Monday, September 25, 2017

The Rise of the Far Right in East Germany


Angela Merkel has won her fourth term as German Chanvellor. However the biggest news of this German election has to be the rise of the far right AfD party. It appears that both the centre-right CDU and centre-left Social Democrats lost voters to the controversial AfD. Despite retaining power in a coalition government Merkel's CDU party achieved their worst results since 1949. The Social Democrats also had their poorest results since 1945.

The AfD however has made huge inroads since the last German election. The Berliner Morgenpost's 2017 Wahlkarte interactive map provides a useful guide as to where the AfD has gained the most votes. If you select the 'Shift to the right' option you can view a choropleth view of the AfD's vote share in each constituency. This reveals that the AfD is most popular in constituencies in the former East Germany. On average it appears that the party polled at least 10-20% more votes in nearly every former East German constituency than they did in constituencies in the former West Germany.


The Financial Times has mapped where each of Germany's political parties have gained and lost votes in the country. This map shows how the AfD picked up votes across the whole country. It also reinforces the fact that it was far more popular in the former East Germany. The FT map also shows that the CDU and SPD lost popularity across the whole of Germany.

The rise of the AfD is being seen as a populist reaction against Germany's acceptance of refugees. These maps hint that the underlying cause of this anti-refugee sentiment might be tied to income inequality. It certainly appears that the less economically secure former East German constituencies were more receptive to the AfD's anti-refugee message than the more economically secure constituencies in the west of the country.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Live German Election Map


The Berliner Morgenpost's 2017 Wahlkarte is a live interactive map showing the live results from the 2017 German election. This Leaflet powered map allows you to view how each party has performed in the electoral constituencies which have declared their votes.

constituencies on the map are colored by the party with the highest number of votes. If you select a political party's name (from the list to the left of the map) you can view the 10 constituencies where that party has performed best (so far). Beneath the map are number of options for viewing more detailed analysis of the results as visualizations on the map. For example you can select to see where the extreme right-wing AfD has gained votes (at the moment this seems to be everywhere).

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Shrinking Glaciers Around the World


Since 1850 Switzerland's glaciers have shrunk by around 50%. The World Glacier Monitoring Service say that this process is likely to continue and that 80 to 90 percent of glacier ice mass will be lost by 2100.

Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger has visualized the extent of Switzerland's shrinking glaciers in the last 160 years in So Schmolzen die Schweizer Gletscher in 160 Jahren Weg. In a series of multiple mini maps the paper has mapped the change in size of the country's 38 largest glaciers. These maps show the size of the glaciers in 1850 compared to the size of the glaciers in 2010. Each mini map includes data on the surface area lost in kilometers and as a percentage of the glacier's size in 1850.


Nearly all of North America's glaciers are also in retreat. The rate of retreat has increased rapidly over the last few decades and overall each decade sees greater rates of retreat than the preceding one. The National Park Traveler has released an interactive story map, Glaciers in Alaska's National Parks: Monitoring Change, which examines the loss of Alaska's shrinking glaciers.

The map uses satellite imagery to show the modern reach of each of the featured glaciers. U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps were used to determine the glaciers' extent in the mid-20th century. Orange overlays are used on the map to show this historic extent. This is then compared to the extent of the glaciers in the 21st Century, as calculated from the most recent satellite imagery.


Alaska Ice: Documenting Glaciers on the Move is another Esri Story Map which uses satellite imagery and comparisons of modern & vintage photographs to document Alaska's shrinking glaciers.

The main focus of the map is the U.S. Geological Survey's Repeat Photography initiative. USGS has been comparing modern photographs of Alaskan glaciers with historical photos, both with the same field of view. The photographs are compared to document and understand the changes to glaciers resulting from the changing climate.

The Alaska Ice story map visits 14 glaciers in the U.S. state. Each glacier can be viewed on a satellite map and a modern and historical photograph of each glacier is compared in the map sidebar. Of the 14 mapped Alaskan glaciers only two are still advancing.


Timelapse - aerial imagery of the Mendenhall Glacier in 1991 & 2012

Another interesting way to examine the loss of glaciers is with Google Timelapse. Timelapse allows you to compare aerial imagery over time for any location on Earth. You can therefore enter the name of any glacier into Timelapse and observe the effects of global warming for yourself.

