Saturday, December 02, 2023

Sea Level Rise Maps

Darren Wiens' new Sea Level Rise Simulation map shows how rising sea levels might effect coastlines around the world. Using the simulator you can adjust the height of the sea around the world to see what level of global heating will turn your town into the next Atlantis.

Darren's map uses AWS Terrain Tiles with Mapbox GL's raster-value expression to visualize global sea levels. In very simple terms the map layer turns blue based on the elevation level that the user selects using the sea level slide control. In other words the Sea Level Rise Simulation is only a very rough guide as to how different sea level rises might affect your local environment.

One indication that the Sea Level Rise Simulation map is not intended to be used as an authoritative guide to rising sea-levels is the sea level rise control used on the map. The control only allows you to adjust the sea level visualized on the map in 1 meter increments. 

According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program sea levels have risen by just over 8 inches since 1850. Global heating is however accelerating the rate by which sea levels are rising. According to NOAA the U.S. coastline is predicted to rise by "10 - 12 inches (0.25 - 0.30 meters) in the next 30 years". Unfortunately using the Sea Level Rise Simulation map it isn't possible to adjust sea levels in steps smaller than one meter (so the map can't show you the result of a 10 inch rise in sea levels).

Climate Risk's Coastal Risk Map also allows you to view your risk from projected sea level rise and coastal flooding by year, water level, and by elevation.Share your location with the Coastal Risk Map and you can view the potential flood risk for different years and for different levels of predicted sea level rise. 

The Coastal Risk Map includes a warning that the map may include errors and should only be used as a tool "to identify places that may require deeper investigation of risk".

Coastline Paradox uses Google Maps Street View imagery to visualize how rising sea levels are likely to affect locations around the world over the next three hundred years. The map was created by Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho to provide a powerful visualization of likely sea level rises and their effects on global migration.

Using Coastline Paradox it is possible to view the likely effects of rising sea levels at locations around the world for any year between now and 2300. Select one of the global locations marked on the map with a blue dot and a panoramic Street View image will appear. Superimposed on top of this image is a glowing white line which shows the likely future sea level at that location. You can adjust the date for the sea level prediction at any location by using the timeline control above the map.

Friday, December 01, 2023

The Live Music Mapping Project

The combination of the Covid epidemic, inner-city gentrification and austerity has had a hugely negative impact on live music venues and the live music networks of many cities. The Live Music Mapping Project has been launched to help overcome these challenges by creating detailed maps of the local live ecosystem in individual cities. Currently the project has released interactive maps for seven European cities, Birmingham, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Milan, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Newcastle. The project has also released a national live music map for Wales.

Each city's Live Music Map reveals the locations of active local live music venues. The individual music venues in each city are shown using colored markers. The colors of the markers indicate the type of venue (arena, stadium, nightclub, pub etc). The maps also include filters which allow you to see which venues have live music as their main business (eg not pubs and stadiums) and which venues host open-mic nights.

If you click on a music venue's marker on a map you can find its address, phone number and (where available) website link. You can also discover other details about the venue such as the type of venue, its capacity and its opening hours. 

Obviously the Live Music Mapping Project maps can help consumers of live music discover local live music venues in their cities. They are also incredibly useful for music artists and promoters in discovering and booking venues in which to perform.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Most Popular Music in Your Town

SZA's Kill Bill was the most listened to song in New York and San Francisco this year. In Denver and New Orleans the most listened to song was Morgan Wallen's Last Night. While Eslabon Armado y Peso Pluma's Ella Baila Sola was the most popular tune in Los Angeles, Houston and San Diego.

Spotify has released a new interactive map which reveals the most listened to songs in cities around the world. Wrapped Mapped has been released by Spotify as part of its annual data round-up of what music people have been listening to in the past year.

Every December Spotify provides all its users with a personalized summary of their listening habits over the previous year. This 'Wrapped' summary provides a fun and engaging way for Spotify users to see which artists, songs and genres they have been listening to, as well as how many minutes they have actually spent listening to music during the year. Wrapped is typically released in early December, and users can share their Wrapped results with friends and social media.

This year's Wrapped includes an interactive map which reveals the local streaming trends during 2023 in locations across the world. Click on a city on the Wrapped Mapped interactive globe and you can view a top 5 list of the songs which were most streamed in that city over the past 12 months. If you have a Spotify account you can even click on the links to listen to each of the listed songs.

