Friday, April 20, 2018

Ottawa's Bike Maps


Bike Ottawa has been promoting cycling in the Capital Region since 1984. It advocates for cycling as a safe, fun, and environmentally friendly form of transportation in the city.

As part of its advocacy for cycling Bike Ottawa has released a number of interactive maps. The maps were created by the organization's Data Group and look at the safety of cycling in Ottawa, bike routing and cycling times. Bike Ottawa's Interactive Bike Maps initially consists of four different interactive maps:
  • The Ottawa Cycling Stress Map
  • Ottawa Cycling Directions
  • Ottawa Cycling Isochrones
  • Ottawa Collisions
The Ottawa Cycling Stress Map colors the city's roads based on the level of traffic stress. The map grades each section of road based on how safe cyclists feel cycling there. The Ottawa Cycling Directions uses the data from the Cycling Stress Map to provide you with cycling directions based on your personal levels of comfort when cycling.

The Ottawa Cycling Isochrones map shows you how far you can cycle in the city, from any location, in a given amount of time. The Ottawa Collisions map plots where pedestrians and cyclists have been injured by cars in the city. The map can help you identify and avoid collision hot-spots in the city.

Mapping Every Air Raid on Yemen


In March 2015 a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen. Since then there has been more than more than 16,000 air raids on the country. At least one third of these have been targeted at civilian residential areas. During the air raids on Yemen at least 1,600 schools have been partially or totally destroyed and several UNESCO heritage sites have also been destroyed.

Al Jazeera has mapped all 16,000 of Saudi Arabia's air raids on Yemen. The interactive map in Death From Above shows all air raids carried out by the Saudi led coalition since March 2015. The map includes a timeline control which allows you to see where and when air raids have been targeted in Yemen by month. As you progress through the timeline a running total keeps track of the total number of air raids launched. The bar chart below the map shows the total number of air raids directed at individual cities over the course of the timeline.

The data for the map comes from numerous sources, including official records, local and international news agencies, reports by international human rights groups and reports from national and international NGOs.

Britain from Above


I've spent most of the morning scouring vintage aerial views of the East End of London looking for my house. It isn't easy. Back in the day the East End used to be full of these huge buildings that the locals called factories. The factories have now all gone. So the East End of today looks hugely different from the air than it did 80 years ago.

The aerial photographs that I've been looking at were all taken by Aerofilms Ltd. Aerofilms Ltd was a commercial aerial photography company founded in 1919. The company was established to take photographs of Britain from airplanes for surveying and mapping purposes. One of its clients was the Ordnance Survey, the UK's national mapping agency.

In June 2007 the millions of aerial photographs taken by Aerofilms were sold to English Heritage in partnership with The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Since 2007 this partnership has been busy mapping the locations in all those historical aerial views of Britain.

The result is Britain from Above. Using Britain from Above's interactive map you can search and view Aerofilms' vintage aerial views of Britain by location. Search the map by postcode or name and you can view all the historical photos of a location captured by Aerofilms in the Twentieth Century. You can even buy prints of any of the views that your like.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Solving the Traveling Salesman Problem


Shiny Salesman is a tool for solving the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). The TSP asks: "What is the shortest possible route taking in a number of specified locations and returning to the starting location?"

The Shiny Salesman tool allows you to choose a number of different locations to include in the TSP. You can then solve the problem using your own simulated annealing parameters. You can even watch as the map runs through the number of iterations that you select. Shiny Salesman also create a graph showing the evolution of the current tour distance so you can see how many iterations it took to find the optimal route.

If you want to see the TSP applied to a real-world problem then you might like Randy Olson's Optimal Road Trip of U.S. National Parks.

The Map of British Rock


In the 1960's the UK invented rock music. To fully appreciate this genre of music you really need a thorough knowledge of British geography. British rock is firmly rooted in the psychogeography of UK towns and cities. To understand the music you have to know the towns and cities mentioned in the lyrics of the Great British rock bands. So let's take a tour of the UK and visit some of the places immortalized by the giants of British rock - such as The Proclaimers.

