Monday, August 21, 2017

Spying on the Spycams


Surveillance under Surveillance is a global map showing the location of the world's security cameras.

I find Surveillance under Surveillance particularly useful when I'm planning a bank robbery and want to find an escape route free of any potential recording devices. I've also found it useful when trying to meet with Guardian journalists on secret CIA hit-lists, especially when I need to guide the journalist through a heavily monitored public space like Waterloo train station.

All the camera locations for the map come from OpenStreetMap. Therefore if you want to help keep the map up-to-date and accurate you can contribute missing camera information using an OpenStreetMap account. There are brief instructions for doing this under the 'How' section of Surveillance under Surveillance.

If you want to know how the map was made just scroll to the bottom of the map sidebar. Here you will find acknowledgements and links to Leaflet.js, to the Leaflet plugins used and to other web services used in creating the map.

Mapping Racial Covenants


In the Twentieth Century redlining was used in the United States to restrict financing to black house buyers and property owners. This process was well documented at the time and we can see which neighborhoods were most affected simply by referring to the historical redlining maps, which were created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

However redlining was not the only way that African Americans were discriminated against in the real estate market during the Twentieth Century. Racially restrictive covenants were also used by white home owners in order to ensure that their homes could not be sold to African Americans or other specified racial groups. Most of these covenants included “run with the land” clauses which also legally enforced the covenant on future owners of the property. Thus ensuring that houses could never be bought by African Americans

Mapping Prejudice has created an animated map which shows the spread of covenants over time in Minneapolis. The map shows the growth of the number of buildings in the city placed under racial covenants from 1911 to 1954. As the animation plays you can see how whole neighborhoods are essentially placed under segregation as more and more buildings are given racial covenants.

eclipse-ploitation

If you need a map for today's solar eclipse then you should check out these useful eclipse maps. Some eclipse maps may not be quite as useful. That really depends on how much you like waffles ...



or Dennys ...



Or chicken ...


If you don't want to eat then you could hunt for bigfoot during the eclipse ...


Or flying saucers ...


With apologies to Cartonerd's Becksploitation.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Legacy of Redlining on US Cities


The Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) 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 of a risk and so less likely to receive financial support.


A new map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition allows you to explore how the HOLC's 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.

In this way 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 also use the National Community Reinvestment Coalition map to see where gentrification has occurred in a city. These are the neighborhoods which received the lowest HOLC redlining ratings but now don't have the dots from the 'Low to Moderate Income' layer.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Help Partition India


Seventy years ago a British lawyer called Sir Cyril Radcliffe was asked to draw the border that would divide British India into two countries. Now it's your turn.

Radcliffe's new boundaries were formally announced in August 1947. The announcement left around 14 million people in the 'wrong' country. In the violence that followed around 1 million people lost their lives. After witnessing the chaos that followed his partition of India Radcliffe at least had enough shame to refuse his 40,000 rupee salary.

Al Jazeera don't have a 40,000 rupee salary to pay but they would like your help in dividing British India into two countries. In How were the India-Pakistan partition borders drawn? Al Jazeera has provided you with a map which includes information on where the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh populations live. You just need to draw the borders on the map to create two new countries.

After you have drawn your borders you will be shown the original Radcliffe Line.

Avocado Toast or New Home?


Avocado toast or new home? It really is that simple. Millennials need to stop complaining and start saving.

All millennials seem to do is sit around eating avocado toast and whining about how they don't have enough money to buy a house. Well millennials if you want to own your own home then you need to grow-up, stop complaining and start saving. Just forget the avocado toast. Instead take a packed lunch to work everyday and you will be able to afford a home in Hackney in just 60 years time.

Look Mr & Ms Hipster if you want to buy a home in London then you could drink instant and not hipster coffee. If you do stop drinking expensive coffee in hipster cafes and switch to instant coffee then you could save yourself enough money to buy a home near Borough Market in as little as 83 years.

