Monday, September 26, 2016

Time Travel Around the World


OldAms is a new website which allows you to view thousands of vintage photographs of Amsterdam on an interactive map of the city. The map geo-locates old photographs of Amsterdam from the Amsterdam City Archives.

OldAms includes a slide control which allows you to filter the photographs displayed on the map by year. This allows you to set a date range for the age of the photographs you wish to view on the map. When you select a marker on the map thumbnails of the selected image(s) are shown in the map sidebar. You can then click on these thumbnails to view a larger version of the vintage photo.


OldAms is inspired by the OldSF website. OldSF is an interactive map which allows you to browse historical photos from the San Francisco Public Library collection. OpenSFHistory has also created an interactive map of over 100,000 vintage photos of San Francisco from the Western Neighborhoods Project.

The same team behind OldSF also created OldNYC, OldNYC is a Google Map locating 80,000 historical photographs of New York from the wonderful Digital Collections of the New York Public Library.

In London you can use the Collage map to browse over 250,000 images of the city from the collections of the London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery.

You can also step back in time in Norway using the Tids Maskinen (Time Machine) map. This Google Map allows you to browse vintage photos of Norway by location and date.


If your home town isn't featured in any of the above maps then you should try the Historypin map. Historypin is perhaps the most well known map of vintage photographs.

This map archive allows anyone to add historical photographs to an ever growing map of vintage photos from around the world. Because Historypin allows anyone to add historical photos to their collection they have thousands of vintage images of locations across the globe.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Maps of the Week


The Berliner Morgenpost is a creator of consistently great mapped visualizations. Their map of last week's Berlin election is another superb example of how spatial data can be presented and analysed on an interactive map.

The 2016 Berlin Election map shows the election results in every electoral ward in the city. If you click on a party name in the map legend you can also see the ten districts where that party got its highest share of the the vote. For example, if you click on 'AfD' you can see that the anti-immigration party got its biggest share of the vote in seats which were in the old East Germany.

You can view the Berliner Morgenpost's analysis of the vote by using the links running along the bottom of the map. The 'Rechtruck' link, for example, shows a choropleth view of the AfD's vote share across the capital. This shows that the party actually performed reasonably well across the whole city and only failed to get below 5% of the vote in 33 of the 653 electoral areas.


This week also saw the release of a new travel time interactive map, from Urbica, called Galton. The map can help you discover how far you can walk or drive in ten minutes within major cities around the world.

To find out how far you can walk or drive in ten or twenty minutes you just need to move the black dot on the map to the starting point of your journey. The dark blue area will then show you how far you can walk (or drive) in ten minutes. While the light blue area shows where you could walk in twenty minutes.

The travel time algorithm used by Galton uses the Open Source Routing Machine with OpenStreetMap map data to work out the travel time distances. The project code of Galton is open and available on GitHub. You can also learn more about Galton and how it was developed on the Urbica blog.


Dark Sky provide hyper-local weather information with its iOS and Android apps. It also provides a desktop weather map which includes a seven day forecast of weather conditions around the world.

The Dark Sky Weather Map provides the option to view global weather conditions on an interactive 3d globe. The map includes a number of different weather layers which allow you to view a seven day forecast of temperature, precipitation and wind speed around the world.

The Dark Sky 3d weather visualization uses OpenLayers with the Cesium WebGL 3d globe engine. The Dark Sky Weather Map also includes an option to embed the weather map and 3d globe on your own website or blog.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mapping Gentrification in New York


Earlier this year the NYU Furman Center released a report into Gentrification in New York City (PDF). The report examines how increasing rents and stagnating incomes have contributed to the gentrification of nearly two-thirds of the city's previously low-income neighborhoods.

The result of this gentrification of New York is that many residents are paying more in housing than they can easily afford. The Association for Neighborhoods and Housing Development has decided to help raise awareness of "where residential tenants may be facing significant displacement pressures and where affordable apartments are most threatened across New York City".

The association's Displacement Project Alert Map provides a building by building assessment of where residential tenants may be facing significant displacement pressures. Individual residential buildings are color coded on the map to show the displacement risk level for residents living there.

The DAP map provides a number of displacement risk level scores for New York residential buildings. These risk scores are based on the loss of rent regulated units, the volume of Department of Buildings work permits and the level of property sales tax. The map also provides a combined score for each building based on these multiple combined risks of displacement.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Car Shaming Map


Every cyclist knows the dangers of cars parked selfishly in bike lanes. They have all also experienced the frustration from knowing that there is nothing that you can do about it. Except if you live in New York.

A new website allows New York cyclists to publicly shame car drivers who park in bike lanes. carsinbikelanes.nyc allows anyone to submit photos of cars obstructing bike lanes. It then displays the photos of the offending vehicles on an interactive map. It also prominently displays the licence plates of the obstructive cars.

If you don't live in New York then you could always fork the project on GitHub and set up your own crowd-sourced traffic violation reporting map in your own city or town.

Weather Forecasts in 3D


Dark Sky provide hyper-local weather information with its iOS and Android apps. It also provides a desktop weather map which includes a seven day forecast of weather conditions around the world.

The Dark Sky Weather Map provides the option to view global weather conditions on an interactive 3d globe. The map includes a number of different weather layers which allow you to view a seven day forecast of temperature, precipitation and wind speed around the world.

The Dark Sky 3d weather visualization uses OpenLayers with the Cesium WebGL 3d globe engine. The Dark Sky Weather Map also includes an option to embed the weather map and 3d globe on your own website or blog.


