Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Geography of Hip-Hop


The Geography of Hip-Hop is an interactive map documenting the history and geography of hip-hop. The map (and accompanying essay) explore how hip-hop has spread around the world and how different cites have developed their own distinct sounds and styles of hip-hop.

The interactive hip-hop map allows you to browse and listen to hip-hop music by location. The map features 955 songs, most of which you can listen to directly from the map. The size of the markers on the map reflects the number of artists featured from that location. In this way you can get a rough idea about the size of the hip-hop communities in these different urban locations.

By listening to the songs listed in one city you may begin to get a feel for the sound and style of hip-hop from that location. You can learn more about the development of hip-hop in the accompanying essay, The Syncopated Geography of Hip-Hop. The essay explores the influence of geography on the communities & local styles and how hip-hop music reflects the influence of the different urban locales where it is made.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This Town was Named for You


Many places around the world have decided to celebrate your life by naming roads, neighborhoods and towns in your honor. You can discover all the wonderful locations which now bear your name using the Where the Streets Have Your Name map.

Where the Streets Have Your Name is a great application that you can use to create a Google Map showing all the places around the world that have your name. Just enter a name into the search box, press 'Map it!' and a map will display towns, parks, rivers and other locations which share your name.

You can also use How Many Places Are Named ... to view an interactive map showing all the places named after you. You can use the map to search your own name but you can also use it to search for locations around the world sharing any other name or word. For example you could try using swear words to find rude place-names around the world (here's a map of everywhere called 'Fart').

Who Owns England?


There has been a lot of speculation recently about who owns England? Land ownership in England is a closely guarded secret. The reason why the ownership of English land is kept such a closely guarded secret is because the answer is - the French.

England is owned by the French. Or, more accurately, the Normans.

In 1066 William the Conqueror and an army of northern Frenchmen successfully invaded England. Following his success William proceeded to divide England up among his supporters. And there you have it. Because of the almost complete lack of social mobility in England the families mentioned as owning land in the Domesday Book are probably the same families who own the land today.

At least that is my theory. I might be wrong - but then there is no way of checking. You could have a look at the new Who Owns England interactive map. Unfortunately because the Normans want to keep land ownership a secret the Who Owns England map only really shows land which is owned by the government, government bodies or charities.

If you want to know who owns a piece of land which is blank on the map (most of the country) then you might as well look up the place-name in the Domesday Book. That is probably the closest you will get to discovering the real owner of the land. Alternatively you could check this Farm Payments for Environmental Stewardship map. This map shows where landowners are claiming Environmental Stewardship grants. If you click on a highlighted area on the map you can see who is the recipient of the grant. The recipient might just be the owner of the land (although for tax avoidance reasons the person named may also not be the owner of the land).

BTW - if you don't believe me when I say that the Normans still own and rule England then explain to me how 950 years after the Norman conquest students with Norman surnames are still over-represented at the countries elite universities.1

Monday, May 22, 2017

Climbing the Himalayas


The Discovery Channel's Mount Everest in 3D is probably the closest that you will ever get to climbing Mount Everest.

In effect the climb is just a video of (what I assume is) a 3D map of Everest. However the video is linked to an elevation scale and as the video plays you can keep track of the rising elevation. On your ascent of the mountain you can also stop off at the Khumbu Icefall.

The Khumbu Icefall is where sixteen Nepalese guides died in an avalanche in 2014. The avalanche occurred near Everest Base Camp on the southern side of Mount Everest and resulted in the deaths of the sixteen guides and serious injuries to nine other guides.


An Eye at the Summit is a planned expedition to climb the Baruntse mountain in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal. In October of this year a team of French mountain climbers will begin a 35 day expedition to ascend the Méra Peak (6,476 m), reach the summit of Baruntse (7,129 m) and finally climb Lobuche Est (6,120 m). The Baruntse climb has been organized in order to raise funds for the visually impaired.

You can follow the planned route of the 35 day expedition on the Carte du Parcours. The map not only shows the expedition's route it also includes some stunning panoramic imagery of Baruntse. If you click on the black circular markers on the map you can explore these custom Street Views which allow you to actually observe for yourself some of the spectacular views of the Himalayas from the Baruntse mountain.


It is also possible to view panoramic imagery from the Everest region of the Himalayas with Google Maps Street View. To capture these stunning panoramas Google teamed up with Apa Sherpa (a Sherpa mountaineer who holds the world record for reaching the summit of Mount Everest 21 times) and the Nepalese nonprofit organization Story Cycle.

During a 10-day trek through the Khumbu region with Apa Sherpa Google managed to capture Street Views of mountain trails and a number of Sherpa villages. The best way to explore this Street View imagery is to visit the Khumba map on Google Treks.


The Khumba site on Google Treks includes some lovely hand-drawn maps of the featured villages. Each of the maps include map markers which lead to Street Views captured on Google's 10-day trek. These include Street View imagery of monasteries, temples, trekker's lodges and of course some wonderful mountainous scenery.

