Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Non-Clustering Custom Place Labels

Planet of Sound was created by Dorothy to crowd-source the music playlist for an event they held in May of this year. That event is now over but the map still works and is well worth visiting. Not least for its magical non-clustering custom map labels.

The Planet of Sound map allows you to tag any location in the world with a song and a memory. If you don't want to add a song you can just browse the map to explore what songs other people associate with different places across the globe.

The map doesn't include any real place-name labels. In fact the only labels on this map are the song titles people have added to the map. What is particularly impressive is how the map avoids clustering and overlapping these custom labels. This is not a simple thing to achieve.

If you want to add your own non-clustering & non-overlapping labels to a map then you can should have a look at James Milner's Labelgun for reducing label clutter. The GitHub for Labelgun includes examples of the library being used with Leaflet, Esri and OpenLayers. If you check out these examples you can see how Labelgun works to avoid custom labels clustering and overlapping as you zoom in and out on the map.

Vintage Maps of Japan

The Japanese Historical Maps Collection of the East Asian Library has worked with the David Rumsey Map collection to digitize around 2,300 early Japanese maps. The Japanese Historical Maps collection allows you to explore all of these digitized historical maps from Japan as zoomable images.

If you want you can explore some of these vintage maps in more detail on Google Maps. The Japan Historical GIS page has eight maps from the collection, dating back to 1694, which you view on top of Google Maps.

The University of British Columbia has a huge collection of maps and guidebooks from the Japanese Tokugawa period (1600-1867). Their Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era includes digitized versions of the maps which can be explored online.

The National Archives of Japan also own a large number of rare vintage maps of Japan. In particular they have digitized the Genroku Kuni Ezu (national land maps). Around the turn of the Eighteenth Century the Tokugawa Shogunate ordered maps to be made of the whole of the Japan. You can explore these maps on the National Archives Classic Maps website.

Gunma GIS Geek has used the Leaflet mapping platform to create interactive maps from a couple of famous Japanese pilgrimage mandalas. Pilgrimage mandalas are paintings which provide a panoramic view of temple and shrine sites.

The first map on Temple Pilgrimage Mandala is of the Nachi Pilgrimage Mandala. This 16th–17th century hanging scroll depicts the Nachi Shrine on the Kii Peninsula in Japan. The painting presents the journey of two pilgrims (the couple clothed in white) as they enter the scene (bottom right) and take a circuitous route through the temple complex to the Nachi shrine.

You can learn more about some of the over 50 buildings depicted in the painting at the Embodying Compassion website. Embodying Compassion includes an interactive version of the Nachi Pilgrimage Mandala. This interactive version of the mandala features a number of markers which allow you to learn more about the buildings, temples and statues depicted in the mandala.

If you want to explore vintage maps of Tokyo then a good place to start is with the Past and Present Map, which uses some beautiful vintage maps to illustrate how Tokyo has developed since the Nineteenth Century.

The application lets you explore ten historical maps ranging in date from 1896 to 2005. The dual map control places the historical map side-by-side with a Google Map. Pan and zoom the historical map and the Google Map will also move to ensure that both maps are always showing the same view.

Monday, September 18, 2017

School Safety Snapshot

Zendrive has rated the road safety around 75,000 schools nationwide. Using mobile phone data from car drivers Zendrive has measured the levels of dangerous driving around schools across the United States. You can find out the Zendrive ratings for dangerous driving around your local schools on the Zendrive School Safety Snapshot interactive map.

The map uses three different administrative levels to show ratings for states, counties and individual schools. When zoomed out on the map you can view the ratings for each state (California and Florida have the worst ratings). If you click on a state on the map you can drill down to view the ratings in each county. If you the click on a county you can view the ratings for all the individual schools.

The interactive map is well designed and it is very easy to navigate down to view the ratings for individual schools. I'm not entirely convinced about Zendrive's data and methodology. They claim that their model "predicts future collisions six times more accurately than leaders of the industry". If you are worried about dangerous driving around your local school then it might be worth checking the traffic accident records of the local roads for yourself.

For example you could look at Mapping Ten Years of Fatal Traffic Accidents, an interactive map showing every single fatal traffic accident in the United States from 2004 to 2013.

When zoomed out this map shows a heatmap of fatal traffic accidents across the whole country. When you zoom in on the map markers appear showing the location of each individual fatal accident. This means that you can zoom in on any city or town in the USA to view a detailed map of where accidents occurred locally.

