Thursday, June 22, 2017

Degradation of the Amazon Rainforests


Most people are aware of the devastating effect of deforestation on the Amazon Rainforest. Not so many people are aware of the equally worrying 'degradation' of forests. With deforestation the forest is completely cleared and left for pasture, monoculture or simply abandoned. Forest degradation is the thinning of tree density which leads to the removal of important biodiversity. It is often caused by logging, fire, drought or hunting.

The extensive forest clearance caused by deforestation can be relatively easy to spot using aerial surveys or even satellite imagery. Forest degradation on the other hand can be a lot harder to monitor from the air as the tree canopy can still exist above the thinning tree density.

The Silent Forest project has been started by a team of Brazilian and foreign scientists to assess the extent and impact of forest degradation in the Amazon Rainforest. As part of this monitoring the project has released an interactive map to show Contributing Factors to Degradation in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. The map shows the extent to which fire, logging, hunting and fragmentation are leading to forest degradation.


The Silent Forest website also includes a hexagon grid map of the Brazilian state of Pará. The grid map shows the percentage loss of biodiversity across the whole state.

Where Cars Rule the City Streets


Do you know how much physical space in your town or city is dedicated to cars, to bikes and to trains? Moovel Lab has been analyzing OpenStreetMap data to answer this question and to provide a Mobility Space Report for major cities around the world. What the Street? allows you to explore these Mobility Space Reports and to view the amount of space dedicated to the three different modes of transport in your favorite cities.

Before exploring a city on What the Street? you are asked to enter your own guess as to how much city space you think is allocated to cars, trains and bikes. After you have made your guess you can then explore the results.

The results for each mode of transport is presented in a long scrollable visualization of all the individual spaces dedicated to each form of transit. For example for cars you get to scroll through all of the city's streets and parking lots. As you scroll through the visualization a total is kept of the amount of space dedicated to cars. Don't worry - you don't have to scroll through the whole city and a link allows you to skip to the end of the visualization.

After you have finished scrolling through all the city's streets, rails and bike lanes you can see how good your initial guess was. Your guess is compared to the actual results and to the guesses made by other users. The results page also includes some useful information about the city, such as the longest street and street name.

The city is then compared to the other cities around the world. This comparison includes its ranking as a city for driving, biking or taking the train.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Name the City from its Bike Lanes


The Guardian has a fun map game which requires you to guess cities around the world based solely on maps of their bike lanes. The maps were created by Bike Citizens using their bike mapping data. Each city map consists of just protected bike lanes (blue lines) and painted lanes (grey lines).

There are twelve city maps in all in Can you guess the city from its bike lane maps. All you have to do is choose the correct answer for each city map from a choice of three possible answers.

I got 10 out of 12 of the questions correct. I won't tell you which cities I got wrong as that would give you the answer to two of the trickier cities. I was amazed by how many cities I could recognize just from their bike lanes. I obviously spend far too much time looking at maps.

The UK Election Dot Map


The Colours of the Election is a dot map which provides a view of the geographical distribution of votes cast in the 2017 UK election. Each dot on the map represents 250 votes for one of the political parties. The dots are randomly distributed within each electoral area.

At the electoral ward level a random distribution of colored dots is obviously not the best way to present the number of votes cast for each political party. This data would be much more legible visualized as a bar graph. In fact randomizing the numbers within each constituency could be confusing as it suggests that the data is shown geographically - when in fact the data is just randomly distributed.

When you view the data at a regional level the data does begin to make more sense and the geographical distribution of votes for each political party can begin to emerge from the map. For example the regional view of London shows the dominance of Labour in inner London. The Conservatives voters are more concentrated in a ring in the suburbs outside of the center. This ring is broken in the south-west where the Liberal Democrats have a small pocket of support.

The question remains about whether this dot map view shows a more detailed picture of the number of votes cast for each party than a traditional election map. Here's the Evening Standard's static map of the 2017 election results in London.


I would argue that the Evening Standard map is at least as good, if not better, at showing where the different parties have the most support in London. In fact you could easily add a more refined analysis to the Evening Standard map by adding pop-up bar charts showing the total number of votes cast for each party in each electoral district.

What I do like about the Colours of the Election map is the responsive bar chart. This graph shows the total number of votes cast for each party for the current map view. This means that you can zoom and pan the map to explore the number of votes cast for each of the political parties in different parts of the UK. The date control also allows you to make a useful comparison between the support for each of the parties in this election and in previous elections.

How to Make a Travel Time Map


Mapbox has released a new plugin which allows you to add an isochrone layer to your Mapbox powered maps. The Mapbox Isochrone plugin visualizes how far you can travel in different periods of time.