Interactive Geological Maps


William Smith was an English geologist who created the first nationwide geological map of the UK. A geologic map reveals the distribution of geological features such as different types of rocks. Smith's beautiful 1815 map visualized Britain's geological types using different colors for different types of geological feature.

You can view interactive versions of William Smith's Maps online. These allow you to explore his geological maps of England, Scotland & Wales in close detail. The interactive map interface allows you to view geo-rectified overlays of a number of William Smith's maps including his original 1815 geological map and his 1828 New Geological Map of England and Wales.


Digital geological maps can add a level of interactivity to the visualized geological strata. In other words they can allow you to click on the different colors to learn more about the visualized geological features. A good example of this is the Geological Map of the Grand Canyon and Vicinity.

The Geologic Map of the Grand Canyon and Vicinity is a beautiful Leaflet.js based interactive map of the Grand Canyon. The map is based on data gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The map uses different colors to show the different rock units and geologic strata in the Grand Canyon and surrounding area. The map also includes contour lines. If you hover over the map the geologic strata at that location is revealed in the small information window. If you click on the map you can learn more about that geologic strata in the information dynamically loaded below the map.


Another good example of an interactive geological map is the Geologic Map of Arizona. The Geologic Map of Arizona also includes interactive colored geological features. If you mouse over a feature on the map the geological information is shown on top of the map.

The Geologic Map of Arizona also visualizes different types of geological faults in Arizona. There is also a map legend which can be accessed by the 'View the legend' button. This legend isn't interactive but it would be possible to turn this legend into a menu which could be used to turn on and off the different geological strata (the different colors) on the map. This could be useful if you wanted to view all the locations with a specific type of geological feature while hiding all the other strata.

Beer Travel Time


The most important criteria to use when choosing a new house is the length of time it takes to get home from the best pubs. That's why Lauri Vanhala has worked out the time it takes to get to every address in Helsinki from the city's top 20 pubs.

In order to find the best places to buy property in Helsinki Lauri worked out the travel time on public transport from every address in Helsinki to every other address in the city during the morning rush-hour (7:30-8:00 am). This allowed him to see which areas were the best for commuting to work in the morning. He then worked out the travel time to every address in the city from the top 20 bars in the city after closing time (1:30 am).

You can view the results of Lauri's research on his Helsinkiläisen Parhaat Asuinpaikat map. Building footprints on the map are colored by their commuting times to work. You can view how long it takes to get to each building from the city's best pubs by clicking on the 'IPA' button. You can switch back to the work commute times by clicking on 'Duuni'.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scotland's Clan Battlefield Map


Following the success of their Clan Map of Scotland tartan makers Lochcarron of Scotland have released a new interactive map documenting all the major battles that took place between the Scottish clans throughout history.

The Clan Map of Scotland divides Scotland into geographical areas associated with the historical kinship groups of the country. If you select a clan region on the map you can learn more about the individual clan, including the origin of the clan and its historical ties to the area associated with it. You can also discover who the current clan chief is and view its heraldic badge, motto and its distinct tartan.

The new Clan Battlefield Map provides historical information about historical battles between Scotland's clans and shows you where those battles took place. You can use the interactive timeline to explore the battles by date. Alternatively you can use the drop-down menu to filter the battles displayed by individual clan. If you select a marker on the map you can read a detailed account of the chosen battle.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ice Flow in Antarctica


Like nearly everything else glacial land ice obeys the law of gravity. Therefore ice sheets flow downhill. They normally do this very slowly. Unfortunately we don't live in normal times.

Global warming has caused the the oceans to also get warmer. The warmer ocean waters undercut Antarctica's glaciers, causing them to flow quicker and quicker. Over 60% of the world's freshwater is locked in Antarctica's ice. If it melts we will see a global rise in sea level and coastal cities around the world will find themselves underwater.

The New York Times has created a series of maps to help explain how global warming could lead to the melting of Antarctica's ice sheets and cause rising sea levels around the world. In Antarctic Dispatches glacier ice flow is beautifully illustrated in a series of animated maps. The danger of global rising seas is explained in maps showing areas of Antarctica that have lost ten feet or more of ice since 2010.

Part 3 of Antarctic Dispatches uses a scrolling map to help illustrate the amount of water locked up in Antarctica's ice sheets. The scale of the Ross Ice Shelf is illustrated by overlaying the route of the New York marathon on top of satellite imagery of the ice shelf. The Ross Ice Shelf is huge!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Death of Bear 71


For ten years wildlife conservation officers in Banff National Park tagged and monitored Bear71. In the ten years up to her untimely death Bear71 was also often captured by trail cameras in the park. Some of this trail camera footage can be viewed in a new interactive web documentary exploring the life of Bear71.