When you zoom in on the map option controls also appear which allow you to filter the accidents shown by contributing factors (alcohol, speeding and driver distraction). The markers are also colored on the map to show who was killed in each accident (driver, passenger, pedestrian etc).

Mapping Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are areas of oceans where human activity is restricted for conservation purposes. 6.35% of the world's seas are now covered by MPAs. That is a ten-fold increase in the area of our oceans designated as MPAs in the first seventeen years of this century.

You can view which areas of the world's oceans have MPA status on Protected Planet's Marine Protected Areas interactive map. The map shows the location of MPAs around the globe and provides information about the status of each MPA. If you select an MPA on the map you can click-through to read more about its designation and the name of its management authority.

The Protected Planet also maintains a database of all the world's terrestrial and marine protected areas. The World Database on Protected Areas includes an interactive map showing both marine & terrestrial protected areas around the globe.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Free Style OSM

If you like the Emoji Map Generator then you will probably love Map Stylizer. Where the Emoji Map Generator allows you to create maps from your favorite emojis the Map Stylizer gives you more scope to create a custom styled map from an OpenStreetMap tile.

The Map Stylizer includes a number of pre-set map styles. For example the screenshot above shows the White House styled using the Map Stylizer's treasure map style. The other pre-set styles include  'circuit board', 'paper' and 'scribbles'. However you don't have to use these pre-set styles. If you choose the custom option you can select to choose which map features you want to change and how you want to change them.

Both the Emoji Map Generator and the Map Stylizer create pretty awful maps but they are fun to play with. They are both also interesting examples of how individual OSM map tiles can be manipulated on the fly.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cleaner Air = Longer Lives

You can use this interactive map to find out how many extra years you could expect to live if your country met the World Health Organization's recommended safe levels of air quality. The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago's Air Quality-Life Index map shows how many life years could be saved in countries around the world if they met WHO standards for safe levels of airborne particulate matter pollution.

The darker the color on the map then the more years could be saved. In other words the darkest areas have the worst records of air pollution. You can actually view particulate pollution concentrations on the map by switching to the 'Pollution' layer.

Air pollution causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide. The World Health Organization's own interactive map, Global Ambient Air Pollution, also shows the levels of pollution across the globe. The map displays the average annual atmospheric particulate matter levels throughout most of the world. The data used is from the WHO Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, which covers 3000 cities in 103 different countries.

The Global Ambient Air Pollution map helps highlight the fact that air pollution most effects those living in low and middle income countries. However 56% of cities in high-income countries also don't meet the WHO air quality guidelines. Even in high-income countries urban air pollution levels tend to be higher in low and middle-income cities and in the poorest neighborhoods of high-income cities.

Rocking All Over the World

Taylor Swift really likes playing in Nashville. If you check out her gigging history on the Music Globe you can see that the number of concerts she has played in Nashville dwarfs all other locations. Mind you she did move to Nashville at the age of fourteen, so perhaps her gigging history isn't that surprising.

You can find out where other musical artists like to gig on this new 3d Music Globe. Just type in an artist's name and you can see a visualization of how often they have gigged at locations around the world. The height of the colored towers on the map represents the number of concerts played at that location.

The data for the number of gigs an artist has played comes from the Bandsintown API. Unfortunately Bandsintown was founded in 2007, so I assume the data for historical concerts only goes back that far. The globe itself was created using Google's WebGL Globe library. The source code for the interactive Music Globe is available on Github.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Before & After Irma

The Washington Post has used satellite imagery from before & after Hurricane Irma to show the scale of the destruction caused by the tropical storm in the Carribean and in Florida. Before and After Hurricane Irma uses high resolution satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe to provide an aerial view of just a few of the areas devastated by the storm.

NOAA has also released an interactive map which includes aerial imagery of Florida taken since the storm. Hurricane IRMA Imagery uses aerial imagery captured on Monday and Tuesday. The map includes post-Irma aerial imagery for much of the Florida Keys. The map also has imagery along the west coast of Florida, from Naples up to Punta Gorda.

Street Views of 1980s New York

Broadway in the mid 1980s had a lot to offer.  Karate Kid Part II was on at the cinema, Cats was being performed nightly at the theater and on Times Square you could buy just about any drug that you wanted. If that sounds appealing to you then get ready to jump into this new Street View time machine.

