more about the geography of your favorite foods then you might also enjoy the TasteAtlas. The TasteAtlas is an interactive map which allows you to explore the local foods, dishes, tastes and cuisine of any location in the world. By using this map you can discover the foods and dishes that people enjoy eating and drinking at different places around the globe. 

A great feature of TasteAtlas is that you can search the map for individual foods. For example here is the cheese map of the world and here is the bread map of the world. Search for a particular type of food and you can zoom-in on the map to discover the local varieties available at different locations. For example, on the cheese map you can zoom-in on France to discover all the local varieties of cheese available in different regions of the country. Or, if you search for the pasta map of the world, you can find out which types of pasta can be found in the different regions of Italy.

If you need a little help washing down all those amazing dishes then you can explore the TasteAtlas wine map of the world, or enjoy a tipple or two from the global beer map.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Out of Africa - The Story of Human Migration

map showing where the earliest human fossils have been discovered
History Maps has created an interactive map showing the locations of the earliest human fossils found around the world. Early Homo Sapiens Fossil Sites uses data from Wikipedia's List of human evolution fossils to show the locations of the earliest 'notable finds of hominin fossils and remains relating to human evolution'.

The fossil sites shown on the map can be filtered using the timeline control in the map menu. The oldest fossils found on the map were discovered at Jebel Irhoud in Morocco. The fossils have been dated to 'roughly 300,000 years ago'. The next earliest human fossils shown on the map date from around 260,000 years ago. These were found in Florisbad, South Africa.

If you want to learn more about any of individual fossil sites shown on the map you have to follow the links in the map menu, where the fossil discoveries are shown in chronological order.

animated map showing the journey of early humans out of Africa to the rest of the world
In Africa, between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, archaic Homo sapiens evolved into anatomically modern humans. Around 60,000 years ago humans started to spread to the rest of the world, possibly by crossing the Red Sea into the Arabian Peninsula. You can follow that journey for yourself on the Human Odyssey Map.

The California Academy of Science's Human Odyssey Map plots the possible paths taken by humans out of Africa and the role that the climate played in those migratory routes. The map includes a timeline control which allows you to trace the routes that the human race took over thousands of years to populate the rest of the world. As you progress through the timeline flow-lines show the routes taken by the human race, while the map itself shows the climate conditions which existed at the time and which impacted on the routes that humans took in traveling to the rest of the world.

The Lost Pathfinder Game

screenshot of The Lost Pathfinder showing a partially completed road

The Lost Pathfinder is a new online game which requires players to connect a path from one side of map to the other.

At the beginning of each round of The Lost Pathfinder you are presented with an isometric grid on which all the road tiles have been mixed up. All you have to do is to rearrange the road tiles in order to complete a path from one side of the map to the other. To help you restore the correct path you can rotate individual roads by clicking on the individual tiles on the map.

In truth The Lost Pathfinder isn't the most exciting game in the world. However for me it is the first step in creating an isometric game engine for the Leaflet.js mapping library. Isometric tiles are widely used in computer games to create a pseudo-3D effect while maintaining the simplicity of 2D graphics. By creating an interactive isometric grid map in Leaflet I hope to be able to go on to create more complicated games - for example simulation games like Theme Park, Sim City, or Transport Manager.

To create this new isometric game engine for Leaflet I have devised two initial maps: the Isometric Tile Creator and the Isometric Level Editor.

The Isometric Tile Creator

screenshot of an isometric tile being drawn on the Isometric Tile Creaotr
The Isometric Tile Creator allows me to draw and create the graphics for a game in the form of individual isometric tiles. The tile creator consists of a 10x10 grid of empty isometric tiles. Users can color each of these tiles individually to create their own isometric map tiles. When completed the map tile can then be downloaded as a PNG image and used in an isometric game.

By default the Isometric Tile Creator can only be used to create low resolution isometric map tiles (there are only 100 isometric polygons in the 10x10 grid). But it can be adjusted (in Glitch) to contain more polygons. Or it is possible to add isometric images instead of colors to the individual tiles on the editor to create higher resolution isometric map tiles. However if you do want more polygons or to add images then you will need to edit the Isometric Tile Creator yourself by cloning its Glitch page.


I have also created an Isometric Level Editor. This is a 10x10 isometric grid on which you can add isometric map tiles to create a map for an isometric game. When you have completed designing a map level for your game you can download the results as a GeoJSON file.

At the moment the level editor allows you to add various road tiles to the map (in order for me to create levels for The Lost Pathfinder game). However you can change these options to any isometric map tile image by cloning and editing the level editor's Glitch page.

