Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Saying Goodbye to Planet Earth

Have you said goodbye to the rainforest yet? Based on the current levels of deforestation the Amazonian rainforest will be gone in about 250 years time. By the year 2260 most of the rainforest will probably be lost forever. This horrifying forecast comes from a new mapping tool called Co$ting Nature and is based on the current rate of deforestation in the Amazon.

Infoamazonia used the Co$ting Nature information & environment service to project the effects of the current rates of deforestation in the Amazon on the size of the rainforest. The results of the projections can be viewed on Infoamazonia's interactive Forest Cover Through Time map. The map shows Co$ting Nature's projections for the extent of the forest's cover up until it is almost completely destroyed. Just select the date buttons above the map to view the projected forest cover for a specific year.

Infoamazonia's Forest Cover Through Time map is just the latest visualization of the uncertain future humans face if we don't learn to curtail our current levels of consumption. For example, Climate Central recently released an interactive map which reveals how hot your city will be in the year 2100, if carbon emissions continue as currently predicted.

Climate Central's Shifting Cities allows you to choose from a large number of major cities around the world to view the results of global warming in 2100. Climate Impact Lab's Climate Impact Map also visualizes how global warming will effect temperatures around the world over the rest of this century.

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 view the number of deadly days for any year from 1950-2100.

Thanks to NOAA's Sea Level Rise Viewer we can also 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 up to the year 2100.

Photo Mapping the Eclipse

NBC News has created a map which allows you to browse photographs of yesterday's eclipse. The map plots the locations of photographs taken during the eclipse and submitted to Instagram.

Spectacular Photos of the Eclipse Captured by Viewers Across the Country allows you to view photos tagged #eclipse on the photo sharing site. Photos have been added to the map in a band from Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon all the way across the country to the beach in South Carolina.

You can view the photos by clicking on the colored dots on the map. Unfortunately, for some inexplicable reason, NBC News has turned off the map's interactivity. This means it is impossible to zoom in on a cluster of markers and select individual markers on the map. This is unfortunate but, when you do select a photo, you can use the forward and back arrows to browse through the other pictures taken nearby.

Of course you don't necessarily need a map to view beautiful photos of yesterday's eclipse. National Geographic and CNN have both put together more conventional galleries of eclipse photographs.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Spying on the Spycams

Surveillance under Surveillance is a global map showing the location of the world's security cameras.

I find Surveillance under Surveillance particularly useful when I'm planning a bank robbery and want to find an escape route free of any potential recording devices. I've also found it useful when trying to meet with Guardian journalists on secret CIA hit-lists, especially when I need to guide the journalist through a heavily monitored public space like Waterloo train station.

All the camera locations for the map come from OpenStreetMap. Therefore if you want to help keep the map up-to-date and accurate you can contribute missing camera information using an OpenStreetMap account. There are brief instructions for doing this under the 'How' section of Surveillance under Surveillance.

If you want to know how the map was made just scroll to the bottom of the map sidebar. Here you will find acknowledgements and links to Leaflet.js, to the Leaflet plugins used and to other web services used in creating the map.

Mapping Racial Covenants

In the Twentieth Century redlining was used in the United States to restrict financing to black house buyers and property owners. This process was well documented at the time and we can see which neighborhoods were most affected simply by referring to the historical redlining maps, which were created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

However redlining was not the only way that African Americans were discriminated against in the real estate market during the Twentieth Century. Racially restrictive covenants were also used by white home owners in order to ensure that their homes could not be sold to African Americans or other specified racial groups. Most of these covenants included “run with the land” clauses which also legally enforced the covenant on future owners of the property. Thus ensuring that houses could never be bought by African Americans

Mapping Prejudice has created an animated map which shows the spread of covenants over time in Minneapolis. The map shows the growth of the number of buildings in the city placed under racial covenants from 1911 to 1954. As the animation plays you can see how whole neighborhoods are essentially placed under segregation as more and more buildings are given racial covenants.


If you need a map for today's solar eclipse then you should check out these useful eclipse maps. Some eclipse maps may not be quite as useful. That really depends on how much you like waffles ...

or Dennys ...

Or chicken ...

If you don't want to eat then you could hunt for bigfoot during the eclipse ...

Or flying saucers ...

With apologies to Cartonerd's Becksploitation.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Legacy of Redlining on US Cities

The Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) 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 of a risk and so less likely to receive financial support.

