Saturday, February 24, 2018

The 10 Tallest Mountains in 3D


You've probably seen illustrations of the world's tallest mountains placed side-by-side before. However I bet you've never seen it done in 3D, allowing you to rotate your point of view and examine the mountains from many different angles.

7 Summits is a guided tour around the world, looking at the tallest mountains on each continent. There is some disagreement over which are the tallest mountains in each continent so 7 Summits actually takes you on a tour of ten of the world's tallest mountains.

While it is interesting viewing where the tallest summit is in each continent the most interesting part of 7 Summits comes towards the end, when you get to see all ten summits placed side-by-side on a 3D map. 7 Summits takes you on a little tour of each of the summits in this 3D visualization and then you are free to explore the imagined scene on your own, zooming in and spinning around the different summits at will.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Some Friday Street View Fun


This is the 235th Where in the World? game to be made from Google Maps Street View imagery. However, despite its lack of originality, Where in the World? is still a fun game to play.

Where in the World? follows the now well established format of these types of Street View games. You are shown a series of random(ish) Street View images from Google Maps and you have to guess the location shown in the image.

In some Street View games guessing the correct location can be very hard. Wherein the World? makes it a little easier to guess the correct location by only showing you well-known locations around the world. It isn't ridiculously easy though. You only get twelve seconds to pick the right answer!

If you want more fun with Street View then you might also enjoy 10 Street View Games to Kill Your Day.

America's Internet Speed Map


You can now find out what companies offer broadband services in your area and the speeds that they offer. Enter your address into the Federal Communications Commission's new interactive map and you can view the names of all your local broadband providers and the upload and download speeds that they offer.

The FCC Broadband Map is color-coded to show the number of fixed residential broadband providers in each census block in the USA. If you click on a census block on the map you can view a list of the available broadband providers, the technology they offer (cable, ADSL or satellite) and their upload and download speeds (which I assume are self-reported by the companies and not the actual speeds experienced by consumers).

The Mapbox blog has a brief explanation of how Mapbox GL and Tippecanoe have been utilized by the FCC to display over 68 million records on their fast interactive map.

Global Risk Maps


The global political landscape looks to be fairly turbulent in 2018. The UK's negotiations to leave the European Union, the USA's continuing threats of trade protectionism and North Korea's growing militarization all point towards increasing political instability around the world.

The Marsh Political Risk Map uses data from BMI Research to help visualize the issues that multinational organisations and investors need to consider in the year ahead. The interactive map rates countries around the world based on their political and economic stability. It gives each country a score out of 100 based on a number of factors, including social and political stability and external and internal threats.


If you want more concrete examples of the risks in countries around the world then you might also want to explore RiskMap. RiskMap is a free to use security and risk mapping portal which allows you to access news and real-time intelligence about the current risk situation in countries around the world.

The map displays hundreds of the latest events and incidents related to security events across the globe. Click on the colored markers for these events and you can read a summary of the event (referenced to the original news source).

Behind the scenes the RiskMap algorithm looks at events and incidents of interest from over 1,000 different sources, This algorithm calculates the risk represented by each incident and attempts to identify the type of risk posed and the facts of the incident such as the number of fatalities or casualties, A second algorithm then selects the most important information from the original source and creates a summarized copy of the event for the map.


If you are thinking about traveling abroad and want to know the associated risks then you might want to refer to the International SOS Travel Risk Map. International SOS provide a very basic interactive map of the travel risks in each country of the world. The Travel Risk Map provides an overview of the travel risks in each country for medical, security and road safety.

Countries are colored on the Travel Risk Map to show the International SOS assessment of the travel risks in these three categories. The map therefore provides a very basic guide as to where it is safe to travel in the world. Unfortunately it doesn't provide much information on the specific risks that you might encounter in each country.

Many governments provide useful advice for their citizens who are planning to travel abroad. For example the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date Foreign Travel Advice. If you do use the Travel Risk Map then please also check your government's latest travel advice which will hopefully provide more detail on the specific risks associated with countries across the globe..

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Finding Qibla


As someone who works with location data and digital maps I really should love Augmented Reality. However, despite being initially excited by a few AR projects, I don't think there is one AR project that I've ever visited more than once. Perhaps if I were Muslim Google's Qiblar Finder would be the AR application to finally earn a permanent bookmark on my phone.

Qibla is the direction of Mecca. The direction that should be faced during salah prayers. The Qibla Finder allows you to find the direction of Qibla from wherever you are in the world. The website uses Google Maps Street View and GPS to provide an augmented reality view of Qibla. Visit the Qibla Finder on your phone and you can view a Street View image of your current location with a map marker and line indicating the direction that you should pray.

If you visit the Qibla Finder from a desktop then you can view a Google Map of your direction with a line leading from your location towards Mecca.

