Monday, December 22, 2014

The Australian Population Map


The Australian Bureau of Statistics has for the first time released population in a 1 km² grid format. The data represents the Usual Resident Population (URP) from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing.

The Guardian has used the data to create an interactive map of Australian population density. The Most Detailed Map of Australian Population Density Ever provides a heat map of Australian population density using the Mapbox platform.


The 2011 Australian census has also been used to create some other interesting interactive maps. Australia's Special Broadcasting Service, a multilingual broadcasting service for ethnic communities, has used the census data to map the top three birthplaces of immigrants in suburbs and towns across Australia.

Where Australia's Immigrants Were Born uses the Mapbox mapping platform to visualize the countries of births of Australian immigrants. The article actually contains a series of maps, one showing the country as a whole, a number of maps covering the major cities and another map of the whole country which excludes immigrants from England and New Zealand.


The Sydney Morning Herald also used the census data to create an interesting mapped analysis of the languages spoken in the city. 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 neighbourhood.

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.  

The Taxi Data That Keeps on Giving


This year Chris Whong created an impressive interactive map from New York Taxi Data. Chris' map has made it on to most Maps of the Year lists that I've seen in the last couple of weeks and it has also gone on to inspire a number of other maps using the same data.

The latest map of New York taxi journeys is NYC Taxi Map 2013. This one is an impressive example of using Google Maps with Google Cloud Dataflow. Using Cloud Dataflow the map geo-fences the taxi data by New York neighborhoods. The result is that you can click on an area on the map to find out the distribution of drop-off locations, the average fare, average tip percentage and average number of passengers of trips that started in each New York neighborhood.


Chris Whong's original map, NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life is a MapBox visualization of the journey of one New York taxi over the course of 24 hours. You can also view the NYC Taxi Holiday Visualization, which animates taxi journeys from New York's airports over the course of a month and half, and Hubcab, a mapped visualization of 170 million taxi trips over one year in New York.

A Merry Street View Xmas


How would you like a personal visit from the Snowman? Chocolate company Thorntons have created a magical online Christmas Card featuring Raymond Briggs' cute Snowman character (and Google Maps).

The Thorntons Facebook Christmas Message application allows you to send an animated Christmas message to a friend in which the Snowman flies over their house (using Google Maps satellite imagery) and even walks down their street (using Street View).


If you want a less commercial Street View message then you can use It's a Message. This Google Maps application helps you create and send a personal holiday greeting from your own choice of Street View.

Once you select a Street View location and add your own personal message this app creates a stylized Street View scene, with animated snow and your greeting. The app pans and zooms around your chosen Street View accompanied by some nice soothing Christmas related music.

Once you are happy with your personal Christmas Street View scene you can send the URL link to your friends. This app uses WebGL, so you will need to use a compliant web browser.

Christmas Around the World


Tech companies have invented the modern Christmas tradition of the Santa Tracking interactive map. Between now and Christmas Eve you can visit Google's Santa Tracker webpage and  play a different Santa related game every day.

The Google Santa Tracker also includes a Google Map looking at Christmas Traditions around the world. It is always fascinating to explore how different cultures celebrate Christmas. For example did you know that n Iceland the Christmas Cat prowls the streets at Christmas gobbling up anyone who is not dressed-up in clothes warm enough to ward off the winter cold.


If you are interested in learning more about Christmas traditions in different cultures you should also have a look at the Santas Around the World map. Santa goes by many different names. In many countries he is of course Saint Nicholas, but he is also known as Father Christmas, Agios Vasilis, Shengdan Laoren and Ded Moroz.

It seems that there are two main versions of Santa's name. In many countries Santa is named after Saint Nicholas, for example 'Santa Claus' itself derives from the Dutch 'Sinterklaas', a dialectal pronunciation of Saint Nicholas. In many other countries he goes by the name of Father Christmas, for example he is 'Père Noël' in France, 'Pai Natal' in Portugal and 'Papa Noel' in Spain.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Maps of the Week


Edinburgh Library has created a wonderful map featuring historical stories, photos and maps about life in the Scottish capital.

Our Town Stories - Edinburgh is a great showcase for some of Edinburgh Library's collection of historical documents, photographs and maps. My favorite aspect of Our Town is that you can view historical photos of the city actually overlaid on your choice of historical maps of the city.

The map includes a handy time-line feature which allows you to search through the stories, photos and maps by date. Enter a date range on the time-line and all the documents for that period are shown on the map using categorized markers.


The Washington Post has published an interesting account of the escape of three detainees from Alcatraz in June 1962. No one knows if the three prisoners survived their attempted escape or died while trying to navigate the strong currents of the San Francisco Bay,

The Washington Post's report, The Alcatraz Escapees Could have Survived, is based on the work of Dutch researchers who have been working on a model which simulates the movement of particles and detritus in bays. Based on this model the Dutch researchers have concluded that the three Alcatraz prisoners may have survived, but only if they left the island at the right time.

The report includes two animated CartoDB maps, one showing the worst case scenario and one showing the best case scenario. Both maps use tidal records to model the water-flow in the San Francisco Bay on the evening of the escape.

