Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Thanksgiving Flight Map

Google Trends has published an animated map showing people traveling across the USA to get to their Thanksgiving Day dinners. US Thanksgiving on Google Flights uses CartoDB's Torque library to animate domestic and international air travel on the eve of Thanksgiving booked through Google Flights.

You can use the playback control to navigate through the whole of yesterday's plane journeys. As the day plays out you can see a clear pattern of flights starting on the east coast in the early hours, spreading to the whole country, until the latter hours of the day when flights emanating from the east of the country die down, while flights from the west coast carry on until the early hours of today.

The flight markers on the map are colored to represent the different airlines.

The Battles of Narvik

Germany invaded Norway in April 1940. The northern city of Narvik quickly became an important strategic target for both the Allies and the Nazi. Narvik's ice-free harbour in the North Atlantic provided perfect access by rail to the iron ore mines in Kiruna, Sweden. Both sides were keen to secure this iron supply for themselves and, by doing so, denying it to the enemy.

The Battles of Narvik is a web-documentary commemorating the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of Norway and the battle over the Norwegian town of Narvik. The documentary explores both the land and sea battles between the Nazis and the Allies in their struggle to secure Narvik.

Evidence of the sea battles can still be found deep in the Ofotfjord. On April 10th, 1940 the British Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine both lost two destroyers each. Three days later the British managed to sink another three German destroyers. Most of these shipwrecks remain at the bottom of the Ofotfjord to this day.

Narvik is a popular destination for scuba divers as it provides a unique opportunity to explore these German and British wrecks from World War II. To help divers locate the wrecks The Battles of Narvik includes a Google Map showing the locations of both the British and German destroyers now lying at the bottom of the Ofotfjord.

You can learn more about the invasion of Norway and the Allies resistance on Invasjonen av Norge. Norway and its allies managed to continue the fight against the German invasion in April 1940 for 62 days. However Germany's invasion of France in May caused Norway's allies to withdraw and the Norwegian government was forced to seek exile in London.

Invasjonen av Norge is a really nicely designed story map recounting the Norwegian War in 1940. The history of the campaign is told in chronological order. As you scroll through the chronology in the map side-panel the map automatically updates to show the relevant location.

Meet the Elephants

Let me introduce you to Pilipili. Pilipili is a member of the Spice family of elephants in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. Elephant families in the park are given thematic family names and then each member of the family is given a first name on that theme.

Google's latest Street View Trek is a wonderful tour around Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, in which we get to meet the park's elephant families. The tour also explains the work of Save the Elephants, who are working hard to protect and save Africa's elephants.

The tour explains how Save the Elephants monitors elephants on the ground, from the air and via GPS tracking. The organisation also patrols the park, protecting the elephants from poachers and works to rehabilitate injured and orphaned elephants.

You can explore more of the world on Street View with Google's other Street View Treks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Piss & Crap Maps of San Francisco

Apparently people defecating on the streets is a thing in San Francisco. At least it is a big enough problem for Jennifer Wong to think it warrants its own interactive map.

Last year Jennifer used San Francisco Department of Public Works data of sidewalk cleanings for 'human waste or urine' to create the (Human) Wasteland map. The map includes a steaming heat-map view of human waste in San Francisco. This map just might help you avoid wading through human excrement on your next trip around town.

Jennifer made the stylistic choice to color San Francisco's human street waste a fetching shade of crap on her map. The new Piss Map of San Francisco however has gone for a lighter urine shade of yellow.

The Piss Map of San Francisco visualizes the last 2,000 reports of human waste on the streets of San Francisco. That's 164,168 average ounces of urine spayed upon the Streets of San Francisco every year. A line graph of the number of monthly reports of human waste discovered on the city's streets is also overlaid on top of the map.

The Disputed Territories of the World

123 countries around the world are currently involved in territorial disputes. For example, the USA is currently involved in territorial disputes with Cuba, the Bahamas, Haiti, Colombia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Honduras, the Marshall Islands and Tokelau.

A World of Disputed Territories is an interactive map of all the territories around the world whose ownership is contested by more than one country. By clicking on a country on the map you can view all the territorial disputes it is involved in and who those disputes are with.

After you select a country on the map all the that country's currently disputed territories are colored yellow on the map and all the other countries involved in the dispute(s) are colored blue. Select one of the disputed territories (colored yellow) and you can read a brief report on the nature of the dispute and the countries involved.

Mapping the Icelandic Sagas

The medieval Icelandic family sagas are prose histories describing the lives of the first few generations of settlers in Iceland in the late 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries. The Icelandic Saga Map allows you to read each of the Icelandic Sagas alongside an interactive map showing the locations of all the places mentioned in these historic tales.

