Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Indigenous People of Colombia

Over recent year the government of Colombia has been helping to secure the territorial land rights of some of the country's indigenous peoples. More than 1,630,000 acres of land has been legally titled to indigenous communities, helping to ensure the survival both of the indigenous peoples and the important ecosystems which exist within those territories.

The Amazon Conservation Team's Legalization of Indigenous Territories in Colombia is a story map revealing the impact that this process is having both on the indigenous peoples and on the conservation of important ecosystems. The map provides a really interesting overview of the territorial land rights of the different indigenous tribes, the ecosystems which exist within those territories and how the tribes contribute to the sustainable management of that land.

As you progress through the map you learn about the traditional homes of Colombia's indigenous peoples and about the ecosystems in which they live. You also learn more about the process of land titling and how that process is helping to ensure the future of both the people and the ecology of Colombia.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Mapping 17 million Data Points:

Axismaps were challenged to visualize the percentage of children receiving rotavirus vaccines over ten years at state, county and zip code level. This is more than 17 million data points. A lot of data to put on an interactive map.

The resulting Rotavirus Visualization is a very effective demonstration of the growth in the number of children receiving the vaccine across the United States since 2006. Users can view an animated visualization of the vaccinations since 2006. Alternatively you can zoom-in on individual zip codes and use the timeline to view the percentage of children vaccinated for any week since 2006.

Axismaps used a combination of SVG and drawing to a canvas element to manage the huge amount of data being mapped. You can find out more about how this was achieved in their blog post Animating a temporal ton in a web map.

The Great British Music Map

The Big British Music Map is a word map of famous UK bands and musical artists. It 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 appears to 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 live there. Sting on the other hand is located on the map in Newcastle. Sting doesn't live there but he was born near by.

Fans of 70's UK music might also like EntertainMaps' London's Burning map. London's Burning plots the origins of some of London's finest punk bands. It also allows you to listen to a song by each of the mapped bands.

This map used to include Mapbox's glorious Wheatpaste map tiles. The Wheatpaste map style was inspired by the cut & paste, collage style of music flyers & posters, popular with punk and new wave bands. It worked beautifully on a map about Punk music. Unfortunately London's Burning now seems to use a black & white version of Stamen's Watercolor map style.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mapping Photos of Hurricane Maria

The National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation has created an interactive map to document and evaluate the damage caused by Hurricane Maria. The Hurricane Maria Photo Map is a crowd-sourced map of geo-located photos showing damage caused by the tropical storm.

The map is designed to assist Emergency Management Agencies in evaluating the damage caused by Hurricane Maria and assess emergency response needs. The map can be used to view the damage caused along the path of the storm. The map includes an overlay of Hurricane Maria's path. The locations of the crowd-sourced submitted photos are displayed on the map with clustered markers. The map sidebar updates automatically to display the photos located in the current map view.

The NAPSG Foundation also created a similar interactive map to assist aid workers after Hurricane Irma. The Hurricane Irma Photo Map shows geo-located photos of the damage caused by that tropical storm.

Canada's Indian Residential Schools

The Canadian Indian residential school system was created in order to remove indigenous Canadian children from their families and cultures. Over the 100 years of the school system's existence around 30% of indigenous children were removed from their homes and placed in residential boarding schools. The last of these schools was closed in 1996.

You can view all 132 of these schools, located throughout the country, in Visualizing Canada's Indian Residential Schools. This interactive visualization by Sam Vickars starts by plotting the life journeys of some of the survivors of the Canadian Indian residential school system. These stories starkly expose the horrifying effect of the system on the individual lives of indigenous children.

If you scroll to the end of any of these individual story maps you can view all 132 schools in the system visualized on a map of Canada. If you select any of the individual schools on the map you can view information on its history and the numbers of indigenous children who were forced to live there. Where available you can also view information about reports of sexual abuse, physical abuse and other incidents made against the selected institution.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Superhero Distribution Map

There's obviously something in the water in New York. Something that turns ordinary men and women into superheroes. I've been analyzing the Marvel Superhero Origins map trying to work out where superheroes are most likely to born. The answer is 'New York' - probably.

Exploring the map for the distribution of superhero births reveals that more superheroes are born in and around New York City than anywhere else on Earth. However the Marvel Superhero Origins map has not been normalized by population. I therefore wouldn't swear that the ratio of superheroes to non-superheroes is higher in New York than in less populated locations.

