Wednesday, January 17, 2018

London's Busiest Tube Stations

Where do passengers get on and off the tube? is an interactive map of the London Underground showing how many passengers enter and exit the tube at each London tube station. The size of each tube line on the map reflects the number of passengers who enter and exit the tube at each station.

The data behind the map is interesting and the resulting map looks quite pretty. As a visualization of the data however the map could be better. For some reason the map's creator has decided to make a 'geographically accurate' map of the London Underground rather than copy Harry Beck's iconic tube map design. This would be fine if the map had station labels. It doesn't. It is therefore very difficult to work out where individual stations are on the map. This would be less of a problem if the map copied the London Underground map design. At least then people familiar with the tube map would have some idea where a lot of stations are on the map.

You can hover over the map to view the names of stations. The map also has a search function. Unfortunately the search engine doesn't appear to recognize half of the names of London Underground stations.

Of course the number of passengers entering and exiting a station doesn't necessarily reflect how busy a station is. On this map North Greenwich appears to be about 8 times busier than West Ham. However, anyone using the Jubilee line in East London will know that West Ham is often far busier than North Greenwich. At West Ham most of the activity is from passengers moving between different tube lines. So although it is often the busier station West Ham doesn't have as many passengers entering and exiting the station as North Greenwich.

Map of the Day

Scotland's Trunk Road Gritter Tracker wins the internet today. This real-time map of Scotland's road gritting trucks is creating a bit of a winter storm on social media.

The popularity of the Trunk Road Gritter Tracker is not because you can follow the trucks in real-time as they grit Scotland's roads. Don't get me wrong - watching the little truck markers moving around on a map of Scotland is lots of fun. However, what has excited the internet more is the hilarious names given to some of the trucks.

Some of my favorite truck names on the map include Gritty Gritty Bang Bang, Sir Salter Scott, Gritty Gonzales, Luke Snowalker and Grittie McVitie,

How to Rob a Country

The problems with having an oligarch as a president is that they will steal as much money as they can while they are in power. The longer they remain in power the better they become at laundering their stolen money. This is particularly true of those oligarchs who are supported by Russia.

Take Viktor Yanukovich for example. As president of Ukraine from 2010-2014 he managed to steal billions of dollars using a global money laundering network. Al Jazeera has used documents recovered after the Ukrainian revolution to map how Victor Yanukovich was able to move his stolen money around the world.

The Oligarchs is an interactive story map which tracks the movements of the stolen money through shell companies in offshore tax havens and other money-laundering hotspots around the world, such as the UK. As you progress through the story map you can follow the trail of the money as it is laundered clean by being passed from bank to bank and tax haven to tax haven. None of the banks used, including those in the United States, flagged the money or its movements as suspicious.

Al Jazeera suggests that the money stolen from Ukraine by Victor Yanukovich is now being used to fuel dissent in Ukraine.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

How Well Does Your Home Score?

Two factors that you might want to consider when buying a new house are how noisy the neighborhood is and how busy the local roads are. Both of these factors can hugely affect your quality of life and neither may be entirely apparent until you move in to your new home.

That is why Total Home Score has been released. Total Home Score is a new interactive map that rates every building in Chicago and Boston (hopefully the rest of the United States will be coming soon) for noise and traffic.

The 3d buildings on the Total home Score interactive map are colored by either noise or traffic levels (you can switch between the two by using the buttons on the map). If you select a building on the map you can view its 'Quiet Score' and 'Road Score'. Each of these scores are out of 100, with a higher rating being better than a lower rating. If you select the 'details' link next to either score then you can view some of the environmental factors which have contributed to the score (details are shown beneath the map).

The amount of traffic on a neighborhood's roads will affect how pleasant it is to walk around the neighborhood. You can discover how nice a neighborhood is for walking and cycling at Walk Score.

Enter an address into the Walk Score interactive map and you can find out how well it scores for walking, cycling and public transit. Walk Score also has a great apartment search facility which helps you find an apartment not only by price but by what nearby amenities are within an easy walk or bike ride.

Trulia Local is another useful interactive map which can help you find out how well a neighborhood rates for other important factors, such as crime, commuting times, local amenities and local traffic. It can also help you find out whether there are good local schools, restaurants, banks and stores nearby.