Timelapse provides links to the Shirase Glacier and the Columbia Glacier but you can use the search box to locate any glacier. You can therefore use Timelapse to search for any of North America's or Switzerland's glaciers and observe the highlighted loss of each glacier for yourself, using Timelapse's historical aerial imagery.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Boston Underwater


Climate Ready Boston is an initiative by the City of Boston to help prepare the city for future climate change. As part of this initiative the city has released an interactive map showing the areas of the city most at risk from flooding and extreme heat.

This new Map Explorer features spatial data from Climate Ready Boston. It also includes  population demographic data so that the social impact of climate change on Boston can be better understood. Users can select the flooding, extreme heat and social vulnerability layers which they wish to view on the map from the 'Layers' tab. If you click on the map you can view information about the source data for that location. More information about the data is available under the 'Details' tab.


One reason Boston is at risk from rising sea levels is that much of the city is land reclaimed from the sea. Mapbox has created an interesting visualization of how Boston's footprint has changed through history as more and more landfill projects were undertaken in the city. Coastlines of Boston provides two different historical views of Boston, as it looked in 1788 and 1898, and allows you to compare these views to the map of Boston today.

The Coastlines of Boston map was created by importing vintage maps of Boston into Mapbox Studio and then drawing around the historical coastlines. Once the coastlines were traced they were then saved as a map tileset. You can read more about how Coastlines of Boston map was created on the Mapbox blog.


If you are interested in exploring Boston's changing coastline for yourself on old historical maps then you should check out Mapjunction. Bill Warner's impressive vintage map explorer allows you to compare old vintage maps of Boston side-by-side using an interactive mapping interface.

The vintage maps available seem to date back as far as 1873. When you pan or move the map to a new location the available historical maps for the current map view are automatically loaded into the map layer menu (move the map to New York and you can vintage maps of New York instead). Simply select any two maps from the map layer menus to view them side-by-side.

Ryanair's Cancelled Flights


Here's what 1,848 cancelled flights look like on a map. Ryanair Cancelled Flights is a Carto interactive map showing all the flights cancelled by Ryanair from September 21st to October 28th (except for Oct 24th, the data for which appears to be missing from the map).

Last Saturday low-cost airline Ryanair announced that it would be cancelling between 40 and 50 flights per day until the end of October. It began by cancelling flights with very little notice given to customers. Many passengers, who had already taken outbound flights, were left with no flight home.

You can click on individual flight paths on the interactive map to view the selected flight's origin and destination. You can use Carto's dashboard features to filter the flights on the map by any date range. The date control also show you how many flights have been cancelled by Ryanair on each day until October 28th.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Trump's Wall Maps


USA Today flew & drove along the entire 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. During these journeys they mapped every known piece of the existing border fence between the two countries. You can view the locations of this existing border fence and also view the aerial video USA Today shot during their flight along the border on a new interactive map.

Should we build a wall? A 2,000-mile search for answers not only maps the existing border fence but also explores some of the problems the USA could face in trying to build Trump's wall between Mexico & the USA. The map shows where the existing fence consists of vehicle barriers, pedestrian fencing, other fencing and where no fencing currently exists.

The beginning of 'Should we build a wall' is in the story map format. This section explores some of the geographical, economical and legal problems the USA could face in trying to build Trump's wall. You can view some of these geographical problems yourself in the USA Today's aerial videos. If you scroll to the bottom of the story map and click on the 'Explore the map' button you can click on the map to view videos of the aerial footage captured during the flight along the border.

'Should we build a wall' is just one part of USA Today's special report The Wall - an in-depth examination of Donald Trump's border wall. In the rest of this examination you can read interviews, listen to podcasts and explore the border in virtual reality.


Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, has also been collecting data on the US-Mexico border for a number of years. They have spent a long time mapping the existing border fence using satellite imagery and government PDF maps of the border.

From this data Reveal has discovered that around 700 miles of the 1,954 mile-long U.S.-Mexico border is already fenced. Trump's new wall will therefore need to be at least 1,300 miles long. That's a lot of Chinese steel. You can explore Reveal's work on their The Wall interactive map. The map shows the current fence and shows where it is a 'vehicular' and where it is a 'pedestrian' fence. The map also shows where no fence currently exists.

