Saturday, April 21, 2018

Where's Napoleon?


That Napoleon can be a tricky little blighter to track down. One day he might be marching on Moscow, while the next he's attacking the British at Waterloo. If you want to know where Napoleon is on any particular then you need Hit the Road with Napoleon.

Hit the Road with Napoleon is a handy little tool for anybody who struggles with working out where Napoleon was on any day in history. To use the tool simply enter in a date and Napoleon's location on that day will be shown on a Google Map.

Of course on some days Napoleon moved around a bit. For example, on 18th June 1815 Napoleon seemed to spend a lot of time running around in the fields outside the town of Waterloo in what is now Belgium. If you look up that day on Hit the Road with Napoleon then the general's movements for the whole day are shown as a track on the interactive map.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Ottawa's Bike Maps


Bike Ottawa has been promoting cycling in the Capital Region since 1984. It advocates for cycling as a safe, fun, and environmentally friendly form of transportation in the city.

As part of its advocacy for cycling Bike Ottawa has released a number of interactive maps. The maps were created by the organization's Data Group and look at the safety of cycling in Ottawa, bike routing and cycling times. Bike Ottawa's Interactive Bike Maps initially consists of four different interactive maps:
  • The Ottawa Cycling Stress Map
  • Ottawa Cycling Directions
  • Ottawa Cycling Isochrones
  • Ottawa Collisions
The Ottawa Cycling Stress Map colors the city's roads based on the level of traffic stress. The map grades each section of road based on how safe cyclists feel cycling there. The Ottawa Cycling Directions uses the data from the Cycling Stress Map to provide you with cycling directions based on your personal levels of comfort when cycling.

The Ottawa Cycling Isochrones map shows you how far you can cycle in the city, from any location, in a given amount of time. The Ottawa Collisions map plots where pedestrians and cyclists have been injured by cars in the city. The map can help you identify and avoid collision hot-spots in the city.

Mapping Every Air Raid on Yemen


In March 2015 a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen. Since then there has been more than more than 16,000 air raids on the country. At least one third of these have been targeted at civilian residential areas. During the air raids on Yemen at least 1,600 schools have been partially or totally destroyed and several UNESCO heritage sites have also been destroyed.

Al Jazeera has mapped all 16,000 of Saudi Arabia's air raids on Yemen. The interactive map in Death From Above shows all air raids carried out by the Saudi led coalition since March 2015. The map includes a timeline control which allows you to see where and when air raids have been targeted in Yemen by month. As you progress through the timeline a running total keeps track of the total number of air raids launched. The bar chart below the map shows the total number of air raids directed at individual cities over the course of the timeline.

The data for the map comes from numerous sources, including official records, local and international news agencies, reports by international human rights groups and reports from national and international NGOs.

Britain from Above


I've spent most of the morning scouring vintage aerial views of the East End of London looking for my house. It isn't easy. Back in the day the East End used to be full of these huge buildings that the locals called factories. The factories have now all gone. So the East End of today looks hugely different from the air than it did 80 years ago.

The aerial photographs that I've been looking at were all taken by Aerofilms Ltd. Aerofilms Ltd was a commercial aerial photography company founded in 1919. The company was established to take photographs of Britain from airplanes for surveying and mapping purposes. One of its clients was the Ordnance Survey, the UK's national mapping agency.

In June 2007 the millions of aerial photographs taken by Aerofilms were sold to English Heritage in partnership with The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Since 2007 this partnership has been busy mapping the locations in all those historical aerial views of Britain.

The result is Britain from Above. Using Britain from Above's interactive map you can search and view Aerofilms' vintage aerial views of Britain by location. Search the map by postcode or name and you can view all the historical photos of a location captured by Aerofilms in the Twentieth Century. You can even buy prints of any of the views that your like.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Solving the Traveling Salesman Problem


Shiny Salesman is a tool for solving the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). The TSP asks: "What is the shortest possible route taking in a number of specified locations and returning to the starting location?"

The Shiny Salesman tool allows you to choose a number of different locations to include in the TSP. You can then solve the problem using your own simulated annealing parameters. You can even watch as the map runs through the number of iterations that you select. Shiny Salesman also create a graph showing the evolution of the current tour distance so you can see how many iterations it took to find the optimal route.

If you want to see the TSP applied to a real-world problem then you might like Randy Olson's Optimal Road Trip of U.S. National Parks.

The Map of British Rock


In the 1960's the UK invented rock music. To fully appreciate this genre of music you really need a thorough knowledge of British geography. British rock is firmly rooted in the psychogeography of UK towns and cities. To understand the music you have to know the towns and cities mentioned in the lyrics of the Great British rock bands. So let's take a tour of the UK and visit some of the places immortalized by the giants of British rock - such as The Proclaimers.