At the heart of Bear71 VR is a 3D map of Banff National Park. The documentary is narrated from the perspective of Bear71. As the narration plays the map pans and zooms in relation to the content of the narration. If you want you can explore the map for yourself. Just click on the 'story' button at any time to synchronize the map back to Bear71's narration.

The interactive 3D map of Banff National Park also includes a number of interactive points of interest. You can click on these interactions to view webcam captured footage of some of the park's animals. The map also contains links to view traffic webcams and other images of wildlife in the park.

Lights Out in Syria


In his recent Lights On & Lights Out comparison of NASA's 2012 and 2016 Black Marble maps John Nelson drew attention to how NASA's imagery revealed the incredible fall of nighttime lighting in war-torn Syria. The BBC has now created a series of map animations which also use nighttime satellite imagery to drastically illustrate the effect of the war on Syria's electricity supply.

In Syria from Space the BBC has created three mapped animations showing how the cities of Aleppo, Damascus and Raqqa have been suffering from a lack of electricity supply. Using nighttime satellite imagery from NASA the BBC has made an interactive map for each of the cities which shows the cities lit up before the civil war began and then go dark as the war takes hold.

As the mapped animations plays out you can view the devastating effect of the war on Syria's electricity supply. On each map the lights start to go out as the war takes its effect on the country's infrastructure.

The BBC has also used daytime aerial imagery to provide before and after images of power plants, dams and electricity substations in the country. These before and after images are used to show the damage being done to Syria's infrastructure and to explain why those lights are going off in Syria's towns and cities.

Live Buses in Reykjavík


Strætó BS is the public transport company responsible for operating public transit buses in Reykjavík. I don't know how good they are at running buses but they do know how to make a brilliant route planning map.

The Strætó BS Route Planner map allows customers to easily plan which buses they need to take to travel between any two locations in the city and where they can catch those buses. To find your bus route you can either type in your starting point and destination or you can enter the two locations simply by clicking the locations on the map.

As you would expect the results of a search provide you with a mapped route, step by step instructions of which buses to catch, the times of the bus arrivals and the estimated time to complete your journey. The Strætó BS Route Planner also shows you where the buses are in Reykjavík with animated markers. The yellow markers show the live position of markers and even point in their direction of travel.

If being able to see where your bus is on a live real-time map isn't enough you can also click on individual bus-stops on the map to view the estimated times of arrival of the next few buses for that stop.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mapping One Year of Life on Earth


A Breathing Earth is an animated map showing the seasonal growth and fall of the world's vegetation over one year. The map shows the extent of vegetation around the world for every week in 2016.

To create the map the 'greenness' variable in satellite imagery of the Earth has been mapped for all 52 weeks of the year. This greenness variable is determined from satellite images from the VIIRS sensor on board the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite.

To create the optimal animated map of a year's vegetation the developers tested a number of different web technologies. Links to the canvas and WebGL versions of the map can be found at the very bottom of the page on A Breathing Earth.

Mapping the History of the Underground


The world's first underground railway line opened in London in 1863. The Metropolitan Railway ran from Paddington to Farringdon Street. The line was a huge success (it carried 38,0000 passengers on its first day) and it wasn't long before the line was extended and new lines were built.

To this day the London Underground continues to grow. Last month tunneling began to extend the Northern Line from Kennington to Battersea. This extension to the Northern Line should open in 2020.

If you are interested in visualizing how the London Underground has grown since1863 then you can use the new Citylines interactive map. Citylines is busy mapping the history of the world's transport networks and provides mapped visualizations of the growth of city transit networks over time.

Click on a transit line or station on a city's transit map on Citylines and you can view details on when it was constructed and added to the city's transportation network. If you use the time slider in the map sidebar you can view the extent of the city's transit network for any year in its history. In other words you can use the time slider to view how the city's transit network has grown over time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Crime Fighter's Dashboard.


By day I'm a mild mannered cartography. By night I am the Masked Mapper! With my sidekick Compass Boy I roam the streets of New York fighting crime.

Of course I have my own superhero crime fighting map.

In the past when the Chief of Police needed my help he would shine a massive searchlight into the sky to grab my attention. However this proved pretty ineffectual, especially when I wasn't aimlessly staring up at the clouds. Therefore the Mayor of New York and Esri have worked together to build for me a super-new, super-hero, live-action, crime-fighting interactive map.

The name of my new emergency services dashboard is COP! COP is an interactive map which helps me to keep up to date with the latest police, fire and ambulance emergencies in New York City. In order to help me respond quickly to these emergencies I can also view road closures and live traffic cams in real-time on the map.

I like to turn on the 'zoom to new incidents' option. COP then keeps me informed about the most recent emergencies in the city. The dashboard panel also keeps me up-to-date on the number of incidents in each borough over the last hour. This provides a handy guide as to whether any super-villains are currently active in the city.

