Monday, July 06, 2015

Live Tracking Thousands of Satellites

There are over a thousand operational satellites currently orbiting the Earth. There are over twice as many non-operational satellites. Stuff in Space has mapped them all.

You can search Stuff in Space by the name of a satellite. Select an individual satellite and you can view its orbital path and details about its altitude, velocity and its type. Zoom in on the map and it gets a little hypnotic watching all the satellites orbiting this virtual globe.

Orbital Objects is another WebGL Globe showing the position of active and inactive satellites and space debris orbiting the Earth. Active satellites are displayed in green, inactive satellites in grey and the red points show space debris.

The data for this map comes from November 29th, 2013. You can zoom in & out on the globe using your keyboard's up & down arrows.

Visualizing Meteorites across Spatial & Temporal Attributes is another neat example of a WebGL Globe. This globe shows meteorite collisions with the Earth by decade. You can select to view a decade using the timeline at the top of the page.

The mass of each meteorite is represented by the size of the cylindrical projection and the color of the projection indicates the meteorite type.

Mapping Patterns in Portland Parking Tickets

Oregon Live has conducted a data driven investigation into parking tickets issued in Portland. Parking in Portland examines the time of issue and the location of 250,000 parking tickets issued over a full week in October 2014.

The investigation includes a CartoDB Torque powered map which shows where and when parking tickets were issued in the city over the course of one day. If you skip down to the bottom of the page you can view a video (with the animated map used in the background) examining some of the geographical and chronological patterns that Oregon Live has managed to pick-out from the data.

For example, on the day examined, parking enforcement officers seemed to stop issuing tickets in the south Waterside area after 10 am. In the Lloyd District they seemed to stop at about 5 pm. This seems to be because the Portland Timbers had a game at Providence Park. After 5 pm a lot of tickets started being issued around Providence Park, presumably as all the parking enforcement officers zoned in on this area.

Isochrones + X = Fun

GoPhillyGo is a new routing service for Philadelphia designed to help you more easily navigate the city without a car.  You can use GoPhillyGo to get walking, biking or public transit directions. You can also use it to find fun things to do in the city.

The routing service of GoPhillyGo allows you to get handy step-by-step directions between any two locations in the Greater Philadelphia area. However you can also use GoPhillyGo to find things to do around your current location.

Share your location with the map and enter how long you are prepared to travel for and GoPhillyGo will display an isochrone map, showing where you can travel to in that time with your chosen mode of transportation. Not only can you view an isochrone map showing where you can travel in your selected time it also shows you interesting places you can visit in the city within that time.

For example, if you select 'cycling' and 'ten minutes' you can view a map of where you can cycle in that time and also view points of interest within a ten minute cycle ride.

Mapping London's 18th Century Prostitutes

Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies was an annual 18th century directory of London prostitutes. The directory not only provided the addresses and rates of London's prostitutes it also included descriptions of their physical appearance and sexual specialities.

Romantic London has mapped the 93 entries in the 1788 edition of the directory. Mapping Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies (1788) plots the addresses of the 93 entries on top of the vintage Horwood's Plan of London (1792-9). Select a marker on the map and you can read the 'lewd and frequently misogynistic' account given in the directory.

As Romantic London points out the directory romanticizes prostitution 'while largely silencing the women involved ... (and) ... fails to account for the suffering and exploitation of those whose histories it affects to encompass'.

Romantic London has also used the vintage map of Horwood's Plan of London as the backdrop for mapping a number of other 18th century London texts. This includes Fore's Guide to London, a guide to some of 18th century London's most important buildings, and Modern London, an 1804 guide to the city.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Greek Referendum Maps

Today Greece voted overwhelmingly to reject the bailout conditions put to the country by the European Central Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The Guardian and the Greek Ministry of Interior both have interactive maps of the results showing the percentage of 'yes' and 'no' votes in each region. The maps show that in every single region in Greece more people voted 'no' than 'yes'.

One of the closest results seems to have been in central Athens, where only 53% voted 'no'. However the lack of a zoom button on both maps means its a little tricky to actually pick out central Athens.

The little grey area on both maps is the self-governed region of Mount Athos. Presumably Athos didn't participate in the referendum. The region doesn't allow women to enter the peninsula, so presumably democracy is out of the question as well.

The Maps of the Week

There is a more than a bit of a German flavor to this week's maps of the week. By far my favorite map of the last seven days was the Berliner Morgenpost's interactive version of the BBSR Map of European Population Change.

The German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs, and Spatial Development released a static map of population change in Europe between 2001 and 2011. The Berliner Morgenpost used the data to create a beautiful interactive map showing Where the Population of Europe is Growing – and Where it’s Declining.

