Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mapping the Ocean Floor


NOAA has created an Esri map of Gloucester Harbor which allows you to explore the ocean floor. Peer Beneath the Waves uses the Esri Story Map Spyglass feature to allow you to peak beneath NOAA's nautical chart of the harbor and view the seabed beneath the waves.

You can drag the Spyglass around on the map to explore NOAA's hydrographic survey data from Gloucester Harbor. The map also includes a number of markers to help you learn more about the seabed in the harbor.

Canvas Masking in Leaflet


Democracy Street is a really interesting map which reveals the etymology of UK streets that have been named after UK politicians. One clever design feature of the map is the use of a masking effect to highlight interactive areas on the map.

All of the featured roads & streets on the map are colored yellow. However the yellow roads on the map don't show up so well when the map is zoomed out. To overcome this Democracy Street has used the leaflet.maskcanvas plug-in to highlight the areas around each featured road, ensuring that the interactive roads & streets can be easily spotted, even when zoomed out on the map.

The leaflet.maskcanvas plug-in is designed to show large data-sets on a Leaflet map. The plug-in effectively masks areas on the map except for the data points which you have added to the map. The leaflet.maskcanvas plug-in on Github includes an example map which uses the masking effect to show the radius around Berlin stations. The demo allows you to adjust the radius of the mask by any number of meters.


You can create a similar effect on Google Maps by using Vasile Cotovanu's polygon masking library. Geomask allows you to simply draw around an area on Google Maps and generate any shaped polygon to create a neat masking effect. You aren't restricted to one area and you can highlight as many areas as you want on the map.

The Democratic Road Map


Democracy Street is a new UK map, partly sponsored by the UK parliament, which is attempting to map the influence of democratic history on the country's place-names. Using the map you can discover which streets in your neighbourhood have been named after a politician or someone else who has been important in some way to the country's democratic history.

Streets and roads named after an individual important to UK democracy are shown on the map in yellow. These streets are further highlighted on the map by a larger white circle lighting up the underlying Stamen toner map tiles. If you select a yellow marked road on the map you can learn a little more about the person whom the road was named after.


Democracy Street owes more than a passing debt to the German map, Stra├čenkrieg. Stra├čenkrieg is a fascinating map revealing the history behind the many Berlin street names which have a military connection. The map highlights Berlin streets which have been named after battles, important military leaders or German army regiments.

All the military connected roads are highlighted on the map with colored lines. The colors indicate the historical period associated with the road's name, e.g. Prussian, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism or post-WWII. If you select a road on the map you can read a brief explanation of the military relevance of the road's name and click-through to read a more detailed account of the person or battle memorialized.


In turn Stra├čenkrieg was more than likely inspired by the awesome History of San Francisco Place Names. The History of San Francisco Place Names is a fascinating insight into the history of the names behind the city's landmarks and streets.

Click on any of the streets or landmarks, marked in blue on the map, and you can find out who it was named after or where its name originally came from.

Friday, March 27, 2015

There Are 3D Maps - Then There's Our Tam


Our Tam is an amazing WebGL powered 3d map of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. Using the map you can rotate around the mountain and zoom in and out on features with incredible speed. If you view the site in a non-WebGL browser the map degrades gracefully to a 2d Google Map.

The map features a number of markers which allow you to explore stories, photos and videos of the mountain left by other users. You can add your own stories, photos or videos about Mount Tamalpais by clicking on the map and selecting the 'Leave s Story' button.

Visit the New York of 1609


It's been a while since I last traveled back to the New York City of 1609. In the past I've always enjoyed my little trips to the forests and creeks of Mannahatta.

The last time I visited the Mannahatta Project you could view a map providing an imagined satellite view of how Manhattan Island might have looked back in 1609. Since that last trip to 1609 New York the project has been renamed the Welikia Project. The project also now lets you explore the natural landscape of New York's valleys, forests, fields, freshwater wetlands and salt marshes in more detail.