We begin our musical journey with a 500 mile hike from the lowlands of Scotland. The seminal Scottish rock band The Proclaimers famously sang that they would walk 500 miles. So we start our tour in Leith and from there we will walk 500 miles.

Luckily for us Cartonerd has mapped out a 500 mile radius around Leith so we know how far to walk. In I Would Map 500 Miles Carrtonerd has placed a circle showing where you could get to if you walked 500 miles from Leith. He has also placed another circle 500 miles further out just in case you want to walk 500 more.


About 75 miles out of Leith we arrive at the border of England. This part of England is known as 'The North'. The North is pretty grim and this grimness has had an obvious effect on the rock bands that emanate from this region.

The dourness of the north was famously celebrated by the KLF in their song 'It's Grim Up North'. In the song they recognize the unattractive, forbidding nature of 69 northern towns and cities. CityMetric has thankfully mapped out all 69 locations for us in Literally just a map of every town in the lyrics to ‘It’s Grim Up North’ by the KLF.


One of the northern cities not mentioned in It's Grim Up North is Liverpool, which is of course the home of The Beatles. Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever is an Esri Story Map exploring the important locations which feature in the music of The Beatles. In particular it examines the geography of the 'most important single ever', the double 'A' side record Penny Lane - Strawberry Fields.

As you scroll through this Story Map you will discover the importance of a sense of place to the music of The Beatles and how the band influenced other 60's artists to write about locations important to their lives.The Story Map explores a number of geographical locations mentioned by The Beatles in their music. In particular the map zooms in on two locations in Liverpool, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, and discusses the significance of these two locations to the childhoods of Paul McCartney and John Lennon.


No British music of note has ever been written south of Liverpool. Therefore we really don't need to walk 500 miles and will end our tour of British Rock in the dour north.  Let's now head off to tour north America instead.


Johnny Cash Has Been EVERYWHERE (Man)! - a map of every location mentioned in Johnny Cash's version of the Geoff Mack song 'I've Been Everywhere'
Looking for a Place to Happen - a tour around Canada and the locations mentioned in the songs of the Tragically Hip
Canadian Geographic: On the Coast - a map featuring Canadian locations that are mentioned in song lyrics


If you want a real map of British Rock then the best I can offer you is The Big British Music Map. This word map of famous UK bands and musical artists shows the most famous artists associated with the various regions and towns of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If you select an artist on the map you can listen to their most iconic song. You can also view information about the artist's net worth and charting history.

The association of artists to specific locations on the map can be a little tenuous. The map says that the artists are "attached to specific locations". This attachment seems to be a combination of artists having either been born at a location or having lived there. For example Fatboy Slim is shown on the map in Brighton. He wasn't born in Brighton but does now live there. Sting on the other hand is located on the map in Newcastle. Sting doesn't live there now but he was born near by.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

San Francisco is on Shaky Ground


The New York Times carried a worrying story yesterday about San Francisco's gamble with building skyscrapers on land prone to earthquakes. The city loves to gamble so much that they are even building the tallest skyscrapers in the areas of the city where the ground is most at risk of liquefaction.

As you would expect the Times' story is illustrated with its customary impressive mapped visualizations. I particularly like the image transition near the beginning of the Times' San Francisco's Big Seismic Gamble. In 1906 an airship took a spectacular aerial photo of the city showing the damage caused by the recent earthquake and fire. As you scroll down the page the 1906 image of San Francisco seamlessly transitions into a modern illustration of the city from the exact same position. The modern illustration shows all the skyscrapers now built on top of the areas of the city devastated by the 1906 earthquake.

Another effective visualization in the story is a map of all the buildings in the city more than 240 tall overlaid on top of a choropleth layer showing the areas of the city at risk from liquefaction. A final map shows the areas of San Francisco which are expected to experience strong shaking during a big earthquake.

Mapping LGBTQ+ Memories


Queering the Map is back. Queering the Map is an interactive map which documents queer moments at locations around the world. It allows anyone to drop a pin on a map to leave a memory of a personal queer moment.

Unfortunately Queering the Map was forced offline after a number of Trump supporters defaced the map. But now it is back. And it is more popular than ever. In fact the map is so popular that it will soon need to think about a marker clustering system to manage the huge number of queer memories added to the map.


If you want to know how LGBTQ+ friendly different locations around the world are then you should also have a look at Destination Pride. Destination Pride provides a guide to the possible safety of holiday destinations around the world for LGBTQ+ travelers. Using information on relevant local laws and social attitudes Destination Pride hopes to give a basic safety overview for people traveling to new destinations.

Type a destination into Destination Pride and you can view the location's LGBTQ+ safety ranting on an interactive map. The map sidebar includes a rainbow flag which breaks down the safety ratings for the location into different categories. Each colored bar on the flag represents a different category, including marriage equality, sexual activity laws, anti-discrimination laws and civil rights & liberties (you can click on the individual colors to reveal what they represent).

