Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Where Germany Votes Far Right


Yesterday's election results revealed the rise in support for the far-right in Germany, particularly among voters in the former East Germany. The increase in votes for the extremist AfD however was not entirely unexpected. In fact before yesterday's election the Berliner Morgenpost had already explored the rising popularity of right-wing parties in previous German elections.

In Where Germany Chooses Right the Berliner Morgenpost visualizes support for right-wing parties across Germany in the previous seven German elections. An interactive map allows you to view the support for right-wing political parties in all previous elections going back to the 1990 election. For the purposes of this map the Berliner Morgenpost has split support for right-wing parties into two categories, the extreme right (blue) and the populist right (brown). The extreme right-wing parties are those reported as 'extreme' by Germany's domestic security agency.

Alongside the interactive map the newspaper also fact checks a number of theories about the causes for this rise in support for far-right parties in Germany. One of these theories is that support for far-right parties is strongest where there is less immigration and weakest where there is more immigration. The paper says this was true in the last three elections. I have also heard that this pattern was also apparent in this year's election for the vote share of the AfD.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Fried Chicken Dividing Lines


Fried chicken shops are now the most important tool in demographics. If you want to know the economic health of a city's neighborhoods you can ignore census data and instead just count the number of fried chicken shops in each neighborhood. The lower the number the greater the wealth.

We have looked before, in Fried chicken vs. coffee shops and in Fast Food England, how the 'fried chicken method' can be used to determine deprived and gentrified neighborhoods in England. The method has now also been used to map out the economic divide in Sydney, Australia.

Food fault lines: mapping class through food chains looks out how fast food chains can be used to map Sydney's poorest and richest neigborhoods. At the center of this new fried chicken map of Sydney is the Red Rooster Line. The 'Red Rooster Line' is a line on the map which runs through all of Sydney's Red Rooster fast food restaurants. A line which also seems to be the border between Sydney's richer and poorer areas.

The Food Fault Lines Map also includes a number of other overlays which use different restaurant chains to create new Sydney neighborhoods. Borders have been drawn on the map around all the outlets of these different chain restaurants. The Iku Wholefood neighborhood, the Cha Time neighborhood and the Vintage Cellars suburb fall on the richer side of the Red Rooster Line. The poorer side of the Red Rooster Line is home to the Outback Steakhouse neighborhood and the borough of Wendy's.

Valuing Vancouver


The MountainMath blog has created an interesting mapped visualization of Vancouver's Homes in One Family (RS) Zones. The map allows you to enter your salary to view where you can afford to buy a home in the city (or, as is more likely, where you can't afford to buy).

If you earn less than $175,000 your options for buying in a one family zone are very limited. At around 200k you have some limited choice in the far eastern outskirts of the city. At 300k a year you can pretty much have your pick of the East Side. If you want to buy in the West Side then you need to be earning north of $400,000 a year.


In January Demographia International named Vancouver the 3rd least affordable housing market in the world, behind Hong Kong and Sydney. Darkhorse Analytics has created an interactive map to help explain how the city's housing market has become so unaffordable. The 2017 Property Assessments Map visualizes the average property assessments for buildings in Vancouver.

Individual building footprints on the map are colored by their value. One impressive feature of Darkhouse Analytics' mapped visualization is the 'Stories in the Data' feature. This feature picks out interesting stories in the data to help explain the high cost of property in the city. For example it highlights on the map neighborhoods where the average property assessments are higher or lower than the average for the city. It also highlights areas where there are large variations in property prices.


The Vancouver Land Prices Heat Map visualizes the price of Vancouver parcels of land based on the 2014 BC assessment data from tax reports. Land parcels on the map are coloured to reflect the price per square foot of the property.

The map shows that many of Vancouver's most expensive properties are concentrated in the Downtown, West End and Fairview neighborhoods. The map also shows that land prices tend to get cheaper the further you move east in the city. If you select a building lot on the map you can view the exact price per square foot for the property.