A new map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition allows you to explore how the HOLC's 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.

In this way 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 also use the National Community Reinvestment Coalition map to see where gentrification has occurred in a city. These are the neighborhoods which received the lowest HOLC redlining ratings but now don't have the dots from the 'Low to Moderate Income' layer.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Help Partition India

Seventy years ago a British lawyer called Sir Cyril Radcliffe was asked to draw the border that would divide British India into two countries. Now it's your turn.

Radcliffe's new boundaries were formally announced in August 1947. The announcement left around 14 million people in the 'wrong' country. In the violence that followed around 1 million people lost their lives. After witnessing the chaos that followed his partition of India Radcliffe at least had enough shame to refuse his 40,000 rupee salary.

Al Jazeera don't have a 40,000 rupee salary to pay but they would like your help in dividing British India into two countries. In How were the India-Pakistan partition borders drawn? Al Jazeera has provided you with a map which includes information on where the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh populations live. You just need to draw the borders on the map to create two new countries.

After you have drawn your borders you will be shown the original Radcliffe Line.

Avocado Toast or New Home?

Avocado toast or new home? It really is that simple. Millennials need to stop complaining and start saving.

All millennials seem to do is sit around eating avocado toast and whining about how they don't have enough money to buy a house. Well millennials if you want to own your own home then you need to grow-up, stop complaining and start saving. Just forget the avocado toast. Instead take a packed lunch to work everyday and you will be able to afford a home in Hackney in just 60 years time.

Look Mr & Ms Hipster if you want to buy a home in London then you could drink instant and not hipster coffee. If you do stop drinking expensive coffee in hipster cafes and switch to instant coffee then you could save yourself enough money to buy a home near Borough Market in as little as 83 years.

If you need any more hipster saving tips then you should visit finder.com's guide to How millennials can save their way to a London property. The guide consists of an interactive map which basically shows the (un)affordability of property in each London borough. However if you click on a borough on the map you can discover finder.com's (tongue in cheek) handy tips on saving money. Each saving exercise includes a guide as to how many years you will need to save to buy a property in the selected borough.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Food Insecurity in America

Food Insecurity in the United States is an interactive map which shows the number of people who need food assistance in each county in the United States. The map uses data from Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap project.

There are a number of clusters of counties, especially in the south east, which have high levels of food insecurity. Many of these, for example in the Mississippi Delta are in areas where agriculture and food production are the biggest industries. I wonder if Monsanto knows why that is?

If you select a state on the map you can view a detailed overview of food insecurity in the state. You can also click on individual counties to discover the food insecurity rate and the number of food insecure people in the selected county.

The map uses the USDA’s measure of food insecurity which refers to a lack of access to "enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members". To determine the food insecurity rates Feeding America use a number of economic indicators and responses to the Current Population Survey.

Donald's 'Beautiful Statues'

The Southern Poverty Law Center has found over 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces, mostly in the southern United States. These include not just statues and other memorials but schools, parks and roads which have been named for Confederate leaders or battles.

In Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy the SPLC has included an interactive map showing the location of these Confederate symbols and memorials. The map uses color coded markers to show which are monuments, which are schools and which are roads. If you select a marker on the map you can also see the year that this selected memorial to the Confederacy was dedicated.

The SPLC has used these dates of dedication to also provide a timeline of when memorials to the Confederacy have been dedicated since the end of the Civil War. This timeline shows that there have been two main periods which have seen spikes in the number of Confederacy memorials being dedicated. The first was in the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. The second was in the 1950's and 1960's.

The SPLC has its theories about why these periods saw spikes in the number of Confederacy memorials being dedicated - but you'll have to read the SPLC article to discover what those theories are. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dancing Maps

I've just spent the last ten minutes singing to a map. The map enjoyed it and even danced for my pleasure.

You too can make this map dance. Just turn on your microphone when prompted and then start singing your favorite song. If the map likes your voice then all the buildings will start dancing for you.

The dancing map is possible because of Mapbox GL's runtime styling capabilities. The map uses the audio input (using the Web Audio API) to dynamically change the building heights on the map and the intensity of the light. You can read more about the technical details on the Mapbox blog.

If you get bored singing to a map then you could always listen to a map or play a tune on one instead. MTA.me Conductor has turned Massimo Vignelli's 1972 New York subway map into a string instrument. The map simulates trains moving on the MTA subway network and plays a note every time a subway train crosses the track of another train.