You can see how the ischrone plugin works on this demo map. You can adjust the starting position by dragging and dropping the car icon on the map. If you switch to the 'Quantized' view the map switches to display stepped isolines, showing how far you can travel in incremental steps of time.


The Mapbox Isochrone plugin works with three different modes of travel: driving, cycling and walking. You can discover a little more about how the plugin generates the travel times for the different modes of travel on the Mapbox blog, Add Isochrones to Your Next Application.


You can also use the Route360 API to add an isochrone layer to your maps. Route360's API provides developer access to their isochrone library. The API has been designed to provide simple access to the Route360 isochrone travel time library from the Leaflet.js mapping platform.

Using the Route360 JavaScript API you can add a travel time isochrone layer to a Leaflet map. The API allows for users to view bike, car or walking travel-time isochrone layers on a Leaflet map. The API includes options to add a time control, so that the transit isochrone travel times will adjust to a transit network's schedule of operations.

The GraphHopper Isochrone API also provides travel times for bike, car or walking. You can view the API in action on this demo map. You can get details on how much the API costs on the Pricing page.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trump's Huge Conflict of Interest Map


So many people ask me this. They ask me where does the president have great conflict of interests. I tell them Donald Trump has the best conflicts of interest. The corruption is big. I never realized how big it was. I really just see the bigness of it all.

You know Obama worked on it for years, got zippo, zero. Me, the people just call me up, they say, ‘Donald, can we just give you the money?’ I say, ‘Absolutely, yes.’ But some people don't get it. They don't want to give you the money. In which case they're very, very stupid people. Sad.

Here, you can take this, that's the final map of the numbers. It's pretty good, right? It's called the Trump’s Conflicts of Interest map. The black is obviously us. There's some countries you can't break through, you can't. It's sad. You can't. There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with them. But forget them. Have you seen all the black countries on the map. That's a tremendous success ... That's another thing that nobody talks about. The success. So much success.

Take that Qaddafi. I dealt with Qaddafi. I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn't let him use the land. That's what we should be doing. I screwed him. But nobody wants to talk about that.

Mapping Death from Global Warming


In 2003 in Europe 70,000 people died during an extreme heatwave. As global warming increases countries around the world are likely to experience more and more periods of life threatening extreme heat. By the year 2100 it is estimated that 74% of the world's population will be exposed to deadly heatwaves.

The University of Hawaii has released an interactive map which predicts the number of deadly days we can expect from extreme heat around the world for each year up to 2100. Heatwaves: Number of deadly heat days provides a timeline control which allows you to select any year from 1950-2100. The blue dots on the map show historic extreme heat events that have occurred around the world before 2014.

If you click on the map you can view two charts for the selected location. One chart visualizes the number of yearly deadly days over time and the other shows the humidity vs. temperature for the current year.

Working Abroad in the EU


The free movement of workers is one of the basic principles of the European Union. It means that Europeans can move between countries in the European Union in order to work. In 2015 4% of the EU's population had made use of this right in order to live in an EU country in which they weren't born.

The United Kingdom yesterday began negotiating its withdrawal from the European Union. One issue that needs to be addressed is what happens to UK nationals presently living in other EU countries and what happens to the non-British EU nationals currently living in the UK.

The Pew Research Center has created an interactive map which allows you to see how many non-native Europeans live in each EU country. The Origins and Destinations of European Union Migrants within the EU allows you to select an individual EU country and discover where the EU immigrants living there have originated from. You can also discover where migrants from individual countries have moved to in order to work.

According to the map 1,220,000 people from the UK are currently living in other EU countries. 2,880,000 people currently living in the UK were born in other EU countries.

The map itself was made with the Highmaps JavaScript library. Highmaps is an extension of the Highcharts JavaScript API which allows you to build interactive maps which can be used with Highcharts or as standalone maps.

Monday, June 19, 2017

From the World to MIT


Students travel from countries across the world in order to study at MIT. This year nearly a quarter of MIT's overseas students come from China. India sends the next largest number of students to study at the university.

MIT World is a new interactive map from MIT Senseable City Lab that visualizes the countries MIT students have come from over the last twenty years. The map provides a choropleth layer which provides an overview of the numbers of students from each country. A bar graph beneath the map provides a breakdown of the number of students traveling from each country.

The map also uses (not entirely necessary) flow lines joining each country with MIT in the USA. If you want to create a flowmap yourself then you might find Sarah Bellum's Canvas Flowmap Layer for the ArcGIS JavaScript API library or the Leaflet.Canvas-Flowmap-Layer for Leaflet.js useful.

Pollution Free Walking Routes


Nitrogen dioxide emitted by motor vehicles has been above the legal limit in London for longer than most people care to remember. This means that pedestrians & cyclists can't really avoid pollution in the capital. However it is possible to cut your exposure to air pollution in half by avoiding the city's busiest roads.