For example if I want to create a Tower Defence game I could use the Isometric Tile Creator to create weapon and road graphics for the game. I could then use the Isometric Level Editor with these images to design the individual level maps to be used in the game. 

BTW - I do want to create a Tower Defence game. Here is my work in progress (I only started today so this is very basic. You can click on the map to add weapons - but they haven't been armed yet so the towers can't fire missiles)

Saturday, June 08, 2024

The Vespa Map of Rome

animated GIF of a Vespa driving around the Dolce Activation map

This is yet another map I discovered via the ever fascinating Web Curios, which is a weekly roundup of interesting things found online (very often with an AI bent). This week Web Curios reviewed Dolce Activation, 'a very content-lite website' but one in which you get to drive 'A TINY VESPA AROUND ROME!!!'

In truth Dolce Activation is little more than a marketing campaign for Dolce and Gabbana perfumes. However the campaign does feature this beautifully rendered post-medieval map of Rome, complete with 3D buildings. In order to discover some of Dolce and Gabbana's hidden perfumes your objective is to drive around the map on a moped and find four of Rome's most famous landmarks.   

BTW, you don't have to drive the moped around. You can also use your mouse to explore Rome by dragging the map around.

I don't know Rome well enough to be certain but I think Dolce Activation is not a real map of Rome. It looks like Dolce and Gabbana may have just taken four well-known Roman landmarks and placed them on an imaginary map of the city (although I could be wrong). If you do want to explore a real post-medieval map of Rome then you can visit the Interactive Nolli Map Website.

the Colosseum as seen on the Nolli map of Rome

The Italian architect and surveyor Giambattista Nolli's ichnographic 'Great Plan of Rome' is an astounding 1748 map of Rome. At the time it was easily the most accurately surveyed and drawn map of the city to have ever been published. It was also one of the first ichnographic maps of Rome. 

The Interactive Nolli Map allows you to explore Giambattista Nolli's exceptional map for yourself in close detail. The original Nolli map includes around two thousand numbered locations around the city. These numbers refer to the map index which names each of the numbered sites. On the Interactive Nolli Map these numbers have been made interactive. When you click on one of these numbers on the map a small window opens providing you with information on the selected feature.

Friday, June 07, 2024

Every Ship Sunk in WWII

animated world map showing the number of Allied and Axis ship sunk in each year of the war

Over the course of the Second World War more than 20,000 ships were sunk around the world. Esri's Paul Heersink has spent the last ten years scouring historical records to create and map the 'most comprehensive dataset' of ships sunk in WWII.

Resurfacing the Past is a fascinating story map which not only visualizes where Allied and Axis ships were lost in WWII, it also explores the WWII sunken data by year, by size and by type. For example the animated GIF above shows the number of Allied and Axis ships sunken in each year of the war. It clearly shows how the Allies "suffered devastating losses in the first years of the war." However by 1943 it was the Axis who were losing the battle for the seas. The map reveals that from March 1943 "the Allied forces sank more ships every month than they lost."

Mapping the sinks sunk in WWII by type reveals that most of the ships that were sunk in the war were not designed to be combat ships. Non-combat ships such as tankers, tugs, cargo ships and floating hospitals suffered the most losses.

The Resurfacing the Past story map guides you through the huge scope of Paul Heersink's sunken ship data, highlighting some of the important stories that the data reveals. You can also explore the data for yourself on the Esri dashboard map Sunken Ships of the Second World War. This dashboard allows you to map the sunken ships of WWII by country, by year, by the 'country that did the sinking' and by belligerent (Axis, Allies or Neutrals). 

Thursday, June 06, 2024

The Sound of the City

Every city in the world has a unique sound. On Sonicity that unique sound is generated by each city's map. Select a city on Sonicity (currently limited to 10 global cities) and you can listen to its map being played by various instruments. 

To be honest I have no idea what is going on here. The only info that Sonicity provides is that 'Each city has its own unique geographical data. These datasets create distinct sounds and patterns that offer a new way to experience the data.'

When you 'play' a city's song on Sonicity parts of the map are highlighted each time a note sounds. My guess is that the latitude and longitude coordinates are being used somehow to determine the note and pitch being played for each section of the map. Without any more detailed explanation the sounds and patterns may very well 'offer a new way to experience the data' but they really don't help us understand that data in any meaningful way.

I much prefer Ohio is a Piano, which not only comes with a detailed explanation but also allows you to create tunes from different datasets on the same map. Ohio is a Piano is even capable of playing a recognizable tune.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

The Warlord Map Game

screenshot of The Warlord map of Europe

Are you ready to conquer Europe in a battle of Computer Classic Warlord? In this game of military conquest only the strongest survive. So get ready to engage in a thrilling battle of supremacy to take over the entire map of Europe.

