Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dancing Maps

I've just spent the last ten minutes singing to a map. The map enjoyed it and even danced for my pleasure.

You too can make this map dance. Just turn on your microphone when prompted and then start singing your favorite song. If the map likes your voice then all the buildings will start dancing for you.

The dancing map is possible because of Mapbox GL's runtime styling capabilities. The map uses the audio input (using the Web Audio API) to dynamically change the building heights on the map and the intensity of the light. You can read more about the technical details on the Mapbox blog.

If you get bored singing to a map then you could always listen to a map or play a tune on one instead. Conductor has turned Massimo Vignelli's 1972 New York subway map into a string instrument. The map simulates trains moving on the MTA subway network and plays a note every time a subway train crosses the track of another train.

If the New York subway map can be a stringed instrument then maybe the map of Ohio can be a piano. Ohio has 88 counties, a piano has 88 keys, so obviously Ohio is a Piano! Just click on a county to play a note.

If the New York subway can be a stringed instrument and Ohio can be a piano then Aberdeen can be an orchestra! Marker / Music lets you mix your own music by clicking on different locations and playing the music that was recorded at each location. You can combine any of the recordings to create your own unique mix directly from the map.

The Best Views in London

What do you get if you ask a computer to find the most scenic places in London?

The answer is this map of London's Most Scenic Views.

Researchers at the University of Warwick trained a neural network on images from ScenicOrNot. ScenicOrNot is an online data science project which asks people to rate the views depicted in photos by how scenic they are. The neural network was used to identify the common features found in the  photos which have been voted as the most scenic.

Once the neural network worked out the features that make a photo scenic or not it was set loose to find the most scenic photos in Geograph's collection of images of London. The Geograph British Isles project is collecting geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland. It currently has over 240,000 photos of London, covering ever square kilometre of the city.

The University of Warwick's artificially intelligent neural network was therefore able to scan photos from all over London to find the most scenic photos in Geograph's London collection. You can explore the most scenic views found in this interactive map of London's Most Scenic Views.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Dot Map of Canadian Languages

The Dot Map of Canadian Languages uses data from the 2016 census to show the mother tongues of everyone in Canada. The map provides a great overview of where different language speakers live in each Canadian town and city.

Unfortunately the map doesn't come with any information so I can't be entirely sure how many people each dot represents. Each dot could be one language speaker or each dot could represent 10 or even 100 people. Census dot maps don't usually reveal the exact location of each person in the census. Usually the data is randomized within each census ward. This is still accurate enough to give a good overview of where clusters of different language speakers can be found in a town or city.

The Dot Map of Canadian Languages is the first interactive map I've seen using the recently released data from the 2016 census. However there are a lot of interactive language maps which have been produced using the language data from the 2011 census.

For example, you might be surprised to learn that in the far north of Canada, in the Northwest Territories, the most spoken language (after French and English) is Arabic. The 10 and 3 mapped the most prevalent languages, besides French and English, spoken in Canadian homes using data from the 2011 census.

Canada’s Far-Flung Language Enclaves shows the results of the analysis on a Google Map. Each census division on the map is colored by the most prevalent language. You can mouse-over each division on the map to view the percentage of the population which speaks the most prevalent language (after French & English).

Using data from the 2011 Canadian census CBC has mapped Quebec's English speakers. The Where are Quebec's Anglos? map shows the number of people in Quebec's census districts who self-indentify as Anglophone. Users can select from regions in the map sidebar to zoom the map to specific locations. The map displays a heat map of census results showing where English was given as the mother tongue or the language most used at home.

The highest density of English speakers (although small in total population) seems to be among the hardy folk living on the Côte-Nord.

Global News has also used the language data from the 2011 Canadian census to create mapped visualizations of the leading mother tongues by census tract in a number of cities.

The Google Map for each city allows users to view the percentage of different language speakers in each census tract. The maps also include other census topics, such as age, gender and the number of children.

Solar Eclipse Simulators

Next Monday everyone in the United States, even in Alaska and Hawaii, will be able to witness at least a partial solar eclipse. If you want to know how full an eclipse you will see then you need the HeyWhatsThat 2017 Eclipse map.

The HeyWhatsThat solar eclipse preview tool is very simple to use. You simply need to click on the Google Map to show your location and you can instantly see what the eclipse will look like on the accompanying map of the heavens.

If you enter your zipcode into Vox's Solar Eclipse Simulator you can also view a simulation of what the moon passing in front of the sun will look like from your location. The simulation includes information on what time the eclipse will peak and what percentage of the sun will be obscured.

If you want to see a total solar eclipse then Vox has also got you covered. The Solar Eclipse Simulator includes a Mapbox map which reveals the closest point to your location where you can view a total solar eclipse. It even tells you how far you have to travel to get there.

Bat Detectives

There were 5117 bat calls made in my local park last night. Actually there were probably a lot more, but 5117 of them were captured by the bat sensors in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London.

The majority of the bat calls detected were recorded by Sensor 7. There are 15 sensors in total, although Sensor 15 and Sensor 4 don't seem to be working at the moment. Sensor 1 and Sensor 3 do appear to be working but didn't detect any bats last night. You can view the results from each sensor for yourself on the Bats Live interactive map.