80s.NYC is a fantastic collection of vintage photographs of New York City street scenes, all taken in the 1980s. The photos were taken by the Finance Department of New York City in the middle of the 80s. In order to accurately assess building taxes the department photographed every single building in the five boroughs. The pictures could then be used to estimate property values.

Thanks to Brandon Liu and Jeremy Lechtzin you can now travel the city streets of 1980's New York City. Their 80s.NYC map allows you to browse the City's photographic collection by location. Just click anywhere on the map of the city and you can instantly view the vintage Street Views of that location. The map also includes a number of curated 'Stories'. These stories provide historical background to some of the more interesting photos and historical buildings in the collection.

If the sleaze of 1980s New York doesn't appeal then why not go back further in time to the beginning of the 20th Century. The New York Public Library has a complete collection of vintage photographs depicting Fifth Avenue, New York, from start to finish.

The photos provide a great resource for exploring New York at the turn of the last century. Especially if you use the library's own great Street View application. Street View, Then & Now: New York City's Fifth Avenue allows you to take a virtual stroll down Fifth Avenue in Street View while comparing today's New York to those vintage photos of the same locations taken at the beginning of the 20th Century.

If you enjoy exploring old vintage photographs of New York then you might want to help NYPL geo-tag its collection of vintage photographs of the city. The NYPL's Surveyor map is a citizen science project designed to hep the library index its collections of historical photographs by location.

Visit the Surveyor website and you will be shown a vintage photograph from the NYPL collection. All you have to do is show the location depicted in the photo by clicking on the interactive map. Luckily many of the photographs have an address in the photo's title or associated data. This makes the task relatively easy, even if you don't know New York very well.

Many of the photos in the NYPL's Digital Collections are in the public domain. This means that you will be able to use many of the photos that you geo-tag in your own interactive maps. Just like OldNYC has done with its interactive map of 40,000 vintage photos of New York from the NYPL’s photo collections.

10 Street View Games to Kill Your Day

1. GeoGuessr

There are lots of 'Can you guess the Street View?' type games but there is only one GeoGuessr. GeoGuessr is probably the most popular Google Maps geography game.

In this geography game you are shown a random Street View image and you must try to guess where in the world the Street View was taken. Once you have guessed you are shown how close your guess was to the correct location and awarded points based on how near you guessed.

What really sets GeoGuessr apart from other Street View guessing games is GeoSettr! With the release of GeoSettr you can now create your own GeoGuessr game based on your favorite locations and Street Views. Using GeoSettr you can create your own GeoGusser game of five questions. All you have to do is choose five locations on a Google Map and then you then get a unique link to your game that you can share with your friends.

2. Brick Street View

This one isn't strictly a game but who isn't going to have fun seeing their house turned into Lego. Brick Street View does just that, re-imagining Google Maps and Google Street View as they might appear in Legoland.

Type your address into this Legoized Google Map and then drop the Lego Pegman onto your street. You can then actually view your house as it might look if it was built with those little plastic colored bricks. Brick Street View works anywhere in the world where Street View appears on Google Maps. So after viewing your Lego house you can take a tour of some of the world's most famous monuments as they also might look in Legoland.

Brick Street View works by using the undocumented depth data stored in Street View. It uses this data to create a depth map which can be used to plot geometry and sprites in the 3d space of the Street View panorama.

3. Sakura

Have you ever wanted to cherry bomb your house. Thanks to this beautiful application you can now view your house covered in cherry blossom on Google Maps Street View.

Sakura allows you to visualize how your house might look if you could transport it to Japan in the springtime, just at the moment when the cherry blossom is in full bloom. The effect is so amazing that it can even transform my grey London street into a road where I might actually be happy to live.

4. Earth-Picker

On the surface Earth-Picker is very similar to GeoGuessr. In the game, like in GeoGuessr, you are shown a series of random Street View scenes. The object of the game is to try to guess the location of the depicted Street View image. To do this you simply place a marker on a Google Map to show where you think the Street View image is from.

What sets Earth-Picker apart from other Street View guessing games is the neat way it shows how close your guess was to the real location. Like in other Street View guessing games you are awarded points based on how close your guess was to the real location. However Earth-Picker also places a blue circle around the depicted location.