The Taste Map of the World


This morning I sat down to a pain au chocolat with a bowl of coffee for my breakfast. At lunchtime I didn't have much time so I only had a little Roquefort on a baguette. For dinner I'm looking forward to eating well with a delicious lapin a la cocotte.

Can you guess which country I'm in yet?

One of the greatest joys of traveling the world is being able to explore regional cuisines. Every country in the world has its own favorite foods, regional dishes and local styles of cooking. In fact you could probably map the world using regional foods and dishes. You could then call your map the TasteAtlas.

The TasteAtlas is an interactive map which allows you to explore the local foods, dishes, tastes and cuisine of any location in the world. Using the map you can search different locations to discover the kinds of things the locals like to eat and drink. It is a great way to discover the tastes of different regions of the world and, at the same time, get a little inspiration about what to have for dinner tonight.

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

It was France. I was in France.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mapping Every Power Plant in the World


Resource Watch is a new platform for hosting and sharing data related to the Earth’s resources and how they are used. The data can be used to visualize the challenges facing the planet and its people, from climate change to poverty and from water risk to human migration.

All the data on Resource Watch is free to download and use for your own analysis (precise license details are attached to each set of data). There are currently 207 different data-sets available, all of which can be explored on the Resource Watch interactive map. If you select a data-set from the sidebar you can add it to the interactive map. If you click on the 'details' button attached to a data-set you can explore the data using different visualization tools such as charts and tables.

The many founding partners of Resource Watch include Bloomberg, Carto, Google and Climate Central. The data-sets come from more than 30 trusted organizations around the world. The data is being curated by World Resources Institute experts to ensure that all data is either peer reviewed or based on a transparent established methodology.

Indoor Mapping with OpenStreetMap


OpenLevelUp is an interactive map which uses OpenStreetMap data for indoor mapping. The map allows you to find your way around inside buildings, level by level, by selecting different floor levels. The map is particularly useful for navigating your way around large buildings, laid out on many floors, such as shopping malls or museums.

When you are zoomed out on OpenLevelUp buildings which have level by level mapping available are identified by a heat-map layer. Zoom-in on one of these buildings and the numbered floor levels will appear down the side of the map. You can now explore inside the building, floor by floor, simply by selecting one of these floor levels.

The map of each floor shows the locations of different rooms, stairways, escalators and other amenities (depending on what has been mapped on OpenStreetMap). All of the features which are shown on the map can be clicked on to reveal more details or to click-through so that you can add more details yourself to the feature on OpenStreetMap.

Free To Be in Delhi & Sydney


CrowdSpot is an interactive map based surveying tool. The platform is designed to elicit community feedback about locations in order to help enable better decision making. The platform can be customized to enable users to identify locations or to get them to vote about specific locations.

CrowdSpot has been used to get feedback on a number of different issues, including identifying locations where cyclists feel unsafe, to identify where transportation could be improved and to gain citizen feedback on city transit plans. It has also been used by women's groups to try to identify locations where women feel safe and unsafe.

Free to Be in Melbourne customized the CrowdSpot platform to discover how girls and women feel in Melbourne's public spaces. The interactive map based survey asked girls and women to identify the places they love, the places they avoid, where they feel safe and locations which could be improved in the city. Over 10,000 people visited the website and over 1,300 locations in Melbourne were identified on the map.

Following the success of the Melbourne project Free to Be is now looking for girls and women in Sydney to share their experiences of that city. Free to Be Sydney allows girls and women to identify 'good' or 'bad' spots in Sydney and to add their stories about different Sydney locations to the map. You can also browse the map to view all the good and bad locations added by other users.

Free to Be is also being launched in the capital of India. Free to Be Delhi works in exactly the same way as the Sydney and Melbourne maps. Girls and women can identify places in the city where they fell safe or unsafe by simply dropping pins on the crowd-sourced map. Free to Be hasn't stopped there either. It is now also available in Lima, Madrid and Kampala. In all these locations girls and women can now share how they feel in different locations in their own cities.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mapping the Power of Ten


The Powers of Ten is a famous short film by Charles and Ray Eames. The film starts with a top-down shot of two people having a picnic. The camera then zooms out to ten times the distance every ten seconds, so that the field of view is ten times wider every ten seconds. The film starts from one meter above the Earth and zooms out to show the entire universe.

The Powers Map was inspired by the film the Powers of Ten. This interactive map starts showing a random census tract in the USA and then zooms out to show the whole country. As the map slowly zooms out the map displays data from the American Community Survey 5-year estimates.

The map shows the population currently living on the area shown on the map. It estimates the population based on the land area shown and the density of the population. It also shows some other interesting facts from the census, such as the number of people who did not graduate from high school, the number of women with doctorates, the number of people unemployed or the number of people who work in the public sector.

