Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Time Traveling in Street View


Now that Google Maps are offering you the chance to go back in time and re-visit updated Street View imagery I thought it might be an appropriate moment to remind you of my own Street View time-traveling map.

There and Then superimposes vintage film footage on top of Street View to help transport you back to a different age. Using the map you can view vintage film of 1930's San Francisco, London in the 1920's and New York in the 1900's. The map also includes a number of other vintage videos from locations across the globe, all of which you can view on the same scene today - as captured by Google Maps Street View.

Time Travel with Street View

Over the next few days the new look Google Maps is rolling out a new feature to all users, which will allow you to travel back in time with Street View.

Now when you browse Street View on Google Maps you might spot a clock icon in the upper left-hand corner of the Street View image. When you click on the clock you will be able to browse through and view historical Street View images that Google has since updated.



Using this new feature you will be able to view buildings as they grow or visit locations which have recently been hit by natural disasters (such as L'Aquila in Italy or Onagawa, Japan) and view before and after Street View images from the selected location.

Google has experimented before with allowing users to revisit older and since updated Street View imagery. After the Japanese earthquake and tsunami Google Japan released Memories for the Future, which allows you to compare pre and post earthquake Street View imagery for much of northern Japan.

The Music Genre Heat Map


Movoto has created an interactive map that visualizes the popularity of different music genres throughout the USA.

The All American Music Map displays heat maps showing the popularity of a number of different genres of music by location. The map reveals that the spiritual home of Indie and Punk is on the West Coast. Unsurprisingly Country music seems most at home in Nashville.

Movoto has also broken down the data behind the map to look at the most popular music genres in some of America's largest cities.

Enter the Story Map Competition

Using Esri Story Maps is a simple way to create interesting mapped narratives about any subject. Esri Story Maps provide a number of easy to use templates that allow you to combine map and satellite views with multimedia and other interactive features to create an interactive mapped presentation.

Now Story Map users can also enter the Esri Storytelling with Maps Contest. There are four different categories and Esri will provide first, second, and third place prizes in each category. The categories are:
  • Best Conservation, Environment & Sustainability Story Maps
  • Best Travel & Destinations Story Maps
  • Best Culture, History & Events Story Maps
  • Best Science, Technology & Health Story Maps
The best overall map will win the grand prize of a one year ArcGIS Online subscription (5 users) and a winner's plaque & certificate. The other prizes include one year subscriptions to the Smithsonian Magazine.

My nomination for the best Culture, History & Events Map would have been the Smithsonian's own map of the Decisive Moments in the Battle of Gettysburg. However I'm not sure they will be eligible to enter if they are sponsoring the prizes.

Therefore I think this Esri Story Map of Minard's flow chart of Napoleon's March on Moscow
could have a good chance of winning. The map presents Minard's flow chart on an Esri map and narrates some of the important events during the military campaign.

Unfortunately there seems to be a bug in the map that prevents the map tiles being shown when the map is zoomed out. This means that you have to keep zooming in on the map to view the map tiles. If you want to see a zoomed out mapped visualization of Minards' flow chart you can check out Napoleon's March.

This Leaflet reworking of Minard's flow map is a good attempt at a slippy map visualization of the Napoleonic army's movements and dwindling size. Unfortunately this map lacks Minard's temperature chart that visualized the freezing temperatures faced by Napoleon's army as they pushed eastwards.

If you want to see some more examples of Esri Story Maps then have a look at Google Maps Mania's recent Pick of Esri Story Maps.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Donut Holes in International Waters


Donut Holes in International Waters is an interactive map showing who has sovereignty over seas around the world.

The map also highlights 'doughnut holes', areas in the sea which lie within 200 nautical miles of two different countries but are of equal distance from each country. Doughnut holes are designated as international waters.

To create the map the author, Dmitriy Skougarevskiy, had to design an interactive map that included the state maritime borders defining each country's sovereignty over the world's seas. He also had to create his own bathymetry layer.

A post on the CartoDB Blog explains in some detail how Dmitriy created his beautiful looking maritime map.

Map Your Retirement


I really don't want to live in Florida but according to Map My Retirement that's where I should spend my golden years.