The Cannabis Price Index Map


If you want to live your life stoned & high then drag your ass down to Paraguay. At only $2.22 a gram the Paraguayan city of Asuncion is one of the cheapest places to buy cannabis in the world. Colombia and Ecuador are two other countries where you can buy weed on the cheap. I suspect it has something to do with supply & demand.

Vice is living up to its name with an interactive map showing the price of cannabis around the world.  The 2018 Cannabis Price Index interactive map shows you the cost of a gram of weed in 120 cities around the world. Click on a city's marker on the map and you can not only view the price of a gram but also the legality of cannabis in that city and the amount of cannabis consumed.

The Vice map is an interesting overview of the global prices of cannabis. However I think that a map showing your nearest dealers, each one with a menu of currently available varieties and near real-time prices, would be much more useful. I think the police would also appreciate such a handy map.

As well as the interactive map Vice has summarized the cheapest & most expensive cities to buy cannabis around the world. This Is How Much Weed Costs in 120 Cities Across the World also looks at which cities consume the most and the least weed in an average year.

All Aboard the SS Great Britain


In the mid 19th Century the SS Great Britain was the longest passenger ship in the world. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel the SS Great Britain was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic. During its operating life the SS Great Britain traveled to 5 different continents and circumnavigated the globe 32 times. The SS Great Britain is now permanently at dock in Bristol Harbour enjoying a new life as a visitor attraction and museum ship.

You can now learn more about the SS Great Britain's many voyages and about life on board the ship on a new interactive map. Using information taken from letters, diaries and logbooks Brunel's SS Great Britain allows you to explore the routes of each of the ship's 47 outward and return journeys. It also allows you to learn more about its passengers and crew and their daily life on board the ship.

If you select to view one of the steamer's voyages you can view the route of the voyage outlined on a Google Map. Each route includes a number of markers which allow you to read entries made about the voyage in letters, diaries and logbooks. You can also view details about the number of passengers and crew on board and the name of the captain for the voyage.

If you want to learn more about life on board the SS Great Britain then you might also want to look at the Ship section of the SS Great Britain website. This includes photographs of some of the decks, galleys and sleeping quarters which can be found aboard Isambard Kingdom Brunel's great iron ship.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Cesspits of San Francisco


NBC say that many San Francisco streets have conditions which are comparable to some of the worst slums in the world. An NBC Bay Area Investigation surveyed over 150 streets and discovered a number of San Francisco's streets are littered with trash, discarded needles and even human feces.

In Diseased Streets you can view an interactive map visualizing the results of NBC's investigation. The map shows the overall sanitation score given to each street by NBC. You can also filter the map to show individual scores for the amounts of trash, needles or feces found on each street. If you click on a street on the map you can see exactly how many needles, feces and trash NBC found on that street.

According to NBC over the years reports of needles and human waste to 311 have steadily risen. Therefore it looks like the conditions on San Francisco's streets are getting worse not better. In fact you often get cleaner conditions in some of the world's worst slums. People who live in slums tend to try to keep them as sanitary as possible. Because San Francisco's homeless are continually moved on there is no need for them to worry about sanitation.

The USA - A Democracy for Sale


Saudi Arabia wants to build two nuclear reactors. This might seem surprising for a country with lots of oil and a seemingly unlimited potential for solar energy. So why does Saudi Arabia want to go nuclear? Obviously Saudi Arabia is keen to join the ever growing list of countries that own their own nuclear weapons. Perhaps that is why it wants two nuclear reactor and is also reluctant to deny that it might use them to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Luckily nuclear non-proliferation treaties mean that the USA can't sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately the Trump administration is pursuing a deal to try to sell the Saudi's the two nuclear reactors anyway.

You might wonder why the Americans would want to help another brutal dictatorship get nuclear weapons. There are two possible reasons. One is that this could be just another example of Trump's 'America First' policy. America just grabbing the money while it can and screwing the consequences for the whole world. Another reason could be the influence that Saudi Arabia has over American legislators.

We all know that in American politics money talks. So let's take a look at Middle East Lobbying: The Influence Game. Al-Monitor's interactive map reveals the amount of money that Middle East countries spend on lobbying the American government. Every year Al-Monitor reveals how much money Middle-East countries spend on lobbying and also assess how successful each country has been in its lobbying.

The kings of Middle-East lobbying are of course Saudi Arabia. Last year Saudi Arabia spent $14 million in lobbying American politicians. Obviously just spending that money doesn't mean that they were successful in buying any influence. To determine if the USA's democracy is really for sale we would have to see if the Saudi's actually achieved anything, such as becoming Trump's first official visit or successfully buying nuclear technology.

The Queen's Travel Scratch Map


I've visited 10 countries. Which is 3.4% of the countries in the world. If you are interested in which countries I've been to then you can visit my personal travel scratch pad.

