Friday, October 31, 2014

How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

1. Locate the Zombie Hordes

Even the most well prepared survivalist sometimes has to leave the safety of the base-camp and venture out on a food run. What you need on these dangerous occasions is a zombie locator map.

If you live in the US then you can use Trulia's Unnatural Hazards Map. This map provides a handy heat-map of areas infested by the zombie hordes. You can use the map to find the areas with the highest and lowest risk of zombies and to find out the location of official evacuation zones.

The Unnatural Hazards Map also includes options to view heat-maps of ghost sightings and vampire bites.

You might also want to bookmark the Map of the Dead. Just enter your address into Map of the Dead and you are presented with a handy map displaying the zombie danger zones around your home. The map also displays nearby places that are likely to have resources to help you survive once the zombies begin to take control.

If you live in the UK then you need the Zombie Invasion Map. This heat-map of the UK allows you to track the latest extent of the zombie invasion in the UK.

2. Zombie Fight Training

Before facing up to to the zombie hordes you should get in some zombie killing practice. Class 3 Outbreak is a neat Google Maps based zombie outbreak simulator that will help prepare you for the dangers of the road.

C3O gives players the impossible task of holding back waves of zombies with a hopelessly outnumbered police force. Your job is to stamp out infections as they appear on the map, and try to staunch the zombie threat for as long as possible.

Sometimes running from the zombie hordes is the only option. To survive on the streets you might just need to outpace the converging hordes of the undead. To practice your zombie avoidance skills you should use this Google Maps Street View application.

As you run around the streets in Street View Zombie Apocalypse you can view the approaching zombies in the inset Google Map. To stay alive you will need to outsmart them and avoid becoming trapped.

3. Zombie Induction

You may be able to protect your children from the zombie hordes for a while but eventually they will have to learn how to protect themselves. Nothing can prepare a zombie killing virgin for the frightening experience of face to face zombie combat quite like the Zombie Sound Experienz.

Zombie Sound Experienz uses the Business Photos Street View tour from the Zombie Manor in Drayton to create a creepy virtual tour, with full 3d sound. As you visit the different rooms in the Zombie Manor you will hear a variety of creepy sounds. Different zombies and rooms have different sounds attached to them, which get louder or quieter as you approach or travel away from them.

The Little Maps of Horror

Where are the Bodies? is a special Halloween mapped tour of cemeteries and graveyards around the world. So on this Halloween, if you fancy tracking down the ghost of a celebrity, this Esri Story Map can show you where the famous and infamous are buried.

The map shows the final resting place of a number of gangsters and criminals around the world. If the thought of running into the ghost of such dangerous individuals is a little too frightening you can also use the map to track down the graves of other famous individuals, including a number of actors, writers and artists.

Transylvania will forever be associated with the ghastly tale of Dracula. If this Esri map is anything to go by then there are many other locations around the world which may also struggle to shake off their association with fictional horrors.

The Geography of Horror is a map of the settings of 200 of the top-rated horror films on IMDB. Users can filter the films displayed on the map by the date of release. The posters of the films can be viewed in the map sidebar and if you click on a film's marker on the map you can read a synopsis of its plot.

The Horror Map is a Google Map showing the locations of 500 horror movies from all over the world.

You can use the map to zoom in on your location and find out the horror movies that have been set closest to you. The map sidebar also includes an index of entries on the map. If you select the 'See more mapped locations' link a menu appears which allows you to find out the locations of individual horror movies alphabetically.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Crowdsourced Bike Accident Map

Only about 30% of biking accidents are ever reported. This makes it difficult to accurately identify accident hot-spots for cyclists. BikeMaps want to help overcome this problem by providing a centralized reporting system, where cyclists can map the location of cycling incidents.

BikeMaps consists of a Leaflet map of cycling traffic and user submitted cycling incidents. The rider volume layer shows where there is the most cycling traffic, using data provided by Strava. Cycling incidents are shown on the map using colored map markers. The colors of the markers show whether the incident was a collision, near miss or a bike theft.

The map also includes a heat-map option which allows you to visualize the most dangerous biking locations based on the submitted incident reports.