You can get a good sense of the scale of construction needed to build Trump's new wall in a video from the Intercept. The Intercept downloaded and stitched together 200,000 satellite images to create a huge strip map of the U.S.-Mexican border. You can view this strip map in Visualizing the U.S.-Mexico Border, a short video which pans along the whole border.


From Donald Trump's 'detailed' construction plans we know that the Trump Wall will be up to 15 meters high, made of concrete and steel (but also possibly fencing) and will be 1,954 miles long. If you are having difficulty envisioning just how far 1,954 miles is then you can use the Berliner Morgenpost's interactive map. The Trump Wall Comparison Map allows you to overlay an outline of Trump's proposed border wall between the USA and Mexico on any location on Earth.

If you want to create your own Trump Wall map then you can get Reveal's data for the US-Mexico border fence on Github. You can read more about how this data was collected and mapped in the Reveal article The Wall: Building a continuous US-Mexico barrier would be a tall order.

Every Building in Great Britain


Last year Emu Analytics released a Building Heights in England interactive map. The map uses data from the Ordnance Survey to color building footprints in all of England by the height of each building.

If you want to create your own building footprint map using Ordnance Survey data for Great Britain then Alasdair Rae can help you. Alasdair has created shapefiles for all of Great Britain's building footprints and made them available on Dropbox. There are six shapefiles in total:
  • All buildings in Wales 
  • All buildings in Scotland 
  • All buildings in the North of England
  • All buildings in the Midlands 
  • All buildings in the South West of England 
  • All buildings in the South East of England
Alisdair created the files to help answer the question of how much of Great Britain is covered by buildings. You can find the answer to that question and the link to the building footprint shapefiles at Buildings of Great Britain.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mexico Earthquake Maps


Yesterday a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico. At the time of writing there have been 216 confirmed deaths from the quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey's interactive map locates the epicenter of the quake near the town of Raboso in Puebla, 76 miles southeast of Mexico City. The USGS's Latest Earthquakes Map includes options to view earthquake activity over the last 24 hours, the last week or the last month. The map also shows plate boundaries. Mapbox's Live Earthquake Tracker is also a nicely designed map of the same USGS data, allowing you to view the location and the size of the most recent seismic activity around the world on a global map.


The New York Times has created a seismic activity map which shows that although Mexico City is 76 miles from the epicenter of yesterday's quake it still experienced intense seismic activity. Mexico City is built on an ancient lake bed. The soft soil under Mexico City is known to be prone to seismic activity. When earthquake waves pass through the soil it vibrates and magnifies the waves.

The result of seismic activity can therefore be catastrophic for Mexico City's buildings. The NYT article includes a map of buildings that have collapsed in the city and lots of photos of the devastation caused. Yesterday's quake occurred on the anniversary of the horrific 1985 earthquake which damaged around 3,000 buildings in the city. It appears yesterday's earthquake has not caused that scale of damage to the city's buildings. After the 1985 quake Mexico City introduced more stringent building codes. Those codes probably saved a lot of lives yesterday.

A Google Map, Edificios Colapsados Sismo 2017 19 Sep, is also documenting the location of collapsed buildings in Mexico City. Buildings on this map are being categorized by the degree of damage caused by the quake.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Non-Clustering Custom Place Labels


Planet of Sound was created by Dorothy to crowd-source the music playlist for an event they held in May of this year. That event is now over but the map still works and is well worth visiting. Not least for its magical non-clustering custom map labels.

The Planet of Sound map allows you to tag any location in the world with a song and a memory. If you don't want to add a song you can just browse the map to explore what songs other people associate with different places across the globe.

The map doesn't include any real place-name labels. In fact the only labels on this map are the song titles people have added to the map. What is particularly impressive is how the map avoids clustering and overlapping these custom labels. This is not a simple thing to achieve.

If you want to add your own non-clustering & non-overlapping labels to a map then you can should have a look at James Milner's Labelgun for reducing label clutter. The GitHub for Labelgun includes examples of the library being used with Leaflet, Esri and OpenLayers. If you check out these examples you can see how Labelgun works to avoid custom labels clustering and overlapping as you zoom in and out on the map.

