Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Donut Holes in International Waters


Donut Holes in International Waters is an interactive map showing who has sovereignty over seas around the world.

The map also highlights 'doughnut holes', areas in the sea which lie within 200 nautical miles of two different countries but are of equal distance from each country. Doughnut holes are designated as international waters.

To create the map the author, Dmitriy Skougarevskiy, had to design an interactive map that included the state maritime borders defining each country's sovereignty over the world's seas. He also had to create his own bathymetry layer.

A post on the CartoDB Blog explains in some detail how Dmitriy created his beautiful looking maritime map.

Map Your Retirement


I really don't want to live in Florida but according to Map My Retirement that's where I should spend my golden years.

Map My Retirement asks you a series of questions about your lifestyle, pursuits and personal interests and then recommends where you should spend your retirement. For me the recommended location was Florida. Luckily, for those of us who don't like Map My Retirement's initial recommendation, you can also tell Map My Retirement where you want to live and it will then only suggest locations close to your preferred home.

All the recommended locations are displayed on an interactive map. If you click on the location markers on the map you can view details about the location and the estimated monthly cost to live there.

The Isodistance Google Map


The Road Network Isodistance Map is a Google Maps based experiment which shows the extent you can travel by road within a specified distance of a given location. If you enter a distance to travel and right click on the map to set the location the extent you can travel from that point on any road is shaded on the map in green.

The routing comes from OpenStreetMap and only works for Austin. Therefore if you click on the map outside of Austin you won't see any results.

You can also view isochrone maps for a number of locations at Travel Time (for a number of US cities) or Mapnificent ( major cities around the world).

Fusion Tables Map Wizards

One of the easiest ways to create a sophisticated mapped visualization of data is to use Google Fusion Tables. Simply throw your data into Fusion Tables, select the column to geocode and grab the embed code. You now have a map which you can add to your website.

You can even add labels to your map, a search box &/or drop-down menu to query the data displayed on the map and you can style the Google Map tiles to create a unique looking map. These added options can all be easily implemented if you use the following Fusion Tables Wizards.

FusionTablesLayer Builder

The FusionTablesLayer Builder is a great little wizard for creating a Google Map from a Fusion Table. To build your map all you need to do is add the embed link of your Fusion Table and specify the name of the column holding your location data. That's all there is to it! FusionTablesLayer Builder will now create the html for your finished map.

The wizard does provide a number of other useful options. You can set the height and width of your Google Map. You can also set the center location and the initial zoom level. A really nice option also lets you add a search box for your map or a drop-down menu. These options allow your map's users to query the results and refine the data shown on your map.

Fusion Map Generator

Fusion Map Generator is another clever wizard for Fusion Tables, which allows you to define the size and width of your map and then provides you with the full html to publish your finished map.

The Fusion Map Generator also includes the option to choose from a number of map styles, which allows you to create a map with a distinct look and feel.

Searchable Map Template

Derek Eder's Searchable Map Template is a free, open source tool that helps you create a searchable, filterable Google Map from a Fusion Table.

The template can create a Google Map pulling in data from any Fusion Table. It includes a number of features, including, an address search (with variable radius), geolocation (automatically center the map on the user's location), results count (using the Google's Fusion Tables API) and the ability to easily add additional search filters (checkboxes, sliders, etc).

Derek Eder's website includes a number of example maps created with the template. These include Derek's own maps, mainly centred on Chicago and lots of maps created by others with the template,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Route Planning & Risk Avoidance


Trip Risk is a neat route-planning map for Melbourne, Australia which displays the accident black spots along suggested routes. The map uses open sourced data on car crashes, from the State Government of Victoria, to not only suggest a driving route but also show you all the car crashes that have taken place along the route.

The crash markers along the suggested route are sized to represent the total number of crashes at each location. You can click on the crash markers to view the number of crashes at a location and the total number of people involved in crashes. A red dot signifies a crash that involved a fatality.

The results displayed on the map can be filtered by speed and by accident type.

Voronoi Heat Mapping


Biking from Place to Place is a neat visualization of Chicago's bike share network. The map uses a very clever Voronoi heat map technique which allows you to find out the number of bike trips from any bike station and view the most popular destinations from each station.

Select a bike station on the map and you can view a heat map showing the most popular destinations from that station. The map provides some interesting insights into the travel patterns of Divvy bike users. For example, if you select a bike station along Lake Michigan you quickly notice that most Divvy users borrow bikes here to cycle to other bike stations along the lake shore.

The heat map overlay uses a very clever Voronoi map technique which allows you to find the nearest bike station to any location. If you point to any location on the map the nearest bike station is automatically selected for you and the Voronoi heat map overlay also shows you the areas around the destination stations. This provides an insight into the likely final destinations of the bikes' users.

The Online Map of J.R.R. Tolkein's Beleriand


Last week we reported on the LOTR Project's interactive Map of Middle Earth. The map is a beautiful map of J.R.R. Tolkein's fantasy world, which allows you to follow The Fellowship's journey from The Shire all the way to Mordor.

The LOTR has now released an Interactive Map of Beleriand. Beleriand is a region situated in the northwest of Middle Earth. The Beleriand is the setting of events in Tolkein's First Age tales, as told in The Silmarillion.

The Interactive Map of Beleriand includes locations of important events and also allows you to follow the paths of the main characters. The map includes a timeline, which allows you to explore the important events in the The Silmarillion chronologically and view the locations mentioned in the timeline on the interactive map.