Bars Live is a project by Nature-Smart Cities. To monitor bat activity in the park Nature-Smart Cities has developed a smart bat monitor which works like a 'Shazam for Bats'. Each of these sensors captures the surrounding soundscape and detects bat calls within the captured sounds.

The sensors are located in different habitats within the park (if you click on a sensor's map marker you can learn about the immediate surrounding habitat of that sensor). The bat sensors will continue to monitor bat activity in the Olympic Park until the end of the year.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Every Wind Farm in America

The American wind energy industry is expanding very quickly. Over $143 billion has been invested in new wind energy projects in the United States in the last 10 years. You can view how the number of wind farms has grown in the USA since the 1980's on a new interactive map from the American Wind Energy Association.

The AWEA's new U.S. Wind Industry Map shows the location of every utility scale wind project in the country. The map also shows the location of all wind-related manufacturing facilities.

Each wind farm is shown on the map with a blue map marker. The size of the marker represents the wind farm's capacity. A timeline feature allows you to watch an animation of how the number of wind farms has grown since 1981. If you press play on the timeline you can watch as each wind farm is added to the map by the date of its construction.

If you zoom into coastal areas on the map you can see how little offshore wind energy production there currently is in the United States. The first offshore wind farm in the US only started operation in 2016 at Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island. There are other projects under development in wind-rich areas of the East Coast, Great Lakes and Pacific coast.

The United Kingdom currently generates a higher percentage of its electricity from offshore wind farms than any other country. You can view the output of the UK's offshore wind farms on this Offshore Wind Electricity Map.

The map shows the locations of the UK's offshore wind farms. Each wind farm is represented on the map by a scaled animated wind turbine marker. The size of the marker represents the scale of the current output from each wind farm. If you select a marker on the map you can view the name of the wind farm and its current output in megawatts.

The map sidebar shows a dashboard reading of the share of the UK's electricity currently being generated by offshore wind. If you select a marker on the map the dashboard updates to show the operator of the selected wind farm, the site capacity, the number of turbines and the type of turbines.

DC's Historical Street View

From 1948 to 1952 John P. Wymer systematically photographed every single neighborhood in Washington DC. The result is an incredible historical record of the American capital in the mid-twentieth century.

Wymer's DC allows you to view all 4,000 images in the John P. Wymer Photograph Collection superimposed on top of Google Maps Street View. This allows you to directly compare the Washington DC documented by Wymer to the city today as captured by Street View. A Google Map shows where each photograph was taken, so it is possible to browse the collection by location. You can also use the 'Filter' option to browse the collection by different themes, such as 'Places of Worship', 'Government Facilities' and 'Residential'.

If you enjoy exploring how American cities once looked then you will also like OldNYC and OldSF.
OldNYC is a Google Map locating 80,000 NYPL historical photographs of New York to the closest intersection. OldNYC was created by the same team that built OldSF. OldSF is a similar map for San Francisco, which allows you to browse historical photos from the San Francisco Public Library collection.

How Does Your Neighborhood Rank?

Last week Beñat Arregi released a series of interactive maps showing how Airbnb customers rank  the neighborhoods where they have stayed. After staying in a Airbnb property visitors are asked to give feedback on the property and on the neighborhood where it is located.

The aggregated ratings made by guests for each listing on Airbnb is publicly available. This means that you can use the Airbnb ratings to find out how visitors rate neighborhoods in your city. It also means that you can create interactive maps for cities around the world showing how tourists rate neighborhoods in each city. Which is exactly what Beñat has done in City Maps from Tourists’ Feelings.

Beñat's series includes interactive maps of New York, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, New Orleans and Austin. This wasn't enough American cities for Nathan Yau of Flowing Data so he has created another 16 city maps looking at Airbnb neighborhood ratings in U.S. cities. How Airbnb Visitors Rate Location in Major US Cities uses colored dots to show the aggregate neighborhood ratings made by guests visiting 16 different cities. The distribution of the different colors gives a fairly good overview of how visitors feel about different neighborhoods in each city.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mapping Cabs in NYC

Back in 2014 Chris Whong created an impressive interactive map using New York Taxi Data. Chris' map provided a great insight into the daily life of one New York taxi driver. The impressive amount of data released by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission however has other stories to tell about life and people in the Big Apple.

For example, Esri's John Nelson has created a story map looking at Yellow Cab trip data in New York City from July 2015 - June 2016. By mapping the data Nelson has been able to pick out how different New York boroughs use and pay for taxi cab journeys. He then looks at the underlying socio-economic data in those neighborhoods to see if they help explain the differences in how inhabitants of different New York neighborhoods use and pay for cabs.

In Taxi Cab Terrain Esri has mapped out the locations where the most New York cab rides begin, the pick-up locations where cab drivers can expect the largest tips, where in the city passengers pay in cash & where they pay by credit, the number of passengers and the length of journeys.

Chris Whong's original map, NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life is a MapBox visualization of the journey of one New York taxi over the course of 24 hours. You can also view the NYC Taxi Holiday Visualization, which animates taxi journeys from New York's airports over the course of a month and half, and Hubcab, a mapped visualization of 170 million taxi trips over one year in New York.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Subway Specs

New York architect Candy Chan was amazed to discover that there are no three-dimensional plans of New York subway stations. She therefore decided to create her own. The result is X-Ray Area Maps, a series of beautifully drawn bird's eye view illustrations of subway stations which reveal the tunnels, platforms and escalators which exist under New York's streets.