If you need any more hipster saving tips then you should visit finder.com's guide to How millennials can save their way to a London property. The guide consists of an interactive map which basically shows the (un)affordability of property in each London borough. However if you click on a borough on the map you can discover finder.com's (tongue in cheek) handy tips on saving money. Each saving exercise includes a guide as to how many years you will need to save to buy a property in the selected borough.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Food Insecurity in America


Food Insecurity in the United States is an interactive map which shows the number of people who need food assistance in each county in the United States. The map uses data from Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap project.

There are a number of clusters of counties, especially in the south east, which have high levels of food insecurity. Many of these, for example in the Mississippi Delta are in areas where agriculture and food production are the biggest industries. I wonder if Monsanto knows why that is?

If you select a state on the map you can view a detailed overview of food insecurity in the state. You can also click on individual counties to discover the food insecurity rate and the number of food insecure people in the selected county.

The map uses the USDA’s measure of food insecurity which refers to a lack of access to "enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members". To determine the food insecurity rates Feeding America use a number of economic indicators and responses to the Current Population Survey.

Donald's 'Beautiful Statues'


The Southern Poverty Law Center has found over 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces, mostly in the southern United States. These include not just statues and other memorials but schools, parks and roads which have been named for Confederate leaders or battles.

In Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy the SPLC has included an interactive map showing the location of these Confederate symbols and memorials. The map uses color coded markers to show which are monuments, which are schools and which are roads. If you select a marker on the map you can also see the year that this selected memorial to the Confederacy was dedicated.

The SPLC has used these dates of dedication to also provide a timeline of when memorials to the Confederacy have been dedicated since the end of the Civil War. This timeline shows that there have been two main periods which have seen spikes in the number of Confederacy memorials being dedicated. The first was in the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. The second was in the 1950's and 1960's.

The SPLC has its theories about why these periods saw spikes in the number of Confederacy memorials being dedicated - but you'll have to read the SPLC article to discover what those theories are. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dancing Maps


I've just spent the last ten minutes singing to a map. The map enjoyed it and even danced for my pleasure.

You too can make this map dance. Just turn on your microphone when prompted and then start singing your favorite song. If the map likes your voice then all the buildings will start dancing for you.

The dancing map is possible because of Mapbox GL's runtime styling capabilities. The map uses the audio input (using the Web Audio API) to dynamically change the building heights on the map and the intensity of the light. You can read more about the technical details on the Mapbox blog.


If you get bored singing to a map then you could always listen to a map or play a tune on one instead. MTA.me Conductor has turned Massimo Vignelli's 1972 New York subway map into a string instrument. The map simulates trains moving on the MTA subway network and plays a note every time a subway train crosses the track of another train.

If the New York subway map can be a stringed instrument then maybe the map of Ohio can be a piano. Ohio has 88 counties, a piano has 88 keys, so obviously Ohio is a Piano! Just click on a county to play a note.


If the New York subway can be a stringed instrument and Ohio can be a piano then Aberdeen can be an orchestra! Marker / Music lets you mix your own music by clicking on different locations and playing the music that was recorded at each location. You can combine any of the recordings to create your own unique mix directly from the map.

The Best Views in London


What do you get if you ask a computer to find the most scenic places in London?

The answer is this map of London's Most Scenic Views.

Researchers at the University of Warwick trained a neural network on images from ScenicOrNot. ScenicOrNot is an online data science project which asks people to rate the views depicted in photos by how scenic they are. The neural network was used to identify the common features found in the  photos which have been voted as the most scenic.

Once the neural network worked out the features that make a photo scenic or not it was set loose to find the most scenic photos in Geograph's collection of images of London. The Geograph British Isles project is collecting geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland. It currently has over 240,000 photos of London, covering ever square kilometre of the city.

The University of Warwick's artificially intelligent neural network was therefore able to scan photos from all over London to find the most scenic photos in Geograph's London collection. You can explore the most scenic views found in this interactive map of London's Most Scenic Views.