Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Strolling Through Jane Austen's England


The Smithsonian has created a mapped tour of the towns and houses that shaped the life of the English novelist Jane Austen. It is an interesting introduction to the author's life and would be a handy accompaniment to anyone watching the BBC's television program Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors.

Jane Austen's Footsteps uses KnightLabs StoryMapJS platform to explore some of the important locations in the English writer's life. The map provides an interesting but brief biography of Austen's life, illustrated with some contemporary photos of some of the houses and towns where she lived. Ultimately however the map struggles with its lack of content.

I hesitate to say it, but ... It is a truth universally acknowledged that a map of Jane Austen is in want of more life.

The map could have used a vintage Georgian basemap, so that we could actually explore Austen's footsteps on a map which might have been familiar to the author herself. Many of the locations on the map, such as Chawton in Hampshire, have changed very little since Austen's day. So perhaps Street View could have also been used to give more of insight into the village of Chawton, so we could actually view the village where Austen spent much of her later life.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Machine Learning Accessibility


Project Sidewalk is a crowdsourced effort to map street level accessibility issues around the world. The project uses Google Street View images to find out where accessibility problems are apparent on the streets.

Using Project Sidewalk you can help identify accessibility problems (such as missing curb ramps on sidewalks, obstacles on paths and uneven surfaces) by tagging them on Google Maps Street View. When you first start using Project Sidewalk you are walked through how to spot and identify accessibility problems on Street View. After completing the tutorial you can explore the streets on Street View and find and label any accessibility features that you find.

Project Sidewalk users have already mapped the accessibility of nearly half of Washington DC. Once Project Sidewalk has enough crowdsourced data it should be able to develop better computer vision and machine learning algorithms to automatically detect accessibility issues with Street View. This would enable developers to automatically create accessibility maps and routing engines for people with accessibility problems.

You might also like The History of Machine Learning and Street View, which looks at how MIT has trained computer AI's to identify the safety of city streets and neighborhoods experiencing high levels of urban development.

How to Degentrify Your Neighborhood


Back in 2015 Sam Floy invented an algorithm which could work out which neighborhoods were becoming gentrified and which were becoming more salubrious. His basic formula simply looked at the ratio of coffee shops to fried chicken restaurants to determine the desirability of a neighborhood. The Guardian has now refined Sam's algorithm to help identify neighborhoods which are undergoing de-gentrification.

In How to know if where you live is “up and coming”: fried chicken vs. coffee shops Floy compared heat maps of coffee & fried chicken shops to identify the areas with more coffee shops. The areas with more coffee shops are the areas that Floy believes are more salubrious. He then overlaid these areas on a property value heat map in order to identify which of these areas are in parts of London where it is relatively cheaper to buy property.

The Guardian has discovered that you can cancel out the coffee shop number in the gentrification equation. In fact all you really need to know in order to determine the desirability of a neighborhood is the number of fast food restaurants in the area.

In Fast Food England the Guardian has mapped out the number of fast food restaurants per 1,000 residents in each postcode area in England & Wales. After mapping the concentration of fast food restaurants the Guardian discovered that the most deprived areas in the UK tend to have the highest concentration of food food restaurants and the least deprived areas have the fewest.

You can enter a postcode or location into the map to find out the number of local fast food restaurants to 1,000 people, how that compares to the national average and the total number of takeaways in the area. You can also find out whether the number of fast food restaurants in the area has increased or decreased over the last three years. You can determine if your area has become more or less gentrified by discovering if the number of local fast food restaurants has gone down or up.

Therefore if you want to help de-gentrify your neighborhood you need to open up a local fast food restaurant. Might I suggest a fried chicken restaurant.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Desire Named Streetcar


In 1872 the Denver Horse Railway Company built the city's first streetcar line. Over the following decades more and more lines were added until Denver had a streetcar network which covered much of the city. Unfortunately the arrival of the motorcar led to the longtime decline of the city's streetcar transit system.

You can explore how Denver's streetcar network grew and also observe its decline on Denver's Streetcar Legacy and its Role in Neighborhood Walkability. A timeline control allows you to view how the city's streetcar network grew in the city from its inception in 1872 through to its end in 1950. As the timeline plays out you can see when the all the different lines were opened and closed.

Despite its demise Denver's streetcar network has had a lasting impact on the city's environment and the walkability of its neighborhoods. This interactive map also explores how the streetcar network effected the city's design and what the author calls 'Pedestrian Oriented Commercial Buildings'.


