Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Melbourne's Future City Skyline


Last year Miami's Downtown Development Authority began using the Cesium mapping platform to visualize in 3D how Miami's skyline could look in the future. The map includes 3D models of building projects in the city which are either proposed, under construction or recently completed.

The Miami DDA 3D Map used the Cesium mapping platform to present a 3D map of downtown Miami which allows you to explore the effect of the new buildings on the skyline from any angle. You can even click on the individual buildings on the map to learn more about the developer, status and building type.


It is now also possible to use Mapbox GL's extrude property to show building planning proposals in 3D. The City of Melbourne has done just that in its new visualization of Melbourne's skyline. The city's Development Activity Model is a map which gives you a good idea of what Melbourne's skyline will look like once all the building's currently under construction have been completed.

The map shows buildings which are under construction, which have been approved by the city and buildings which have submitted planning applications and are awaiting approval. You can use the menu to turn on or off any of the 3D buildings under construction, approved or applied. You can also click on individual buildings on the map to discover its planning application number and information about the number of planned floors, dwellings and car parking spaces etc.

Mapbox Cartogram


Mapbox has a fun new tool which allows you to create your own map style instantly using the color scheme from any picture or photograph. This means that you can instantly create a map style inspired by your favorite painting, your favorite photograph or even your favorite cartoon.

Cartogram couldn't be easier to use. Just drag & drop your image into Cartogram and it instantly creates a map style using selected colors from your image. If you aren't entirely satisfied with the color scheme automatically selected for your map you can adjust the style by custom picking different colors from your image for different map features.

When finished you can of course save your map style and open it in Mapbox Studio, where you can develop the style even further (perhaps with custom fonts).

Cartogram is a lot of fun. You don't need to be a cartographer to enjoy Cartogram. Go and play with it - I promise you'll enjoy it.

Free Eclipse Glasses


The STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) has developed this map as an addition to its Eclipse Resource Center. Credit: NASA@ My Library initiative and the Moore Foundation.

It is now less than 8 weeks to the solar eclipse. You can experience the total eclipse anywhere along a narrow band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina.

If you are planning to view the eclipse then you will need a pair of eclipse glasses. Thanks to the Space Science Institute (SSI) and the generous sponsorship of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Research Corporation and Google, two million pairs of free eclipse glasses are being given away by participating libraries across the United States.

There are over 2,000 participating libraries. You can find your closest on the Participating Eclipse Libraries interactive map. The participating libraries will also have eclipse background information for anybody who wants to learn more about the astronomy of solar eclipses.


If you are still planning where to view the eclipse on August 21st then you might want to consult NOAA's Cloudiness Map of the Eclipse. The map not only shows you where you can see a total eclipse (the umbral path) but also tells you the chance of clouds along the eclipse's path, based on historical weather data.

The map includes a number of circles which are colored based on the chance of cloud cover. If you click on these circles you can view the percentage chance of having an unobstructed view of the eclipse (based on the amount of cloud cover at that location on August 21st in previous years).

Judging by the map Nebraska, Wyoming and Idaho are the states where you will have the best chance of an unobstructed view. However these states are not the best places to view the eclipse in terms of duration. If you want to experience the eclipse with the longest duration you need to be near Carbondale in Illinois, where the sun will be completely obscured for two minutes and 40 seconds.

NASA's Total Solar Eclipse Interactive Map also shows the path of the eclipse across the United States. NASA's map doesn't include information about the likelihood of cloud cover but it does allow you to find out the duration of totality (how long the sun will be obscured) anywhere along the eclipse's path. Just click anywhere on the map to discover the time of the eclipse at that location, how much of the sun will be obscured and how long the eclipse will last.

Mapping the Jewish Occupation of Hebron


Mapping the Apartheid argue that the Jewish settlements in the Palestinian city of Hebron and the creeping Jewish occupation of the Old City restrict "freedom of movement and suffocate the social and economic life for Palestinians".

To help illustrate this situation Mapping the Apartheid has created an interactive map showing the current situation in the historical center of Hebron. The interactive map shows the locations of the Jewish settlements in Hebron. It also shows the locations of checkpoints, watch points, cameras and barriers and the location of those roads which have been closed to Palestinians and Palestinian vehicles. Mapping the Apartheid argue that the map shows "how the Old City of Hebron is gradually being sterilized to facilitate colonization and Judaization of the Old City".

The map also includes links to the stories of Palestinians living in Hebron and affected by the occupation. If you click on these links you can read first-hand personal experiences of life in Hebron under occupation.

You can read more about Hebron and its importance to Jewish history and culture on the Jewish Virtual Library, Hebron: History & Overview.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Great Journeys in Time


In 1768 it took Captain Cook 1 year and 8 months to sail from Plymouth to Botany Bay, Australia. Today he could complete the journey by car and plane in 26 hours and 7 minutes.

Travelbag has created a series of interactive maps of some of the world's most famous explorations and journeys. The maps plot these historical journeys over time and then allow you to see how these same journeys could be completed today. Each map of the equivalent modern journey also shows you how much quicker the journey could be completed today.