However, rather than looking at my travel map, you can have far more fun creating your own map of all the countries that you have seen. Scratch the World is a fun little interactive map which you can use to boast about all the places you have visited around the world. Just click on all the countries you have been to and Scratch the World will mark them off, work out the total number of countries you have been to and tell you what percentage of the world's countries you have visited.

You can even get a unique URL which you can use to share with your friends when you want to boast about your global travels.

Mind you, no matter how much of the world you have seen, the Queen's travel map is still much better than yours. After all she has visited hundreds more countries than you (if I had my own plane, train, and ocean liner I would have also have visited more countries than you).

The Travels of Queen Elizabeth II is an interactive map of every country the Queen has visited since 1953. In total the Queen has visited 110 countries. This is 43% of the countries featured on Scratch the World. Therefore there are still quite a few countries for the Queen to visit.

If you are in anyway interested in the global travels of the Queen then you can use her travel map to view all the countries she has visited by decade and by type of visit (state or commonwealth visit (royal beach holiday is missing from the available options)).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Europe isn't where you think it is


Africa, Europe and South America aren't where you think they are. According to John M Nelson lots of us think that Europe and Africa are a lot further south than they really are and that South America is further west than it really is.

In Misconceptions Nelson explores these three commonly held geographical misconceptions. Obviously whether he is correct or not depends on how good your mental map of the world actually is. Where he is right, as always, is in his immaculate cartography. I particularly like how his maps seamlessly transition from the style of a hand-drawn map sketched in a school exercise book to a full-sized globe in your grown-up office or library.

If you are also impressed by the realistic looking globes then you can find out how to create them in Globification - Turn Your Maps into Plausibly Realistic Globes. The tutorial even includes some downloadable images which you can use as the background for your own interactive globes.

Pennsylvania's Non-Gerrymandered Map


One consequence of redrawing electoral districts to try to squeeze all the voters of one political party into one district is that you end up with some very oddly shaped districts. Back in 2014 the Washington Post mapped America’s most gerrymandered congressional districts. One conclusion that they reached from mapping loads of oddly shaped districts was that you can get a good idea of how gerrymandered a district is by how irregular its shape is.

You might want to think about this irregular shape rule when reading the New York Times' article The New Pennsylvania House Districts Are In. We Review the Mapmakers’ Choices. Yesterday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new congressional map to replace the one gerrymandered by Pennsylvania Republicans.

The Time's article includes a series of maps which allow you to compare the Republican gerrymandered districts with the Supreme Court's redrawn districts. When switching between the two maps for each district you can look out for irregular shapes where boundary lines are snaking out to capture neighborhoods that don't seem to be a natural fit. The Supreme Court's district maps do seem to be much more compact than those drawn by the Republicans. The Supreme Court maps don't have as many "squiggles and offshoots and tentacle-looking protuberances" that are common to gerrymandered electoral districts.

The Washington Post map of America's most gerrymandered districts gives the old Pennsylvania congressional districts gerrymander scores mostly in the 80's & 90's. Scores that indicate the districts have been highly gerrymandered to favor one political party over another. The fact that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has redrawn a much fairer map doesn't appear to be very good news for the Republicans. However we will have to wait until the elections later this year to see which party really wins in each new Pennsylvania district.

The World's News - 2017


2017 was a momentous year. It began with the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. It ended with the USA withdrawing from the UN's New York Declaration, a policy adopted unanimously by 193 states to help improve the fate of refugees and immigrants. You can read more about the major events of last year in World 2017.

World 2017 is a summary of the major news, sports events and scientific discoveries that happened last year. It provides an overview of the global political, economic and social events which shaped 2017. As you scroll through World 2017 you progress chronologically through the year. As you progress an interactive globe rotates and shows you the locations of major events around the world, while the scrolling sidebar provides a summary of each of these global events.

Under the hood World 2017 is using Klokan Technologies' WebGL Earth. WebGL Earth is an open-source virtual globe. The WebGL Earth JavaScript API is based on the popular Leaflet JavaScript API and is therefore relatively simple to use, especially if you have experience of using the Leaflet mapping library.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Carpooling Map of Europe


BlaBlaCar is an online carpooling service. It connects passengers looking to make a journey with car drivers who plan to take that route. Passenger and driver then share the cost of the trip. BlaBlaCar operates in 21 countries, most of which are in Europe.

BlaBlaCar has around 60 million users and it matches lots of passengers with car drivers willing to give lifts. For example last month 39,752 BlaBlaCar drivers passed through Paris on route to other locations. You can view how many rides passed by your location with BlaBlaCar's Destinations map.

Enter a location into the map and you can view all the trips which passed nearby in the last month. The map uses Mapbox's pitch feature to provide a neat oblique overview of the extent of all the journeys that passed through your selected location.