For some reason I've always imagined that there were a lot more streetcar lines in San Francisco. The good news is that there are actually more routes now than in 1960. However the present coverage is not a patch on the number of streetcar routes that existed in the city back in 1940.

Where the Streetcars Used to Go is a lovely interactive map which allows you to view the streetcar transit network as it existed in 1940 & 1960 and as it exists today. Streetcar fans will be delighted to learn that the map also allows you to view vintage photos of streetcars in San Francisco.

You can actually browse through these wonderful photos of San Francisco's historical streetcars by the different streetcar routes. If you click on a streetcar route on the map the photos, running along the bottom of the map, are filtered to only show photos taken along the chosen line. The name of the selected route is also displayed on the map alongside the dates when the route was operational.


Interactive maps don't have to be complicated. Sometimes you can create a lot with just a few features. A case in point is the BC Electric Railway Map.

With only a few polylines on a custom designed basemap the BC Electric Railway Map has produced a beautiful looking visualization of Vancouver's BC Electric Railway Company transit network, as it looked in the early Twentieth Century. The map plots the historical interurban and streetcar lines of the network between 1890 to 1958. It also contains a few photos and Street Views of modern day Vancouver showing how some of the company's historical buildings and lines look today.

Of course there is a actually a little more to this map than a few polylines. It also includes some very well designed map interactions. For example, if you click on a map marker, the map uses Mapbox's GL's map rotation capabilities to zoom-in, tilt and rotate the map to provide a close-up view of the selected location. The map rotation itself is tracked by a gorgeous vintage looking compass rose, which shows the current map orientation.

I also like how the map content slides in and out in the map sidebar when you select a marker on the map. There isn't a lot of content on the map at the moment but the presence of the 'Chapter 1. - Stay Tuned' button suggests that there is more to come from the BC Electric Railway Map.

Why is the Bus Always Late?


German newspaper Tagesspiegel has been investigating the punctuality of Berlin's buses, trams and subway trains. They wanted to know which lines, bus-stops and stations had the best and worst punctuality problems. They also wanted to know why some buses are always late and why some trams are always on time or even early.

Why is the Bus Late? includes an interactive map which allows you to explore the punctuality record of every stop and station on Berlin's public transit network. Select any transit line on the map and each station on the line will be shown with a small graph showing how often the buses, trams or trains are on time, early or late. You can select a station on the map to view the exact percentages. You can even change the direction of travel to view the punctuality of the vehicles travelling in each direction on the line.

It turns out that trains in Berlin are pretty good at arriving on time but buses are often late. Why are the buses often late? It's all the fault of the trains.

Apparently when the train lines are forced to close, for maintenance or for emergencies, replacement bus services are provided for the train passengers. This takes buses and drivers away from the normal bus routes. Therefore one reason that buses sometimes run late in Berlin is because they are covering for the trains.

Airbnb in Berlin


In 2008 the first Berlin apartment was listed on Airbnb. It is estimated that there are now around 10,000 properties in Berlin being rented out on Airbnb. You can view where and when all 10,000 properties were listed on Airbnb on a new interactive animated map.

Airbnb in Berlin is an animated map which shows the growth of the Airbnb market in Berlin from 2008 to the present day. As the animation plays you can watch as properties are added to the map by the date of their listing. Every dot on the map shows when a property was first added to Airbnb and the name of the property's owner.

Unfortunately the map doesn't include a timeline control. It would be useful to be able to adjust the date visualized on the map. For example this would be useful for exploring the effect of Berlin banning whole properties from being listed on Airbnb from May 2016. It would also be useful to view some other visualizations of the data, for example a heat map view showing where in the city the most properties are listed.


Airbnb vs Berlin is a much better data driven investigation into the popularity of Airbnb in Berlin and the possible effect it is having on affordable housing in the city.

Among the interactive maps used to illustrate this investigation is Airbnb Streets. The map highlights the streets in Berlin with more than 20 Airbnb offers and reveals that many of the properties listed on Airbnb are in popular tourist areas. In particular there is a high concentration of properties in areas that are popular with young travelers.


Another interactive map in the article visualizes the number of Airbnb listings by neighborhood. This choropleth map shows in which areas of the city more flats and rooms are offered on Airbnb. The Reuterkiez area in Neuk├Âlln is the most active neighborhood on Airbnb with 476 rooms and flats listed within only a few blocks.

