Monday, August 31, 2015

Mapping a Game of Basketball


NBA Movement is an animated map which plots a passage of play during the Clippers vs Rockets game on May 12th, 2015.

The map uses data from stats.nba.com. Savvas Tjortjoglou has written up a nice tutorial explaining how you can extract the data from play by play movement animations at stats.nba.com. Jorge Sanz has used this tutorial to get the data for the Clippers vs Rockets game.

The data has been mapped and animated using CartoDB's Torque library. The result is a neat animated map which tracks the players of both teams and the ball during one passage of play during the game.


Player heatmaps are very popular in lots of different sports. In the NBA shooting heatmaps can be used to reveal the individual shooting patterns of different players, showing where they are most dangerous on the court. 2014-15 NBA Regular Season : Field Goal Shooting Patterns is a CartoDB map that shows the shooting heatmaps of five players during the 2014-15 season.

Using the map you can view and compare the shooting heatmaps of Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and LeBron James.


It is also possible to use CartoDB's Torque library to create animated heatmaps. For example, this CartoDB Referee Map is an animated heatmap of one soccer referee's movements during a soccer game. The map uses CartoDB's Torque library to animate the referee's movements over the ninety minutes of the match. If you pause the animation and move the timeline to the beginning of the game you can see the full GPS track of the referee over the ninety minutes without the heatmap layer.

Mapping Uber in New York


FiveThirtyEight has published data on over 4.5 million Uber pickups in New York City from April to September 2014. The data also includes data on 10 other for-hire vehicle companies.

Bill Morris has used the data to create an animated map of Uber pickups for the week beginning April 1st 2014. One week of Uber Pickups in 15 Seconds uses CartoDB's Torque engine to visualize the patterns of pickups by time and day. The timeline shows the day currently being visualized on the map but not the time of day. However you can spot a significant drop in pickups at certain times every day. My guess is that this drop-off in pickups is during the very early hours of each morning.


Bill's map shows the temporal patterns in Uber pick-ups in New York City. Another map, by Mapbox's Eric Fischer, shows the geographical distribution of the pickups for the whole six months worth of data. Uber NYC Pickups, Apr-Sep 2014 provides a dot density view of all Uber pickups across the city.

Both maps are great initial visualizations of the data obtained by FiveThirtyEight. It will be interesting to see what other maps are created with this data. For example, I'd like to see Eric's map with some New York demographic data layers. It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between the number of pickups and the average income levels in a neighborhood.

Another interesting visualization would be a comparison of the Uber pickups data with the yellow taxi data for the same six months. The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission has released the data for all completed yellow taxi and green cab trips between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, so it is possible to make a map with both sets of data.

Patterns of Longitude


Enter your address into A Place to Departure and you can create your very own work of art. The artwork that you create is a pattern generated from your latitude and longitude. This means that no-one else in the whole world will have the same pattern as you.

A Place to Departure is an experiment in creating Location Based Generative Art. The main focus of this art project was the creation of two art installations, one in Beijing, China, and the other in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The installations consisted of a large interactive glass screen placed in each city. When a person touched the glass screen in Beijing or Sao Paulo the glass screen in the other city would vibrate at the equivalent point on the glass.

The result was that people in either city could feel the interactions of people on the other side of the world.

The glass screens were accompanied by patterns made from wood. These patterns were created by algorithms based on the geographic coordinates of where the installations were located. The A Place to Departure website includes a Google Map which allows you to create your own location based pattern by simply typing in an address.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mapping New York's Homeless


I'm not sure what to make about this crowd-sourced map of New York's homeless citizens. The NYC Map the Homeless app encourages people to take photos of homeless people in New York City and share the results on the NYC Map the Homeless Google Map.

A few weeks ago Google banned a map of refugee centers in Germany because it was seen as encouraging attacks on migrants in the country. I assume that the creators of this homeless spotting app don't want to encourage attacks on homeless people in New York. However I do find it slightly disturbing that they are encouraging people to take photos of the homeless. This seems unnecessarily degrading for those forced to live on the streets and potentially dangerous for those taking the pictures.

NYC Map the Homeless argue that the data gathered will help the 'authorities ... quickly identify locations of concern and act in a timely manner'. I'd like to think that there are better ways to help the homeless of New York than this app.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mapping LA's 20 Year Mobility Plan


The Los Angeles City Council has released a new Mobility Plan designed to decrease the use of cars and improve conditions for the city's cyclists and pedestrians. The plan includes hundreds of miles of new bike lanes, bus lanes and other road redesigns.

The LA Times has mapped out proposals in the plan so that you can see the affect on the city's roads. The How will L.A.'s transit overhaul affect you? map shows the proposed bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes and streets where the council plans to restrict parking.

You can search the map by location. You can also filter the results on the map to view changes which will affect cycling, buses and parking.

Mapping UK Immigration Levels


Yesterday the UK government released figures showing that net migration (the balance between immigration and emigration) in the last year has reached its highest ever level of 330,000.

1 in 8 UK residents were born overseas. In my neighborhood in East London over half the population was born outside the UK. Four other London boroughs also have populations where over 50% of the residents were born overseas.