We begin our musical journey with a 500 mile hike from the lowlands of Scotland. The seminal Scottish rock band The Proclaimers famously sang that they would walk 500 miles. So we start our tour in Leith and from there we will walk 500 miles.

Luckily for us Cartonerd has mapped out a 500 mile radius around Leith so we know how far to walk. In I Would Map 500 Miles Carrtonerd has placed a circle showing where you could get to if you walked 500 miles from Leith. He has also placed another circle 500 miles further out just in case you want to walk 500 more.


About 75 miles out of Leith we arrive at the border of England. This part of England is known as 'The North'. The North is pretty grim and this grimness has had an obvious effect on the rock bands that emanate from this region.

The dourness of the north was famously celebrated by the KLF in their song 'It's Grim Up North'. In the song they recognize the unattractive, forbidding nature of 69 northern towns and cities. CityMetric has thankfully mapped out all 69 locations for us in Literally just a map of every town in the lyrics to ‘It’s Grim Up North’ by the KLF.


One of the northern cities not mentioned in It's Grim Up North is Liverpool, which is of course the home of The Beatles. Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever is an Esri Story Map exploring the important locations which feature in the music of The Beatles. In particular it examines the geography of the 'most important single ever', the double 'A' side record Penny Lane - Strawberry Fields.

As you scroll through this Story Map you will discover the importance of a sense of place to the music of The Beatles and how the band influenced other 60's artists to write about locations important to their lives.The Story Map explores a number of geographical locations mentioned by The Beatles in their music. In particular the map zooms in on two locations in Liverpool, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, and discusses the significance of these two locations to the childhoods of Paul McCartney and John Lennon.


No British music of note has ever been written south of Liverpool. Therefore we really don't need to walk 500 miles and will end our tour of British Rock in the dour north.  Let's now head off to tour north America instead.


Johnny Cash Has Been EVERYWHERE (Man)! - a map of every location mentioned in Johnny Cash's version of the Geoff Mack song 'I've Been Everywhere'
Looking for a Place to Happen - a tour around Canada and the locations mentioned in the songs of the Tragically Hip
Canadian Geographic: On the Coast - a map featuring Canadian locations that are mentioned in song lyrics


If you want a real map of British Rock then the best I can offer you is The Big British Music Map. This word map of famous UK bands and musical artists shows the most famous artists associated with the various regions and towns of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If you select an artist on the map you can listen to their most iconic song. You can also view information about the artist's net worth and charting history.

The association of artists to specific locations on the map can be a little tenuous. The map says that the artists are "attached to specific locations". This attachment seems to be a combination of artists having either been born at a location or having lived there. For example Fatboy Slim is shown on the map in Brighton. He wasn't born in Brighton but does now live there. Sting on the other hand is located on the map in Newcastle. Sting doesn't live there now but he was born near by.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

San Francisco is on Shaky Ground


The New York Times carried a worrying story yesterday about San Francisco's gamble with building skyscrapers on land prone to earthquakes. The city loves to gamble so much that they are even building the tallest skyscrapers in the areas of the city where the ground is most at risk of liquefaction.

As you would expect the Times' story is illustrated with its customary impressive mapped visualizations. I particularly like the image transition near the beginning of the Times' San Francisco's Big Seismic Gamble. In 1906 an airship took a spectacular aerial photo of the city showing the damage caused by the recent earthquake and fire. As you scroll down the page the 1906 image of San Francisco seamlessly transitions into a modern illustration of the city from the exact same position. The modern illustration shows all the skyscrapers now built on top of the areas of the city devastated by the 1906 earthquake.

Another effective visualization in the story is a map of all the buildings in the city more than 240 tall overlaid on top of a choropleth layer showing the areas of the city at risk from liquefaction. A final map shows the areas of San Francisco which are expected to experience strong shaking during a big earthquake.