You can also view animated wind direction and temperature forecasts on a 3d globe, courtesy of MeteoEarth. The MeteoEarth 3d globe provides worldwide temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, wind and air pressure forecasts using data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Like Dark Sky, MeteoEarth also includes a 'Map Builder' tool which allows you to embed a 3d weather map on your own website. The Map Builder tool allows you to select the types of weather data and the size of map you want to embed and then provides you with the HTML code to insert the map on your website or blog.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Free Styling with Mapbox, Google & Maputnik


Google has extended custom map styles to the Google Maps APIs for iOS and Android. This means that you can now use the same custom map style across different platforms.

The Google Maps API allows you to change the colors of different map element and to define which map elements are visible. To start creating your own custom map style you can play with the new Google Maps APIs Styling Wizard. The wizard allows you to quickly adjust the number of labels, landmarks and roads that are visible on the map. It also contains a number of pre-designed themes, such as the vintage and night-time map styles.

If you want to change the look of your map style even further just click on the 'more options' button. This will allow you to control which feature types you wish to display in your style and allow you to change their appearance on the map.

You can learn more about custom map styles in the Google Maps API documentation for Android, iOS and JavaScript.

The Google Maps API doesn't have as many styling features as Mapbox Studio. In particular Google still doesn't allow you to change the fonts of map labels. An option that Mapbox Studio has had from the start. Choosing and adding your own fonts for place-labels really does allow you to create distinctive custom map styles. The new Mapbox Studio dataset editor also allows you to add and customize the look of your own map data directly within the same styling browser interface.


If Mapbox Studio feels too proprietary for your needs, and you want to create and serve your own custom map tiles, then you might want to support Maputnik. Maputnik is a new browser based map styling editor for creating custom Mapbox GL styles.

The Maputnik editor is very similar in design and use to Mapbox Studio but is open source and will run on your own desktop computer. The editor allows you to add and control the visibility of a range of map elements and define their colors.

To add your Maputnik created custom map style to a map you just need to download the Maputnik generated JSON style document. You can then use the style by pointing to the JSON file from your Mapbox GL maps.

Maputnik is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to develop the project further. You can also view the current project code for Maputnik on GitHub.

Where could you walk in ten minutes?


Urbica has released a new travel time interactive map called Galton. The map can help you discover how far you can walk or drive in ten minute increments in major cities around the world.

To find out how far you can walk or drive in ten or twenty minutes you just need to move the black dot on the map to the starting point of your journey. The dark blue area will then show you how far you can walk (or drive) in ten minutes. While the light blue area shows where you could walk in twenty minutes.

The travel time algorithm used by Galton uses the Open Source Routing Machine with OpenStreetMap map data to work out the travel time distances. The project code of Galton is open and available on GitHub. You can also learn more about Galton and how it was developed on the Urbica blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mapping China's Foreign Investment


Over the last month there has been a sudden surge of interactive maps exploring China's growing influence as a global super power.

In One Belt, One Road the Financial Times mapped some of the huge infrastructure projects China has undertaken to connect central Asia with the rest of the world. In Chinese Aid in the Pacific the Lowy Institute has mapped Chinese aid projects in the Pacific islands region. The Center for Strategic & International Studies has also mapped China's territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea.

The New York Times has now mapped China's overseas investments from 2005-2013. The World According to China features a series of maps showing where and how much China has invested in other countries.

The maps show how Chinese investment has grown substantially since 2005. They also show how China has invested heavily in politically sensitive countries such as North Korea and Myanmar, countries western investors tend to avoid. China has also invested heavily in resource rich countries in Africa and the Middle East, with 'autocratic governments and struggling economies.

The result of this investment is that China has locked up many important oil and construction contracts in countries where Western governments would like to see economic reform and improving environmental standards. Thus making it harder for the west to push for political reforms in these countries.

America's Contaminated Drinking Water Map


In 1993 Erin Brockovich brought litigation against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company for the contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium in the California town of Hinkley. The case led to the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit.

In 2016 the drinking water of two-thirds of Americans is contaminated with the same carcinogenic chemical. The Environmental Working Group has released an interactive map which allows you to find out the levels of Chromium-6 contamination in community water utilities across the United States. The EWG's Chemical Taints in Tap Water map provides a choropleth map view of the average levels of contamination found in community water utility tests at the individual county level.

If you select a county on the map you can discover the number of water systems in the county which have tested positive for chromium-6 and the number of samples which tested positive. You can also view details on the average level of chromium-6 discovered. As a guide to reading these levels you might want to consider that California has a public health goal of a maximum of 0.02 parts per billion of chromium-6 in drinking water.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mapping Germany's Power Sources


By 2020 Germany wants 18% of its energy to come from renewable sources. By the same date it wants to cut emissions by 40%. To achieve this goal Germany needs to drastically reduce its reliance on coal and oil fueled power.

Carbon Brief's Power Sources in Germany is an interactive map which visualizes Germany’s electricity generating capacity. The map allows you to view the power sources and capacity of Germany's power plants.

You can use the map menu to filter the electricity generating plants by type. This allows you to view the distribution of different power sources and view the total amount of energy produced by each type of power source. For example, if you select wind power from the menu, you can see that it currently contributes 44,983 MW of Germany's 191,153 MW of power. You can also see on the map how wind power is concentrated in the north of the country, particularly along the North Sea coast.