Saturday, February 13, 2016

The World's Most Boring Roads

I have a new theory. The world's most interesting roads are in mountainous areas and the most boring roads are in areas which are very flat.

My theory is based on two interactive maps which show where the world's straightest and bendiest roads are. How Straight or Bendy are the Roads and tortuOSMity both use OpenStreetMap data to calculate the relative straightness of roads. Each map uses a different formula to calculate road straightness (the tortuOSMity formula), but seem to produce similar results.

Both maps also seem to show that elevation plays a big part in determining the straightness of roads. On both maps the most bendy roads seem to be mainly in mountainous areas. This makes sense as you would expect mountain roads to contain a lot of switchbacks and relatively few straight sections.

My boringness theory of roads obviously equates long, straight roads with tedious drives and curvy roads with excitement.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Find Somewhere to Live with Google Maps

When you're looking for somewhere new to live you don't just want the perfect property you also want it in the perfect area. What makes a perfect neighborhood will be different for different people. In deciding the perfect neighborhood, however, you might consider a number of criteria, such as the crime rate, the commuting time to work, good local schools, public transit links and the 'charm' of the area.

Walk Score has been rating neighborhoods by how pedestrian friendly they are for a number of years. However Walk Score provides heat-maps not just for Walk Score ratings but also for public transit links and how cycle friendly areas are.

If you enter an address into Walk Score you can view a Google Map of the neighborhood with its Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score ratings. The ratings for each are based on a number of criteria, for example the Walk Score analyzes the walking routes to lots of different nearby amenities, rating routes based on their distance and pedestrian friendliness.

RentLingo can give you a 'charm' rating for potential neighborhoods. RentLingo rates areas based on its Charm Index. In deciding an area's Charm Index score RentLingo looks at lots of different neighborhood factors, such as the number of local stores, available amenities, the crime rate and how environmentally friendly it is.

When you use the Rent Lingo Google Map you can view an overall heat-map of a city's Charm Index. You can also select to view heat-maps for other factors, such as local Store Prices, Store Ratings, Store Owners and Lifestyle.

Trulia Local also allows you to find great neighborhoods to live based on a number of factors. Their Google Maps based interface allows you to view heat-maps of local crime rates, affordability of property and local demographics.

One of the most useful features on Trulia Local is their commute times option, Using this feature you can find out how long it takes to commute to or from any location by public transit or by car. For example you can center the map on your place of work and find out all the potential areas to live within your choice of commute time.

The Shadowhunters Map

Whether you're an angel or demon you are sure to enjoy the Map of Shadows. The Map of Shadows allows you to explore a map of New York through the eyes of either a Mundane or a Shadowhunter.

The map includes locations featured in episodes 1-5 of Freeform's Shadowhunters television series. When viewing the map you can choose to be either a Mundane or a Shadowhunter. A different Mapbox Studio map style is shown depending on your choice. Different locations from the show are also marked and accessible from the map depending on whether you choose to view it as a Mundane or Shadowhunter.

The map is being updated with new locations when each new episode airs. So you can check back after each episode to find out about new locations featured in the show.

The Cassini Map of France

The Carte de France or the Cassini Maps were created by four generations of the Cassini family in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Cassini Maps were the first truly accurate national survey based on geodetic triangulation.

Remonter le Temps (go back in time) allows you to view the Carte de Cassini overlain on top of a modern interactive map of France. This historical maps interface presents a number of French vintage maps, which also includes the Carte de l'etat major, a 1950 map of France and historical aerial imagery of France from the 1950's & 60's.

Remonter le Temps provides a number of ways to view the vintage maps. You can view an historical map side-by-side with the modern map of France, you can also select to switch between the modern and vintage maps or you can use an interesting 'lens' view which shows a small circular selection of the historical map overlain on top of the modern map of France.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Street View - Gold Edition

You can now explore Rome at night with this Bulgari - Roman Treasures tour of the eternal city. To be honest the website is little more than a very slick promotional campaign for Bulgari's products. However it does highlight the great leaps and bounds that have made in the last two years in creating fully interactive 'Street View' tours.

Bulgari - Roman Treasures presents a number of 360 degree panoramic images of some of Rome's most beautiful locations. All these 'Street View' scenes have been shot at night and have been enhanced with a little gold plating - each interactive image includes a superimposed star field and Parallax scrolling effects.