The map shows population growth in 119,406 municipalities from 43 European countries (including Turkey). It includes a number of snapshot analyses of interesting trends in the data. You can access these snapshots using the links beneath the map. You can also zoom in on the map and click on any of the 119,406 municipalities to view the percentage population change between 2001 and 2011 at the selected location.

I was also really impressed this week with a wonderful data driven investigation into the popularity of Airbnb in Berlin and the possible effect it is having on affordable housing in the city.

Among the interactive maps used to illustrate the investigation is Airbnb Streets. The map highlights the streets in Berlin with more than 20 Airbnb offers and reveals that many of the properties listed on Airbnb are in popular tourist areas. In particular there is a high concentration of properties in areas that are popular with young travelers.

Another interactive map in the article visualizes the number of Airbnb listings by neighborhood. This choropleth map shows in which areas of the city more flats and rooms are offered on Airbnb. The Reuterkiez area in Neuk├Âlln is the most active neighborhood on Airbnb with 476 rooms and flats listed within only a few blocks.

My least favorite map of the week was the GeoHipster Map. However the readers of Maps Mania apparently disagreed with me and visited this map in droves. Making it the most read post of the week.

Let me tell you why I hate that map. It took me five months to grow that bloody beard and the bastards still left me off the map. In protest I've now shaved off all my hair and given up mapping for good.

For those of you still interested in maps - the GeoHipster Map shows the locations of the followers of the GeoHipster Twitter account. GeoHipster is a geo-blog with a special focus on open source and open data. The blog features regular interviews with leading participants in the field of  interactive mapping.

To be honest you really should add it to your browser's 'bookmarks' folder.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Do Laptops Dream of Slippy Maps?

You're probably getting bored of Deep Dream images by now. So let me introduce you to Deep Dream Mapping.

My first thought on reading about Google's Deep Dream image neural processing was to wonder how the software would interpret an image of a map. So I fed Deep Dream a map of Washington DC and this is what it saw - Deep Dream Washington DC (the map was created by using the Google Maps API's groundoverlay).

It turns out that I wasn't the only one who wondered 'Do laptops dream of slippy maps?'  OpenStreetMap user 'chippy' has also fed some map images into Seep Dream. His Deep Dream Maps in OSM entry on the OSM blog includes Deep Dream maps of Liverpool and Leeds in the UK.

To be honest the results of my own Deep Dream map was a little disappointing. My map image didn't seem to produce great dreams. I therefore thought it would be interesting to use Leaflet.js as a way to view a more freaky Deep Dream image. Here's my Leaflet Deep Dream self-portrait. I didn't bother creating map tiles for the image.

If you do create map tiles for a Deep Dream image then Leaflet.js would be a nice way to provide a zoomable and pannable interface for your own disturbing Deep Dreams.

Mapping US Citizen Overseas Deaths

814 U.S. citizens died abroad in 2014. Vehicle accidents was the number one cause of deaths. Murder was the second highest cause, closely followed by suicide. has created a map of where U.S. citizens died abroad in 2014, using data from While browsing the US Deaths Abroad map I was surprised by what seemed a very high percentage of suicides.

Unfortunately the JSON-CSV map doesn't have any filtering options to view the data on the map by cause of death. I therefore decided to quickly make my own map using Fusion Tables - with the option to filter the map by cause of death. US Citizen Death Overseas 2014 uses exactly the same data but you can select to filter the map using the drop-down menu and view the data by cause of death.

The data only includes non-natural deaths reported to the Department of State. The data also may not include some deaths of U.S. military or U.S. government officials.

The Tour de France Street View Tour

Experience the thrill of the chase and the beauty of the French countryside in this animated Street View tour of the Tour de France route.

Stage One of the Tour de France starts today in Utrecht. Map Channels has created a Tour de France Map which allows you to view the route of each stage. The map includes three views, a road map, a satellite map and Street View.

The best part of the map however is that you can experience each stage of the Tour de France as an animated Street View movie. This means you get all the fun of the tour without actually having to pedal.

The animated Street View tour of the Tour de France was created with Tour Maps.  To create your own animated Street View tour using Tour Map all you need is a KML file of a route. It is that easy.

Friday, July 03, 2015


Combine crowd-sourcing with cosmic rays & solar wind and you end up with Aurorasaurus, a new citizen science map gathering real-time data about aurora sightings around the world.

The map shows the location of Twitter posts mentioning aurora sightings. As well as showing recent reported sighting from Twitter Auroasaurus displays a pink band where auroral activity is likely to be strongest. It also includes a timeline feature, which allows you to view what the map looked like on different dates.

Registered users of Auroasaurus can get notifications when an aurora is visible in their area.