Saturday, January 31, 2015

Maps Styles for Maps


If you are looking to pimp your online maps you could consider using one of the many custom designed map tile sets already in existence. Companies such as Stamen, Mapbox and CartoDB have created many wonderful examples of custom designed map tiles.

Luckily most of the popular map providers use the same tileset URL scheme. So adding a different map tileset to your project is fairly straightforward, as long as you know the URL for the tileset you wish to use.

Map Tiles Viewer is a collection of ten of my favorite map tilesets. Using the map you can browse through some of the best existing custom map tiles. Each of the map styles is accompanied by the map tileset's URL scheme. So if you want to use one of these styles you just need to cut & paste the provided URL.

Before using any of these tilesets you should check the provider's usage conditions and, if you do use one, make sure that you include the correct attribution.

Global Search Trends


The Global Trend Map is a WebGl generated interactive globe showing the top current search trends on Google in countries around the world.

The top 10 hottest Google search trends for each country appear, one after the other, on the globe. You can select an individual country on the globe or from a drop down menu to zoom to that country. When you select an individual country an information window appears showing all the top ten search trends, for the selected country, in one list.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Mapping Space & TIme


I love the New York Public Library Digital Collection and its Map Warper project. The library's new project NYC Space/Time Directory sounds even more impressive.

Recently, while spending a lot of time exploring the library's historical map collection and vintage photographs of New York (during the making of New York Vintage Maps) I started thinking about what other historical records I could add to the map. I began formulating the idea of a comprehensive map timeline exploring the history of New York. The only problem is I have neither the time nor the resources to undertake such a huge project.

I was therefore over the moon when I heard today of the launch of the NYC Space / Time Directory. The library are calling the project 'a digital time-travel service for New York City' using historical maps, photographs, newspapers, business directories, literary references, census data, and much more. The library says it will be 'a searchable atlas of New York City's past stitched together from the pages of old maps. (Think Google Maps, with a time slider)'.

The project will start this year. For now the library are asking for anyone who might like to help to get in touch. To create the project they want to hear from interested data partners, developers & data wranglers and advisors.

The launch page for the NYC Space/Time Directory also makes great use of Mauricio Giraldo Arteaga's ScrollNYC. As you scroll down the project's launch page a series of static vintage maps of New York appear in reverse chronological order.

Oil Flares Seen from Space


SkyTruth has updated its map of Global Flaring. This map shows a heatmap of nightly, infrared satellite detections of natural gas flaring across the Earth.

For cost reasons oil producers frequently flare methane and other gases produced by oil wells rather than recover the gases. This flaring adds huge amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere and the gases themselves can often pollute the air.

The map animates through nightly detections of global flaring. The animation can be controlled using the timeline tool at the bottom of the map. The tool on the right side of the map can be used to choose whether to view individual detections, one day at a time, or a composite of all detections over multiple days. If you select more than one day the map shows all the flares detected on the date displayed and from all the preceding days.

The Global Flaring map requires a WebGL enabled browser.


The satellite measurements used in the Global Flaring map were made by the VIIRS sensor aboard NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite. NOAA has also used data captured by VIIRS to create an interactive map of the Earth's vegetation.

The Green Vegetation map visualizes the world's vegetation. The darkest green areas on the map are the locations with the lushest vegetation. The map uses a pale color for the Earth's oceans. I'm guessing this is because if 75% of the planet was colored blue this would detract from the vegetation being highlighted on the map.

You can read more about the vegetation data and how the map was created on the NOAA website.

Rabbie Burns' Tours of Scotland


The University of Glasgow has created a number of interactive maps to accompany the publication of the first volume of the new Oxford University Press Edition of 'The Works of Robert Burns'. The maps show the routes of Robert Burns’s tours in the Highlands and Borders of Scotland.

The Maps of Robert Burns’s Tours of the Highlands and Borders of Scotland use vintage map tiles of Scotland from the Map Collections division of the National Library of Scotland. Currently three of the interactive maps simply overlay the route of one of Burns's tours over an historic map of Scotland.

However the Robert Burns’s Tour of the Highlands, 25th August – 16th September 1787 map features an interactive route. In this interactive route map you can click on each of the way-points displayed on the map and read what Burns had to say about the places he visited during this tour of the Highlands.

