Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snowmeggedon Maps


While the UK gets the impressive #uksnow Map I'm afraid the US has to put up with the unfortunate #Snowmeggedon2015 map. As with most of these animated Twitter maps this one doesn't reveal anything much, apart from the fact that a lot of people talk about stuff on Twitter.

The map animates through the locations of Tweets mentioning #Juno, #Snowmageddon2015, #Juno2015, #BlizzardOf2015 and #blizzard over the last few days. The only mildly interesting thing about the map is the number of people in the rest of the world apparently concerned about the weather in the USA.


This Esri Snowfall Forecast Map is more useful. This map visualizes the projected accumulation of snowfall across the US for the next couple of days. If you click on the play button you can watch as the projected accumulation of snow builds up over the next 36 hours.

The data for the map comes from the National Weather Service National Digital Forecast Database.


If you are affected by the blizzards in the US then the best thing to do is to snuggle up on the couch and browse through these pictures of the snow posted to the Boston Globe's Snapshots of the Blizzard map.

The Boston Globe's map is plotting photos and updates from its readers posted to Twitter and Facebook using #BOSnow or #blizzardof2015.

The Boston Globe has also mapped Snowfall Totals in Massachusetts and Power Outages in Massachusetts. The power outages map shows statewide outages caused by the blizzards. Boston.com also has a map showing the latest power outages in the state, Power Outages in Massachusetts.

Mapping Auschwitz


The Auschwitz concentration camp was a network of German Nazi extermination and concentration camps built in annexed Poland during World War II. The camp consisted of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II – Birkenau and Auschwitz III. This Auschwitz-Birkenau - German Death Camp map overlays 1944 & 1945 aerial photographs of the three camps on a Google Map.

The three historical aerial photos are each labelled with details about the camps showing the locations of gas chambers, crematoriums, bomb craters, execution walls etc. The map includes a transparency control which allows you to compare the historic photos of the camps with the present day Google Maps satellite imagery.

Also see: Mapping the Holocaust - a round-up of maps documenting the Holocaust and commemorating the millions who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis.

1950's Birds Eye View


I've always really liked the oblique Bird's Eye view available on Bing Maps. I really love these 1950's bird's eye view photos of Glasgow, Scotland.

Glasgow Aerial Photos is a Leaflet map showing the location and the direction of the view of 159 historical aerial photographs of Glasgow. The photos were taken sometime in the 1950's or 1960's by the Glasgow Corporation Planning Department.

If you click on the link on any of the historical photographs another Leaflet map will open showing just the selected photo. You can then zoom in and pan around the photo to inspect it in greater detail.


Luckily Bing Maps has great Bird's Eye view imagery for Glasgow. So, with a bit of detective work, it is possible to discover the same views depicted in the Glasgow Planning Department photos as shown on Bing Maps and compare the two. The Bing Maps oblique view above shows almost the exact same view of Glasgow city center as the photo at the top of this post (click on the screenshot to visit the view in Bing Maps).

If you want to create your own Leaflet map using images or photos then you should have a look at Bjørn Sandvik's tutorial Showing Zoomify images with Leaflet. In the tutorial Bjørn explains how Zoomify can easily be used to create map tiles from any image. Using Zoomify and Leaflet it is therefore possible to turn any photo into a fully interactive digital map.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Landsat Download Map


Libra is a new map tool from Development Seed and Dauria Geo which allows you to browse, find and download satellite imagery. Using Libra you can search and sort open Landsat data by date, location and cloud cover. Find some satellite imagery that you like and you can download it and use it in your own maps.

Libra provides a really neat and easy to use interface for sorting and downloading from more than 275 Terabytes of open Landsat imagery. There are no restrictions on the use of Landsat open data and it can be used or redistributed as you require. Each circle on the Libra map represents the number of available images at that location. You can filter the available images by date, cloud cover percentage and by sun azimuth angle.

The World Flag Map


World Flags is a CartoDB map in which the shape of every country had been overlaid with the country's flag. This patchwork effect appears to have been made by creating a polygon for each country and then filling the polygon with the correct flag image.

The flag polygons are themselves overlaid on top of Stamen's Watercolor map tiles.


Last year the Van Gogh Map also used images for land areas on a world map. This map was created with Mapbox GL (it therefore needs a WebGL enabled browser to view) and uses a different technique to fill in the land areas on the map.

