Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Mapping the Arctic Ice Cap


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

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

The map was created with D3.js. Creating a map of the Arctic with most mapping libraries is very difficult so this custom mapping solution from MasterMaps is even more impressive. If you don't have the D3.js chops yourself then you can use the Arctic Web Map, an Arctic specific web mapping tool, consisting of an Arctic-focused tile server, and a Leaflet-based client library.

Mapping the Great Plague of London


It is estimated that in the Seventeenth Century the Great Plague of London killed off nearly a quarter of the city's population.

One of the best accounts of the plague is Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year. There is some debate as to whether Defoe's Journal should be read as a work of fiction or non-fiction. The book was originally published under the initials H.F. and many critics believe it was based on the journals of Defoe's uncle, Henry Defoe, with sparing invented detail from Daniel Defoe himself.

A “Frightful Number!” – Mapping Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year is an interactive map and timeline of events depicted in Defoe's novel. The events in the novel are plotted on top of a vintage 1720 map of London.

You can use the forward and back arrows beneath the map to navigate chronologically through the plotted events from Defoe's Journal. The events are also listed chronologically beneath the map in table format. The location links in the table can be clicked on to view them plotted on the map.

The project includes an extensive 'About' page which details how the project was created, including an explanation as to how to geo-rectify vintage maps and overlay them on a Leaflet map.


In the summer of 1665 London experienced a huge rise in the numbers of people dying from the Bubonic Plague. The Guardian has used historical data from the Bills of Mortality to chart the progression of the plague parish by parish over the course of the summer.

In Mapping London's Great Plague of 1665 the newspaper has created a dot density map showing the number of plague burials by parish per week. Underneath the dot map an interactive graph allows you to view the number of burials in total per week. You can use the graph to select a week to view on the map.

When you select a week on the graph the map updates to show the number of burials in each parish for that week. You can mouse-over the individual parishes on the map to view the number of burials in the parish for the week. Above the month you can also see the total number of plague burials in London for the selected week.


If you want to read more first hand accounts of London's Great Plague then you can also consult the Diaries of Samuel Pepys. Phil Gyford's Pepys Diary is probably one of the longest running interactive mapping projects on the web. It is also one of the best 'book maps', where locations in a text have been plotted on an interactive map.

Every day Pepys Diary publishes an excerpt from the diaries (one taken from the same calendar date). All the locations in the diary entry are links, which when clicked on show you the location on an interactive map of London. The site also includes a search facility which allows you to search for Pepys' diary entries which mention the 'plague' or the 'Bills of Mortality'.

England for Sale


British satirical magazine Private Eye has created an interactive map which shows the amount of English & Welsh land that has been bought up by offshore companies. Selling England by the Offshore Pound uses Land Registry data to plot all land parcels registered in the name of an offshore company between 2005 and July 2014.

The situation in London in particular is extremely depressing. As Private Eye reports land is often being bought by offshore companies for 'tax avoidance and ... to conceal dubious wealth'. The result of all this offshore investment is to stoke up the cost of property in London. Buying a house in London has therefore become unaffordable for almost everyone except the very rich.

Many of these offshore owned properties are also left empty for long periods of the year. This removes the property from the rental market, effectively pushing up the cost of renting a property in London. The other effect of all these empty properties is to destroy local businesses many of whom operate in once active residential areas which are now deserted for much of the year.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Adult Coloring Maps - US Edition


Last week the UK's Ordnance Survey released a number of free Adult Coloring maps of UK cities.

Now, for your coloring enjoyment, Maps Mania is pleased to present 9 free Adult Coloring maps, of U.S. cities. Just click on the links below to download a PDF map of your chosen city. The list also includes a map of the World and Europe.

World, San Francisco, New York, Europe, Washington DC, Dallas, Boston, Seattle

Once you have downloaded a PDF you can print out the map and spend hours of fun coloring it in.

While you enjoy coloring your downloaded maps of U.S. cities be sure to thank OpenStreetMap for the map data (CC-BY-SA).

The Ordnance Survey Blog has links to the 11 UK maps which you can download as PDF files.

The United Colours of Vancouver


You can learn a lot about Vancouver from its maps. For example this Vancouver Building Heights map can teach you where all of Vancouver's tallest buildings are concentrated. It can even tell you the height of every building in the city

Building footprints on the Vancouver Building Heights map are coloured to represent the height of the building. If you want to know the exact height of an individual building in the city then you just need to mouse-over the building footprint on the map.


Vancouver's building footprints can also be coloured by the age of the buildings. This Vancouver Building Age Map shows the age of all the buildings in the city.

The data for the building ages is from the City of Vancouver's Open Data Catalogue and the map tiles were created using ArcGIS and TileMill. The property lots of the oldest buildings are shaded yellow on the map. The youngest buildings are shaded blue.


Once you know the size of a building and its age it is also possible to estimate a building's energy usage. The Energy Explorer is a set of tools for exploring community energy use in Vancouver. The site aims to encourage a vision of a more sustainable city through the use of renewable energy resources. As part of this aim the Energy Explorer includes two interactive maps visualizing the city's current energy use and its potential for renewable energy resources.