Abandoned Railroads of the USA


Abandoned Rails is a website dedicated to the thousands of miles of railways which have been abandoned over the years in the United States. The site allows you to explore for America's abandoned railroad routes by railroad company or by location, using the Abandoned Rails Interactive Map.

The interactive map plots the routes of abandoned railways - where their location is known. Where the exact route of an abandoned railroad is not known a map marker provides a way to access the information that is known about the route by approximate location. You can also click on the railroad routes that are displayed on the map to find out more about that line's history.

Abandoned Rails has a large encyclopedia of knowledge about abandoned railroad routes and railroad companies. The interactive map provides a great way to navigate this encyclopedic knowledge by the location of the abandoned routes.


The emergence of the motorcar as a popular means of transport in the early Twentieth Century led not only to the longtime decline of the railroads but also had a detrimental effect on the tram systems in many American cities.

You can explore how Denver's streetcar network developed in the Nineteenth Century and also observe its later decline on Denver's Streetcar Legacy and its Role in Neighborhood Walkability. A timeline control allows you to view how the city's streetcar network grew in the city from its inception in 1872 through to its end in 1950. As the timeline plays out you can see when the all the different lines were opened and closed.

Despite its demise Denver's streetcar network has had a lasting impact on the city's environment and the walkability of its neighborhoods. This interactive map also explores how the streetcar network effected the city's design and what the author calls 'Pedestrian Oriented Commercial Buildings'.


For some reason I've always imagined that there were a lot more streetcar lines in San Francisco. The good news is that there are actually more routes now than in 1960. However the present coverage is not a patch on the number of streetcar routes that existed in the city back in 1940.

Where the Streetcars Used to Go is a lovely interactive map which allows you to view the streetcar transit network as it existed in 1940 & 1960 and as it exists today. Streetcar fans will be delighted to learn that the map also allows you to view vintage photos of streetcars in San Francisco.

You can actually browse through these wonderful photos of San Francisco's historical streetcars by the different streetcar routes. If you click on a streetcar route on the map the photos, running along the bottom of the map, are filtered to only show photos taken along the chosen line. The name of the selected route is also displayed on the map alongside the dates when the route was operational.


Interactive maps don't have to be complicated. Sometimes you can create a lot with just a few features. A case in point is the BC Electric Railway Map.

With only a few polylines on a custom designed basemap the BC Electric Railway Map has produced a beautiful looking visualization of Vancouver's BC Electric Railway Company transit network, as it looked in the early Twentieth Century. The map plots the historical interurban and streetcar lines of the network between 1890 to 1958. It also contains a few photos and Street Views of modern day Vancouver showing how some of the company's historical buildings and lines look today.

Of course there is a actually a little more to this map than a few polylines. It also includes some very well designed map interactions. For example, if you click on a map marker, the map uses Mapbox's GL's map rotation capabilities to zoom-in, tilt and rotate the map to provide a close-up view of the selected location. The map rotation itself is tracked by a gorgeous vintage looking compass rose, which shows the current map orientation.

I also like how the map content slides in and out in the map sidebar when you select a marker on the map. There isn't a lot of content on the map at the moment but the presence of the 'Chapter 1. - Stay Tuned' button suggests that there is more to come from the BC Electric Railway Map.

The Rise of the Far Right in East Germany


Angela Merkel has won her fourth term as German Chanvellor. However the biggest news of this German election has to be the rise of the far right AfD party. It appears that both the centre-right CDU and centre-left Social Democrats lost voters to the controversial AfD. Despite retaining power in a coalition government Merkel's CDU party achieved their worst results since 1949. The Social Democrats also had their poorest results since 1945.

The AfD however has made huge inroads since the last German election. The Berliner Morgenpost's 2017 Wahlkarte interactive map provides a useful guide as to where the AfD has gained the most votes. If you select the 'Shift to the right' option you can view a choropleth view of the AfD's vote share in each constituency. This reveals that the AfD is most popular in constituencies in the former East Germany. On average it appears that the party polled at least 10-20% more votes in nearly every former East German constituency than they did in constituencies in the former West Germany.


