Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to Degentrify Your Neighborhood


Back in 2015 Sam Floy invented an algorithm which could work out which neighborhoods were becoming gentrified and which were becoming more salubrious. His basic formula simply looked at the ratio of coffee shops to fried chicken restaurants to determine the desirability of a neighborhood. The Guardian has now refined Sam's algorithm to help identify neighborhoods which are undergoing de-gentrification.

In How to know if where you live is “up and coming”: fried chicken vs. coffee shops Floy compared heat maps of coffee & fried chicken shops to identify the areas with more coffee shops. The areas with more coffee shops are the areas that Floy believes are more salubrious. He then overlaid these areas on a property value heat map in order to identify which of these areas are in parts of London where it is relatively cheaper to buy property.

The Guardian has discovered that you can cancel out the coffee shop number in the gentrification equation. In fact all you really need to know in order to determine the desirability of a neighborhood is the number of fast food restaurants in the area.

In Fast Food England the Guardian has mapped out the number of fast food restaurants per 1,000 residents in each postcode area in England & Wales. After mapping the concentration of fast food restaurants the Guardian discovered that the most deprived areas in the UK tend to have the highest concentration of food food restaurants and the least deprived areas have the fewest.

You can enter a postcode or location into the map to find out the number of local fast food restaurants to 1,000 people, how that compares to the national average and the total number of takeaways in the area. You can also find out whether the number of fast food restaurants in the area has increased or decreased over the last three years. You can determine if your area has become more or less gentrified by discovering if the number of local fast food restaurants has gone down or up.

Therefore if you want to help de-gentrify your neighborhood you need to open up a local fast food restaurant. Might I suggest a fried chicken restaurant.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Desire Named Streetcar


In 1872 the Denver Horse Railway Company built the city's first streetcar line. Over the following decades more and more lines were added until Denver had a streetcar network which covered much of the city. Unfortunately the arrival of the motorcar led to the longtime decline of the city's streetcar transit system.

You can explore how Denver's streetcar network grew and also observe its decline on Denver's Streetcar Legacy and its Role in Neighborhood Walkability. A timeline control allows you to view how the city's streetcar network grew in the city from its inception in 1872 through to its end in 1950. As the timeline plays out you can see when the all the different lines were opened and closed.

Despite its demise Denver's streetcar network has had a lasting impact on the city's environment and the walkability of its neighborhoods. This interactive map also explores how the streetcar network effected the city's design and what the author calls 'Pedestrian Oriented Commercial Buildings'.


For some reason I've always imagined that there were a lot more streetcar lines in San Francisco. The good news is that there are actually more routes now than in 1960. However the present coverage is not a patch on the number of streetcar routes that existed in the city back in 1940.

Where the Streetcars Used to Go is a lovely interactive map which allows you to view the streetcar transit network as it existed in 1940 & 1960 and as it exists today. Streetcar fans will be delighted to learn that the map also allows you to view vintage photos of streetcars in San Francisco.

You can actually browse through these wonderful photos of San Francisco's historical streetcars by the different streetcar routes. If you click on a streetcar route on the map the photos, running along the bottom of the map, are filtered to only show photos taken along the chosen line. The name of the selected route is also displayed on the map alongside the dates when the route was operational.


Interactive maps don't have to be complicated. Sometimes you can create a lot with just a few features. A case in point is the BC Electric Railway Map.

With only a few polylines on a custom designed basemap the BC Electric Railway Map has produced a beautiful looking visualization of Vancouver's BC Electric Railway Company transit network, as it looked in the early Twentieth Century. The map plots the historical interurban and streetcar lines of the network between 1890 to 1958. It also contains a few photos and Street Views of modern day Vancouver showing how some of the company's historical buildings and lines look today.

Of course there is a actually a little more to this map than a few polylines. It also includes some very well designed map interactions. For example, if you click on a map marker, the map uses Mapbox's GL's map rotation capabilities to zoom-in, tilt and rotate the map to provide a close-up view of the selected location. The map rotation itself is tracked by a gorgeous vintage looking compass rose, which shows the current map orientation.

I also like how the map content slides in and out in the map sidebar when you select a marker on the map. There isn't a lot of content on the map at the moment but the presence of the 'Chapter 1. - Stay Tuned' button suggests that there is more to come from the BC Electric Railway Map.

Why is the Bus Always Late?