Each of the five 3d plans completed so far can be explored on its own Leaflet.js powered interactive map. This allows you to zoom in on details in the plans. If you like Candy Chan's illustrations you can buy prints of each of the 3d subway station plans.

Unfortunately if you live in London there doesn't appear to be any interactive mapped 3d plans of underground stations. However Transport for London has created a series of axonometric diagrams for each station on the London Underground network. You can view the axonometric diagrams for all of the stations at IanVisits.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Transgender Laws and Persecution

The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project has mapped laws affecting the lives of trans people in countries around the world. The map allows users to better understand both the legal situation and the actual social application of these law in 126 countries across the globe.

If you select a country on the Legal and Social Mapping interactive map you can read a detailed overview of the legal, healthcare and social situation affecting trans people in that country. The map also provides an overall global view of the selected legal, health or social situation in each country.

This global choropleth layer provides a simple color coded view of different laws and social practices affecting trans people in different countries. The map uses red and green to show where trans people are directly affected or protected by legal measures. It also uses other colors to show countries where there are laws that specifically target gender-diverse/trans people but where these laws are no longer enforced. In contrast it also shows countries where there aren't specific laws targeting trans people but where prosecution occurs anyway without any legal basis or using other non-related laws.

The TVM also monitors, collects and analyses reports of the murder of trans and gender-diverse people across the globe. The Trans Murder Monitoring map reports on the results of TVM's monitoring of the homicides of trans and gender-diverse people in countries around the world.

The choropleth layer on this map shows the number of trans people murdered in each country. If you hover over a country you can view the total number of recorded homicides of trans people in that country. If you click on a country you can read a detailed breakdown of the legal, social and health care situation affecting trans people in that country.

North or South? The Fast Food Decides

After centuries of causing untold misery around the world the British have finally struck on a way to settle territorial disputes in a fair and disinterested manner.

It's called the 'Fast Food Method'.

Let me explain ...

In recent years British geographers have discovered that most geopolitical issues can be solved by plotting the geographical distribution and density of fast food restaurants. For example, in How to know if where you live is “up and coming” heat maps of coffee & fried chicken shops were used to identify geographical areas which are undergoing gentrification in the UK. Similarly in Fast Food England the density of fast food restaurants was used to determine which areas of the country are economically deprived.

After the fast food method proved its efficiency in these two studies it was decided that it should also be used to settle England's longest unsolved territorial dispute - the border between North & South. For centuries unfortunate 'midlanders' have been mocked by southerners for being Northern and teased by northerners for being Southern. They need suffer no longer.

The Tab has applied the Fast Food Method to the north-south border and determined once and for all where the border lies. To determine the border's exact location the Tab mapped the location of Greggs bakeries across the country. In We’ve figured out exactly where the North is by plotting every single Greggs store on a map the Tab plotted the location of all 1,823 Greggs throughout the country.

We all know that northerners love their Greggs pies. This means that there are far more Greggs bakeries in the north of the country than there are in the south. It also means that you can determine if a location is in the north or south of England by looking at the number of people per each Greggs bakery. 25,000 people per Greggs is the Tab's benchmark. If a town has less than 25,000 inhabitants per Greggs then it is in in the north. More than that and the town is in the south.

Using this methodology the Tab has drawn a dividing line across the UK.

A wall will be built soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Stinking Neighborhoods on Airbnb

Have you ever wondered how visitors from out of town rate your neighborhood? There is an easy way to find out. You just have to ask Airbnb customers.

The Airbnb feedback section includes an option for guests to rate the area in which they have been staying. After their visit Airbnb guests rate the neighborhood using a star based system. The aggregated rating made by guests for each listing on Airbnb is publicly available. This means that you can use the Airbnb ratings to find out how visitors rate neighborhoods in your city.

If you are like Beñat Arregi this means that you can also create interactive maps for cities around the world showing how tourists rate neighborhoods in the city. In City Maps from Tourists’ Feelings Beñat has created a series of maps showing how Airbnb customers have rated the neighborhoods where they have been staying. Each point on these city maps represents an Airbnb listing. The color of each point shows the rating of that neighborhood.

Each city map provides an interesting overview of which neighborhoods in a city are rated highly by visitors and which neighborhoods out of town visitors tend not to like. If you know a city quite well it is quite good fun to see if your opinions match with those of Airbnb users.

The Sound of Global Protest

Cities and Memory has created the first sound map to document the different soundscapes of political protest around the world. The map includes sound recordings made during protests in 27 different countries. It allows you to listen to Americans protesting against Donald Trump, Icelanders demonstrating against the collapse of the country's banks and the English protesting against Brexit.

You can explore the sound recordings, made during political protests around the globe, on the simple Protest and Politics interactive map. Just click on a map marker and you can then listen to the selected political protest directly from the map.

Protest and Politics is just one of a number of sound maps created by Cities and Memory. If you find the sounds of protest a little discordant then you could always try the Sacred Spaces sound map instead. This map allows you to listen to more spiritual recordings made in churches, temples and other sacred spaces around the globe.