The Cross River Partnership can help you find a healthier route for your walking and cycling journeys with a new interactive map, the Clean Air Route Finder. The map allows you to enter a starting point and a destination for your walk and then suggests routes that avoid the busiest roads.

The Clean Air Route Finder in fact suggests three different routes for each query. The red route shows the most polluted walk or ride. The green suggestion shows you the route with the lowest pollution. The amber route is somewhere in the middle. The map also tells you the distance and the estimated walking or biking time for each route.

Cycling and walking route finders depend to a large degree on the underlying routing data. The Clean Air Route Finder works really well in my neighborhood, fully utilizing road free bike paths and canal towpaths (you might be surprised how many other biking & walking direction maps ignore these routes). Judging by its choice of the cleanest routes it also seems to have a good understanding of the level of traffic on London's roads.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Make Your Own Map


If you're upset about seeing too many Maps without New Zealand then why not create your own map in which New Zealand is shown at the center of the world. The World Map Creator lets you create a map of the world centered on any location. You can even create your own map using your favorite map projection.

The World Map Creator includes the option to center your map on any location in the world. So if you are upset that maps always seem to be centered on the USA or Europe you can now choose your own map center. You can even ignore New Zealand and center the map on the Arctic or Antarctica if you want.

You probably also get upset a lot because Mercator maps show Africa as being the same size as Greenland. Don't lose your cool - use the World Map Creator to pick another map projection. There's also no need to lose sleep over the color of the sea. Just open up the 'Design Your World' tool and change the color of the oceans from blue to green.

Once you are happy that your map is centered on New Zealand, that Africa is the correct size and that the sea is an appropriate shade of green you can use the export tool to save your map as a PNG image.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How Are You Helping Syria?


Syria has been at war for 6 years and 63 days. This war has lead to over 11 million people losing their homes. What have you done to help?

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Google have teamed up to create an immersive web documentary explaining the issues around the Syrian refugee crisis, where Syrian refugees are going and how you can help. Searching for Syria uses audio, video, 360 degree photospheres and before & after imagery to help explore the country, the effect of the war and the story of its people.

The 360 degree photospheres are used to help explain the rich history of Syria and showcase its amazing cultural legacy. These panoramic images allow you to explore Syria's six UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Every single one of which has been destroyed or damaged by the war.

While the loss of Syria's World Heritage Sites is heartbreaking the real tragedy is the human cost of the war and the huge numbers of Syrians who have lost their homes. Searching for Syria explores the plight of Syrian refugees and also explains what you can do to help.

Deserted Islands - A Story Map


It is illegal to hunt or kill the rabbits on Okunoshima island in Japan. Not that many people want to kill them. In fact tourists from around the world flock to Okunoshima or 'Rabbit Island' primarily to visit the thousands of wild rabbits that inhabit the island.

However the rabbits of Okunoshima island weren't always so revered. In fact the island was once the location of Japan's secret poison gas factory. Guess which animals were used to test the effectiveness of that poison gas. That's right - the rabbits. However there is a happy ending to this story. After World War II the poison gas factory and the island were abandoned and the rabbits were set free.

Okunoshima island is just one of many deserted islands around the world which feature in a new Esri story map, Abandoned Islands. The story map explains why a number of islands around the world have been abandoned to nature. The map features locations such as Venice's quarantine island, Greece's leper colony island and Brazil's island of poisonous snakes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Uber and Lyft in San Francisco


In the Fall of 2016, on an average Friday, Uber and Lyft made more than 200,000 journeys. A new data visualization, Uber and Lyft in San Francisco, allows you to explore the combined usage of Lyft and Uber in San Francisco during Fall 2016 on an interactive map.

The map shows in which areas of the city the two ride-share services are used the most. You can explore the data by day of the week and by hour of the day. You can also filter the data by pick-ups and drop-offs. The volume of pick-ups and drop-offs is shown on the map with a traditional choropleth view of the data. You can however switch to a 3D view in which the data is also extruded to show the volume of Uber and Lyft usage by height.

The choropleth layer is divided into Transportation Analysis Zones. In effect these are individual city blocks in the downtown area and slightly larger groups of blocks outside of the downtown area. You can click on these individual zones to view bar graphs of the hourly volume of pick-ups and drop-offs and the total for the whole day.

Street View Cars for Science


The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has teamed up with Google to use Google Maps Street View cars to measure air quality. Google's Street View cars were equipped with sensors to measure nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and black carbon as they drove the streets capturing the panoramic Street View imagery for Google Maps.

You can read more about the experiment on EDF's article, Mapping Air Pollution with New Sensors. The article includes a Google Map of the results from testing the air quality in Oakland, California. The map provides three heat map views of Oakland's streets showing where the Street View cars found the highest levels of nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and black carbon.

