Sunday, February 18, 2018

Emoji Map Search


Air New Zealand has invented a new way to explore New Zealand. Just Tweet your favorite emojis to Air New Zealand and they will send you a personal interactive map of fun places to visit in New Zealand.

If you use the #EmojiJourney hashtag and three emojis in a Tweet then Air New Zealand will send you a link to a Google Map of New Zealand featuring recommended things for you to see and do - based on your choice of emojis. For example if you send a wine glass emoji, a bike emoji and a ski emoji you will be sent a link to a map showing wineries, great places to cycle and places to ski.

If you don't want to use Twitter you can just go to the #EmojiJourney map and search the tourist map of New Zealand by selecting your favorite emojis. You can even get your own emoji map by simply appending emoji symbols to the end of the map's URL.


Emojis can also be used as a simple universal non-written location coding system. For example, What3Emojis is a revolutionary new way of addressing the entire world using the only common language of the entire human race, the emoji.

With What3Emojis the Earth is divided into 4m x 4m squares which are randomly assigned a unique three-emoji combination. If you want to share your location with someone else all you need to do is send them the three emojis assigned to that location. They can then enter the emojis into What3Emojis and be shown that location on the interactive map. Simple!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saying Goodbye to the American Dream


California's 46th Congressional District is set to lose $529,600,000 from its annual GDP. Arizona's 7th Congressional District is set to lose $495,900,000 and Texas's 15th Congressional District will lose $411,800,000. This is the amount of local GDP which is contributed by non-citizen and DACA recipients. It is the amount of the local economy which could be lost if Trump is successful in phasing DACA out.

Esri has released an interactive map which visualizes the areas of the USA with the highest percentage of non-citizen residents & DACA recipients and the estimated economic impact that their removal will have on an area's GDP.

Using data from the American Community Survey and other sources, Esri's Where Will Changes to Immigration Policy Have the Greatest Potential Impact? visualizes the percentage of non-citizen foreign-born residents in each state, county, and city, along with information about sanctuary areas. The map also uses data from the University of Southern California to show which congressional districts have the largest number of DACA recipients and how their removal would effect the district's annual GDP. In many areas the percentage of non-citizen residents is very large and their removal will have a devastating effect on the local economy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Redlining in Modern America


Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal black homeowners were discriminated against by redlining maps. These maps identified areas with significant black populations as risky for mortgage support. Black homeowners living in these areas were more unlikely to be successful when trying to refinance home mortgages using the government sponsored Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned racial discrimination in lending. However new research from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting shows that people of color still face discrimination when applying for property loans, particularly in a number of Southern cities. The year long analysis discovered that in 61 metro areas redlining is still effectively in place.

An interactive map in Reveal's For People of Color, Banks are Shutting the Door to Home Ownership identifies the locations of these 61 metro areas. If you click on any of the identified metro areas on the map you can discover what evidence Reveal discovered of discrimination in the area, including how much more likely black, Asian, Latino or Native American applicants were to be denied home loans than white applicants.


Another interactive map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition allows you to explore how the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) redlining maps are affecting cities today. The interactive map allows you to compare modern data about income status and the minority population with the HOLC's historical redlining security ratings.

Using the maps you can see if neighborhoods in your city with 'good' HOLC redlining ratings have remained largely white and wealthy or whether your city has become a beacon of social and racial equality.


You can view the original redlining maps on the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab website. The Home Owners' Loan Corporation was a government-sponsored corporation created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Its purpose was to refinance home mortgages which were in default to prevent foreclosure.

The HOLC is often cited as starting the practice of mortgage redlining. Redlining is the process of denying services to residents of certain areas based on the racial composition of those areas. Mapping Inequality, Redlining in New Deal America allows you to view the residential security maps created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments.

The areas marked in blue on the maps are the neighborhoods which were deemed desirable for lending purposes. The yellow areas show neighborhoods deemed 'declining' areas. The red areas are the neighborhoods considered the most risky for mortgage support.

The result of these redlining maps was that residents in the more affluent and largely white neighborhoods were far more likely to receive financing. Residents in the poorer and black communities were deemed more risky and were therefore less likely to receive financial support.

Most Popular Citi Bike Routes


The NYC Citi Bike App is a Leaflet based interactive map which allows you to explore the number of bikes borrowed and docked from each Citi Bike station. The interactive map visualizes the most popular stations and journeys for any time of day and day of the week.

