Thursday, June 22, 2017

Degradation of the Amazon Rainforests

Most people are aware of the devastating effect of deforestation on the Amazon Rainforest. Not so many people are aware of the equally worrying 'degradation' of forests. With deforestation the forest is completely cleared and left for pasture, monoculture or simply abandoned. Forest degradation is the thinning of tree density which leads to the removal of important biodiversity. It is often caused by logging, fire, drought or hunting.

The extensive forest clearance caused by deforestation can be relatively easy to spot using aerial surveys or even satellite imagery. Forest degradation on the other hand can be a lot harder to monitor from the air as the tree canopy can still exist above the thinning tree density.

The Silent Forest project has been started by a team of Brazilian and foreign scientists to assess the extent and impact of forest degradation in the Amazon Rainforest. As part of this monitoring the project has released an interactive map to show Contributing Factors to Degradation in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. The map shows the extent to which fire, logging, hunting and fragmentation are leading to forest degradation.

The Silent Forest website also includes a hexagon grid map of the Brazilian state of ParĂ¡. The grid map shows the percentage loss of biodiversity across the whole state.

Where Cars Rule the City Streets

Do you know how much physical space in your town or city is dedicated to cars, to bikes and to trains? Moovel Lab has been analyzing OpenStreetMap data to answer this question and to provide a Mobility Space Report for major cities around the world. What the Street? allows you to explore these Mobility Space Reports and to view the amount of space dedicated to the three different modes of transport in your favorite cities.

Before exploring a city on What the Street? you are asked to enter your own guess as to how much city space you think is allocated to cars, trains and bikes. After you have made your guess you can then explore the results.

The results for each mode of transport is presented in a long scrollable visualization of all the individual spaces dedicated to each form of transit. For example for cars you get to scroll through all of the city's streets and parking lots. As you scroll through the visualization a total is kept of the amount of space dedicated to cars. Don't worry - you don't have to scroll through the whole city and a link allows you to skip to the end of the visualization.

After you have finished scrolling through all the city's streets, rails and bike lanes you can see how good your initial guess was. Your guess is compared to the actual results and to the guesses made by other users. The results page also includes some useful information about the city, such as the longest street and street name.

The city is then compared to the other cities around the world. This comparison includes its ranking as a city for driving, biking or taking the train.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Name the City from its Bike Lanes

The Guardian has a fun map game which requires you to guess cities around the world based solely on maps of their bike lanes. The maps were created by Bike Citizens using their bike mapping data. Each city map consists of just protected bike lanes (blue lines) and painted lanes (grey lines).

There are twelve city maps in all in Can you guess the city from its bike lane maps. All you have to do is choose the correct answer for each city map from a choice of three possible answers.

I got 10 out of 12 of the questions correct. I won't tell you which cities I got wrong as that would give you the answer to two of the trickier cities. I was amazed by how many cities I could recognize just from their bike lanes. I obviously spend far too much time looking at maps.

The UK Election Dot Map

The Colours of the Election is a dot map which provides a view of the geographical distribution of votes cast in the 2017 UK election. Each dot on the map represents 250 votes for one of the political parties. The dots are randomly distributed within each electoral area.

At the electoral ward level a random distribution of colored dots is obviously not the best way to present the number of votes cast for each political party. This data would be much more legible visualized as a bar graph. In fact randomizing the numbers within each constituency could be confusing as it suggests that the data is shown geographically - when in fact the data is just randomly distributed.

When you view the data at a regional level the data does begin to make more sense and the geographical distribution of votes for each political party can begin to emerge from the map. For example the regional view of London shows the dominance of Labour in inner London. The Conservatives voters are more concentrated in a ring in the suburbs outside of the center. This ring is broken in the south-west where the Liberal Democrats have a small pocket of support.

The question remains about whether this dot map view shows a more detailed picture of the number of votes cast for each party than a traditional election map. Here's the Evening Standard's static map of the 2017 election results in London.

I would argue that the Evening Standard map is at least as good, if not better, at showing where the different parties have the most support in London. In fact you could easily add a more refined analysis to the Evening Standard map by adding pop-up bar charts showing the total number of votes cast for each party in each electoral district.

What I do like about the Colours of the Election map is the responsive bar chart. This graph shows the total number of votes cast for each party for the current map view. This means that you can zoom and pan the map to explore the number of votes cast for each of the political parties in different parts of the UK. The date control also allows you to make a useful comparison between the support for each of the parties in this election and in previous elections.

How to Make a Travel Time Map

Mapbox has released a new plugin which allows you to add an isochrone layer to your Mapbox powered maps. The Mapbox Isochrone plugin visualizes how far you can travel in different periods of time.