The Over Emotional Map of New York


Crying in Public is a crowd-sourced map of New York's emotions. A place to share those New York moments when everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

Sign in to Crying in Public and you can mark those New York locations where you too have felt overpowering emotions. To show what kind of emotional episode you experienced at your selected location you can choose from a number of different emojis. For example a broken heart emoji can be used to show the location of a break-up, a flame emoji can be used to show a spot where you were once fired or a green face can be used to mark a place where you have vomited.

The map was created with the Leaflet mapping library but uses the Google Street View Image API to show a static Street View image of emotional locations shown on the map.

If you like emojis with your maps then you might also like Air New Zealand's new #EmojiJourney map.

The Noise Map of Berlin 2018


Every five years, the Berlin Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection calculates the noise levels of every house in Berlin. The Berliner Morgenpost has used the data to create an interactive map showing road, public transit, airport and industrial noise throughout the city.

If you hover over any part of the Berlin Noise Map you can view the noise levels at that location. The information includes the recorded decibel levels for both day & night-time and a breakdown of the decibel levels from road and transit noise (and planes where relevant). The map does not include ambient neighborhood noise, for example from nearby pubs and nightclubs.

The map doesn't reveal too many surprises. As you might expect properties on the flight path into and out of Tegel Airport are among the noisiest. Elsewhere it seems that the busier the road you live on then the noisier it is (which makes sense when you're measuring road noise).

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Emoji Map Search


Air New Zealand has invented a new way to explore New Zealand. Just Tweet your favorite emojis to Air New Zealand and they will send you a personal interactive map of fun places to visit in New Zealand.

If you use the #EmojiJourney hashtag and three emojis in a Tweet then Air New Zealand will send you a link to a Google Map of New Zealand featuring recommended things for you to see and do - based on your choice of emojis. For example if you send a wine glass emoji, a bike emoji and a ski emoji you will be sent a link to a map showing wineries, great places to cycle and places to ski.

If you don't want to use Twitter you can just go to the #EmojiJourney map and search the tourist map of New Zealand by selecting your favorite emojis. You can even get your own emoji map by simply appending emoji symbols to the end of the map's URL.


Emojis can also be used as a simple universal non-written location coding system. For example, What3Emojis is a revolutionary new way of addressing the entire world using the only common language of the entire human race, the emoji.

With What3Emojis the Earth is divided into 4m x 4m squares which are randomly assigned a unique three-emoji combination. If you want to share your location with someone else all you need to do is send them the three emojis assigned to that location. They can then enter the emojis into What3Emojis and be shown that location on the interactive map. Simple!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saying Goodbye to the American Dream


California's 46th Congressional District is set to lose $529,600,000 from its annual GDP. Arizona's 7th Congressional District is set to lose $495,900,000 and Texas's 15th Congressional District will lose $411,800,000. This is the amount of local GDP which is contributed by non-citizen and DACA recipients. It is the amount of the local economy which could be lost if Trump is successful in phasing DACA out.

Esri has released an interactive map which visualizes the areas of the USA with the highest percentage of non-citizen residents & DACA recipients and the estimated economic impact that their removal will have on an area's GDP.

Using data from the American Community Survey and other sources, Esri's Where Will Changes to Immigration Policy Have the Greatest Potential Impact? visualizes the percentage of non-citizen foreign-born residents in each state, county, and city, along with information about sanctuary areas. The map also uses data from the University of Southern California to show which congressional districts have the largest number of DACA recipients and how their removal would effect the district's annual GDP. In many areas the percentage of non-citizen residents is very large and their removal will have a devastating effect on the local economy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Redlining in Modern America


Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal black homeowners were discriminated against by redlining maps. These maps identified areas with significant black populations as risky for mortgage support. Black homeowners living in these areas were more unlikely to be successful when trying to refinance home mortgages using the government sponsored Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned racial discrimination in lending. However new research from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting shows that people of color still face discrimination when applying for property loans, particularly in a number of Southern cities. The year long analysis discovered that in 61 metro areas redlining is still effectively in place.

An interactive map in Reveal's For People of Color, Banks are Shutting the Door to Home Ownership identifies the locations of these 61 metro areas. If you click on any of the identified metro areas on the map you can discover what evidence Reveal discovered of discrimination in the area, including how much more likely black, Asian, Latino or Native American applicants were to be denied home loans than white applicants.


Another interactive map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition allows you to explore how the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) redlining maps are affecting cities today. The interactive map allows you to compare modern data about income status and the minority population with the HOLC's historical redlining security ratings.

Using the maps you can see if neighborhoods in your city with 'good' HOLC redlining ratings have remained largely white and wealthy or whether your city has become a beacon of social and racial equality.


You can view the original redlining maps on the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab website. The Home Owners' Loan Corporation was a government-sponsored corporation created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Its purpose was to refinance home mortgages which were in default to prevent foreclosure.