Bike stations on the map are colored to show which of the docking stations have the most bikes borrowed from them during the selected times and days. Stations colored red have more bikes borrowed from them than are docked at them. This means that they lose bikes during the selected time. The green stations are stations where more bikes are docked than borrowed. These stations therefore end up with more bikes than they start with for the selected time period.

The orange lines show the most popular routes. If you follow the orange lines from any bike station you can see the most poplar journeys between that station and other New York bike stations. The data behind the map only shows where and when a bike was borrowed and docked. Therefore these orange lines don't show the actual routes between two bike stations.

The map includes the option to filter the data by time of day. Notice how the orange and green stations change during the morning and evening rush hours. In the morning the red stations (the ones losing bikes) tend to be on the outskirts of the Citi Bike network. In the evening commuting hours the red stations (the bike stations where more bikes are being borrowed than returned) are concentrated in the city center. This pattern obviously reflects the movement of people into the city in the morning for work and then traveling out of the city after work.

German Street Names


Back in January Zeit Online released a fascinating analysis of the most popular German street names. They have now extended their examination to explore what the names given to roads reveal about the past and how the attitudes of Germans have changed over the centuries.

In Streetscapes: Mozart, Marx and a Dictator Zeit Online explores how there is a distinct east-west split to some German street names, which owes a lot to the differing politics of the former East and West Germany, before reunification. One thing that is probably true in both east & west is that women are much less likely to be commemorated by having streets named for them than men. For example in Hamburg 2,511 streets are named after men and only 397 are named after women.

Zeit Online has also analysed which periods of history are commemorated in Berlin's street names. The most popular period is the period of the German Empire (1870–1918). The Nazi era is, for obvious reasons, very unpopular and "all street signs bearing the names of leading figures in the Nazi era have been removed." However you can still find street names from that period which "typify their ideology".

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mapping a Californian Wildfire


In January the Thomas Fire burned around 281,893 acres, becoming the largest wildfire in modern California history. The Los Angeles Times has used WebGL to visualize the spread of the fire and the damage it caused. The Thomas Fire: 40 Days of Devastation is a story map which provides a day-by-day account of the spread of the fire and its effect on Californian neighborhoods.

The LA Times visualization uses a WebGL powered 3d model of the area affected by the fire. Enhanced satellite imagery of the area has been overlaid on top of an elevation terrain model. The terrain and satellite imagery are very effective in visualizing both the size of the fire and the damage it caused.

A story map format has also been used to help explain the development of the fire and to highlight some of the areas most effected by the fire. As you progress through the story map you are told how the fire developed day-by-day, while the 3d map zooms in on different locations to highlight neighborhoods which suffered significant property damage.


WebGL can be a very effective way to visualize environmental damage or change. Satellite imagery overlaid on top of a 3d digital elevation model can provide the user with an easily recognizable representation of familiar terrain. You can view other effective examples in this post on WebGL models of potential rising sea levels.

How to Traumatize Your Baby & Get a Good Night's Sleep


Crying babies are a universal problem. Which is why every culture in the world has invented its own lullabies - those sweet sounding songs that are used to scare babies into silence.

If you listen to the words of most traditional lullabies you will quickly realize that while the tunes may be soothing the lyrics are frankly highly unsettling. In cultures around the world when people sing to babies they usually sing about babies being stolen, being haunted by frightening monsters or being brutally murdered.

For example in Indonesia parents sing to their children to warn them of the giants who search at night for crying children. Parents in Iceland sing to their children about the monsters outside hunting for children who do not stay in bed. In Haiti lullaby lyrics warn of a crab that likes to eat children who should be sleeping. While in Russia children are warned that if they sleep too close to the edge of the bed a wolf will come and drag them off into the woods.

You can listen to all these creepy lullabies from around the world on a new interactive map from Mattress Online. The World's Creepiest Lullabies allows you to listen to these lullabies and to read their disturbing lyrics. If you are inclined you could even traumatize your own children for life by singing them these songs while they try to sleep.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

OpenAerialMap


OpenAerialMap is an interactive map for sharing and finding openly licensed satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery. The current map was started in 2015 by the Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT) (although there was an earlier version which ceased operating in 2008).

Finding open aerial imagery with OpenAerialMap is very easy. You can either use the built in search facility or simply click on a location on the map to find nearby imagery. Any available imagery in your search area is displayed in the map sidebar. Select any of the listed choices of aerial imagery and you can view the imagery overlaid on the interactive map.

If you want to use any of the imagery in your own maps then you can simply copy the TMS URL for the imagery and use it with any of the popular interactive map libraries. You can also load the aerial imagery into your own maps using a WMTS URL.