Readers of a certain age may remember the board-game The Warlord. The Warlord is a 1970's game of nuclear conquest, in which players attempt to conquer countries on a map of Europe. A computer version of the game was also released in the 1980's, entitled 'Apocalypse: The Game of Nuclear Devastation'.

You can now play an online version of the classic The Warlord board-game developed by Map Channels. Computer Classic Warlord allows you to play against 2 - 6 computer opponents as you attempt to conquer countries and defeat your opponents on a map of Europe.

While playing the game you might find the Quick Start Guide to The Warlord handy. You can also read the full original published rules of the game. If you have ever played the board-game Risk then a lot of the game-play of The Warlord will appear very similar. In the game you are required to build armies, attack neighboring countries and move your armies into the defeated countries. It is important to remember, however, that in The Warlord you also have nuclear weapons (which if used can remove countries from the map permanently for the rest of the game).

The original game The Warlord was invented by Mike Hayes of Classic Warlord

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Indian Election Maps

2024 Times of India election map showing the leading alliance in each constituency

Counting is now underway of the votes in the world's largest election. Over 642 million people are expected to have voted in the 2024 Indian General Election, the result of which will be declared today (June 4th). Based on the earliest results it appears that current prime minister Narendra Modi is likely to keep his job, but that his party, the BJP, will win less seats than in 2019.

The Times of India's interactive Live Elections Map colors each constituency based on whether the NDA or India alliance is currently leading. If you hover over a constituency on the map you can view the name and party of the leading candidate and the name and party of the incumbent. You can also click through to view a more detailed breakdown of the results (when declared) and a map of all the results in the constituency's state.

The Times of India map also allows you to view the election results of all Indian elections dating back to 1980.

NDTV 2024 Indian election map

The Indian news broadcaster NDTV's India Results 2024 election map colors each constituency to show the current leading party. If you hover over a constituency you can view the name of the leading candidate and click through to read their entry on the NDTV's list of candidates. 

The NDTV election dashboard currently shows the NDA alliance on 296 seats. 272 seats are needed for a majority so the NDA will remain in power but probably with a large reduction in Members of Parliament compared to the results of the 2019 election.

Fans of hexagon grids should check out Al Jazeera's India Elections Results map, which represents each seat as a hexagon in a hexgrid map. Each hexagon is colored by the party of the leading candidate. If you hover over a hexagon you can view the name of the constituency and the leading party. With 543 hexagons it can be a little hard to find individual constituencies on the hexgrid, however the map does use state borders to help aid navigation.  

Monday, June 03, 2024

Find Your Nearest Hurricane

map showing historical hurricane tracks over Miami, Florida

As this year's hurricane season gets underway StarNews has released an interactive map which allows you to see how many tropical storms have passed near your home since 1851. Enter your address into the Hurricanes that passed near me map and you can view the tracks of all the hurricanes and tropical storms that have occurred near your home since the middle of the 19th Century. 

The StarNews map uses data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to show historical storm paths over your entered address. If you click on any of the red tracks shown on the map you can learn the name of the storm. Click on the radius points along a storm path and you can view data about the recorded strength of the storm at the selected location.

NOAA's interactive map also showing historical hurricane tracks over Miami, Florida

NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks map also allows you to view global hurricane data dating back as far as 1842. Using the map you can search and visualize hurricane data by storm name, location and by date. If you enter the name of a hurricane (for example 2012's Hurricane Sandy) you can view the hurricane's track on the map. Points along each hurricane's track allow you to view details about the wind speed and pressure for each day.

The NOAA database has over 13,000 storm tracks on record. If you click on the track of an individual storm on the map you can view more details about that storm. This information includes data on the storm’s maximum wind speed and minimum pressure. The storm's track will now also be colored on the map to show the storm's recorded wind speed along its complete path.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

The 46 States of America & Each State Flower

close up of the flying donkey map game
Close-up of the Flying Donkey map game

Yesterday I had a lot of fun browsing through the Osher Map Library. The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, at the University of Southern Maine has a wonderful collection of vintage maps. Many of which you can view online.

There are lots of curiosities in the collection, including the Flying Donkey Game, Yaggy's Nature in Descending Order visualization and the Our National Bouquet map.
 
the national bouquet map of the United States

Unfortunately the Osher Map Library's interactive Our National Bouquet map doesn't include the map key. This means that you only guess each state's flower from its hand-drawn picture. Alternatively you can refer to my Annotated Our National Bouquet map. If you click on a state on my version of the map you can discover the actual name of the state flower.

The map was originally published by the United States Flower Company in 1911. The map shows 46 states (in 1911, Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico were still territories, and Hawaii didn't become a state until 1959). Interestingly many of the state flowers have changed since 1911. For example the state flower of North Carolina is no longer tobacco. Who knows why tobacco North Carolina now wants to be associated more with the flowering dogwood than with the tobacco plant?

I created my annotated version of the map using the iiif manifest of the map from the Osher Map Library. To create the annotations for my map I used my own Leaflet-IIIF-GeoJSON wizard, which can be used to view and add annotations to any IIIF image using the popular Leaflet mapping library. 

Friday, May 31, 2024

Earth Nose Game Champion 2024

Welcome to the 2024 Earth Nose Game World Championship! This year's event promises to be the most exciting and innovative yet, as players from around the globe gather to showcase their unique skills and compete for the coveted title of World Earth Nose Champion. Players in this year's competition will have to be at the very top of their nasal game as the 2024 Nose Game World Championship promises to be the ultimate challenge of nasal dexterity and nostril prowess!

The Earth Nose Game is a delightful fusion of technology and geography which leverages the power of TensorflowJS and FaceMesh to create an astonishing geography challenge. Using cutting-edge facial recognition technology, players need to identify locations around the world on an interactive globe - with their noses. To become the 2024 Earth Nose World Champion you will therefore need not only world-beating geographical knowledge but also a fine tuned and dexterous olfactory protuberance.

Seriously though - while the Earth Nose Game will give you a few minutes of fun it is also an impressive demo of how facial gestures can be used to navigate an online interactive map. There are potentially some very useful lessons to be learned from such experiments, particularly in making interactive maps more accessible for individuals who cannot use other navigational methods.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Map Disco 2000

Apropos of nothing I present to you my Dancing Polygons!

This afternoon I asked ChatGPT to help me create interactive polygons from an isometric grid that I had created using turf.js. I wanted to give a click event to each diamond polygon shape in the isometric grid. However ChatGPT had other ideas and instead decided to create a series of irregular polygon shapes by connecting random intersections of my isometric grid.

I would have been disappointed except for the fact that I really liked the resulting pattern. So instead of asking ChatGPT to correct its mistake I decided to embrace the glitch and create Dancing Polygons. Every second this map (although there are no map tiles) creates a number of randomly shaped and colored polygons from an underlying isometric grid. 

I am not exactly sure why but I have also added the option to listen to a really annoying tune while you watch my dancing polygons (although it is much better in silent mode).

Are these are the safest streets in the world?

map of the United States showing those cities which have achieved Vision Zero in at least one year since 2009

Vision Zero is a global strategy aimed at eliminating all traffic fatalities. It is a vision built on the principle that the loss of life from road traffic accidents is unacceptable and preventable. Unfortunately many people believe that achieving zero road fatalities is impossible, especially in urban environments. The DEKRA Vision Zero Map not only shows that the Vision Zero goal is achievable it also shows you where that goal has been achieved around the world.

The DEKRA Vision Zero Map currently covers 26 countries in the world and lists all cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants in which no one has died in urban traffic in at least one calendar year since 2009. The color of a city's marker shows how many years since 2009 that city has had zero road fatalities. 

One of the aims of the Vision Zero Map is to make road safety visible. The map shows that many cities around the world are able to achieve zero road deaths, sometimes over many years. It is hoped that the map will help cities around the world learn from the most successful cities in order to get ever closer to a global Vision Zero.

Alongside the interactive map every year DEKRA awards one city the DEKRA Vision Zero Award. The 2023 DEKRA Vision Zero Award was won by the Swedish city of Karlstad. Karlstad has a population of over 60,000, and has still managed to have no traffic fatalities in eight of the past ten years. 

Sweden as a whole stands out on the Vision Zero Map for the safety of its city streets. Vision Zero as a policy was first formulated in Sweden and the country proves that eradicating road fatalities is achievable. Sweden has 27 cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. Of those cities 24 have achieved zero road fatalities in at least one year since 2009. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Loss of the Great American Grasslands

an animated GIF comparing a USA map of grassland coverage in 1992 ans 2021

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Act for Grasslands. have teamed up to map the loss of grasslands in the United States. Over 2 million acres of American grasslands are lost on average every year. The result of which has a devastating effect on American wildlife. 