Mapping LGBTQ+ Memories


Queering the Map is back. Queering the Map is an interactive map which documents queer moments at locations around the world. It allows anyone to drop a pin on a map to leave a memory of a personal queer moment.

Unfortunately Queering the Map was forced offline after a number of Trump supporters defaced the map. But now it is back. And it is more popular than ever. In fact the map is so popular that it will soon need to think about a marker clustering system to manage the huge number of queer memories added to the map.


If you want to know how LGBTQ+ friendly different locations around the world are then you should also have a look at Destination Pride. Destination Pride provides a guide to the possible safety of holiday destinations around the world for LGBTQ+ travelers. Using information on relevant local laws and social attitudes Destination Pride hopes to give a basic safety overview for people traveling to new destinations.

Type a destination into Destination Pride and you can view the location's LGBTQ+ safety ranting on an interactive map. The map sidebar includes a rainbow flag which breaks down the safety ratings for the location into different categories. Each colored bar on the flag represents a different category, including marriage equality, sexual activity laws, anti-discrimination laws and civil rights & liberties (you can click on the individual colors to reveal what they represent).

The Taste Map of the World


This morning I sat down to a pain au chocolat with a bowl of coffee for my breakfast. At lunchtime I didn't have much time so I only had a little Roquefort on a baguette. For dinner I'm looking forward to eating well with a delicious lapin a la cocotte.

Can you guess which country I'm in yet?

One of the greatest joys of traveling the world is being able to explore regional cuisines. Every country in the world has its own favorite foods, regional dishes and local styles of cooking. In fact you could probably map the world using regional foods and dishes. You could then call your map the TasteAtlas.

The TasteAtlas is an interactive map which allows you to explore the local foods, dishes, tastes and cuisine of any location in the world. Using the map you can search different locations to discover the kinds of things the locals like to eat and drink. It is a great way to discover the tastes of different regions of the world and, at the same time, get a little inspiration about what to have for dinner tonight.

A great feature of TasteAtlas is that you can search the map for individual foods. For example here is the cheese map of the world and here is the bread map of the world. Search for a particular type of food and you can zoom-in on the map to discover the local varieties available at different locations. For example, on the cheese map you can zoom-in on France to discover all the local varieties of cheese available in different regions of the country. Or, if you search for the pasta map of the world, you can find out which different types of pasta come from the different regions of Italy.

It was France. I was in France.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mapping Every Power Plant in the World


Resource Watch is a new platform for hosting and sharing data related to the Earth’s resources and how they are used. The data can be used to visualize the challenges facing the planet and its people, from climate change to poverty and from water risk to human migration.

All the data on Resource Watch is free to download and use for your own analysis (precise license details are attached to each set of data). There are currently 207 different data-sets available, all of which can be explored on the Resource Watch interactive map. If you select a data-set from the sidebar you can add it to the interactive map. If you click on the 'details' button attached to a data-set you can explore the data using different visualization tools such as charts and tables.

The many founding partners of Resource Watch include Bloomberg, Carto, Google and Climate Central. The data-sets come from more than 30 trusted organizations around the world. The data is being curated by World Resources Institute experts to ensure that all data is either peer reviewed or based on a transparent established methodology.

Indoor Mapping with OpenStreetMap


OpenLevelUp is an interactive map which uses OpenStreetMap data for indoor mapping. The map allows you to find your way around inside buildings, level by level, by selecting different floor levels. The map is particularly useful for navigating your way around large buildings, laid out on many floors, such as shopping malls or museums.

When you are zoomed out on OpenLevelUp buildings which have level by level mapping available are identified by a heat-map layer. Zoom-in on one of these buildings and the numbered floor levels will appear down the side of the map. You can now explore inside the building, floor by floor, simply by selecting one of these floor levels.

The map of each floor shows the locations of different rooms, stairways, escalators and other amenities (depending on what has been mapped on OpenStreetMap). All of the features which are shown on the map can be clicked on to reveal more details or to click-through so that you can add more details yourself to the feature on OpenStreetMap.