Expanding Education in Illinois


The University of Illinois began life as as the Illinois Industrial University. Established in 1867 the school’s mission was to extend higher education to members of the working-class. The University started with two faculty members and 77 students. Today it has over 47,826 students.

To accommodate this huge increase in student numbers the University has also needed to grow in size over the years. A growth that you can now explore on the University's new website Mapping History at the University of Illinois. The project use historic maps, photos and interactive maps to explore and explain the history of the university and the growth of the university campus.

One part of Mapping History at the University of Illinois is a timeline map of the campus which shows how the campus has grown over time. This interactive map shows the building footprints of the campus' many buildings. The map includes a timeline slide control which allows you to show the buildings on the map by their date of construction. This timeline includes playback controls which allow you to watch as the interactive map animates through the growth of the campus over the years.

A number of other maps in the Interactive Maps section of the site allow you to discover more about the history of the campus and the university's most important buildings. This section is divided into a number of story maps which focus on exploring the university buildings by the historic era when they were constructed.

Britain's 100 Favorite Walks


One of the UK's main television channels, ITV, surveyed 8,000 walking enthusiasts to discover the country's favorite walking routes. From the results of the survey they have compiled a list of Britain's 100 favorite walks.

The Ordnance Survey has mapped all 100 walks in the list. In Britain's Favorite Walks: Top 100 you can not only discover your nearest popular walking routes but you can also view the route of each walk on its own interactive OS map.

Select an individual walk from the top 100 and you can view the route details on an OS map. The details include the walk's length, a brief description and even an elevation chart of the entire walk. The walk itself is shown on an interactive OS map with a link to export the route as a GPX file.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Canadian Pipeline Map


Gas pipelines can be very controversial (you can see the amount of opposition that the Northern Gateway Pipeline aroused in the Line in the Sand Map discussed below). The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association has therefore released a new interactive map to help inform the public about natural gas transmission pipelines.

The About Pipelines Map shows you where pipelines are, what they transport and who they are operated by. Using the map you can enter your address to view the locations of any pipelines near you and whether there have been any recent incidents associated with these pipelines. If you click on a pipeline on the map you can view details on what it transports, who it is owned by and who it is regulated by.


The Line in the Sand Map is a really well designed Mapbox map which contains video interviews with residents who live along the route of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in Canada. The Northern Gateway Pipelines Project was a plan to build a twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia.

The Line in the Sand was a collaborative campaign to help share the opinions and stories of those who would have been directly affected by the pipeline. This video map is a part of that project, which eventually led to a feature-length documentary. You can now view the entire documentary on the Line in the Sand website.

The Snapchat Map


Last year Snapchat introduced an interactive map to their mobile app. The map allows Snapchat users to share their location with friends and for Snapchat users to discover what other users are posting around the world.

Snap Map is now also available on the desktop. The desktop version of Snap Map provides a heatmap view of Snap Chat activity and allows you to watch Snaps submitted by Snapchatters anywhere in the world. Markers on the map show locations and / or events where a number of videos have recently been shared on Snapchat. If you click on the markers you can watch the latest submitted videos from that location.

If there is no marker on a location you can still click on the map to view the most recent videos submitted near that location. This means that Snap Map is a great way to get a sneak peak into any events happening right now. For example just click around Pyeongchang on Snap Map to view videos of the Winter Olympics.

Snap Map includes an embed view, which allows you to add a version of Snap Map to your own website or blog. The basemap and location data behind Snap Map is powered by Mapbox. It uses a custom designed basemap style which was developed from Mapbox Outdoors.

Who Owns England?


The BBC has discovered that 97,000 properties in England and Wales are owned by overseas companies. In Firms on Caribbean island chain own 23,000 UK properties the BBC has mapped all the properties in England & Wales which are owned by these overseas companies.

The map reveals that in central London a huge percentage of properties are now owned by overseas firms. For example in Kensington and Chelsea more than 6,000 properties are owned by overseas companies. If you want to know who owns a property you can click on the map marker to reveal the name of the company and the country of the owner.


Who Owns England? has set itself the task of mapping who owns land in England. It has created an interactive map showing all the land in England owned by the government, government bodies or charities. The map was partly an extension of earlier work done by Anna Powell-Smith for the satirical magazine Private Eye.

Back in 2015 Private Eye created an interactive map showing 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.