Vintage Maps of Japan


The Japanese Historical Maps Collection of the East Asian Library has worked with the David Rumsey Map collection to digitize around 2,300 early Japanese maps. The Japanese Historical Maps collection allows you to explore all of these digitized historical maps from Japan as zoomable images.

If you want you can explore some of these vintage maps in more detail on Google Maps. The Japan Historical GIS page has eight maps from the collection, dating back to 1694, which you view on top of Google Maps.

The University of British Columbia has a huge collection of maps and guidebooks from the Japanese Tokugawa period (1600-1867). Their Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era includes digitized versions of the maps which can be explored online.

The National Archives of Japan also own a large number of rare vintage maps of Japan. In particular they have digitized the Genroku Kuni Ezu (national land maps). Around the turn of the Eighteenth Century the Tokugawa Shogunate ordered maps to be made of the whole of the Japan. You can explore these maps on the National Archives Classic Maps website.


Gunma GIS Geek has used the Leaflet mapping platform to create interactive maps from a couple of famous Japanese pilgrimage mandalas. Pilgrimage mandalas are paintings which provide a panoramic view of temple and shrine sites.

The first map on Temple Pilgrimage Mandala is of the Nachi Pilgrimage Mandala. This 16th–17th century hanging scroll depicts the Nachi Shrine on the Kii Peninsula in Japan. The painting presents the journey of two pilgrims (the couple clothed in white) as they enter the scene (bottom right) and take a circuitous route through the temple complex to the Nachi shrine.


You can learn more about some of the over 50 buildings depicted in the painting at the Embodying Compassion website. Embodying Compassion includes an interactive version of the Nachi Pilgrimage Mandala. This interactive version of the mandala features a number of markers which allow you to learn more about the buildings, temples and statues depicted in the mandala.


If you want to explore vintage maps of Tokyo then a good place to start is with the Past and Present Map, which uses some beautiful vintage maps to illustrate how Tokyo has developed since the Nineteenth Century.

The application lets you explore ten historical maps ranging in date from 1896 to 2005. The dual map control places the historical map side-by-side with a Google Map. Pan and zoom the historical map and the Google Map will also move to ensure that both maps are always showing the same view.

Monday, September 18, 2017

School Safety Snapshot


Zendrive has rated the road safety around 75,000 schools nationwide. Using mobile phone data from car drivers Zendrive has measured the levels of dangerous driving around schools across the United States. You can find out the Zendrive ratings for dangerous driving around your local schools on the Zendrive School Safety Snapshot interactive map.

The map uses three different administrative levels to show ratings for states, counties and individual schools. When zoomed out on the map you can view the ratings for each state (California and Florida have the worst ratings). If you click on a state on the map you can drill down to view the ratings in each county. If you the click on a county you can view the ratings for all the individual schools.

The interactive map is well designed and it is very easy to navigate down to view the ratings for individual schools. I'm not entirely convinced about Zendrive's data and methodology. They claim that their model "predicts future collisions six times more accurately than leaders of the industry". If you are worried about dangerous driving around your local school then it might be worth checking the traffic accident records of the local roads for yourself.


For example you could look at Mapping Ten Years of Fatal Traffic Accidents, an interactive map showing every single fatal traffic accident in the United States from 2004 to 2013.

When zoomed out this map shows a heatmap of fatal traffic accidents across the whole country. When you zoom in on the map markers appear showing the location of each individual fatal accident. This means that you can zoom in on any city or town in the USA to view a detailed map of where accidents occurred locally.

When you zoom in on the map option controls also appear which allow you to filter the accidents shown by contributing factors (alcohol, speeding and driver distraction). The markers are also colored on the map to show who was killed in each accident (driver, passenger, pedestrian etc).

Mapping Marine Protected Areas


Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are areas of oceans where human activity is restricted for conservation purposes. 6.35% of the world's seas are now covered by MPAs. That is a ten-fold increase in the area of our oceans designated as MPAs in the first seventeen years of this century.

You can view which areas of the world's oceans have MPA status on Protected Planet's Marine Protected Areas interactive map. The map shows the location of MPAs around the globe and provides information about the status of each MPA. If you select an MPA on the map you can click-through to read more about its designation and the name of its management authority.