London, Paris & Berlin Metro Memory Games

I think I've started a new mapping trend. At the beginning of October I released my TubeQuiz map. Since then I have spotted three other new map games which also require players to name all the stations on the London Underground network. 

The latest incarnation of a London Underground station memory game is I Know The Tube. I Know The Tube follows the now well known format of a map memory game, in that players simply have to remember the names of tube stations on the London Underground map. Type in a correct station name and its label will be added to the map and you will earn one point.

The unique selling point of I Know the Tube, and where it differs from the other London Tube station naming games, is that it actually uses Harry Beck's schematic map style for the underground map. This fact alone would make this my favorite incarnation of all the London tube map memory games. Except the game doesn't use localStorage to keep a record of your scores. 

The absence of localStorage means that if you close the browser you will have to start on 0 points when you return to the game at a later date. This is quite a set-back because the I Know the Tube game actually includes all 11 main tube lines, the London Overground, DLR, Emirates Air Line, Tramlink and TFL Rail lines. It therefore has 454 individual stations for players to name. That is quite a lot for one sitting! 

Kailan Banks cloned the Glitch page of my original TubeQuiz to create his own version of the game. TubeGuessr made a couple of very neat improvements to my original game. It added localStorage, (which allows a player's guesses and score to persist between sessions) and also added support for a number of spelling variations and typos. The localStorage idea was so good that I went back and added that to my own version of the game.

There is also a fourth London Underground station naming game which you can play. The London Tube Memory Game isn't a direct copy of my original game (in fact it appears to be have been coded from scratch) but the object of the game remains the same, in that you are required to name all the stations on the London Underground.

The London Tube Memory Game has also made a number of useful improvements on my original game. The best of these improvements is that the London Tube Memory Game lists all the stations already named in the map sidebar. The London Tube Memory Game scoring system also shows you how many stations on each individual tube line you have named so far and how many more stations on that line you still have to name. I think both of these improvements make the game a lot easier and more fun to play.

For the last two weeks I've been thinking of creating similar games for the New York and San Francisco transit networks but haven't had the time to start those yet. If you want to create those games yourself then you can clone my TubeQuiz game on Glitch. Once you've cloned the game all you then really need to do is change the data in the places.js file to show the names and locations of stations on the transport network you wish to use for your game.

Of course nothing is really new in map games. I can't really claim to have started this trend. My TubeQuiz game was itself inspired by Chris Arvin's SF-Street-Names game. So if anyone should be credited with starting a new mapping trend it really should be Chris Arvin.

Update - The developer of the London Tube Memory Game has been very busy and has actually created a whole Metro Memory website, which features similar games for Paris, New York, Berlin and a number of other major global cities.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Locking Up Louisiana

The state of Louisiana likes putting its citizens in jail. Nearly 1 in every 100 Louisiana residents are locked up in a state prison or local jail. The reasons for Louisiana's high incarceration rates are simple. It isn't because Louisiana is full of criminals. It is because of racism and the profits to be made from enforced slave labor.

I arrived at this conclusion after reading the Vera Institute of Justice's project Louisiana Locked Up: A Problem in Every Parish. Not that Vera ever expressly cites racism in its report - but the implications are very clear from the data. Vera's data driven investigation of Louisiana's incarceration problems uses a story-map format to investigate the rates, results and causes of why this southern state imprisons so many of its residents. 

The report includes many maps, including maps which show the incarceration rates in each of the state's parishes. According to the map "the prison admission rate is greater than the national average in 92 percent of parishes and more than twice the national average in 63 percent of parishes." 

One very damning map layer juxtaposes the location of the state's prisons and jails with the location of historical plantations. According to Vera: 

"The state’s largest jails and prisons are situated squarely on the same land where Black people were enslaved to sustain the state’s agricultural industry. These facilities now use the forced labor of incarcerated people (who are disproportionally Black) to sustain the “corrections” industry."

In 2018 The Pudding used 150 years of census and incarceration data to explore the legacy of slavery on modern incarceration rates in the United States. The Pudding's The Shape of Slavery allows you to view the 1860 distribution of slaves in the Southern States alongside present day incarceration rates in each state.

America likes to put people behind bars. The NAACP reports that 21% of the entire world's prison population is living in American jails. This propensity to lock up its citizens affects African Americans more than most other Americans. The NAACP says that African Americans are incarcerated at nearly five times the rate of white Americans.