You can also explore how other organisations and people have mapped sound with these other Sound Maps that have featured on Maps Mania.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Spying on the Spy Planes - Part Two

Some of the most memorable interactive maps of 2016 were the ones created by Buzzfeed to illustrate their Spies in the Skies investigation into the use of spy planes by the FBI and the DHS.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security make daily flights over American cities in spy planes equipped with high-resolution video cameras and cell phone tracking equipment. In their investigation into the use of spy planes Buzzfeed used data from Flightradar24 to identify around 200 federal aircraft. Using the Flightradar24 data Buzzfeed was then able to map out some of the flights undertaken by these federal planes as they spy on American cities.

Now Buzzfeed has also used this data to train a neural network to search for other FBI, DHS, police and military spy planes. The Buzzfeed neural network was fed data from the spy planes identified in their initial investigation and from normal commercial flights. The neural network was then tasked with identifying distinctive flight patterns found in the spy plane flight paths and not in the flight paths from the other planes. The Buzzfeed algorithm identified patterns (such as the tight turning rates of spy planes circling areas of interest) which could be used to identify other spy planes.

Once the neural network had learnt how to identify spy planes from flight path data Buzzfeed set it loose on the flight-tracking data compiled by Flightradar24.

You can learn more about the project in BuzzFeed News Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What We Found. The article includes information on some of the spy planes identified by the Buzzfeed algorithm and static maps showing where these planes have been spying.

A Game of Thrones Filming Locations

It is said that long ago, before the Doom when dragons still flew above the towers of Tyria, Valyrian wizards could use the magic of obsidian candles to see across vast distances. A wizard could light a candle in the Valyrian Freehold in Essos and instantly spy on the Hand of the King, across the Narrow Sea in the Red Keep of King's Landing.

With the rebirth of the dragons the magic of obsidian candles is active once again. To use this ancient magic you must own the ancient scroll called Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Causeway Coast and Glens. Used properly the spells in this ancient text can instantly transport your sight to the Dothraki Grassland, the Coast of Dorne, the Stormlands or to many other locations throughout the lands of Westeros and Essos.

Dragonstone, as shown with dragon's view on the magic map of Esri

Each location that your inner vision visits is highlighted upon the magic map of Esri and shown from above with magical 'dragon's view' images. The magic map of Esri also includes ancient words of wisdom about each of the locations that you visit on your magical journeys. These words of old provide a brief history of each location and the role it has played in the long history of this Land of Ice and Fire.

There is also an ancient spell of 'Street View' which can bestow the gift of long vision onto anyone who owns the 'Map of Google'.

Game of Thrones: The Old Views and the New gives you the vision to stare straight as the dragon flies into King's Landing, Winterfell or the mysterious continent of Essos. Google's collection of magical Street Views is split into three main Houses, the Starks, Lannisters and the Mother of Dragons. This allows you to direct your gaze to any of your favorite locations on either of the continents of Essos or Westeros.

If you wish to explore the lands of A Game of Thrones even more then you might also want to consult The Five Maps of Westeros.

Monday, August 07, 2017

When Was Indianapolis Built?

This When Was Indianapolis Built interactive map shows the age of construction of buildings in the city of Indianapolis. The color of the building footprints on the map show the year of build.

The map shows the geographical distribution of the age of buildings in Indianapolis. The accompanying bar chart visualizes the temporal distribution of construction in the city, showing the number of buildings built in each decade since 1900. Judging by this chart the 1950s were a major period of expansion in Indianapolis, with other busy periods of construction being in the 1990s and the 2000s.

The smaller bar charts show the number of buildings built in each decade in each Indianapolis neighborhood. This means that you can see when major construction took place in each neighborhood. Referring back to the map we can see that a significant number of the oldest buildings in Indianapolis are in the center of the city. As you radiate out from the city center the buildings tend to get younger, with the most new builds being in the city suburbs.

The same developer has created a similar building age map for Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro. This map is also accompanied by interesting bar charts showing how many buildings were built in each decade, in the whole city and in individual neighborhoods.

The Car Crime Map

It can take a thief as little as 10 seconds to break into your car. It is therefore important that you park and leave your car somewhere safe. But where is safe?

Co-op Insurance has released an interactive map to help UK car drivers see where vehicle crime is most frequent. Enter your location into Park Smart and you can view the location of nearby car crimes that have occurred in the last six months. Numbered and scaled markers show the number of car crimes reported at each location. It is therefore possible to quickly identify roads and blocks which experience high or low levels of car crime.

As well as the interactive map Co-op Insurance has released some handy tips for parking your car safely. Such as parking with your wheels facing the kerb to deter car thieves looking for a quick getaway.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Here Be Lots of Monsters

Mythical Creatures and Where to Find Them is the definitive atlas to all the world's strangest creatures. Whether you're a hunter of dragons, yeti, vampires or niki-nankas then this is the map for you.

This custom designed fantasy styled map includes information about a number of mythical creatures. If you select a marker on the map you can learn more about the selected creature and where in the world you can find them. The section on each of the creatures includes information on the locations where their myths began. For those who can't wait to start their monster hunting this section also includes hotel and flight information,

Another great source for finding mythical monsters is Olaus Magnus’ Carta marina. Slate has created an interactive map of Magnus’ beautiful 1539 Carta marina. This means that you can use Slate's map in your search for mythical creatures.

