Monday, February 19, 2018

The Carpooling Map of Europe


BlaBlaCar is an online carpooling service. It connects passengers looking to make a journey with car drivers who plan to take that route. Passenger and driver then share the cost of the trip. BlaBlaCar operates in 21 countries, most of which are in Europe.

BlaBlaCar has around 60 million users and it matches lots of passengers with car drivers willing to give lifts. For example last month 39,752 BlaBlaCar drivers passed through Paris on route to other locations. You can view how many rides passed by your location with BlaBlaCar's Destinations map.

Enter a location into the map and you can view all the trips which passed nearby in the last month. The map uses Mapbox's pitch feature to provide a neat oblique overview of the extent of all the journeys that passed through your selected location.

The Over Emotional Map of New York


Crying in Public is a crowd-sourced map of New York's emotions. A place to share those New York moments when everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

Sign in to Crying in Public and you can mark those New York locations where you too have felt overpowering emotions. To show what kind of emotional episode you experienced at your selected location you can choose from a number of different emojis. For example a broken heart emoji can be used to show the location of a break-up, a flame emoji can be used to show a spot where you were once fired or a green face can be used to mark a place where you have vomited.

The map was created with the Leaflet mapping library but uses the Google Street View Image API to show a static Street View image of emotional locations shown on the map.

If you like emojis with your maps then you might also like Air New Zealand's new #EmojiJourney map.

The Noise Map of Berlin 2018


Every five years, the Berlin Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection calculates the noise levels of every house in Berlin. The Berliner Morgenpost has used the data to create an interactive map showing road, public transit, airport and industrial noise throughout the city.

If you hover over any part of the Berlin Noise Map you can view the noise levels at that location. The information includes the recorded decibel levels for both day & night-time and a breakdown of the decibel levels from road and transit noise (and planes where relevant). The map does not include ambient neighborhood noise, for example from nearby pubs and nightclubs.

The map doesn't reveal too many surprises. As you might expect properties on the flight path into and out of Tegel Airport are among the noisiest. Elsewhere it seems that the busier the road you live on then the noisier it is (which makes sense when you're measuring road noise).

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Emoji Map Search


Air New Zealand has invented a new way to explore New Zealand. Just Tweet your favorite emojis to Air New Zealand and they will send you a personal interactive map of fun places to visit in New Zealand.

If you use the #EmojiJourney hashtag and three emojis in a Tweet then Air New Zealand will send you a link to a Google Map of New Zealand featuring recommended things for you to see and do - based on your choice of emojis. For example if you send a wine glass emoji, a bike emoji and a ski emoji you will be sent a link to a map showing wineries, great places to cycle and places to ski.

If you don't want to use Twitter you can just go to the #EmojiJourney map and search the tourist map of New Zealand by selecting your favorite emojis. You can even get your own emoji map by simply appending emoji symbols to the end of the map's URL.


Emojis can also be used as a simple universal non-written location coding system. For example, What3Emojis is a revolutionary new way of addressing the entire world using the only common language of the entire human race, the emoji.

With What3Emojis the Earth is divided into 4m x 4m squares which are randomly assigned a unique three-emoji combination. If you want to share your location with someone else all you need to do is send them the three emojis assigned to that location. They can then enter the emojis into What3Emojis and be shown that location on the interactive map. Simple!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saying Goodbye to the American Dream


California's 46th Congressional District is set to lose $529,600,000 from its annual GDP. Arizona's 7th Congressional District is set to lose $495,900,000 and Texas's 15th Congressional District will lose $411,800,000. This is the amount of local GDP which is contributed by non-citizen and DACA recipients. It is the amount of the local economy which could be lost if Trump is successful in phasing DACA out.

Esri has released an interactive map which visualizes the areas of the USA with the highest percentage of non-citizen residents & DACA recipients and the estimated economic impact that their removal will have on an area's GDP.

Using data from the American Community Survey and other sources, Esri's Where Will Changes to Immigration Policy Have the Greatest Potential Impact? visualizes the percentage of non-citizen foreign-born residents in each state, county, and city, along with information about sanctuary areas. The map also uses data from the University of Southern California to show which congressional districts have the largest number of DACA recipients and how their removal would effect the district's annual GDP. In many areas the percentage of non-citizen residents is very large and their removal will have a devastating effect on the local economy.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Redlining in Modern America


Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal black homeowners were discriminated against by redlining maps. These maps identified areas with significant black populations as risky for mortgage support. Black homeowners living in these areas were more unlikely to be successful when trying to refinance home mortgages using the government sponsored Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned racial discrimination in lending. However new research from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting shows that people of color still face discrimination when applying for property loans, particularly in a number of Southern cities. The year long analysis discovered that in 61 metro areas redlining is still effectively in place.

An interactive map in Reveal's For People of Color, Banks are Shutting the Door to Home Ownership identifies the locations of these 61 metro areas. If you click on any of the identified metro areas on the map you can discover what evidence Reveal discovered of discrimination in the area, including how much more likely black, Asian, Latino or Native American applicants were to be denied home loans than white applicants.


Another interactive map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition allows you to explore how the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) redlining maps are affecting cities today. The interactive map allows you to compare modern data about income status and the minority population with the HOLC's historical redlining security ratings.

