Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Find the Best Neighborhoods to Stay

Travel planning website TripHappy has developed a cluster analysis tool to help identify the best neighborhoods to stay in when visiting cities around the world. The tool analyses the neighborhood ratings from a number of hotel and homestay listing websites. It identifies the hotels in a city with the best neighborhood ratings and then finds clusters of hotels with the best neighborhood ratings based on locational proximity.

Using the results of this cluster analysis TripHappy is able to provide Google Maps for cities around the world which show you the best neighborhoods in which to stay. The maps also show you the locations of hotels within these neighborhoods and nearby points of interest that you can visit on your trip.

You can test how closely you agree with TripHappy's results by seeing which neighborhoods it identifies as the best - in locations that you are familiar with. For example in London it identities areas in Westminster and West London as the best neighborhoods (which if you are a tourist probably are good neighborhoods to be based in). In New York many of the best neighborhoods identified by TripHappy are in Mid Town (again neighborhoods which make a good central base for tourists).

You can read more about the TripHappy clustering analysis tool on the TripHappy Blog. This form of clustering analysis could be applied to other types of interactive maps. For example a real-estate map could identify the best neighborhoods in which to live (based on crime, school ratings, restaurant ratings etc,) If you want to get started building your own clustering analysis the TripHappy blog post provides a little information on the clustering algorithm they used to identify the best neighborhoods for tourists to stay.

Murder & Mayhem in London

In London you are never more than three feet from a ghost. The streets of London are haunted by the memories of ghastly murders, bloody executions, plague pits and other fiendish enterprises.

Just in time for Halloween creative agency Imperio has launched an interactive map plotting and recounting the history of some of London's most spine-chilling events. Enter a London borough or postcode into Grim London  and you can explore some of the nearby locations which have witnessed gruesome scenes over the years. Click on any of the haunted marked locations on the map and the fiendish story of that location will slide into view.

Are you brave enough to explore the foggy night-time streets of Grim London?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

3D Population Towers

There have been quite a few examples recently of interactive maps created using Mapbox GL's extrusion property to make 3d buildings (including buildings with light and shade, the Vancouver Zoning Map map and the Toronto Zoning Map). All of these maps use the height data in the buildings layer of the map style to visualize buildings in 3d.

The new extrusion property can also be used with your own data layers in Mapbox GL. For example Mapbox has released a map of US population density which visualizes the population density of each census block as a 3d tower. The Population Density Inspector allows you to explore the number of people living in each census block in America. The height of each census block on the map represents the population density (based on census block population counts).

You can read about how Mapbox created the map (with a little help from Turf.js and Tippecanoe) on the Mapbox blog.

Death by Location

Diabetes is more common in the German speaking regions of Switzerland. Liver disease is more common in the French speaking regions.

The Tages Anzeiger newspaper has used data from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute to map the mortality rates in Sweden from diabetes and liver disease. In Schüpfheim is the Diabetic Capital of Switzerland the newspaper examines the prevalence of diabetes and liver disease in different Swiss regions and examines some of the cultural, nutritional and economic reasons why the death rate from the two diseases should have such marked geographical variations.

The interactive maps show the deviation of death rates for the different diseases in each Swiss municipality - in relation to the rate of deaths in the whole of Switzerland. If a municipality is above the Swiss average for the mortality rate from the disease, it is colored red on the map. If it is under the Swiss average it is colored blue. The red areas therefore show municipalities where the death rate for the visualized disease is above the Swiss average.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mapping Civilian Deaths in Syria

Middle East Monitor has released an interactive map to visualize the number of civilian deaths in each region of Syria. The map is accompanied by charts showing how many civilian deaths have been caused by the various forces operating in the country and how many attacks these forces are responsible for on medical facilities and personnel.

The Middle East Monitor Interactive Map of Syria uses data from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, the United Nations, the SAMS Foundation and As well as showing the number of civilian deaths in each region in Syria the map allows you to view the locations of chemical attacks, where medical workers have been killed, the number of internally displaced people and the locations & numbers of coalition airstrike attacks.

Vintage Maps of the Hudson River

The New York Public Library's collection of geo-rectified vintage maps is a great resource for exploring old maps from around the world. If you want to search for old maps by location then you can use the map interface on the NYPL Map Warper page.

Bert Spaan, of NYPL Labs, has also created an interesting interactive strip map which allows you to find and explore vintage maps from the NYPL's Digital Collection along the Hudson River. Along the Hudson River from Glenn Falls to New York City uses the Leaflet.js mapping library to provide a map search tool for finding vintage maps, of places along the river, by location.