The Home Energy Map provides a visualization of current energy use by Vancouver households. Building footprints on the map are coloured to show their estimated energy usage based on the age of the building and its size. Vancouver citizens can therefore use the map to see how much energy they use and compare it to the estimated energy usage of their neighbors.


We don't need to stop at building age, building height and estimated energy usage. We can also find out the value of Vancouver's land parcels. 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.

The Pixel Map Wizard


Pixelmap from Amcharts is an easy to use tool for creating a pixellated map. Using the tool you can create a map in a matter of seconds and download the map as an image, SVG or HTML file.

Pixelmap includes a number of options which allow you to adjust the size and shape of the pixels used in your finished map. The tool also includes options to color individual countries on the map and to choose the color of the world's oceans. You can also zoom and pan the map to create a pixel map for a selected region of the world.

When you have completed your map design you have the choice to download your map as an image file, as an SVG or as an HTML file.

Mapping the Champions League


Geolic has created two interactive maps which show the distribution by country of players who have appeared in EUFA Champion League finals and the distribution of players who have scored goals in Champion League finals.

Champions League Finals in Maps allows you to view the overall number of players each country has had in Champions League finals. Players from Germany and Spain dominate the map, which is hardly surprising as teams from those two countries have also made the most appearances in the finals of the competition.

The map also allows you to pick any year to view the geographical distribution of players who featured in that year's Champions League final. A second map allows you to view the geographical distribution of players who have actually scored goals in the finals of the Champions League.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mapping a Game of Basketball


NBA Movement is an animated map which plots a passage of play during the Clippers vs Rockets game on May 12th, 2015.

The map uses data from stats.nba.com. Savvas Tjortjoglou has written up a nice tutorial explaining how you can extract the data from play by play movement animations at stats.nba.com. Jorge Sanz has used this tutorial to get the data for the Clippers vs Rockets game.

The data has been mapped and animated using CartoDB's Torque library. The result is a neat animated map which tracks the players of both teams and the ball during one passage of play during the game.


Player heatmaps are very popular in lots of different sports. In the NBA shooting heatmaps can be used to reveal the individual shooting patterns of different players, showing where they are most dangerous on the court. 2014-15 NBA Regular Season : Field Goal Shooting Patterns is a CartoDB map that shows the shooting heatmaps of five players during the 2014-15 season.

Using the map you can view and compare the shooting heatmaps of Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and LeBron James.


It is also possible to use CartoDB's Torque library to create animated heatmaps. For example, this CartoDB Referee Map is an animated heatmap of one soccer referee's movements during a soccer game. The map uses CartoDB's Torque library to animate the referee's movements over the ninety minutes of the match. If you pause the animation and move the timeline to the beginning of the game you can see the full GPS track of the referee over the ninety minutes without the heatmap layer.

Mapping Uber in New York


FiveThirtyEight has published data on over 4.5 million Uber pickups in New York City from April to September 2014. The data also includes data on 10 other for-hire vehicle companies.

Bill Morris has used the data to create an animated map of Uber pickups for the week beginning April 1st 2014. One week of Uber Pickups in 15 Seconds uses CartoDB's Torque engine to visualize the patterns of pickups by time and day. The timeline shows the day currently being visualized on the map but not the time of day. However you can spot a significant drop in pickups at certain times every day. My guess is that this drop-off in pickups is during the very early hours of each morning.


Bill's map shows the temporal patterns in Uber pick-ups in New York City. Another map, by Mapbox's Eric Fischer, shows the geographical distribution of the pickups for the whole six months worth of data. Uber NYC Pickups, Apr-Sep 2014 provides a dot density view of all Uber pickups across the city.

Both maps are great initial visualizations of the data obtained by FiveThirtyEight. It will be interesting to see what other maps are created with this data. For example, I'd like to see Eric's map with some New York demographic data layers. It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between the number of pickups and the average income levels in a neighborhood.

Another interesting visualization would be a comparison of the Uber pickups data with the yellow taxi data for the same six months. The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission has released the data for all completed yellow taxi and green cab trips between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, so it is possible to make a map with both sets of data.

Patterns of Longitude


Enter your address into A Place to Departure and you can create your very own work of art. The artwork that you create is a pattern generated from your latitude and longitude. This means that no-one else in the whole world will have the same pattern as you.

A Place to Departure is an experiment in creating Location Based Generative Art. The main focus of this art project was the creation of two art installations, one in Beijing, China, and the other in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The installations consisted of a large interactive glass screen placed in each city. When a person touched the glass screen in Beijing or Sao Paulo the glass screen in the other city would vibrate at the equivalent point on the glass.

The result was that people in either city could feel the interactions of people on the other side of the world.

The glass screens were accompanied by patterns made from wood. These patterns were created by algorithms based on the geographic coordinates of where the installations were located. The A Place to Departure website includes a Google Map which allows you to create your own location based pattern by simply typing in an address.