Saturday, November 18, 2017

Where can you travel without a visa?


Travelscope is an interactive visualization of all the countries in the world that you can travel to without a visa. The map also includes options to view the population and GDP of every country in the world.

I really like the animated transitions when you switch between Travelscope's two different map views. When you switch between the map and 3d globe view the map actually wraps itself into a sphere. The map also includes animated flow-lines, which are used to show all the countries that you van travel to from your selected country.

The visualization was created using d3.js and three.js and a number of other JavaScript libraries. You can find out more about how the visualization was created on the project's GitHub page. Travelscope is featured on Google's Chrome Experiments site. If you like interactive 3d globes you can find many more examples using the Chrome Experiments geographic tag.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mapping Earthquake Prone Buildings


The New Zealand Herald has created an interesting mapped tour of Wellington's Earthquake Prone Buildings. The map shows the location of the 95 Wellington buildings which have unreinforced masonry and the 699 buildings which are earthquake prone. The map also identifies hotspots where unsafe buildings are located in areas with large numbers of pedestrians.

The map effectively uses Mapbox GL to provide a bird's eye view of Wellington with 3d buildings (the earthquake prone buildings are colored red on the map). This 3d view of the city is combined with a story map format so that the Herald can take its readers on a tour of the city's vulnerable buildings and dangerous hotspots.

The map uses extrusions to display the 3d buildings. This is neatly combined with the story map format to give a real sense of flying over the city's buildings. This tour of the city is supported by the Herald's analysis of the city's earthquake prone buildings and the danger that they pose to the city. This analysis appears in the scrolling map side-panel.


In New Zealand all buildings need to be assessed by law to identify which buildings are earthquake prone. The New Zealand Herald were able to use this data to create their map of Wellington's earthquake prone buildings. In the United States the Oregonian had to take a different approach in mapping the Oregon buildings most prone to earthquake damage.

In 1974 Oregon enacted its first statewide building code. In 1993 western Oregon adopted its first seismic standards. Franz Rad, a professor of civil & environmental engineering at Portland State University, argues that these dates provide a "broad-brush look at the vulnerability of buildings".

Earthquakes: How Vulnerable are Portland’s Buildings? uses Portland building age data to assess which buildings are most earthquake prone. Building footprints are colored on the map to show buildings constructed before 1974, those constructed between 1974 & 1993 and buildings erected after 1993. You can therefore use the map to assess the ('broad-brush') vulnerability of any Portland building to earthquake damage.

Do you live near a gas pipeline?


Do you know how near you live to a gas pipeline? Well you can now find out using a new interactive map from the Sierra Club. Yesterday the environmental organization released an interactive map of gas pipelines in the USA. You can use the map to see how near your home, school or workplace is to a gas pipeline and if they are in a pipeline blast zone or evacuation zone.

The Sierra Club Gas Pipelines Map displays planned and already operating gas pipelines across the United States. If you zoom-in on the map you can also view the location of schools, hospitals, daycare centers and nursing homes. It can be a little difficult to select individual pipelines on the map. However if you do successfully click on a pipeline you can find out who it is owned by and whether it is in operation, planned or under construction.

Also See

Building the Dakota Access Pipeline
What Kinder Morgan's Pipeline will Mean for B.C.'s Coast
A Line in the Sand - mapping reactions to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in Canada

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The World's Most Dangerous Countries


This week I've seen a lot of reports recommending the International SOS Travel Risk Map. International SOS provide a very basic interactive map of the travel risks in each country of the world. Their Travel Risk Map provides an overview of the travel risks in each country for medical, security and road safety.

Countries are colored on the Travel Risk Map to show the International SOS assessment of the travel risks in these three categories. The map therefore does provide a very basic guide as to where it is safe to travel in the world. Unfortunately that is as far as the map goes. At the very least I would expect to be able to click on individual countries on the map to learn more about the travel risks in the selected country. If I'm travelling to a country I don't just want to know that there is a high security risk I want to know what those risks are.

Many governments provide useful advice for their citizens planning to travel abroad. For example the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date Foreign Travel Advice. If you click on Zimbabwe on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice page you can see that the travel advice has been updated today and takes this week's military coup into account.

If you do use the Travel Risk Map please also check your government's latest travel advice as well.

Building a Map of the Roman Empire


The Pelagios project is currently working on creating vector tile map layers to work with the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire. A vector based Atlas of the Roman Empire will allow Pelagios to offer the user many more options. For example users could be given a choice to view place-name labels in Latin, ancient Greek or using the modern place-names. The vector based map will also have many more zoom levels which will allow Pelagios to actually map individual Roman Empire buildings.