You can now click on any New York neighborhood on the Welikia Google Map to find out a little more about the area's ecology back in 1609. When you select a neighborhood on the map an information window opens providing information of the area's 1609 landscape, wildlife and indigenous population.

Berlin Development Plans in 3D


Last year Berliners had the chance to vote on plans to develop Tempelhofer Feld, the site of the old Templehof Airport. Before the vote the Berliner Morgenpost created a very nice 3d map of the development plans (the development plans were defeated so this visualization is a little out of date now but it still well worth a look).

The Berliner Morgenpost used ViziCities to create 3d map of Tempelhofer Feld and how the site might be developed. Was Wo Gebaut Werden Sol mapped the planned areas of development within Templehofer Feld. The map menu allows you to view the various sites with the park. When you select a site from the menu the map provides a really neat 3d pan from your current viewpoint to the selected location.

The map uses WebGL for the 3d fly overs of the park. However the map also degrades well on non-WebGL enabled browsers. If you view the map on a non-WebGL enabled browser you miss out on the 3d flyovers of the park but you still get to see each location on the map.

Mapping Independent Film Events


Screening Film is a Google Map of independent film events in the UK. The map can be used by organizers to list independent film screenings & events and by film fans to find independent films showing at venues nearby.

Users can filter the events on the map by date (this week, next week, this month & next month) and by genre of film. If you select a venue on the map the details of the upcoming independent film event are listed in the map side-panel. These include a short description of the film or event, the address of the venue and the screening times.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Your Invite to the Turf Party


If you haven't started playing with Turf.js yet I can only assume that it's because your invitation somehow got lost in the post. Let's remedy that now:

This is your formal invitation to the Turf Party. No RSVP necessary.

Turf is an incredibly powerful JavaScript library for performing many common GIS operations in the browser. Turf.jsParty is a great online editor which allows you to play around and learn turf in your browser without having to set up the boilerplate code.

Turf,jsParty consists of two main sections, an editor and a Leaflet map. The editor allows you to choose from a number of common turf operations. You can edit and play around with the examples in the editor and view your edits directly on the Leaflet map. Of course you don't have to use the provided examples and can test your own turf operations by entering them directly into the editor.

While attending the Turf Party you might find it handy to also have a look at the Turf API Documentation.

Update: turf,jsparty now includes the option to view the Turf API Documentation directly from the editor. While exploring the many examples in the editor you can now highlight a line containing a Turf function and press the 'Quick Docs' button. This will open the relevant API documentation for the selected function right next to the editor.

Rising Rents in Boston Mapped.


Ungentry has released a nice visualization of rising rents in Boston. Ungentry are a volunteer group using creative technology to solve civic and social problems. One of their main concerns is examining the negative effects of gentrification.

By using three synchronized Leaflet maps side-by-side Ungentry has created an effective tool for comparing Boston housing, income and demographic data from the last three US censuses. The initial map view shows the average cost of renting in Boston neighborhoods. You can explore visualizations of other census data-sets on the maps by selecting an option from the three categorized drop-down menus.

Tracking Shell in the Arctic


The oil company Shell have neither drilling permits nor any other regulatory approvals to drill in the Chukchi Sea, north of Alaska. Despite this Shell is sailing the drillship Noble Discoverer and the Polar Pioneer, a Transocean semi-submersible drilling rig, towards the Alaskan Arctic.

Greenpeace are doing everything they can to highlight the actions of Shell. This includes tailing Shell's drilling fleet on its journey to the Arctic. You can follow the Greenpeace ship Esperanza in near real-time as it tails Shell's drilling ships on its website Save the Arctic - The Crossing.

The Save the Arctic's Google Map shows the live position of the Esperanza (currently in the Pacific Ocean). The map includes a live stream of Twitter updates from the Esperanza's crew of six. It also includes a track of the Greenpeace Ship's journey so far and photos and videos from its mission.