The map also includes a number of information markers to indicate spots around Oakland with pockets of high pollution. If you select these markers you can read the EDF researchers' explanation of what local causes contribute to the high pollution at this location.


This isn't the first time that Google has teamed up with EDF to use Street View cars as measuring tools. In 2014 Google teamed up with the Environmental Defense Fund to equip Street View cars with air-quality sensors to detect natural gas leaks from utility pipes under city streets. Using the data collected by the Street View cars Google and EDF then created detailed maps showing where gas leaks were found and where gas pipes need to be fixed or replaced.

In July 2014 the EDF released maps from the experiment in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. The maps revealed that Boston and New York's ageing utility pipes result in a large number of leaks, while Philadelphia's newer gas pipe network is responsible for far fewer leaks.

Google also used their specially equipped Street View cars to map out more than 1,000 miles of roads in Inglewood, Chino and Pasadena. You can see the results of these test drives in the EDF's Los Angeles Area: Snapshot of Natural Gas Leaks map. The data gathered revealed an average of about one leak for every four miles driven in Pasadena, one leak for every five miles in Inglewood and one leak for every five miles in Chino.

Hamburg's Live Transit Map


You can now follow all the vehicles in Hamburg’s public transport system in real-time on just one interactive map. The HVV Live Map shows the live real-time position of buses, rapid transit and regional trains. It even shows you where the city's ferries are and where they are going.

Vehicles are shown on the map using moving colored dots. The colors of the dots mirror the official colors of Hamburg’s public transport lines, so users can easily find the vehicles relevant to their journey. You can also click on individual dots on the map to view that vehicle's next destination and its route.

If you want to know how the map knows where all those vehicles are in Hamburg and how it is possible to animate so many vehicles on one map then you should read the developers write-up, The Moving City - Visualizing Public Transport.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Google Map of Lynchings


Between 1877 and 1950 more than 4,000 African Americans were lynched in the United States. The Equal Justice Initiative has collaborated with Google to launch an in-depth examination of this terrible episode in American history. A Lynching in America includes interviews, audio recordings and reports into the history of lynchings in the United States. It also includes an interactive map documenting reported lynchings across the country.

Individual counties are colored on the map by the reported number of lynchings in the county. You can also hover over individual states on the map to view the total number of lynchings reported in the whole state. The white dots on the map provide links to harrowing narrated tales of lynchings against individual African Americans.

A Lynching in America uses data from the Equal Justice Initiative's report 'Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror', based on extensive research into the period between the Civil War and World War II.


During the 1890's mobs of white men killed around 9 people per month. Monroe Work Today also has an interactive map of lynchings in the United States. The Monroe Work Today map shows where lynchings took place from 1835 to 1964. The map plots the locations of incidents of white mob violence across the whole of the country. Different colored markers on the map indicate whether the victims of this violence were black, Chinese, Native American or other groups of Americans.

You can select individual markers on the map to learn more about each individual instance of white mob violence. Each instance also includes links to the sources for the mapped lynching. A timeline at the bottom of the map plots the number of lynchings over time. This timeline is interactive and can be used to filter the lynchings shown on the map by any date range.

The data for the map builds on the research of the black sociologist Monroe Nathan Work, who published biannual lynching reports at the beginning of the 20th century. His reports have been enhanced and referenced with more modern research. Alongside the interactive map Monroe Work Today provides a detailed look at the life and work of Monroe Work and the history of white mob violence in the United States.

New York in 3D


You can explore New York in glorious 3D on Cesium. In New York City Cesium uses NYC DoITT's 3D Building Massing Model of New York City to help to bring the city alive.

NYC DoITT's 3D building model was created from a 2014 aerial survey of the city. The building models include detailed pitched roofs and roof appendages such as chimneys, parapets and spindles. If you want to use the 3D buildings in your own maps you can download the building massing model in the CityGML format from the NYC.gov website.


NYC DoITT's 3D Building Massing Model was also used in the New York Times' Mapping the Shadows of New York City. This beautiful map shows the extent that the city's tall buildings block the sun throughout the year.

The Times says that most Manhattan neighborhoods remain in shadow for at least half of the day. They also claim that the amount of time a location spends in shadow during daylight hours can affect everything from apartment rental prices to the flow of foot traffic on the city's streets.

To calculate the extent of building shadows in winter, summer, spring and fall the NYT worked with the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University to calculate the total number of minutes that a given point spends in shadow over the course of a day, based on the height and location of nearby buildings.

The French Legislative Elections


Emmanuel Macron's En Marche! has had a huge amount of success in the first round of the elections for the French National Assembly. Macron's party are now being predicted to win between 400 and 450 seats (out of 577) in the National Assembly after the second round vote.