Truesize for Leaflet


It is very easy to create a country size comparison map like The True Size Of using the Google Maps API. Google's Maps API allows you to define polygon shapes as both draggable and geodesic. This means if you add a country polygon shape to a Google Map the map's users can drag the shape around the map and the size will change size depending on the shape's latitude.

In Leaflet.js there is no simple method in the JavaScript library for making a polygon shape both draggable and responsive to the map projection. Therefore Webkid has created a plug-in for Leaflet which allows you to add draggable polygons that resize automatically depending on the degree of latitude.

Leaflet Truesize includes links to download the plugin and an explanation of how it should be used to create a size comparison map. It also contains an example map which allows you to drag India and Mexico on a map to compare their size with other countries around the world.

Exploring the History of Scotland


Pastmap is an interactive map which can help you explore the historic buildings, archaeology and landscapes of Scotland. The map has been created by Historic Environment Scotland to help the public discover more about Scottish history and to help them visit the country's historic sites and buildings.

The map side-panel includes a number of history layers which can be added to the map. These include the locations of listed buildings, conservation areas, battlefield sites, scheduled monuments and gardens and designed landscapes. The side-panel also includes a number of map layers. These include vintage Ordnance Survey maps and aerial imagery of Scotland, on which you can overlay the historical locations.


If you are interested in vintage maps of Scotland then you should also pay a visit to the online Map Collections division of the National Library of Scotland. The National Library of Scotland (NLS) has digitized thousands of old historical Scottish maps.

Some of the NLS's digitized maps have been used by the University of Glasgow to show the routes of Robert Burns’s tours in the Highlands and Borders of Scotland. The Maps of Robert Burns’s Tours of the Highlands and Borders of Scotland use vintage map tiles of Scotland from the library's map collection.

For example the Robert Burns’s Tour of the Highlands, 25th August – 16th September 1787 map features an interactive route of part of Robert Burns' tour overlaid on a vintage 1815 map of Scotland. In this interactive route map you can click on each of the way-points displayed on the map to read what Burns had to say about the places he visited during this part of his tour of the Highlands.

Big Brother is Watching


The residents of the London Borough of Hackney are probably the most spied upon people on the planet. Hackney has more CCTV cameras than the cities of Bristol, Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Chelmsford and Liverpool. Hackney’s 2,246 CCTV cameras means the borough has more cameras than any other local authority in the country - more than any town or city (excluding London itself) in the UK.

Outside of London the leafy Surrey town of Woking is the most spied upon. Woking has more CCTV cameras than the cities of Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. Bristol is the most watched city in the UK (excluding London), Birmingham comes second despite having over twice the population of Bristol.

If you want to know more about the most spied upon towns and cities in the UK then you can consult the UK's CCTV Hotspot map. This map shows the top 20 towns and the top 20 cities with the most CCTV cameras and the number of cameras in every London borough. The map is based on data from Big Brother Watch and the Office for National Statistics. I suspect this means that the map wildly underestimates the actual number of cameras. For example, it claims that Newham has just 204 CCTV cameras. There must be that many cameras in the Olympic Park alone

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Classified Ad Addressing System


Paaart is a new online classified ad site. Paaart offers a free service that anyone can use anywhere in the world to post or find classified ads. The site works by connecting users to their own local neighborhoods. Users can attach any message to any neighborhood. Therefore a classified ad can be connected to the relevant part of a village, municipality, city or region, depending on the user's preferences.

One of the most interesting things about Paaart for cartographers is that it uses its very own addressing system. The Paaart hierarchical addressing system divides the world into more than 300 thousand areas. Each area polygon in this system is hierarchically divided into 25 further rectangular areas, each one labelled by a single letter. This step by step division leads to a hierarchical structure that makes it possible to specify a location at different levels of precision. For example Oxford in the UK is defined by the 3 letters kbm - http://www.paaart.com/united-kingdom/?kbm.

This simple system allows people who are posting classified ads to define their own level of location by choosing the relevant hierarchy in the addressing system. They do this simply by selecting an appropriate zoom level on an interactive map. Another advantage of using a customized addressing system is that Paart can specify precise locations for ads even in regions and countries of the world where the official administrative addressing system is not always accurate.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Interactive Theme Park Maps


Kolmården Wildlife Park is Sweden's largest zoo. The park includes a dolphinarium, a cable car safari and two roller coasters. The Kolmården Wildlife Park website also includes a wonderful interactive park map.

The Kolmården Wildlife Park Karta shows the location of all the park's themed areas using an oblique stylized bird's eye view of the park. If you select any of the markers on the map you can drill down to view images of each of the park's separate areas. These close-up views include information about the animals that can be seen in each area and the facilities available to the park's visitors.

Each of these smaller area maps provide beautifully designed bird's eye views of the park. These images include little animations, often involving the animals themselves. You can click on most of the animals to learn more about these species in the park.


If you like park maps then you might also enjoy Disney's Walt Disney World map. Walt Disney's map uses the Google Maps API's Ground Overlay feature to overlay a custom made static map on top of the Google Maps base layer. This is a great way to create an impressive looking, distinctive map.