But that's enough idle chatter for now. There's more crime-fighting to be done!

Old Maps of Boston & New York


A few days ago I discovered this fascinating post by Bill Warner on how MIT at the beginning of the Twentieth Century acquired land and built a new campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This story of the construction of MIT's campus is illustrated throughout using old vintage maps of Cambridge.

The article uses screenshots from Mapjunction to compare before and after vintage maps of the area to show the development of MIT's Cambridge buildings. Mapjunction is Bill Warner's own impressive vintage map explorer which allows you to compare old vintage maps of Boston and New York side-by-side using an interactive map interface.

When you pan or move the map to a new location on Mapjunction the available historical maps for the current map view are automatically loaded into the two map layer menus. You can then simply select any two maps from the menus to view them side-by-side. A slider control on the map allows you to swipe between the two different vintage maps. If you move the slide control button up or down you can also adjust the opacity of the vintage maps.

Mapjunction currently seems to have a lot of vintage maps of Boston and New York - vintage maps of other cities may also be available but I have yet to find them.

Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia


More than one million acres of forest have been destroyed in Appalachia by mountaintop removal coal mining. This environmentally devastating form of strip-mining has also permanently destroyed over 500 mountains and 2,700 mountain ridge-tops in the region.

You can examine the huge scale of the destruction to the mountain environment of Appalachia on SkyTruth's Mountain Top Removal interactive map. The map uses Google Map's aerial imagery to show the environmental impact of strip-mining in Appalachia. It also allows you to view how that environmental destruction has progressed over the last 30 years.

To create the map SkyTruth examined satellite imagery of the area dating back to 1976. SkyTruth searched for evidence of strip-mining in the satellite imagery by looking for mines so large that they crossed ridge tops and impacted a significant area of ridge top. You can view the results of this research by using the 5 yearly active mining layers on the SkyTruth map. These layers allow you to view how strip-mining has progressed in the region since 1985.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Where's North Korea?


Can you correctly identify the location of North Korea on an unlabeled map? If you can then you are more likely to favor a diplomatic and non-military response to North Korea than someone who can't find it on a map.

The New York Times asked 1,746 people to find North Korea on a map. 36 percent got it right. These same 1,746 people were then asked a series of questions about what sort of measures they would support the USA in carrying out against North Korea. Those who could identify North Korea on a map were more in favor of economic sanctions. To be fair even only 9% of those who couldn't find North Korea on a map supported the idea of an American military response.


A similar experiment was carried out in 2014 asking Americans if they could locate Ukraine on a map of the world. The experiment, carried out by political scientists from Dartmouth College, Harvard University and Princeton University, had similar results. Only one in six Americans could correctly locate Ukraine on a map.

The Americans were also asked a number of questions about how the USA should respond to Russia's invasion of the Crimean peninsula. The further the respondents guess was from the correct location then the more likely they were to support military intervention by the USA.

It appears that geographic literacy makes people more diplomatic and less militaristic.

One Belt, One Road, Lots of Maps


Diplomats from countries around the world were in China over the weekend. Most of them were desperate to claim a share of the billions of dollars China plans to invest in its Belt and Road projects. China's ambitious One Belt, One Road strategy plans to connect Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa with a huge transport and oil & gas pipeline network.

An interactive map on Fortune magazine's website shows some of the rail, oil & gas pipelines and maritime connections that China has already constructed or plans to build. In effect this is just a static map which has been made interactive using Leaflet.js. However the map does show the scale of China's ambitious infrastructure plans. It also has a few markers where Fortune have provided a bit more detail on some of the more interesting projects under development.


The Fortune map was created using information from the Mercator Institute for China Studies. The Mercator Institute''s own map provides a more detailed overview of China's Planned Global Infrastructure Network. The map shows built and planned rail lines, oil & gas pipelines and ports with Chinese engagements.


In One Belt, One Road the Financial Times also explores some of the construction projects being created by China to transport people and goods around the world.

The map uses the Mapbox GL story map template to scroll and pan a map of the region to show some of the various railway lines, roads and gas pipelines that have already been constructed or are in the process of being built. These construction projects include gas pipelines between China and Central Asia, the China to Pakistan highway and new high speed railways throughout the region.


Back in 2013 the New York Times created its own story map template to take you on a journey along one of China's newly constructed railway lines, following the route of the old Silk Road.

Riding the New Silk Road follows the modern train route using a vertical scrolling map. The map is illustrated with photos and videos from one section of the modern route. As you scroll down the page you travel south along a strip map of the route. Animated polylines connect important locations on the route to the illustrative media in the map sidebar.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Real-Time Cyber Attack Maps


Yesterday's huge ransomware attack on websites around the world seems to have reignited interest in the live real-time mapping of cyber attacks. The malware WanaCrypt0r 2.0 encrypts files on infected computers and then demands payment from the computer owner to unlock the files.