If the New York subway map can be a stringed instrument then maybe the map of Ohio can be a piano. Ohio has 88 counties, a piano has 88 keys, so obviously Ohio is a Piano! Just click on a county to play a note.

If the New York subway can be a stringed instrument and Ohio can be a piano then Aberdeen can be an orchestra! Marker / Music lets you mix your own music by clicking on different locations and playing the music that was recorded at each location. You can combine any of the recordings to create your own unique mix directly from the map.

The Best Views in London

What do you get if you ask a computer to find the most scenic places in London?

The answer is this map of London's Most Scenic Views.

Researchers at the University of Warwick trained a neural network on images from ScenicOrNot. ScenicOrNot is an online data science project which asks people to rate the views depicted in photos by how scenic they are. The neural network was used to identify the common features found in the  photos which have been voted as the most scenic.

Once the neural network worked out the features that make a photo scenic or not it was set loose to find the most scenic photos in Geograph's collection of images of London. The Geograph British Isles project is collecting geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland. It currently has over 240,000 photos of London, covering ever square kilometre of the city.

The University of Warwick's artificially intelligent neural network was therefore able to scan photos from all over London to find the most scenic photos in Geograph's London collection. You can explore the most scenic views found in this interactive map of London's Most Scenic Views.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Dot Map of Canadian Languages

The Dot Map of Canadian Languages uses data from the 2016 census to show the mother tongues of everyone in Canada. The map provides a great overview of where different language speakers live in each Canadian town and city.

Unfortunately the map doesn't come with any information so I can't be entirely sure how many people each dot represents. Each dot could be one language speaker or each dot could represent 10 or even 100 people. Census dot maps don't usually reveal the exact location of each person in the census. Usually the data is randomized within each census ward. This is still accurate enough to give a good overview of where clusters of different language speakers can be found in a town or city.

The Dot Map of Canadian Languages is the first interactive map I've seen using the recently released data from the 2016 census. However there are a lot of interactive language maps which have been produced using the language data from the 2011 census.

For example, you might be surprised to learn that in the far north of Canada, in the Northwest Territories, the most spoken language (after French and English) is Arabic. The 10 and 3 mapped the most prevalent languages, besides French and English, spoken in Canadian homes using data from the 2011 census.

Canada’s Far-Flung Language Enclaves shows the results of the analysis on a Google Map. Each census division on the map is colored by the most prevalent language. You can mouse-over each division on the map to view the percentage of the population which speaks the most prevalent language (after French & English).

Using data from the 2011 Canadian census CBC has mapped Quebec's English speakers. The Where are Quebec's Anglos? map shows the number of people in Quebec's census districts who self-indentify as Anglophone. Users can select from regions in the map sidebar to zoom the map to specific locations. The map displays a heat map of census results showing where English was given as the mother tongue or the language most used at home.

The highest density of English speakers (although small in total population) seems to be among the hardy folk living on the Côte-Nord.

Global News has also used the language data from the 2011 Canadian census to create mapped visualizations of the leading mother tongues by census tract in a number of cities.

The Google Map for each city allows users to view the percentage of different language speakers in each census tract. The maps also include other census topics, such as age, gender and the number of children.

Solar Eclipse Simulators

Next Monday everyone in the United States, even in Alaska and Hawaii, will be able to witness at least a partial solar eclipse. If you want to know how full an eclipse you will see then you need the HeyWhatsThat 2017 Eclipse map.

The HeyWhatsThat solar eclipse preview tool is very simple to use. You simply need to click on the Google Map to show your location and you can instantly see what the eclipse will look like on the accompanying map of the heavens.

If you enter your zipcode into Vox's Solar Eclipse Simulator you can also view a simulation of what the moon passing in front of the sun will look like from your location. The simulation includes information on what time the eclipse will peak and what percentage of the sun will be obscured.

If you want to see a total solar eclipse then Vox has also got you covered. The Solar Eclipse Simulator includes a Mapbox map which reveals the closest point to your location where you can view a total solar eclipse. It even tells you how far you have to travel to get there.

Bat Detectives

There were 5117 bat calls made in my local park last night. Actually there were probably a lot more, but 5117 of them were captured by the bat sensors in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London.