Who Owns England? has also created an interactive map of land owned by UK corporate bodies, councils, UK companies, housing associations and more. This map uses Land Registry data, which shows who owns around 3.5 million land titles. According to Who Owns England? the data shows that "companies and the public sector own around a third of England and Wales". The majority of land is owned by Limited Companies. The second largest category of land owners are local authorities and county councils.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The 2018 Winter Olympics Medal Map


Currently two of the most northerly countries in the world (Norway & Canada) are dominating the medals won at the 2018 PyeonChang Winter Olympics. It's not surprising that Noway are leading the medal haul. With 329 Winter Olympics medals in total (not including the 8 won so far in PyeonChang) Norway are the all-time leaders in the number of medals won at Winter Olympics.

PyeonChang 2018 is an interactive map showing the numbers of 2018 Winter Olympics medals won by each country in the world. Numbered markers on the map show how many medals individual countries have won. You can filter the map to show the numbers of gold, silver or bronze medals won by each country or even show the total numbers won by each country.

If you want to explore how many medals countries have won in total since the first Winter Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix, France then you might like this LA Times History of Winter Olympic Medals interactive. This interactive data visualization allows you to explore the medals won by country, color of medal, year and by sport.

Mapping the History of Jewish Cultures


Jewish Cultures Mapped is an interactive timeline and map exploring Jewish cultures around the world within their historical context. The map allows you to explore the history of Jewish culture throughout history and across the globe.

Jewish Cultures Mapped provides three main ways to navigate your way through the history of Jewish culture. The map allows you to explore this history by location. Zoom in on a city and you can explore all the cultural stories associated with the city by clicking on any of the map markers. The markers are colored by date (you can use the timeline to determine the date of each color).

You can also explore the history of Jewish Cultures using the timeline running along the bottom of the map. This interactive timeline allows you to navigate to different periods in Jewish history to explore the history of Jewish culture at that time.

Jewish Culture Mapped also allows you to explore Jewish cultures by category. The history of Jewish cultures has been ordered into a number of different categories, including Projects, People, Place and Organizations. This allows you to explore the history of Jewish Cultures by theme, individuals and organisations, companies & groups.

The Katowice Building Age Map


The Evangelical Church of the Resurrection is the oldest building in Katowice. It was built in 1856. If you are interested in discovering more historic buildings in this Polish city then you should explore this building age map of Katowice. Katowice Buildings is an interactive map showing the age of nearly all the buildings in the city.

The colors of the building footprints on the map show in which historical period the buildings were constructed. You can select to view only buildings constructed in particular periods by using the interactive key. This key shows how the buildings have been categorized into important historical periods for the city. This allows users to view and compare selected periods and makes it easy to find buildings from specific periods, e.g. only those buildings erected before World War II.

Many of the buildings have additional information attached to them, which can be viewed by hovering over a building footprint on the map. This information may include the actual date of construction, names of the architect(s) and links to Wikipedia articles.

Here are a few other building age maps:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Galleries of Base Maps & Map Styles


OpenWhateverMap is a strange looking map. This interactive map of the world appears to be a random hotchpotch of different map styles. It appears this way because this is exactly what it is.

OpenWhateverMap is a showcase for a number of different base map styles that can be used with any of the leading interactive map libraries. It includes base maps designed by Mapbox, OpenStreetMap, Thunderforest,  Stamen and CartoDB.

If you like the look of one of the random map styles then click on the map tile on the map. This will open an information window containing the base map's template URL and the attribution you need to use the style in your own interactive maps.


Leaflet Provider Demo is another collection of base map styles for interactive maps. The demo map provides views of a number of OSM, MapQuest, Stamen and other map layers within a Leaflet map. The map even includes a JavaScript snippet for each layer so you can just cut and paste the code into your own Leaflet map.

Leaflet Provider Demo is geared towards Leaflet users and the example code snippets are for use with Leaflet,js. However I don't believe any of the base maps on display are restricted in their terms of use to only being used only with Leaflet. If you want to use a style with a different mapping library you can still get the base map's template URL from the provided code snippet. 

Friday, February 09, 2018

Mapping American Debt


The Urban Institute's Debt in America visualizes debt levels in every county in the USA. The map allows you to view the median debt levels in a county and compare them to debt levels for the state and the country as a whole. The map also allows you to view the average household income in every state.

Using the map sidebar you can select from a number of debt metrics, including the share and value of medical debt in each county. If you then click on a county on the map you can view the debt totals for the county in the map sidebar. The debt totals for the county, the state and for the whole country are also shown beneath the map.


$1.3 trillion in student debt is owed by 42 million Americans. Mapping Student Debt shows the average student loan balance in each household at zip-code level in the United States.

If you enter the name of a town or a zip-code into the map you can view choropleth leyers showing the average household student loan balance, the delinquency rate and the median household income in that area.