The Carta marina is brimming with wonderful sea monsters. Slate has made each of the monsters selectable on their interactive map. Users of the map are therefore able to click on each of the monsters and read how Olaus Magnus described the monster in his own commentary to the map.

The Carta marina is the earliest map of the Nordic countries that includes place names. The map depicts an area which includes the modern countries of Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Estonia and Latvia. It also includes a number of fanciful sea beasts just waiting to be rediscovered.

The Underwater Search for Flight MH370

During the search for the missing aircraft Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 the Australian Transport Safety Bureau were responsible for conducting underwater search operations. Part of this search included a bathymetric survey to create a detailed map of the sea floor topography in the search area. In one of the largest marine surveys ever conducted the ATSB collected 710,000 square kilometres of bathymetric data.

The Australian Government has released an Esri Story Map, The Data Behind the Search for MH370, which explains where and why the underwater search for the missing aircraft took place. It also visualizes some of the bathymetric data collected during the search.

The data collected is some of the highest resolution bathymetric data ever collected for this area. The data was therefore useful not only for helping to direct the search for the missing aircraft but will be invaluable to marine scientists and scientists in other disciplines. The Australian government has therefore made the data freely available. You can download the data from

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Do You Know Where Ireland Is?

The UK has just one land border (Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland). With only this one land border you would think that the residents of the UK would be able to identify Ireland on a map.

Unfortunately 1 in 10 Britons can't accurately identify the Republic of Ireland on an atlas. 10% of Britons taking GoCompare's 'How Well Do You Know Europe' online quiz weren't able to correctly identify Ireland. 4% actually thought it was Denmark and 2% thought it was Iceland.

If you head over to How Well Do You Know Europe you can try the multiple-choice quiz for yourself. On average Americans get 5 out of 10 questions correct. The British average is 6.5 correct answers. When you have completed the quiz you are told how many countries you identified correctly and how your geographical knowledge compares to other UK and US players.

Passchendaele 360

"I died in hell – they called it Passchendaele."
 - Siegfried Sassoon

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Passchendaele, the First World War campaign that lasted from from July to November 1917.

The opening assault of the battle took place in heavy rain. In this heavy downpour the low lying land was churned up by the men, horses, equipment and heavy shelling and the land became a sea of thick mud. Through this clinging mud the men had to attack German concrete machine gun emplacements. Many of those who weren't killed by the German guns drowned in that clinging mud.

It is impossible to imagine Sassoon's 'hell' or the reality faced by the Allied soldiers. You can however experience a small part of the horror and hell of Passchendaele by viewing the Royal British Legion's 360 degree videos of Passchendaele. Passchendaele in 360 includes a series of 360 degree videos which try to convey something of the reality of the battle for those young soldiers far from home.

The videos combine first-hand audio accounts, diary excerpts, and archive film and photos. You can watch the videos on a desktop computer but for the full virtual reality effect they should be viewed with Google Cardboard or any other type of VR set.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Every Solar Eclipse for 150 Years

A few weeks ago the Washington Post released an interactive globe showing all the solar eclipses happening around the world between now and your 100th birthday. Enter your year of birth into Here’s Every Total Solar Eclipse Happening in Your Lifetime and the path of every solar eclipse happening in your lifetime will be shown on the interactive globe.

Well - maybe not all the eclipses in your lifetime. If you plan living a little longer than 100 years then you can now use Scientific American's Coming Soon? A Solar Eclipse Near You to find out all the total and annular solar eclipses happening in your country in the next 150 years. Just select a country from the list and you can view the path of all the total and annular eclipses happening near you and the year that they will occur.

If you can't wait until the next eclipse in your country then you might want to view a strip map of this month's eclipse. The Washington Post's Travel the Path of the Solar Eclipse is a strip map which allows you to explore the whole path of the August 21st eclipse as it crosses the United States from West Coast to East Coast.

You might also like these interactive maps that show you where & when you can view August's eclipse in the USA and how much of an eclipse you might see.

The Rise of Opioid Overdoses

US Senator for Utah Mike Lee has released an interactive map showing Unintentional Opioid Overdose Deaths. The map uses mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The senator's Leaflet map shows the rise in opioid overdose deaths at county level from 1979 to 2015. Using the timeline you can select to view the number of overdose deaths for any five year period in these years. If you press the play button you can view an animated loop of the data from 1979 to 2015.

You can click on a county on the map to view the county death rate per 100,000 inhabitants for any of the mapped five year periods. Some counties are grayed out on the map for confidentiality reasons. This is where the number of deaths is so small that the deceased could be easily identified.

In the USA more people are now killed by drug overdoses than from gun homicides and car accidents. An ESRI Story Map is attempting to highlight and personalize the current prescription drug and heroin epidemic by providing a way for families to share their memories of loved ones who have died from the epidemic.

Celebrating Lost Loved Ones allows anyone to add photographs and memories of an opioid overdose victim to the map. The map was created by ESRI software developer Jeremiah Lindemann, who lost his own brother to the prescription drug and heroin epidemic. You can read more about the map in Jeremiah's blog post Mapping the Prescription Drug and Heroin Epidemic, in which he also links to a few other maps concerned with the current epidemic.