As the animation plays out on both maps you can view the likely track of the escapees based on the different times during the evening when they could have left Alcatraz. The animated boats on the map are colored to show the time of escape. In the best case scenario, as long as the escapees left before 1 a.m. and paddled north, they may have made it to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge and freedom.


One of the most popular posts on Maps Mania in 2014 looked at the heat maps generated by joggers and cyclists using wearable technology. One of these maps was Mapbox's '1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides', created using data from Runkeeper users.

Mapbox has now updated that map to include 150,000 additional routes and higher levels of zoom. Mapbox was able to achieve this extra detail by using Tippecanoe, a library developed by Eric Fischer for making vector tiles from large data sets. You might remember Eric's 6 Billion Tweets Map, from earliest this month, which also made great use of Tippecanoe.

The Superpowered 1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides map overlays Runkeeper routes on top of a Mapbox powered map of the world. The map includes some quick links to jump to the maps of a few major cities around the world and you can also pan and zoom the map to view the popular running routes at any location in the world.

Climate Change Around the Globe


Bloomberg has released an interesting interactive visualization of climate change using a WebGL 3d globe (which I think was created using Three.js). Climate Change in Perspective uses the 3d globe to examine the shrinking of the polar ice caps, the rise in sea levels and the rise in carbon emissions.

Bloomberg's WebGL 3d globe is used in a number of impressive ways to visualize these climate change topics. The globe is used in conjunction with a time-line to show the loss of the polar ice caps over time. CO2 emissions are overlaid on top of the globe to animate the flow of emissions around the world over the course of one year. You can also zoom in on specific locations on the globe to view a number of photographs illustrating some of the climate change issues being exploredd in the Bloomberg visualization.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Best Places to Live in the Bay Area


Teleport is an interesting real-estate search engine for the Bay Area. Tell Teleport where you work, how far you wish to commute and how much you wish to pay for housing and it will recommend the best areas for you to live in the Bay Area.

At the heart of Teleport is your preferred commute time. Enter a commute time into Teleport and your mode of travel and you will be shown a heat map of recommend areas within reach of your workplace. The areas marked in green are the best matches for your search.

You can add a number of other filters to your search. These include Food & Nightlife, Outdoor Recreation, Sports, Safety, Schools and Internet Access.

Clicking one of the recommended areas on the map brings up a comprehensive neighborhood guide. The guide to each neighborhood provides a wealth of information about the area, including reviews of local bars and restaurants, employment opportunities, work spaces and safety.

The Unanimous Map of the Year

One map has featured on every 2014 Maps of the Year list that I have seen this year. It is one of Wired MapLab's Favorite Maps of the Year. It appears on Cartonerd's Favorite Maps of the Year and it will definitely be on part two of my own round-up of the best Maps of the Year (view Part One here).

The map that has made it on to every Maps of the Year post is Chris Whong's NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life. MapLab call the map 'strangely mesmerizing'. Cartonerd says that the map is "a lovely piece of work that works well, marries form and function and shows us what web mapping can be".


NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life is a MapBox visualization of the journey of one New York taxi over the course of 24 hours.

As the day's journeys plays out on the map the taxi's position is shown by a yellow circle map marker. All the passenger journeys are added to the map with a blue polyline. The map also keeps a running total of the cab's total number of passengers, fares and tips received.

Once you have viewed a day in the life of this New York taxi you can choose from another one of thirty cab journeys mapped over 24 hours.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mapping Oakland Police Killings


Over the last few years Maps Mania has featured a few maps from San Francisco's Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. These include the Ellis Act Evictions Map, an animated timeline map of Ellis Act evictions, the Ellis Acts Against Seniors and People With Disabilities map, which visualizes the number of seniors and disabled tenants evicted over the last 3 years, and the No Fault Evictions map, showing the location of all no-fault evictions filed between January 1997 and October 14, 2013.

The Anti-Evictions Mapping Project has now released a map of Killings by Law Enforcement in Oakland. This map shows the locations where 90 people have been killed by the Oakland Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the BART Police in Oakland since 1970.

The markers on the map indicate the race of each victim. The Anti-Evictions Mapping Project were able to identify the race of 78 of the victims. Of those 78 victims 99% of them were people of color.

Supercharging Sports Maps


One of the most popular posts on Maps Mania in 2014 looked at the heat maps generated by joggers and cyclists using wearable technology. One of these maps was Mapbox's '1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides', created using data from Runkeeper users.

Mapbox has now updated that map to include 150,000 additional routes and higher levels of zoom. Mapbox were able to achieve this extra detail by using Tippecanoe, a library developed by Eric Fischer for making vector tiles from large data sets. You might remember Eric's 6 Billion Tweets Map, from earliest this month, which also made great use of Tippecanoe.

The Superpowered 1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides map overlays Runkeeper routes on top of a Mapbox powered map of the world. The map includes some quick links to jump to the maps of a few major cities around the world and you can also pan and zoom the map to view the popular running routes at any location in the world.


If you zoom in on the map you can view the recorded tracks right down to sidewalk level. Zooming down to sidewalk level allows you to observe the inaccuracies in the GPS data. There are lots of tracks where people seem to be running through buildings or on top of rivers. However, despite the inaccurate data, roads and sidewalks still emerge from the data due to the huge number of tracks being mapped.