Below the map is some interesting analysis of the geography of student debt across the United States. For example, the map reveals that delinquency is more prevalent in low-income zip-codes than in better off neighorhoods. Affluent zip codes, on the other hand, have higher than average student loan balances per household.

A Million Maps


A number of Twitter users have been sharing their first Mapbox maps today, using the hashtag #1millionexploring. The maps being shared include the good, bad and indifferent. Here are a few of my favorites from the maps being shared:

Elevation Lines - a Joy Division inspired elevation map
Joy Division San Francisco - a Joy Division inspired map of San Francisco elevation
The Lord of the Rings Theme Map - a map inspired by LOTR
Coloring Book - made 'to print for my kids to color on'
Geologic Map of Arizona, Geologic Map of Vermont
Unused Building Height - how much taller buildings in San Francisco could be built
Occupy Directory - international movements concerned with justice and equality
West Side Stories - Gentrification in West Oakland
D.C. Snow Plow Map - where the city snow plows have been and how recently

I think my first Mapbox map might be this garish Kandinsky inspired map, an early attempt at playing on Mapbox Studio

OK - that's not quite one million maps. You can find more though using the #1millionexploring hashtag on Twitter.

Pyeongchang 2018


I remember the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics very fondly. The reason why I still occasionally think about the Sochi Olympics is entirely down to the beautiful Sochi 2014 Interactive Map. This fun animated map features some beautiful illustrations and includes a lot of information about the Winter Games, the different sports and the Sochi venues for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Unfortunately the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics doesn't seem to have inspired a similarly beautiful map. The Past is Prologue in the Race for Olympic Gold is an Esri story map created for this year's games. While it might not be able to compete with the Sochi 2014 Interactive Map on the beauty front it is still an interesting exploration of the history of winning gold at the Winter Olympics.

Past is Prologue in the Race for Olympic Gold looks at how many Winter Olympic golds different countries have won, how each country's gold haul has changed over time and the global distribution of Winter Olympic gold medals (this last one even has an interactive map).


If you do want to get to know Pyeongchang a little better then you can Explore Pyeongchang on Google Earth. This provides a short tour in Google Earth of some of Pyeongchang's most important sights and locations.  If you select the 'Voyager' option in Google Earth and navigate to the sports section you can also find a tour of the Olympic torch relay for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This takes you on a journey through a few of the 17 Korean cities and provinces the Olympic torch visited on the way to Pyeongchang.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Australia's Million Dollar Homes


The median house price in the Bellevue Hill suburb of Sydney is now $5,386,123. Five years ago the average house price was $2,963,568. 18.7% of Sydney's suburbs now have a median house price value above $2 million.

CoreLogic’s Mapping the Market interactive map can tell you the average house price in every suburb in Australia and how that price has changed over the last five years. Using the map you can discover a typical house price in each Australian neighborhood.

If you use the navigation tools in the map menu you can take a closer view of the housing market in each of Australia's major cities. For each city you can view the overall median value for houses and real estate units and how they have changed since 2012. You can also select individual suburbs on the map to view the median value of its housing market.


37.7% of Melbourne suburbs now have a median house value in excess of $1 million. As a whole the city’s median house price is $720,000. Urbis' Million-Dollar Melbourne map explores the growth of million dollar homes in the city since 1987.

The map includes a timeline slider which allows you to view the spread of Melbourne's million dollar homes. As you move the timeline the map shows areas where there have been more than three $1M+ house sales within 1km in the selected year.

The Disappearing Rivers of the American West


Humankind has had a huge impact on the rivers of the American West. Nearly half of all river miles in the West are no longer in their natural state. Disappearing Rivers allows you to explore how humans have impacted on rivers in the West and how far they have been unnaturally altered.

Disappearing Rivers is an interactive map which shows the degree to which all the rivers in the American West have been altered by humankind. All the rivers on the map are color-coded to reflect the percentage that each river has been altered. This is the combined percentage of floodplain and river flow which has been altered by human beings. A drop-down menu allows you to change the map layer to show river & stream flow restriction or altered floodplains instead.

If you select the 'Threats' option you can view dams, major human diversions, culverts and bridges on the map. If you select the option to view dams then scaled markers are added to the map. These markers show the locations and the sizes of river dams in the West.

