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.