A third map shows the locations of properties by the top 10 'power users' in Berlin. There is one user who lists 44 separate properties in Berlin on Airbnb. This rise in 'super users' suggests that Airbnb is being used as a business tool. It appears that more and more Airbnb listings are being rented on a commercial level by landlords exploiting the service to make higher profits from short term rentals rather than from renting out their properties to long term tenants.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Rubbish Map of the Week


Litterati is an iOS and Android app which is used for logging the location of litter found on the streets. Using the app anyone can take a quick photo and report any litter that they find. The photo is then added to the worldwide Litterati interactive map.

The app has already proved hugely successful around the world. The Litterati interactive map already has nearly half a million reports in the United States and over 100,000 reports in Europe. After taking photos users of the app are meant to dispose of the litter in a responsible manner. If they do this then that is a lot of litter which has already been removed from the world's streets.

Users of the app are also encouraged to log the type of litter (plastic, cigarettes, cans, glass etc) and the manufacturers and brands of the litter. Marlboro, MacDonalds and Coke are the three leading brands so far whose discarded cigarette butts, wrapping and cans have been found on the streets around the world. This suggests that these brands have a lot more work to do to encourage their customers to not litter the streets.

Litterati claim that users have also created groups to crowd-source the identification and cleaning of particularly dirty neighborhoods in their towns and cities. City authorities have also used the app to identify the levels of cigarette butts on the streets in order to determine tax levels to charge on cigarettes.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Where the UK is Getting Old


The UK is getting old. Although some areas of the country are managing to stay relatively young. In 2016 18% of the population were aged 65 and over. 2.4% were aged 85 and over. As lifestyles & healthcare improve and people continue to have children later in life the percentage of the elderly is expected to increase. You can see how and where on a new map from the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS's UK Population Age map shows the percentage of the UK population over 65, over 85 and the old age dependency ratio at local authority level. The map allows you to view the percentage of the aged population by year for 1996, 2006 and 2016. It also allows you to view the projected growth in the percentage of the population over 65 and 85 for the years 2026 and 2036.

The map reveals that there are geographical differences in the proportion of the local population with high percentages of older or younger people. The bigger cities tend to have a higher proportion of younger people than more rural locations. This presumably reflects a tendency for people to live in cities for work and then move to more rural areas when they retire. Many local authorities in the south have the highest proportions of elderly people, indicating that these are popular areas to retire.

If you want to know how your local authority compares to the rest of the country you can select it on the map. You can then view charts showing how your authority compares to the national average for the percentage of the population over 65 and over 85.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Animated Race Maps


Back in 2013 the New York Times created an impressive animated mapped visualization of the America's Cup Finale between the USA and New Zealand. The America’s Cup Finale: Oracle’s Path to Victory showed the progress of the race between the two yachts from start to finish.

The America's Cup 2013 Finale: An Animated Map is a lovingly created and accurate reproduction of the NYT's map using Leaflet.js. The map allows you to replay the whole finale between the two sailing teams. The map even includes the wind speed and wind direction for the whole race.

If you like this animated map visualization and are interested in creating a similar animated race map then you can view the entire America's Cup project on GitHub.


Over 35,000 people competed in last year's Berlin Marathon. You can see how every one of those competitors fared in an animated map of the race, created by the Berliner Morgenpost.

The Berlin Marathon 2016 map animates every single runner in the Berlin Marathon on top of a map of the race's route. As the animation plays out you can watch all 35,827 of the athletes as they complete the course.

The animated map of the Berlin Marathon 2016 was created using the PixiJS HTML5 engine.

If you are interested in mapped visualizations of sports then you might also like The New Age of Sports Visualization.

Detroit's Deadliest Days


50 years ago, in July 1967, a riot broke out in Detroit which lasted five days. By the time the riot ended 43 people were dead, 1,189 were injured, over 7,200 people had been arrested and more than 2,000 buildings had been destroyed.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Riot the Detroit News has released a map exploring every single one of the 43 deaths that occurred during the riot. The map doesn't attempt to explain the causes of the riot or how it progressed. It just attempts to explain who died, where they died and how.

Five Deadly Days in Detroit uses Carto's Odyssey.js story map format to provide a simple chronological account of what happened in Detroit. The basemap used for the story map is a United States Geological Survey map from 1968. As you scroll through Five Deadly Days in Detroit the map pans to the location where one of the 43 people were killed. The text beneath the map provides an account of who died and how they were killed. This text is illustrated with vintage images from the Detroit News coverage of the riot in 1967.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Street View in Space

This is ground control to major Pegman. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Can you hear us major Pegman? Commencing countdown. Engines on .....


