Friday, September 22, 2017

Boston Underwater


Climate Ready Boston is an initiative by the City of Boston to help prepare the city for future climate change. As part of this initiative the city has released an interactive map showing the areas of the city most at risk from flooding and extreme heat.

This new Map Explorer features spatial data from Climate Ready Boston. It also includes  population demographic data so that the social impact of climate change on Boston can be better understood. Users can select the flooding, extreme heat and social vulnerability layers which they wish to view on the map from the 'Layers' tab. If you click on the map you can view information about the source data for that location. More information about the data is available under the 'Details' tab.


One reason Boston is at risk from rising sea levels is that much of the city is land reclaimed from the sea. Mapbox has created an interesting visualization of how Boston's footprint has changed through history as more and more landfill projects were undertaken in the city. Coastlines of Boston provides two different historical views of Boston, as it looked in 1788 and 1898, and allows you to compare these views to the map of Boston today.

The Coastlines of Boston map was created by importing vintage maps of Boston into Mapbox Studio and then drawing around the historical coastlines. Once the coastlines were traced they were then saved as a map tileset. You can read more about how Coastlines of Boston map was created on the Mapbox blog.


If you are interested in exploring Boston's changing coastline for yourself on old historical maps then you should check out Mapjunction. Bill Warner's impressive vintage map explorer allows you to compare old vintage maps of Boston side-by-side using an interactive mapping interface.

The vintage maps available seem to date back as far as 1873. When you pan or move the map to a new location the available historical maps for the current map view are automatically loaded into the map layer menu (move the map to New York and you can vintage maps of New York instead). Simply select any two maps from the map layer menus to view them side-by-side.
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