German newspaper Tagesspiegel has been investigating the punctuality of Berlin's buses, trams and subway trains. They wanted to know which lines, bus-stops and stations had the best and worst punctuality problems. They also wanted to know why some buses are always late and why some trams are always on time or even early.

Why is the Bus Late? includes an interactive map which allows you to explore the punctuality record of every stop and station on Berlin's public transit network. Select any transit line on the map and each station on the line will be shown with a small graph showing how often the buses, trams or trains are on time, early or late. You can select a station on the map to view the exact percentages. You can even change the direction of travel to view the punctuality of the vehicles travelling in each direction on the line.

It turns out that trains in Berlin are pretty good at arriving on time but buses are often late. Why are the buses often late? It's all the fault of the trains.

Apparently when the train lines are forced to close, for maintenance or for emergencies, replacement bus services are provided for the train passengers. This takes buses and drivers away from the normal bus routes. Therefore one reason that buses sometimes run late in Berlin is because they are covering for the trains.

Airbnb in Berlin


In 2008 the first Berlin apartment was listed on Airbnb. It is estimated that there are now around 10,000 properties in Berlin being rented out on Airbnb. You can view where and when all 10,000 properties were listed on Airbnb on a new interactive animated map.

Airbnb in Berlin is an animated map which shows the growth of the Airbnb market in Berlin from 2008 to the present day. As the animation plays you can watch as properties are added to the map by the date of their listing. Every dot on the map shows when a property was first added to Airbnb and the name of the property's owner.

Unfortunately the map doesn't include a timeline control. It would be useful to be able to adjust the date visualized on the map. For example this would be useful for exploring the effect of Berlin banning whole properties from being listed on Airbnb from May 2016. It would also be useful to view some other visualizations of the data, for example a heat map view showing where in the city the most properties are listed.


Airbnb vs Berlin is a much better data driven investigation into the popularity of Airbnb in Berlin and the possible effect it is having on affordable housing in the city.

Among the interactive maps used to illustrate this investigation is Airbnb Streets. The map highlights the streets in Berlin with more than 20 Airbnb offers and reveals that many of the properties listed on Airbnb are in popular tourist areas. In particular there is a high concentration of properties in areas that are popular with young travelers.


Another interactive map in the article visualizes the number of Airbnb listings by neighborhood. This choropleth map shows in which areas of the city more flats and rooms are offered on Airbnb. The Reuterkiez area in Neuk├Âlln is the most active neighborhood on Airbnb with 476 rooms and flats listed within only a few blocks.

A third map shows the locations of properties by the top 10 'power users' in Berlin. There is one user who lists 44 separate properties in Berlin on Airbnb. This rise in 'super users' suggests that Airbnb is being used as a business tool. It appears that more and more Airbnb listings are being rented on a commercial level by landlords exploiting the service to make higher profits from short term rentals rather than from renting out their properties to long term tenants.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Rubbish Map of the Week


Litterati is an iOS and Android app which is used for logging the location of litter found on the streets. Using the app anyone can take a quick photo and report any litter that they find. The photo is then added to the worldwide Litterati interactive map.

The app has already proved hugely successful around the world. The Litterati interactive map already has nearly half a million reports in the United States and over 100,000 reports in Europe. After taking photos users of the app are meant to dispose of the litter in a responsible manner. If they do this then that is a lot of litter which has already been removed from the world's streets.

Users of the app are also encouraged to log the type of litter (plastic, cigarettes, cans, glass etc) and the manufacturers and brands of the litter. Marlboro, MacDonalds and Coke are the three leading brands so far whose discarded cigarette butts, wrapping and cans have been found on the streets around the world. This suggests that these brands have a lot more work to do to encourage their customers to not litter the streets.

Litterati claim that users have also created groups to crowd-source the identification and cleaning of particularly dirty neighborhoods in their towns and cities. City authorities have also used the app to identify the levels of cigarette butts on the streets in order to determine tax levels to charge on cigarettes.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Where the UK is Getting Old


The UK is getting old. Although some areas of the country are managing to stay relatively young. In 2016 18% of the population were aged 65 and over. 2.4% were aged 85 and over. As lifestyles & healthcare improve and people continue to have children later in life the percentage of the elderly is expected to increase. You can see how and where on a new map from the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS's UK Population Age map shows the percentage of the UK population over 65, over 85 and the old age dependency ratio at local authority level. The map allows you to view the percentage of the aged population by year for 1996, 2006 and 2016. It also allows you to view the projected growth in the percentage of the population over 65 and 85 for the years 2026 and 2036.