There is a geographical factor at play in these incarceration rates. The Prison Policy Initiative states that "the South has consistently had a higher rate of incarceration than the other regions of the United States". The Pudding decided to explore if there was any connection between the high rate of incarceration in Southern states and the legacy of slavery. By mapping 150 years of census and incarceration data they wanted to see if historic incarceration rates differ between the former slave states and the non-slave states of the North.

They do. The Pudding concludes that "we still see the shadow of the undeniable, institutionalized, strategic racism of the 100 years after the Civil War".

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Live Amtrak Train Map is a live interactive map which shows the real-time locations of passenger trains in the U.S. and Canada. 

The map uses colored markers to show the near real-time positions of trains from a number of different train companies in North America. The arrow on the markers show a train's direction of travel and the colors indicate the transit operators of individual trains. If you click on a marker on the map you can discover the selected train's name, which stations it is traveling to & from, and its current speed.

The map includes Amtrak trains in the U.S., VIA Rail Trains in Canada and the locations of trains from a number of other transit providers. Unfortunately the map is missing a number of regional train operators. Reading the comments on this Hacker News thread it appears that the map's creator is actively working on adding the live train location feeds for a number of these missing transit operators.


The Amtrak/VIA Live Map also shows the live position of Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada trains. It uses live data from Amtrak's Track-A-Train service and VIA's status service to estimate the real-time location of U.S. and Canadian trains and their current running status.

The location of individual trains is shown on the map with colored numbers. The colors on this map indicate the on-time performance of the train at the last station. In other words a train's color on the map provides a guide to how late a train is running. If you click on a train on the map then you can view how many minutes (if any) it is running late and its current estimated speed.

The map sidebar shows a selected train's complete schedule, including all the stations on its route. This schedule shows how many minutes late (if any) the train departed each and every station already visited and how many minutes late it is expected to arrive at all remaining stations on its route.

You can also track trains in real-time on the official Amtrak Track Your Train Map. Enter a train number, or name into Amtrak's map and you can view its progress in real-time. Click on a train's marker on the map and you can view its current speed, its estimated time of arrival at its next station and how minutes early or late it is running.

If you enjoy live real-time transit maps then you might also enjoy:

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

geOps - animated maps of over 700 transit systems around the world
Train Map - a live map of the Belgium rail network
Swiss Railways Network - the original real-time map of Swiss trains
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
Signalbox - a live train map of the UK

You will also find many more live transit maps by checking out the real-time tag on Maps Mania.

The World as 1000 People

If the world's population was proportionally represented as 1,000 people then 591 of those people would live in Asia, 185 would live in Africa, 91 in Europe, 75 would live in North America, 55 in South America and the remaining 5 people would live in Oceania. 

The Visual Capitalist has mapped The World's Population as 1,000 People. On the map each marker (shaped as a human figure) represents just over 8 million people. For example the USA's population of 339,996,563 is represented as 42 markers. The most populated country in the world is India with 1,428,627,663 people (represented as 178 on the map). Neighboring China is the second most populated country with 1,425,671,352 people (represented as 177).

The map uses population estimates from the United Nations Population Division.
You can also explore where people live around the world on the Pudding's Human Terrain interactive map. This map shows population density across the globe using 3D population pyramids. The taller a pyramid block on The Pudding map then the more people live there. 

The data for the Human Terrain map comes from the Global Human Settlement Layer. This data from the European Commission looks at the population living within 1 km² areas, 'regardless of administrative boundaries'. 

The use of population pyramids is a well used and visually dramatic way to show population density. For example The Pudding's map is very similar to a WebGL powered map created by Topi Tjukanov to show the density of Europe's population.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

The World's Largest Snow Dome

This morning I discovered MapTheClouds, which features a whole host of impressive interactive map visuals. I'm sure a lot of the maps featured on MapTheClouds are very useful but as ever I'm drawn to the fun, experimental maps, to the maps that apparently serve no other purpose than they were fun to create and are even more fun to play with.

Here are a few links to my personal favorites, but check out MapTheClouds yourself, as this is only a small selection of a far larger collection of interactive maps:

Snow Globe

Click on any location in the world on this map and you can encase it in a gigantic snow dome. 

Why? Who cares ... do you really need a reason to entrap the whole of Manhattan in the world's biggest snow dome?

