Friday, September 04, 2015

Mapping the World's Wifi


Mapbox and Skyhook have teamed up to map the incredible number of wifi connections made by smart phones around the world. The World's Wifi map allows you to explore millions of wifi connections made in cities around the world.

The yellow dots on the World Wifi Map show wifi connections made in the last six months. The blue dots date back to 2013. The map includes quick links to zoom in on a number of different cities. If you zoom out on the map you can see that each city map also allows you to explore quite a large area around the selected city.

Plotting so much data on one map is made possible by Tippecanoe, which can make vector tilesets from large amounts of data. You can read more about the Skyhook data plotted on the map and how the map was made on the Mapbox Blog.

86 Acres of Prime New York Park Space


The Upper East Side in New York, in the middle of one of the most populated cities in the world, has over 86 acres of park per 1,000 residents. That's quite a lot of green space per resident. Although, to be fair, you will have to share that park space with a lot of tourists and office workers as well.

WNYC has created a choropleth map which shows how much park space 1,000 residents get in each of New York's census tracts. The How Big is Your Piece of the Park map colors each census tract based on the number of acres of green space available per 1,000 residents within a half a mile.

The map uses data from New York City open spaces and OpenStreetMap for the amount of park space available and the 2010 census for the population of each census. Mouse-over a census tract on the map and you can view the population of the census tract, the number of acres of park space within half a mile of the tract and the number of acres per 1,000 residents.

Where You Can't Afford to Live


The Guardian newspaper has created an interactive map which allows you to see where you can afford to buy a property in England and Wales based on your annual income. Unfortunately you probably can't afford to buy a house in most of the country.

If you earn the national average wage in England or Wales then you can not afford to buy a house in 93% of the country. That's right you can't afford to a buy even the smallest, worst kept properties, almost anywhere in the entire country. Don't worry though, if you do well and manage to raise you income to twice the national average salary then you just might be able to afford a house in one of the country's poorest neighborhoods

Unaffordable Country is a choropleth map which colours postcode areas based on the affordability of properties in the area. Type in your average salary and the map will show you all the areas where you can afford to live - or, as is more likely, all the places in the country where you can't afford to live.

For example, where I live, in one of the poorest boroughs in the whole country, you would need to earn around three times the average salary to be able to afford a house. In other words you would need to be in the top 5% to be able to afford to live in one of the country's poorest boroughs.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Immigrant Dot Map of America


Mapping Immigrant America is a dot map showing the number and origin of immigrants throughout the United States. Each dot on the map represents 20 immigrants and the dots are colored by the general region of origin. The data for the map comes from the 2009-2013 American Community Survey carried out at the census tract level.

If you zoom in on most cities on the map you can see how immigrants from the same general region of origin often seem to cluster in the same neighborhoods. The 'about' page contains more information about the data used and how the map was created. It also reveals that some navigational tools, such as a search option, are in the pipeline.


The Cooper Center's Racial Dot Map uses a similar methodology to map every person in the United States.

This map uses data from the 2010 US census, with each of the 308,745,538 dots on the map representing the location of one American. The Cooper Center's dot map however goes beyond being just a visualization of geographic distribution as it also visualizes the distribution of race and ethnicity in the United States.

Toronto's Green Directions


Toronto has a new directions service which can find you the prettiest route from A to B. Greenlane is an interactive routing map which provides cycling and walking directions in Toronto. More importantly it uses park, tree and trail data to find you the greenest route for your walk or bike ride.

Greenlane is very simple to use. Just enter your starting point and your destination. Then choose whether you want cycling or walking directions. You then have the choice to decide on a faster or greener route. Choose the greener option and the resulting directions will try to take you on the greenest route.

Each time you ask Greenlane for directions it will give you the choice of three different routes. Each route in clearly marked with the estimated time it will take you to complete your journey.

Cats Can Haz Maps - Street View for Cats


CATS LUV MAPS. CATS ARENT GUD AT MAPS. CATS NED STREET VIEW. CATS CAN HAZ STREET VIEW.

Thanks to the Hiroshima Tourism Agency cats now have their very own version of Street View. Cat Street View is an impressive virtual tour of Onomichi, providing an unrivaled cat's eye view of the city. The tour takes in many of the cat-about-town's favorite shops and restaurants in the city. It also shows the locations of some of Onomichi's most loved cats.

The format of the tour will be familiar to any non-cat type entity who has ever used Google's Street View. It consists of a series of connected panoramic photos of the city. The big difference however is that the panoramic photos in Cat Street View are all taken from a cat's perspective. And it's all the better for it.


If you like Cat Street View then you might also like Catography - The Lost Art of Mapping Cats.

Mapping Europe's Refugee Crisis


Europe faces a growing humanitarian crisis as increasing numbers of refugees enter the continent after fleeing the troubles in Syria. In Hungary an estimated 3,000 people are camping outside Budapest's main station desperate to travel on to Germany and Austria.

El Diario has mapped the number of asylum applications received by each European country in 2015 and the percentage of applications accepted by each country. The size of the red dots on the Refugee Distribution map represents the number of asylum applications received by each country and a choropleth layer shows the percentage of asylum applications accepted.

