Friday, February 05, 2016

Your Source for Vintage Map Tiles


I noticed yesterday that Wikimedia is using Tim Waters' Map Warper to geo-rectify old historic maps. This means that map developers have another great resource for accessing map tile schemes of vintage maps from around the world.

Today I used some of the geo-rectified vintage maps on Wikimedia to put together this little collection of old historical maps of Berlin.

The NYPL Digtial Collection and the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection are two other great resources to access map tile schemes of old historic maps.

If you view a vintage map on the NYPL Map Warper website and click on the 'Export' tab you can find the map's tile scheme URL, which can then be used with most of the popular mapping platforms, such as the Google Maps API, CartoDB, Mapbox and Leaflet.

Wiki Media and the NYPL Digital Collections both use Map Warper. This means that if you want to access the map tile scheme of an historical map on Wiki Media you just need to follow the same steps - click on the 'Export' tab and copy the map's tile scheme URL.

On the David Rumsey Historical Maps website you need to select a vintage map and then click on the 'Embed OGC WMTS tiles' link. Next you need to select the 'source code' link and find and copy the map tile scheme URL.

So, if you are looking for map tile schemes of old vintage maps from around the world, you could start with these links:

David Rumsey Geoeferenced Maps
NYPL Map Warper
Wikimaps Warper

The Vintage Maps of Berlin


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago two old towns sat on opposite sides of the River Spree. To the south the town of Cölln looked longingly across the river at the town of Altberlin. Altberlin stared back across the flowing waters at Cölln with love in its heart.

Like all love stories this tale of passion also has a happy ending. To cut a long story short the towns of Cölln and Altberlin eventually married and became the city of Berlin.

The remnants of this ancient tale of love between Cölln and Altberlin can be discerned in the Vintage of Maps of Berlin. This collection of old historical maps of Berlin centers around what is now Museum Island in Berlin.

In the oldest maps you can clearly see the two towns of Cölln and Altberlin, on opposite banks of the River Spree. As you progress through the maps you can see how this area of Berlin's has changed and developed over the centuries.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Mapping the Changing Landscape


Tidskikaren is a fascinating interactive map which allows you to explore the dramatic changes in the landscape around the Julita Museum, in Södermanland Sweden, over the last four centuries.

The map includes a timeline which allows you to view the changing landscape over the centuries and a number of layers which allow you to view the changes to arable land, forests, meadows and pastures (or all four layers at once).

Once you select one of the different land types you can click on the information button to learn about the landscape changes for that type of land over the centuries (in Swedish). The map also includes a number of markers which you can select to learn more about the landscape changes in that region.


The Welikia Project is a similar map which allows you to explore a map of Manhattan, New York in 1609.

Before there was Manhattan there was Mannahatta. You can explore Mannahatta as it once was with the Welikia Project. The map provides an imagined satellite view of how Manhattan Island looked before New Amsterdam was established.

The project maps the natural landscape of New York's valleys, forests, fields, freshwater wetlands and salt marshes. If you click on any New York neighborhood on the Welikia Google Map you can discover a wealth of information about the area's ecology as it existed in 1609.

The Geography of Zipcodes


The Interactive ZipScribble Map connects all the Zip or postal codes in a country in ascending order. The resulting map provides a visual representation of how countries around the world arrange or order their post code systems.

If you view the ZipScribble map of the USA, you can immediately see that zipcode density appears to closely follow population density (the more people that there are in an area then the more zipcodes there are).

As I understand it the first digit of a U.S. zipcode represents the state. If you turn on the colors on the map you can see that zipcodes do indeed seem to remain within state lines.

Use the drop-down menu beneath the map to view the postal code maps for other countries. There are maps for 38 different countries in all.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Whistle Up the Wind


Project Ukko is a beautiful new mapped visualization of seasonal wind predictions. The map is a visual interface which provides industry, energy traders, wind farm managers and others with a way to access predictions about future wind conditions.

On the map you can drill down to view regional wind forecasts at a detailed level. The line symbols on the map represent predicted wind speed through line thickness and the predicted wind speed via the tilt and color of the line. The more tilted the lines then the stronger the predicted indication of significant changes in wind speed.

Click on a line on the map and you can view information on the historical seasonal average wind speeds for the last thirty years in that region. A graph is also available showing the results of 51 simulations run to provide the seasonal wind prediction at this location. The 'Skill' percentage shows how well the prediction system has performed in this region in the past.