You can now see inside the International Space Station on Google Maps. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet got a part-time job over the winter capturing panoramic Street View imagery from outer space for Google Maps. That imagery is now live.

If this is your first trip to space aboard the ISS you might find these quick links helpful while you get familiar with weightlessness:

the Cupola Observation Module
the US Laboratory Module
Node 1 (Unity)
Node 2 (Harmony) Crew Quarters
Joint Airlock (Quest)

Google's Street View images from the ISS include links which provide useful information about some of the unfamiliar out-of-this-world equipment that you will find on your journey around the space station. Just click on the links to learn more about life in space.

The Emoji Weather Map


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 has for a while included the option to view global weather conditions on an interactive 3d globe. It now also has an option to view a weather forecast on an emoji map of the world. If you select 'emoji' from the drop-down menu at the top of the Dark Sky Map you can now view your weather predictions represented by thousands of emoji symbols.

The Dark Sky Weather 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 3d weather visualization uses OpenLayers with the Cesium WebGL 3d globe engine.


You can also share your location using the universal language of the emoji. What3Emojis is a revolutionary method of addressing the entire world using the only common language of the entire human race, the emoji.

With What3Emojis the Earth is divided into millions of 4m x 4m squares, each of which is randomly assigned a unique three-emoji combination. If you want to share your location with someone else all you need to do is share the three emojis assigned to that 4m x 4m square. Any similarity to What3Words is entirely intentional.

The Manhattan Skyscraper Explorer


New York is a city of amazing tall buildings. But what do you actually know about Manhattan's tallest buildings? Do you know how tall they are or when they were built? Do you know what each building is used for? To find out the answer to these questions you need the Manhattan Skyscraper Explorer

The Manhattan Skyscraper Explorer is your guide to Manhattan's tallest building. This 3d Esri map allows you to explore the amazing New York skyline and find out everything you would ever need to know about the city's buildings. The 3d map is accompanied by a timeline - height chart, which allows you to explore Manhattan's skyscrapers by year of construction and by building height.

If you select an individual building on the map you can learn more about the chosen skyscraper, such as its height and the year it was built. You can even view an image gallery of the building and (where available) click through to learn more about the building on Wikipedia.

A Game of Thrones Street View


What could be better than exploring A Game of Thrones on the Five Maps of Westeros?

How about a world tour of some of the amazing real-life filming locations where the television series was made?

One reason for the huge success of HBO's series of George R.R. Martin's best-selling 'A Song of Ice and Fire' is the amazing set locations. HBO scoured the planet to find suitable locations to represent King's Landing, Winterfell and Essos. Google has put together a collection of filming locations from A Game of Thrones which appear on Google Maps Street View. The collection takes you on a tour of beautiful locations in Ireland, Croatia, Iceland, Spain and elsewhere around the world.

Game of Thrones: The Old Views and the New allows you to explore the filming locations for King's Landing, Winterfell and the mysterious continent of Essos. Google's collection is split into three main Houses, the Starks, Lannisters and the Mother of Dragons.

The Google Earth Blog has used Google's collection of Street Views to put together a Game Of Thrones kml file which allows you to explore these filming locations in 3d on Google Earth.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The 3D Globe of Google Trends


The Global Trend Tracker is a 3D globe which shows you what subjects people are currently searching for in different countries around the world. As you browse and watch the globe the top Google search trends will appear over each country.

You can zoom in on individual countries. Alternatively you can select a country from a drop-down menu. If you select an individual country on the map then you can view the current top ten search trends in that country. You can even click through to view the links to the trend on Google.com.


If you are interested in mapping Google Trends then you might be interested in the Google Trends Datastore, which provides a great source of data for anyone interested in mapping search trends from Google. Key datasets from Google Trends are added to the Datastore all the time and can be downloaded by anyone, in CSV format.

Many of the datasets have a geographically element to them. For example, at the moment you can download a CSV file of the 'Champions League final: Search interest in Real Madrid and Juventus by country'.

How Hot Will Your City Get?


In the year 2100 summers in New York will be as hot as Juarez, Mexico is today. Los Angeles can look forward to summers that are as hot as they now get in Belize City.