Of course to create such good looking park maps you need to start with a good custom designed static map. Luckily many theme parks already have beautifully designed static maps. It doesn't take too much effort to use these static maps as the basis for great interactive maps to help showcase a theme park on the Internet.

The Modern Plague of London


In 1886 the National Temperance Publication Depot published a map of London pubs "as specified in the London Directory". The Modern Plague of London map shows the location of London pubs as listed in the directory. To create the map the National Temperance Publication Depot simply added a red dot for every London pub to a print of Bacon's Map of London & Suburbs.

The map owes an obvious debt to John Snow's map of cholera victims in Soho during the 1854 cholera outbreak. By plotting the homes of cholera victims on a map Snow was able to identify a water pump in Broad Street as the cause of all the cases of cholera. Snow's map essentially proved that cholera was spread by contaminated water and disproved the prevailing miasma theory, which believed that diseases like cholera were caused by bad air.

By plotting all of the pubs in London the National Temperance Publication Depot presumably intended to identify all the contaminated sources of alcoholism in London. Unfortunately for the temperance movement the map wasn't particularly successful in achieving its aim of eradicating the modern plague of London. Previous attempts to limit Londoner's access to their pubs had proven spectacularly unsuccessful. For example the Sale of Beer Act in 1854, which restricted Sunday opening hours, had to be repealed after widespread rioting. It was unlikely then that a simple map of London pubs was going to be enough to stop people drinking alcohol in London.

However the map is very successful in visualizing the huge number of pubs in Victorian London. The highest resolution image of the map that I can find online was published by the Telegraph (accompanying this article). If you examine the map you can find lots of streets where every over building appears to be a public house. If you already believed that alcohol was a scourge on the general population then the National Temperance Publication Depot's map of the Modern Plague of London would be very likely to confirm your beliefs about the immense dangers of alcohol to the population of London.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Map of Your Heart

There are a few online sellers of customized map posters. For example Mapiful allows you to create and order large prints of your favorite locations around the world. Map Poster similarly allows you to create and buy your own map poster for any location that you choose. You can even create and design a beautiful map background for your phone with Alvar Carto's Map Backgrounds.

Happy Maps has a nice unique take on the customized map poster market. Happy Maps features the same easy to use tools for making a customized map as Mapiful and Map Poster. However a Happy Map creates a heart shaped map. A Happy Map would therefore make a great map present for your significant other, featuring the place where you first met, proposed or got married.

Grafomap is another website where you can create high quality personalized map posters. Using the customized Grafomap map tool you can search for any place in the world and design your own map poster featuring your chosen location.

Not THAT Election Map


After his election President Donald Trump was quick to hang a 2016 election map up in the West Wing. This electoral college map is mostly colored red with a few splashes of blue reflecting how the country's electoral districts voted.  While looking at this map Trump can temporarily forget he lost the popular vote and pretend that he is universally loved across the United States.

However not all election maps tell the same story. The Presidential election 2016: dasymetric dot density map is a dot map of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. On the map one dot equals one vote. So one red dot equals one vote for the Republican candidate and one blue vote equals one vote for the Democratic candidate.

This dot map provides a much better visualization of the overall number of votes for each candidate, compared to the electoral college map. It allows us to see where Trump (or Clinton) actually did dominate the vote and where voting was much more even.

The map was created by Kenneth Field and you can read more about how the map was made on his Cartonerd blog.

The European Trade in Hazardous Waste


Over 90 % of hazardous waste exports in the European Union are shipped to other EU Member States. This could prove a problem for the UK after Brexit. The UK is by far the biggest exporter of hazardous waste. I wonder what kind of trade negotiations will have to take place to ensure that the Netherlands continues to take 1,607,602 tonnes of hazardous waste from the UK after the country leaves the EU.

Eurostat's Interactive Map on Waste Shipment visualizes how much hazardous waste each country in Europe exports and imports every year. If you select an EU country on the map you can see all the other countries around the world that it ships hazardous waste to. You can also view all the countries that a country imports hazardous waste from. The total tonnage exported or imported is shown for the top 5 countries that import or export waste from the selected country.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Australia's Solar Potential Map


A new interactive map from the University of New South Wales, the Australian Photovoltaic Institute, Solar Analytics and Enosi shows the potential for rooftop solar power for homes in a number of Australian cities. The SunSPoT Solar Potential Map allows home owners to zoom in on their homes to work how much energy they might be able to generate by installing rooftop solar panels.

If you zoom in on your home on the map you can draw around the outline of your roof. SunSPoT will then automatically work out an estimation of the potential power that could be generated from solar power and the value of all that energy. If you click on the 'rack mounting' button you can experiment with the tilt and direction of your future solar panels to view how this might effect their solar potential.