Digital Dreams & Electric Sheep

UK based artist Memo Akten has trained machine learning algorithms on tens of thousands of paintings in the Google Art Project. He then presented his machine learning algorithms with a virtual paintbrush and canvas to see what they could create for themselves. You can view the results in Learning to Dream, a gallery of 24 works of art created by Memo's generative adversarial network.

The gallery uses the Leaflet mapping platform to create an interface which allows you to zoom in and pan around each of the computer generated works of art. I can't tell you much about the generative adversarial network used to create the artworks but I can tell you a little bit about how they were mapped. Each separate high resolution image was cut into map tiles. If you want to create your own map tiles to use with Leaflet Zoomable Images with Leaflet provides a very detailed tutorial explaining how you can use GDAL2Tiles and MapTiler to render map tiles from an image and use them with the Leaflet mapping platform.

Another option is to use Zoomify to create your map tiles. Showing Zoomify Images with Leaflet explains how to do this and even includes a Leaflet plugin to add the tiles to your Leaflet map.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Strava Speed Map

There are quite a few mapped visualizations which show you the most popular routes for cyclists and joggers who use the popular sports tracking apps. These heat maps are great for discovering the most used roads and routes by cyclists and joggers but they don't tell you much else about the roads and routes used by all those users.

The Strava Activities Map has a different approach to mapping Strava data. Instead of showing you the most popular routes with Strava users it shows you the speed that users travel. It is therefore a great way for cyclists to discover the fastest roads and routes. The yellow lines on the map show the fastest speeds and the blue lines show the slowest speeds.

If you zoom in on the map you can clearly make out which roads and road segments are fastest for cyclists. You can also clearly make out all the intersections where cyclists are being forced to stop or kill their speed.

I guess the next step is to add all that data to a cycling routing engine so that cyclists can get cycling directions with the fastest routes. At the moment the Strava Activities Map only visualizes cycling speeds in Berlin but the developer is looking for suggestions for other cities to map.

The Irish Singles Map

If you are looking for love in Ireland then you need the Irish Singles Map. This interactive map from the Irish Central Statistics Office uses data from the 2016 census to show you where all the single men & women are living in Ireland.

You can consult the map to find locations nearby with the most singles. For example, if you live in Dublin, you should head for a night out in Maynooth, where over half of all the men and women are unmarried. Avoid nearby Ballyoulster though. There are only 73 single males and 59 single females left in Ballyoulster.

You can find more interactive maps of the 2016 census in Ireland on the CSO Census website. Look under '2016 Census Results' and search for the 'Interactive Maps' section under each heading.

Monday, July 31, 2017

How to Make a Hurricane Map

Esri's Maps We Love is a great collection of interactive maps. It also contains some great insider tips for making great maps. For each map in the collection Esri explores what makes the map work and how the map was made.

The latest addition to the collection is the How-To: Hurricane Map. This Esri Story Map is itself a lesson in cartography as it provides a step-by-step tutorial as to how and why historical hurricane data can be visualized on a map. The finished map shows every hurricane and tropical storm since the mid-1800's using data from NOAA.

As you progress through the story map you can follow how the map was made. This includes a discussion of the choice of map projection and the use of custom picture symbology to represent the data. As you progress through the story map you also get to observe the effect of each cartographic decision as each in turn is added to the map.

If you are interested in creating weather maps you might also like Mapbox's How to build a wind map with WebGL.

The Beer Capital of the USA

Santa Rosa is the beer capital of the USA. The Pudding has mapped microbreweries across the country and determined that if you love craft beer then you should move to this Californian town.

In What City is the Microbrewery Capital of the US The Pudding looks at the number and quality of microbreweries and brewpubs to determine the top 50 cities for beer drinkers. Using The Pudding's criteria San Diego comes second, with Denver coming in third.

You don't have to agree with The Pudding's judgement. In fact What City is the Microbrewery Capital of the USA includes an interactive visualization which allows you to use your own criteria. This visualization allows you to adjust the weighting between the quantity and quality of microbreweries in a city. It then shows you the top 15 beer cities in the USA using your criteria.

The Movie Map of London

If you've ever wondered where London based movies like 'Notting Hill', 'Passport to Pimlico' or '10 Rillington Place' were filmed then you need wonder no longer. The London Movie Map shows the filming locations of your favorite London based films.

The map is useful for finding movies which have been filmed near specific locations in London. It is less useful for discovering the locations where your favorite movies were filmed. The numbered map markers allow you to see which movies had scenes shot at that location. This makes it easy to zoom in on locations on the map to discover all the movies that were shot nearby.

Unfortunately it is less easy to find where your favorite films were shot in London. The only way to do this is to find a film's small icon on the map. I assume that is why these small movie poster images are on the map. The result of adding theses small poster images is a really messy looking map. The map would work so much better with a simple search engine. This would make it easier to search for movies and improve the overall aesthetic of the map.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Where's JFK?

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum want your help in mapping every single place in the world named for President Kennedy. Where in the World is JFK? shows the locations of schools, streets, parks and centers around the globe which bear the former president's name.

