Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mapping the Invention of Printing


Most people probably associate the birth of printing with Johannes Gutenberg's invention of mechanical movable type in the 15th century. However a new interactive map from the Library of Congress explores the use of woodblock printing by the Chinese nearly 1,000 years before Gutenberg was even born.

In Incunabula the Library looks at the emergence of printing in Western Europe in the 15th and 16th century, while also acknowledging the production of books and manuscripts before the invention of mechanical moving type. The Library's history of printing includes an interactive map showing the number of the Library's incunabula that were produced in each European city (screenshot above).

As well as this interactive map Incunabula includes a close look at some of the fantastic illustrated manuscripts and early printed books owned by the Library. As you progress through the story map Incunabula takes you on a tour around 15th & 16th century Europe, tracing the spread of printing, and examining some of the earliest printed works in Germany, Italy, France, the Low Countries and England.


Johannes Gutenberg's invention of mechanical movable type printing in the 15th century was probably the most important discovery in the modern age. Gutenberg's invention kick-started the Renaissance and undoubtedly led to the spread of literacy and learning among the general population in Europe.

The Atlas of Early Printing is a Google Map charting the spread of printing, from Gutenberg's first movable type printer in 1452 in Mainz to the rest of Europe by the end of the 15th century. The map includes a timeline that allows you to visualize the rise of printing presses throughout Europe over the course of the 15th century.

The map also includes a number of other layers that allow you to visualize the output of each mapped press, the location of universities in the 15th century, the location of paper mills and European trade routes.

America Powered by Wind


The U.S. Wind Turbine Database (USWTDB) is a new dataset of wind turbine locations and capabilities. The dataset can be visualized on a new interactive map showing the locations of all the USA's wind turbines. The USWTDB Viewer shows both onshore and offshore wind turbines and their technical specifications.

The map visualizes 57,636 turbines, which combined have a total rated capacity of 89,197 MW. Initially the individual turbines are color-coded on the map by their capacity (blue having the least capacity and red the most). However it is possible to change what the turbine color ramp shows to visualize the wind turbines by height or by year of construction.

If you zoom-in on an area of the United States the map sidebar updates to show the total number of wind turbines in the current map view and their combined capacity. The sidebar also updates to list the individual projects in view, with details on the project name, number of turbines and total capacity.

The wind turbine database has been compiled by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The database is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the USGS Energy Resources Program, and AWEA.


You can get a sense of the historical growth of wind power in the United States using the US Department of Energy's Wind Farms Through the Years map. This animated map shows the locations and the dates of when wind farms were constructed in the USA. The map animates through the years 1975 to 2013 adding the wind farms to the map by date of construction.

As the animation plays the map keeps a total of the number of wind farms constructed and the number of homes those wind farms could power. You can also drag the slide control to view the totals for any single year. The map uses different colored markers to indicate the wind farms added in the selected year.


Last year the Technical University of Denmark and the World Bank collaborated to create the Global Wind Atlas. The atlas is designed to visualize the potential for wind power generation across the whole globe. The map uses both mesoscale and microscale modeling in order to help utilize wind energy.

The Global Wind Atlas can provide wind resource information for individual countries & regions or you can use the drawing tools to view wind resource data for a custom defined area. The wind data available on the map includes information on power density, wind direction and wind speed.

Mapping the Worst Bus Stops in London


The worst bus stop in London, according to Kognito, is the Ringway bus stop in zone 4. Only 4% of buses at this stop arrive on time, based on the Transport for London (TfL) timetable.

Data analytic platform Kognito has analysed three month's worth of Transport for London data to determine which are London's best and worst bus stops. For the three months examined Kognito looked at the bus arrival data across approximately seven hundred bus routes to determine which bus stops had the best and worst records for buses arriving at their scheduled times.

The Worst Bus Stop in London presents the results of Kognito's analysis. These results include lists of the worst bus routes for buses starting on time, the worst routes for buses finishing on time and the least & most punctual routes. Each of these lists are connected to an interactive map which can show you the actual route of each of those listed. At the end of Kogntio's data presentation you can enter any London postcode to discover how bus stops in your postcode rank compared to other postcodes. You can also find out how many buses run on time in your postcode area.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Where on Earth?


How well do you know the world? Could you guess the name of a major city purely from its Wikipedia entry and show where it is on a map of the world?

Play this game and you will find out.

WikiWhere is a fun geographical game which is designed to test how well you know the world's major cities and where they are located in the world. The game asks you to pinpoint the location of five major cities on an interactive 3d globe. However before you guess the location of each city you need to guess each one purely from its Wikipedia entry. You will get points for each answer based on how close you get to the city's real location and how many hints you use.

The game uses the CesiumJS interactive 3d globe library for the background map. The three hints for each city come from their entries on Wikipedia.

Urbano Monte’s Planisphere


In November 2017 the David Rumsey Map Collection at Stanford University obtained one of only two manuscript copies of Urbano Monte's Planisphere. This huge map is one of the earliest large complete maps of the world.

The original manuscript map is in the form of a 60 sheet atlas. Urbano Monte intended for the sheets to be joined together to create one very large 10 foot map. The David Rumsey Map Collection has achieved that goal by digitizing all 60 sheets and creating a digital interactive map of Urbano Monte's Planisphere.

Monte himself suggested that a central pivot be added to the center of the map so that users could rotate the map while exploring the atlas. The digital interactive version of the map does include a rotation button, which mean you can spin the map around its central pivot, as Urbano Monte intended.