Using historical satellite records Map for Grasslands has tracked grassland loss in the USA over the last 30 years. By mapping and comparing grassland coverage across the United States in 1992 and 2021 Map for Grasslands is able to visualize the incredible extent of grassland loss in just the last three decades. Map for Grasslands has also created a small multiple visualization zooming in on the grassland loss in different regions of the United States. This visualization allows you to compare 1992 and 2021 grassland coverage in the Southeast, Midwest, West, and Northeast in more detail.

map of the USA showing the loss of range of the Northern Bobwhite quail superimposed on a map showing grassland loss

To help explain the effect that the loss of grassland habitats has on wildlife Map for Grassland has also used an interactive map to plot the loss of animal species ranges on top of this grassland loss. This map allows you to compare the loss of range of a number of different animals and birds. For example the screenshot above is a map visualizing the loss of range of the Northern Bobwhite quail superimposed on a layer showing grassland loss. You can see that the loss of grasslands in the Great Plains has had a devastating effect on the numbers of quail surviving in this region.

Via: Quantum of Sollazzo

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Death of Japantown

animated gif showing where houses owned by Japanes Americans in Japantown before & after internment

I'm a little late to this one but last month the San Francisco Chronicle published a superb story map documenting the effect of America's internment of Japanese American citizens in World War II on San Francisco's Japantown District.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This order led to the forced removal and internment of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. Approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly taken from their homes and sent to internment camps. During internment Japanese American families lost homes, businesses, and farms and many were forced to sell their property at a fraction of its value.

In Here's How SF's Japantown Was Devastated by Mass Incarceration the Herald has used historical census data to map out the racial mix of Japantown before and after World War II. In 1940 around 1,340 residents in the 20 square block of Japantown were of Japanese ancestry. In the 1950 census only around 730 Japanese people remained in Japantown.

side-by-side maps showing Japanese American owned homes in Japantown in 1940 and 1950
Detailed census records from the 1950 census were only released in 2022. So it is only now possible to accurately compare the number of Japanese American residents living in Japantown before and after the war. Alongside the huge reduction of Japanese American citizens there was a similar reduction in Japanese American owned businesses. According to the Chronicle's research there were 350 Japanese American owned businesses in Japantown in 1941. By 1952 there were only 200 remaining.

Monday, May 27, 2024

The Journey of a Vampire

a map of Europe showing Dracula's route from Transylvania to England

On a dark night in July, 1893, Count Dracula embarked on a long, secret journey from Transylvania aboard the ill-fated ship Demeter. Unbeknownst to the unsuspecting crew of the Demeter, a malevolent force lay hidden in the ship's hold—a coffin filled with the cursed soil of Dracula's homeland, concealing the vampire lord himself.

By the time the Demeter's ghostly silhouette loomed over the shores of Whitby, it carried with it a cargo of death. The once bustling ship had become a floating tomb, with the captain, the sole survivor, lashed to the ship's wheel in a desperate bid to maintain control over the vessel. 

You can follow Count Dracula's nightmare journey from Transylvania to England for yourself on a new interactive book map of the novel. Dracula: The Map is a project by Morgan Bishop, which plots all the locations mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Using the 'Character Routes' drop-down menu you can select to view an interactive map of the journeys undertaken by each of the five main characters in the novel; Dracula, Jonathon Harker, his fiancee Mina Murray, Dr. Seward and Dr. Van Helsing.

The journey maps in Dracula: The Map were all created using Knight Lab's popular StoryMapJS format.

StoryMapJS was also used by the Smitsonian in Jane Austen's Footsteps to explore some of the important locations in the English writer's life. It has also been used to map Ayra's Journey in The Game of Thrones series of novels. Other maps of character journeys in fiction can be found in the Maps Mania post Literary Journeys.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Old Maps Online

animated map of Europe showing changing country borders from 100 AD

Old Maps Online, MapTiler and the David Rumsey Map collection have launched TimeMap.org, a new interactive world map which allows you to explore the history of human civilization over the last 6,000 years. TimeMap promises to throw open the doors to the past, allowing you to explore bygone eras, trace the shifting boundaries of nations, encounter history's most powerful figures, and witness the battlefields that forged the world as we know it now.

You can also use TimeMap to browse over half a million vintage maps.

TimeMap has four main views: Regions, Rulers, People and Battles. The titles of these views are fairly self-explanatory: 

  • Select 'Regions' and you can use the timeline control to view the changing borders of countries and regions over time, since 4000 BC. 
  • Select 'Rulers' and the names of individual emperors, kings and queens and other important rulers are added to the map. These names obviously change as you change the date with the map's timeline control. 
  • The 'People' view is similar to the 'Rulers' view, except instead of rulers the map displays the names of notable individuals throughout history. 
  • Select 'Battles' and you can use the timeline and map to view the locations of military conflicts throughout history.

TimeMap also makes extensive use of Wikipedia to provide context for the 6,000 odd years of historical information which can be browsed on the map. In any of the the four main views you can click on any of the map labels (whether placenames, rulers, battles or notable individuals) to learn more from the relevant Wikipedia entry.