The first round of the 2017 French Legislative Election was held on Sunday. The elections are for the 577 members of the National Assembly. To be elected in the first round (which was held on Sunday) a candidate needed to have an absolute majority of votes cast. If no candidate has an absolute majority all candidates with the support of at least 12.5% of eligible voters go forward to the second round. If only one candidate meets this requirement the two candidates with the most votes go through to the next round (to be held this coming Sunday).

Législatives 2017 is an interactive Leaflet.js powered map of the first round results in the French Legislative election. Electoral wards are colored on the map to show the party of the candidate who received the most votes in the first round of the election. You can hover over each electoral area to view the number of votes cast for each candidate, the percentage of votes received by each candidate and the total number of votes cast in the electoral ward. Ticks also appear next to the names of the candidates who go through to the next round (where applicable).

As you can see from the map Emmanuel Macron's En Marche! received the most votes in a large number of areas in the first round of the election. If his party does as well in the second round of the election his party will dominate the next French Assembly.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Oceans are our Garbage Cans


Around 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the world's oceans every single year. This plastic is dangerous to marine life and, once it enters the food chain, ultimately dangerous to the health of the human race.

The Ocean Cleanup organisation believes that between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons of that plastic in the oceans originates from the world's river systems. Two thirds of it from the rivers of Asia. To help explain how and where plastic ends up in the world's oceans the Ocean Cleanup has released an interactive map, River Plastic Emissions to the World’s Oceans.

The map shows river systems around the globe. The predicted input from each river system is shown at the coast using scaled circular markers. These predicted inputs are based on a model which looks at population density, waste management, topography, hydrography, the locations of dams and the reported concentration of plastic in rivers around the world.


You can see where all that plastic goes on Sailing Seas of Plastic, an interactive mapped visualization of the concentration of plastic in the world's oceans. According to the map there are 5,250 billion pieces of plastic adrift on the seas of the world.

This dot density map shows the estimated concentration of floating plastic in the oceans. Each dot on the map represents 20 kg of floating plastic. The estimations are based on the results of 24 survey expeditions (2007-2013) and on wind and ocean drift models.

If you want you can also overlay the sailing tracks of the 24 survey expeditions on top of the dot map.

Shrinking Ice Caps, Rising Seas


The National Snow and Ice Data Center has created a series of interactive maps which visualize Satellite Observations of Arctic Change. The maps allow you to see how sea ice, snow cover and frozen ground have all been shrinking during the 21st Century. Other maps plot air temperature changes in the Arctic and the changes to Arctic vegetation.

Global warming is causing observable changes to ecological systems in the Arctic. Air temperatures in the Arctic are rising and sea ice extent is declining. Even Arctic vegetation is changing with tundra being replaced by shrubs.

Each of the NSIDC interactive maps uses NASA satellite data and research to plot changes to the Arctic from 1979 to 2015. The maps allow you to observe the data for each year in this period to observe how global warming has effected the ecological systems of the Arctic.


Mapbox has also released a map which allows you to view monthly Arctic sea ice changes all the way back to 1976 (when consistent satellite measurements began). Mapping Arctic Sea Ice uses data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center to show the sea ice cover for any month.

If you select a month from the timeline you can not only view the extent of the sea ice coverage for that month but also a line graph showing the total ice area in km2 and the temperature anomaly above the norm over time. The graph shows a clear trend of rising temperatures in the Arctic and a fall in the area of sea ice coverage.

The polar projection in the Arctic Sea Ice map was created with D3.js. You can easily create your own polar projection in Leaflet using Arctic Web Map,an Arctic specific web mapping tool, consisting of an Arctic-focused tile server. If you want to know how Mapbox created their polar projection then read the explanation below the map on the Mapbox blog.


MasterMaps has created another impressive mapped visualization of the Arctic ice cap. The Arctic Sea Ice map allows you to compare the monthly sea ice cover in the Arctic for any month since 2006.

If you select a month from the bottom timeline you can then adjust the year on the top timeline to make a direct comparison of any month for each year from 2006 to 2015. Every time you adjust the timeline the Arctic see ice coverage is automatically updated on the map. This map was also created with help from D3.js.


At the other end of the world Antarctica is also losing sea ice. Like nearly everything else glacial land ice obeys the law of gravity. Ice sheets therefore flow downhill. They normally do this very, very slowly. Unfortunately we don't live in normal times.

Global warming has warmed the oceans. Warmer oceans have undercut Antarctica's glaciers, causing them to flow quicker and quicker. With over 60% of the world's freshwater locked in Antarctica's ice this is a huge concern. If this ice melts we will see a global rise in sea level and coastal cities around the world will be in danger of inundation.