The HOLC is often cited as starting the practice of mortgage redlining. Redlining is the process of denying services to residents of certain areas based on the racial composition of those areas. Mapping Inequality, Redlining in New Deal America allows you to view the residential security maps created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments.

The areas marked in blue on the maps are the neighborhoods which were deemed desirable for lending purposes. The yellow areas show neighborhoods deemed 'declining' areas. The red areas are the neighborhoods considered the most risky for mortgage support.

The result of these redlining maps was that residents in the more affluent and largely white neighborhoods were far more likely to receive financing. Residents in the poorer and black communities were deemed more risky and were therefore less likely to receive financial support.

Most Popular Citi Bike Routes


The NYC Citi Bike App is a Leaflet based interactive map which allows you to explore the number of bikes borrowed and docked from each Citi Bike station. The interactive map visualizes the most popular stations and journeys for any time of day and day of the week.

Bike stations on the map are colored to show which of the docking stations have the most bikes borrowed from them during the selected times and days. Stations colored red have more bikes borrowed from them than are docked at them. This means that they lose bikes during the selected time. The green stations are stations where more bikes are docked than borrowed. These stations therefore end up with more bikes than they start with for the selected time period.

The orange lines show the most popular routes. If you follow the orange lines from any bike station you can see the most poplar journeys between that station and other New York bike stations. The data behind the map only shows where and when a bike was borrowed and docked. Therefore these orange lines don't show the actual routes between two bike stations.

The map includes the option to filter the data by time of day. Notice how the orange and green stations change during the morning and evening rush hours. In the morning the red stations (the ones losing bikes) tend to be on the outskirts of the Citi Bike network. In the evening commuting hours the red stations (the bike stations where more bikes are being borrowed than returned) are concentrated in the city center. This pattern obviously reflects the movement of people into the city in the morning for work and then traveling out of the city after work.

German Street Names


Back in January Zeit Online released a fascinating analysis of the most popular German street names. They have now extended their examination to explore what the names given to roads reveal about the past and how the attitudes of Germans have changed over the centuries.

In Streetscapes: Mozart, Marx and a Dictator Zeit Online explores how there is a distinct east-west split to some German street names, which owes a lot to the differing politics of the former East and West Germany, before reunification. One thing that is probably true in both east & west is that women are much less likely to be commemorated by having streets named for them than men. For example in Hamburg 2,511 streets are named after men and only 397 are named after women.

Zeit Online has also analysed which periods of history are commemorated in Berlin's street names. The most popular period is the period of the German Empire (1870–1918). The Nazi era is, for obvious reasons, very unpopular and "all street signs bearing the names of leading figures in the Nazi era have been removed." However you can still find street names from that period which "typify their ideology".

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mapping a Californian Wildfire


In January the Thomas Fire burned around 281,893 acres, becoming the largest wildfire in modern California history. The Los Angeles Times has used WebGL to visualize the spread of the fire and the damage it caused. The Thomas Fire: 40 Days of Devastation is a story map which provides a day-by-day account of the spread of the fire and its effect on Californian neighborhoods.

The LA Times visualization uses a WebGL powered 3d model of the area affected by the fire. Enhanced satellite imagery of the area has been overlaid on top of an elevation terrain model. The terrain and satellite imagery are very effective in visualizing both the size of the fire and the damage it caused.

A story map format has also been used to help explain the development of the fire and to highlight some of the areas most effected by the fire. As you progress through the story map you are told how the fire developed day-by-day, while the 3d map zooms in on different locations to highlight neighborhoods which suffered significant property damage.


WebGL can be a very effective way to visualize environmental damage or change. Satellite imagery overlaid on top of a 3d digital elevation model can provide the user with an easily recognizable representation of familiar terrain. You can view other effective examples in this post on WebGL models of potential rising sea levels.

How to Traumatize Your Baby & Get a Good Night's Sleep


Crying babies are a universal problem. Which is why every culture in the world has invented its own lullabies - those sweet sounding songs that are used to scare babies into silence.

If you listen to the words of most traditional lullabies you will quickly realize that while the tunes may be soothing the lyrics are frankly highly unsettling. In cultures around the world when people sing to babies they usually sing about babies being stolen, being haunted by frightening monsters or being brutally murdered.

For example in Indonesia parents sing to their children to warn them of the giants who search at night for crying children. Parents in Iceland sing to their children about the monsters outside hunting for children who do not stay in bed. In Haiti lullaby lyrics warn of a crab that likes to eat children who should be sleeping. While in Russia children are warned that if they sleep too close to the edge of the bed a wolf will come and drag them off into the woods.

You can listen to all these creepy lullabies from around the world on a new interactive map from Mattress Online. The World's Creepiest Lullabies allows you to listen to these lullabies and to read their disturbing lyrics. If you are inclined you could even traumatize your own children for life by singing them these songs while they try to sleep.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

OpenAerialMap


OpenAerialMap is an interactive map for sharing and finding openly licensed satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery. The current map was started in 2015 by the Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT) (although there was an earlier version which ceased operating in 2008).