This blue circle shows you the average distance that all the other users of the game were to guessing the correct location. Therefore for each Street View image that you guess you are able to instantly see whether you beat most other users, or whether your guess was worse than most other players.

5. My Name is Hunt

My Name is Hunt is the world's first Street View based text adventure game. In this game you have to follow a number of clues to stay alive. Each textual clue is accompanied by a Street View image showing you where you are in your search for numerous antidote syringes which have been hidden around Rio de Janeiro.

Each clue is also accompanied by two (or more) paths for you to choose from. Choose wisely as each turn you take in this game costs you a little health. If your health reaches zero before you find an antidote then you will die.

6. Where in the World

Where in the World is another 'guess the location on Street View' game. In this fun game, however, you are helped a little as the locations are all well-known locations from around the world. All you have to do is choose the correct location for each Street View from three different answers.

The game allows you to choose from five different categories, History, Travel, Royal Attractions, Nature and Parks & Entertainment. Once you have selected your categories you are shown 10 different Street View images and your job is to guess where in the world each image is from.

The main difficulty with Where in the World is the time element. You are only given twelve seconds to answer each question, which isn't really enough time to explore the Street View scene in any detail. However, even with the time element, I found it easy to get ten out of ten each time I played. But then I spend way too much of my time exploring the world on Street View.

7. Allstate Holiday Home Decorator

If you are getting tired of roaming the world on Street View then why not enjoy a few relaxing moments at home, decorating your house on Google Maps Street View. The Allstate Holiday Home Decorator allows you to decorate your house on Street View with a number of Christmas themed decorations.

To decorate your home just enter your address into the Holiday Home Decorator. You will then be shown a Google Maps Street View of your home. Once you have the Street View image of your house you can add Christmas lights, candles, decorations, Christmas presents, trees and a little snow to the scene. When you are happy with the design of your Street View Christmas card just press the 'share your home' button and you can send a unique link to your card via Twitter or Facebook.

8. Urbanopticon

How well do you know your city? Test your knowledge with Urbanopticon. Yes, this is another Street View location guessing game but this time you get to contribute to a citizen science project while you play.

By now the formula of the game should be familiar - look at the Street view image and try to guess where in the world it is from. As you play, however, you are also helping Urbanopticon develop a collective mental map of your city based on your answers and the answers of other players. Using these answers the team can begin to answer questions about which areas in cities are memorable, why some areas are more memorable than others and how developers / city planners can better build communities that help make people feel more at home.

9. The Division Map of New York

This one is also not strictly a Street View game but it will appeal to fans of Ubisoft's video game of Tom Clancy's The Division. It also might appeal to New Yorkers interested in how their city might look in a dystopian future. The Division Map of New York features a number of 360 degree panoramic Street View images which allow you to explore scenes of New York as portrayed in the on-line game. These Street View images show a post-pandemic New York, devastated by the effects of a deadly disease which has brought chaos to the streets of America.

10. Spacehopper

Spacehopper is another great Street View based geography quiz. The game was built for school kids studying geography but is lots of fun for us slightly older kids as well.

The game presents you with a series of Street View images from locations around the world (with the odd photo thrown in for good measure). The object of the game is to guess the location of the Street View image by clicking on a Google Map. To help you in this task the possible locations are marked on the map with a little red dot.

You get three attempts to get the correct answer to each Street View. If you are struggling you can also ask for clues. The game includes some user settings that allow you to restrict the views shown to various regions around the globe.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mapping Australia's Support for Gay Marriage

This month Australia is holding a non-binding national postal survey into the issue of same-sex marriage. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has released a really interesting story map which looks at the results of a poll which asked Australians the same question last year. How Australians think about same-sex marriage, mapped shows the level of support for gay marriage across the whole of the country.

The problem with a choropleth view of the survey results in each electorate is that it presents a slightly distorted picture of the situation. Larger, less populated rural areas show the least support for gay marriage. These larger more rural areas dominate the map when you are zoomed out and therefore could lead the user to underestimate the support for gay marriage in Australia.

ABC get around this distorted picture by exploring the results in different areas. As you progress through the story map ABC zoom in on Sydney to show how support in more populated inner-city areas is far higher than in outer suburban and rural areas. ABC proceed to show how this geographic tendency in the vote is true for other cities. In fact the geography of a voter appears to be a far bigger guide to their likelihood to support gay marriage than party support.