The Protected Planet also maintains a database of all the world's terrestrial and marine protected areas. The World Database on Protected Areas includes an interactive map showing both marine & terrestrial protected areas around the globe.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Free Style OSM


If you like the Emoji Map Generator then you will probably love Map Stylizer. Where the Emoji Map Generator allows you to create maps from your favorite emojis the Map Stylizer gives you more scope to create a custom styled map from an OpenStreetMap tile.

The Map Stylizer includes a number of pre-set map styles. For example the screenshot above shows the White House styled using the Map Stylizer's treasure map style. The other pre-set styles include  'circuit board', 'paper' and 'scribbles'. However you don't have to use these pre-set styles. If you choose the custom option you can select to choose which map features you want to change and how you want to change them.

Both the Emoji Map Generator and the Map Stylizer create pretty awful maps but they are fun to play with. They are both also interesting examples of how individual OSM map tiles can be manipulated on the fly.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cleaner Air = Longer Lives


You can use this interactive map to find out how many extra years you could expect to live if your country met the World Health Organization's recommended safe levels of air quality. The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago's Air Quality-Life Index map shows how many life years could be saved in countries around the world if they met WHO standards for safe levels of airborne particulate matter pollution.

The darker the color on the map then the more years could be saved. In other words the darkest areas have the worst records of air pollution. You can actually view particulate pollution concentrations on the map by switching to the 'Pollution' layer.


Air pollution causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide. The World Health Organization's own interactive map, Global Ambient Air Pollution, also shows the levels of pollution across the globe. The map displays the average annual atmospheric particulate matter levels throughout most of the world. The data used is from the WHO Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, which covers 3000 cities in 103 different countries.

The Global Ambient Air Pollution map helps highlight the fact that air pollution most effects those living in low and middle income countries. However 56% of cities in high-income countries also don't meet the WHO air quality guidelines. Even in high-income countries urban air pollution levels tend to be higher in low and middle-income cities and in the poorest neighborhoods of high-income cities.

Rocking All Over the World


Taylor Swift really likes playing in Nashville. If you check out her gigging history on the Music Globe you can see that the number of concerts she has played in Nashville dwarfs all other locations. Mind you she did move to Nashville at the age of fourteen, so perhaps her gigging history isn't that surprising.

You can find out where other musical artists like to gig on this new 3d Music Globe. Just type in an artist's name and you can see a visualization of how often they have gigged at locations around the world. The height of the colored towers on the map represents the number of concerts played at that location.

The data for the number of gigs an artist has played comes from the Bandsintown API. Unfortunately Bandsintown was founded in 2007, so I assume the data for historical concerts only goes back that far. The globe itself was created using Google's WebGL Globe library. The source code for the interactive Music Globe is available on Github.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Before & After Irma


The Washington Post has used satellite imagery from before & after Hurricane Irma to show the scale of the destruction caused by the tropical storm in the Carribean and in Florida. Before and After Hurricane Irma uses high resolution satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe to provide an aerial view of just a few of the areas devastated by the storm.

NOAA has also released an interactive map which includes aerial imagery of Florida taken since the storm. Hurricane IRMA Imagery uses aerial imagery captured on Monday and Tuesday. The map includes post-Irma aerial imagery for much of the Florida Keys. The map also has imagery along the west coast of Florida, from Naples up to Punta Gorda.

Street Views of 1980s New York


Broadway in the mid 1980s had a lot to offer.  Karate Kid Part II was on at the cinema, Cats was being performed nightly at the theater and on Times Square you could buy just about any drug that you wanted. If that sounds appealing to you then get ready to jump into this new Street View time machine.

80s.NYC is a fantastic collection of vintage photographs of New York City street scenes, all taken in the 1980s. The photos were taken by the Finance Department of New York City in the middle of the 80s. In order to accurately assess building taxes the department photographed every single building in the five boroughs. The pictures could then be used to estimate property values.

Thanks to Brandon Liu and Jeremy Lechtzin you can now travel the city streets of 1980's New York City. Their 80s.NYC map allows you to browse the City's photographic collection by location. Just click anywhere on the map of the city and you can instantly view the vintage Street Views of that location. The map also includes a number of curated 'Stories'. These stories provide historical background to some of the more interesting photos and historical buildings in the collection.


