Saturday, April 29, 2017

Live Traffic with Mapbox

You can now add live traffic conditions to your Mapbox Maps. Mapbox Studio users now have access to two new preset map styles - both of which show live traffic conditions.

The two traffic condition styles are called Traffic Day and Traffic Night. Traffic Day shows traffic conditions on top of a light streets basemap while Traffic Night shows traffic on top of a dark streets basemap. You can preview the results of showing traffic on top of a dark streets basemap on this quick demo map.

In Mapbox Studio you can adjust how traffic congestion appears on your maps. The congestion field has four values: 'low', 'moderate', 'heavy' and 'severe'. By default traffic congestion use a color-ramp from green to red to show low-severe congestion. In Mapbox Studio you can change these colors to anything you want. You can even use different color-ramps for traffic conditions on different classes of road.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Leaflet Flowmap Layer

Sarah Bellum's Canvas Flowmap Layer is a popular ArcGIS JavaScript API library which allows you to map objects flowing from one location to another. It is now also available as a custom map layer for the Leaflet JavaScript mapping library.

Like the original ArcGIS flowmap layer Leaflet.Canvas-Flowmap-Layer uses Bezier curves to visualize the movement of objects from one location to another on an interactive map. One purpose of using Bezier curves is that you can show the direction of flow by using either a convex or concave curve on your flow line. The direction of flow is also visualized by the library with animated dots which travel along the flow map lines in the direction of flow.

You can get a great idea of what you can achieve with the Leaflet.Canvas-Flowmap-Layer on this fully adjustable demo map. The map provides a visualization of airport destinations using animated Bezier curves. It includes a number of options which demonstrate the range of animation options provided with the flowmap layer.

The /r/Place Atlas

On April 1st Reddit uploaded a 1,000 x 1,000 pixel canvas to the /r/place subreddit. The canvas was blank except for the message:
"There is an empty canvas. You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another. Individually you can create something. Together you can create something more".
Reddit users could select one pixel on the canvas and fill it in with any color from a 16-bit palette. That user was then locked out of the canvas for five minutes. After five minutes the user could contribute another pixel to the canvas. The five minute lock-out for individual users meant that different users obviously had to work together to create a recognizable design on the canvas.

The /r/Place Atlas is an interactive map of the complete /r/Place canvas as it looked on the day contributions were stopped a few days after April Fools Day. The map allows you to zoom in and out on the canvas. You can also hover over individual designs on the map for an explanation and links to any relevant subreddits or websites about the design. The map also contains a search facility to automatically find any of 1207 different designs on the canvas,

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Ever Changing World at Night

The lights are going on all over India. A lot of them. If you compare NASA's new nighttime map of the Earth with the 2012 map you can see where in the world electric lighting has grown and where it has fallen over the last four years. India stands out as a country that has seen a huge increase in night lights,

Two weeks ago NASA released a new composite map showing the Earth at night. 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. If you want you can view the new Black Marble map on NASA's Worldview interactive map.

John Nelson has compared NASA's 2012 and 2016 Black Marble maps to see where in the world lights have been going on and where they have been going off. He has even created his own map, Lights On & Lights Out, which 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.

The Global Press Freedom Map

Over the last twelve months the United States has fallen two places in the World Press Freedom Index. In explaining this fall Reporters Without Borders point to Donald's Trump's war with the media and his declaration that the press are the 'enemy of the American people'.

While the USA has dropped two places (to 43rd) Norway has risen two places to become the top ranked country in the world for press freedom. This is partly due to the country's laws on media ownership and the enshrining of media freedom in the country's constitution.

You can view how every country in the world ranks on the 2017 Reporters Without Borders 'World Press Freedom Index' on this interactive map. Countries are colored on the map by their level of press freedom (yellow countries rank highest - black countries have the worst records on press freedom). You can find out a country's individual ranking by clicking on the country on the map. If you then click on the 'read more' button you can read the Reporters Without Borders assessment of press freedom in the selected country.