The New York Times has created a series of maps to help explain how global warming could lead to the melting of Antarctica's ice sheets and cause rising sea levels around the world. In Antarctic Dispatches glacier ice flow is beautifully illustrated in a series of animated maps. The danger of global rising seas is explained in maps showing areas of Antarctica that have lost ten feet or more of ice since 2010.

Part 3 of Antarctic Dispatches uses a scrolling map to help illustrate the amount of water locked up in Antarctica's ice sheets. The scale of the Ross Ice Shelf is illustrated by overlaying the route of the New York marathon on top of satellite imagery of the ice shelf. The Ross Ice Shelf is huge!

American Cargo Mapping


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has released its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. This detailed report awards grades to individual infrastructure sectors based on criteria such as Condition, Funding and Operation & Maintenance.

You can explore the grades awarded to the United States cargo transportation infrastructure on a new Esri story map. The Transportation Infrastructure: Interactive Map Viewer examines the state of America's transportation network which is used to move cargo into and around the country. The map looks in turn at the state of America's roads, bridges, railways, ports and airports and examines their capacity to transport the country's cargo.

For example the section on the interstate network examines the volume of truck traffic on the country's roads, where interstates are in a poor condition and the top ten trucking choke points on the interstate network.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Mapping House Prices


In January Demographia International named Vancouver the 3rd least affordable housing market in the world, behind Hong Kong and Sydney. The housing market in San Francisco was ranked the 9th least affordable.

Darkhorse Analytics has created interactive maps which help explain the housing markets in Vancouver, San Francisco and Edmonton. The 2017 Property Assessments visualizes the average property assessments for buildings in each city. On each map individual building footprints are colored by their value.

One impressive feature of Darkhouse Analytics' mapped visualization is the 'Stories in the Data' feature. This feature picks out interesting stories in the data and the cost of property in each of the three cities. For example it picks out on the map neighborhoods where the average property assessments are higher or lower than the average for the city. It also highlights areas where there are large variations in property prices.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Children's Maps


Esri has a new basemap designed for the young at heart. The Children's Map is a fun global map full of illustrations of famous man-made & natural landmarks and pictures of some of the world's most loved wildlife.

The Children's Map can be used to explore the locations of the countries of the world, their capitals and major cities. As you explore the world on the Children's Map you will also discover kangaroos, moose, alligators and camels. You can also find steam trains, container ships, hot air balloons and helicopters.


If you want more ways of encouraging kids to explore the world then you might also like Mission Explore. Mission Explore has created loads of missions that challenge kids to rediscover the world.

Kids of any age can become guerrilla explorers and extreme missioners with missions that defy gravity, see the invisible and test mental agility. Completing each mission will help kids develop new skills, resourcefulness and discover how their natural curiosity and initiative can lead to exciting experiences. The Mission Explore website inspires young people to engage with their world in the most direct way possible – by going out and having adventures.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art has its own interactive map designed especially for young visitors. The MetKids Map allows children to discover some of the fun and interesting things that they can find when they visit the museum. It also includes lots of inspiring and creative activities for kids to do during and after their trip to the MET.

The hand-drawn map of the MET has been made interactive using the OpenLayers mapping platform. It contains a number of map markers. The yellow markers indicate some of the main important locations around the museum. The red markers show the locations of some of the exhibits which you can see when you visit the museum.

If you select a marker on the map you can read more about the selected exhibit or room. These descriptions include photos, audio, video clips and suggestions of fun activities that children can do in response to the museum's exhibits.

Young Britons Turn on May


The Conservative Party won the most seats in the UK election, but they do not have enough seats to form a majority government. The results have been a huge surprise to many people, including most of the polling companies. The results have not been such a surprise to those who have noticed the huge popularity of the opposition leader among young voters.

Jeremy Corbyn has not only proved very popular with young people he has also encouraged them to come out and vote in huge numbers. Last month The Times Higher Education released a Hexmap of Constituencies Showing Potential Student Impact. The map looks at census data on student numbers with data on each university’s own student population to assess how much influence students have in each constituency.

The map shows Cambridge as one constituency where students have a huge influence over the result. If we check the Cambridge result on the BBC's Election Map we see that Labour did indeed win the seat and with a +15.9% swing. Edinburgh South is another seat with a large student influence. Again Labour won the seat with a similar +15.9% in their favour. That trend appears to have been repeated throughout the UK in seats with large numbers of student numbers.

It wasn't just students who seem to have voted for Jeremy Corbyn in large numbers. Young people across the board appeared to have warmed to the Labour leader. Early analysis from turnout data suggests that there was over a 20% increase in the number of 18-24 year olds voting. The polls suggest that 63 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds voted Labour and only 27 per cent voted Conservative.

It will be interesting to see if any election maps emerge over the next few days comparing age demographics in constituencies with the way those constituencies voted.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

UK Election Maps


Guardian map from during the 2015 general election

The first results from the UK general election are expected soon. If the Exit Poll is to be believed this is going to be an exciting night and a very long night if your name is Theresa May.

