Saturday, November 26, 2022

Earthquakes with Depth

Earthquakes with Exaggerated Depth is an interactive globe which visualizes one year's worth of earthquake activity around the world. The map was created by Esri's Raluca Nicola using data from the USGS.

On Raluca's transparent globe earthquakes which occurred between July 2017 and July 2018 are shown with their depth exaggerated by a factor of eight. Each earthquake is shown on the map using a colored circular marker. The color and size of the markers indicate the displayed earthquake's magnitude.

More than 75% of the world's volcanoes and around 90% of earthquakes occur in and around the basin of the Pacific Ocean. This area is commonly called the Ring of Fire. The reason for all this seismic activity in the Ring of Fire is the presence of converging tectonic plates.
The Pacific Ring of Fire can also be clearly seen on John Nelson's Seismic Illumination visualization. This map uses historical earthquake data going back to 1898 to show how earthquake activity reveals the Earth's tectonic plates. By concentrating on the Pacific Ring of Fire the map is able to show how continental drift causes seismic activity where the world's tectonic plates meet each other.

The Seismic Explorer interactive map also uses historical earhquake data to visualize 40 years of earthquake activity on Earth, including information on the magnitude, depth, and location of each recorded quake. The map uses data about recent seismic activity from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and data from the Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program on historical seismic activity around the world. 

On this map individual earthquakes are shown using colored and scaled markers. The colors of the markers represent earthquake depth and the size of the markers indicate the magnitude of the quake.The timeline control below the map allows you to view the seismic activity around the world for any date range. You can also press the play button to view an animation of global earthquakes from 1980 to the present day. 

Seismic Explorer also includes a cross section tool which allows you to view the depth data of earthquakes in a 3D view. You can use this tool to view an area of the globe as a cross-section, providing a three-dimensional view of the earthquake activity in that region. This allows you to view the depths of the earthquakes in that cross-section for any selected date range.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Grand Theft Auto GeoGuessr

Lostgamer allows you to play a GeoGuessr type Street View game in your favorite game worlds. This amazing game uses custom made 360 degree panoramic Street View type imagery of your favorite game-worlds to create an awesome geographical virtual world game. 

Fans of GeoGuessr will be familiar with the gameplay of Lostgamer. In GeoGuessr you are required to identify real-world locations from Google Maps Street View imagery. The gameplay in Lostgamer is exactly the same. Only in this case you have to identify where you are in a virtual game-world based on 360 panoramic imagery of that world's map. 

You can choose to play Lostgamer in three different game-worlds; Grand Theft Auto's Los Santos, World of Warcraft's Shadowlands or the Fortnite game-world. Choose either GTA, WoW or Fortnite and you will be randomly dropped in your chosen game's game-world. Using the custom made Street View imagery you now have to work out where you are in that world. If the location isn't immediately apparent you can use the arrows to move around (just as you would on Google Maps). When you think you know where you are you can submit your answer by dropping a pin on the map of your game-world. You will then be awarded points based on how close you guessed to the correct location.

Lostgamer allows you to 'play solo', where you play against yourself and attempt to set your own personal high-score. Alternatively you can play 'multiplayer', in which you get to test your knowledge of one of the three featured game-worlds against other players.  

Even if you aren't interested in playing a Geoguessr type game you can still have a lot of fun with Lostgamer. Instead of trying to work out where you have been randomly dropped in a virtual game-world you can just use Lostgamer to virtually explore Los Santos, the Shadowlands or the Fortnite world. Each game has been fully mapped using custom developed Street View like panoramas. This means that you can explore each of these three game-worlds exactly as you might explore your own town using Google Maps Street View.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Future of Forests

Climate change is already leading to temperature changes in biomes, and effecting the development of the species which depend on them. As a result of global heating and increased temperatures the natural habitats of forest tree species are beginning to change. According to Appsilon (creators of R Shiny dashboards) predicted "climatic changes will significantly affect living conditions for trees. Increased temperatures and decreased precipitation during the growing season will affect particular tree species differently."

In order to show how climate change will affect individual tree species Appsilon has released Future Forests, an interactive map which visualizes the current range of a number of tree species and predicts their future ranges under three different climate change models. If you choose a species of tree from the map's drop-down menu and a climate change scenario (optimistic, moderate or pessimistic) you can see the tree species' current range and its predicted range in 70 years time. 

For example, the map above shows in red where the Douglas fir will stop growing in Europe under a pessimistic climate change scenario. Under this scenario the Douglas fir's habitat will move dramatically. The map shows in blue the areas where the Douglas fir is predicted to start growing outside its current habitat under this pessimistic climate change model.