My analysis of where superheroes are most likely to be born is also complicated by the fact that some of the heroes on the Marvel Superhero Origins map weren't born superheroes. For example Spiderman is one of the superheroes mapped to New York. However we all know that Peter Parker wasn't born a superhero.

Some people will argue that it really doesn't matter where superheroes are born as long as they pledge their allegiance to the United States of America. In fact Marvel themselves have assigned one U.S. Avenger to every state.

The U.S.Avengers Map shows the Avenger superhero for every state. Each state includes a map label which shows the name of the local Avenger superhero. You can mouse-over these superhero labels to view a picture of the state's hero. The map itself was created with the super Mapbox Studio. It uses four different background images to create the comic half-tone type effect.

This We'll Pollute

United States military and its contractors are the only people in the United States allowed to dispose of hazardous waste at highly polluting 'open burn' sites. It makes full use of this exemption.

Open burn sites are banned because of the potentially dangerous levels of air pollution resulting from their use. The Pentagon and its contractors operate 61 open burn sites with no environmental emissions controls across the country. The result, according to the EPA, is that the Pentagon and its contractors have contaminated an area larger than the state of Florida.

ProPublica has investigated the military's use of open burn sites and the potentially lethal pollution that they cause. In Open Burns, Ill Winds they examine how the military gets rid of hazardous material at a potentially huge cost to the health of people living nearby. The article includes interactive maps of the military's active and abandoned hazardous waste sites. The markers on these maps are sized to reflect the number of EPA violations recorded at each site.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

NASA's Updated Worldview

NASA has updated the EOSDIS Worldview interactive map to make it easier to find satellite imagery for recent natural events around the world. It allows you to quickly find NASA satellite imagery for natural events which can be seen from space, such as hurricanes, wildfires, icebergs, algal blooms and volcanic eruptions.

Links to the imagery of recent natural events can be found under the 'Events' tab in the map sidebar. The map's URL updates when you move the map, which means it is easy to share links to the  imagery for specific recent events. For example here are links to imagery of Hurricane Maria, the Agung Volcano in Indonesia and the recent iceberg which broke from Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf.

The events listed in the sidebar are only the ones available in the current map view. If you can't see an event try zooming out so that more of the Earth is visible on the map. Sometimes cloud cover might result in no imagery being available for the most recent events. It can sometimes help to look under a different date.

Mapping Storm Damage from the Air

Yesterday NOAA Tweeted the above pre & post-Hurricane nighttime satellite imagery of Puerto Rico. The imagery shows the devastating effect the storm has had on the country's electricity supply. Hurricane Maria has left most of the island without power. It has also caused extensive damage to buildings.

NOAA has also released an interactive map of aerial imagery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands post-Hurricane Maria. The Hurricane Maria Imagery interactive map helps government and aid agencies determine the extent of the storm damage and the extent of any flooding. NOAA captured the aerial (not satellite) imagery using NOAA aircraft flying between 1,500 and 5,000 feet.

The Washington Post has used satellite imagery from before & after Hurricane Irma to show the scale of the destruction caused by the tropical storm in the Carribean and in Florida. Before and After Hurricane Irma uses high resolution satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe to provide an aerial view of just a few of the areas devastated by the storm.

NOAA has also released an interactive map which includes aerial imagery of Florida taken since the storm. Hurricane IRMA Imagery includes post-Irma aerial imagery for much of the Florida Keys. The map also has imagery along the west coast of Florida, from Naples up to Punta Gorda.

Where Germany Votes Far Right

Yesterday's election results revealed the rise in support for the far-right in Germany, particularly among voters in the former East Germany. The increase in votes for the extremist AfD however was not entirely unexpected. In fact before yesterday's election the Berliner Morgenpost had already explored the rising popularity of right-wing parties in previous German elections.

In Where Germany Chooses Right the Berliner Morgenpost visualizes support for right-wing parties across Germany in the previous seven German elections. An interactive map allows you to view the support for right-wing political parties in all previous elections going back to the 1990 election. For the purposes of this map the Berliner Morgenpost has split support for right-wing parties into two categories, the extreme right (blue) and the populist right (brown). The extreme right-wing parties are those reported as 'extreme' by Germany's domestic security agency.