You can find out how many homes already have solar power on another interactive map. The Australian Photovoltaic Installations map visualizes the estimated percentage of dwellings that have a PV system and the total photovoltaic capacity installed for each each postcode and local government area in Australia. Select an area on this map and you can view an estimation of the total number of dwellings, the number of dwellings with PV installations and the annual energy generated from PV in the area.

America's News Deserts


Wikipedia's List of Defunct Newspapers of the United States includes the names of over 1,000 newspapers which are no longer in print. Many of these papers collapsed decades ago. However a large proportion of these newspapers are victims of the loss of 50% of print newspaper readers in the last 20 years.

Last year the Colombia Journalism Review mapped out America's Growing News Deserts. Their map shows the number of local newspapers left in each county in the United States. One thing that the map reveals is that a lot of counties no longer have a single local newspaper in print.

Ohio University has now released a new interactive map which visualizes the circulation of daily newspapers and the percentage of the population that subscribe to newspapers. The Media Deserts Map includes two choropleth layers. One layer shows the number of daily newspapers in a county and the other shows the circulation penetration. Using the map it is possible to see the number of daily newspapers in a county and the percent of the population (over the age of 18) who are reading them.

Mapping Britain's Ups & Downs


The Relative Land Motion map showing subsidence on Wanstead Flats in East London

A new interactive map of the United Kingdom plots very small changes in elevation to show where the country is experiencing subsidence and where the land is experiencing uplift. Zoom in on any location on the Relative Land Motion Map of the UK and you can find out whether an area saw any warping of the land surface between 2015 and 2017.

On the interactive map areas colored red have experienced subsidence and areas colored blue have seen uplift. These small movements in land surface have been detected by comparing imagery captured by the Sentinel-1 satellite. Satellite interferometry has been used to detect small changes in different satellite images of the same location. In this way it is possible to show where the land surface has experienced subsidence or uplift over time.

In the UK most changes to the levels of the land surface are caused by "groundwater levels, underground mining, landslides, surface erosion (such as in open-cast mines) and soil compression (such as in drained peatlands)".

On the interactive map some examples of areas that have seen changes to land surface levels have been highlighted on the map. The white rectangles show areas where mining, civil engineering projects or geological features have caused significant subsidence or uplift. ​If you select one of these rectangles on the map a small information window will open explaining why the area has experienced warping of the land surface.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The World at Night


NASA's Black Marble map of the Earth at night is the best way to view the distribution of artificial lights around the world. The Black Marble is a composite map made up of the best cloud-free satellite images of the Earth taken at night.

Cities at Night think that they can actually improve on NASA's Black Marble map. This citizen science project is using crowd-sourcing to identify the locations in night-time photographs of the Earth captured by astronauts on board the International Space Station. NASA has almost half a million of these pictures now. Many of them provide much higher definition aerial night-time views of towns and cities across the globe than can be found on the Black Marble map.

You can contribute to this new night-time map of the Earth by helping Cities at Night classify the locations in the photographs taken by astronauts from the ISS. You can also browse the 2,500 photographs classified so far on this map. The map shows the locations of night time images taken from the ISS identified by volunteers of Cities at Night.

What Kills Americans & Where


FiveThirtyEight has updated its U.S. mortality rates map to cover more categories of disease and causes of death. The 35 Years of American Death map shows the mortality rates in each county for the leading causes of death in the United States. The new causes of death added to the map include nine categories of chronic respiratory disease, four categories of infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, self-harm, interpersonal violence, alcohol use and drug use.

FiveThirtyEight's map shows that there are some geographical trends in the mortality rates associated with many causes of death. In fact we don't even to have to look at individual causes of death to see that many counties in rural Appalachia have very high mortality rates. If you want to know why the mortality rate is so high in these counties then look at the cancer and substance abuse mortality rates in these counties.

In More Americans Are Dying From Suicide, Drug Use And Diarrhea FiveThirtyEight uses the data from its map to visualize some of the changes in mortality rates for a number of diseases between 1980 and 2014. These maps show the counties in the USA where the visualized diseases have grown or fallen significantly over the last 30 years.

Public Vacant land in NYC


According to the NYC Department of City Planning there are 596 acres of vacant public land in Brooklyn. 596 Acres wants to help local communities turn these vacant lots into community gardens, pocket parks and play-spaces. One way they are they are doing this is by showing where the vacant lots are on an interactive map.

Living Lots NYC is a map showing the locations of public vacant land in New York and privately owned vacant land. The markers with little crowns on the map are the lots that already have community organizations working on them. If you select any of the crowned markers you can find out the contact details for the community groups currently working on the selected lot. If you are interested in turning a vacant lot into a community space then you can select the lot on the map, read the notes on how "to use this piece of land legally" and leave your contact details.