Maybe you don't want to live entrapped inside a gigantic dome. But I bet you'd love to be surrounded by thousands of hot air balloons floating upwards into the heavens. Click on your home town on this map and you can discover what it looks like to be surrounded by the world's largest number of aeronauts.

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if you could compare a globe of present day Earth side-by-side with a globe of Pangaea? Me neither but I'm very glad that I can.

This interactive map shows two rotating interactive globes. One should look familiar to you, as it is the Earth as it looks today from space. The other globe however shows you what the world looked like around 300-200 million years ago, when North America, Africa, South America, and Europe all existed as a single continent called Pangaea.

When the world seems to be largely a grey, monotone and dull place you need to open up this map, which allows you to peer through a magical portal to catch a glimpse of the wonderful and colorful world inhabited by the Finns and Danes.

If you like these maps then do visit MapTheClouds which has many, many more excellent examples of fun map projects.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Global Sentiment Towards Israel & Palestine

The interactive map Israel-Palestine Media Bias visualizes the results of a sentiment analysis of mostly English language media and social media websites to determine whether they have a predominately Israeli or Palestinian bias.

Using the map you can explore the Israel/Palestine sentiment bias expressed by the media in individual countries, on different platforms and by the percentage of a country's population being Muslim.

On the map individual countries are colored to reflect the extent the analysis detected pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli sentiments in that country's media and social media. Blue countries are those with a pro-Israeli sentiment and red indicates a pro-Palestinian sentiment score.

I think the map is a really interesting attempt to explore global sentiments to Israel and Palestine in media and social media. However it is important to be aware that it was created with the help of the Israeli Civilian Intelligence Center, which is made up of Israel's Aman (military intelligence), Mossad (overseas intelligence) and Shabak (internal security). Agencies which themselves presumably have very pro-Israeli sentiments.

The creator of the map acknowledged in a Reddit comment that the visualization should be titled 'Media Sentiment' rather than 'Media Bias'. The use of a negative '-' to indicate a pro-Palestine sentiment score and positive scores to indicate pro-Israel sentiment is also I think particularly ill considered.

Also See

Gaza Damage Proxy Map - assessing the damage to buildings in Gaza

Mapping the Massacres - a comprehensive map of all the atrocities committed by Hamas on the 7th October.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

America is a Jigsaw

If you want a little Thanksgiving fun today then you should play TripGeo's State Locator game. State Locator is an interactive map of the United States. A map which you have to assemble yourself based on the shapes of the individual states and a few image clues.

At the beginning of the game you are presented with a random state. Your job is to place this state onto a blank map of the United States. When you start the game the only clues you have as to where to place a state are markers showing the largest towns and cities in the U.S., the shape of the state and the background images shown on the state.

The game presents you with a number of choices (in the form of question marks) where you can place each state. You just need to select the correct location on the map for each 50 states in turn. You are rewarded one point for each state that you correctly place on the map. Complete the map and you will receive 50 points. However the game also keeps tabs on how many mistakes you make. The aim of the game is to get 50 points with the fewest number of errors.

My best score so far is 75 errors (my excuse is that I'm not American).

You might also enjoy my own US States Quiz. In my game you are required to name all of the 50 states before you are allowed to eat your Thanksgiving dinner. Enter the name of a U.S. state and the state will be colored green on the map. 

Don't worry if you can't name all 50 states in one sitting. The game will remember your score and which states you have already named, so you can close the game and return to complete the game at a later time. Just press the 'start over' button if you wish to clear the map and start afresh.

One objective of the US States Quiz is to beat the characters of Friends. In the episode 'The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs' four of the characters try to name all of the US states. Monica manages to name 36 states ("nobody cares about the Dakotas"). Rachel gets 48. Joey somehow manages to name 56. Chandler then challenges Ross to name all 50 states before he can eat his Thanksgiving dinner. Initially Ross names 46 states. Many hungry hours of struggle later he manages to name all 50 states and then starts eating his dinner. Only for Chandler to point out that he has actually named Delaware twice!

If you enjoy naming US States then you should also enjoy Find the State. In this game you are asked to locate on a map each of the 50 US states in turn. As well as having to identify all 50 states part of the objective in this game is to build winning streaks. Identify a wrong state and your streak returns to zero.

If you need some help locating a state then it is worth reading the state's description in the map sidebar, which usually provides some clues as to the state's geographical location within America.