It will be interesting to see if this geographical tendency is repeated in this month's postal survey.

The Relative Cost of Housing

Last month the Housing Affordability Story Map used Esri’s Housing Affordability Index to map the local affordability of housing across the United States. The map looked at the share of average income in an area to the size of the average mortgage to determine how affordable local property is for local people.

Mortgage Magnitude is another Esri story map which uses the Housing Affordability Index to show how affordable property is for local people across the United States. This map also looks at the median local income and median local home value to show the relative affordability of property in each US county.

The success of Mortgage Magnitude is due in large part to the simple measurement of property values to the local median salary. In other words the value of the average property is expressed in the number of years salary it costs. This measurement is represented visually on the story map by the number of red people (each person representing one year's income).

This simple form of measurement is then used to look at the affordability of housing across the United States. As you scroll through the story map Mortgage Magnitude is able to show you counties in the USA where local property costs around one year's income (in other words where property is reasonably affordable). It then progresses to show you counties where property is around two years total salary, three years salary, four years salary and so on ... until we reach 9-10 years local salary for those living in some California coastal counties.

Global Sea Level Rise Since 1933

The Permanent Service of Mean Sea Level has been measuring sea level changes around the world since 1933. To do this the organisation has over 2,000 tide gauge meters measuring sea levels across the globe. CORRECTIV has mapped the records from 500 of these meters to provide an insight into how sea levels have changed in the last century and how they might change in the future.

Using CORRECTIV's Rising Seas map you can select any of the 500 mapped meters anywhere in the world. When you click on a meter you can view a graph of the meter's measurements since 1933. The map sidebar also provides an overview of how sea level has changed at this location since the measurements began.

As well as measurements from the 500 meter readings the Rising Seas map also includes an overlay which shows you coastal areas which are within 10 meters of sea level and therefore most at risk from rising sea levels.

I really like the use of breadcrumbs to help you navigate this map. Users can use the links at the top of the information panel to step back through different zoom levels. From being zoomed in on the location of an individual meter you can quickly step back to the country zoom level, the continent level and finally to the whole world. When the map is zoomed in on a country the map sidebar updates to show the average number of CO2 produced by each inhabitant of that country.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Languages of Sydney

Small Multiples has used the Language Spoken at Home (LANP) data from the 2016 Australian census to map the languages spoken in Sydney and Melbourne. The languages we speak in Sydney and Melbourne includes two interactive dot maps (one for each city) which show the languages spoken at home by those cities' residents.

The individual dots on both maps represent 5 people. The colors of the dots show the language spoken. If you zoom in on a neighborhood you can get a good overview of the density of different language speakers in the area.

Back in 2014 the Sydney Morning Herald also created an interesting mapped analysis of the languages spoken in Sydney. The map shows the top non-English languages spoken in each of the city's suburbs, the density of English as a first language and the linguistic diversity in each neighborhood, based on data from the 2011 census.

Sydney's Melting Pot of Language reveals that east Asians predominantly live in the north shore while Arabic speakers dominate the western suburbs. Over 250 different languages are spoken in the city and nearly 40 percent speak a non-English language as their first tongue.

Accompanying the mapped visualization is a bar graph showing the numbers of speakers of each of the non-English languages spoken in the city. The graph groups the languages into global regions but you can select any of the region bars to view a percentage breakdown of the individual languages.

Dreamliner by Dreamliner

Last month Boeing drew a massive geo-glyph of a Dreamliner aircraft during a test flight over the United States. While performing engine performance testing a Dreamliner test aircraft flew for 18 hours from Seattle to Seattle. Its flight path (which took it as far south as the southern tip of Texas) just happened to be in the shape of a giant, USA spanning, airplane.

You can review the whole plane-shaped flight path of Flight N7874 on Flightradar24. The plane's flight path is displayed for you on a Google Map. If you press the play button on the map you can watch as the plane marker follows the flight path on the map. The dashboard display, beneath the map, continually updates with the plane's speed & altitude during the test flight.

All the Bikes in All the World

The Bike Sharing Atlas is a great data dashboard which allows you to explore real-time data from over 1,000 bike sharing networks around the world. Using the dashboard you can view individual bike networks and compare and contrast how different cities operate their bike sharing networks.