To explore and find maps from the NYPL you simply need to pan the map down the Hudson River. When you hover over a location on the map the available vintage maps at that location are loaded into the map sidebars. Each of the available maps include links to view the map on the NYPL's Map Warper and Digital Collections websites.

Anti Flooding Maps

Northamptonshire County Council in the UK has used the Leaflet mapping library to create a series of interactive illustrations explaining how individuals and agencies can help reduce the impacts of flooding.

The council's Flood Prevention toolkit includes three interactive illustrations which help homeowners, businesses and communities learn about measures they can take to protect their property and land from the dangers of flooding. Each illustration includes a number of map markers which provide practical advice about steps that can be taken around the home, in the community and at work to lessen the impact of local flooding.

National Geographic has also recently begun to use the Leaflet mapping library to create interactive illustrations. These mapped illustrations include an examination of life in the Pacific Ocean and a depiction of a possible future Mars colony.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Maps of the Week

Last week Mapbox revealed their new extrusion properties for data layers in Mapbox GL JS. These new extrusion properties allow you to create 3d buildings (extruding buildings by their number of floors) or other 3d data visualizations on a map using your own data layers.

Robert White has already used Mapbox's new 3d buildings option to create this impressive Vancouver Zoning Map. Robert's map not only has 3d buildings but also uses data styling to color those buildings and other map features to show Vancouver's distinct city zones.

Using the map you can explore how & where Vancouver uses zoning within the city. You can also see how this zoning has an effect on the building heights in Vancouver's neighborhoods.

Andy Woodruff has invented a kind of hydrodynamics physics engine for interactive maps. It allows him to create an animated map which visualizes water drainage flow for any location on Earth.

In the Rain on the Terrain Andy tries to answer the question of where water would flow if you poured it over the terrain at any location on the planet. His solution is essentially to use elevation data to find the lowest adjacent location for any given location. Drop some water at this location and it will find the path of least resistance and move to the adjacent location with the lowest elevation.

Repeat this process and you can plot a long path of the least resistance, moving downhill. If you then animate a polyline along this path you can create a map of flowing rivers. Andy's map allows you to visualize the animated flow map of drainage for any location on Earth (based on his simple algorithm). The map also includes some quick links to zoom the map to a number of locations with interesting terrain.

Recently National Geographic has started using Leaflet.js to provide interactive versions of the beautiful supplemental posters issued with each months National Geographic magazine. The September poster, exploring life in the Pacific Ocean off British Columbia, is available to view in the British Columbia Supplement.

The October print edition of the National Geographic includes a double sided poster about Colonizing Mars. The art side of the poster depicts a possible human colony on the red planet. It explains some of the technical difficulties which would be faced in establishing a Mars colony and shows what such a colony might look like.

The map side of the poster is a new map of Mars based on imagery and data from NASA's most recent missions to the planet. If you are interested in maps of Mars you might also enjoy National Geographic's article on the history of mapping the planet, What Mars Maps Got Right (and Wrong) Through Time.

The Photo Quiz Map

Map Channels has decided to give the Panoramio API one last glorious fanfare as it slips ignobly into the great software graveyard of Google's many deprecated and abandoned projects. Google has announced that its photo application Panoramio will be shut down on November 4th. This means that you only have a few days to play Map Channel's new Photo Quiz Map.

Photo Quiz Maps uses the Panoramio API to place 10 random photos on a Google Map. The object of the game is to identify where each photo was taken. After you choose a location in Photo Quiz Maps a photo is displayed in the map sidebar. Ten markers are also displayed on a Google Map. All you have to do is choose the marker where the photograph was taken.

You get ten points if you guess correctly first time. If you guess correctly on your second try you are awarded nine points - and so on. If you guess all ten photos correctly with your first picks you can score a total of 100 points.

How many points can you get?

If you like Photo Quiz Map then you might also enjoy Map Channel's Treasure Maps game. Treasure Maps helps you easily set-up and create your own treasure hunt games with Google Maps and Google Street View. If you don't want to create your own Treasure Hunt games you can try to solve one of the three featured games instead.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Crowdsourced Time Travel

Mapillary, the crowdsourced rival to Street View, has a new 'time travel' feature. 'Time travel' allows you to compare two different street level photos of the same view that were taken at different times.

The Mapillary map now includes a clock icon which will take you into the 'time travel' mode for a selected location. The time travel mode includes thumbnail images of all the available submitted photos of the selected location. You can then select from these thumbnails to compare two different photos of the same scene.

Once you are in time travel mode a slider control allows you to switch between the two different images. Obviously time travel is only available at locations where more than one photo of a location has been submitted to Mapillary. Here is an example of the time travel mode in Sweden and this one is for Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark.