Thursday, November 16, 2017

The World's Most Dangerous Countries


This week I've seen a lot of reports recommending the International SOS Travel Risk Map. International SOS provide a very basic interactive map of the travel risks in each country of the world. Their Travel Risk Map provides an overview of the travel risks in each country for medical, security and road safety.

Countries are colored on the Travel Risk Map to show the International SOS assessment of the travel risks in these three categories. The map therefore does provide a very basic guide as to where it is safe to travel in the world. Unfortunately that is as far as the map goes. At the very least I would expect to be able to click on individual countries on the map to learn more about the travel risks in the selected country. If I'm travelling to a country I don't just want to know that there is a high security risk I want to know what those risks are.

Many governments provide useful advice for their citizens planning to travel abroad. For example the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date Foreign Travel Advice. If you click on Zimbabwe on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice page you can see that the travel advice has been updated today and takes this week's military coup into account.

If you do use the Travel Risk Map please also check your government's latest travel advice as well.

Building a Map of the Roman Empire


The Pelagios project is currently working on creating vector tile map layers to work with the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire. A vector based Atlas of the Roman Empire will allow Pelagios to offer the user many more options. For example users could be given a choice to view place-name labels in Latin, ancient Greek or using the modern place-names. The vector based map will also have many more zoom levels which will allow Pelagios to actually map individual Roman Empire buildings.

Pelagios has been documenting the process of creating their vector tile map of the Roman Empire. You can read about how the vector tile map is being built on The Roman Empire Vector Map Project and Building the Roman Empire Vector Tile Map. A final post (yet to be published) will explore more the new possibilities that the vector tile map will provide for Pelagios and users of the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.

This early demo version of the vector tiled map of the Roman Empire provides a drop-down menu that you can use to change the language of the map labels.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The DC Transportation Model


Property developers in Washington DC must provide trip generation estimates in their project planning applications. In order to show how a project will impact on local traffic and public transit these reports include estimates of both morning and evening trips to and from the proposed development.

A new online mapping tool, developed by Stamen for transportation consultants Fehr & Peers and the District Department of Transportation (ddot), can now make these trip generation estimates for you. TripsDC is an interactive map tool "for estimating vehicle, walk, bike, and transit trips based on a proposed development's characteristics and its context".

Using the tool you can enter the address of a proposed development project. You then need to enter the number of residential units, the number of parking spaces and the retail square footage. That's all you need to do. With this information the tool can automatically produce your project's morning and evening trip generation estimates.

If you aren't planning any major development projects in DC you can still use the map to view the data behind the model. These include an interesting layer which shows the distance to the nearest Metro for every location in the capital.

Lead Poisoning in New York


In 69 New York neighborhoods at least 10 percent of small children tested have elevated lead levels. The Reuters news agency has been examining childhood blood testing data in New York, at the census tract level, to determine where children are being exposed to high levels of lead.

You can view the results from the Reuters investigation on their Lead Poisoning interactive map. This choropleth map provides an overviews of the number of children who tested with elevated levels of lead. You can hover over each census tract on the map to view the exact percentage of children with elevated levels and the number of children tested in that census tract.

The interactive map provides quick links to view other cities where children have tested with worryingly high levels of lead. However the map can also be used to view lead testing results in locations throughout the United States.

The Density of Housing in London


The UK government has set a target of building a million new homes by 2020. This raises the question of where do you put a million new homes. In the past the government has wanted to relax laws which restrict new buildings on green field sites. However building on green field sites is usually very unpopular with voters. An alternative approach would be to build more densely in already built-up areas.

EMU Analytics and London YIMBY has teamed up to show that there may be many opportunities to build new homes in London. The London Housing Density map shows the number of homes in each Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) in London. The map uses a 200x200m grid and clips around known non-residential areas (such as large parks) to give a reasonably accurate picture of the housing density in each LSOA.

The London Housing Density map also includes layers which show residential and non-residential building heights. These additional layers show where there might be more scope for increasing the number of homes by building taller apartment buildings.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mapping Hate Crimes


The FBI has released its Hate Crime Statistics for 2016. The data shows that the number of hate crimes has risen for the second year running. As in previous years the highest number of hate crimes are race based crimes, with more than half of those crimes aimed at African-Americans. Alarmingly the number of religious based crimes against Muslims increased by 19 percent in just one year.

The Anti-Defamation League has updated its Hate Crime Map with the FBI's 2016 data. If you select the 'Hate Crime Data' tab on the map you can view which cities (with a population over 100,000) have reported hate crimes for any year since 2004. The blue dots indicate those cities which have reported hate crimes for the selected year.


Earlier this year the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) also reported a huge increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States. They reported that the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in America grew from 34 to 101.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the overall rise of hate groups is a direct result of the 'incendiary rhetoric' used by Donald Trump. In its annual census of extremist groups the SPLC claims that "Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country".

The SPLC's interactive Hate Map tracks the growing number of hate groups operating in the United States. The map uses colored markers to indicate the category of each hate group shown on the map. If you select a marker on the map you can click-through to learn more about what this type of hate group believes and how they operate.

Estimating Crowd Sizes with Maps


Estimating crowd sizes can be a very controversial subject. For example Donald Trump claimed there were a "million-and-a-half people" at his inauguration and said that the press were "going to pay a big price" for reporting figures way below his expert opinion.

One way to estimate the size of a crowd is to use maps to calculate the surface area of a crowd and then to multiply that surface area by the estimated density of the crowd. MapChecking is a very simple interactive map tool that can do this for you. It allows you to draw the surface area of your crowd, demonstration, march or gathering on a Google Map. It then allows you to enter an estimate for the number of people per square meter in your crowd. Once you have entered those two variables MapChecking automatically works out the crowd size.

Using a Reuters photo of Trump's inauguration with Map Checking gave me a figure of 357,143 people in the National Mall on January 20, 2017. If anything this might be being a bit generous as I haven't allowed for what look to be sizable gaps in the crowd in the Reuters photograph.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Mortgage Dot Map


An interactive view of the housing boom and bust is a dot map which shows the number of mortgages awarded in the United States for every year since 2001. As the animated map plays out you can see how the housing boom and bust has effected mortgage lending throughout the country.

Each dot on the map represents 10 mortgages. The color of the dots show the ethnicity of the mortgagees. A line graph below the map shows how the number of mortgages has risen & fallen over the same period. The timeline includes significant dates when economic events had a significant impact on the housing market.

The map includes a link to an article examining how restrictions to credit availability has disproportionately affected black and Hispanic households. The map includes filter controls which allow you to restrict the mortgages shown by ethnicity. You can therefore use the timeline with the filter controls to see for yourself how significant economic events have effected mortgage lending to different ethnic groups.

Ai Weiwei in New York


The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei currently has a city wide art exhibition in New York City. 'Good Fences Make Good Neighbors' is inspired by Robert Frost’s poem 'Mending Wall' and explores issues around immigration and the plight of refugees. Until February 11th 2018 you can view the artwork featured in Ai Weiwei's exhibition at locations throughout New York.

As part of the Good Fences Make Good Neighbors exhibition 200 banners have been hung around the city. These banners feature portraits of refugees (who featured in Ai Weiwei's documentary Human Flow). The exhibition also features a number of new site-specific works of art which are located in public-spaces throughout New York.

If you need help finding the over 300 works of art in the exhibition, as you navigate the city, then you might want to refer to the Good Fences Make Good Neighbors interactive map. The map uses categorized markers to show the locations of structures, bus shelters, lampposts and advertising spaces used in Ai Weiwei's exhibition. The map also allows you to access the exhibition notes for each of the featured art pieces.

How Well Do you Know the World?


It's always good to start a new working week with a relaxing but educational map guessing game. Outline Maps is a Leaflet.js based series of map games which tests your geographical knowledge of the countries of the world and their capitals.

Outline Maps consists of two different types of game. The 'Find by name' games require you to point out named locations on a map of the world. The 'Find by feature' games highlight an area on the map and ask you to type in the identified location's name. Currently the game involves naming countries in either Africa, Europe, South American or the USA. There is also a game that requires you to know the capital cities of the world.

Outline Maps is available in GitHub. You can therefore fork the game and create your own map game. To create an Outline Maps game for another part of the world (e.g. the states of America) you just need to add a GeoJSON file of the geographical borders.