TimeMap is significantly enhanced by also providing access to over half a million vintage historical maps. Click on the 'Maps' button (top-right) and a sidebar opens showing you all the available historical maps for the current map view and selected year. You can then select any of these vintage maps to see it overlain on the main map.

These vintage maps provide snapshots of the world at different points in history. By layering these maps, TimeMap allows you to visualize how borders have changed, empires have risen and fallen, and cities have grown over time. The maps themselves are of course important historical artifacts. They reflect the cartographic knowledge and techniques of their time, so TimeMap also helps reveal the evolution of map-making alongside the evolution of human history itself.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Guess This City - Daily Challenge

a blue square with the words Guess This City

Unveil the World with 'Guess This City': A New Daily Map-Based Game

Get ready to embark on a new global adventure from the comfort of your home with the launch of 'Guess This City,' a new daily map-based game. Every day brings a new test of your geographical knowledge and deduction skills as you are challenged to identify hidden cities by revealing parts of a map, one click at a time.

Discover the Game: How 'Guess This City' Works

'Guess This City' is a simple game that challenges players to guess the name of a hidden city by clicking on a concealed map. Each click reveals a small section of the map, offering hints and geographical clues about the city's identity. The objective is to guess the correct city in as few moves as possible, making each click a strategic decision.

How to Win

The Guess This City map uses very few place-name labels. Therefore your task is to identify the mystery city from the street grid and from the location of other features such as rivers, parks and bridges. Don't worry if you are struggling to identify the correct city as after every ten clicks a letter of the city's name is revealed!  

You can find more daily map challenges in the Maps Mania post the 12 Best Daily Map Games. You can also remix Guess This City and create your own daily map challenge game by remixing my game on Glitch.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

It's War on the Streets of Paris

map of Paris with streets with military related names highlighted

Une Histoire de Rue is a new interactive map which explores the connections between Paris street names and military history. Around 15% of Paris' streets have names which are related to battles, soldiers and/or resistance fighters. This new interactive map allows you to quickly see the extent to which military history is reflected and commemorated in the names of Paris' roads.

On the map streets which have a name with a military focus are shown as colored lines. Streets which are named for important battles are colored green. The streets colored blue are named after generals and other important military figures. Heroes of the French resistance are commemorated in the streets colored red on the map.

As you explore the map you will find that certain districts of Paris have more militaristic sounding streets than others. For example the areas around the Arc de Triomphe (commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 after his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz) and the Bastille-Arsenal (the area around the former site of the Bastille fortress) both have a large concentration of streets bearing military related names.

Une Histoire de Rue (Street History) is also a website which allows you to create your own categories of street names. For example you can use Une Histoire de Rue to create your own map of Paris (or any other city) showing all the streets named for artists and writers. If you click on the 'Import' button you can load street data onto the map from a CSV file. You can then create your own categories of color-coded streets on the interactive map. The open-source code for the map is also available on GitHub.

map of Paris with streets named for people highlighted

Le Figaro has also created a map of Parisienne street names. In particular it has examined how many Parisian roads were named for people and which historical periods those people are from. It then colored those roads on a map of Paris to show which historical period is most commemorated in Paris' roads.

In What Paris Street Names Reveal the newspaper says that a total of 2,500 streets in Paris are named for people. Only 15% of these roads are named for people born before 1700. One reason for this is that after the French revolution street names referring to the monarchy or Catholicism were banned. 1700-1850 is the most represented period in French history in the street names of Paris. 56% of streets in Paris named for people are named after figures from this historical period.

Le Figaro discovered that political figures were most likely to be commemorated by having a Paris street named for them. The next most commemorated group are writers, followed by military leaders.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

99 Red Balloons Go By

Reuters reports that since December China has sent more than 100 balloons over Taiwan, often passing through air corridors used by civilian aircraft. It is unknown what the balloons are being used for, they could be weather balloons, but many suspect that they are being used to spy on Taiwan.

You may remember that in February last year many Americans became enraged by the presence of a Chinese balloon spotted over the United States. On that occasion the New York Times was able to use satellite imagery to work out the provenance of the balloon. In Tracking the Chinese Spy Balloon From Space the NYT was able to determine that the balloon had been launched from (or near) Hainan Island in China.

Reuters has now mapped out the flight paths of the balloons which have been spotted over Taiwan since December of last year. An animated scrollytelling map In Tracking China's 'grey zone' balloon flights over Taiwan visualizes the paths of all the possible Chinese spy balloons flying over the Southeast Asian island between December and April of this year.