The View from the Top of the World

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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Predicting White Collar Crime

Many police forces now use predictive policing models to identify locations where crimes are most likely to occur. These models scientifically target non-white, low-income neighborhoods as criminal hot-spots and the inhabitants of these neighborhoods as delinquent criminals.

Using current predictive policing models poor neighborhoods with a large proportion of non-white inhabitants are identified and targeted for police action. The result is that police resources are unfairly wasted on these neighborhoods and law-abiding rich folk never get to see any nice police officers in their neighborhoods. However a new predictive policing application hopes to readdress this problem by targeting white collar crime.

The White Collar Crime Risk Zones map shows you where white collar crimes are about to be committed. The map uses historical financial crime data and risk terrain modelling to predict which neighborhoods across the United States are most likely to experience white collar crime. The map can even show you what the white collar criminal in each neighborhood probably looks like.

The White Collar Crime Risk Zones map was created by The New Inquiry who argue that,
"Predictive policing apps are designed and deployed to target so-called “street” crime, reinforcing and accelerating destructive policing practices that disproportionately target impoverished communities of color. Unlike typical predictive policing apps which criminalize poverty, White Collar Crime Risk Zones criminalizes wealth".
Disclaimer: The White Collar Crime Risk Zones map was made with tongue inserted firmly in cheek

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Geography of Death

FiveThirtyEight has mapped the mortality rates in the USA for all of the leading causes of death. 35 Years Of American Death provides a choropleth view of mortality rates in every U.S. county from 1980 to 2014.

The maps show some regional variations in the mortality rates for different causes of death. FiveThirtyEight highlight some of these regional variations in the article beneath the map. For example, 12 counties in rural Appalachia are among the top 20 counties with the highest mortality rates in the whole country. In the top 20 counties with the lowest mortality rates 18 of them are west of the Mississippi.

FiveThirtyEight are also using the mortality rates map to illustrate a series of articles examining the relatively high mortality rates in the Black Belt. The first of these articles examines how Patterns Of Death In The South Still Show The Outlines Of Slavery.

Aleppo in London & Berlin

The city of Aleppo has faced a colossal scale of damage since the start of the Syrian civil war. 65.61% of buildings in the Al Aqabeh neighborhood have been damaged by the fighting. In 18 of the city's other neighborhoods over 40% of buildings have been damaged.

While these figures are shocking it is still hard for those of us unfamiliar with the city to conceive of the scale of this destruction. That is why Berlin developer Hans Hack has created maps of London and Berlin in which these cities are shown with similar levels of damage to that seen by Aleppo. Reprojected Destruction is an interactive map which attempts to portray the scale of destruction in Aleppo by overlaying this destruction on two of Europe's most well known cities.

To create the London and Berlin maps Hans Hack used data from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). UNITAR used satellite imagery to work out the percentage of buildings destroyed in Aleppo. Reprojected Destruction uses the result of this research to present maps of Berlin and London in which the same percentage of buildings are shown as having been destroyed.

The geography of the destruction in Aleppo has also been partly reflected in the Berlin and London maps. The buildings shown in these two maps have mostly been randomly selected. However western neighborhoods in both maps are less damaged to reflect how the New Aleppo district has suffered little damage. Eastern neighborhoods in the European city maps also have a higher percentage of damaged buildings to reflect the fact that the east of Aleppo has been the most damaged part of the city during the civil war.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Diversity Map of the United States

A new interactive map hosted by the University of Cincinnati shows the racial diversity of every neighborhood in the continental United States. It can also show how racial diversity has changed in each of those neighborhoods over the last twenty years.

The Racial Diversity map uses census data to visualize the dominant racial group in each 30 meter by 30 meter square in the country for the years 1990, 2000 and 2010. It is therefore possible to show how racial diversity has changed (or not) in towns and cities across the country over the last twenty years. The map also allows you to view population density at the same level across the continental United States.

If you want to use the data to show the racial diversity or population density on your own maps you can download the data in GeoTIFF format (each download is limited to an area no more than 100000 km2).