If you want to help the museum map some of the locations that they haven't discovered yet then you could explore Slate's Every John F. Kennedy Street, Park, Airport, and School in the World map. Slate used OpenStreetMap data to find points of interest named 'Kennedy' around the world for their map. Only those locations that could be verified as being named for JFK were added to the map.

You could also use Where the Streets Have Your Name to find more locations named for JFK. Where the Streets Have Your Name is a great application that you can use to create a Google Map showing all the places around the world that have your name. This map also uses OSM data to map locations.

Where the Streets Have Your Name can be used to find locations with any other name. You can use it to find places with your own name or to find all the places named after President Trump (hint: there are't any).

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Solar Eclipse Strip Map

There are some wonderful interactive maps about this year's solar eclipse that show you where & when you can view the eclipse and how much of an eclipse you might see. The Washington Post has now released an interactive map which allows you to explore the whole path of totality as the sun moves across the United States.

The Washington Post's Travel the Path of the Solar Eclipse is a strip map which allows you to explore the whole path of totality as it crosses the United States from West Coast to East Coast. The map starts at Yaquina Head, Oregon, the first place in the United States where the path of totality will appear at around 1.15 p.m. on Monday August 21st. You can follow the path of totality across the country, by scrolling down the page, until you arrive at Cape Island in South Carolina.

The map uses satellite imagery as the basemap, over which an opaque circular overlay shows you the location of the moon's shadow as the sun passes over the country. As you scroll down the page the map highlights interesting locations which fall within the eclipse's path. These points of interest include information, such as how long the eclipse will last and how much of the sun will be obscured at that location. You can quickly browse through these points of interest by using 'the next spot' and 'back' buttons. You can also use the small inset map to quickly jump to a location on the map.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Maps Can Have Wind

Everybody at Mapbox is working very hard to ensure that your maps can have wind. No sooner do we discover Lauren Budorick's super fast animated weather map than Vladimir Agafonkin releases his own animated wind map.

The progenitor of Leaflet.js has created an Animated Wind Map which can "render a million particles at 60fps". The map uses WebGL and what looks a little like magic. Although it is magic Vladimir has done a great job at explaining the process in How I built a wind map with WebGL. Those of you have been to Hogwarts will probably be able to understand the spells involved. Here's one of the spells,

"encode particle positions as RGBA colors of an image, load it to the GPU, calculate new positions based on wind velocities in the fragment shader, encode them back into RGBA colors and draw it into a new image".

If you are a simple muggle then you will probably be content with just looking at the pretty colors like me.

The Solar Eclipse Simulator

Next month Americans will have the chance to see a solar eclipse. On Monday August 21st everyone in the United States, even Alaska and Hawaii, will be able to witness at least a partial solar eclipse. If you want to know how partial the eclipse will be where you live then you need to use the Solar Eclipse Simulator.

If you enter your zipcode into Vox's Solar Eclipse Simulator you can view a simulation of what the moon passing in front of the sun will look like from your location. The simulation includes information on what time the eclipse will peak and what percentage of the sun will be obscured.

If you want to see a total solar eclipse then Vox has also got you covered. The Solar Eclipse Simulator includes a Mapbox map which reveals the closest point to your location where you can view a total solar eclipse. It even tells you how far you have to travel to get there.

Before booking an hotel however you should consult NOAA's Cloudiness Map of the Eclipse. This map not only shows you where you can see a total eclipse (the umbral path) but also tells you the chance of avoiding clouds along the eclipse's path (based on historical weather data).

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.

If you can't see this year's total solar eclipse then you can still find out when there may be a solar eclipse near you. You can now tell the Washington Post your year of birth and they will show you the path of every solar eclipse happening in your lifetime on an interactive globe.

Here’s Every Total Solar Eclipse Happening in Your Lifetime tells you how many solar eclipses are going to happen around the world between now and your 100th birthday.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How Big is Delaware?

Icebergs are measured in Delawares. A Delaware is equivalent to two Luxembourgs.

The colossal iceberg, which recently separated from the Larsen C ice-shelf in Antarctica, has presented the media with a bit of a problem. Ever since the iceberg calved news editors up and down the land have been asking themselves,

'How can we describe something this large?'

Most news organizations eventually settled on describing the iceberg as being 'as big as Delaware'. Of course most consumers of these news organizations immediately replied,

'How big is Delaware?'

I've also heard the iceberg being described as being twice the size of Luxembourg. So Delaware is about two Luxembourgs. Now all we need to know is - how big is two Luxembourgs? How Big is the Iceberg has the answer to the questions of how big are two Luxembourgs, one Delaware or even one large recently calved iceberg.

This Google Map allows you to drag the outline of the iceberg around and compare it to any location on Earth. You can of course drag the iceberg over Delaware of Luxembourg if you want to compare it to those standard iceberg measurement units. However you can also drag the outline of the iceberg to a town or city that you better understand the size of.

This kind of draggable shapes map is very easy to create with the Google Maps API. There is a great example of a Draggable Polygons map in the Google Maps API documentation. Note the comments in the code to 'set geodesic to true' if you want your polygon to automatically resize when its dragged north or south on the map.