Climate Central has released a new interactive map which tells you how hot your city will be in the year 2100 if carbon emissions continue as currently predicted. Shifting Cities allows you to choose from a large number of major cities around the world to find out how hot they will get in 2100. When you select a city on the map you are shown the current summer temperature in your city and a city which now has a temperature that your city can expect in the year 2100.


Climate Central's Shifting Cities map is part of a growing trend to map the future impact of climate change around the world. For example Climate Impact Lab's Climate Impact Map also visualizes how global warming will effect temperatures around the world over the rest of this century.

Using the drop-down menu on the Climate Impact Map you can choose to view predicted global temperatures for each quarter of the year or for the whole year. You can also choose to view the number of days which will be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 35 degrees Fahrenheit. The timeline below the map allows you to view a choropleth view of any of these selected temperature predictions for the years 2020-2039, 2040-2059 and 2080-2100.

The map includes two choropleth views. The 'absolute level' shows the predicted temperatures around the world for the year selected. The 'change from historical' view shows how much the temperature will increase above the 1986-2005 averages around the globe.


The University of Hawaii has released a similar interactive map which uses expected temperature increases to predict the number of deadly days we can expect from extreme heat around the world for each year up to 2100. Heatwaves: Number of deadly heat days provides a timeline control which allows you to select any year from 1950-2100. The blue dots on the map show historic extreme heat events that have occurred around the world before 2014.

If you click on the map you can view two charts for the selected location. One chart visualizes the number of annual deadly days over time and the other shows the humidity vs. temperature for the current year.


Thanks to NOAA's Sea Level Rise Viewer we can observe how these increases in temperature will effect sea levels.

By the end of this century the National Climate Assessment estimates that sea levels may rise by up to 6.6 feet. NOAA's interactive map uses the most accurate elevation data available to model how different extents of sea level rise will impact coastal areas in the USA. You can adjust the sea level displayed on the map by adjusting the water level tool from 0-6 feet.

If you select the 'Local Scenarios' tab you can view the potential impact of different sea level rise scenarios on different areas of the country. The Local Scenarios option allows you to adjust the map to view the impact of sea level rise of different orders of severity. It also allows you to see how this impacts the local area by decade (up to the year 2100).

The London Crash Map


Visualizing TFL Accident Data is an interactive mapped visualization of 2015 London traffic accidents. The map uses data from Transport for London and is color coded on the map by the severity of the injury involved.

You can filter the results displayed on the map by the severity of the injuries. When you filter the results the summary statistics in the side panel update to show the type of vehicles involved and the ages of the injured. The London cartogram also updates to show the number of causalities in each borough.

If you select a marker then details of the accidents at that location are displayed on the map. The details include the type of vehicle involved, who was involved (driver or passenger) and their age.

The map itself was created with the Google Maps API with D3.js used to create the scaled map markers and side panel graphs and cartogram.

Brighton's Interactive Cycle Map


Brighton and Hove Council has released an interactive Brighton Cycle Map. It would be churlish to ask why cyclists would need a map to know where the city's two bike lanes are. Instead I'd like to applaud the city for their efforts in creating the map, which at least highlights how much effort the city needs to put in to make Brighton a cycling friendly city.

The map does include important locations for cyclists in Brighton, such as bike carrying bus stops, cycle parking and bike shops. I also like the landmark icons on the map, which become much more apparent as you zoom-in on the map.

Overall however I think the design of the map is a little confusing. The use of two different shades of blue for showing roads and building footprints makes it more difficult than it should be to read the map. I also think that using a dashed line to show off-road cycle tracks is a huge mistake, especially when the city's provision of off-road cycle tracks is so patchy. It is hard to tell if the breaks in the dashed lines are just the breaks in the dashed line or locations in the city where there are gaps in the cycle track.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Help Geotag New York's History


You can now help the New York Public Library geotag its collection of vintage photographs of New York City. The NYPL's new Surveyor map is a citizen science project designed to hep the library index its collections of historical photographs by location.

Visit the new 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.

You also don't need to worry about not knowing the location shown in a photo. If this is the case you just need to press the 'skip' button to move on to the next photo.

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 geotag 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.

The Five Maps of Westeros


Interactive maps of Westeros seem to get cut down and eviscerated as often as the Hands of the King. As yet another new season of a Game of Thrones begins it is time once again to take stock of our favorite interactive maps of George R. R. Martin's fantasy world.

Web of Allegiances is an interactive map of Game of Thrones which shows you where the Great Houses reside and the many entangled pacts and allegiances between them. You can select any of the characters on the map to view their name and the Houses that they are allied to. You can also click through to learn more about the character on the Games of Thrones wiki.