You can follow the results as they come in on The Guardian's Live Election Tracker. The Guardian has decided to use a cartogram, in which the geometry of each electoral district is distorted in order to present all constituencies as equal in size. The BBC's Election 2017 Results page includes a more traditional map, in which constituencies have not been geographically distorted (except for the usual map projection distortions).

If you want to play along at home you should print out Alex Parson's Colour in your own Hexagon Election Map. Alex's printable hexagon map allows you to color in the constituencies yourself as the results come in. You can also print out the estimated declaration times for each constituency, so that you know which ones to look out for as the evening progresses.

3D Mapping with NASA


NASA's World Wind is a free, open source platform for creating interactive 3D globes. It can be used as a tool for visualizing global data on top of a fully interactive 3D globe or 2D map.

You can get a good idea of the capabilities of NASA World Wind by looking at some of the applications that have been built using its API. WorldWind Explorer is a basic demo which shows how different base maps can be used and how different overlays and datasets can then be visualized on top of these base maps. NASA World Weather uses World Wind to visualize and display climate and weather data around the world. SpaceBirds is an impressive visualization of all the satellites orbiting the Earth.

To get started with World Wind you will probably want to have a look at the web Developers Guide. You also might like to check out the WebWorldWind GitHub repository and the World Wind Forum to get help from other users of NASA's interactive 3D globe platform.

Uluru on Street View


Panoramic Street View imagery of the magnificent and sacred Uluru is now on Google Maps. Google worked with Aṉangu Traditional Owners of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park to ensure that they respected Tjukurpa law while capturing this new 360 degree imagery of Uluru and the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park.

You can explore the new Street View imagery of Uluru on Google Maps. To find out where the imagery is available just pick-up the yellow Pegman (all the available Street View imagery is then shown with blue lines on the map).

If you want to learn more about Uluru and its sacred role in Aṉangu culture you can also explore the new Street View on Story Spheres. On Story Spheres the Street View imagery has been enhanced with audio narration. While exploring within the panoramic imagery you can click on the audio buttons to listen to an audio guide from Sammy Wilson and hear song and music by Traditional Owner and Aṉangu Elder, Reggie Uluru.

If you want to know about the importance of the landscape, songlines and dreaming tracks to the indigenous people of Australia then you might also like ABC's story map Singing the Country into Life.

How Well Do You Know Your Hoods?


How well do your know your local neighborhoods and the neighborhoods of the world's largest towns & cities? You can find out by playing Click that 'hood!.

Click that 'hood! is a geography game which tests your knowledge of city neighborhoods. To play Click that 'hood! you first need to select a city or town from the long list of locations available. You are then shown an interactive map of your chosen city. Your task is to correctly identify the location of twenty neighborhoods as quickly as possible by pointing them out on the map.

If your town or city isn't already available to play on Click that 'hood! then you can add it yourself. If you have a shapefile of your local neighborhoods you can e-mail it to Code for America and they will add it to the game. Alternatively you can clone the game on GitHub and add the neighborhood data to your own instance of Click that 'hood!.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Don't Miss the Eclipse


Witnessing the 1999 total eclipse in Northern France was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. It would have been even better if it hadn't been obscured by clouds.

On August 21 North America will experience a total eclipse of the sun. If you are planning to view the eclipse then you might want to check NOAA's Cloudiness Map of the Eclipse. The map not only shows you where you can see a total eclipse (the umbral path) but also tells you the chance of clouds along the eclipse's path, based on historical weather data.

The map includes a number of circles which are colored based on the chance of cloud cover. If you click on these circles you can view the percentage chance of having an unobstructed view of the eclipse (based on the amount of cloud cover at that location on August 21st in previous years).

Judging by the map Nebraska, Wyoming and Idaho are the states where you will have the best chance of an unobstructed view. However these states are not the best places to view the eclipse in terms of duration. If you want to experience the eclipse with the longest duration you need to be near Carbondale in Illinois, where the sun will be completely obscured for two minutes and 40 seconds.

NASA's Total Solar Eclipse Interactive Map also shows the path of the eclipse across the United States. NASA's map doesn't include information about the likelihood of cloud cover but it does allow you to find out the duration of totality (how long the sun will be obscured) anywhere along the eclipse's path. Just click anywhere on the map to discover the time of the eclipse at that location, how much of the sun will be obscured and how long the eclipse will last.

The Global Refugee Crisis


CREATE Lab has mapped the movement of refugees around the world for every year since 2000. The map uses data from the U.N. Refugee Agency to show where refugees have come from and which countries around the globe that they have fled to.