The map also includes filter controls which can help you find lots that already have organizations working on them, vacant lots where no organizations are yet involved and publicly or privately owned vacant lots.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Where to Rent and Where to Buy


If you have been wondering about whether you should buy or rent a property then SmartAssest has a series of interactive tools which can help you make the right decision. These tools include a renting vs buying calculator and an interactive map showing where it is better to rent and where it is better to buy.

SmartAssest's Rent vs Buy Calculator can help you make the decision of whether you should rent or buy a property. The calculator allows you to enter a location in the United States to discover how many years you need to live in that location before buying becomes a better option than renting. If you change the number of years you will stay in that location you can view the total buying and rental costs and the difference between them.

The interactive map shows the counties where buying a home is better than renting based on the number of years you plan to stay in an area. You just need to enter the number of years you might be living in one area and the map changes to show the counties where renting is better (colored yellow) and the counties where buying is better (blue). If you select a state on the map you can view the top ten counties where buying is better than renting in the shortest amount of time.

The Opioid Overdose Mapping Tool


The University of Chicago has released a new interactive map that looks at the rates of drug overdose deaths in Appalachia. The national crisis in opioid addiction is particularly severe in Appalachia, where people are 55% more likely to die from a drug overdose than in the rest of the country.

The Overdose Mapping Tool helps to identify overdose hot-spots in Appalachia and allows you to explore the underlying socio-economic and demographic factors which may play a part in creating these hot-spots. The map provides a choropleth view of the overdose mortality rate in each Appalachian county.

Using the map sidebar you can choose to also view a number of socio-economic and demographic county data on the map. This allows you to observe the often strong correlation between poverty and unemployment rates with overdose mortality rates. Low college attendance and high rates of disabilities also seem to be common in the counties with the highest overdose mortality rates.


Last year BuzzFeed mapped the US Counties Prescribing Way More Opioids Than Others. The map shows that doctors are prescribing opioids heavily in Appalachia, particularly in the most southern counties. However the map reveals that there are many other regions in the country where opioid prescription rates are also very high.

The BuzzFeed article quotes the CDC as saying that the higher prescribing counties are often marked by higher rates of arthritis, diabetes and unemployment. It therefore looks like some of the same socio-economic factors are at play in U.S. prescription rates as in the overdose mortality rates in Appalachia.


Last year U.S. Senator for Utah Mike Lee also 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.

The Rise & Fall of Communism


The Spread of Communism is an animated Leaflet map showing the rise and fall of global communism from 1917 to 2017. Starting with the Russian Revolution in 1917 communist countries are colored red on the map during the year that they fell to communism. The red country shapefiles are then removed from the map by the year when communism was overturned.

The data for the dates when countries became communist and when communism was overturned comes from Wikipedia. The country shapefiles for the map come from Geo-Maps. Geo-Maps is a collection of GeoJSON files from OpenStreetMap. The map includes political land borders, coastlines, seas and rivers.

One problem with using one set of country shapefiles is that the map therefore doesn't account for shifting country borders over time. The period of history covered by the Spread of Communism saw political borders change dramatically around the world. For example on this map the whole of Germany is shown as being communist from 1950 to 1990 - presumably because Geo-Maps doesn't have a GeoJSON file for East Germany.
You can see how much Europe changed in the 100 years from 1914 to 2014 on Radio Liberty's map comparing pre-World War I Europe to the Europe of today. Europe 1914 and 2014 allows you to compare the two maps and view how a some country borders have changed dramatically over the last one hundred years. Swipe to the left to reveal the 1914 map and swipe to the right to view the 2014 map.

Hungarian Election Maps


Hungary’s anti-immigration Fidesz party has gained a spectacular victory in the Hungarian national election. Viktor Orbán has won a third consecutive term as Prime Minister. Orbán's Fidesz party campaigned almost exclusively on the supposed dangers that Hungary faces from immigration.

The only interactive map of the election that I could find is in the daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet. The map spectacularly visualizes Orbán's almost complete clean sweep outside of Budapest. The small inset map showing Budapest shows that the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and Together (Együtt) did at least have some success in the capital.

If Orbán manages to win 133 of the parliament’s 199 seats he will achieve what is known as a super-majority. This will allow him to make changes to the Hungarian constitution. Orbán has already taken over much of the media in Hungary and with a super-majority the opposition parties are worried that he will start making anti-democratic changes to the constitution.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

The U.S. Eviction Rankings


16.5% of renters in North Charleston, South Carolina are evicted every year. That's 10 households every day who are permanently forced out of their homes. In fact North Charleston has the very dubious honor of topping the Eviction Lab's Eviction Rankings. The Eviction Rankings lists the cities which had the worst records for evicting tenants in 2016.

The Eviction Lab at Princeton University has created a nationwide database of evictions records. The data is free to download or you can explore it on the Eviction Lab's own Eviction Ratings or Eviction Maps.