The majority of the bat calls detected were recorded by Sensor 7. There are 15 sensors in total, although Sensor 15 and Sensor 4 don't seem to be working at the moment. Sensor 1 and Sensor 3 do appear to be working but didn't detect any bats last night. You can view the results from each sensor for yourself on the Bats Live interactive map.

Bars Live is a project by Nature-Smart Cities. To monitor bat activity in the park Nature-Smart Cities has developed a smart bat monitor which works like a 'Shazam for Bats'. Each of these sensors captures the surrounding soundscape and detects bat calls within the captured sounds.

The sensors are located in different habitats within the park (if you click on a sensor's map marker you can learn about the immediate surrounding habitat of that sensor). The bat sensors will continue to monitor bat activity in the Olympic Park until the end of the year.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Every Wind Farm in America

The American wind energy industry is expanding very quickly. Over $143 billion has been invested in new wind energy projects in the United States in the last 10 years. You can view how the number of wind farms has grown in the USA since the 1980's on a new interactive map from the American Wind Energy Association.

The AWEA's new U.S. Wind Industry Map shows the location of every utility scale wind project in the country. The map also shows the location of all wind-related manufacturing facilities.

Each wind farm is shown on the map with a blue map marker. The size of the marker represents the wind farm's capacity. A timeline feature allows you to watch an animation of how the number of wind farms has grown since 1981. If you press play on the timeline you can watch as each wind farm is added to the map by the date of its construction.

If you zoom into coastal areas on the map you can see how little offshore wind energy production there currently is in the United States. The first offshore wind farm in the US only started operation in 2016 at Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island. There are other projects under development in wind-rich areas of the East Coast, Great Lakes and Pacific coast.

The United Kingdom currently generates a higher percentage of its electricity from offshore wind farms than any other country. You can view the output of the UK's offshore wind farms on this 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.

DC's Historical Street View

From 1948 to 1952 John P. Wymer systematically photographed every single neighborhood in Washington DC. The result is an incredible historical record of the American capital in the mid-twentieth century.

Wymer's DC allows you to view all 4,000 images in the John P. Wymer Photograph Collection superimposed on top of Google Maps Street View. This allows you to directly compare the Washington DC documented by Wymer to the city today as captured by Street View. A Google Map shows where each photograph was taken, so it is possible to browse the collection by location. You can also use the 'Filter' option to browse the collection by different themes, such as 'Places of Worship', 'Government Facilities' and 'Residential'.

If you enjoy exploring how American cities once looked then you will also like OldNYC and OldSF.
OldNYC is a Google Map locating 80,000 NYPL historical photographs of New York to the closest intersection. OldNYC was created by the same team that built OldSF. OldSF is a similar map for San Francisco, which allows you to browse historical photos from the San Francisco Public Library collection.

How Does Your Neighborhood Rank?

Last week Beñat Arregi released a series of interactive maps showing how Airbnb customers rank  the neighborhoods where they have stayed. After staying in a Airbnb property visitors are asked to give feedback on the property and on the neighborhood where it is located.

The aggregated ratings made by guests for each listing on Airbnb is publicly available. This means that you can use the Airbnb ratings to find out how visitors rate neighborhoods in your city. It also means that you can create interactive maps for cities around the world showing how tourists rate neighborhoods in each city. Which is exactly what Beñat has done in City Maps from Tourists’ Feelings.

Beñat's series includes interactive maps of New York, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, New Orleans and Austin. This wasn't enough American cities for Nathan Yau of Flowing Data so he has created another 16 city maps looking at Airbnb neighborhood ratings in U.S. cities. How Airbnb Visitors Rate Location in Major US Cities uses colored dots to show the aggregate neighborhood ratings made by guests visiting 16 different cities. The distribution of the different colors gives a fairly good overview of how visitors feel about different neighborhoods in each city.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mapping Cabs in NYC

Back in 2014 Chris Whong created an impressive interactive map using New York Taxi Data. Chris' map provided a great insight into the daily life of one New York taxi driver. The impressive amount of data released by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission however has other stories to tell about life and people in the Big Apple.

For example, Esri's John Nelson has created a story map looking at Yellow Cab trip data in New York City from July 2015 - June 2016. By mapping the data Nelson has been able to pick out how different New York boroughs use and pay for taxi cab journeys. He then looks at the underlying socio-economic data in those neighborhoods to see if they help explain the differences in how inhabitants of different New York neighborhoods use and pay for cabs.