A number of anti-virus and cyber security companies feature real-time maps which purportedly show cyber attacks happening across the globe right now. Most of these maps seem to have one thing in common - they appear designed to frighten as much as they are designed to inform.

Kaspersky's Cyberthreat Real-Time Map is a very impressive 3D globe. It features a number of frightening neon lines attacking countries around the world. It also includes some great transitions when you switch between the globe and map views.

The data for the map comes from users of Kaspersky's anti-virus and Internet security software. After looking at the Cyberthreat Real-Time Map Kaspersky hope that you too will be frightened enough to buy & install their products.

The Norse Attack Map also shows a lot of animated colored lines attacking countries around the world. The data for these attacks comes from Norse's '8 million sensors' around the world. The Norse map also kindly provides an e-mail address for anyone scared enough by all this cyber crime to want to esquire about how the Norse Intelligence Network can help protect you.

The Digital Attack Map is a map of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. While this map also has a cyber security company sponsor (Arbor Networks) it also seems a little more serious in providing some useful information. In particular the 'Gallery' view not only provides interesting historical snapshots of large DDoS attacks around the world it also provides a brief summary of the attack and who was targeted in the attack.

I may be being unfair to these cyber security companies and these visualizations might be of use to cyber security professionals. However to me they seem to offer little to the average internet user - beyond an attempt to scare you into buying the company's products.

Friday, May 12, 2017

India's Growing Cities


A little over 100 years ago Delhi wasn't even in the top 5 most populous cities in India. It is now the fourth most populated city in the world.

You can view the growth of India's cities on the Hindustan Times map of India’s 50 Most Populous Cities. This map shows the 50 most populous cities in 2011 and tracks how they have grown since 1901. The map includes a timeline which allows you to view the population size of each city for each decade since the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

As well as the interactive map the Hindustan Article on India's biggest cities includes an interactive list view of India's 15 most populous cities over the same time period. The data for both interactives comes from census results.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Beautiful Trash Route Mapping


Hopefully you'll find the design of this data visualization more stimulating than the actual data itself.

Beautiful Trash is a mapped visualization of the daily trash routes of the Cincinnati Department of Public Services. The map is very useful if you live in Cincinnati and want to know what day your garbage will be collected. Otherwise you might still be interested in the map's beautiful design.

The map shows each day's trash collection routes, the number of miles traveled each day and the number of trucks used. The simple beauty in the design comes from using a different color for each day's route and overlaying these colors on a muted black & grey base map. The overall cohesiveness of the design is helped by using the same colors for the day's buttons and using little inset maps of each day's route in these buttons.

The Election Dot Map


In just under a month's time the UK will hold yet another general election.

After the last UK election hexagonal grid maps seemed to be the most popular way to visualize the results. The use of hexagon grids helps to overcome the problems of political districts being based on equal population areas and not on equal geographical areas. Using hexagon grids stops an election map being visually overwhelmed by the results in those rural areas with geographically larger constituencies.

However one problem with a traditional grid map is that it only shows which party won each constituency and not the number of votes cast for each party in each constituency. Culture and Insight has attempted to address this problem by creating a dot map of the 2015 UK election results. The Colours of The 2015 Electorate map attempts to provide a better visualization of the number of votes cast for each party within each constituency by representing voters with colored dots.

Each colored dot represents one hundred voters for that political party. The location of the dots is randomized within each constituency.

You can click on an individual constituency on the map to view which political party won the seat, who came second and the size of the winner's majority. Although the stated purpose of using a dot map is to 'visualise (the) diversity of voting' in each constituency clicking on the a constituency doesn't reveal the number of votes cast for each political party.


Another way to show the number of votes cast for each party within each constituency is a 3D hexagonal cartogram. For example this Brexitogram map, showing the results of the UK referendum on the EU, allows you to see the number of votes cast for each side. The height of each hexagon represents voter turnout.

The disadvantage of such an approach is that you can only really see both colours in the stacks around the edge of the map. In election districts that appear in the middle of the country you can often only see the top colour. The map partly overcomes this problem by allowing you to turn the colours on & off. This allows you to at least view the results in much the same way as a more traditional 2D hexagonal cartogram.

There are advantages and disadvantages to all these approaches to visualizing election results. On the morning of the 9th June broadcasters & newspapers will want maps which best visualize the overall results in each constituency. They are therefore most likely to use a traditional choropleth or 2D heagonal cartogram map. A map that best visualizes the overall winner in each election district and in the whole country.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Where You Live & When You'll Die


Geography is not the biggest factor in determining how long you can expect to live. However where you live in America can effect your life expectancy by up to twenty years. Being born in the USA already puts you at a disadvantage to people born in the 30 countries (such as Chile, Costa Rica & South Korea) which have a higher life expectancy than the United States. If you are then unfortunate enough to be born in the wrong U.S. county then you can knock another 20 years of your expected life (compared to the counties with the highest life expediency).