Map My Retirement asks you a series of questions about your lifestyle, pursuits and personal interests and then recommends where you should spend your retirement. For me the recommended location was Florida. Luckily, for those of us who don't like Map My Retirement's initial recommendation, you can also tell Map My Retirement where you want to live and it will then only suggest locations close to your preferred home.

All the recommended locations are displayed on an interactive map. If you click on the location markers on the map you can view details about the location and the estimated monthly cost to live there.

The Isodistance Google Map


The Road Network Isodistance Map is a Google Maps based experiment which shows the extent you can travel by road within a specified distance of a given location. If you enter a distance to travel and right click on the map to set the location the extent you can travel from that point on any road is shaded on the map in green.

The routing comes from OpenStreetMap and only works for Austin. Therefore if you click on the map outside of Austin you won't see any results.

You can also view isochrone maps for a number of locations at Travel Time (for a number of US cities) or Mapnificent ( major cities around the world).

Fusion Tables Map Wizards

One of the easiest ways to create a sophisticated mapped visualization of data is to use Google Fusion Tables. Simply throw your data into Fusion Tables, select the column to geocode and grab the embed code. You now have a map which you can add to your website.

You can even add labels to your map, a search box &/or drop-down menu to query the data displayed on the map and you can style the Google Map tiles to create a unique looking map. These added options can all be easily implemented if you use the following Fusion Tables Wizards.

FusionTablesLayer Builder

The FusionTablesLayer Builder is a great little wizard for creating a Google Map from a Fusion Table. To build your map all you need to do is add the embed link of your Fusion Table and specify the name of the column holding your location data. That's all there is to it! FusionTablesLayer Builder will now create the html for your finished map.

The wizard does provide a number of other useful options. You can set the height and width of your Google Map. You can also set the center location and the initial zoom level. A really nice option also lets you add a search box for your map or a drop-down menu. These options allow your map's users to query the results and refine the data shown on your map.

Fusion Map Generator

Fusion Map Generator is another clever wizard for Fusion Tables, which allows you to define the size and width of your map and then provides you with the full html to publish your finished map.

The Fusion Map Generator also includes the option to choose from a number of map styles, which allows you to create a map with a distinct look and feel.

Searchable Map Template

Derek Eder's Searchable Map Template is a free, open source tool that helps you create a searchable, filterable Google Map from a Fusion Table.

The template can create a Google Map pulling in data from any Fusion Table. It includes a number of features, including, an address search (with variable radius), geolocation (automatically center the map on the user's location), results count (using the Google's Fusion Tables API) and the ability to easily add additional search filters (checkboxes, sliders, etc).

Derek Eder's website includes a number of example maps created with the template. These include Derek's own maps, mainly centred on Chicago and lots of maps created by others with the template,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Route Planning & Risk Avoidance


Trip Risk is a neat route-planning map for Melbourne, Australia which displays the accident black spots along suggested routes. The map uses open sourced data on car crashes, from the State Government of Victoria, to not only suggest a driving route but also show you all the car crashes that have taken place along the route.

The crash markers along the suggested route are sized to represent the total number of crashes at each location. You can click on the crash markers to view the number of crashes at a location and the total number of people involved in crashes. A red dot signifies a crash that involved a fatality.

The results displayed on the map can be filtered by speed and by accident type.

Voronoi Heat Mapping


Biking from Place to Place is a neat visualization of Chicago's bike share network. The map uses a very clever Voronoi heat map technique which allows you to find out the number of bike trips from any bike station and view the most popular destinations from each station.

Select a bike station on the map and you can view a heat map showing the most popular destinations from that station. The map provides some interesting insights into the travel patterns of Divvy bike users. For example, if you select a bike station along Lake Michigan you quickly notice that most Divvy users borrow bikes here to cycle to other bike stations along the lake shore.

The heat map overlay uses a very clever Voronoi map technique which allows you to find the nearest bike station to any location. If you point to any location on the map the nearest bike station is automatically selected for you and the Voronoi heat map overlay also shows you the areas around the destination stations. This provides an insight into the likely final destinations of the bikes' users.