In Taxi Cab Terrain Esri has mapped out the locations where the most New York cab rides begin, the pick-up locations where cab drivers can expect the largest tips, where in the city passengers pay in cash & where they pay by credit, the number of passengers and the length of journeys.

Chris Whong's original map, NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life is a MapBox visualization of the journey of one New York taxi over the course of 24 hours. You can also view the NYC Taxi Holiday Visualization, which animates taxi journeys from New York's airports over the course of a month and half, and Hubcab, a mapped visualization of 170 million taxi trips over one year in New York.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Subway Specs

New York architect Candy Chan was amazed to discover that there are no three-dimensional plans of New York subway stations. She therefore decided to create her own. The result is X-Ray Area Maps, a series of beautifully drawn bird's eye view illustrations of subway stations which reveal the tunnels, platforms and escalators which exist under New York's streets.

Each of the five 3d plans completed so far can be explored on its own Leaflet.js powered interactive map. This allows you to zoom in on details in the plans. If you like Candy Chan's illustrations you can buy prints of each of the 3d subway station plans.

Unfortunately if you live in London there doesn't appear to be any interactive mapped 3d plans of underground stations. However Transport for London has created a series of axonometric diagrams for each station on the London Underground network. You can view the axonometric diagrams for all of the stations at IanVisits.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Transgender Laws and Persecution

The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project has mapped laws affecting the lives of trans people in countries around the world. The map allows users to better understand both the legal situation and the actual social application of these law in 126 countries across the globe.

If you select a country on the Legal and Social Mapping interactive map you can read a detailed overview of the legal, healthcare and social situation affecting trans people in that country. The map also provides an overall global view of the selected legal, health or social situation in each country.

This global choropleth layer provides a simple color coded view of different laws and social practices affecting trans people in different countries. The map uses red and green to show where trans people are directly affected or protected by legal measures. It also uses other colors to show countries where there are laws that specifically target gender-diverse/trans people but where these laws are no longer enforced. In contrast it also shows countries where there aren't specific laws targeting trans people but where prosecution occurs anyway without any legal basis or using other non-related laws.

The TVM also monitors, collects and analyses reports of the murder of trans and gender-diverse people across the globe. The Trans Murder Monitoring map reports on the results of TVM's monitoring of the homicides of trans and gender-diverse people in countries around the world.

The choropleth layer on this map shows the number of trans people murdered in each country. If you hover over a country you can view the total number of recorded homicides of trans people in that country. If you click on a country you can read a detailed breakdown of the legal, social and health care situation affecting trans people in that country.

North or South? The Fast Food Decides

After centuries of causing untold misery around the world the British have finally struck on a way to settle territorial disputes in a fair and disinterested manner.

It's called the 'Fast Food Method'.

Let me explain ...

In recent years British geographers have discovered that most geopolitical issues can be solved by plotting the geographical distribution and density of fast food restaurants. For example, in How to know if where you live is “up and coming” heat maps of coffee & fried chicken shops were used to identify geographical areas which are undergoing gentrification in the UK. Similarly in Fast Food England the density of fast food restaurants was used to determine which areas of the country are economically deprived.

After the fast food method proved its efficiency in these two studies it was decided that it should also be used to settle England's longest unsolved territorial dispute - the border between North & South. For centuries unfortunate 'midlanders' have been mocked by southerners for being Northern and teased by northerners for being Southern. They need suffer no longer.

The Tab has applied the Fast Food Method to the north-south border and determined once and for all where the border lies. To determine the border's exact location the Tab mapped the location of Greggs bakeries across the country. In We’ve figured out exactly where the North is by plotting every single Greggs store on a map the Tab plotted the location of all 1,823 Greggs throughout the country.

We all know that northerners love their Greggs pies. This means that there are far more Greggs bakeries in the north of the country than there are in the south. It also means that you can determine if a location is in the north or south of England by looking at the number of people per each Greggs bakery. 25,000 people per Greggs is the Tab's benchmark. If a town has less than 25,000 inhabitants per Greggs then it is in in the north. More than that and the town is in the south.

Using this methodology the Tab has drawn a dividing line across the UK.

A wall will be built soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Stinking Neighborhoods on Airbnb

Have you ever wondered how visitors from out of town rate your neighborhood? There is an easy way to find out. You just have to ask Airbnb customers.