Using the maps you can see if neighborhoods in your city with 'good' HOLC redlining ratings have remained largely white and wealthy or whether your city has become a beacon of social and racial equality.


You can view the original redlining maps on the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab website. The Home Owners' Loan Corporation was a government-sponsored corporation created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Its purpose was to refinance home mortgages which were in default to prevent foreclosure.

The HOLC is often cited as starting the practice of mortgage redlining. Redlining is the process of denying services to residents of certain areas based on the racial composition of those areas. Mapping Inequality, Redlining in New Deal America allows you to view the residential security maps created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments.

The areas marked in blue on the maps are the neighborhoods which were deemed desirable for lending purposes. The yellow areas show neighborhoods deemed 'declining' areas. The red areas are the neighborhoods considered the most risky for mortgage support.

The result of these redlining maps was that residents in the more affluent and largely white neighborhoods were far more likely to receive financing. Residents in the poorer and black communities were deemed more risky and were therefore less likely to receive financial support.

Most Popular Citi Bike Routes


The NYC Citi Bike App is a Leaflet based interactive map which allows you to explore the number of bikes borrowed and docked from each Citi Bike station. The interactive map visualizes the most popular stations and journeys for any time of day and day of the week.

Bike stations on the map are colored to show which of the docking stations have the most bikes borrowed from them during the selected times and days. Stations colored red have more bikes borrowed from them than are docked at them. This means that they lose bikes during the selected time. The green stations are stations where more bikes are docked than borrowed. These stations therefore end up with more bikes than they start with for the selected time period.

The orange lines show the most popular routes. If you follow the orange lines from any bike station you can see the most poplar journeys between that station and other New York bike stations. The data behind the map only shows where and when a bike was borrowed and docked. Therefore these orange lines don't show the actual routes between two bike stations.

The map includes the option to filter the data by time of day. Notice how the orange and green stations change during the morning and evening rush hours. In the morning the red stations (the ones losing bikes) tend to be on the outskirts of the Citi Bike network. In the evening commuting hours the red stations (the bike stations where more bikes are being borrowed than returned) are concentrated in the city center. This pattern obviously reflects the movement of people into the city in the morning for work and then traveling out of the city after work.

German Street Names


Back in January Zeit Online released a fascinating analysis of the most popular German street names. They have now extended their examination to explore what the names given to roads reveal about the past and how the attitudes of Germans have changed over the centuries.

In Streetscapes: Mozart, Marx and a Dictator Zeit Online explores how there is a distinct east-west split to some German street names, which owes a lot to the differing politics of the former East and West Germany, before reunification. One thing that is probably true in both east & west is that women are much less likely to be commemorated by having streets named for them than men. For example in Hamburg 2,511 streets are named after men and only 397 are named after women.

Zeit Online has also analysed which periods of history are commemorated in Berlin's street names. The most popular period is the period of the German Empire (1870–1918). The Nazi era is, for obvious reasons, very unpopular and "all street signs bearing the names of leading figures in the Nazi era have been removed." However you can still find street names from that period which "typify their ideology".

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mapping a Californian Wildfire


In January the Thomas Fire burned around 281,893 acres, becoming the largest wildfire in modern California history. The Los Angeles Times has used WebGL to visualize the spread of the fire and the damage it caused. The Thomas Fire: 40 Days of Devastation is a story map which provides a day-by-day account of the spread of the fire and its effect on Californian neighborhoods.

The LA Times visualization uses a WebGL powered 3d model of the area affected by the fire. Enhanced satellite imagery of the area has been overlaid on top of an elevation terrain model. The terrain and satellite imagery are very effective in visualizing both the size of the fire and the damage it caused.

A story map format has also been used to help explain the development of the fire and to highlight some of the areas most effected by the fire. As you progress through the story map you are told how the fire developed day-by-day, while the 3d map zooms in on different locations to highlight neighborhoods which suffered significant property damage.


WebGL can be a very effective way to visualize environmental damage or change. Satellite imagery overlaid on top of a 3d digital elevation model can provide the user with an easily recognizable representation of familiar terrain. You can view other effective examples in this post on WebGL models of potential rising sea levels.

How to Traumatize Your Baby & Get a Good Night's Sleep


Crying babies are a universal problem. Which is why every culture in the world has invented its own lullabies - those sweet sounding songs that are used to scare babies into silence.

If you listen to the words of most traditional lullabies you will quickly realize that while the tunes may be soothing the lyrics are frankly highly unsettling. In cultures around the world when people sing to babies they usually sing about babies being stolen, being haunted by frightening monsters or being brutally murdered.

For example in Indonesia parents sing to their children to warn them of the giants who search at night for crying children. Parents in Iceland sing to their children about the monsters outside hunting for children who do not stay in bed. In Haiti lullaby lyrics warn of a crab that likes to eat children who should be sleeping. While in Russia children are warned that if they sleep too close to the edge of the bed a wolf will come and drag them off into the woods.

You can listen to all these creepy lullabies from around the world on a new interactive map from Mattress Online. The World's Creepiest Lullabies allows you to listen to these lullabies and to read their disturbing lyrics. If you are inclined you could even traumatize your own children for life by singing them these songs while they try to sleep.