You can view the life expectancy at birth for each county in the USA on the University of Washington's US Health Map. A choropleth layer shows the life expectancy for every county in the country. You can also hover over a county to view its life expectancy and the life expectancy for the state and the whole of the USA.

FiveThirtyEight has used the same data (life expectancy at birth 1980-2014) to compare the life expectancy in each state to the U.S. average. Life Expectancy in Each State vs. U.S. Average is a cartogram which represents each state with a small line graph. Each line graph shows the state's life expectancy over time from 1980-2014 and compares it to the U.S. average over the same period of time.

The cartogram provides an effective visualization showing which U.S. states have higher or lower life expediencies than the country average. You can also see which states are improving or falling behind over this time period compared to the country average.

The US Health Map is not just a visualization of life expectancy data. You can also use the University of Washington's map to visualize data on 29 cancers, 21 major causes of death, Smoking, Obesity, Physical Activity, Alcohol Use, Hypertension and Diabetes.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Migration Flow in the USA


Texas is the most popular destination for Californians moving out of the Golden State. The love that Californians have for Texas is reciprocated. California is actually the most popular destination for Texans moving out of state.

An interactive map by Oregon State University allows you to see which states are the most popular destinations for Americans moving house. The US Migration Flow Map uses flow lines to visualize the numbers of people moving between different states in the USA from 2009-2013. The map includes options to see which states have the biggest exchanges of citizens and to view the most popular state destinations for each individual state.

The size of the flow lines on the map is representative of the number of people moving between two states. You can mouse-over a line to view the total number of people moving to or from each state. The menu at the bottom of the map allows you to switch between the top 50 state-level total flows, the top 50 state destinations for individual states and the top 50 state origins for migration flows into individual states.

The US Migration Flow Map is actually an illustration of a a "force-directed method to automatically lay out migration flows". This method has been designed to reduce clutter and improve readability when using flow lines on a map. You can read more about the design principles behind the method in Automated layout of origin–destination flow maps: U.S. county-to-county migration 2009–2013 in the Journal of Maps.

America's Deadliest Roads


America's most dangerous highway is the US-1 in Florida. According to Geotab it has the highest number of road fatalities & fatal crashes (adjusted for average daily traffic counts) of any highway in the United States. The section of US Route 1 located in Florida has had 1,079 fatalities in the last ten years.

You can find out the most dangerous roads in each state on Geotab's new The Most Dangerous Highways in America map. A large map of the USA shows the most dangerous road in each state. You can find out more about each state's most dangerous roads in the smaller state maps beneath this large map of the USA.

You can click on the small state maps to learn how many fatal crashes and fatalities there have been on the state's most dangerous highway. You can also adjust the order that all the individual state maps are shown by the fatal crash rate, by the most crashes and by the most fatalities.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Gentrification in London & New York


According to CityLab Greenpoint & Williamsburg, Bushwick, Central Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Chinatown and Lower East Side are five New York neighborhoods currently experiencing gentrification.

CityLab teamed up with Esri to map New York City Comptroller data. This data compares economic and demographic profiles of New York neighborhoods in 2000 and 2015. In Mapping the Modern Transformation of New York City CityLab uses the data to map which neighborhoods have experienced the biggest increases and decreases in average income levels.

CityLab also uses the data to show the changing racial makeup of New York's neighborhoods.


In London there is a far simpler method for working out which areas are experiencing gentrification. The 'Fried Chicken Method' compares the density of coffee shops in a neighborhood to the density of fried chicken shops. If a neighborhood has a higher density of coffee shops than fried chicken shops and the cost of property in the neighborhood is below the London average then the neighborhood is in the process of gentrification.

The 'Fried Chicken Method' was invented by Sam Floy. In How to know if where you live is “up and coming”: fried chicken vs. coffee shops Floy compares heat maps of coffee & fried chicken shops to identify the areas with more coffee shops. He then overlays these areas on a property value heat map in order to identify which of these areas are in parts of London where it is relatively cheaper to buy property.

French Presidential Election Maps


77 years after being invaded by Nazi Germany over one third of votes cast in a French Presidential election went to a fascist.

We have to ask ... 'why'?

Results of the French presidential election reveal the same geographical split which emerged in the first round vote for the president. This geographical split reveals that Le Pen is most popular in the north-east of France and along the Mediterranean coast. Comparatively she has far less support in the rest of the country.

The Guardian and the Financial Times both have presidential election maps showing how France voted in yesterday's election. The Guardian has mapped the majority for Macron and Le Pen in each department. The FT map has broken the results down further and shows the percentage of votes cast for Macron and Le Pen by commune. Both maps reveal the same geographical split in Le Pen's popularity. As the Guardian reports Le Pen's heartland is in "the rust belt bordering Belgium and along the Mediterranean coast".