If the sleaze of 1980s New York doesn't appeal then why not go back further in time to the beginning of the 20th Century. The New York Public Library has a complete collection of vintage photographs depicting Fifth Avenue, New York, from start to finish.

The photos provide a great resource for exploring New York at the turn of the last century. Especially if you use the library's own great Street View application. Street View, Then & Now: New York City's Fifth Avenue allows you to take a virtual stroll down Fifth Avenue in Street View while comparing today's New York to those vintage photos of the same locations taken at the beginning of the 20th Century.


If you enjoy exploring old vintage photographs of New York then you might want to help NYPL geo-tag its collection of vintage photographs of the city. The NYPL's Surveyor map is a citizen science project designed to hep the library index its collections of historical photographs by location.

Visit the Surveyor website and you will be shown a vintage photograph from the NYPL collection. All you have to do is show the location depicted in the photo by clicking on the interactive map. Luckily many of the photographs have an address in the photo's title or associated data. This makes the task relatively easy, even if you don't know New York very well.

Many of the photos in the NYPL's Digital Collections are in the public domain. This means that you will be able to use many of the photos that you geo-tag in your own interactive maps. Just like OldNYC has done with its interactive map of 40,000 vintage photos of New York from the NYPL’s photo collections.

10 Street View Games to Kill Your Day

1. GeoGuessr

There are lots of 'Can you guess the Street View?' type games but there is only one GeoGuessr. GeoGuessr is probably the most popular Google Maps geography game.

In this geography game you are shown a random Street View image and you must try to guess where in the world the Street View was taken. Once you have guessed you are shown how close your guess was to the correct location and awarded points based on how near you guessed.

What really sets GeoGuessr apart from other Street View guessing games is GeoSettr! With the release of GeoSettr you can now create your own GeoGuessr game based on your favorite locations and Street Views. Using GeoSettr you can create your own GeoGusser game of five questions. All you have to do is choose five locations on a Google Map and then you then get a unique link to your game that you can share with your friends.

2. Brick Street View

This one isn't strictly a game but who isn't going to have fun seeing their house turned into Lego. Brick Street View does just that, re-imagining Google Maps and Google Street View as they might appear in Legoland.

Type your address into this Legoized Google Map and then drop the Lego Pegman onto your street. You can then actually view your house as it might look if it was built with those little plastic colored bricks. Brick Street View works anywhere in the world where Street View appears on Google Maps. So after viewing your Lego house you can take a tour of some of the world's most famous monuments as they also might look in Legoland.

Brick Street View works by using the undocumented depth data stored in Street View. It uses this data to create a depth map which can be used to plot geometry and sprites in the 3d space of the Street View panorama.

3. Sakura

Have you ever wanted to cherry bomb your house. Thanks to this beautiful application you can now view your house covered in cherry blossom on Google Maps Street View.

Sakura allows you to visualize how your house might look if you could transport it to Japan in the springtime, just at the moment when the cherry blossom is in full bloom. The effect is so amazing that it can even transform my grey London street into a road where I might actually be happy to live.

4. Earth-Picker

On the surface Earth-Picker is very similar to GeoGuessr. In the game, like in GeoGuessr, you are shown a series of random Street View scenes. The object of the game is to try to guess the location of the depicted Street View image. To do this you simply place a marker on a Google Map to show where you think the Street View image is from.

What sets Earth-Picker apart from other Street View guessing games is the neat way it shows how close your guess was to the real location. Like in other Street View guessing games you are awarded points based on how close your guess was to the real location. However Earth-Picker also places a blue circle around the depicted location.

This blue circle shows you the average distance that all the other users of the game were to guessing the correct location. Therefore for each Street View image that you guess you are able to instantly see whether you beat most other users, or whether your guess was worse than most other players.

5. My Name is Hunt

My Name is Hunt is the world's first Street View based text adventure game. In this game you have to follow a number of clues to stay alive. Each textual clue is accompanied by a Street View image showing you where you are in your search for numerous antidote syringes which have been hidden around Rio de Janeiro.

Each clue is also accompanied by two (or more) paths for you to choose from. Choose wisely as each turn you take in this game costs you a little health. If your health reaches zero before you find an antidote then you will die.