Pelagios has been documenting the process of creating their vector tile map of the Roman Empire. You can read about how the vector tile map is being built on The Roman Empire Vector Map Project and Building the Roman Empire Vector Tile Map. A final post (yet to be published) will explore more the new possibilities that the vector tile map will provide for Pelagios and users of the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.

This early demo version of the vector tiled map of the Roman Empire provides a drop-down menu that you can use to change the language of the map labels.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The DC Transportation Model


Property developers in Washington DC must provide trip generation estimates in their project planning applications. In order to show how a project will impact on local traffic and public transit these reports include estimates of both morning and evening trips to and from the proposed development.

A new online mapping tool, developed by Stamen for transportation consultants Fehr & Peers and the District Department of Transportation (ddot), can now make these trip generation estimates for you. TripsDC is an interactive map tool "for estimating vehicle, walk, bike, and transit trips based on a proposed development's characteristics and its context".

Using the tool you can enter the address of a proposed development project. You then need to enter the number of residential units, the number of parking spaces and the retail square footage. That's all you need to do. With this information the tool can automatically produce your project's morning and evening trip generation estimates.

If you aren't planning any major development projects in DC you can still use the map to view the data behind the model. These include an interesting layer which shows the distance to the nearest Metro for every location in the capital.

Lead Poisoning in New York


In 69 New York neighborhoods at least 10 percent of small children tested have elevated lead levels. The Reuters news agency has been examining childhood blood testing data in New York, at the census tract level, to determine where children are being exposed to high levels of lead.

You can view the results from the Reuters investigation on their Lead Poisoning interactive map. This choropleth map provides an overviews of the number of children who tested with elevated levels of lead. You can hover over each census tract on the map to view the exact percentage of children with elevated levels and the number of children tested in that census tract.

The interactive map provides quick links to view other cities where children have tested with worryingly high levels of lead. However the map can also be used to view lead testing results in locations throughout the United States.

The Density of Housing in London


The UK government has set a target of building a million new homes by 2020. This raises the question of where do you put a million new homes. In the past the government has wanted to relax laws which restrict new buildings on green field sites. However building on green field sites is usually very unpopular with voters. An alternative approach would be to build more densely in already built-up areas.

EMU Analytics and London YIMBY has teamed up to show that there may be many opportunities to build new homes in London. The London Housing Density map shows the number of homes in each Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) in London. The map uses a 200x200m grid and clips around known non-residential areas (such as large parks) to give a reasonably accurate picture of the housing density in each LSOA.

The London Housing Density map also includes layers which show residential and non-residential building heights. These additional layers show where there might be more scope for increasing the number of homes by building taller apartment buildings.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mapping Hate Crimes


The FBI has released its Hate Crime Statistics for 2016. The data shows that the number of hate crimes has risen for the second year running. As in previous years the highest number of hate crimes are race based crimes, with more than half of those crimes aimed at African-Americans. Alarmingly the number of religious based crimes against Muslims increased by 19 percent in just one year.

The Anti-Defamation League has updated its Hate Crime Map with the FBI's 2016 data. If you select the 'Hate Crime Data' tab on the map you can view which cities (with a population over 100,000) have reported hate crimes for any year since 2004. The blue dots indicate those cities which have reported hate crimes for the selected year.


Earlier this year the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) also reported a huge increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States. They reported that the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in America grew from 34 to 101.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the overall rise of hate groups is a direct result of the 'incendiary rhetoric' used by Donald Trump. In its annual census of extremist groups the SPLC claims that "Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country".

The SPLC's interactive Hate Map tracks the growing number of hate groups operating in the United States. The map uses colored markers to indicate the category of each hate group shown on the map. If you select a marker on the map you can click-through to learn more about what this type of hate group believes and how they operate.

Estimating Crowd Sizes with Maps


Estimating crowd sizes can be a very controversial subject. For example Donald Trump claimed there were a "million-and-a-half people" at his inauguration and said that the press were "going to pay a big price" for reporting figures way below his expert opinion.

One way to estimate the size of a crowd is to use maps to calculate the surface area of a crowd and then to multiply that surface area by the estimated density of the crowd. MapChecking is a very simple interactive map tool that can do this for you. It allows you to draw the surface area of your crowd, demonstration, march or gathering on a Google Map. It then allows you to enter an estimate for the number of people per square meter in your crowd. Once you have entered those two variables MapChecking automatically works out the crowd size.

Using a Reuters photo of Trump's inauguration with Map Checking gave me a figure of 357,143 people in the National Mall on January 20, 2017. If anything this might be being a bit generous as I haven't allowed for what look to be sizable gaps in the crowd in the Reuters photograph.