Finding open aerial imagery with OpenAerialMap is very easy. You can either use the built in search facility or simply click on a location on the map to find nearby imagery. Any available imagery in your search area is displayed in the map sidebar. Select any of the listed choices of aerial imagery and you can view the imagery overlaid on the interactive map.

If you want to use any of the imagery in your own maps then you can simply copy the TMS URL for the imagery and use it with any of the popular interactive map libraries. You can also load the aerial imagery into your own maps using a WMTS URL.

Expanding Education in Illinois


The University of Illinois began life as as the Illinois Industrial University. Established in 1867 the school’s mission was to extend higher education to members of the working-class. The University started with two faculty members and 77 students. Today it has over 47,826 students.

To accommodate this huge increase in student numbers the University has also needed to grow in size over the years. A growth that you can now explore on the University's new website Mapping History at the University of Illinois. The project use historic maps, photos and interactive maps to explore and explain the history of the university and the growth of the university campus.

One part of Mapping History at the University of Illinois is a timeline map of the campus which shows how the campus has grown over time. This interactive map shows the building footprints of the campus' many buildings. The map includes a timeline slide control which allows you to show the buildings on the map by their date of construction. This timeline includes playback controls which allow you to watch as the interactive map animates through the growth of the campus over the years.

A number of other maps in the Interactive Maps section of the site allow you to discover more about the history of the campus and the university's most important buildings. This section is divided into a number of story maps which focus on exploring the university buildings by the historic era when they were constructed.

Britain's 100 Favorite Walks


One of the UK's main television channels, ITV, surveyed 8,000 walking enthusiasts to discover the country's favorite walking routes. From the results of the survey they have compiled a list of Britain's 100 favorite walks.

The Ordnance Survey has mapped all 100 walks in the list. In Britain's Favorite Walks: Top 100 you can not only discover your nearest popular walking routes but you can also view the route of each walk on its own interactive OS map.

Select an individual walk from the top 100 and you can view the route details on an OS map. The details include the walk's length, a brief description and even an elevation chart of the entire walk. The walk itself is shown on an interactive OS map with a link to export the route as a GPX file.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Canadian Pipeline Map


Gas pipelines can be very controversial (you can see the amount of opposition that the Northern Gateway Pipeline aroused in the Line in the Sand Map discussed below). The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association has therefore released a new interactive map to help inform the public about natural gas transmission pipelines.

The About Pipelines Map shows you where pipelines are, what they transport and who they are operated by. Using the map you can enter your address to view the locations of any pipelines near you and whether there have been any recent incidents associated with these pipelines. If you click on a pipeline on the map you can view details on what it transports, who it is owned by and who it is regulated by.


The Line in the Sand Map is a really well designed Mapbox map which contains video interviews with residents who live along the route of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in Canada. The Northern Gateway Pipelines Project was a plan to build a twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia.

The Line in the Sand was a collaborative campaign to help share the opinions and stories of those who would have been directly affected by the pipeline. This video map is a part of that project, which eventually led to a feature-length documentary. You can now view the entire documentary on the Line in the Sand website.

The Snapchat Map


Last year Snapchat introduced an interactive map to their mobile app. The map allows Snapchat users to share their location with friends and for Snapchat users to discover what other users are posting around the world.

Snap Map is now also available on the desktop. The desktop version of Snap Map provides a heatmap view of Snap Chat activity and allows you to watch Snaps submitted by Snapchatters anywhere in the world. Markers on the map show locations and / or events where a number of videos have recently been shared on Snapchat. If you click on the markers you can watch the latest submitted videos from that location.

If there is no marker on a location you can still click on the map to view the most recent videos submitted near that location. This means that Snap Map is a great way to get a sneak peak into any events happening right now. For example just click around Pyeongchang on Snap Map to view videos of the Winter Olympics.

Snap Map includes an embed view, which allows you to add a version of Snap Map to your own website or blog. The basemap and location data behind Snap Map is powered by Mapbox. It uses a custom designed basemap style which was developed from Mapbox Outdoors.

Who Owns England?


The BBC has discovered that 97,000 properties in England and Wales are owned by overseas companies. In Firms on Caribbean island chain own 23,000 UK properties the BBC has mapped all the properties in England & Wales which are owned by these overseas companies.

The map reveals that in central London a huge percentage of properties are now owned by overseas firms. For example in Kensington and Chelsea more than 6,000 properties are owned by overseas companies. If you want to know who owns a property you can click on the map marker to reveal the name of the company and the country of the owner.


Who Owns England? has set itself the task of mapping who owns land in England. It has created an interactive map showing all the land in England owned by the government, government bodies or charities. The map was partly an extension of earlier work done by Anna Powell-Smith for the satirical magazine Private Eye.