6. Where in the World

Where in the World is another 'guess the location on Street View' game. In this fun game, however, you are helped a little as the locations are all well-known locations from around the world. All you have to do is choose the correct location for each Street View from three different answers.

The game allows you to choose from five different categories, History, Travel, Royal Attractions, Nature and Parks & Entertainment. Once you have selected your categories you are shown 10 different Street View images and your job is to guess where in the world each image is from.

The main difficulty with Where in the World is the time element. You are only given twelve seconds to answer each question, which isn't really enough time to explore the Street View scene in any detail. However, even with the time element, I found it easy to get ten out of ten each time I played. But then I spend way too much of my time exploring the world on Street View.

7. Allstate Holiday Home Decorator

If you are getting tired of roaming the world on Street View then why not enjoy a few relaxing moments at home, decorating your house on Google Maps Street View. The Allstate Holiday Home Decorator allows you to decorate your house on Street View with a number of Christmas themed decorations.

To decorate your home just enter your address into the Holiday Home Decorator. You will then be shown a Google Maps Street View of your home. Once you have the Street View image of your house you can add Christmas lights, candles, decorations, Christmas presents, trees and a little snow to the scene. When you are happy with the design of your Street View Christmas card just press the 'share your home' button and you can send a unique link to your card via Twitter or Facebook.

8. Urbanopticon

How well do you know your city? Test your knowledge with Urbanopticon. Yes, this is another Street View location guessing game but this time you get to contribute to a citizen science project while you play.

By now the formula of the game should be familiar - look at the Street view image and try to guess where in the world it is from. As you play, however, you are also helping Urbanopticon develop a collective mental map of your city based on your answers and the answers of other players. Using these answers the team can begin to answer questions about which areas in cities are memorable, why some areas are more memorable than others and how developers / city planners can better build communities that help make people feel more at home.

9. The Division Map of New York

This one is also not strictly a Street View game but it will appeal to fans of Ubisoft's video game of Tom Clancy's The Division. It also might appeal to New Yorkers interested in how their city might look in a dystopian future. The Division Map of New York features a number of 360 degree panoramic Street View images which allow you to explore scenes of New York as portrayed in the on-line game. These Street View images show a post-pandemic New York, devastated by the effects of a deadly disease which has brought chaos to the streets of America.

10. Spacehopper

Spacehopper is another great Street View based geography quiz. The game was built for school kids studying geography but is lots of fun for us slightly older kids as well.

The game presents you with a series of Street View images from locations around the world (with the odd photo thrown in for good measure). The object of the game is to guess the location of the Street View image by clicking on a Google Map. To help you in this task the possible locations are marked on the map with a little red dot.

You get three attempts to get the correct answer to each Street View. If you are struggling you can also ask for clues. The game includes some user settings that allow you to restrict the views shown to various regions around the globe.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mapping Australia's Support for Gay Marriage


This month Australia is holding a non-binding national postal survey into the issue of same-sex marriage. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has released a really interesting story map which looks at the results of a poll which asked Australians the same question last year. How Australians think about same-sex marriage, mapped shows the level of support for gay marriage across the whole of the country.

The problem with a choropleth view of the survey results in each electorate is that it presents a slightly distorted picture of the situation. Larger, less populated rural areas show the least support for gay marriage. These larger more rural areas dominate the map when you are zoomed out and therefore could lead the user to underestimate the support for gay marriage in Australia.

ABC get around this distorted picture by exploring the results in different areas. As you progress through the story map ABC zoom in on Sydney to show how support in more populated inner-city areas is far higher than in outer suburban and rural areas. ABC proceed to show how this geographic tendency in the vote is true for other cities. In fact the geography of a voter appears to be a far bigger guide to their likelihood to support gay marriage than party support.

It will be interesting to see if this geographical tendency is repeated in this month's postal survey.

The Relative Cost of Housing


Last month the Housing Affordability Story Map used Esri’s Housing Affordability Index to map the local affordability of housing across the United States. The map looked at the share of average income in an area to the size of the average mortgage to determine how affordable local property is for local people.

Mortgage Magnitude is another Esri story map which uses the Housing Affordability Index to show how affordable property is for local people across the United States. This map also looks at the median local income and median local home value to show the relative affordability of property in each US county.