The map allows you to view the predicted habitats of 12 different tree species which currently grow in European forests. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The lutruwita place names map

pulingina to lutruwita (Tasmania) Place Names Map is an interactive map which shows the original palawa kani names for lots of locations in lutruwita (Tasmania). palawa kani is the language of Tasmanian Aborigines. The map was created by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre using research undertaken by the palawa kani Language Program.

According to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre only "a handful of places in lutruwita still bear their original names". These handful of palawa kani place names are also given using English spellings, which do not convey the original sounds. The pulingina to lutruwita Place Names Map includes audio recordings of each place name spoken by a palawa kani speaker. Click on a place name's marker on the map and you can also learn a little about the history of the name.

You can learn more about the map and the palawa kani Language Program on the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre website.

You may also be interested in:

  • New Zealand - the Te Reo Māori Web Map shows the Te Reo place-names of New Zealand towns, cities, lakes, rivers, mountains and other notable locations.
  • Australia - The Land is a Map shows locations in Australia with names of Indigenous Australian origin. Click a place name marker on the map to learn more about a place name's etymology from its Wikipedia entry.

The New FCC National Broadband Map

Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its most accurate map of national broadband provision. Enter your address into the FCC National Broadband Map and you can discover which Internet Service Providers are available where you live and the types of service and speeds which you can expect.

The ISP availability and service speed data are provided by the providers to the FCC. If you think the data for your address is wrong then you can submit a 'Location Challenge' directly on the map. You can also report if your address is missing from the map.

The new FCC National Broadband Map will be used by the government to help to determine where to distribute money from the $42.45 billion in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. Every state will receive $100 million from the BEAD program. Extra funding will then be distributed, using the FCC map, to areas which are currently unserved or underserved by Internet Service Providers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Explore the First Route Around the World

On September 20 1519 five ships set out with 239 men from Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain. Their goal was to find a new route to the Moluccan Islands, in Indonesia. On September 6 1522 just one of those ships, the Victoria, landed back in Spain. It was the first ship to have circumnavigated the globe. 

Only 18 men returned to Spain on the Victoria. Many of the others died on the journey, including the original captain, one Ferdinand Magellan, who was killed in the Philippines in April 1521.

In order to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first ship to sail around the world the Spanish broadcaster RTVE has released an interactive map of the route taken by Magellan's expedition to  cicumnavigate the globe. In The First Around the World you can follow this whole voyage from Spain, to South America, through the Strait of Magellan, across the South Pacific, to the Phillipines, around the Cape of Good Hope and (nearly three years later) back to Spain.

As you follow the route taken by Magellan's expedition you pass a number of milestones. These milestones including the kidnapping and chaining up of two indigenous South American of the Tehuelches people, the burning of a village in Guam, and an attack on the island of Mactan (during which Magellan died). 

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Global Watershed Map

Click anywhere on the Global Watersheds map and you can view a visualization of the upstream watersheds calculated from your selected location. The map allows you to quickly see where water is coming from and where it is going at any location on Earth.

The screenshot above shows the huge 1 million km² watershed flowing from the Andes into the Solimões River in Brazil. If you want to view the world's largest watersheds on the Global Wathershed map then click downstream in the Amazon Basin (the world's largest watershed) or downstream in the Mississippi River Watershed in the United States.

If you wish to see where a watercourse flows to then you can select the 'downstream' option on the map. This will then display the flow path of the selected river from the selected location to the ocean. Other options allow you to download the data of a watershed in geoJSON, shapefile or KML formats.

You can view an animated journey of the downstream flow path of a river on the River Runner interactive map. River Runner Global allows you to virtually drop a raindrop anywhere in the world to visualize its journey to the sea. You can select any location in the world on the map and then watch the animated journey that a raindrop would take from that location downstream to the sea. 

In order to work worldwide River Runner Global uses the MERIT-Basins global vector hydrography dataset. The map also uses Natural Earth data for the river name labels. You can read more about River Runner Global here.This 'about' page includes information on how to download the river name data and how to clone and deploy the River Runner API.

Global Watersheds also has an API. You can read more about the Global Watersheds API on the map's about page. The API allows you to grab the geoJSON data for any location in the world by entering a lat/lng as a query string to a formated URL.