Last year A Song of Ice and Data emerged from Beyond the Wall to shed new light on Westeros & Essos. A Song of Ice and Data is a new REST API, interactive map and data store created by students at the Technical University of Munich. Most of the data for the project has been scraped from the Wiki of Ice and Fire.

The Song of Ice and Data interactive map shows the lands, borders and cities of the Known World. It also includes travel paths of all the major characters. If you select any of the marked locations on the map you can learn more about the location from the Wiki of Ice and Fire. If you want to view a character's travel path on the map just search for the character using the map's search box.


The Interactive Game of Thrones Map is another map of the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos from George Martin's series of fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire.

The map features all the locations from the television series and books. The map also allows you to follow the journeys of all the main characters through the different seasons. To view a character's path select their name from the map sidebar and use the timeline slider control.


The Westeros Map is another Google Map of the fictional continent of Westeros from George Raymond Richard Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels. This map shows important locations on the continent of Westeros. Clicking on the locations on the map will take you to that location's wiki entry.


Game of Thrones is an Esri StoryMap of Westeros and Essos. The map sidebar includes links to important locations on the two continents. If you zoom in on the map the sidebar updates to show links to important locations in the current map view. A drop-down menu also provides quick links to view important regions on the map.

The reason for all these maps is undoubtedly the popularity of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels and HBO's popular Game of Thrones dramatization of this series. However these interactive maps also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jonathan Roberts' official maps of Westeros and Essos, based on George R. R. Martin own hand-drawn maps.


When compiling a list of interactive maps of fictional worlds it would be remiss not to add a quick link to the LOTR Project's interactive Map of Middle Earth. This interactive map of J.R.R. Tolkein's fantasy world is the original interactive fictional map and still takes some beating.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Musical Map of New Orleans


New Orleans is well known for its incredibly rich musical history. You can now explore this history by taking one of a number of guided mapped tours of the city. The maps were created by New Orleans community radio station WWOZ.

A Closer Walk currently includes nine interactive mapped walks of New Orleans, each one exploring a different aspect of the city's musical history. The tours themselves are simple interactive maps with numbered markers indicating places in the city on the tour. Behind these simple maps however is a rich and detailed database of New Orleans' music venues and locations important to the city's musical heritage and history.

Click through on the interactive maps and you can discover all about these venues and locations around New Orleans. This includes a detailed introduction to the selected venue / location, links to websites, videos from the location, photos and audio clips. Music fans in particular will enjoy the associated video and audio clips provided for each location featured in A Closer Walk.

You can view a map of all the curated venues and locations by switching to the 'View Map' in the Places section of A Closer Walk.

Pollen & Pollution Mapping


The Natural Resources Defense Council has released an interactive Air Quality map of the United States. The map shows the number of days when the concentration of ozone exceeds safe levels. The map also shows areas which suffer from high levels of ragweed pollen.

You can use the map to see the historical tendency for both high ozone and pollen levels at your location. The map also includes a layer which shows areas which suffer from both high levels of smog and high levels of pollen. The combined effect of high ozone and pollen levels can be particularly dangerous for asthma sufferers

If you select a state on the map you can view the percentage of the population living in counties reported to have ragweed and unhealthy smog days. You can also view the number of adults and children who suffer from asthma in the state.

Mapping Marine Metals


The Royal Society has been exploring the future possible exploitation of the world's oceans. The Royal Society's 'Future of Oceans' project in particular examines two ocean based resources - "metals from the deep ocean floor and the application of the genetics and chemicals produced by marine life".

The Future Oceans Resources Map is used to visualize where these marine resources exist in the world's oceans. The map includes a a guided tour which introduces the possibilities for the sustainable exploitation of minerals and chemicals from the oceans. The Royal Society argues that the exploitation of chemicals is likely to have a minimal impact on marine environments while exploiting marine metals could have a much larger impact on marine environments.

The tour explores where these resources exist in the oceans, who owns these resources and how their exploitation can be regulated. The tour also explores the variety of different marine environments around the world. It highlights how the exploitation of mineral resources could effect these environments & marine life and therefore the potential for the genetic and chemical exploitation of the oceans.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Botox for Street View


Does your neighborhood look run-down and neglected? Then you need Google's new Botox for Street View.

