Sunday, August 02, 2015
The disorientating effect of the Elastic Terrain Map could mean that it won't be adopted too widely. However it is a very interesting way of visualizing elevation data to give a 3d effect for terrain layers.
The map is billed as a new way to visualize terrain data - and it is certainly that. The magic of the Elastic Terrain Map happens when you pan the map. Wiggle the map and watch it wobble. As you pan and move around the different parts of the map move at different speeds based on the elevation data. The result is that valleys and peaks on the map become much more apparent.
I do love a good collection of vintage maps and the Harvard Map Collection's Sea Atlases is a truly great one. Sea Atlases is a new interactive map showcasing some of the fabulous historical sea charts in the Harvard Map Collection.
Ten atlas volumes were digitized by the Harvard Map Collection, and then georeferenced in order to be able to place them on top of a modern day interactive map. Being able to explore these fantastic vintage sea charts is of course the main attraction of Sea Atlases, but this is only made possible by the beautifully intuitive and well designed interface that allows you to explore the collection by date and by location.
This week I was also really impressed with How to Find Lenin Square, an investigation into the legacy of Soviet rule on the etymology of Ukrainian street names. Twenty Four years after gaining independence from Russia the cities of Ukraine still bear the scars of Soviet rule. The cultural hegemony of Russia over Ukraine can be seen in the country's maps, particularly in the preponderance of Soviet street names.
How to Find Lenin Square is a detailed analysis of the frequency and preponderance of Soviet street names in Ukraine. The article includes a number of maps of Ukrainian cities, in which the streets with Soviet era names are colored red. Some of the most popular Russian street names include 'Lenin', 'Felix Dzerzhinsky' (founder of the Russian secret police) and references to the Soviet space program.
Saturday, August 01, 2015
Back in 2008 I used the Google Earth plugin to create a quick tour of the journey Phileas Fogg takes in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. To my surprise Around the World in Eighty Seconds still works (although it will stop working in December when the Google Earth plug-in is turned off by Google).
I only mention my map now as it provides a rather neat counterpoint to a new Esri Story Map of Jules Verne's classic tale. Comparing my map to Sebastian Drexel's new Around the World in Eighty Days map serves to highlight how far interactive map platforms have moved on in the last seven years.
The most striking development for me is the ease with which you can now add vintage maps layers to an interactive map. The major map libraries all now provide the option to easily replace base map tiles with custom map tiles. The Google Maps API did have this option seven years ago. What has changed though is the wider availability of different maps layers.
You can view some of the more popular map layers available on this Map Tiles map. If you after vintage map tiles then you can grab links to vintage map tile schemes from the NYPL Map Library and the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. Sebastian has used an 1812 map from the David Rumsey Map Collection to give his Jules Verne map a suitable 19th Century feel.
The other major development in the last seven years is in what I call narrative mapping. Esri's Story Maps platform and CartoDB's Odyssey.js both provide relatively easy ways for developers to painlessly create maps which tell stories.
Drexel's Around the World in Eighty Days makes great use of Esri's Story Maps platform to follow Phileas Fogg's journey around the world on a map. As you scroll down the page the map automatically follows Fogg's journey around the world while the sidebar updates with relevant excerpts from the text.
Friday, July 31, 2015
Two weeks ago Associated Press added thousands of vintage newsreel videos to YouTube from British Pathe. The videos contain original newsreel footage of some the Twentieth Century's most historical events.
Luckily for me the videos were published just as I was looking for some time-based location data for a Leaflet.js slider control that I was working on. This Layer Group slider control for Leaflet.js is designed to load a subset of markers (defined using Layer Group) onto a map by selecting from a sequential series of options. For example, choosing a year from a range of dates.
You can view a demo of the new slider control on News Videos. News Videos is a collection of vintage newsreel reports from British Pathe and elsewhere. You can select to load videos onto the map by date by selecting a decade using the slide control at the bottom of the map.
The Scripts of the World map unfortunately omitted Mayan Hieroglyphs. So in order to remedy the situation you should examine this Leaflet.js presentation of the Dresden Codex.
The Dresden Codex is the oldest known book written in the Americas. It is a pre-Columbian Maya book from the eleventh or twelfth century of the Yucatecan Maya in Chichén Itzá. It consists of 39 sheets in total, inscribed on both sides.
Maya Codex in 2,2 Gigapixeln allows you to zoom-in and pan around the Dresden Codex using the Leaflet map controls. The Dresden Codex image used in the map is 2.2 gigapixels in size, so you really can zoom-in on close details in the image.