Feature types on this map, such as water and different types of land cover, are made up of map tiles created with textures taken from Van Gogh paintings. The result is a map style which you probably wouldn't want to use very often but is a neat demo of how easy it is to create interesting map styles with Mapbox GL.

Mapping Traffic Density


Mapbox has created a map visualizing the latest Highway Performance Monitoring System national highway dataset. The Open US Highway Dataset Map shows all the HPMS traffic density measurements for US roads.


Roads on the map with traffic density data are colored yellow. The thickness of the yellow linea on the map relate to the amount of traffic. Thick lines indicate more traffic and thinner lines less traffic. Zoom in on the map and you can view the average number of vehicles per day for different sections of roads.

2004 Tsunami - Then & Now


Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami: Then and Now is an Esri map which allows you to compare satellite imagery taken immediately after the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean with satellite imagery taken ten years later.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused the deaths of over 230,000 people. This Esri map highlights the redevelopment of five of the worst affected areas using the Esri Story Map Swipe and Spyglass library. The swipe function allows you to directly compare two maps of the same area by dragging either map over the top of the other.

This tsunami map allows you to directly compare 2004 satellite imagery of Indonesia, Sumatra, Sri Lanka and Thailand with imagery captured in 2014.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Maps of the Week


This month Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson became the first climbers to free-climb the 3,000-foot Dawn Wall of El Capitan. The New York Time's The Dawn Wall interactive is an impressive 3d model of their route up the mountain, created by Battista Matasci of the University of Lausanne..

Open The Dawn Wall in a WebGL enabled browser and you can follow Caldwell and Jorgeson's climb on an interactive 3d model of the Dawn Wall. As you scroll down the interactive the model rotates and zooms with impressive speed. Photos and information about the climb can be viewed as you progress along the climbers' route.


Mapbox has released a gorgeous map of all the roads in Japan. OpenStreetMap in Japan only shows Japan's roads and streets and omits all over map features.

The roads on the map are colored by the last date that they were edited on OpenStreetMap. Roads colored blue haven't been edited since 2007. The yellow roads have been edited in the past year. The Mapbox post on the map includes a link to a full-screen map. The map embedded in the post however includes a button to quickly toggle to view close-ups of major cities on the map.


Sailing Seas of Plastic is an interactive mapped visualization of the concentration of plastic in the world's oceans. According to the map there are 5,250 billion pieces of plastic, with a combined weight of 268,940 tonnes, adrift on the seas of the world.

This dot density map shows the estimated concentration of floating plastic in the oceans. Each dot on the map represents 20 kg of floating plastic. The estimations are based on the results of 24 survey expeditions (2007-2013) and on wind and ocean drift models.

You can also overlay the sailing tracks of the 24 survey expeditions on top of the dot map.

The European River Map


Earlier this month Andrew Hill created a beautiful looking map of U.S. Rivers Colored by the Direction they Flow. Europeans now have their own river flow map.

Rivers of Europe is a CartoDB map showing only European rivers. The map uses the same color scheme as Andrews' US rivers map so I assume that the European map also colors each river by its direction of flow. If you click on the 'Datasets used in this map' you see the data used in the map. The data includes a column for 'bearing' so it is likely that that the rivers are colored by their direction of flow.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

How to Create Interactive Vintage Maps


Today I was going to sit down and write a tutorial on how I created the New York Vintage Map using Leaflet.js and old historical map tiles from the New York Public Library. However I saved myself a couple of hours of work when I came across this excellent tutorial From Paper Maps to the Web on the library's own NYPL Labs site.

The tutorial is a step-by-step guide explaining how to create an interactive map from one of the New York Public Library's vintage maps using Leaflet.js. Before looking at the tutorial have a look at the finished map, Mapa. The map is a 1891 map of Bogotá, Colombia overlaid with pop-ups containing information about some of the city's prominent politicians at the time (mapped to their home addresses).


The NYPL tutorial was written by Mauricio Giraldo Arteaga. By some strange coincidence Mauricio has also been playing around with some of the same vintage maps of Lower Manhattan which I used in my New York Vintages Maps collection.

His ScrollNYC is a visualization of vintage New York city maps from 1660 through to 1921. Each of the historical maps has been overlaid on top of a static Mapbox modern map of New York. As you scroll down the page each static map is replaced by an older map in reverse chronological order.