Google's machine learning 'Creatism' system is able to enhance and improve the appearance of Street View images from Google Maps. You can judge for yourself how good Creatism is at improving Street View images on this showcase of photos. The showcase provides examples of Street View images improved by Creatism which you can compare to the original Street Views from Google Maps.

Creatism is actually programmed to search Google Maps looking for landscape panoramas with the best compositions. It then enhances the selected compositions by adjusting saturation/HDR levels and by adding things like more dramatic lighting. You can learn more about how it works at Using Deep Learning to Create Professional-Level Photographs.

You might also be interested in this History of Machine Learning and Street View post, whick looks at MIT's work with machine learning & Google Maps Street View.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

20 Ways to Map an Election


Donald Trump, according to the New York Times, keeps a collection of printed election maps in the dining room next to the Oval Office. He likes to hand out copies of this election maps to White House visitors when they leave. President Trump's election map is a choropleth map, which shows all the counties of the United States colored by the party which won the 2016 election. Donald Trump likes this map so much that he also hung a large version of the map from a wall in the West Wing.

Any huge fan of election maps like the POTUS will love Esri's collection of election maps, Thematic Mapping. Thematic Mapping is a collection of 2012 Presidential Election maps, providing examples of a range of different thematic mapping approaches that can be used to map election results.

President Trump likes his choropleth map so much because it shows a majority of the country colored red. Even though Hilary Clinton won the popular vote Trump won the most counties. A choropleth map is therefore good at showing how Trump won the election but isn't necessarily a great way to show the percentage of votes each candidate won.

There are many other ways to map election results. Esri's Thematic Mapping collection includes choropleth maps, dasymetric dot density, cartograms, isopleth contours, proportional symbols, proportional text and other thematic approaches to election mapping. Hopefully President Trump will see Thematic Mapping and hang an example map of each of these thematic approaches to the 2016 Presidential election to the walls of the West Wing.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Age of Agglomerations


The Age of Agglomerations is a new study and data visualization exploring some of the major urban agglomerations around the world. The research and visualization was completed by Urbica for the Moscow Urban Forum 2017.

The data visualization tool at the heart of the Age of Agglomerations allows you to explore demographic, commuting and other data about the featured cities displayed on interactive maps. The Age of Agglomerations includes a comparison tool which allows you to view the same data for two different cities side by side on two different maps.

You can read more about the definition of agglomerations, how the boundaries were determined for the selected cities and how you can use the tools to explore the interactive maps on this Urbica blog post. The interactive maps have been created using Mapbox and make liberal use of Mapbox GL's extrude property for the 3d data visualizations.


The outer zones of the agglomerations in the Age of Agglomerations were determined by areas where at least 15% of the population commute to work into the inner zone of the agglomeration. Garrett Dash Nelson and Alasdair Rae also used 'commuting zones' to help identify 50 regions of the United States based on distinct separate labor markets. Their identified megaregions of the United States were determined by analyzing over 4,000,000 commuter journeys.

You can view the results of Nelson & Rae's analysis of commuter journeys in the USA on the Megaregions of the United States interactive map. The map shows the borders of the identified megaregions. It also shows the commuter journeys which determined the shape of each of these new megaregions. If you hover over any of the megaregions on the map you can view the name that Nelson & Rae has given the megaregion and the name of the major city at the center of its distinct interconnected labor market.

The map is powered by the Leaflet.js mapping library. The data itself was made into slippy map tiles by using QTiles, a QGIS plugin for creating raster map tiles for interactive maps.

House Prices Per Square Metre


I'm currently thinking about buying a larger house than my small place in east London. To do this I need to find an area where house prices are cheaper than east London. Unfortunately the cost of property in my search area (south east England) is very expensive and there aren't many places where I can afford to move.

That's why I've been using Anna Powell-Smith's House Prices Per Square Metre in England and Wales interactive map quite a lot recently. The map shows the average price per square metre of properties in each postcode area. It is therefore a very handy way to find areas where you might be able to afford a property.

The map includes a filter tool which allows you to filter the results shown on the map by the cost per square metre. Therefore if you know the range that you can afford or are willing to pay you can use this filter tool to identify the areas within your comfort zone.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Map Your Trips Around the World


Lim Chee Aun has spent a huge amount of time and effort creating an interactive map which will probably interest nobody except for Lim Chee Aun. Actually that's not true. It interests me and it will interest anyone else who loves beautifully designed interactive maps.