The Airbnb feedback section includes an option for guests to rate the area in which they have been staying. After their visit Airbnb guests rate the neighborhood using a star based system. The aggregated rating made by guests for each listing on Airbnb is publicly available. This means that you can use the Airbnb ratings to find out how visitors rate neighborhoods in your city.

If you are like Beñat Arregi this means that you can also create interactive maps for cities around the world showing how tourists rate neighborhoods in the city. In City Maps from Tourists’ Feelings Beñat has created a series of maps showing how Airbnb customers have rated the neighborhoods where they have been staying. Each point on these city maps represents an Airbnb listing. The color of each point shows the rating of that neighborhood.

Each city map provides an interesting overview of which neighborhoods in a city are rated highly by visitors and which neighborhoods out of town visitors tend not to like. If you know a city quite well it is quite good fun to see if your opinions match with those of Airbnb users.

The Sound of Global Protest

Cities and Memory has created the first sound map to document the different soundscapes of political protest around the world. The map includes sound recordings made during protests in 27 different countries. It allows you to listen to Americans protesting against Donald Trump, Icelanders demonstrating against the collapse of the country's banks and the English protesting against Brexit.

You can explore the sound recordings, made during political protests around the globe, on the simple Protest and Politics interactive map. Just click on a map marker and you can then listen to the selected political protest directly from the map.

Protest and Politics is just one of a number of sound maps created by Cities and Memory. If you find the sounds of protest a little discordant then you could always try the Sacred Spaces sound map instead. This map allows you to listen to more spiritual recordings made in churches, temples and other sacred spaces around the globe.

You can also explore how other organisations and people have mapped sound with these other Sound Maps that have featured on Maps Mania.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Spying on the Spy Planes - Part Two

Some of the most memorable interactive maps of 2016 were the ones created by Buzzfeed to illustrate their Spies in the Skies investigation into the use of spy planes by the FBI and the DHS.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security make daily flights over American cities in spy planes equipped with high-resolution video cameras and cell phone tracking equipment. In their investigation into the use of spy planes Buzzfeed used data from Flightradar24 to identify around 200 federal aircraft. Using the Flightradar24 data Buzzfeed was then able to map out some of the flights undertaken by these federal planes as they spy on American cities.

Now Buzzfeed has also used this data to train a neural network to search for other FBI, DHS, police and military spy planes. The Buzzfeed neural network was fed data from the spy planes identified in their initial investigation and from normal commercial flights. The neural network was then tasked with identifying distinctive flight patterns found in the spy plane flight paths and not in the flight paths from the other planes. The Buzzfeed algorithm identified patterns (such as the tight turning rates of spy planes circling areas of interest) which could be used to identify other spy planes.

Once the neural network had learnt how to identify spy planes from flight path data Buzzfeed set it loose on the flight-tracking data compiled by Flightradar24.

You can learn more about the project in BuzzFeed News Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What We Found. The article includes information on some of the spy planes identified by the Buzzfeed algorithm and static maps showing where these planes have been spying.

A Game of Thrones Filming Locations

It is said that long ago, before the Doom when dragons still flew above the towers of Tyria, Valyrian wizards could use the magic of obsidian candles to see across vast distances. A wizard could light a candle in the Valyrian Freehold in Essos and instantly spy on the Hand of the King, across the Narrow Sea in the Red Keep of King's Landing.

With the rebirth of the dragons the magic of obsidian candles is active once again. To use this ancient magic you must own the ancient scroll called Game of Thrones Filming Locations in Causeway Coast and Glens. Used properly the spells in this ancient text can instantly transport your sight to the Dothraki Grassland, the Coast of Dorne, the Stormlands or to many other locations throughout the lands of Westeros and Essos.

Dragonstone, as shown with dragon's view on the magic map of Esri

Each location that your inner vision visits is highlighted upon the magic map of Esri and shown from above with magical 'dragon's view' images. The magic map of Esri also includes ancient words of wisdom about each of the locations that you visit on your magical journeys. These words of old provide a brief history of each location and the role it has played in the long history of this Land of Ice and Fire.

There is also an ancient spell of 'Street View' which can bestow the gift of long vision onto anyone who owns the 'Map of Google'.

Game of Thrones: The Old Views and the New gives you the vision to stare straight as the dragon flies into King's Landing, Winterfell or the mysterious continent of Essos. Google's collection of magical Street Views is split into three main Houses, the Starks, Lannisters and the Mother of Dragons. This allows you to direct your gaze to any of your favorite locations on either of the continents of Essos or Westeros.