The River Runner Global team has also compiled a list of some of their favorite raindrop paths. River Runner Global Paths includes links to over 20 animated journeys, showing how a drop of water would travel from locations around the world - downstream to the sea.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Mapping the New Manure Action Plan

Belgium newspaper De Tijd has carried out an awesome geographical analysis of the Flemish government's Seventh Manure Action Plan (MAP7). Under European Union directives Belgium must reduce the amount of nitrates and phosphates which are being washed into Belgium waterways from agricultural fertilizers. 

By 2027 all bodies of water must achieve a 'good' status. The new Manure Action Plan proposes introducing a set of measures to reduce over-fertilization and its polluting impact on Belgium's inland water. One of these proposed measures is extending the width of the buffer zone which must exist between watercourses and agricultural crop-land. 

In Where are the thousands of hectares of endangered agricultural land? De Tijd has mapped out the impact of extending the current 1 meter buffer zone to 3 meters or to 6 meters. By mapping out Belgium's crop-land and its watercourses De Tijd is able to show how much crop-land is lost under different sized buffer zones. 

Buffer zones between crop-land and watercourses are essential to reduce the washoff of fertilizer into rivers and streams, therefore reducing the amount of nitrates and phosphates that end up in Belgium's inland waterways. However increasing the size of these buffer zones obviously decreases the amount of land which can then be used for growing crops. 

De Tijd's analysis shows that the current 1 meter buffer means that just over 4,700 hectares are removed from agricultural land in Flanders. Increase the buffer zone to 3 meters and almost 14,000 hectares are removed from possible crop-land. Increase the buffer zone to 6 meters and almost 30,000 hectares are removed from possible agricultural land. That is around 4.4% of all Flemish agricultural land.

Using De Tijd's interactive map you can explore where in Flanders the increases to buffer zones will have the biggest impact on available crop-land. De Tijd also goes on to show which specific crops would be most affected by the MAP7 proposals. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Map of the Fediverse

Following Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter the open-sourced social networking service Mastodon has seen a huge growth in users. One way in which Mastodon differs from Twitter is that it operates as a federated network, on a large number of independently run instances. These separate instances are connected by the Fediverse (a collection of connected servers that are used for social-networking and micro-blogging) which allow the independetly run instances to communicate with each other.

Many instances of Mastodon have been created for specific subjects or fields. For example Maps Mania can be found on Mastodon on, which is an instance of Mastodon created for 'GIS, mapping, geospatial and cartography professionals and enthusiasts'. Some Mastodon instances have also been created for specific locations, to serve local or even national communities. 

If you want to find a Mastodon instance that serves your city, region or country then you can explore the Mastodon Near Me interactive map. This map shows Mastodon servers which serve a specific geographical area and which are open to new members who wish to join Mastodon.

You can also find a fediverse server by location on the Fediverse Observer. This interactive map shows where the servers of Mastodon instances are physically located. The instances shown on this map are not necessarily designed to serve people from a particular geographic region, it just happens to be where they are located. For example although I live in the UK I belong to an instance,, whose server is physically located in France.

You can also explore the fediverse on is less of a map and more of a network chart of Mastodon instances. It looks at the connections between instances to create a network chart which visualizes the interconnected relationships between the different Mastodon communities. 

For example if I search for on the map I find that its nearest neighbors are (an instance for OpenStreetMap editors and users), (a Mastodon instance for members of the data viz community) and (the Mastodon social network for social scientists). 

Etienne Côme, a researcher at Université Gustave Eiffel, has also created an interactive network chart of the fediverse. Etienne says that one of the first things he noted about Mastodon was "how much more 'geographical' the fediverse is than other social networks". He therefore decided to map around 2,000 instances in his Mapstodon visualization of the Mastodon fediverse.

In this network mapping of the fediverse individual instances are organized based on the connections between instances as expressed in public toots made in each instance. There is a little more detail of how the visualization was made in this toot thread.

You can follow Maps Mania on Mastodon at

Share Your Location with What9Whos

What9Whos is a proprietary geocode system designed to identify any location on Earth using the names of nine actors that have played the role of Dr Who. 

What9Whos is designed to make sharing your location easier than having to give a full postal address. For example instead of having to tell someone to meet you at the "Capitol Building" you can just simply tell them to meet at:


Not everyone is happy with using a propietary geocoding system for location sharing and over the years What9Whos has been parodied many times. Some of these parodies include: 

There are of course many other alternatives to What9Whos. You can use Google's much ignored Plus Codes or even the centuries old latitude and longitude system. You could even devise your own geocoding system using pataaddress.

The open sourced pataddress global addressing system allows you to pinpoint any location on Earth using four words. pataddress comes with its own default word database (the words used to describe a location) but also allows you to build your own database with a built-in word frequency analyser.