The Financial Times has mapped where each of Germany's political parties have gained and lost votes in the country. This map shows how the AfD picked up votes across the whole country. It also reinforces the fact that it was far more popular in the former East Germany. The FT map also shows that the CDU and SPD lost popularity across the whole of Germany.

The rise of the AfD is being seen as a populist reaction against Germany's acceptance of refugees. These maps hint that the underlying cause of this anti-refugee sentiment might be tied to income inequality. It certainly appears that the less economically secure former East German constituencies were more receptive to the AfD's anti-refugee message than the more economically secure constituencies in the west of the country.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Live German Election Map


The Berliner Morgenpost's 2017 Wahlkarte is a live interactive map showing the live results from the 2017 German election. This Leaflet powered map allows you to view how each party has performed in the electoral constituencies which have declared their votes.

constituencies on the map are colored by the party with the highest number of votes. If you select a political party's name (from the list to the left of the map) you can view the 10 constituencies where that party has performed best (so far). Beneath the map are number of options for viewing more detailed analysis of the results as visualizations on the map. For example you can select to see where the extreme right-wing AfD has gained votes (at the moment this seems to be everywhere).

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Shrinking Glaciers Around the World


Since 1850 Switzerland's glaciers have shrunk by around 50%. The World Glacier Monitoring Service say that this process is likely to continue and that 80 to 90 percent of glacier ice mass will be lost by 2100.

Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger has visualized the extent of Switzerland's shrinking glaciers in the last 160 years in So Schmolzen die Schweizer Gletscher in 160 Jahren Weg. In a series of multiple mini maps the paper has mapped the change in size of the country's 38 largest glaciers. These maps show the size of the glaciers in 1850 compared to the size of the glaciers in 2010. Each mini map includes data on the surface area lost in kilometers and as a percentage of the glacier's size in 1850.


Nearly all of North America's glaciers are also in retreat. The rate of retreat has increased rapidly over the last few decades and overall each decade sees greater rates of retreat than the preceding one. The National Park Traveler has released an interactive story map, Glaciers in Alaska's National Parks: Monitoring Change, which examines the loss of Alaska's shrinking glaciers.

The map uses satellite imagery to show the modern reach of each of the featured glaciers. U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps were used to determine the glaciers' extent in the mid-20th century. Orange overlays are used on the map to show this historic extent. This is then compared to the extent of the glaciers in the 21st Century, as calculated from the most recent satellite imagery.


Alaska Ice: Documenting Glaciers on the Move is another Esri Story Map which uses satellite imagery and comparisons of modern & vintage photographs to document Alaska's shrinking glaciers.

The main focus of the map is the U.S. Geological Survey's Repeat Photography initiative. USGS has been comparing modern photographs of Alaskan glaciers with historical photos, both with the same field of view. The photographs are compared to document and understand the changes to glaciers resulting from the changing climate.

The Alaska Ice story map visits 14 glaciers in the U.S. state. Each glacier can be viewed on a satellite map and a modern and historical photograph of each glacier is compared in the map sidebar. Of the 14 mapped Alaskan glaciers only two are still advancing.


Timelapse - aerial imagery of the Mendenhall Glacier in 1991 & 2012

Another interesting way to examine the loss of glaciers is with Google Timelapse. Timelapse allows you to compare aerial imagery over time for any location on Earth. You can therefore enter the name of any glacier into Timelapse and observe the effects of global warming for yourself.

Timelapse provides links to the Shirase Glacier and the Columbia Glacier but you can use the search box to locate any glacier. You can therefore use Timelapse to search for any of North America's or Switzerland's glaciers and observe the highlighted loss of each glacier for yourself, using Timelapse's historical aerial imagery.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Boston Underwater


Climate Ready Boston is an initiative by the City of Boston to help prepare the city for future climate change. As part of this initiative the city has released an interactive map showing the areas of the city most at risk from flooding and extreme heat.

This new Map Explorer features spatial data from Climate Ready Boston. It also includes  population demographic data so that the social impact of climate change on Boston can be better understood. Users can select the flooding, extreme heat and social vulnerability layers which they wish to view on the map from the 'Layers' tab. If you click on the map you can view information about the source data for that location. More information about the data is available under the 'Details' tab.