Disappearing Rivers includes a detailed look at one river to highlight the kind of alteration that rivers have suffered in the American West. Over half the Colorado River is dammed, diverted or otherwise altered from its natural state. Disappearing Rivers uses a story map format to travel along the Colorado River, showing how agriculture, irrigation runoff, nearby mines, dams and diversions have combined to change the natural state of the river.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Light Pollution & How to Avoid It


Lots of people have created interactive maps showing how the Earth looks from space at night. These maps are usually based on NASA's 'Black Marble' or 'Night Lights' satellite imagery. Are the stars out tonight? also uses NASA's imagery of the Earth at night, like many of these other global night pollution maps. However it goes much further than most light pollution maps by exploring the history of light pollution, its global impact and those areas of the world which are now being protected from light pollution.

As you progress through Are the stars out tonight? you learn about how the combined effect of the invention of the electric light-bulb and the urbanization of the world's population has led to global light pollution. You can see the global effect of this electrified urban population on NASA's night-time satellite imagery of the Earth.

The story map goes on to explore the different types of light pollution and the impact light pollution has on astronomers and on animal and plant life as well. Most animals and plants can't escape human light pollution. Ironically many humans can. Scientists around the world are pushing for 'Dark Sky' initiatives, to establish and protect areas unaffected by light pollution. Are the stars out tonight? goes on to map dark-sky designated areas in North America, South America and Europe.

The Weather Forecast for 2090


July 2090 is going to be a hot month. Most places can expect to experience temperatures of at least 100 degrees. Things will be cooler in December of 2090, however it probably won't be that much fun for fans of winter sports.

NOAA's Climate Data Snapshots allows you to view maps showing the projected average temperatures across the USA for any decade up to the end of 2090. The map show projections based on 32 global climate models. The map allows you to view the projected average temperatures for any month in any decade. It also allows you to view temperature projections based on current global emissions and projections based on relatively large reductions in global emissions.

America's Transit Deserts


AllTransit's Gap Finder is an interactive map tool which identifies the areas in American cities with poor access to public transit. It identifies areas which are underserved by transit but where transit demand is high.

Enter an address into Gap Finder and you can view a Google Map of the area which identifies where transit services are good and where the service could be improved. Blue areas on the map show where there is currently an adequate transit service. Orange and red areas show where transit could be improved.

Alongside this map of transit gaps Gap Finder breaks down the overall transit needs of the searched city. This includes a summary of the percentage of the city population which has an adequate transit service and the percentage of the population without an adequate service. Gap Finder also makes a number of recommendations about how the transit service could be improved in the city to meet the demands of the underserved areas.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Exploring Mars by Starlight


NASA's Curiosity rover has been on Mars for over 5 years. During this time Curiosity has captured a number of interactive 360 degree panoramas of the Martian landscape. You can explore a number of these Mars panoramas at 360cities.

If you open any of these panoramas you can navigate around the image just as you would in Google Maps Street View. You can even click on the arrows to move to another panorama taken at another location on Mars. If you have a virtual reality headset you can even view a panorama in VR.

The screenshot above comes from a 360 degree panorama captured at a patch of flat outcrop called 'John Klein', which was selected as the site for the first rock-drilling activities by Curiosity. Information about the location of each panorama is available below the image.

The Westward Expansion of the USA


In every census since 1790 the mean center of American population has moved westward. In 1790 the most populated cities in the U.S. were all on the East Coast. By the 2010 census seven of the ten largest cities were located in the Sun Belt region of the south and west.

Creating Data has released a nice visualization of how the United States population has spread westwards since 1790. The County Populations map shows county population density across the United States for each decade from 1790 to 2010.

If you click on a date button you can view an animation of the population data from the selected decade.


This animated cartogram takes another approach to visualizing US Population Trends Over The Last 220 Years. This map shows the size the of the population in every U.S. state for every decade since 1790. As the animated cartogram plays you can clearly see the general migration westward in the United States as the western states begin to bulge on the map.


Another neat visualization of the westward migration in the U.S. is this map from the US Census Bureau. This animated map shows where the mean center of the population has been for each U.S. census from 1790 to 2010.

The Mean Center of Population for the United States 1790 to 2010 shows how the mean center of population in the US has shifted westward in the last 220 years from Kent County, Maryland to Texas County, Missouri.


This westward shift in the mean center of the population is also evident in the largest populated cities in each U.S. census. Josh Mahar has created an interactive map showing the top 10 U.S. cities by population in every census since 1790.

Using the Historical Look At America's Largest Cities map you can view the top ten most populated cities in each decade. The map sidebar also shows the population for each of the top ten cities in each census. If you turn on the annotations you can also find out a little more about the changing populations in the mapped cities.