The 'grey zone' reference in the Reuters headline hints at the news agency's take on the balloons as being used as gray-zone warfare, "designed to exhaust a foe using irregular tactics without resorting to open combat." Another data visualization in the Reuter's article shows that the balloons have been flying at much too low altitudes to be useful as weather balloons, indicating that they probably serve some other purpose.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Spreading Love & Peace in Nutopia

interactive map showing citizens of Nutopia around the world

Nutopia is a conceptual country which was created by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1973 as a form of artistic expression and social commentary. Nutopia was created to be a utopian country with no land, no borders, and no passports, symbolizing an idea of peace and global citizenship.

The country of Nutopia has a white flag, symbolizing its surrender to peace, and its national anthem is a few seconds of silence, representing harmony and tranquility. John and Yoko's Nutopia exists as an idea rather than a physical place, emphasizing the transcendence of national boundaries and the unity of all people.

You can now become a Citizen of Nutopia and receive your very own Nutopia ID card. The Citizen of Nutopia interactive map shows the locations of the current 9,000+ citizens around the world. Using the map you can also read the messages posted by each citizen and "Spread love by clicking the ♡ next to a Citizen's name". 

Citizen of Nutopia appears to have a bit of a gaming element attached to it, in that you can also share your ID on social media and with your friends. You can then 'earn points' when someone scans your QR code and follows the link to sign up to be a citizen of Nutopia.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Citizen of Utopia also encourages people to donate the mental health charity Mind.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Man Made Star Signs

an animated map showing a constellation created from space debris

Space Trash Signs has hit upon a novel and fascinating way of visualizing the problems of space pollution. According to NASA there are around 9,000 tonnes of debris now floating around Earth at speeds of up to 25,000 km an hour. Space Trash Signs uses this debris to create new astronomical constellations or 'star signs'.

In 1978 NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler published a paper which argued that if the number of satellites in Low Earth Orbit reached a certain critical level, then even a small collision could create enough debris to cause a chain reaction that would eventually make further space exploration impossible. What has come to be known as the 'Kessler Syndrome' (or 'Kessler Effect') is the estimation that a critical level of space debris will eventually make it impossible to launch new satellites or spacecraft into LEO, as they would be at risk of being damaged or destroyed by this debris.

Space Trash Signs is a fun way to raise awareness of the problems of space debris. This space debris does not reflect enough light to be seen from Earth so the imagined constellations created by Space Trash Signs aren't actually visible in the night sky.

Last year Steve Wozniak's Privateer Space company launched an interactive map to visualize Earth's orbital debris problem. The Wayfinder interactive map shows the location of space junk and Earth satellites in near real-time. If you click on a cluster of space debris in one of the constellations created by Space Trash Signs you can click through to view its near real-time location in Earth's orbit on the Wayfinder interactive map.

Via: Webcurios

Friday, May 17, 2024

Segregation in the U.S.

US map with counties colored to show the levels of school segregation
Stanford University's Segregation Explorer visualizes the levels of segregation between schools and school districts in the United States. Developed by the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University, this new interactive map shows the levels of segregation across various regions, including states, metropolitan areas, school districts, and neighborhoods.

The new map includes school segregation data for the last thirty years. This temporal data shows that white-black segregation in schools in the United States has actually increased by 35 percent since 1991. Some of the most segregated counties highlighted by the Segregation Explorer are found in large urban districts. For instance, three large urban school districts – LAUSD, Philadelphia and New York City - show high levels of racial and economic segregation within their schools. These areas exhibit significant disparities in racial and economic compositions between schools, reflecting broader national trends of increased segregation over the past few decades.

The Segregation Explorer primarily focuses on racial and ethnic segregation, providing insights into how different racial and ethnic groups are distributed across various geographic areas. The map allows users to explore school segregation at state, county and school district levels, and view segregation trends over time since 1991.
US map showing the 100 most segregated neighboring school districts

Earlier this year the think tank New America also released an interactive map which visualizes school district segregation by race and poverty levels. The Crossing the Line map identifies the 100 most racially segregated neighboring school districts and the 100 most segregated neighboring school districts by school-age poverty rates. It highlights those areas in the USA which have the starkest segregated school districts by race and by poverty level.

According to the New America data Birmingham, Alabama has some of the most segregated school district borders in the country. Birmingham City School District and Mountain Brook City School District are the two neighboring districts which have the starkest racial segregation in the USA, based on the 'percentage of students of color enrolled'. These two school districts are also the fifth most segregated by the school age poverty rates in each district.