The Top 5 Street View Quizzes

By now you must have played GeoGuessr. GeoGuessr is a Street View geography game that sets you the challenge of guessing the locations of a series of random Street View images by clicking on a Google Map.

GeoGuessr awards points based on how near your guess is to the location shown in the Street View. The Street View games below differ from GeoGuessr in that they all use a quiz format. Each of these Street View games presents you with a multiple choice quiz. In each quiz you are presented with a series of Street View images. Your task in each game is to choose the correct option from the answers provided.

1. Street View Film Locations


How well do you know your favorite films and television shows? In this new Street View quiz from Mashable you are shown a series of Street View images taken at the locations of famous sets from film and television. All you have to do is pick the correct film or TV show from the three answers provided.

The quiz uses locations from movies like The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger and Forrest Gump, as well as TV shows like Sex and the City and Lost. The quiz was created by a British developer so there are also a lot of British television shows used, some of which you might not recognize.

2. Locate the London Location


How well do you know London? Test your knowledge of the English capital in this Street View quiz.

Locate the London Location drops you in ten random locations in London and asks you to guess the correct borough or neighbourhood from a choice of three answers. If you know London reasonably well you might be surprised by how good you are at guessing the correct neighbourhood from the type of buildings, the amount of greenery and the relative affluence displayed in the Street View.

3. Street View Quiz


Street View Quiz has a great database of quiz questions based on Google Maps Street View images.

In each quiz question you are presented with a Street View. You simply have to answer a question related to the view presented. The questions might ask you to name something seen in the Street View or you could get a more general question about something that happened at the location.

Street View Quiz includes a simple interface that allows users to create their own questions by providing a link to a Street View and submitting the question and answer.  Players of the quizzes can select questions from a number of categories.

4. Locatestreet


Locatestreet is a geography guessing game that presents a series of random Street Views. All you have to do is guess the location where the image was captured.

The featured terrain, architecture, street furniture and modes of transport all provide clues that can help the player guess the origin of the random Street View image. The game also includes three clues for each image. Be warned - if you use a clue you will win less points.

5. Scotland or Not-Land


Scotland or Not-Land is a simple Street View quiz which presents you with a series of Google Maps Street View images. Your task in this game is to guess whether the Street View image shown comes from Scotland or from elsewhere.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Maps of the Week


In 2009 an earthquake in the Italian city of L'Aquila caused the death of 308 people and damaged many of the town's historically important buildings. Last year the City of L'Aquila released Noi L'Aquila.

Noi L'Aquila is a Google Map where residents of L'Aquila can record their memories of the city. The site also included a Google Earth plugin of L'Aquila visualizing its reconstruction with 3D models.

Now you can also take a virtual walk through L'Aquila in a new custom Street View tour of this historic Italian town. Hello L'Aquila is an amazing interactive virtual tour of the city consisting of more than 400 custom shot Street View panoramas covering the entire historic city center.

Most of the Street View images on Google Maps in L'Aquila were taken before the 2009 earthquake. This new Street View tour allows you to explore the city in its current state. The new tour even includes Street View images taken inside some of the city's historic buildings, allowing you to see the restoration work being carried out to repair the damage caused by the earthquake.

If you click on the cross in the top right-hand corner of one of the Street View images you can view a Google Map which shows some of the important locations in the city captured in this new custom Street View tour. The yellow icons on the map indicate where you can view indoor Street View panoramas.


This week I was also impressed by The Boston Globe's interactive photo of survivors of the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Although not strictly a map, the photo was created with the Leaflet mapping platform.

One year after the tragic bomb explosion at the Boston Marathon, The Boston Globe invited survivors, police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses and runners back to the finish line on Boylston Street to pose for a group photo.

The resulting One Year, One City photo is a powerful testimony to the resilience of the people of Boston. By using the Leaflet mapping platform the Boston Globe has created an interactive photo which you can pan around and even zoom in on individuals in the picture. You can even click on the people in the photo to learn a little more about their experience during last year's tragic events.

The library used to create this photo has also been open sourced on GitHub.


Dynamic Holland Shading is a gorgeous looking map that includes dynamic hill shading based on the date and time of day. Move the date and time of day sliders and you can see the hill shading update instantly on the map.

The dynamic hill shading is powered by a combination of MapBox's dynamic hillshading and the SunCalc library.

The Beer Followers Map


Peek Analytics has been busy mapping the locations of Twitter users who follow over 2,500 beer and microbrewery Twitter accounts. They have then analyzed which brewery has the most followers in each of 15,000 cities across the US, Canada, the UK, and Ireland.

The #BeerMap uses the Google Maps API to show the breweries with the most Twitter followers in each of the 15,000 cities analysed. From my cursory search of the map it appears that New Belgium Brewing is very popular in the Midwestern United States, Sierra Nevada beer is popular in California, while on the East Coast the Dogfish Brewery seems to be the beer of choice.


Over the last few years there has been a welcome growth in the number of small, independent microbreweries producing traditional or 'craft' beers. The BreweryMap can help consumers of craft beers find their local breweries.

BreweryMap is a Google Map of BreweryDB's database of over 24,000 beers and 4,600 breweries in the United States. Using the map it is possible to search for breweries by location or by name and even find breweries along the route of a road trip.


The BreweryDB's database of craft beers and breweries really is a great resource for beer lovers.

The NC Brewery Timeline is another Google Map that utilizes BreweryDB. This map concentrates on displaying North Carolina's craft breweries. The map features an interesting timeline tool that allows the user to see how North Carolina's craft beer industry has grown over the last 30 years.