The map reveals that there are geographical differences in the proportion of the local population with high percentages of older or younger people. The bigger cities tend to have a higher proportion of younger people than more rural locations. This presumably reflects a tendency for people to live in cities for work and then move to more rural areas when they retire. Many local authorities in the south have the highest proportions of elderly people, indicating that these are popular areas to retire.

If you want to know how your local authority compares to the rest of the country you can select it on the map. You can then view charts showing how your authority compares to the national average for the percentage of the population over 65 and over 85.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Animated Race Maps


Back in 2013 the New York Times created an impressive animated mapped visualization of the America's Cup Finale between the USA and New Zealand. The America’s Cup Finale: Oracle’s Path to Victory showed the progress of the race between the two yachts from start to finish.

The America's Cup 2013 Finale: An Animated Map is a lovingly created and accurate reproduction of the NYT's map using Leaflet.js. The map allows you to replay the whole finale between the two sailing teams. The map even includes the wind speed and wind direction for the whole race.

If you like this animated map visualization and are interested in creating a similar animated race map then you can view the entire America's Cup project on GitHub.


Over 35,000 people competed in last year's Berlin Marathon. You can see how every one of those competitors fared in an animated map of the race, created by the Berliner Morgenpost.

The Berlin Marathon 2016 map animates every single runner in the Berlin Marathon on top of a map of the race's route. As the animation plays out you can watch all 35,827 of the athletes as they complete the course.

The animated map of the Berlin Marathon 2016 was created using the PixiJS HTML5 engine.

If you are interested in mapped visualizations of sports then you might also like The New Age of Sports Visualization.

Detroit's Deadliest Days


50 years ago, in July 1967, a riot broke out in Detroit which lasted five days. By the time the riot ended 43 people were dead, 1,189 were injured, over 7,200 people had been arrested and more than 2,000 buildings had been destroyed.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Riot the Detroit News has released a map exploring every single one of the 43 deaths that occurred during the riot. The map doesn't attempt to explain the causes of the riot or how it progressed. It just attempts to explain who died, where they died and how.

Five Deadly Days in Detroit uses Carto's Odyssey.js story map format to provide a simple chronological account of what happened in Detroit. The basemap used for the story map is a United States Geological Survey map from 1968. As you scroll through Five Deadly Days in Detroit the map pans to the location where one of the 43 people were killed. The text beneath the map provides an account of who died and how they were killed. This text is illustrated with vintage images from the Detroit News coverage of the riot in 1967.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Street View in Space

This is ground control to major Pegman. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Can you hear us major Pegman? Commencing countdown. Engines on .....


You can now see inside the International Space Station on Google Maps. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet got a part-time job over the winter capturing panoramic Street View imagery from outer space for Google Maps. That imagery is now live.

If this is your first trip to space aboard the ISS you might find these quick links helpful while you get familiar with weightlessness:

the Cupola Observation Module
the US Laboratory Module
Node 1 (Unity)
Node 2 (Harmony) Crew Quarters
Joint Airlock (Quest)

Google's Street View images from the ISS include links which provide useful information about some of the unfamiliar out-of-this-world equipment that you will find on your journey around the space station. Just click on the links to learn more about life in space.

The Emoji Weather Map


Dark Sky provide hyper-local weather information with its iOS and Android apps. It also provides a desktop weather map which includes a seven day forecast of weather conditions around the world.

The Dark Sky Weather Map has for a while included the option to view global weather conditions on an interactive 3d globe. It now also has an option to view a weather forecast on an emoji map of the world. If you select 'emoji' from the drop-down menu at the top of the Dark Sky Map you can now view your weather predictions represented by thousands of emoji symbols.

The Dark Sky Weather Map includes a number of different weather layers which allow you to view a seven day forecast of temperature, precipitation and wind speed around the world. The 3d weather visualization uses OpenLayers with the Cesium WebGL 3d globe engine.


You can also share your location using the universal language of the emoji. What3Emojis is a revolutionary method of addressing the entire world using the only common language of the entire human race, the emoji.

With What3Emojis the Earth is divided into millions of 4m x 4m squares, each of which is randomly assigned a unique three-emoji combination. If you want to share your location with someone else all you need to do is share the three emojis assigned to that 4m x 4m square. Any similarity to What3Words is entirely intentional.