Alongside the interactive map the newspaper also fact checks a number of theories about the causes for this rise in support for far-right parties in Germany. One of these theories is that support for far-right parties is strongest where there is less immigration and weakest where there is more immigration. The paper says this was true in the last three elections. I have also heard that this pattern was also apparent in this year's election for the vote share of the AfD.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Fried Chicken Dividing Lines

Fried chicken shops are now the most important tool in demographics. If you want to know the economic health of a city's neighborhoods you can ignore census data and instead just count the number of fried chicken shops in each neighborhood. The lower the number the greater the wealth.

We have looked before, in Fried chicken vs. coffee shops and in Fast Food England, how the 'fried chicken method' can be used to determine deprived and gentrified neighborhoods in England. The method has now also been used to map out the economic divide in Sydney, Australia.

Food fault lines: mapping class through food chains looks out how fast food chains can be used to map Sydney's poorest and richest neigborhoods. At the center of this new fried chicken map of Sydney is the Red Rooster Line. The 'Red Rooster Line' is a line on the map which runs through all of Sydney's Red Rooster fast food restaurants. A line which also seems to be the border between Sydney's richer and poorer areas.

The Food Fault Lines Map also includes a number of other overlays which use different restaurant chains to create new Sydney neighborhoods. Borders have been drawn on the map around all the outlets of these different chain restaurants. The Iku Wholefood neighborhood, the Cha Time neighborhood and the Vintage Cellars suburb fall on the richer side of the Red Rooster Line. The poorer side of the Red Rooster Line is home to the Outback Steakhouse neighborhood and the borough of Wendy's.

Valuing Vancouver

The MountainMath blog has created an interesting mapped visualization of Vancouver's Homes in One Family (RS) Zones. The map allows you to enter your salary to view where you can afford to buy a home in the city (or, as is more likely, where you can't afford to buy).

If you earn less than $175,000 your options for buying in a one family zone are very limited. At around 200k you have some limited choice in the far eastern outskirts of the city. At 300k a year you can pretty much have your pick of the East Side. If you want to buy in the West Side then you need to be earning north of $400,000 a year.

In January Demographia International named Vancouver the 3rd least affordable housing market in the world, behind Hong Kong and Sydney. Darkhorse Analytics has created an interactive map to help explain how the city's housing market has become so unaffordable. The 2017 Property Assessments Map visualizes the average property assessments for buildings in Vancouver.

Individual building footprints on the map are colored by their value. One impressive feature of Darkhouse Analytics' mapped visualization is the 'Stories in the Data' feature. This feature picks out interesting stories in the data to help explain the high cost of property in the city. For example it highlights on the map neighborhoods where the average property assessments are higher or lower than the average for the city. It also highlights areas where there are large variations in property prices.

The Vancouver Land Prices Heat Map visualizes the price of Vancouver parcels of land based on the 2014 BC assessment data from tax reports. Land parcels on the map are coloured to reflect the price per square foot of the property.

The map shows that many of Vancouver's most expensive properties are concentrated in the Downtown, West End and Fairview neighborhoods. The map also shows that land prices tend to get cheaper the further you move east in the city. If you select a building lot on the map you can view the exact price per square foot for the property.

Abandoned Railroads of the USA

Abandoned Rails is a website dedicated to the thousands of miles of railways which have been abandoned over the years in the United States. The site allows you to explore for America's abandoned railroad routes by railroad company or by location, using the Abandoned Rails Interactive Map.

The interactive map plots the routes of abandoned railways - where their location is known. Where the exact route of an abandoned railroad is not known a map marker provides a way to access the information that is known about the route by approximate location. You can also click on the railroad routes that are displayed on the map to find out more about that line's history.

Abandoned Rails has a large encyclopedia of knowledge about abandoned railroad routes and railroad companies. The interactive map provides a great way to navigate this encyclopedic knowledge by the location of the abandoned routes.

The emergence of the motorcar as a popular means of transport in the early Twentieth Century led not only to the longtime decline of the railroads but also had a detrimental effect on the tram systems in many American cities.

You can explore how Denver's streetcar network developed in the Nineteenth Century and also observe its later decline on Denver's Streetcar Legacy and its Role in Neighborhood Walkability. A timeline control allows you to view how the city's streetcar network grew in the city from its inception in 1872 through to its end in 1950. As the timeline plays out you can see when the all the different lines were opened and closed.