The Crowd-Sourced Weather Map

The Netatmo Weather Station for Smartphone is a clever weather monitoring system which measures temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and noise levels. The monitor connects with your computer or smartphone via WiFi so that you can access all the data recorded via the Netatmo app.

The Netatmo Weather Map allows you to view all the data from Netatmo weather monitoring stations throughout the world. Open up the Netamo Weather Map and you can view at a glance the current temperature around the world. You can also switch the map to display rainfall data by selecting the raindrop icon at the bottom-left of the map.

If you select an individual weather station on the map you can view a graph of the temperature, humidity, air pressure and rainfall recorded by the station. You can also view a three day weather forecast for the selected location, as provided by WeatherPro.

Story Mapping Spatial Analysis

This Story Map from Esri is a really interesting introduction to spatial analysis. The map guides you through some of the spatial analysis that you might undertake if you were planning to open up a new retail store, examining factors such as population, income distribution and travel time which might effect the store's location.

An Example of Spatial Analysis runs through some of the spatial analysis which you might undertake if you wanted to open a new store in St. Louis. As you progress through the story map a number of map overlays are added to the map to help explain whether opening a new store in St. Louis would be a good idea.

The story map examines St. Louis' travel times from city blocks to the location of the new store, the population distribution in the city and the median household income levels in the city. An Example of Spatial Analysis also examines how you might use exploratory regression and ordinary regression to determine which of these factors are the most important in predicting potential sales in the new store.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Joined-Up Maps

I've been very critical lately about the lack of development of the Google Maps JavaScript API. We've had to wait a long time for any new features to be added to the API. Today, however, Google has announced a new feature and it's a good one!

Signed-in Maps allows your users to sign-in to your Google Maps API applications with a Google account. Once signed-in users will be able to see their Google Maps saved places (for example their home and work addresses) on your Google Maps application. They will also be able to save locations from your location, which will then display on the official Google Maps website.

Save a location on a Google Maps API app & it will then show up on the Google Maps website or phone app

The simplest example of this in action might be a store locator or a 'where we are' map. You could use the Google Maps API to create a simple map to show potential customers the location of your business. If you use the new Signed-in Maps feature on your map your users will be able to save the location of your business through their Google account. Then, when the user wants to find your business, they can open Google Maps on their mobile phone and see your business starred on their map.

As you can see in the screenshot above the saved location not only displays on the main Google Maps website it also shows which Google Maps API application it was saved on.

The new Signed-in Maps feature has a number of great potential uses. For example, if you now create a map of local restaurants you can allow your users to save the restaurants that they fancy visiting. They can then view all their saved restaurants on any Google Maps site.

The Signed-in Maps feature has two main methods for signed-in users to save locations. You can allow users of your map to save a location by adding a simple 'save' option to an information window.  Alternatively you can add a Save Widget, which allows you to place the save option outside of an information window.

The only real restriction I can see to saving locations at the moment is that a location must have a Google Places id. This means that if a business or location doesn't have a placeId it cannot be saved.

The Continents of Reddit

The Internet Map is one of my all time favorite maps created with the Google Maps API. The map visualizes the 350,000 largest websites in the world.

The circles on this map represent individual websites on the Internet. The size of the circle being determined by the amount of traffic on the website, The larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. The location of websites on the map is determined by the links between sites. The more traffic that is generated from links between different websites then the closer the websites are displayed on the map.

This geographical grouping by the strength of links between the different websites creates an interesting map where it is possible to distinguish distinct communities on the Internet.

The Reddit World Map is a similar interactive map, this time visualizing the communities of the 'front page of the Internet'. The Reddit World Map represents every subreddit as a dot. Subreddits are located close to each other on the map when many users comment or post on both subreddits.

The subreddits with many connections are mapped in red and those with few connections are mapped in blue. By grouping the subreddits by user activity clear communities of Reddit users emerge on the map. In fact the blog post introducing the map includes an interesting static version of the map where the continents of Reddit are picked out on the map.

Sentiment Mapping

Twitter is a great resource for researching language use and people's moods. The Geography of Hate, by Dr. Monica Stephens of Humboldt State University, is one of the best examples of a map which analyses Twitter messages to identify specific sentiments.