The New York Times has begun to analyse why these two areas of France might be attracted by a candidate of the far right. The paper uses two maps to compare votes for Le Pen with the 2016 unemployment rate. There certainly seems to be a strong correlation between the rate of unemployment in a department and the number of votes cast for Le Pen.

However, even though Le Pen's strongest support was in the north and south, the New York Times points out that Macron was still the most popular candidate in 'most demographic groups', including in places with high unemployment. According to the Financial Times unemployment isn't the strongest predictor of the Le Pen vote. In fact unemployed voters in urban areas were not significant voters for Le Pen.

The Financial Times has identified educational levels and social class as the strongest predictors of Le Pen voters. Macron's vote share nationally was highest in areas with few working class jobs. The strongest indication for an area voting for Le Pen was education. Le Pen 'gained most votes in areas where the level of education was relatively low'.

If you are interested in exploring the votes further then the NYT's main French Presidential election map is a good place to start. The map shows the results by commune. You can also mouse-over a department area on the map to view a breakdown of the votes by candidate and the percentage of the electorate who voted. The map also includes a number of annotations highlighting interesting areas in France where Macron or Le Pen have above average support.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Stress Free Bike Maps


Montgomery County in Maryland has created a stress frees route planner for cyclists. The Bikeway Stress Levels map shows you the most and least stressful streets for cycling in the county. It can also plan a route for you that avoids the most stressful roads.

To create the map the Montgomery County Planning Department rated every single road in the county based on how stressful it is for cyclists. The ratings are based on attributes like "traffic speed, traffic volume, number of lanes, frequency of parking turnover, ease of intersection crossings and other characteristics".

The Bikeway Stress Levels interactive map shows the stress rating for each road by simply coloring each road on the map by its assigned stress rating. If you select a road on the map you can view details about the road, such as the number of traffic lanes, the speed limit, whether there is on-street parking or whether there is a bike lane.


Montgomery County's approach is very labor intensive. To assign a stress level to every road in the county the Planning Department assessed each road on Google Maps Street View and visited many of the roads in person.

A quicker but less accurate method for assigning a cycling 'stress' or 'safety' rating to roads is to use Open Street Map tags. Mapzen's Bike Map does exactly this to help you navigate the safest way to cycle. The Mapzen Bike Map colors roads and bike paths based on three different tiers of safety, allowing you to tell at a glance which roads are the safest for cyclists.

The three tiers are:
  • Green (safest) - off road bike paths
  • Orange (less safe) - on road bike lanes
  • Blue (least safe) - no bike lanes
The Bike Map uses data from Open Street Map. This means that the map works for anywhere in the world. It also means that if you don't think the map is accurate enough in your area you can improve the map by contributing to Open Street Map.

If you want to use the Bike Map in your own maps you can! You just need to add the Walkabout basemap style to a Tangram map and turn on the bike tier data. The Mapzen Blog has more details on how to use the Bike Map layer in your own maps. It also has more details on how the map was designed and the other biking features that you can find on the Bike Map basemap.

Friday, May 05, 2017

May the Fourth Be With You!


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ... there was a map.

The Star Wars Galaxy is a huge 3d WebGL map of the entire fictional galaxy from George Lucas' series of Star Wars films. The map includes 3d models of all the planets, moons and death stars that feature in the popular movies.

When the map loads you should press the play button in the bottom left-hand corner of the map to set out on a tour of the whole galaxy and the major planets. You can also navigate to individual planets using the menu that runs along the bottom of the map. If you get lost in your travels around the galaxy you can use the search option to search for individual planets (or even the Death Star) by name.


You can also explore the Star Wars Galaxy on a more conventional 2d map. The Star Wars Galaxy Map is a two dimensional interactive atlas of a galaxy far, far away. You may have heard of the legendary battles between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. Now for the first time you can explore the famous locations in this epic galactic war.

The map shows the location of planets, sectors and regions within the Star Wars Galaxy. You can click on regions and planets to reveal their names and a link to the relevant Wookieepedia article. You can also select which layers you want to see displayed on the map by clicking on the 'visible layers' button.


You don't have to travel to the Star Wars Galaxy to feel the force. May the Fourth Be With You is a fun Mapbox GL map which appears to have turned the Earth into a frightening Death Star.

This clever map uses an animated star field image as the map's background. This makes it appear like the Earth's cities are floating in space. An effect which is enhanced by the animated TIE Fighters flying over the 3d buildings on the map.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Global Real-Time Animated Transit Maps


There are lots of localized transit maps which show the real-time location of buses, trains and other modes of transport in towns and cities around the world. Travic, on the other hand, has always had global ambitions. The Travic map provides animated maps of over 700 transit systems around the world.

Livemap24 has similar global ambitions. Using Livemap24 you can zoom-in on locations around the world and view local transit systems moving around the map in real-time. I haven't tested every country on Livemap24 but it looks like it shows real-time transit in most 'first world' countries and has patchy or no coverage in non-first world countries.