Punk Mapping


London's Burning plots the origins of some of London's finest punk bands. It also allows you to listen to a song by each of the mapped bands.

This map has featured on Maps Mania before, but since then it has switched over to using Mapbox's Wheatpaste map tiles. The Wheatpaste map style was itself inspired by the cut & paste, collage style of music flyers & posters, popular with punk and new wave bands.


I've always liked the London's Burning map and this switch to the Wheatpaste map tiles seems entirely appropriate.


Razibus is a Leaflet.js map of upcoming Punk, Ska and Hardcore concerts and festivals in France. Alternative music fans can use the calendar in the side-bar to view upcoming gigs for any week, simply by clicking on a date on the calendar

If you select a marker on the map you can click through to view the event details and view the concert's flyer or poster. Razibus also contains an archive of alternative music gigs going back to 2007. It is therefore a great resource for anyone interested in alternative music in France or for those who love Punk poster and flyer art.


I have a theory that the makers of the Manchester Music Map set out to map the world's best rock bands. Then, after completing Manchester, realized that the job was done.

The four greatest rock bands of all time, The Buzzcocks, The Stone Roses, Joy Division and The Smiths all started their careers in the city of Manchester. After mapping Manchester the creators of the Manchester Music Map obviously decided that their work was done.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Map Poster Maker


There seems to be a growing movement to turn interactive digital maps back into paper maps. When they look this good it is easy to see why.

Mapiful is a new website which allows you to create and order large prints of your favorite locations around the world. The Mapiful wizard allows you to search for any location on an OpenStreetMap, set the zoom level and define the text of your map print.

When you are happy with your creation you can then purchase your print for the sum of $55.

White Water Street View Ride


You can now go white water rafting on Street View along the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument. My immediate thought was to create a Hyperlapse of the ride. Unfortunately Hyperlapse only seems to work for roads with Street View. So I had to create my own little Street View scroll down the river using the Google Maps API and Waypoints.js.

The result is White Water. Just scroll up and down the page to progress along the river. I added an overlay to the Street View so you can visualize where the next trigger point is, which loads the next Street View image in the sequence.

I quickly got bored of creating this so I gave up after 20 minutes. Therefore the ride is very short. However once you get to the bottom of the page it is worth scrolling back to the top again to see the same route from the other direction. You can also just click on the Google logo and explore the rest of the river on Google Maps.

The OpenToiletMap


The Great British Public Toilet Map is a map of public accessible toilets in the UK. The map shows the location of the nearest public toilets and toilets that the public are free to use. This includes toilets in shops, cafes and other venues, if their proprietors allow their use by non-customers.

If you share your location with the Great British Toilet Map it will show all the nearby public toilets. The five nearest toilets to your current location are indicated on the map by numbered markers. If you select a toilet's marker you can view details on the facilities available, such as baby changing, wheelchair accessibility and whether there is a charge for use.

The Pee to Pee Network Map


On first viewing I must admit that I thought Airpnp was a funny, elaborate joke. The idea of a website pretending to let people hire out their toilets to anyone desperate for a pee had to be a spoof on Airbnb, right?

Well - no. It turns out that Airpnp is deadly serious. You can now sign-up your bathroom to Airpnp and set a fee for its use.

Anyone who has the app can fire up the Airpnp map when they are desperate to relieve themselves, find the nearest Airpnp bathroom, agree to pay the fee and then (if the bathroom's owner happens to be at home) they can knock on the front door and make use of the owner's toilet facilities.


Anyone who signs up their bathroom to Airpnp can set their own charge. You can charge a dollar for the use of your toilet or, if you want to take advantage of the desperate, you could set a fee of $50. Bathroom owners can post photos of their facilities. They can also provide a brief description of their bathroom and the facilities available.

Personally I don't think I'll be using Airpnp. I don't really want to take the risk of entering the houses of random strangers. The fact that Airpnp users have to sign-up with a credit card perhaps provides some level of safety but I still don't think I want to take the risk. Another drawback of Airpnp is that there is probably a fairly good chance that the bathroom owner will be out when you are most desperate to pee.

However not everyone thinks like me and of course Airpnp could prove a huge success. If so they can expect competition. I'm already thinking of buying the domain name for p-Bay - a website that auctions off the right to use my bathroom. I'm thinking that if I get two people who are both desperate to visit the bathroom at the same time I could really make my fortune.