The success of Mortgage Magnitude is due in large part to the simple measurement of property values to the local median salary. In other words the value of the average property is expressed in the number of years salary it costs. This measurement is represented visually on the story map by the number of red people (each person representing one year's income).

This simple form of measurement is then used to look at the affordability of housing across the United States. As you scroll through the story map Mortgage Magnitude is able to show you counties in the USA where local property costs around one year's income (in other words where property is reasonably affordable). It then progresses to show you counties where property is around two years total salary, three years salary, four years salary and so on ... until we reach 9-10 years local salary for those living in some California coastal counties.

Global Sea Level Rise Since 1933


The Permanent Service of Mean Sea Level has been measuring sea level changes around the world since 1933. To do this the organisation has over 2,000 tide gauge meters measuring sea levels across the globe. CORRECTIV has mapped the records from 500 of these meters to provide an insight into how sea levels have changed in the last century and how they might change in the future.

Using CORRECTIV's Rising Seas map you can select any of the 500 mapped meters anywhere in the world. When you click on a meter you can view a graph of the meter's measurements since 1933. The map sidebar also provides an overview of how sea level has changed at this location since the measurements began.

As well as measurements from the 500 meter readings the Rising Seas map also includes an overlay which shows you coastal areas which are within 10 meters of sea level and therefore most at risk from rising sea levels.

I really like the use of breadcrumbs to help you navigate this map. Users can use the links at the top of the information panel to step back through different zoom levels. From being zoomed in on the location of an individual meter you can quickly step back to the country zoom level, the continent level and finally to the whole world. When the map is zoomed in on a country the map sidebar updates to show the average number of CO2 produced by each inhabitant of that country.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Languages of Sydney


Small Multiples has used the Language Spoken at Home (LANP) data from the 2016 Australian census to map the languages spoken in Sydney and Melbourne. The languages we speak in Sydney and Melbourne includes two interactive dot maps (one for each city) which show the languages spoken at home by those cities' residents.

The individual dots on both maps represent 5 people. The colors of the dots show the language spoken. If you zoom in on a neighborhood you can get a good overview of the density of different language speakers in the area.


Back in 2014 the Sydney Morning Herald also created an interesting mapped analysis of the languages spoken in Sydney. The map shows the top non-English languages spoken in each of the city's suburbs, the density of English as a first language and the linguistic diversity in each neighborhood, based on data from the 2011 census.

Sydney's Melting Pot of Language reveals that east Asians predominantly live in the north shore while Arabic speakers dominate the western suburbs. Over 250 different languages are spoken in the city and nearly 40 percent speak a non-English language as their first tongue.

Accompanying the mapped visualization is a bar graph showing the numbers of speakers of each of the non-English languages spoken in the city. The graph groups the languages into global regions but you can select any of the region bars to view a percentage breakdown of the individual languages.

Dreamliner by Dreamliner


Last month Boeing drew a massive geo-glyph of a Dreamliner aircraft during a test flight over the United States. While performing engine performance testing a Dreamliner test aircraft flew for 18 hours from Seattle to Seattle. Its flight path (which took it as far south as the southern tip of Texas) just happened to be in the shape of a giant, USA spanning, airplane.

You can review the whole plane-shaped flight path of Flight N7874 on Flightradar24. The plane's flight path is displayed for you on a Google Map. If you press the play button on the map you can watch as the plane marker follows the flight path on the map. The dashboard display, beneath the map, continually updates with the plane's speed & altitude during the test flight.

All the Bikes in All the World


The Bike Sharing Atlas is a great data dashboard which allows you to explore real-time data from over 1,000 bike sharing networks around the world. Using the dashboard you can view individual bike networks and compare and contrast how different cities operate their bike sharing networks.

The 'Networks' view provides small multiple maps of bike sharing networks around the world. These multiple maps allow you to compare the geographical distribution of bike sharing stations in different cities side-by-side. You can also click on any of these small maps to explore an individual bike network in more detail.

Exploring the interactive map of an individual city's bike sharing network gives you access to lots of data about that city's network. You can view the location of all the individual bike stations and explore the current status of bikes & empty slots in each station and its average utilization. You can also explore the bike stations by elevation, which allows you to discover the city's highest & lowest bike sharing station.