Bulgari is an Italian jewelry company. As you explore these Roman Street View scenes you can click on the overlaid map markers to explore some of Bulgari's range of jewelry products.

The Hoax Map of Migrant Myths

Angela Merkel's 'open door' policy for welcoming migrants from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere has been a brave humanitarian response to the migrant crisis facing Europe. The policy has not come without some negative cost to Merkel's own popularity in Germany. TIME named her their Person of the Year for her handling of the refugee crisis. However in Germany Merkel's personal rating among voters has fallen to its lowest point in four years.

There is a rising backlash against the influx of refugees among many people in Germany. Some of this backlash has led to a number of anti-refugee stories spreading like wildfire on social media and to some extent in the mainstream press. Not all of these stories turn out to be true.

The Hoaxmap has been released to document and correct some of the wildly inaccurate anti-refugee stories that have sprung up in Germany. Each of the false stories on the map include a link to a news report where the original story has been investigated and has been found to be untrue.

Mapping the Rise of The Railways

The Campaign for Better Transport has released an interactive map which shows the huge increase in rail traffic in Great Britain over the last 18 years.

The Rail Travel Station Usage 1997-2015 map visualizes annual rail passenger traffic for each year since 1997. In those 18 years rail traffic in Great Britain has increased by 1.45 billion annual passenger journeys. The Rail Travel Station Usage map shows which stations have seen the biggest increase in traffic and which stations have seen a drop in traffic since 1997.

The map uses the CartoDB Torque library to animate through all 18 years of passenger traffic. The circular station map markers are sized to represent the size of the station (amount of passenger traffic). The color of the circles indicates the scale of the increase (or decrease) in passenger traffic over the last 18 years.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Easy Story Maps with Mapme

You can now easily create your own story maps with Mapme. Mapme's Google Maps based creation tool is great way to create your own free maps without having to do any coding. Mapme Stories is a new feature which allows you to quickly and easily make your own scroll-driven stories with maps.

Scroll driven maps are a great way to create a story about a location, spatial data, an historical event or wherever your imagination wants to take you. On Monday I posted about a new story map that I created over the weekend looking at the story behind Robert Baker's 1832 'Sanitary Map of the Town of Leeds'.

To create this story map I used the Leaflet mapping platform in conjunction with jQuery. To produce something similar on your own you would need to be familiar with JavaScript and have a working knowledge of Leaflet and jQuery.

Or you could just use Mapme Stories. Check out the embedded demo Mapme Story map on this review of vegan restaurants in Berlin. Notice how as you as you scroll through the restaurant reviews the map automatically pans and highlights the reviewed restaurant on the map.

If you want to make your own Mapme Story then just create a free account or connect to Mapme with a Facebook account.

Mapping the Garden of Earthly Delights

I've always wondered why interactive mapping platforms have not been used more often to provide interpretations of works of art. Paintings can be easily imported into all the popular mapping platforms. You can then use all the navigation tools of an interactive map to explore features in the painting.

You can see what is possible in The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch - An Online Interactive Adventure. This wonderful introduction provides a guided audiovisual tour of the Bosch's triptych and allows you to explore The Garden of Earthly Delights at your own pace.

The interactive actually doesn't use a mapping platform for its presentation but it certainly uses all the navigation tools which users are familiar with from online maps. You can zoom in and out and pan around the painting at will. The painting also includes a number of map markers which allow you to learn more about details within the triptych.

If you click on a painting marker you can listen to an audio explanation of the selected scene in Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. You can also select to read the same analysis in a pop-up information window.

Map Quiz Time - Accents

Do you know your Brummie from your Scouse? Or your Geordie from your Cockney? You can find out with Expedia's Accent Map of the British Isles.

In Expedia's quiz you are played a series of spoken phrases. Your job is to detect the accent and select where the speaker is from, from a choice of three locations on a Mapbox map.

If you don't want to play the quiz then you can choose to explore the map. If you select this option you can explore the wonders of British accents by selecting from markers on the map and listening to the audio recordings of people speaking from different regions of the British Isles.

If you need a little practice before trying Expedia's Accent Map of the British Isles then you can learn more about British accents from the British Library's Accents and Dialects Map. This map allows you to listen to recordings of British accents from the BBC Voices collection, the Millennium Memory Bank, the Survey of English Dialects and the Berliner Lautarchiv British & Commonwealth recordings collections.