Icebergs aren't the only things that you can compare with geographical locations on a map. There is a whole host of websites which allow you to directly compare geographical locations with other geographical locations on a map. You might like The True Size of ...OverlayMaps, MAPfrappeMy Life Elsewhere, Mapmerizer and If It Were My Home?

French Wildfires Mapped

Last night around 10,000 people were evacuated from their homes as wildfires raged in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. So far about 15.4 sq miles of land has been burned and around 4,000 firefighters and troops have been battling the fires.

The European Forest Fire Information System monitors and maps forest fire activity in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The EFFIS Current Situation map provides information on on-going fires and the danger of fire in Europe and around the Mediterranean.

The map includes a fire forecast for the next 6 days. This consists of a heat map layer highlighting the areas in Europe most in danger of forest fires. The darker the area the larger the risk of fire. The map also allows you to view the location of active fires and of burnt areas using MODIS and VIIRS satellite imagery.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Slow Down Mapbox

You've probably seen by now at least one of the ever popular animated weather maps that have emerged in the last few years. You can see examples at Earth.nullschool.netWindyty and VentuSky. Each of these maps include impressive animated cloud layers. However they aren't as fast as this super fast animated weather map.

I love the speed of this animated map. It is also pretty neat to be able to actually change the color of the animated clouds.

I'm not entirely sure how the map works. It looks to be using either an animated PNG image or a series of images being used to create the animation. The image(s) is then overlaid on the map as a canvas element. Once loaded into the canvas layer the user can then use the rgb controls to adjust the color of the image(s) on top of the map.

Of course you could always just add a video as an overlay on the map but, after seeing this map, that feels like cheating.

Strolling Through Jane Austen's England

The Smithsonian has created a mapped tour of the towns and houses that shaped the life of the English novelist Jane Austen. It is an interesting introduction to the author's life and would be a handy accompaniment to anyone watching the BBC's television program Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors.

Jane Austen's Footsteps uses KnightLabs StoryMapJS platform to explore some of the important locations in the English writer's life. The map provides an interesting but brief biography of Austen's life, illustrated with some contemporary photos of some of the houses and towns where she lived. Ultimately however the map struggles with its lack of content.

I hesitate to say it, but ... It is a truth universally acknowledged that a map of Jane Austen is in want of more life.

The map could have used a vintage Georgian basemap, so that we could actually explore Austen's footsteps on a map which might have been familiar to the author herself. Many of the locations on the map, such as Chawton in Hampshire, have changed very little since Austen's day. So perhaps Street View could have also been used to give more of insight into the village of Chawton, so we could actually view the village where Austen spent much of her later life.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Machine Learning Accessibility

Project Sidewalk is a crowdsourced effort to map street level accessibility issues around the world. The project uses Google Street View images to find out where accessibility problems are apparent on the streets.

Using Project Sidewalk you can help identify accessibility problems (such as missing curb ramps on sidewalks, obstacles on paths and uneven surfaces) by tagging them on Google Maps Street View. When you first start using Project Sidewalk you are walked through how to spot and identify accessibility problems on Street View. After completing the tutorial you can explore the streets on Street View and find and label any accessibility features that you find.

Project Sidewalk users have already mapped the accessibility of nearly half of Washington DC. Once Project Sidewalk has enough crowdsourced data it should be able to develop better computer vision and machine learning algorithms to automatically detect accessibility issues with Street View. This would enable developers to automatically create accessibility maps and routing engines for people with accessibility problems.

You might also like The History of Machine Learning and Street View, which looks at how MIT has trained computer AI's to identify the safety of city streets and neighborhoods experiencing high levels of urban development.

How to Degentrify Your Neighborhood

Back in 2015 Sam Floy invented an algorithm which could work out which neighborhoods were becoming gentrified and which were becoming more salubrious. His basic formula simply looked at the ratio of coffee shops to fried chicken restaurants to determine the desirability of a neighborhood. The Guardian has now refined Sam's algorithm to help identify neighborhoods which are undergoing de-gentrification.

In How to know if where you live is “up and coming”: fried chicken vs. coffee shops Floy compared heat maps of coffee & fried chicken shops to identify the areas with more coffee shops. The areas with more coffee shops are the areas that Floy believes are more salubrious. He then overlaid these areas on a property value heat map in order to identify which of these areas are in parts of London where it is relatively cheaper to buy property.

The Guardian has discovered that you can cancel out the coffee shop number in the gentrification equation. In fact all you really need to know in order to determine the desirability of a neighborhood is the number of fast food restaurants in the area.

In Fast Food England the Guardian has mapped out the number of fast food restaurants per 1,000 residents in each postcode area in England & Wales. After mapping the concentration of fast food restaurants the Guardian discovered that the most deprived areas in the UK tend to have the highest concentration of food food restaurants and the least deprived areas have the fewest.

You can enter a postcode or location into the map to find out the number of local fast food restaurants to 1,000 people, how that compares to the national average and the total number of takeaways in the area. You can also find out whether the number of fast food restaurants in the area has increased or decreased over the last three years. You can determine if your area has become more or less gentrified by discovering if the number of local fast food restaurants has gone down or up.

Therefore if you want to help de-gentrify your neighborhood you need to open up a local fast food restaurant. Might I suggest a fried chicken restaurant.