Run Around the World on Google Maps


Australian Tom Denniss ran around the whole world in just 622 days. This is a new world record. In total Deniss ran 16,300 miles and passed through 18 countries.

40 Million Steps: A Run Around the World is a story map put together by Runner's World which allows you to follow Denniss' route around the world. While following his journey you can also view some of the photos, videos, audio clips and blog entries posted by Denniss during his epic global journey.

The Run Around the World Story map includes forward and back buttons which allow you to progress through the mapped journey. If you don't want to view the map for every one of the 622 days then you can use the 'skip ahead' button, This will take you to the next important stage in Denniss' journey.

Mapping 3 Billion Journeys


This week around 2.9 billion trips will be made in China by people travelling to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with their families. You can see where and when they travel during this year's Spring Festival on this interactive map from Baidu.

Baidu's mobile maps has over 350 million active users and receives over 10 billion location requests every day. This provides Baidu with a unique insight into the movements of the Chinese population over the holiday week.

The chun yun (spring movement) of people is visualized on the Baidu Migration map. If you select individual cities on the map you can view where residents are travelling to and from. The orange lines on the map show people travelling into a city and the yellow lines show people leaving the city.

The map sidebar also shows the top ten cities where the largest numbers of Chinese travelers are moving to and from. You can also select the individual cities from these lists to see where residents are going and where they are coming from.

Adult Coloring Maps - Part 3


Last summer the the UK's Ordnance Survey invented the concept of the coloring map. The Ordnance Survey had noticed the huge popularity of adult coloring books and realized that what the world was waiting for was adult coloring maps.

They therefore released a series of black and white maps as free PDF files. The Ordnance Survey Blog created 11 maps which you can print out and then spend hours coloring-in.

The Ordnance Survey maps are all of UK cities. I therefore decided to release free PDF files for a number of U.S. cities. I also threw in maps  of the World and Europe. You can download the maps using the links below

World, San Francisco, New York, Europe, Washington DC, Dallas, Boston, Seattle

(map data from OpenStreetMap (CC-BY-SA))

The New York Public Library has now also jumped on the adult coloring bandwagon. The NYPL has released a free PDF which includes a number of black & white images from its Digital Collections, which are perfect for coloring-in.

The #ColorOurCollections PDF only includes one map, 'District Map Section No. 13' from 1913. However the NYPL Digital Collections has thousands of vintage maps, all of which you can print out and color-in.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Nuke Your Town


Have you ever felt like dropping a nuclear bomb on your hometown? Well don't!

However you are allowed to use these maps to find out what the consequences of a nuclear strike would mean for your town.

The Hiroshima Game (urgh!) lets you select any location in the world and view the likely devastation caused. After you drop the virtual bomb on a location you can view the damage caused via a number of round circles placed on the map. These colored circles show you the areas which would be completely destroyed and the areas which would suffer descending levels of damage.


NUKEMAP is another nuclear bomb effects calculator which uses the Google Maps API. The calculator allows the user to select a location on Google Maps and view the likely effects of a nuclear bomb on the surrounding area.

The calculator includes a number of features, including polygons showing the extent of the likely fireball, radiation fallout and air blast. The map also allows the user to determine the size of bomb to drop or select from a number of historical nuclear bombs.

Would I Survive a Nuke? is another little Google Maps application that allows you to see the likely effect of a nuclear bomb falling on any location.The application allows you to select a location, the size of the bomb and view the likely effects of the bomb striking at your chosen location.

Ground Zero II is a similar application that includes more bomb choices and also includes a wind direction selector that will show you the likely fallout area of a nuclear bomb striking at a particular location.

Compare the Weather Map


The Global Weather Comparison map allows you to compare the weather between different locations around the world. The map allows you to pick two different weather stations, from more than 14,000 locations world-wide, and compare their temperatures, rainfall and hours of sunshine.

To compare the weather of two different locations you just need to click on their markers on the map. The complete annual weather data for these two stations can then be compared in the graph below the map. You can use the map menu to directly compare the temperature, precipitation or sunshine hours between the two locations, in the graph below the map.

If you select a range in the graph at the very bottom of the page you can zoom in on the chosen range in the interactive graph directly above. The Leaflet map also displays a choropleth view of the selected weather variable. The map includes a date control which allows you to select to see a choropleth map for any day from 2005 to 2014.