The Office of National Statistics has released an interactive map which allows you to view the percentage of the population in each local authority area who were born outside the UK. The What are migration levels like in your area? map uses data from the 2014 Population Survey to present a choropleth view of migrant levels in each local authority area.

You can search the map by Local Authority area. If you mouse-over an area on the map you can view the percentage of the population who were born overseas.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mapping the Gentrification of San Francisco


UC Berkeley, in collaboration with researchers at UCLA, have released a new interactive map to visualize and predict where gentrification and displacement is happening in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The map shows that more than half of low-income households in the San Francisco Bay Area live in "neighborhoods at risk of or already experiencing displacement and gentrification pressures".

The UCB Urban Displacement Project Map uses data from the census, various other sources and the project's own research. The initial map view visualizes the projects own 'Displacement Typologies' showing the San Francisco Bay Area neighborhoods undergoing displacement and gentrification.

The map also includes a number of other data layers which allow you to explore San Francisco demographic data, changes in house and rental prices, employment density, income levels and the proportion of  renter households.

Mapping the Illegal Trade in Elephant Tusks


National Geographic hid GPS trackers inside artificial elephant tusks in order to track the trade routes used in the illegal smuggling of ivory. Tracking the Illegal Tusk Trade maps the journey of the artificial tusks from the south east of the Central African Republic to Ed Daein in Sudan.

The tusks were transported 592 miles in total. At their latest known location the temperature sensors in the tusks suggest they are now being held inside a building or buried beneath the ground.

As well as showing the route taken by the smugglers of the artificial tusks this National Geographic interactive includes maps of elephant poaching hotspots in Africa, the trade routes used by the smugglers and the main locations where the tusks are exported from Africa to Asia.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ten Years After Katrina


Ten years after Hurricane Katrina struck new Orleans, Esri has released a Story Map which examines the effect of the hurricane on the city and how the city has attempted to rebuild itself.

Katrina +10 includes six main sections; The Katrina Diaspora, Flooding, Physical Damage, Population Shift, Steady Restoration and Neighborhood Reference Map. The 'Flooding' and 'Physical Damage' sections allow you to view maps of the flooding caused by the hurricane and the huge number of buildings in the city which were tagged for demolition in the city after the disaster.

The Katrina Diaspora section shows where the one million displaced Louisiana residents moved to after the hurricane devastated the city. The Population Shift visualizes the effect of this evacuation on each New Orleans neighborhood.

The Steady Restoration section of the map uses postal data to show the percentage of homes in each neighborhood now receiving mail.


In an article entitled, Is New Orleans in danger of turning into a modern-day Atlantis?, The Guardian newspaper places Hurricane Katrina into the context of over a century of engineering projects which are causing the Louisiana wetlands to disappear and which result in New Orleans being more susceptible to flooding.

The article includes historical aerial imagery and maps which show the historical loss of the wetlands and the projected 1,750 square miles that Lousiana is expected to lose in the next 50 years. Louisiana is currently losing a football field of land every 48 minutes.

Using historical aerial imagery from NASA and USGS, ProPublica has put together an impressive interactive mapped visualization of the effect of climate change and oil & gas exploration on the state of Louisiana.

Southern Louisiana is losing 16 square miles a year to the Gulf of Mexico. At the heart of ProPublica's map, Losing Ground, is a series of timeline visualizations of historical aerial imagery. These timelines allow you to observe the loss of land in Louisiana by comparing present day aerial imagery with aerial imagery going back to the 1930's.

For example, here is the area of Venice and West Bay as it looked in 1932:


Here's how the same area looks today:


Accompanying the aerial imagery are a series of interviews of people living and working in the affected areas. These interviews are supported by audio files and photos. In combination the audio, photos, interviews and aerial imagery of Louisiana's land loss provide a powerful report into this ongoing environmental disaster.

Mapping Worldwide Fossil Finds


The PBDB Navigator is an interactive map which allows you to explore worldwide fossil discoveries by location, time and taxonomy. The map provides a really easy to use navigational tool to browse the global Paleobiology Database.

Each dot on the map represents a collection of fossils. If you select a dot on the map you can view detailed information on the fossil collection number, number of occurrences, the time period, the location and the reference of where these occurrences came from.

Beneath the map is a geological timeline which allows you to filter the map by a specific geologic time period. If you select a time period from the timeline the timeline will zoom in to the selected timescale. You can now select a time period to filter the map to only show fossil records from your chosen geologic time.


You can also use the 'paleogeography' button in the main map menu to change the map view from the modern world map to a paleo continental map for your selected geologic time.

You can also search the fossil records by specific organism using the 'taxa browser' button in the map menu. This allows you to filter the records by taxonomic name. For example you could search for the genus 'Canis' to show only Canis fossils on the map.

You can combine the taxonomy and geologic time filters to search for specific species fossils within a defined time period. For example, you could select the genus 'Canis' from the taxonomic filter and the period 'Cenozoic' from the geologic timeline to view a map of all the Canis fossils found around the world from the Cenozoic period.