The Geography of Hate map shows the rough location of every geocoded tweet in the United States, from June 2012 - April 2013, which contained one or more of ten 'hate words'. Users of the map can view three different heat maps, one for homophobic tweets, one for racist tweets and one for anti-diasablity tweets. The user can also view individual heat maps for any one of the ten offensive words.

London Feels is a map visualizing how Londoners feel based on their Twitter messages. The map shows the location of Twitter messages inside the M25 which contain a number of key words indicating some kind of sentiment (e.g. 'terrible', 'bad', 'good', 'awesome' etc).

Positive tweets are shown on the map in blue, negative tweets shown in red and average feeling tweets are shown in purple. Unlike The Geography of Hate map there is no human analysis of the Twitter messages. Therefore the map obviously shows a lot of messages where people are expressing a judgement upon something rather than a sentiment about their own state of being (e.g. 'that movie is terrible').

A more scientific approach is taken by Mappiness. Two academics at the London School of Economics are carrying out research into how the environment affects people's happiness. To help them gather the data for this research they launched an iPhone app to track how people are feeling.

If you download the app you will receive a notification between one and five times a day. The notification will ask you to open the app, briefly report how you're feeling and who you're with, where you are, and what you're doing. If you're outdoors and you're happy, you'll also be asked to take a photo of your surroundings.

Anyone can keep an eye on the research being gathered by checking out the Mappiness Google Map. The map shows the outdoor places where Mappiness users have most recently reported feeling happy. If you click on an information window you can also view the photograph taken at that happy moment.

Weather Sentiment Prediction is a clever Google Maps based application that can tell you how people feel about the weather at any location.

You can select a location on the application by dragging the map marker and adjusting the radius of the search area. Once you hit the 'search' button the application begins to analyse Tweets from that area which mention the weather. Each message is machine analysed to determine whether it is a positive or negative response to the weather.

A smiley face and an unsmiley face at the top of the Twitter stream give an indication of the overall response to the current weather.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The New Zealand Dot Map

Mapping the Young Adults of New Zealand is a density dot map visualizing the population change of young Kiwis between 2001 and 2013. Each dot on the map signifies the increase or decrease of one person aged between 20-34 in a census unit. The map also allows you to view the population growth and decreases of all ages.

Looking at the 'all ages' data the map reveals that both in urban areas and many rural areas the total population mostly increased between 2001 and 2013. However the map tells a different story when you look only at the population changes among young people. The areas where young people increased in population are mainly in New Zealand's urban areas.

Mapping the Hills of San Francisco

This San Francisco Streets by Slope map shows you the location of San Francisco's steepest streets and also shows you how you can route around them. The map can therefore be used as a quick guide to avoiding the city's biggest hills.

Roads on the map are colored by the gradient of the climb. Red indicates the steepest streets and the flattest streets are shown in green. If you click on two locations on the map you can view a route which avoids the steepest climbs.

You might not love climbing hills but you just might love travelling downhill. In that case you might want to use the Hill Mapper San Francisco, which makes great use of the Google Maps API Elevation Service to show the direction of slopes on San Francisco's streets.

The uphill streets are colored red and the blue streets go downhill. The darker the color of the street, the steeper the hill. If you move your location on the map the colors of the streets dynamically update to reflect the new directions of the slopes, relevant to your new position.

If you really hate hills you can also use the Flat Route Finder to find cycling routes that avoid the steepest slopes. The Flat Route Finder uses the Google Maps elevation service to suggest the flattest possible cycling route. Two elevation graphs are also provided to show you the steepest parts of the route and the route itself is color-coded to show you the easiest and most difficult stages of your journey.

If you don't like the look of the suggested route (or perversely you want to find the steepest route) you can drag the route around to view the elevation and the difficulty of alternative routes.

Bikesy is another great bike routing application that can help you find the flattest, safest or fastest routes anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bikesy can provide you with bike routes that may be slightly longer than the quickest route but include less steep climbs. Each route comes with an elevation profile for your ride, so you can tell in advance where and when you will face the toughest climbs.

For each request Bikesy suggests a number of different routes. You can choose from the flattest route, a route that takes in reasonable climbs or routes that take in the steepest hills. You can also choose the 'safe', safer' or 'safest' route, which takes into account bike lanes and paths.