The number of transit systems shown on the map seems to be good in most countries, except the UK. For example in New York you can view live buses, subway cars and trains. In Berlin Livemap24 shows the real-time movements of trams, buses and trains. In Sydney it shows ferries, buses and trains. In the UK however Livemap24 only seems to show the real-time location of trains.

One very neat feature of Livemap24 is that you can click on individual vehicles moving on the map -to view the vehicle's complete schedule, with all planned times and stops.

Medieval Digital Maps


The Oxford Outremer Map is a thirteenth-century map of Israel and Palestine. The map also encompasses parts of modern day Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. The map seems to depict the region sometime between 1229 and 1244, when Christians had control of Jerusalem. The map itself was probably built to aide European pilgrims to Jerusalem.

The Fordham Medieval Digital Projects has created an interactive version of the Oxford Outremer Map. The digital version of the map includes interactive place-names. If you click on a place-name on the map you can read a translation, a brief description and a link to view this location on a modern digital map.

You can read more about the Oxford Outremer Map and how it was digitized on the Fordham Medieval Digital Projects website.


The Hereford Mappa Mundi is the largest surviving medieval map of the world. The map is on display in Hereford Cathedral, UK. If you can't get to Hereford to view the map in person you can at least view the map online. Mappa Muni allows you to explore and examine the details of the map in a well designed interactive presentation.

The online version of the map includes a color enhanced view and a 3d Scan Factum view. The 3d view includes some interesting information about the vellum used to create the map and reveals important facts about how the map was created and where patch repairs to the map have been made over the centuries.

The online Mappa Mundi includes a number of map markers that allow the viewer to explore locations on the map in detail. Jerusalem is at the center of the map and East is at the top. If you select any of the markers you can view a close-up of the location and read about some of the cities, people, beasts and myths depicted on the map.


The Gough Map or Bodleian Map is the oldest surviving route map of Great Britain. The map probably dates back to the 14th or 15th centuries.

There is some debate over the age of the Gough Map and Linguistic Geographies has been attempting to answer the question of who made the map & when by examining the language and place-names used on the map. Their research of the map's language suggests that some of the map’s writing dates to around the 1370s. The research also found evidence that some of the place-names on the map have been overwritten at later dates.

You can examine the map and the map's language yourself in close detail on The Linguistic Geographies digital version of the map.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Changes to the Black Marble


NASA's new composite satellite map of the Earth shows the distribution of artificial lights around the world. The so called 'Black Marble' map of the Earth is made up of the best cloud-free satellite images of each land mass captured during 2016.

The new Black Marble map can also be compared with the last major satellite map that was created to show the Earth at night, released by NASA in 2012. By comparing the two maps it is possible to see where lights have been going on and off around the globe in the last five years.

If you want you can view the new Black Marble map on NASA's Worldview interactive map. Alternatively you can compare the 2012 and 2016 Black Marble maps side-by-side on the Black Marble: 2012 vs 2016 interactive map. This map allows you to swipe between the two NASA maps and compare the changing scale of natural lighting around the world. For example, if you open the map using the link above you can clearly see the effect that the Syrian war has had on electricity supply in the country.

John Nelson has also compared NASA's 2012 and 2016 Black Marble maps to see where in the world lights have been going on and off. His Lights On & Lights Out map highlights the locations around the world where there have been significant changes in electric lighting since 2012.

Nelson points out in the text accompanying the map that there are many reasons why places might show an increase or decrease in electric lighting. The increase in India is due to the "massive electrification of northern India in recent years". Elsewhere reductions in night lighting may be due (among other reasons) to attempts to reduce light pollution.

Make Your Own Animated Wind Map


Earth Nullschool is one of the greatest interactive maps of all time. It is both an awesome technical achievement and a beautiful visualization of worldwide weather. Now you too can create your own global interactive animated wind map.

WebGL Wind is a plug-in library for Mapbox GL which can create an animated mapped visualization of wind conditions around the world. The map uses wind data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. It renders this global wind data as 1 million animated points at 60fps on top of a Mapbox powered map.

The Demo Map of WebGL Wind includes controls to adjust the number of wind particles used and the speed at which they are animated on the map.

How Well Traveled Are You?


Have you traveled as much of the world as the Queen of England? My guess is that unless you have a commonwealth of countries and a massive royal yacht then the answer is "Probably not!".

You can find out with the How Adventurous Are You? interactive scratch map. Just click on all of the countries that you have visited around the world and the scratch map will reveal how much of the world that you have seen. What's more you can then discover how well traveled you are compared to a number of well known celebrities.

The range of celebrities that you can compare your travels against have a distinct British flavor. As well as Queen Elizabeth you can compete against David Attenborough, Micheal Palin, Bear Grylls, Karl Pilkington and some other people that you've probably never heard of, like Pope John Paul II.