Despite its demise Denver's streetcar network has had a lasting impact on the city's environment and the walkability of its neighborhoods. This interactive map also explores how the streetcar network effected the city's design and what the author calls 'Pedestrian Oriented Commercial Buildings'.

For some reason I've always imagined that there were a lot more streetcar lines in San Francisco. The good news is that there are actually more routes now than in 1960. However the present coverage is not a patch on the number of streetcar routes that existed in the city back in 1940.

Where the Streetcars Used to Go is a lovely interactive map which allows you to view the streetcar transit network as it existed in 1940 & 1960 and as it exists today. Streetcar fans will be delighted to learn that the map also allows you to view vintage photos of streetcars in San Francisco.

You can actually browse through these wonderful photos of San Francisco's historical streetcars by the different streetcar routes. If you click on a streetcar route on the map the photos, running along the bottom of the map, are filtered to only show photos taken along the chosen line. The name of the selected route is also displayed on the map alongside the dates when the route was operational.

Interactive maps don't have to be complicated. Sometimes you can create a lot with just a few features. A case in point is the BC Electric Railway Map.

With only a few polylines on a custom designed basemap the BC Electric Railway Map has produced a beautiful looking visualization of Vancouver's BC Electric Railway Company transit network, as it looked in the early Twentieth Century. The map plots the historical interurban and streetcar lines of the network between 1890 to 1958. It also contains a few photos and Street Views of modern day Vancouver showing how some of the company's historical buildings and lines look today.

Of course there is a actually a little more to this map than a few polylines. It also includes some very well designed map interactions. For example, if you click on a map marker, the map uses Mapbox's GL's map rotation capabilities to zoom-in, tilt and rotate the map to provide a close-up view of the selected location. The map rotation itself is tracked by a gorgeous vintage looking compass rose, which shows the current map orientation.

I also like how the map content slides in and out in the map sidebar when you select a marker on the map. There isn't a lot of content on the map at the moment but the presence of the 'Chapter 1. - Stay Tuned' button suggests that there is more to come from the BC Electric Railway Map.

The Rise of the Far Right in East Germany

Angela Merkel has won her fourth term as German Chanvellor. However the biggest news of this German election has to be the rise of the far right AfD party. It appears that both the centre-right CDU and centre-left Social Democrats lost voters to the controversial AfD. Despite retaining power in a coalition government Merkel's CDU party achieved their worst results since 1949. The Social Democrats also had their poorest results since 1945.

The AfD however has made huge inroads since the last German election. The Berliner Morgenpost's 2017 Wahlkarte interactive map provides a useful guide as to where the AfD has gained the most votes. If you select the 'Shift to the right' option you can view a choropleth view of the AfD's vote share in each constituency. This reveals that the AfD is most popular in constituencies in the former East Germany. On average it appears that the party polled at least 10-20% more votes in nearly every former East German constituency than they did in constituencies in the former West Germany.

The Financial Times has mapped where each of Germany's political parties have gained and lost votes in the country. This map shows how the AfD picked up votes across the whole country. It also reinforces the fact that it was far more popular in the former East Germany. The FT map also shows that the CDU and SPD lost popularity across the whole of Germany.

The rise of the AfD is being seen as a populist reaction against Germany's acceptance of refugees. These maps hint that the underlying cause of this anti-refugee sentiment might be tied to income inequality. It certainly appears that the less economically secure former East German constituencies were more receptive to the AfD's anti-refugee message than the more economically secure constituencies in the west of the country.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Live German Election Map

The Berliner Morgenpost's 2017 Wahlkarte is a live interactive map showing the live results from the 2017 German election. This Leaflet powered map allows you to view how each party has performed in the electoral constituencies which have declared their votes.

constituencies on the map are colored by the party with the highest number of votes. If you select a political party's name (from the list to the left of the map) you can view the 10 constituencies where that party has performed best (so far). Beneath the map are number of options for viewing more detailed analysis of the results as visualizations on the map. For example you can select to see where the extreme right-wing AfD has gained votes (at the moment this seems to be everywhere).

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Shrinking Glaciers Around the World

Since 1850 Switzerland's glaciers have shrunk by around 50%. The World Glacier Monitoring Service say that this process is likely to continue and that 80 to 90 percent of glacier ice mass will be lost by 2100.

Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger has visualized the extent of Switzerland's shrinking glaciers in the last 160 years in So Schmolzen die Schweizer Gletscher in 160 Jahren Weg. In a series of multiple mini maps the paper has mapped the change in size of the country's 38 largest glaciers. These maps show the size of the glaciers in 1850 compared to the size of the glaciers in 2010. Each mini map includes data on the surface area lost in kilometers and as a percentage of the glacier's size in 1850.

Nearly all of North America's glaciers are also in retreat. The rate of retreat has increased rapidly over the last few decades and overall each decade sees greater rates of retreat than the preceding one. The National Park Traveler has released an interactive story map, Glaciers in Alaska's National Parks: Monitoring Change, which examines the loss of Alaska's shrinking glaciers.

The map uses satellite imagery to show the modern reach of each of the featured glaciers. U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps were used to determine the glaciers' extent in the mid-20th century. Orange overlays are used on the map to show this historic extent. This is then compared to the extent of the glaciers in the 21st Century, as calculated from the most recent satellite imagery.

Alaska Ice: Documenting Glaciers on the Move is another Esri Story Map which uses satellite imagery and comparisons of modern & vintage photographs to document Alaska's shrinking glaciers.

The main focus of the map is the U.S. Geological Survey's Repeat Photography initiative. USGS has been comparing modern photographs of Alaskan glaciers with historical photos, both with the same field of view. The photographs are compared to document and understand the changes to glaciers resulting from the changing climate.

The Alaska Ice story map visits 14 glaciers in the U.S. state. Each glacier can be viewed on a satellite map and a modern and historical photograph of each glacier is compared in the map sidebar. Of the 14 mapped Alaskan glaciers only two are still advancing.

Timelapse - aerial imagery of the Mendenhall Glacier in 1991 & 2012

Another interesting way to examine the loss of glaciers is with Google Timelapse. Timelapse allows you to compare aerial imagery over time for any location on Earth. You can therefore enter the name of any glacier into Timelapse and observe the effects of global warming for yourself.

Timelapse provides links to the Shirase Glacier and the Columbia Glacier but you can use the search box to locate any glacier. You can therefore use Timelapse to search for any of North America's or Switzerland's glaciers and observe the highlighted loss of each glacier for yourself, using Timelapse's historical aerial imagery.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Boston Underwater

Climate Ready Boston is an initiative by the City of Boston to help prepare the city for future climate change. As part of this initiative the city has released an interactive map showing the areas of the city most at risk from flooding and extreme heat.

This new Map Explorer features spatial data from Climate Ready Boston. It also includes  population demographic data so that the social impact of climate change on Boston can be better understood. Users can select the flooding, extreme heat and social vulnerability layers which they wish to view on the map from the 'Layers' tab. If you click on the map you can view information about the source data for that location. More information about the data is available under the 'Details' tab.

One reason Boston is at risk from rising sea levels is that much of the city is land reclaimed from the sea. Mapbox has created an interesting visualization of how Boston's footprint has changed through history as more and more landfill projects were undertaken in the city. Coastlines of Boston provides two different historical views of Boston, as it looked in 1788 and 1898, and allows you to compare these views to the map of Boston today.

The Coastlines of Boston map was created by importing vintage maps of Boston into Mapbox Studio and then drawing around the historical coastlines. Once the coastlines were traced they were then saved as a map tileset. You can read more about how Coastlines of Boston map was created on the Mapbox blog.

If you are interested in exploring Boston's changing coastline for yourself on old historical maps then you should check out Mapjunction. Bill Warner's impressive vintage map explorer allows you to compare old vintage maps of Boston side-by-side using an interactive mapping interface.

The vintage maps available seem to date back as far as 1873. When you pan or move the map to a new location the available historical maps for the current map view are automatically loaded into the map layer menu (move the map to New York and you can vintage maps of New York instead). Simply select any two maps from the map layer menus to view them side-by-side.

Ryanair's Cancelled Flights

Here's what 1,848 cancelled flights look like on a map. Ryanair Cancelled Flights is a Carto interactive map showing all the flights cancelled by Ryanair from September 21st to October 28th (except for Oct 24th, the data for which appears to be missing from the map).

Last Saturday low-cost airline Ryanair announced that it would be cancelling between 40 and 50 flights per day until the end of October. It began by cancelling flights with very little notice given to customers. Many passengers, who had already taken outbound flights, were left with no flight home.