Mapping UK Health Deserts


The Centre for Towns has a number of interesting interactive maps visualizing access to health services in England, Scotland and Wales. These include visualizations of how near to health services people live and their travel times to the nearest hospital.

The Access to Health Services maps show how near people in England, Scotland and Wales live to their local hospital, GP, pharmacy and dentist. These maps provide an easy way to identify areas with good access to health care facilities and those areas with much poorer access to health providers.

The Travel Times to Hospital map shows the estimated travel times to hospital using a car or a bus in every part of England. This map's isochrone layer identifies areas of England where it would take a long time to get to the nearest hospital.

Obviously hospitals and health care service tend to be sited in the most populated areas of the country. Therefore people living in towns and cities will usually have better and quicker access to health care services than those living in more rural areas. The Centre for Towns maps would be more useful if they included a population layer so that users could pinpoint those areas where the most people have poor access to health care services.

Monday, February 05, 2018

The Tardiest Airlines & Airports


The US Flight Delay Visualization is an interactive map which shows you which states have the tardiest airports. The map uses 2017 data from the US Department of Transportation to show departure and arrival delays in each U.S. state.

The choropleth layer on the map reflects the number of flights which arrived on time in each state. If you hover over a state on the map you can view the exact percentage of flights in that state that arrived on time. The map also includes major airports in the United States. If you hover over an airport's marker on the map then you can see the percentage of flights which arrived on time at that airport.


FiveThirtyEight's Which Flight Will Get You There Fastest? can also show you the tardiest airports in the USA. FiveThirtyEight's visualization includes additional data on individual routes between airports. It is therefore able to also provide information about the tardiest airlines and routes in the USA.

On first loading the tool a table shows you the number of minutes the busiest airports typically add to a flight. If you select an airport from this list you can view all the other airports it flies to on the map. These flights are color-coded to reflect the typical flight time and minutes typically added to the flight time.

You can also use the map to pick a departure airport and destination airport. This will then show you the typical flight time and the performance of all the airlines which fly that route.

FiveThirtyEight's interactive is older than the US Flight Delay Visualization map. It is therefore based on older data (January to December 2014) so may not be as accurate.

Why Cape Town is Running Dry


Theewaterskloof dam provides half of Cape Town's water. It is about to run dry. According to the latest estimates Cape Town will run out of water on April 16th.

Day Zero: How Cape Town is running out of water is a Guardian article exploring the reasons behind Cape Town's current drought. The article includes an effective visualization of how the drought has effected the dam. A transition between two satellite images of the Theewaterskloof dam, shows the water levels when full and how it looks now. The article also includes mini cut out maps of Cape Town's four key reservoirs, showing how the water in them has shrunk since 2014. The satellite imagery in the article comes from Sentinel 2 & Landsat 8 (to trace the reservoir outlines).

Using a series of satellite images can be particularly effective in showing the scope of water loss in an area. For example in documenting the loss of the Aral Sea. The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world. Due to Soviet irrigation projects the Aral Sea is now less than 10% of the size it once was. In fact the eastern basin of what used to be the Aral Sea is now called the Aralkum Desert

Lots of people have used satellite images to document how the Aral Sea has dwindled in size over time. This NASA Earth Observatory feature uses a series of images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite to document the water loss in the Aral Sea from 2000-2017.

Drowning Berlin


The Island of Berlin is an attempt to visualize how Berlin could be effected by rising sea levels. The visualization provides a dramatic (if not exactly accurate) model of how global warming could effect Berlin.

The Island of Berlin uses WebGL to create a 3D model of Berlin. The model depicts Berlin as surrounded by a vast sea. Using the slide control you can raise the level of this sea to view which areas of Berlin would remain above water at different sea levels.

Obviously Berlin is not on the top of a mountain. It therefore does not have a significantly higher elevation than the area surrounding the city. The Island of Berlin therefore does create an overly dramatic visualization. Under most models of rising sea levels Berlin will not end up an island surrounded by a vast sea. Therefore this type of visualization would work a lot better using an actual island, for example Reunion Island.

Hans Hack's map of Berlin was inspired by Nicolas Durou's Maquette. Maquette is a WebGL 3D model of Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. This 3D model also allows you to adjust sea levels to visualize how the island could be effected by global warming. The Maquette model includes a population layer which is able to provide an estimation of the number of people on the island who would be effected by different levels of rising seas.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Geography of Super Bowl Fandom


Most people in the north eastern states of the USA will be watching the Super Bowl today. But which team will they be supporting?

Google Trends has released an interactive map called NFL Playoffs 2018 which shows the most searched NFL team in each United States county. From this map we can guess at which areas of the north east USA will be supporting which team in today's Super Bowl.