One reason Boston is at risk from rising sea levels is that much of the city is land reclaimed from the sea. Mapbox has created an interesting visualization of how Boston's footprint has changed through history as more and more landfill projects were undertaken in the city. Coastlines of Boston provides two different historical views of Boston, as it looked in 1788 and 1898, and allows you to compare these views to the map of Boston today.

The Coastlines of Boston map was created by importing vintage maps of Boston into Mapbox Studio and then drawing around the historical coastlines. Once the coastlines were traced they were then saved as a map tileset. You can read more about how Coastlines of Boston map was created on the Mapbox blog.


If you are interested in exploring Boston's changing coastline for yourself on old historical maps then you should check out Mapjunction. Bill Warner's impressive vintage map explorer allows you to compare old vintage maps of Boston side-by-side using an interactive mapping interface.

The vintage maps available seem to date back as far as 1873. When you pan or move the map to a new location the available historical maps for the current map view are automatically loaded into the map layer menu (move the map to New York and you can vintage maps of New York instead). Simply select any two maps from the map layer menus to view them side-by-side.

Ryanair's Cancelled Flights


Here's what 1,848 cancelled flights look like on a map. Ryanair Cancelled Flights is a Carto interactive map showing all the flights cancelled by Ryanair from September 21st to October 28th (except for Oct 24th, the data for which appears to be missing from the map).

Last Saturday low-cost airline Ryanair announced that it would be cancelling between 40 and 50 flights per day until the end of October. It began by cancelling flights with very little notice given to customers. Many passengers, who had already taken outbound flights, were left with no flight home.

You can click on individual flight paths on the interactive map to view the selected flight's origin and destination. You can use Carto's dashboard features to filter the flights on the map by any date range. The date control also show you how many flights have been cancelled by Ryanair on each day until October 28th.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Trump's Wall Maps


USA Today flew & drove along the entire 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. During these journeys they mapped every known piece of the existing border fence between the two countries. You can view the locations of this existing border fence and also view the aerial video USA Today shot during their flight along the border on a new interactive map.

Should we build a wall? A 2,000-mile search for answers not only maps the existing border fence but also explores some of the problems the USA could face in trying to build Trump's wall between Mexico & the USA. The map shows where the existing fence consists of vehicle barriers, pedestrian fencing, other fencing and where no fencing currently exists.

The beginning of 'Should we build a wall' is in the story map format. This section explores some of the geographical, economical and legal problems the USA could face in trying to build Trump's wall. You can view some of these geographical problems yourself in the USA Today's aerial videos. If you scroll to the bottom of the story map and click on the 'Explore the map' button you can click on the map to view videos of the aerial footage captured during the flight along the border.

'Should we build a wall' is just one part of USA Today's special report The Wall - an in-depth examination of Donald Trump's border wall. In the rest of this examination you can read interviews, listen to podcasts and explore the border in virtual reality.


Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, has also been collecting data on the US-Mexico border for a number of years. They have spent a long time mapping the existing border fence using satellite imagery and government PDF maps of the border.

From this data Reveal has discovered that around 700 miles of the 1,954 mile-long U.S.-Mexico border is already fenced. Trump's new wall will therefore need to be at least 1,300 miles long. That's a lot of Chinese steel. You can explore Reveal's work on their The Wall interactive map. The map shows the current fence and shows where it is a 'vehicular' and where it is a 'pedestrian' fence. The map also shows where no fence currently exists.

You can get a good sense of the scale of construction needed to build Trump's new 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.


From Donald Trump's 'detailed' construction plans we know that the Trump Wall will be up to 15 meters high, made of concrete and steel (but also possibly fencing) and will be 1,954 miles long. If you are having difficulty envisioning just how far 1,954 miles is 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 location on Earth.

If you want to create your own Trump Wall map then you can get Reveal's data for the US-Mexico border fence on Github. You can read more about how this data was collected and mapped in the Reveal article The Wall: Building a continuous US-Mexico barrier would be a tall order.