You can click on individual flight paths on the interactive map to view the selected flight's origin and destination. You can use Carto's dashboard features to filter the flights on the map by any date range. The date control also show you how many flights have been cancelled by Ryanair on each day until October 28th.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Trump's Wall Maps

USA Today flew & drove along the entire 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. During these journeys they mapped every known piece of the existing border fence between the two countries. You can view the locations of this existing border fence and also view the aerial video USA Today shot during their flight along the border on a new interactive map.

Should we build a wall? A 2,000-mile search for answers not only maps the existing border fence but also explores some of the problems the USA could face in trying to build Trump's wall between Mexico & the USA. The map shows where the existing fence consists of vehicle barriers, pedestrian fencing, other fencing and where no fencing currently exists.

The beginning of 'Should we build a wall' is in the story map format. This section explores some of the geographical, economical and legal problems the USA could face in trying to build Trump's wall. You can view some of these geographical problems yourself in the USA Today's aerial videos. If you scroll to the bottom of the story map and click on the 'Explore the map' button you can click on the map to view videos of the aerial footage captured during the flight along the border.

'Should we build a wall' is just one part of USA Today's special report The Wall - an in-depth examination of Donald Trump's border wall. In the rest of this examination you can read interviews, listen to podcasts and explore the border in virtual reality.

Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, has also been collecting data on the US-Mexico border for a number of years. They have spent a long time mapping the existing border fence using satellite imagery and government PDF maps of the border.

From this data Reveal has discovered that around 700 miles of the 1,954 mile-long U.S.-Mexico border is already fenced. Trump's new wall will therefore need to be at least 1,300 miles long. That's a lot of Chinese steel. You can explore Reveal's work on their The Wall interactive map. The map shows the current fence and shows where it is a 'vehicular' and where it is a 'pedestrian' fence. The map also shows where no fence currently exists.

You can get a good sense of the scale of construction needed to build Trump's new wall in a video from the Intercept. The Intercept downloaded and stitched together 200,000 satellite images to create a huge strip map of the U.S.-Mexican border. You can view this strip map in Visualizing the U.S.-Mexico Border, a short video which pans along the whole border.

From Donald Trump's 'detailed' construction plans we know that the Trump Wall will be up to 15 meters high, made of concrete and steel (but also possibly fencing) and will be 1,954 miles long. If you are having difficulty envisioning just how far 1,954 miles is then you can use the Berliner Morgenpost's interactive map. The Trump Wall Comparison Map allows you to overlay an outline of Trump's proposed border wall between the USA and Mexico on any location on Earth.

If you want to create your own Trump Wall map then you can get Reveal's data for the US-Mexico border fence on Github. You can read more about how this data was collected and mapped in the Reveal article The Wall: Building a continuous US-Mexico barrier would be a tall order.

Every Building in Great Britain

Last year Emu Analytics released a Building Heights in England interactive map. The map uses data from the Ordnance Survey to color building footprints in all of England by the height of each building.

If you want to create your own building footprint map using Ordnance Survey data for Great Britain then Alasdair Rae can help you. Alasdair has created shapefiles for all of Great Britain's building footprints and made them available on Dropbox. There are six shapefiles in total:
  • All buildings in Wales 
  • All buildings in Scotland 
  • All buildings in the North of England
  • All buildings in the Midlands 
  • All buildings in the South West of England 
  • All buildings in the South East of England
Alisdair created the files to help answer the question of how much of Great Britain is covered by buildings. You can find the answer to that question and the link to the building footprint shapefiles at Buildings of Great Britain.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mexico Earthquake Maps

Yesterday a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico. At the time of writing there have been 216 confirmed deaths from the quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey's interactive map locates the epicenter of the quake near the town of Raboso in Puebla, 76 miles southeast of Mexico City. The USGS's Latest Earthquakes Map includes options to view earthquake activity over the last 24 hours, the last week or the last month. The map also shows plate boundaries. Mapbox's Live Earthquake Tracker is also a nicely designed map of the same USGS data, allowing you to view the location and the size of the most recent seismic activity around the world on a global map.

The New York Times has created a seismic activity map which shows that although Mexico City is 76 miles from the epicenter of yesterday's quake it still experienced intense seismic activity. Mexico City is built on an ancient lake bed. The soft soil under Mexico City is known to be prone to seismic activity. When earthquake waves pass through the soil it vibrates and magnifies the waves.