A Race of Discovery features such famous journeys as Christopher Columbus' first voyage to the New World and Lewis & Clark's Corps of Discovery Expedition. There are 13 famous journeys to explore in all, each featuring both past and present interactive maps.

How to Make an RPG Game with Google Maps


Badass Quest is a new RPG game engine built on top of the Google Maps API. The engine makes it relatively easy to create your own map based game featuring real world places, Street View images, sound effects and music.

You can see the type of map based game you can create with Badass Quest by playing the demo game, Badass for President. In this game you play the part of a very dodgy businessman who has to take over control over the city by extorting businessmen and buying up local businesses (any similarity to Donald Trump is intentional).

At the beginning of the game you can choose where in the world you want play. The game then features real world locations which you can interact with and try to take over in the game. The map also features local restaurants, which you need to visit periodically in order to maintain your health.

Insects in the City


There are over 560 species of insect living in Melbourne. The most common species is the Minute Brown Scavenger Beetle Cortinicara. All these insects play a very important role in maintaining the bio-diversity of Melbourne. They pollinate flowers, transform biomass, regulate pest populations, recycle nutrients, disperse seeds and provide food for other animals and birds.

Between January 6th and March 10th 2015 insect surveys were undertaken in parks and gardens throughout the City of Melbourne. Each insect survey recorded the number and types of insects that live in each habitat. You can explore the results of Melbourne's insect survey on Insects - The Little Things that Run Our City.

You can view which areas of the city were studied using the Insect Biodiversity in the City of Melbourne interactive map. If you select the individual survey sites displayed on the map you can view a scatter-plot, beneath the map, showing the number of insects and the number of different insect species found in the site's insect survey.

If you scroll down to the 'Interaction' section you can view more details of the individual surveys carried out at each park and garden. An interactive graph breaks down the survey results for each site to show the number of different insects of each species, the number found in each type of habitat and the number of insects in each function group.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

City Cycling Stress Scores


Moovel Lab's What the Street? provides an interesting analysis of how much space is dedicated to cars, to cycling and to trains in cities around the world. According to What the Street cyclists in most cities around the world can typically expect much less than ten percent of the physical space that is dedicated to cars.

The quality of a city's cycling network however is far more than just a reflection of the amount of physical space dedicated to bikes. It also relies on how well a cycling network connects people to the places that they want to go and to the levels of stress that they experience while on their bikes. PlacesForBikes has therefore carried out a detailed analysis of local bike networks across the United States and ranked its towns and cities on how good they are for cycling.

The PlacesForBikes Bicycle Network Analysis allows you to view the results of this cycling network census in 299 towns and cities. You can view an interactive map for each town and city. The maps show the selected city's street colored according to their cycling stress score. Each map also includes the town or city's overall Bicycle Network Analysis score and individual scores for how easy it is for the population to access different places (e.g. parks, stores and health services) by bike.

You can read more about how the Bicycle Network Analysis scores are calculated on the PlacesForBikes Methodology page. The methodology partly relies on how streets are tagged on OpenStreetMap in terms of the roadway characteristics important to bikes and cyclists.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sonnets on the Streets of Seattle


Seattle is a city 'full of cannabis craving lovers ... and power hungry sharks'. It is also a city full of poets and bards. Some of whom can be found on this Seattle poetry map.

For two years Claudia Castro Luna has been Seattle's Civic Poet. To mark the end of her residency as Civic Poet Claudia has launched an interactive map of Seattle poetry. The Seattle Poetic Grid is a collection of poems by Seattle residents who took part in poetry writing sessions during Claudia's residence program at the Seattle Public Library.

The map features both established poets and those who are new to the art. Each of the featured poems on the map provides an insight into how Seattle locations can infuse and inspire. You can inspire yourself simply by clicking on the markers on the map and reading that location's featured poem.

If you don't live in Seattle you might still be able to find poems written about places nearby. The Representative Poetry Online (RPO) from the University of Toronto Libraries has created a Google Map called Places of Poems & Poets. This map allows you to search the RPO poetry collection by location

Alternatively you could search the Poetry Atlas. The Poetry Atlas is a Google Map that is trying to map poems that mention specific locations around the world.

The Rent in Spain Falls Mainly Down the Drain


Renting an apartment in Madrid or Barcelona is becoming very difficult for anyone who isn't already rich or a high earner. Like many other cites in the developed world a number of factors have combined to price many people out of being able to afford to rent an apartment in Spain's two most populous cities.

Tell Me How Much You Can Afford and I'll Tell You Where to Live explains the problems of renting in Madrid and Barcelona. It also explores the reasons behind the high rents and then suggests some possible solutions. The article includes an interactive map which allows you to explore how much salary you need to rent in different neighborhoods in both cities. The map allows you to enter your monthly salary and the size of the apartment that you want to rent. The city's neighborhoods are then colored on the map to show the percentage of your salary that you would need to be able to rent in that area of the city.

The map also includes a timeline control which allows you to compare the current situation to previous years. Therefore if you are depressed by the current situation you can depress yourself further by sliding the years back to see how far back in time you would have to travel before you could afford to rent in Barcelona or Madrid.