The 'Networks' view provides small multiple maps of bike sharing networks around the world. These multiple maps allow you to compare the geographical distribution of bike sharing stations in different cities side-by-side. You can also click on any of these small maps to explore an individual bike network in more detail.

Exploring the interactive map of an individual city's bike sharing network gives you access to lots of data about that city's network. You can view the location of all the individual bike stations and explore the current status of bikes & empty slots in each station and its average utilization. You can also explore the bike stations by elevation, which allows you to discover the city's highest & lowest bike sharing station.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The History of the Hurricane

Much has been made about the record breaking nature of Hurricane Irma. The intensity of Irma and the length of time it maintained that intensity meant that it broke all sorts of records. But don't take my word for it. You can compare Hurricane Irma to any other hurricane over the last 100 odd years for yourself using NOAA's interactive map of hurricane tracks.

NOAA's Historical Hurricane Tracks map allows you to view global hurricane data dating back as far as 1842. Using the map you can search and visualize hurricane data by storm name, location and by date. If you enter the name of a hurricane (for example 2012's Hurricane Sandy) you can view the hurricane's track on the map. Points along each hurricane's track allow you to view details about the wind speed and pressure for each day. A link is also provided to read a PDF of NOAA's storm report for each hurricane.

If you select the 'Hurricanes' option from the map menu then you can view all the historical hurricane tracks on one map. If you select the 'County Strikes' option you can view a choropleth map of U.S. coastal counties. The counties colored dark red have historically had more hurricane strikes than the counties colored with a lighter red.

This map of historical Hurricane and Tropical Cyclone Track Density uses Carto's Torque library to animate the track density of hurricanes and tropical cyclones from 2000-2013. The map uses data from the National Climatic Data Center - NOAA.

The Hurricane and Tropical Cyclone Track Density map doesn't allow you to explore individual hurricane tracks but the heatmap does reveal the areas of the world which are most prone to hurricanes and tropical cyclones. As the animation plays the seasonal nature of hurricanes and tropical cyclones is also revealed by the rise and fall of storm activity on the map.

The Geography of London's Nightlife

London's nightlife is moving east and northwards, according to a new interactive map of the city's clubs. Nesta's Clubbing Map shows where clubs have opened & closed in London from 2005-2015 and shows that the city's West End is losing its traditional role as the center of London nightlife.

The map shows that since 2005 a large number of new clubs have opened up in and around Shoreditch in London's East End. This suggests that London's nightlife is no longer centered in the city's West End. This perception of a changing geography in London's nightlife is reinforced when you look at the ratio between the number of clubs that have closed and opened over this period.

The Clubbing Map includes a choropleth layer which shows the ratio of opened to closed clubs in each neighborhood with more than 10 clubs. The City and the West End have both seen the highest turnover in clubs, suggesting that clubs in these areas are finding it harder to succeed. Conversely neighborhoods in north London and the East End have seen a far lower ratio of clubs going out of business. It appears that new clubs opening in the north and east of London are able to survive much better than clubs opening in the city's West End.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

This Map Speaks Māori

If you get upset about all the World Maps Without New Zealand then you might want to spare a thought for Māori speakers. Even though Google Maps includes New Zealand apparently its automated voice always seems to mispronounce Māori place-names.

To rectify this problem Vodafone and Google have released a new map to crowdsource all the place-names that Google Maps manages to mispronounce. Anyone can drop a pin on the Say it tika map to show a location where Google struggles with the correct Māori pronunciation. All these highlighted place-names will then be sent to Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), who have promised to teach Google the correct pronunciations of Māori place-names.

Most of the locations with Māori language place-names in New Zealand have already been added to the map. If you click on a place-name's marker you can listen to how Google Maps pronounces the name. If Google gets it wrong then you can drop a map pin to inform Google of its mistake.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Mapping and the Physical Web

I spent most of this morning hunting down 3D-printed creatures which were hiding in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. There are 15 of these creatures hidden around the park, which you can find with the Tales From the Park interactive map.

Tales of the Park is a new digital experience created by UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). Using an interactive map you can hunt down 15 3D-printed creatures which have been placed around the park. When you locate a creature you can even chat with it using your smartphone to learn more about the park.

If you have Bluetooth and location sharing on your smartphone the creatures will automatically send you a notification when you are in close proximity. Tales of the Park uses Google's Physical Web technology to send you these messages. This technology uses low energy Bluetooth beacons to connect you with the creatures over the internet. If you have the physical web option activated on your smartphone you automatically receive a notification which allows you to start chatting with the creature.