If you wish to explore the lands of A Game of Thrones even more then you might also want to consult The Five Maps of Westeros.

Monday, August 07, 2017

When Was Indianapolis Built?

This When Was Indianapolis Built interactive map shows the age of construction of buildings in the city of Indianapolis. The color of the building footprints on the map show the year of build.

The map shows the geographical distribution of the age of buildings in Indianapolis. The accompanying bar chart visualizes the temporal distribution of construction in the city, showing the number of buildings built in each decade since 1900. Judging by this chart the 1950s were a major period of expansion in Indianapolis, with other busy periods of construction being in the 1990s and the 2000s.

The smaller bar charts show the number of buildings built in each decade in each Indianapolis neighborhood. This means that you can see when major construction took place in each neighborhood. Referring back to the map we can see that a significant number of the oldest buildings in Indianapolis are in the center of the city. As you radiate out from the city center the buildings tend to get younger, with the most new builds being in the city suburbs.

The same developer has created a similar building age map for Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro. This map is also accompanied by interesting bar charts showing how many buildings were built in each decade, in the whole city and in individual neighborhoods.

The Car Crime Map

It can take a thief as little as 10 seconds to break into your car. It is therefore important that you park and leave your car somewhere safe. But where is safe?

Co-op Insurance has released an interactive map to help UK car drivers see where vehicle crime is most frequent. Enter your location into Park Smart and you can view the location of nearby car crimes that have occurred in the last six months. Numbered and scaled markers show the number of car crimes reported at each location. It is therefore possible to quickly identify roads and blocks which experience high or low levels of car crime.

As well as the interactive map Co-op Insurance has released some handy tips for parking your car safely. Such as parking with your wheels facing the kerb to deter car thieves looking for a quick getaway.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Here Be Lots of Monsters

Mythical Creatures and Where to Find Them is the definitive atlas to all the world's strangest creatures. Whether you're a hunter of dragons, yeti, vampires or niki-nankas then this is the map for you.

This custom designed fantasy styled map includes information about a number of mythical creatures. If you select a marker on the map you can learn more about the selected creature and where in the world you can find them. The section on each of the creatures includes information on the locations where their myths began. For those who can't wait to start their monster hunting this section also includes hotel and flight information,

Another great source for finding mythical monsters is Olaus Magnus’ Carta marina. Slate has created an interactive map of Magnus’ beautiful 1539 Carta marina. This means that you can use Slate's map in your search for mythical creatures.

The Carta marina is brimming with wonderful sea monsters. Slate has made each of the monsters selectable on their interactive map. Users of the map are therefore able to click on each of the monsters and read how Olaus Magnus described the monster in his own commentary to the map.

The Carta marina is the earliest map of the Nordic countries that includes place names. The map depicts an area which includes the modern countries of Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Estonia and Latvia. It also includes a number of fanciful sea beasts just waiting to be rediscovered.

The Underwater Search for Flight MH370

During the search for the missing aircraft Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 the Australian Transport Safety Bureau were responsible for conducting underwater search operations. Part of this search included a bathymetric survey to create a detailed map of the sea floor topography in the search area. In one of the largest marine surveys ever conducted the ATSB collected 710,000 square kilometres of bathymetric data.

The Australian Government has released an Esri Story Map, The Data Behind the Search for MH370, which explains where and why the underwater search for the missing aircraft took place. It also visualizes some of the bathymetric data collected during the search.

The data collected is some of the highest resolution bathymetric data ever collected for this area. The data was therefore useful not only for helping to direct the search for the missing aircraft but will be invaluable to marine scientists and scientists in other disciplines. The Australian government has therefore made the data freely available. You can download the data from marine.ga.gov.au.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Do You Know Where Ireland Is?

The UK has just one land border (Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland). With only this one land border you would think that the residents of the UK would be able to identify Ireland on a map.

Unfortunately 1 in 10 Britons can't accurately identify the Republic of Ireland on an atlas. 10% of Britons taking GoCompare's 'How Well Do You Know Europe' online quiz weren't able to correctly identify Ireland. 4% actually thought it was Denmark and 2% thought it was Iceland.

If you head over to How Well Do You Know Europe you can try the multiple-choice quiz for yourself. On average Americans get 5 out of 10 questions correct. The British average is 6.5 correct answers. When you have completed the quiz you are told how many countries you identified correctly and how your geographical knowledge compares to other UK and US players.