The result of seismic activity can therefore be catastrophic for Mexico City's buildings. The NYT article includes a map of buildings that have collapsed in the city and lots of photos of the devastation caused. Yesterday's quake occurred on the anniversary of the horrific 1985 earthquake which damaged around 3,000 buildings in the city. It appears yesterday's earthquake has not caused that scale of damage to the city's buildings. After the 1985 quake Mexico City introduced more stringent building codes. Those codes probably saved a lot of lives yesterday.

A Google Map, Edificios Colapsados Sismo 2017 19 Sep, is also documenting the location of collapsed buildings in Mexico City. Buildings on this map are being categorized by the degree of damage caused by the quake.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Non-Clustering Custom Place Labels

Planet of Sound was created by Dorothy to crowd-source the music playlist for an event they held in May of this year. That event is now over but the map still works and is well worth visiting. Not least for its magical non-clustering custom map labels.

The Planet of Sound map allows you to tag any location in the world with a song and a memory. If you don't want to add a song you can just browse the map to explore what songs other people associate with different places across the globe.

The map doesn't include any real place-name labels. In fact the only labels on this map are the song titles people have added to the map. What is particularly impressive is how the map avoids clustering and overlapping these custom labels. This is not a simple thing to achieve.

If you want to add your own non-clustering & non-overlapping labels to a map then you can should have a look at James Milner's Labelgun for reducing label clutter. The GitHub for Labelgun includes examples of the library being used with Leaflet, Esri and OpenLayers. If you check out these examples you can see how Labelgun works to avoid custom labels clustering and overlapping as you zoom in and out on the map.

Vintage Maps of Japan

The Japanese Historical Maps Collection of the East Asian Library has worked with the David Rumsey Map collection to digitize around 2,300 early Japanese maps. The Japanese Historical Maps collection allows you to explore all of these digitized historical maps from Japan as zoomable images.

If you want you can explore some of these vintage maps in more detail on Google Maps. The Japan Historical GIS page has eight maps from the collection, dating back to 1694, which you view on top of Google Maps.

The University of British Columbia has a huge collection of maps and guidebooks from the Japanese Tokugawa period (1600-1867). Their Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era includes digitized versions of the maps which can be explored online.

The National Archives of Japan also own a large number of rare vintage maps of Japan. In particular they have digitized the Genroku Kuni Ezu (national land maps). Around the turn of the Eighteenth Century the Tokugawa Shogunate ordered maps to be made of the whole of the Japan. You can explore these maps on the National Archives Classic Maps website.

Gunma GIS Geek has used the Leaflet mapping platform to create interactive maps from a couple of famous Japanese pilgrimage mandalas. Pilgrimage mandalas are paintings which provide a panoramic view of temple and shrine sites.

The first map on Temple Pilgrimage Mandala is of the Nachi Pilgrimage Mandala. This 16th–17th century hanging scroll depicts the Nachi Shrine on the Kii Peninsula in Japan. The painting presents the journey of two pilgrims (the couple clothed in white) as they enter the scene (bottom right) and take a circuitous route through the temple complex to the Nachi shrine.

You can learn more about some of the over 50 buildings depicted in the painting at the Embodying Compassion website. Embodying Compassion includes an interactive version of the Nachi Pilgrimage Mandala. This interactive version of the mandala features a number of markers which allow you to learn more about the buildings, temples and statues depicted in the mandala.

If you want to explore vintage maps of Tokyo then a good place to start is with the Past and Present Map, which uses some beautiful vintage maps to illustrate how Tokyo has developed since the Nineteenth Century.

The application lets you explore ten historical maps ranging in date from 1896 to 2005. The dual map control places the historical map side-by-side with a Google Map. Pan and zoom the historical map and the Google Map will also move to ensure that both maps are always showing the same view.

Monday, September 18, 2017

School Safety Snapshot

Zendrive has rated the road safety around 75,000 schools nationwide. Using mobile phone data from car drivers Zendrive has measured the levels of dangerous driving around schools across the United States. You can find out the Zendrive ratings for dangerous driving around your local schools on the Zendrive School Safety Snapshot interactive map.