New America argues that because of America's long history of racist housing segregation there is now a marked trend of lower property values in 'communities of color'. Because school funding is usually dependent on the levels of local property taxes school districts in areas with lower property values can spend less per student than those in more affluent areas. According to New America on average the "districts serving more students of color collect $2,222.70 less in local revenue per pupil than the predominately white districts". 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Warmer Stripes for 2023

visualization showing average global temperaures for every year since 1850 as colored stripes
average global temperatures since 1850

Ed Hawkins' Warming Stripes visualization has now been updated to include 2023. Last year was the warmest year since accurate global records began. Globally the average temperature was 1.18°C (2.12°F) above the 20th-century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This means that your local warming stripes will probably now end with a very dark maroon colored stripe representing last year's intense heat.

#ShowYourStripes uses historical climate data to visualize average temperatures around the world for the last 173 years. Each stripe represents the average temperature for a single year, with reds signifying warmer than average years and blues cooler than average years. On the visualization stripes are ordered chronologically so that the stripes depict a clear warming trend over time. The most recent stripes, representing the last few decades, are predominantly red, highlighting the accelerated pace of global heating.

#ShowYourStripes also now includes an interactive map. The map allows you to zoom in on areas of the world to view the warming stripes for individual cities. Click on a marked city and you can view its warming stripes in an information window, click-through to view the city's warming stripes in more detail, and download the stripes as an image.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Is Europe Ready to Burn?

map of Europe showing all megafires since 2000

This week Spanish news site El Diario wondered if Europe was ready for megafires. One of the most noticeable consequences of global heating over the last few years has been the increase in large wild fires across the world. 

In Megafires Burn Europe El Diario has mapped out all the wildfires in Europe this century which have burnt an area of more than 500 hectares. Two accompanying graphs show both the increasing frequency of these large fires in Europe and their increasing size over the last decade.

The El Diario map of this century's magafires shows that southern Europe is most affected by wildfires. Portugal, Spain and Greece respectively have experienced the most area burnt by megafires. In its article El Diario uses a storymap format to highlight some of the areas which have seen the largest concentration of these fires.

El Diario is unequivocal in blaming climate change for the increasing severity of wildfires in Europe and note that the 'situation is going to get worse'. They say that according to climate change projections by the end of this century Spain, Italy and Greece will experience between 20% and 40% more days when climate conditions are favorable for the expansion of forest fires.

Via: Data Vis Dispatch

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Welcome To Your New Gardening Zone

map of Miami showing its new plant hardiness zone (11a)

In November of last year the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated the US plant hardiness map based on the latest weather data (1991–2020). The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a tool which is designed to help gardeners determine which plants are most likely to thrive in their location. 

The USDA map is divided into 13 zones based on average coldest temperatures. Zone 1 is the coldest zone, with average annual minimum temperatures below -55°F, while Zone 13 is the warmest zone, with average annual minimum temperatures above 65°F.

NPR has released a new interactive map which allows gardeners to discover their new plant hardiness zone and what this means for their gardens. Enter your location into the article, The USDA’s gardening zones shifted. This map shows you what’s changed in vivid detail, and NPR will show you your new plant hardiness zone, and the lowest average temperatures in your zone. The map will show you how much warmer this is than your previous average lowest temperatures.

As well as allowing you to discover your new Plant Hardiness Zone the NPR article does a very good job at explaining what the zones do and don't tell you about the kinds of plants that you can and can't grow in your garden. It explains how different locations within the same zone can still have widely different climate conditions which can affect which plants will thrive in your particular garden and climate.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Can You Draw America?

a satelitte map of the US on which an idiot has tried to draw the outlines of a few states

This morning I discovered that my geographical knowledge of the United States is ten times worse than I previously thought. Judging by my attempts to draw the outlines of all 50 states onto a blank map of the U.S. my application to the American Geographical Society is probably going to be summarily rejected.

Regular readers of Maps Mania (yes both of you) may remember that in March I posted a link to Huge Quiz's Europe Country Drawing Challenge. In this game players are challenged to draw the borders of European countries on top of a satellite map of Europe. For each country drawn points are awarded based on how much of the drawn area contains the actual named country and how much of the actual country is contained in the drawn area.

In March I discovered that I have a very bad knowledge of basic European geography. Today I learned that my knowledge of American geography is even worse. So far I have attempted to draw ten states in the U.S. State Drawing Challenge. I managed to score 0 points for Maine, Nevada, Montana, and Nebraska. The only two states I have managed to draw with any reasonable accuracy so far are California and Washington.

Due to the costs of using the Google Maps API Huge Quiz periodically restricts access to its games to premium members. This week the Europe Country Drawing Challenge is restricted. However (at the time of writing) the U.S. State Drawing Challenge is available to anyone.