It is pretty good fun tracking down these creatures and chatting with them to learn more about the park. Tales of the Park is also a great example of how the Physical Web and Bluetooth beacons can be used to connect physical objects to the web. There is obviously a huge potential here for information to be attached to physical objects that passers-by can then access from their smartphones.

Hurricane Irma's Forecast Path Maps

Google has released a crisis map for Hurricane Irma. The Hurricane Irma Crisis Response Map shows the hurricane's forecast path as well as a number of layers to help people living in the storm zone.

The emergency layers for Hurricane Irma include public alerts, evacuation routes and the locations of shelters, gas stations & their fuel status. The map also includes layers to show the current cloud cover and precipitation.

Hurricane Irma is one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic. The Caribbean islands of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas and Cuba are all within the hurricane's current forecast error cone for the next few days. The storm is this expected to change to move in a more northerly direction, towards Florida.

You can view Hurricane Irma's forecast path on the Weather Channel's interactive map. The map shows the expected location of the hurricane for the next five days. At the time of writing the storm is expected to approach the Florida Keys on Saturday and could make landfall in Florida on Sunday. The Weather Channel's map includes a wind speed chart which shows the wind speed of the storm over the last five days and the forecast wind speeds over the next five days.

The New York Times has used data from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and the National Weather Service to map 52 distinct forecasts of the storm’s path over the next few days. Instead of a forecast error cone this map shows 52 different tracks which provide a range of probability of Irma's path.

Esri's Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones Overview map also shows the forecast path of Hurricane Irma. Esri's map includes wind speed forecasts. At the moment it forecasts that Hurricane Irma will have a maximum wind speed of 155 mph on Sunday as it approaches Florida. You can view the path of Hurricane Irma by selecting either the 'Northern Atlantic' or 'Gulf of Mexico' tabs above the map.

The most dramatic way of viewing Hurricane Irma's forecast path is to view it animated on Windy.com. This map animates winds speeds on an interactive map. Windy.com includes the option to animate the forecast wind speeds over the next week. Therefore if you press play on the map you can actually watch as Irma's forecast path is animated on the map.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Abortion Clinic Driving Times

151 towns and cities in the US have no accessible abortion clinics that are within a 1 hour round-trip drive. If you live in one of the worst states for provision then a round-trip to the nearest abortion-providing clinic can take up to nine hours. State legislation where you live may also limit abortion to a certain number of number of weeks of pregnancy. If you are pregnant for longer then you may face an even bigger round-trip to the nearest available abortion-providing clinic.

The Pudding has used data from the Safe Place Project to work out how far Americans have to travel to their nearest abortion-providing clinic. In How Far is Too Far? the Pudding has illustrated their findings with a number of maps. These include a map which shows how many urban areas are within different driving times of abortion clinics. Another map allows you to enter a number for the length of pregnancy to see the traveling time to the nearest clinic which is allowed to assist for that length of pregnancy.

The Pudding article also looks more closely at how the situation in some states will deteriorate even further if those states introduce TRAP laws to ban abortion entirely.

Mapping Pictures of Hurricane Irma

The National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation has created an interactive map to document and evaluate the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The Hurricane Irma Photo Map is a crowd-sourced map of geo-located photos showing damage caused by the tropical storm. It is designed to assist Emergency Management Agencies in evaluating the damage caused by Hurricane Irma and assess emergency response needs.

The map can be used to view the damage caused along the path of the storm. The map includes an overlay of Hurricane Irma's path and its forecast path. The locations of the crowd-sourced submitted photos are displayed on the map with clustered markers. You can view a photo by selecting its marker on the map.

You can submit photos to the map by clicking on the 'Add Photo' button. You don't need to have your own photographs of Hurricane Irma to help NAPSG. You can submit a relevant photograph found on news websites or social media if you know the correct location depicted in the image.

You can view the latest forecasts for Hurricane Irma's path on these Hurricane Irma's Forecast Path Maps.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Name That Place in One

How well do you know your city? Test your knowledge with Urbanopticon, a Street View location guessing game. It is fun to play and is also a fun citizen science project.

So let's play!