Trulia Local provides a heat map of local crime. This heat map shows areas of high and low crime and also maps individual crime reports. If you want to find how long it will take you to commute from a neighborhood to your work then you can mark your workplace on the map and view an isochrone map showing all nearby commute times.

The Real-Time Electricity Map

The Electricity Map is a real-time map of electricity production around the world. The map uses data about electricity production and consumption from energy producers and government agencies across the globe to provide a near real-time dashboard of the live CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of individual states and countries.

Each country and state on the map is colored by how much CO2 is used to produce its electricity demand. If you hover over a country or state on the map you can view the percentage of its electricity which is low carbon or from renewable sources. If you click on a country or state then you can view a breakdown of how its electricity demand is met. For example, how much electricity is produced by wind, solar or hydro power plants.

If you are interested in the live production of electricity, especially from renewable sources, then you might also like this map of UK wind energy production. The United Kingdom generates a higher percentage of its electricity from offshore wind farms than any other country. You can view the current output of the UK's offshore wind farms on the Offshore Wind Electricity Map.

The map shows the locations of the UK's offshore wind farms. Each wind farm is represented on the map by a scaled animated wind turbine marker. The size of the marker represents the scale of the current output from each wind farm. If you select a marker on the map you can view the name of the wind farm and its current output in megawatts.

The map sidebar shows a dashboard reading of the share of the UK's electricity currently being generated by offshore wind. If you select a marker on the map the dashboard updates to show the operator of the selected wind farm, the site capacity, the number of turbines and the type of turbines.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Seas of Plastic Debris

The Seas of Plastic is a visualization of the floating plastic debris that is polluting the world's oceans. The visualization includes an interactive globe showing the five large circulating gyres of plastic in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, Indian, South Atlantic and North Atlantic oceans. The visualization also includes a Sankey Diagram that shows the amount of plastic debris which different countries contribute to each of these five circulating gyres.

The data for the Seas of Plastic visualization comes from a Lagrangian particle tracking model which simulated 30 years of input, transport and accumulation of floating plastic debris around the world. The model tracks the paths of plastic particles from land to sea and estimates the relative size of each of the five circulatory gyres.

Around 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the world's oceans every single year. This plastic is dangerous to marine life and, once it enters the food chain, ultimately dangerous to the health of the human race.

The Ocean Cleanup organisation believes that between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons of the plastic in the oceans originates from the world's river systems. Two thirds of it from the rivers of Asia. To help explain how and where plastic ends up in the world's oceans the Ocean Cleanup has released an interactive map, River Plastic Emissions to the World’s Oceans.

The map shows river systems around the globe. The predicted input from each river system is shown at the coast using scaled circular markers. These predicted inputs are based on a model which looks at population density, waste management, topography, hydrography, the locations of dams and the reported concentration of plastic in rivers around the world.

You can see where all that plastic goes on Sailing Seas of Plastic, an interactive mapped visualization of the concentration of plastic in the world's oceans. According to the map there are 5,250 billion pieces of plastic adrift on the seas of the world.

This dot density map shows the estimated concentration of floating plastic in the oceans. Each dot on the map represents 20 kg of floating plastic. The estimations are based on the results of 24 survey expeditions (2007-2013) and on wind and ocean drift models.

If you want you can also overlay the sailing tracks of the 24 survey expeditions on top of the dot map.

Funky Road-Trip Planning

Long car journeys can be very boring. If you want to break up a long road-trip then you can always use Make My Drive Fun to find interesting pit-stops along your route.

Make My Drive Fun is a route planner which includes the 'funkiest places' to visit along each route. Just enter your starting point and destination into Make My Drive Fun and it will create a map for your route. The map will include a number of markers showing 'funky attractions' within less than a 20 minute drive of your route.

You can also find fun things to do on your road-trip using the Rand McNally Trip Maker. This interactive road trip planning tool can give you turn-by-turn driving directions for your trip with the option to find interesting places to visit along the route.

If you are looking for interesting pit-stops on your journey then you can use the 'Things to Do' option. This allows you to search for rest-stops and points of interest along your route. You can even define how far you are prepared to deviate from your route by entering the number of miles. When you are happy with your planned road trip you can email and export your trips to any Rand McNally GPS device.