Urbano Monte's Planisphere uses a north polar azimuthal projection. This projection places the North Pole at the center of the map. Modern users, more accustomed to Google Maps, are used to north being at the top of the map and might struggle with this projection. Luckily for them Visionscarto has used the map tiles from the David Rumsey interactive map to create a tool for viewing Urbano Monte's Planisphere using different map projections.

Urbano Monte World Map Reprojections. includes 21 different map projections. It even includes everyone's favorite Mercator projection, which means you can make direct comparisons with Google Maps if you so wish.

Damming the Balkans


The Balkans are home to Europe's last great wild rivers. But not for much longer. 3,000 dam projects are about to devastate the natural habitats and surrounding landscapes of Europe's last untamed waterways.

Save the Blue Heart of Europe is a campaign to raise awareness of the ecological damage being done to Balkan rivers and their environments and to petition international banks to stop funding the destruction of Europe's last wild rivers. This campaign includes an interactive map showcasing some of the damage being done by hydropower dams. The interactive map shows the location of the 1,003 dams in the region, the 188 currently being built and the 2,798 proposed new dams.

If you scroll down while viewing the map you will be taken on a tour of the region and its rivers. For example the map zooms-in on the Vjosa river, in Albania, where 38 hydropower dams have been proposed. The map also highlights some of the other natural environments in the region which are now in danger from the construction of new dams.


Around the world more and more rivers are being dammed. Decades of dam building has lead to the global impoverishment in the health of the world's river basins, poor water quality and low biodiversity.

International Rivers has released an interactive map which illustrates the effect of dams on the health of rivers around the world. The State of the World’s Rivers maps nearly 6,000 dams in the world's 50 major river basins, and ranks their ecological health according to indicators of river fragmentation, water quality and biodiversity.

Using the map you can explore how individual river basins rank in terms of fragmentation, biodiversity, and water quality. You can also explore ten of the world's most significant river basins in more depth. Each of these ten detailed explorations examines the threats from dam building on the health of the affected river and the immediate environment.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Where's Napoleon?


That Napoleon can be a tricky little blighter to track down. One day he might be marching on Moscow, while the next he's attacking the British at Waterloo. If you want to know where Napoleon is on any particular then you need Hit the Road with Napoleon.

Hit the Road with Napoleon is a handy little tool for anybody who struggles with working out where Napoleon was on any day in history. To use the tool simply enter in a date and Napoleon's location on that day will be shown on a Google Map.

Of course on some days Napoleon moved around a bit. For example, on 18th June 1815 Napoleon seemed to spend a lot of time running around in the fields outside the town of Waterloo in what is now Belgium. If you look up that day on Hit the Road with Napoleon then the general's movements for the whole day are shown as a track on the interactive map.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Ottawa's Bike Maps


Bike Ottawa has been promoting cycling in the Capital Region since 1984. It advocates for cycling as a safe, fun, and environmentally friendly form of transportation in the city.

As part of its advocacy for cycling Bike Ottawa has released a number of interactive maps. The maps were created by the organization's Data Group and look at the safety of cycling in Ottawa, bike routing and cycling times. Bike Ottawa's Interactive Bike Maps initially consists of four different interactive maps:
  • The Ottawa Cycling Stress Map
  • Ottawa Cycling Directions
  • Ottawa Cycling Isochrones
  • Ottawa Collisions
The Ottawa Cycling Stress Map colors the city's roads based on the level of traffic stress. The map grades each section of road based on how safe cyclists feel cycling there. The Ottawa Cycling Directions uses the data from the Cycling Stress Map to provide you with cycling directions based on your personal levels of comfort when cycling.

The Ottawa Cycling Isochrones map shows you how far you can cycle in the city, from any location, in a given amount of time. The Ottawa Collisions map plots where pedestrians and cyclists have been injured by cars in the city. The map can help you identify and avoid collision hot-spots in the city.

Mapping Every Air Raid on Yemen


In March 2015 a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen. Since then there has been more than more than 16,000 air raids on the country. At least one third of these have been targeted at civilian residential areas. During the air raids on Yemen at least 1,600 schools have been partially or totally destroyed and several UNESCO heritage sites have also been destroyed.

Al Jazeera has mapped all 16,000 of Saudi Arabia's air raids on Yemen. The interactive map in Death From Above shows all air raids carried out by the Saudi led coalition since March 2015. The map includes a timeline control which allows you to see where and when air raids have been targeted in Yemen by month. As you progress through the timeline a running total keeps track of the total number of air raids launched. The bar chart below the map shows the total number of air raids directed at individual cities over the course of the timeline.

The data for the map comes from numerous sources, including official records, local and international news agencies, reports by international human rights groups and reports from national and international NGOs.

Britain from Above


I've spent most of the morning scouring vintage aerial views of the East End of London looking for my house. It isn't easy. Back in the day the East End used to be full of these huge buildings that the locals called factories. The factories have now all gone. So the East End of today looks hugely different from the air than it did 80 years ago.

The aerial photographs that I've been looking at were all taken by Aerofilms Ltd. Aerofilms Ltd was a commercial aerial photography company founded in 1919. The company was established to take photographs of Britain from airplanes for surveying and mapping purposes. One of its clients was the Ordnance Survey, the UK's national mapping agency.

In June 2007 the millions of aerial photographs taken by Aerofilms were sold to English Heritage in partnership with The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Since 2007 this partnership has been busy mapping the locations in all those historical aerial views of Britain.

The result is Britain from Above. Using Britain from Above's interactive map you can search and view Aerofilms' vintage aerial views of Britain by location. Search the map by postcode or name and you can view all the historical photos of a location captured by Aerofilms in the Twentieth Century. You can even buy prints of any of the views that your like.