Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Award Winning Mapping from the Times

The New York Times has created another stunning mapped visualization. In Easter Island is Eroding the Times has created a 3d map of the island showing the locations of all the island's famous moai statues. It also shows the position of Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean.

The purpose of the New York Times' story is to raise awareness of Easter Island's vulnerability to rising sea levels. One of the purposes of the map is to help emphasize this vulnerability. It does this with a stunning cinematic zoom-out from the island to a view of the whole Earth - revealing the island's isolation in the Pacific Ocean. Easter Island is one of the remotest inhabited islands in the world and this cinematic zoom-out from the island to the whole globe demonstrates this superbly.

If you want to make your own award winning mapped visualizations then you might want to check out Derek Watkins' How We Animated Trillions of Tons of Flowing Ice and Adam Pearce's Hurricane How-To. These two articles, by developers at the Times, explain how the Times' created two of their award winning mapped visualizations from last year.

Mapping UK Taxi Fares

You might think that London's black cabs are expensive. But the capital's taxi drivers don't charge the highest fares in the UK. That honor goes to the city of Coventry, where taxis charge an average fare of £3.11 per mile traveled.

You can now compare the taxi fares charged in the UK's largest cities using a new UK Taxi Price Index and interactive map. The UK Taxi Price Index uses local authority data to compare the price of a taxi journey in different UK Cities. The interactive map uses numbered markers to rank 25 UK cities in terms of the fares charged by the city's cab drivers.

At the top of the list, with the highest taxi fares, is Coventry. Liverpool is the cheapest city to hail a cab, costing a full 20p less per mile than Coventry's taxis. London doesn't even come in the top three most expensive cities, being listed at number 5, with a cab fare per mile of £2.60.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Car Thieves of San Francisco

The San Francisco Chronicle has mapped the thousands of locations in San Francisco where cars were broken into last year. Breaking down San Francisco’s car break-in epidemic is a story map analyzing some of the geographical hot-spots for car break-ins during 2017.

As you scroll through the Chronicle's story the background map zooms in on different locations in the city which experienced exceptionally high levels of car break-ins. Proportional sized markers are used to show the number of break-ins at a location. These are contrasted with the purple markers which show where police actually made arrests of car thieves.

The Chronicle's story doesn't make too many connections between the various hot-spots highlighted on the map. However it does mention that some popular tourist areas and parking garages and lots appear to be regular hot-spots of car break-ins.

Building Up Walls

Donald Trump wants to build a 2,000 mile wall between Mexico and the USA. This American Life has been wondering about the effect that border walls have on the lives of the people who live near them. In The Walls This American Life has compiled a number of stories from around the world. In these stories This American Life correspondents visit and talk to individuals and communities living in the shadows of walls.

The Walls is accompanied by an interactive map which shows the locations featured in all the podcast stories. This map allows you to zoom-in on the various locations and view the border walls (using Mapbox GL's extruded polygons to visualize the border walls). Each location includes aerial imagery and and a very short description of the border wall.

If you are having difficulty envisioning just how far big Trump's proposed wall would be 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 other location on Earth. You can also get a good sense of the scale of construction needed to build Trump's 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.

Berlin - Along Each Transit Line

The Berliner Morgenpost has published an impressive data visualization exploring how the social universe of the German capital transforms from one S-Bahn stop to the next. The visualization allows you to travel along any one of Berlin's 250 bus, train or tram lines and view the economic, demographic and cultural differences of each neighborhood along its route.

At the top of Berlin is Ticking on Your Line is an animated map showing vehicles moving on all 250 lines of the BVG and the Berlin S-Bahn. The map shows the typical traffic on a weekday over the whole 24 hours of the day. Vehicles on the map are color-coded to show whether they are trains, buses, trams or underground trains. Their movement on the map is based on the departure and arrival times of a normal Wednesday timetable.

Beneath the map you can select any one of Berlin's 250 transit lines to explore in detail the socioeconomic differences that can be found between each station or stop along the line. The application uses statistical data to show how different Berlin can be along each of its bus, train and ferry lines.

An interactive graph is used in the visualization of each public transit line. The x axis of each line graph shows all the stops along the line. The y axis is used to show different variables at each stop, such as the average age, the average rent, voting patterns and economic wealth.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Population Density of Slaves in the USA

In 1861 the United States Census Office "for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers" created and put on sale a map showing the distribution of slaves in the southern United States. The map was based on data from the 1860 census and was the Census Office's first population density map..