You can also use Roadtrippers to plan a journey with interesting diversions. Roadtrippers allows you to find pit-stops along your route using a number of different options. For example you can define how far off your route you want to search for suggested stops. You can also save your planned trips on Roadtrippers for later reference.

Roadtrippers includes a huge database of points of interest. This includes cafes, gas stations and hotels. It also includes tourist destinations and offbeat, strange and unusual places to visit.

Lighting Up the World

Lighthouses of the World is an interesting map of all the world's lighthouses. OK, it isn't that interesting - but I do like how the map lights up some of the world's busiest coastlines and the Great Lakes of North America.

I believe the map was made using data from OpenStreetMap (you can read more about how lighthouses are mapped on the OSM Wiki). This does mean that the Lighthouses of the World map is only as accurate as the data on OSM. It could be that some areas of the world have not had as many lighthouses mapped as other areas of the world.

You can see that not all busy coastlines have lighthouses marked on the map. You can view most of the busiest shipping lanes around the world on is an outstanding animated map that visualizes the movements of the global merchant shipping fleet over the course of one year.

If you compare the two maps it appears that Africa and the western coastline of South America are two areas with heavy marine traffic but less lighthouses. I'm not sure if this is due to a lack of data on OSM in these regions or if there isn't the same tradition of building lighthouses in these areas of the world.

Another thing I like about this map is its use of Firefly Cartography. Firefly Cartography is a term coined by John Nelson to describe maps with:

  • A dark, de-saturated basemap (usually imagery) 
  • Masked highlight area and vignette 
  • Single bright, glowing, thematic layer
Lighthouses of the World certainly has the dark basemap and glowing thematic data of firefly cartography. Of course a firefly cartographic theme is entirely appropriate for a map of lighthouses, which are meant to similarly guide us in the dark. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Where Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers

As a member of Generation X I increasingly find myself caught in the middle of a generational war between Millennials and Baby Boomers. It is a war that Millennials just might be beginning to win. The latest reports from the front-line suggest that the Millennials have now captured most large urban centers and are increasingly pushing Baby Boomers out into the wilderness, beyond the walls of our towns and cities.

Yesterday Alisdair Rae tweeted a map he created which shows Where Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers in the UK. The map shows that in most local authority areas Baby Boomers outnumber Millennials. However in the most densely populated areas in large towns and cities Millennials actually outnumber Baby Boomers.

Alisdair's map inspired Census Mapper to create an interactive map showing Millennials vs Boomers in Canada. The map uses data from the 2016 census to show areas where there are more Millennials (people born in the years 1982 through 2000) and where there are more Boomers (people born 1946 through 1964).

In Canada there are slightly more Boomers than Millennials. But only just and the total numbers of each are pretty even. However there is a big difference in where Boomers and Millennials live. As in the UK Baby Boomers dominate in most rural areas (except areas with a large First Nations population). The Millennials though have captured most of Canada's largest towns and cities (although I suspect most of the property is still owned by Boomers and members of Generation X).

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Seismic Waves is an application which allows you to visualize the propagation of an earthquake's seismic waves as they radiate across the Earth's surface and bounce around inside its interior. The app allows you to watch animated simulations of the earthquake waves of ten historical earthquakes that occurred around the world.

As each animated earthquake simulation plays out you can watch the earthquake waves radiate out on a WebGL half-globe. The waves traveling through the Earth's core bounce off and travel through the Earth's Outer & Inner Core. The half-globe is interactive. Therefore, if you want to study the seismic waves traveling through the Earth more closely, you can rotate the globe to get a better view of the Earth's Mantle, Outer Core and Inner Core.

This Seismic Wave simulator provides a great demonstration of how earthquakes can be used to investigate the Earth’s interior structure. It shows both P-waves (pressure; these waves pass through liquid and solid) and S-waves (shear or secondary; these waves only travel through solid - not through liquid). Waves are refracted (change direction) when they travel through different densities. Therefore by measuring the time P-waves and S-waves take to travel through the Earth it is possible to infer the make-up of the Earth's interior.

Seismic Waves was created by Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology. If you want to know more about seismic waves the IRIS has created many more lessons, animations and posters on seismic waves.