When you select an individual saga from the Icelandic Saga Map homepage you are presented with the text of the story alongside an interactive map. Locations in the saga are hyperlinked to the map. Therefore as you read the saga you can select place-names mentioned in the text to view their location on the interactive map. Alternatively you can click on the locations tagged on the map to jump to the parts in the texts where they are mentioned in the Sagas.

When reading an individual saga you can use the Sagas menu (top right) to also overlay the locations mentioned in any of the other Sagas on the interactive map.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Native Tribes of America

Native Land is a Google Map of the territories and languages of the indigenous peoples of the United States and Canada. The map consists of two main layers, one showing the 'territory' of First Nation and Native American tribes and the other showing the geographical spread of indigenous languages.

The 'About' page and 'Teacher's Guide' both provide some fascinating insights into the problems faced in mapping the indigenous peoples of North America. The creator of this map even argues that maps are inherently colonial in nature. However, despite these obvious problems, the Native Land map provides a useful guide to the indigenous people's of the U.S. and Canada and also provides links to great resources on the indigenous tribes and languages.

Natives of North America is another interactive map of the Native American Nations. Obviously one of the biggest problems in mapping Native American territories is that official boundaries between the Nations did not exist and these territories were constantly shifting.

The map overcomes this by creating largely artificial boundaries for the 500 or so native peoples of North America. However the project has been open-sourced in the hope that others will create more fluid maps, which will account for movement over time and for more fluid definitions of the boundaries between the different Native American Nations.

The project's developer also hopes that the Natives of North America map will be improved to include links from each nation to information about the different Native American Nations.

The Invasion of America is a fascinating map of Native American land cession between 1776 and 1887. During this period the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from the Native Americans.

The map includes a timeline which allows you to view how the United States grew westwards by seizing Native American land through treaties and executive orders. It is possible to search the map by individual Indian Nation. If you click on a tract on the map you can find out the Nation affected and find links to the related treaty and source map overlays.

100 Years of Hong Hong Street Views

HotelClub's Historic Hong Kong allows you to compare the modern bustling streets of Hong Kong with the same streets as they looked 100 years ago. The site uses Google Maps Street View and vintage photos of the city to allow you to show how the city of Hong Kong has changed over the last 100 years.

HotelClub worked with historian Mark Footer to identify some of Hong Kong's most interesting historic streets. The streets used in the site vary from Western Market to the bustling Kennedy Town. Select any of the streets from the main menu and you can a view a vintage photo of the street superimposed on top of the same view today, as captured by Google Maps Street View.

User Tip - If you are viewing Historic Hong Kong on a desktop then shrink your browser down a little. If you do this a swipe button will appear that allows you to swipe back and forth between the vintage photo and the modern day Street View. If you view Historic Hong Kong on a mobile device the swipe button will appear on all the photos anyway.

Mapping Global Migration Data

Global Migration Data maps migration patterns around the world on a 3D globe. The map shows the number of migrants to and from each country and which countries they traveled to or from. The data comes from the UN Dept of Economic & Social Affairs for the years 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2013.

Global Migration Data is very easy to use. Simply select a country from the drop-down menu. You can then select to view either inbound or outbound migration for your chosen country. The time-line at the bottom of the map allows you to select which year's migration data you wish to visualize on the globe.

The 3D globe shows the spatial patterns of migration, visualizing which countries around the world migrants traveled to or from for your selected country. The dashboard below the map shows the total number of migrants (inbound or outbound depending on your current choice) and the number of countries migrants are from or the number of countries migrants moved to.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The 3D Historical Map of New York

Old School New York is an historical 3D map of a few blocks of Lower East Side in New York City. I made the map but I have to admit that I'm not sure what year the map represents. I suspect it shows this area of New York in the early 20th Century.

Here's what I do know:-

The building footprint data for this map comes from the New York Public Library's Building Inspector API. The NYPL's Building Inspector tool is being used to extract, correct and analyze data from historical maps of New York. The building footprints from this crowd-sourced effort are available from the API.

The building footprints on this Old School New York map come from sheet number 177. Unfortunately I don't know what vintage map sheet number 177 comes from. I also therefore don't know the year that map was made.

The building footprints from the NYPL's Building Inspector API are returned in the GeoJSON format. This means it is a simple task to add the footprints to OSM Buidings. However the building footprint data from Building Inspector does not have any height data attached. Therefore for this map I made all the buildings 12 meters high. This is a wild guess on my part and almost definitely inaccurate.

In order to make the map I used Webkid's brilliant tutorial, Interactive 3D Maps With OSMBuildings. I also stole most of his code.

In summary - this 3D map has inaccurate building heights. The date for the map is also unknown. However, these major quibbles aside, I think the map does demonstrate how the NYPL's Building Inspector data can be used to make 3D maps of New York from the library's historical maps.