At first glance the animated flowing dots on the Global Refugee Flow map can be a little confusing. As with a lot of animated maps it can be hard to pick out information from all the noise on the map. As the timeline plays however you can observe patterns on the map. For example you can see how neighboring countries most often receive the most refugees from countries in crisis and that western countries usually get off very lightly.

The countries listed along the bottom of the map are where a high proportion of peoples have been forced to flee their homes and become refugees. If you select one of these countries the map will zoom-in on the country and an information window will open explaining the crisis that led to people leaving the country.


Flight & Expulsion is a more explorable interactive mapped visualization of the same worldwide migration data from the annual UNHCR Refugee Report. This map allows you to explore the refugee data for any country to see how they have responded to crises around the world.

If you select a country on the map you can view the number of 'arrivals' and 'departures' for any year from 1988 to 2008. The countries where a high proportion of citizens have emigrated to are shown on the map in green. The countries where immigrants have come from are shown on the map in brown.

The Wall Between the USA & Morocco


If Donald Trump had been President of the United States in the Paleozoic era then he might have built a wall between the USA & Morocco.

The super-continent of Pangea existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras, before it began to break apart about 175 million years ago. Of course there weren't any country borders on Pangea. By some estimates, however, the land mass that is now North America was attached to North West Africa. Therefore what is now the United States would perhaps have shared a border with what is now Morocco.

Pangaea Politica by Massimo Pietrobon is a rather fanciful map which overlays modern country borders on a map of Pangea. The map is at best a guesstimate of where modern day counties might have been on Pangea. There are some obvious errors, for example the map includes the country of Iceland, a volcanic island which didn't exist when Pangea was around. However it is still quite good fun to imagine which modern countries might share borders today if Pangea had never broken apart.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Mapping Frank Lloyd Wright


Frank Lloyd Wright was born 150 years ago on June 8th, 1867. To mark the 150th anniversary of the architect’s birth the National Trust for Historic Preservation has released a mapped tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House and a map of some of his most memorable buildings.

A Tour of the Pope-Leighey House includes a floor-plan, photos and descriptions of one of the architects Usonian homes. These were modestly sized, affordable houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the average American. The map uses a floor-plan of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Usonian house in Alexandria, Virginia as a way for users to explore the house. If you select the markers on the floor-plan you can view photos and a description of the selected room.

A Selection of Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings is a map of some of the architect's most iconic buildings. The buildings on the map are organized into four categories: 1910 and earlier, 1911-1942, After 1945 and Lost or unbuilt. If you choose a building you can view a photo, a description of the building and, where available, a link to the building's Wikipedia page or other relevant websites.

Mapping Constructivist & Brutalist Buildings


The Constructivist Project celebrates and documents the design and buildings developed by the Soviet Constructivist group of architects. Soviet Russia's Constructivist architecture of the 1920's and early 1930's embraced modern materials and technology to design buildings with a social and communal purpose.

The Constructivist Project Map allows you to find and explore Constructivist buildings in Russia by location. The map also allows you to search for buildings by year of construction, architect, type of building, the status of the building and its current condition. Selecting a building on the map allows you to view its entry on the Constructivist Project website.


Artstreetecture is a collection of architecturally interesting Street View images, concentrating on the Modernist and Brutalist architecture of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Brutalism, like Constructivism, obviously has its fair share of critics. Many people find Brutalist buildings cold and ugly. However there does seem to be some re-evaluation of Brutalism going on in architectural criticism. For example, in Britain there have been campaigns to save and conserve examples of Brutalist architecture.

Thanks to the work of Artstreetecture and Google Maps Street View you can view Brutalist buildings from around the world and make up your own mind about whether these buildings deserve saving or whether they deserve the wrecking-ball.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Mapping the Fictional San Francisco


In 'Around the World in Eighty Days' Jules Verne described San Francisco as a city of "verdant squares". You can discover how other authors have described the city on the Literary City interactive map.

Ever since the days of the Californian gold rush San Francisco has held a special position in the myths and literature of America. To celebrate San Francisco's status as one of the most vibrant literary cities in the world the San Francisco Chronicle has created this literary map of San Francisco.

The map shows the locations of independent bookshops, places of literary importance and also includes descriptions of the city and its locations by famous authors.


If you are a fan of fictional descriptions of San Francisco then you might also be interested in seeing how the city is depicted in films. Filmed in San Francisco maps all the locations in San Francisco used in movies since January 2013. The map is based on all the film permits issued by the San Francisco Film Office between January 2013 and August 2015.

You can search the map by location simply by clicking on the markers on the map. Alternatively you can use the list in the map sidebar to find a film by name and then view all the San Francisco film locations used in that film on the map. Each film includes a brief note on the scene location. You can even click through to view the original filming permission issued by the San Francisco Film Office.