One of the arguments being used by some of Europe's political leaders for not accepting more asylum applications is that this will only encourage more refugees to head to their countries. This map seems to suggest that there is no strong correlation between a high acceptance rate of refugees by a country and the number of refugees seeking asylum in that country.

If the willingness to accept asylum seekers affected the number of refugees to then apply for asylum then the dark green colored countries on the map should have the largest red dots. This clearly isn't the case. For example, Germany only agreed 42% of asylum applications in 2014 and yet it is by far the most popular destination for asylum seekers.


In fact the current crisis in Hungary is because the country is right in the middle of one of the most popular migration routes to Germany. The BBC has published a static map showing the migrant route from Greece and Turkey to Germany. With Hungary being a popular gateway to the passport-free Schengen zone in the European Union.

The BBC says that Germany is expecting 800,000 asylum applications this year. Many of those refugees will have successfully followed this migrant route through Hungary. Hungary's response to this growing refugee crisis has been to build a 110 mile razor wire fence.


This fence is just one of many fences now being built or planned in Europe. The Washington Post, in an article entitled Fortressing Europe, has mapped some of these construction projects designed to block some of the most popular migrant routes into Europe.

These fences include the fence being built by Hungary along its border with Serbia, a 100 mile fence being constructed by Bulgaria along its border with Turkey and Greece's own fence along its Turkish border.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Mapping the Arctic Ice Cap


MasterMaps has created a really impressive mapped visualization of the Arctic ice cap. The Arctic Sea Ice map allows you to compare the monthly sea ice cover in the Arctic for any month since 2006.

If you select a month from the bottom timeline you can then adjust the year on the top timeline to make a direct comparison of any month for each year from 2006 to 2015. Every time you adjust the timeline the Arctic see ice coverage is automatically updated on the map.

The map was created with D3.js. Creating a map of the Arctic with most mapping libraries is very difficult so this custom mapping solution from MasterMaps is even more impressive. If you don't have the D3.js chops yourself then you can use the Arctic Web Map, an Arctic specific web mapping tool, consisting of an Arctic-focused tile server, and a Leaflet-based client library.

Mapping the Great Plague of London


It is estimated that in the Seventeenth Century the Great Plague of London killed off nearly a quarter of the city's population.

One of the best accounts of the plague is Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year. There is some debate as to whether Defoe's Journal should be read as a work of fiction or non-fiction. The book was originally published under the initials H.F. and many critics believe it was based on the journals of Defoe's uncle, Henry Defoe, with sparing invented detail from Daniel Defoe himself.

A “Frightful Number!” – Mapping Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year is an interactive map and timeline of events depicted in Defoe's novel. The events in the novel are plotted on top of a vintage 1720 map of London.

You can use the forward and back arrows beneath the map to navigate chronologically through the plotted events from Defoe's Journal. The events are also listed chronologically beneath the map in table format. The location links in the table can be clicked on to view them plotted on the map.

The project includes an extensive 'About' page which details how the project was created, including an explanation as to how to geo-rectify vintage maps and overlay them on a Leaflet map.


In the summer of 1665 London experienced a huge rise in the numbers of people dying from the Bubonic Plague. The Guardian has used historical data from the Bills of Mortality to chart the progression of the plague parish by parish over the course of the summer.

In Mapping London's Great Plague of 1665 the newspaper has created a dot density map showing the number of plague burials by parish per week. Underneath the dot map an interactive graph allows you to view the number of burials in total per week. You can use the graph to select a week to view on the map.

When you select a week on the graph the map updates to show the number of burials in each parish for that week. You can mouse-over the individual parishes on the map to view the number of burials in the parish for the week. Above the month you can also see the total number of plague burials in London for the selected week.


If you want to read more first hand accounts of London's Great Plague then you can also consult the Diaries of Samuel Pepys. Phil Gyford's Pepys Diary is probably one of the longest running interactive mapping projects on the web. It is also one of the best 'book maps', where locations in a text have been plotted on an interactive map.

Every day Pepys Diary publishes an excerpt from the diaries (one taken from the same calendar date). All the locations in the diary entry are links, which when clicked on show you the location on an interactive map of London. The site also includes a search facility which allows you to search for Pepys' diary entries which mention the 'plague' or the 'Bills of Mortality'.

England for Sale


British satirical magazine Private Eye has created an interactive map which shows the amount of English & Welsh land that has been bought up by offshore companies. Selling England by the Offshore Pound uses Land Registry data to plot all land parcels registered in the name of an offshore company between 2005 and July 2014.

The situation in London in particular is extremely depressing. As Private Eye reports land is often being bought by offshore companies for 'tax avoidance and ... to conceal dubious wealth'. The result of all this offshore investment is to stoke up the cost of property in London. Buying a house in London has therefore become unaffordable for almost everyone except the very rich.

Many of these offshore owned properties are also left empty for long periods of the year. This removes the property from the rental market, effectively pushing up the cost of renting a property in London. The other effect of all these empty properties is to destroy local businesses many of whom operate in once active residential areas which are now deserted for much of the year.