Passchendaele 360

"I died in hell – they called it Passchendaele."
 - Siegfried Sassoon

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Passchendaele, the First World War campaign that lasted from from July to November 1917.

The opening assault of the battle took place in heavy rain. In this heavy downpour the low lying land was churned up by the men, horses, equipment and heavy shelling and the land became a sea of thick mud. Through this clinging mud the men had to attack German concrete machine gun emplacements. Many of those who weren't killed by the German guns drowned in that clinging mud.

It is impossible to imagine Sassoon's 'hell' or the reality faced by the Allied soldiers. You can however experience a small part of the horror and hell of Passchendaele by viewing the Royal British Legion's 360 degree videos of Passchendaele. Passchendaele in 360 includes a series of 360 degree videos which try to convey something of the reality of the battle for those young soldiers far from home.

The videos combine first-hand audio accounts, diary excerpts, and archive film and photos. You can watch the videos on a desktop computer but for the full virtual reality effect they should be viewed with Google Cardboard or any other type of VR set.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Every Solar Eclipse for 150 Years

A few weeks ago the Washington Post released an interactive globe showing all the solar eclipses happening around the world between now and your 100th birthday. Enter your year of birth into Here’s Every Total Solar Eclipse Happening in Your Lifetime and the path of every solar eclipse happening in your lifetime will be shown on the interactive globe.

Well - maybe not all the eclipses in your lifetime. If you plan living a little longer than 100 years then you can now use Scientific American's Coming Soon? A Solar Eclipse Near You to find out all the total and annular solar eclipses happening in your country in the next 150 years. Just select a country from the list and you can view the path of all the total and annular eclipses happening near you and the year that they will occur.

If you can't wait until the next eclipse in your country then you might want to view a strip map of this month's eclipse. The Washington Post's Travel the Path of the Solar Eclipse is a strip map which allows you to explore the whole path of the August 21st eclipse as it crosses the United States from West Coast to East Coast.

You might also like these interactive maps that show you where & when you can view August's eclipse in the USA and how much of an eclipse you might see.

The Rise of Opioid Overdoses

US Senator for Utah Mike Lee has released an interactive map showing Unintentional Opioid Overdose Deaths. The map uses mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The senator's Leaflet map shows the rise in opioid overdose deaths at county level from 1979 to 2015. Using the timeline you can select to view the number of overdose deaths for any five year period in these years. If you press the play button you can view an animated loop of the data from 1979 to 2015.

You can click on a county on the map to view the county death rate per 100,000 inhabitants for any of the mapped five year periods. Some counties are grayed out on the map for confidentiality reasons. This is where the number of deaths is so small that the deceased could be easily identified.

In the USA more people are now killed by drug overdoses than from gun homicides and car accidents. An ESRI Story Map is attempting to highlight and personalize the current prescription drug and heroin epidemic by providing a way for families to share their memories of loved ones who have died from the epidemic.

Celebrating Lost Loved Ones allows anyone to add photographs and memories of an opioid overdose victim to the map. The map was created by ESRI software developer Jeremiah Lindemann, who lost his own brother to the prescription drug and heroin epidemic. You can read more about the map in Jeremiah's blog post Mapping the Prescription Drug and Heroin Epidemic, in which he also links to a few other maps concerned with the current epidemic.

Digital Dreams & Electric Sheep

UK based artist Memo Akten has trained machine learning algorithms on tens of thousands of paintings in the Google Art Project. He then presented his machine learning algorithms with a virtual paintbrush and canvas to see what they could create for themselves. You can view the results in Learning to Dream, a gallery of 24 works of art created by Memo's generative adversarial network.

The gallery uses the Leaflet mapping platform to create an interface which allows you to zoom in and pan around each of the computer generated works of art. I can't tell you much about the generative adversarial network used to create the artworks but I can tell you a little bit about how they were mapped. Each separate high resolution image was cut into map tiles. If you want to create your own map tiles to use with Leaflet Zoomable Images with Leaflet provides a very detailed tutorial explaining how you can use GDAL2Tiles and MapTiler to render map tiles from an image and use them with the Leaflet mapping platform.

Another option is to use Zoomify to create your map tiles. Showing Zoomify Images with Leaflet explains how to do this and even includes a Leaflet plugin to add the tiles to your Leaflet map.