After selecting a city where you want to play you are shown a random Street View image. You need to show where you think that Street View is by clicking on the Google Map. Once you have submitted your answer you are shown the real location & your answer on a map and are awarded points for how close you got to the real location.

As well as earning points for your answers you are also helping Urbanopticon develop a collective mental map of your city based on your answers and the answers of other players. Using these answers the team can begin to answer questions about which areas in cities are memorable, why some areas are more memorable than others and how developers / city planners can better build communities that help make people feel more at home.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Roll Your Own Game of Thrones Map

It has never been easier to create your own interactive Game of Thrones map. Thanks to Carto you don't even need to create your own basemap of Essos and Westeros. Carto's Game of Thrones Basemap of the Seven Kingdoms provides a great canvas on which you can add all of your Games of Thrones geo-data.

If you want to know how to add all your GoT geo-data to the Carto basemap then you need Patrick Triest's tutorial Building Aa Interactive Game Of Thrones Map (Part I) - Node.js, PostGIS, and Redis. The first installment of this two part tutorial explains how you can build a searchable backend to serve your data to the map. Part II of the tutorial is due next week. This second part promises to look more at the actual mapping side of building an interactive Game Of Thrones map,

If you were wondering what a Node.js, PostGIS, and Redis powered Game of Thrones map looks like then you can find out on Patrick's Atlas of Thrones. The map includes lots of categorized points of information that you can view on the map. Including castles, towns, regions and landmarks. You can navigate to these via the categorized menu or by using the built-in search function.

Cycling Accidents in New York

New York can be a very dangerous place to cycle. Especially between 6-7 pm and during the month of September. You can see how precarious it can be to bike in New York on this NYC Cycling Incidents Map.

The map shows that there aren't many sections of the city's roads where cyclists haven't been injured. In fact there are so many dots (each showing the location of a cycling accident) that using map markers to show where accidents have happened is probably not the best way to visualize this data. For example coloring each section of road by the number of accidents might give a clearly indication of the locations in New York that have the worst cycling incidents record.

What does really work well on this map are the options provided to explore the data. The charts and graph view reveal the number of cycling accidents by time of day and month. You can also click on these charts to filter the accidents by time of day and the month of the year.

The map uses Microsoft's Power BI data visualization tool with Mapbox's interactive mapping library.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Halibut Mapping

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) carries out annual surveys to assess halibut stocks in eleven regulatory areas, from northern California to the Bering Sea. A new interactive map has used this survey data to visualize how the numbers and size of halibut in the Pacific Ocean have drastically fallen since 1998.

Mapping change in weight, length, and abundance of Pacific Halibut: 1998 - 2015 visualizes two quantifiable facts about halibut stocks in the survey areas. The colored circular markers show both the total pounds of halibut (size of marker) and the percentage of halibut over 32 inches (color of the marker). This means that users are able to easily visualize the falling numbers of halibut and the reduction in size of the fish.

This reduction in size and numbers of Halibut in the Pacific is reinforced by the overall numbers in each survey area. If you hover over a regulatory area on the map you can view the number of halibut, the total pounds of halibut and the percentage over 32 inches for the selected year. A bar graph also dramatically highlights the shrinking numbers of halibut since 1998.

The good news is that halibut numbers in the last few years have improved in many of the regulatory survey areas, especially in those along the west coast of Canada and the USA. This is probably due, to some extent, to the conservative management of fish stocks over the last decade.

This halibut stocks map was created by Lis Fano. You can view more of her maps on her online portfolio.

Mapping Animal Migrations

The Military Mutual has created an interactive map showing the incredible migratory journeys undertaken by animals around the world. The map shows selected journeys made by species which every year travel incredible distances by land, sea and air.

The lines on the Strength in Numbers map show the direction and locations of the selected animal migrations. The circles represent the size of the migrating population. You can click on each of these circles on the map to view the featured animal species and the total number of miles completed in its annual migration.

Below the map you can view some interesting statistics about animal migrations. For example, Arctic Terns fly around 55,923 miles on their migration. To put that in perspective that's more than twice the circumference of the Earth. In terms of numbers the Silver Y moth stands out. 250,000,000 Silver Y moths migrate every year.

Strength in Numbers goes on to look at how animal migrations compare to notable journeys made by humans; the ‘manpower’ of the British Armed Forces; and also takes a quick look at the animals who work alongside the British Armed Forces.