Most of the hieroglyphs in the Codex are descriptions of the accompanying figures. It also contains astronomical tables, particluar concerning the passages of the Moon and Venus.
Writing Systems and Scripts Around the World is a nice way to visualize the scripts of different countries around the world.
The map tiles of every country in the world on this map is made up of each country's writing script. So for example the USA is made up of Latin script, Russia is Cyrillic and Egypt is Arabic. The countries on the map are also colored by the type of writing system used, alphabetical (yellow), logographic & syllabic (red), abjad (blue) and abugida (green).
If you select a country on the map you can find out the predominant script used in that country and also the percentage of the world's population which uses the script.
Posted by Keir Clarke at 4:26 AM
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Shootings in New York: 2010-2013 is a map of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center's Shooting Index for New York census tracts.
The Center's Shooting Index represents the per capita number of shootings within a tract in which a civilian was injured from 2010-2013. That is clear enough. However the index is 'calculated to weigh recent shootings more heavily than shootings for earlier years'. Which without any information on the weighting applied by the Center is a lot less clear.
The map includes the option to click on the census tracts to discover information about the racial make-up of the population, the percentage of people in employment and the percentage living in poverty. It is a shame that this data doesn't also include the total number of shootings which would help to overcome the opaqueness of the Center's own Index values.
The Three Billion Mile Journey to Pluto is a really interesting map of New Horizons' long journey to reach Pluto. The map plots New Horizons nine year journey from Earth to Pluto and also shows the positions of the major planets as they orbit the sun.
The map is a simple two dimensional view of New Horizons and the planets. However I think it is an inspired idea to use simple animated markers on polylines to map the Solar System. It seems such a simple idea but one that opens up so many possibilities for anyone interested in maps and astronomy.
Our friends over at the Google Earth Blog have created a kml file which allows you to view Pluto in Google Earth. The Latest Pluto Map in Google Earth uses the latest high resolution imagery of Pluto. The map only includes about half of the surface area of Pluto but it is still an amazing way to explore the latest imagery from New Horizons.
NASA has released an updated global map of Pluto, which you can view on the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory website.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
A couple of years ago a restaurant called GOSP introduced a Street View booking system. The system uses Google Business Photos (otherwise known as indoor Street View) to showcase the restaurant to potential customers.
Not only does GOSP use indoor Street View to provide a preview of the restaurant it also allows you to book a table. If you like the look of a particular table you can click on the overlaid marker in the Street View image and book that table for lunch or dinner. The Google Business Photos Booking System was developed by Big-e, an e-business online development team.
Back in 2013 I remarked that the system would be great for booking seats in sports stadiums. It's taken a while but the Dallas Mavericks now have a Street View seat booking system for the American Airlines Center.
Visit the Mavs website and you can tour the American Airlines Center on Google Maps Street View. Use the onscreen arena map to pick a seat in the stadium and you can preview the view with Google' panoramic imagery.
What's more if you like the view from the seat you can simply click-through to book your Mavs' season ticket.
A screenshot of the Elastic Terrain Map really doesn't do this map justice. The map is billed as a new way to visualize terrain data that uses animation and really needs to be experienced first-hand.
The magic of the Elastic Terrain Map happens when you pan the map. Wiggle the map and watch it wobble. As you pan and move around the map different parts of the map move at different speeds based on the elevation data.
The effect is a little disorientating at first and can make you feel a little queasy. However as you get used to the effect it provides an interesting way to view elevation - as the valleys and peaks become much more apparent on Elastic Terrain Map than on a map with static map tiles.
Use the back and forward arrows to view Elastic Terrain map work with different map layers. You can learn more about how the map works on the project's GitHub page.
Posted by Keir Clarke at 9:21 AM
You can create a recognizable map of the Unites States by mapping only the country's rivers. If you want a recognizable map of Japan you could plot all the country's roads. If you want a recognizable atlas of the world then you can restrict yourself to mapping just the world's railways. However, if you want a recognizable map of Great Britain and Ireland, then you need pubs.
That's right - it's possible to create a recognizable map of the UK just by plotting all of the country's pubs. Drawing a Map from Pub Locations with the Matplotlib Basemap Toolkit is a nice tutorial on how to plot OpenStreetMap derived data with Matplotlib - but forget Mapplotlib we're here for the beer.
There are roughly 29,000 pubs in Great Britain and Ireland on OpenStreetMap. The result of plotting only these pubs and no other map data is an easily identifiable map of Great Britain and Ireland. It also seems to closely resemble a population density map of Great Britain and Ireland.