Back in 2015 Private Eye created an interactive map showing the amount of English & Welsh land that has been bought up by offshore companies. Selling England by the Offshore Pound uses Land Registry data to plot all land parcels registered in the name of an offshore company between 2005 and July 2014.

Who Owns England? has also created an interactive map of land owned by UK corporate bodies, councils, UK companies, housing associations and more. This map uses Land Registry data, which shows who owns around 3.5 million land titles. According to Who Owns England? the data shows that "companies and the public sector own around a third of England and Wales". The majority of land is owned by Limited Companies. The second largest category of land owners are local authorities and county councils.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The 2018 Winter Olympics Medal Map


Currently two of the most northerly countries in the world (Norway & Canada) are dominating the medals won at the 2018 PyeonChang Winter Olympics. It's not surprising that Noway are leading the medal haul. With 329 Winter Olympics medals in total (not including the 8 won so far in PyeonChang) Norway are the all-time leaders in the number of medals won at Winter Olympics.

PyeonChang 2018 is an interactive map showing the numbers of 2018 Winter Olympics medals won by each country in the world. Numbered markers on the map show how many medals individual countries have won. You can filter the map to show the numbers of gold, silver or bronze medals won by each country or even show the total numbers won by each country.

If you want to explore how many medals countries have won in total since the first Winter Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix, France then you might like this LA Times History of Winter Olympic Medals interactive. This interactive data visualization allows you to explore the medals won by country, color of medal, year and by sport.

Mapping the History of Jewish Cultures


Jewish Cultures Mapped is an interactive timeline and map exploring Jewish cultures around the world within their historical context. The map allows you to explore the history of Jewish culture throughout history and across the globe.

Jewish Cultures Mapped provides three main ways to navigate your way through the history of Jewish culture. The map allows you to explore this history by location. Zoom in on a city and you can explore all the cultural stories associated with the city by clicking on any of the map markers. The markers are colored by date (you can use the timeline to determine the date of each color).

You can also explore the history of Jewish Cultures using the timeline running along the bottom of the map. This interactive timeline allows you to navigate to different periods in Jewish history to explore the history of Jewish culture at that time.

Jewish Culture Mapped also allows you to explore Jewish cultures by category. The history of Jewish cultures has been ordered into a number of different categories, including Projects, People, Place and Organizations. This allows you to explore the history of Jewish Cultures by theme, individuals and organisations, companies & groups.

The Katowice Building Age Map


The Evangelical Church of the Resurrection is the oldest building in Katowice. It was built in 1856. If you are interested in discovering more historic buildings in this Polish city then you should explore this building age map of Katowice. Katowice Buildings is an interactive map showing the age of nearly all the buildings in the city.

The colors of the building footprints on the map show in which historical period the buildings were constructed. You can select to view only buildings constructed in particular periods by using the interactive key. This key shows how the buildings have been categorized into important historical periods for the city. This allows users to view and compare selected periods and makes it easy to find buildings from specific periods, e.g. only those buildings erected before World War II.

Many of the buildings have additional information attached to them, which can be viewed by hovering over a building footprint on the map. This information may include the actual date of construction, names of the architect(s) and links to Wikipedia articles.

Here are a few other building age maps:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Galleries of Base Maps & Map Styles


OpenWhateverMap is a strange looking map. This interactive map of the world appears to be a random hotchpotch of different map styles. It appears this way because this is exactly what it is.

OpenWhateverMap is a showcase for a number of different base map styles that can be used with any of the leading interactive map libraries. It includes base maps designed by Mapbox, OpenStreetMap, Thunderforest,  Stamen and CartoDB.

If you like the look of one of the random map styles then click on the map tile on the map. This will open an information window containing the base map's template URL and the attribution you need to use the style in your own interactive maps.


Leaflet Provider Demo is another collection of base map styles for interactive maps. The demo map provides views of a number of OSM, MapQuest, Stamen and other map layers within a Leaflet map. The map even includes a JavaScript snippet for each layer so you can just cut and paste the code into your own Leaflet map.

Leaflet Provider Demo is geared towards Leaflet users and the example code snippets are for use with Leaflet,js. However I don't believe any of the base maps on display are restricted in their terms of use to only being used only with Leaflet. If you want to use a style with a different mapping library you can still get the base map's template URL from the provided code snippet. 

Friday, February 09, 2018

Mapping American Debt


The Urban Institute's Debt in America visualizes debt levels in every county in the USA. The map allows you to view the median debt levels in a county and compare them to debt levels for the state and the country as a whole. The map also allows you to view the average household income in every state.

Using the map sidebar you can select from a number of debt metrics, including the share and value of medical debt in each county. If you then click on a county on the map you can view the debt totals for the county in the map sidebar. The debt totals for the county, the state and for the whole country are also shown beneath the map.