The map section of the Eviction Lab allows you to compare the eviction rates in each state or county for 2016. It also allows you to view the eviction rates for previous years. If you select two or more states on the map (or counties) then you can compare the eviction rates between those states in more detail. This more detailed view includes information on the eviction filing rates and totals. It also includes economic and demographic details for the selected states.

If you are interested in downloading the data and creating your own mapped visualizations then you might want to have a look at the New York Times' In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America. In this article the Times has used the data to explore the social and economic cost of the USA's high eviction rates. The article includes a choropleth map showing each state's 2016 eviction judgment rates for renting households.

The Times' article also includes an animated map visualizing a year of eviction judgments in Richmond. In 2016 about 1 in 9 Richmond renter households were issued eviction judgments. Addresses are added to the map by date. The yellow areas on the map are the majority white neighborhoods in Richmond. They are also the areas with the fewest eviction judgments.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Winter Ends & Spring Begins Early


A couple of weeks ago the Washington Post produced a beautiful animated map of the number of inches of snow received by the United States over the winter. In Mapping Snowfall in the United States the Post mapped the accumulation of snow across the whole country over the season, from October through to the end of March.

Inspired by the Washington Post's map David Waldron has created a series of animated maps to visualize the snow impact for a number of individual storms over the last winter. In Snowfall Animations for 2018 Winter Storms Waldron uses the same data from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center to create a series of snowfall animations for each individual winter storm.


At the same time as the Washington Post was saying goodbye to Winter the New York Times was welcoming in spring. In Hang On, Northeast. In Some Parts, Spring Has Already Sprung the New York Times mapped out where spring has already arrived in the United States, and where it is late.

The Time's story included a really impressive animated map which shows when the first leaves usually begin to appear across the United States. On the map spring begins at the southern tip of Florida in January and then quickly creeps up through the rest of the United States in the following months.

The Spring Equinox always comes towards the end of March. However due to climate change spring is beginning earlier and earlier across the United States. In Spring is Arriving Earlier NASA's Earth Observatory has mapped out where in the United States the first leaves and first blooms are appearing earlier in the year.

NASA has created two maps. One shows the areas of the country where in 2016 the first leaves of spring arrived earlier than usual and the other shows where the first blooms appeared in 2016 earlier than the average. In both maps areas are colored to show the number of days early the first leaves or first blooms appeared.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Explore the Solar System


NASA's Solar System Exploration website is a great destination for anyone who wants to learn more about the Sun, the planets & their moons, the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud.

NASA's Solar System Exploration includes interactive globes of a number of the planets and moons. These interactive globes include labels some of the most interesting locations on each planet. If you click on these labeled locations you can view them in more detail using NASA's satellite imagery of the planet or moon. A sidebar panel also opens providing more information about the selected location.

NASA's Solar System website also includes an interactive map of the Solar System showing the orbits of all the planets around the Sun. The planets and Haley's Comet are interactive on the map. If you select any of the planets on the map you can click through to navigate to their dedicated section on the website.

Where Sinclair Owns the Local News


Last week Deadspin created a video of news anchors across the United States reading the exact same script about the "one-sided news" in America. The video effectively revealed the dangers of allowing the Sinclair Broadcast Group to continue to vacuum up local television stations across America.

The company now owns 193 local television stations. Vox has released an interactive map which show where these Sinclair owned local television stations operate. The map in Sinclair’s pro-Trump news is taking over local TV allows you to select a state and then a media market within that state to find out how many stations Sinclair owns locally. The map also reveals the names of those local television stations and the number of people those stations serve.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Climate Change in Canada Mapped


The Climate Atlas of Canada is a new interactive tool for exploring how climate change could affect Canada. The new site includes interactive maps and articles designed to help Canadians understand how climate change may change our lives and what we can do to try to stop it.

The Map section of the Climate Atlas allows you to visualize how climate change might affect different locations in the country. Using the map you can explore a number of different climate variables, including very hot days, very cold days, average temperatures, very wet days and the growing season. For each of these types of weather you can use a timeline control to explore how climate change will affect Canada over time. Another control allows you to control the severity of climate change that you wish to see visualized on the map.

The Find Local Data section of the Climate Atlas allows you to explore in more detail how climate change will affect your city or town. Select your location and you can view tables and data for a number of different types of weather which might be affected by climate change.

Naming Streets for Martin Luther King


This week National Geographic celebrated Martin Luther King Day by releasing an interactive map showing all the places in the world named for the civil rights leader. Explore Thousands of Streets Named for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. maps the more than 1,000 streets across the globe that honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr.

The map includes Street View imagery of each of the streets named for Martin Luther King (where available). These include 955 streets in the USA alone. You can read more about the history of naming streets for Martin Luther King in the accompanying article Where the Streets Have MLK's Name.


The data for the National Geographic map comes from OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap was also one of the sources used by Slate when they mapped Every John F. Kennedy Street, Park, Airport, and School in the World back in 2013. The Slate map was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.