Cheeaun Earth is a map of Lim Chee Aun's Forsquare check-ins around the world. There is a lot to admire in this map. It includes a great marker clustering solution. It allows you to turn the map journey lines on & off (which allows you to follow the chronology & geography of Lim's movements). It also has a muted map style, which allows the data to stand out clearly on the map.

I particularly like the small inset country maps which run along the bottom of the map. These inset maps show how many check-ins Lim has made in different countries around the world. They also serve as buttons which when clicked moves the map to the selected country.

The country map icons come from Sn3b/mapsicon. If you want to create your own Foursquare check-in map all the code for Cheeaun Earth is on GitHub.

Styling Maps the Easy Way


Esri UK's mapstyler is a fun little tool that can help you create a new map style from the colors found in an image.

To create a new map style with mapstyler you just need to drag & drop an image onto the map (either from another browser window of from your saved images). The map is then automatically restyled using the colors from your image. You can press the 'shuffle' button to experiment with which map features use which colors from your image.

When you are happy with your map style you can click the heart button to save a copy of your new styled map to your ArcGIS Online account.

Disclaimer: any similarity or resemblance to Mapbox' Cartogram is purely intentional 
(just kidding! Esri were working on mapstyler long before the release of Cartogram).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mapping Climate Science


There have been a lot of interactive maps released this year which show how global warming is likely to effect sea levelsglobal temperatures and the number of deadly heat days that we can expect in the future. All these maps are based on our present knowledge of climate change.

Most climate change deniers appear to now accept that the evidence for global warming is beyond debate. Instead many climate change deniers have moved on to now claim that the global warming, that they used to deny the existence of, is not caused by man but is just part of the natural changes to the planet's climate. You know that natural climate change which normally takes place over thousands of years.

A new interactive map from Carbon Brief has plotted scientific studies which have looked at whether extreme climate events around the world have been influenced by human activity or not. The Attributing Extreme Weather to Climate Change map plots 144 extreme weather events for which scientists have published peer-reviewed studies. The studies on the map have been color-coded to show which ones found evidence of human influence, those that found no evidence of human influence and those that proved inconclusive.

Carbon Brief's analysis of these 144 studies suggests that "63% of all extreme weather events studied to date were made more likely or more severe by human-caused climate change".

OpenStreetMap Around the World


OpenStreetMap user Martin Raifer has released his annual visualization of OpenStreetMap Node Density. The map shows the number of OSM-nodes per square metre on the ground. In other words it provides a visual guide to the amount of OSM data around the world.

The node density is worked out at the end of June each year and the OpenStreetMap Node Density map includes layers to show the node density for previous years. You can switch between the different years to get a sense of where in the world the most editing of OSM has taken place. Alternatively you can view the 'difference' layers to see where major editing of OSM has happened in the past year.


OpenStreetMap is of course an ongoing project to map the world. The world is always changing and OSM needs to constantly update to reflect those changes. Therefore dedicated volunteers around the world are always working to improve the map.

OSMlab's Show Me The Way provides a real-time view of OpenStreetMap's contributors in action. Using satellite imagery from Bing Maps 'Show Me The Way' provides a captivating visualization of the ever improving OSM project, as it actually happens.


You can get a great sense of how all these individual edits to OpenStreetMap has slowly built an incredibly detailed map of the world on Mapbox's Ten Years of OpenStreetMap. Mapbox created this animated map back in 2015 to mark the tenth anniversary of OSM.

The map shows how OpenStreetMap grew in its first ten years from a map of a few London streets to one of the most detailed maps of the world. The animated map reveals how OSM developed from what was at first largely a map of the United States and Europe into a truly global map.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pride Comes Before a Ball


Carto has completed an interesting geo-data investigation into where people go after taking part in New York's Pride parade. A Map of Where People Went After the NYC Pride Parade uses pick-up and drop-off data from New York's yellow taxis to determine what people do after Pride.

Using data from Sunday June 26th, 2016 (the data of last year's Pride in New York) Carto isolated all the taxi pick-ups in the Pride parade area between 4-8pm (when the parade was winding down). They then created a map of all the drop-off points from these pick-ups, to see where people were going after Pride. Carto used a DBSCAN clustering algorithm to identify locations with a high density of drop-offs.

Major transit hubs feature quite prominently, presumably for people heading home, Areas with popular gay bars also appeared to be popular destinations. Locations around hotels is another take out from the mapped data.

If you enjoyed this visualization of NYC taxi data then you will probably also like NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life. Chris Whong's NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life is a must for anyone interested in the visualization of transit data.