$1.3 trillion in student debt is owed by 42 million Americans. Mapping Student Debt shows the average student loan balance in each household at zip-code level in the United States.

If you enter the name of a town or a zip-code into the map you can view choropleth leyers showing the average household student loan balance, the delinquency rate and the median household income in that area.

Below the map is some interesting analysis of the geography of student debt across the United States. For example, the map reveals that delinquency is more prevalent in low-income zip-codes than in better off neighorhoods. Affluent zip codes, on the other hand, have higher than average student loan balances per household.

A Million Maps


A number of Twitter users have been sharing their first Mapbox maps today, using the hashtag #1millionexploring. The maps being shared include the good, bad and indifferent. Here are a few of my favorites from the maps being shared:

Elevation Lines - a Joy Division inspired elevation map
Joy Division San Francisco - a Joy Division inspired map of San Francisco elevation
The Lord of the Rings Theme Map - a map inspired by LOTR
Coloring Book - made 'to print for my kids to color on'
Geologic Map of Arizona, Geologic Map of Vermont
Unused Building Height - how much taller buildings in San Francisco could be built
Occupy Directory - international movements concerned with justice and equality
West Side Stories - Gentrification in West Oakland
D.C. Snow Plow Map - where the city snow plows have been and how recently

I think my first Mapbox map might be this garish Kandinsky inspired map, an early attempt at playing on Mapbox Studio

OK - that's not quite one million maps. You can find more though using the #1millionexploring hashtag on Twitter.

Pyeongchang 2018


I remember the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics very fondly. The reason why I still occasionally think about the Sochi Olympics is entirely down to the beautiful Sochi 2014 Interactive Map. This fun animated map features some beautiful illustrations and includes a lot of information about the Winter Games, the different sports and the Sochi venues for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Unfortunately the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics doesn't seem to have inspired a similarly beautiful map. The Past is Prologue in the Race for Olympic Gold is an Esri story map created for this year's games. While it might not be able to compete with the Sochi 2014 Interactive Map on the beauty front it is still an interesting exploration of the history of winning gold at the Winter Olympics.

Past is Prologue in the Race for Olympic Gold looks at how many Winter Olympic golds different countries have won, how each country's gold haul has changed over time and the global distribution of Winter Olympic gold medals (this last one even has an interactive map).


If you do want to get to know Pyeongchang a little better then you can Explore Pyeongchang on Google Earth. This provides a short tour in Google Earth of some of Pyeongchang's most important sights and locations.  If you select the 'Voyager' option in Google Earth and navigate to the sports section you can also find a tour of the Olympic torch relay for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This takes you on a journey through a few of the 17 Korean cities and provinces the Olympic torch visited on the way to Pyeongchang.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Australia's Million Dollar Homes


The median house price in the Bellevue Hill suburb of Sydney is now $5,386,123. Five years ago the average house price was $2,963,568. 18.7% of Sydney's suburbs now have a median house price value above $2 million.

CoreLogic’s Mapping the Market interactive map can tell you the average house price in every suburb in Australia and how that price has changed over the last five years. Using the map you can discover a typical house price in each Australian neighborhood.

If you use the navigation tools in the map menu you can take a closer view of the housing market in each of Australia's major cities. For each city you can view the overall median value for houses and real estate units and how they have changed since 2012. You can also select individual suburbs on the map to view the median value of its housing market.


37.7% of Melbourne suburbs now have a median house value in excess of $1 million. As a whole the city’s median house price is $720,000. Urbis' Million-Dollar Melbourne map explores the growth of million dollar homes in the city since 1987.

The map includes a timeline slider which allows you to view the spread of Melbourne's million dollar homes. As you move the timeline the map shows areas where there have been more than three $1M+ house sales within 1km in the selected year.

The Disappearing Rivers of the American West


Humankind has had a huge impact on the rivers of the American West. Nearly half of all river miles in the West are no longer in their natural state. Disappearing Rivers allows you to explore how humans have impacted on rivers in the West and how far they have been unnaturally altered.

Disappearing Rivers is an interactive map which shows the degree to which all the rivers in the American West have been altered by humankind. All the rivers on the map are color-coded to reflect the percentage that each river has been altered. This is the combined percentage of floodplain and river flow which has been altered by human beings. A drop-down menu allows you to change the map layer to show river & stream flow restriction or altered floodplains instead.

If you select the 'Threats' option you can view dams, major human diversions, culverts and bridges on the map. If you select the option to view dams then scaled markers are added to the map. These markers show the locations and the sizes of river dams in the West.

Disappearing Rivers includes a detailed look at one river to highlight the kind of alteration that rivers have suffered in the American West. Over half the Colorado River is dammed, diverted or otherwise altered from its natural state. Disappearing Rivers uses a story map format to travel along the Colorado River, showing how agriculture, irrigation runoff, nearby mines, dams and diversions have combined to change the natural state of the river.