Of the two teams in the Super Bowl the New England Patriots are the most searched team in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and the eastern part of New York. It seems that they will have all of New England pretty much rooting for them today.

On the other hand the Philadelphia Eagles don't appear to be even the most popular team in Pennsylvania. More counties seem to support the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pennsylvania than the Philadelphia Eagles. However the Philadelphia Eagles are the most supported team in the eastern counties in Pennsylvania. They are also the most popular team in New Jersey and Delaware.

In 2014 Facebook released a NFL American fandom map. The map shows the most 'liked' NFL teams in each county of the USA. The Atlantic has a large image of the map in its Geography of NFL Fandom article. This map paints a similar picture to Google's map. The New England Patriots do rule in New England while the Eagles have a much smaller area of support in New Jersey, Delaware and the most eastern counties of  Pennsylvania.

Based purely on the geographical size of their respective support I announce that the New England Patriots win this year's Super Bowl fandom award.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Mapping American Ancestry


The USA is a country of immigrants. You can see the influence that different ancestry groups have made on American culture all around you. However your local culture might be influenced more by some ancestry groups than others depending on where you live in the United States.

German-Americans are the biggest ancestry group. In the 2016 American Community Survey 44 million people said that they had German ancestry. As you can see from the screenshot above a lot of them live in the Midwest. The second biggest ancestry group is Irish-Americans. A lot of Americans who claim Irish ancestry live in the Northeast of the country.

Esri's Ancestry map shows the number of Americans claiming to have ancestry from any one of 25 different countries around the world. The map shows how many people in each county reported belonging to one of 25 different ancestry groups.The ancestry data for the map comes from the American Community Survey 2011-2015.

The percentage of citizens reporting as coming from an ancestry group is shown by the color of the squares placed over each county. The size of the squares represents the number of the population who reported coming from that ancestry group. You can select from the 25 different ancestry groups by clicking on the 'content' button.

The Three Word Weather Map


All British weather can be described in just three words. Those three words are:

wet, windy and cold

The UK's Met office has therefore decided to release a new interactive map which eschews weather symbols in favor of three word descriptions. You could think of it as the illegitimate love child of the #UKsnow Map and What3Words.

#3wordweather is an interactive map which describes the local weather in just three words - as tweeted by people across the UK. #3wordweather is actually a serious experiment by the Met Office to learn what words people use to describe the weather in different areas of the UK. You can get involved by tweeting a three word description of the weather, the name of your nearest town and the hashtag #3wordweather.

Looking at the map it is apparent that despite having only three types of weather (wet, windy and cold) the British have thousands of different words for describing these three states. Here are some of the words currently being used on the map: pish, nithering, hoolie, baltic, baltic cauld, manky, parky and brassy (in other words it is currently wet, windy and cold in the UK).

Friday, February 02, 2018

Segregating America's Schools


Schools in the southern states of America are as segregated now as they were 50 years ago. It isn't just the southern states where schools are segregated along racial lines. Because of the residential segregation that exists in nearly every community in America the majority of black children end up attending schools where the majority of students are black and white children attend schools where the majority of students are white.

In We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated Vox looks at how school districts can be gerrymandered to make them less segregated. The article includes a map tool which allows you to visualize how segregated schools currently are in your town. If you enter your school district into this tool you can view a choropleth map showing the percentage of students in each elementary school zone who were black or Hispanic in the 2013 school year.

The map allows you to view how the situation is in your district using the current zoning regulations with how it would look if students were just assigned to their nearest school. Beneath the map you can see a graph which reveals if your local zoning regulations are lessening school segregation or making segregation worse.

Mapping the Nether ('lower') + lands


On February 1st 1952 the Netherlands experienced a disastrous flood. The North Sea flood of 1953 caused 1,836 deaths and widespread property damage. One reason why the flood was so devastating is because the Netherlands is a very low and flat country. About 26% of the country & 21% of its population is located below sea level and only about 50% of its land is more than one metre above sea level.

You can see which parts of the Netherlands are above and below sea level on a new interactive map called Visualising the height of the Netherlands. This map shows the height of the Netherlands in comparison to sea level. All of the country on the map is shaded to represent elevation. Areas colored blue have an elevation below sea level. Areas shaded yellow have an elevation above sea level.

The map includes a number of interactive elevation charts. Click on the markers on the map and you can load an elevation chart which shows an elevation profile running west to east across the Netherlands at that point. This elevation profile is interactive. If you hover over the profile a red dot shows that location on the map.