The map uses three different administrative levels to show ratings for states, counties and individual schools. When zoomed out on the map you can view the ratings for each state (California and Florida have the worst ratings). If you click on a state on the map you can drill down to view the ratings in each county. If you the click on a county you can view the ratings for all the individual schools.

The interactive map is well designed and it is very easy to navigate down to view the ratings for individual schools. I'm not entirely convinced about Zendrive's data and methodology. They claim that their model "predicts future collisions six times more accurately than leaders of the industry". If you are worried about dangerous driving around your local school then it might be worth checking the traffic accident records of the local roads for yourself.

For example you could look at Mapping Ten Years of Fatal Traffic Accidents, an interactive map showing every single fatal traffic accident in the United States from 2004 to 2013.

When zoomed out this map shows a heatmap of fatal traffic accidents across the whole country. When you zoom in on the map markers appear showing the location of each individual fatal accident. This means that you can zoom in on any city or town in the USA to view a detailed map of where accidents occurred locally.

When you zoom in on the map option controls also appear which allow you to filter the accidents shown by contributing factors (alcohol, speeding and driver distraction). The markers are also colored on the map to show who was killed in each accident (driver, passenger, pedestrian etc).

Mapping Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are areas of oceans where human activity is restricted for conservation purposes. 6.35% of the world's seas are now covered by MPAs. That is a ten-fold increase in the area of our oceans designated as MPAs in the first seventeen years of this century.

You can view which areas of the world's oceans have MPA status on Protected Planet's Marine Protected Areas interactive map. The map shows the location of MPAs around the globe and provides information about the status of each MPA. If you select an MPA on the map you can click-through to read more about its designation and the name of its management authority.

The Protected Planet also maintains a database of all the world's terrestrial and marine protected areas. The World Database on Protected Areas includes an interactive map showing both marine & terrestrial protected areas around the globe.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Free Style OSM

If you like the Emoji Map Generator then you will probably love Map Stylizer. Where the Emoji Map Generator allows you to create maps from your favorite emojis the Map Stylizer gives you more scope to create a custom styled map from an OpenStreetMap tile.

The Map Stylizer includes a number of pre-set map styles. For example the screenshot above shows the White House styled using the Map Stylizer's treasure map style. The other pre-set styles include  'circuit board', 'paper' and 'scribbles'. However you don't have to use these pre-set styles. If you choose the custom option you can select to choose which map features you want to change and how you want to change them.

Both the Emoji Map Generator and the Map Stylizer create pretty awful maps but they are fun to play with. They are both also interesting examples of how individual OSM map tiles can be manipulated on the fly.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cleaner Air = Longer Lives

You can use this interactive map to find out how many extra years you could expect to live if your country met the World Health Organization's recommended safe levels of air quality. The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago's Air Quality-Life Index map shows how many life years could be saved in countries around the world if they met WHO standards for safe levels of airborne particulate matter pollution.

The darker the color on the map then the more years could be saved. In other words the darkest areas have the worst records of air pollution. You can actually view particulate pollution concentrations on the map by switching to the 'Pollution' layer.

Air pollution causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide. The World Health Organization's own interactive map, Global Ambient Air Pollution, also shows the levels of pollution across the globe. The map displays the average annual atmospheric particulate matter levels throughout most of the world. The data used is from the WHO Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, which covers 3000 cities in 103 different countries.

The Global Ambient Air Pollution map helps highlight the fact that air pollution most effects those living in low and middle income countries. However 56% of cities in high-income countries also don't meet the WHO air quality guidelines. Even in high-income countries urban air pollution levels tend to be higher in low and middle-income cities and in the poorest neighborhoods of high-income cities.

Rocking All Over the World

Taylor Swift really likes playing in Nashville. If you check out her gigging history on the Music Globe you can see that the number of concerts she has played in Nashville dwarfs all other locations. Mind you she did move to Nashville at the age of fourteen, so perhaps her gigging history isn't that surprising.

You can find out where other musical artists like to gig on this new 3d Music Globe. Just type in an artist's name and you can see a visualization of how often they have gigged at locations around the world. The height of the colored towers on the map represents the number of concerts played at that location.

The data for the number of gigs an artist has played comes from the Bandsintown API. Unfortunately Bandsintown was founded in 2007, so I assume the data for historical concerts only goes back that far. The globe itself was created using Google's WebGL Globe library. The source code for the interactive Music Globe is available on Github.