You can view the map online on the Library of Congress website. The map uses different shades and patterns of gray to show the percentage of the population in each county who are slaves. If you have problems determining the differences between the different shades and patterns of gray you can zoom in on this interactive version of the map to read the actual percentage labels written on the map.

You might also like this modern version of the 1860 Census Slavery Map. Spencer Baucke has created a very faithful interactive reproduction of the original map in Tableau. On Spencer's map each county is interactive. If you hover over a county you can view the name of the county and the percentage of residents who were enslaved.

Oil Spills in the Niger Delta

The Niger Delta in Nigeria is the most productive oil-producing region in Africa. It has been relentlessly exploited, mostly to the economic benefit of western oil companies and corrupt politicians. It has also had a devastating impact on the local environment. Since oil drilling started in the 1950's it is estimated that between 9 and 13 million barrels of oil (1,400,000 and 2,100,000 m3) has been spilled. The government and oil companies have made little effort to control the environmental impact of the oil industry, nearly always deny responsibility for oil spills and try their hardest to avoid having to clean-up after spills.

Amnesty International's Niger Delta Oil Spills is an interactive map of oil company spills in the Niger Delta. This map is the result of a crowd-sourced effort to analyse oil spill investigation reports by volunteers around the world. This crowdsourced campaign analysed thousands of reports and photographs produced by companies in relation to oil spills in the region.

Using the interactive map you can view the locations of the oil spills derived from reading the oil spill investigation reports. The markers show the location of spills and are color-coded by the severity of each spill. The map includes options to filter the results shown by the two main oil companies operating in the region, Shell and Eni. If you click on a marker on the map you can view details about the spill and click through to read the oil spill report and any photos included in the report.

You can read more about how crowdsourcing was used to analyze oil spill records and the effect of oil spills on the Niger Delta in Amnesty International's Niger Delta Negligence.

Time Travel on the Thames

One of the best ways to view London is from the Thames. A boat trip through the city allows you to sit back and relax while the vistas of London unwind around you. While you drift through London's historic sights you might even begin to wonder what it would have been like to sail down the river in Georgian times.

A Riverside View of Georgian London can help you picture the view from the Thames in 1829. This tourist guide to London, published in 1829, provides a hand-drawn view of both banks of the Thames from Westminster to Richmond upon Thames.

Luckily for us Panorama of the Thames has provided a great tool for viewing A Riverside View of Georgian London. Its Compare Panoramas tool allows you to travel along the river in 1829, comparing Georgian London to the same river views as can be seen in modern day London.  Press play on the 1829 panorama and on the 2013 panorama and you will be taken on a simultaneous journey down the Thames with synchronized views of Georgian and modern London.

Via: Londonist

E-mail a Tree Today

A new interactive map allows you to e-mail any one of Singapore's half a million urban trees. is a new map from the National Parks Board of Singapore. The map allows anyone in Singapore to look up and discover the species name of any of their favorite trees. It also allows them to leave a message for their favorite tree.

Users can click on any tree on the map to find out details about its species, when it was planted and its ecological benefits. More importantly you can also send a tree a personal  'treemail'. This might be just a general message of support for the tree. Or, if you want to be more serious, you could leave a treemail about the health of the tree or post a photo you've taken of the tree.

It is possible to search both by location and by species of tree. also provides details of walking tours where you can see and learn more about some of Singapore's most interesting and important trees.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

5...4...3...2...1 Ignition - Launch SpaceX in 3D

I've seen a number of 3D maps over the years but this has to be one of the coolest. Concept3D's SpaceX map is a 3D map of the launch site of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. This on its own would be pretty amazing but this map also allows you to actually launch the 3D model of the Falcon Heavy into space.

Using the map you can explore the SpaceX launch site in 3D, rotating around and zooming into the model of the Falcon Heavy. When you are happy that everything looks ready for take-off turn on your computer's sound and press the 'launch' button. You can then listen to the actual countdown from a Falcon Heavy launch and watch as the 3D model rocket on the map takes off and shoots into space.

This animated 3D map was made in Mapbox GL using Three.js. If you want to create your own 3D scenes in Mapbox then you should look at threebox, a plugin for Mapbox GL JS that supports basic animation and advanced 3D rendering.