You can see how the ischrone plugin works on this demo map. You can adjust the starting position by dragging and dropping the car icon on the map. If you switch to the 'Quantized' view the map switches to display stepped isolines, showing how far you can travel in incremental steps of time.

The Mapbox Isochrone plugin works with three different modes of travel: driving, cycling and walking. You can discover a little more about how the plugin generates the travel times for the different modes of travel on the Mapbox blog, Add Isochrones to Your Next Application.

You can also use the Route360 API to add an isochrone layer to your maps. Route360's API provides developer access to their isochrone library. The API has been designed to provide simple access to the Route360 isochrone travel time library from the Leaflet.js mapping platform.

Using the Route360 JavaScript API you can add a travel time isochrone layer to a Leaflet map. The API allows for users to view bike, car or walking travel-time isochrone layers on a Leaflet map. The API includes options to add a time control, so that the transit isochrone travel times will adjust to a transit network's schedule of operations.

The GraphHopper Isochrone API also provides travel times for bike, car or walking. You can view the API in action on this demo map. You can get details on how much the API costs on the Pricing page.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trump's Huge Conflict of Interest Map

So many people ask me this. They ask me where does the president have great conflict of interests. I tell them Donald Trump has the best conflicts of interest. The corruption is big. I never realized how big it was. I really just see the bigness of it all.

You know Obama worked on it for years, got zippo, zero. Me, the people just call me up, they say, ‘Donald, can we just give you the money?’ I say, ‘Absolutely, yes.’ But some people don't get it. They don't want to give you the money. In which case they're very, very stupid people. Sad.

Here, you can take this, that's the final map of the numbers. It's pretty good, right? It's called the Trump’s Conflicts of Interest map. The black is obviously us. There's some countries you can't break through, you can't. It's sad. You can't. There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with them. But forget them. Have you seen all the black countries on the map. That's a tremendous success ... That's another thing that nobody talks about. The success. So much success.

Take that Qaddafi. I dealt with Qaddafi. I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn't let him use the land. That's what we should be doing. I screwed him. But nobody wants to talk about that.

Mapping Death from Global Warming

In 2003 in Europe 70,000 people died during an extreme heatwave. As global warming increases countries around the world are likely to experience more and more periods of life threatening extreme heat. By the year 2100 it is estimated that 74% of the world's population will be exposed to deadly heatwaves.

The University of Hawaii has released an interactive map which predicts the number of deadly days we can expect from extreme heat around the world for each year up to 2100. Heatwaves: Number of deadly heat days provides a timeline control which allows you to select any year from 1950-2100. The blue dots on the map show historic extreme heat events that have occurred around the world before 2014.

If you click on the map you can view two charts for the selected location. One chart visualizes the number of yearly deadly days over time and the other shows the humidity vs. temperature for the current year.

Working Abroad in the EU

The free movement of workers is one of the basic principles of the European Union. It means that Europeans can move between countries in the European Union in order to work. In 2015 4% of the EU's population had made use of this right in order to live in an EU country in which they weren't born.

The United Kingdom yesterday began negotiating its withdrawal from the European Union. One issue that needs to be addressed is what happens to UK nationals presently living in other EU countries and what happens to the non-British EU nationals currently living in the UK.

The Pew Research Center has created an interactive map which allows you to see how many non-native Europeans live in each EU country. The Origins and Destinations of European Union Migrants within the EU allows you to select an individual EU country and discover where the EU immigrants living there have originated from. You can also discover where migrants from individual countries have moved to in order to work.

According to the map 1,220,000 people from the UK are currently living in other EU countries. 2,880,000 people currently living in the UK were born in other EU countries.

The map itself was made with the Highmaps JavaScript library. Highmaps is an extension of the Highcharts JavaScript API which allows you to build interactive maps which can be used with Highcharts or as standalone maps.

Monday, June 19, 2017

From the World to MIT

Students travel from countries across the world in order to study at MIT. This year nearly a quarter of MIT's overseas students come from China. India sends the next largest number of students to study at the university.

MIT World is a new interactive map from MIT Senseable City Lab that visualizes the countries MIT students have come from over the last twenty years. The map provides a choropleth layer which provides an overview of the numbers of students from each country. A bar graph beneath the map provides a breakdown of the number of students traveling from each country.

The map also uses (not entirely necessary) flow lines joining each country with MIT in the USA. If you want to create a flowmap yourself then you might find Sarah Bellum's Canvas Flowmap Layer for the ArcGIS JavaScript API library or the Leaflet.Canvas-Flowmap-Layer for Leaflet.js useful.

Pollution Free Walking Routes

Nitrogen dioxide emitted by motor vehicles has been above the legal limit in London for longer than most people care to remember. This means that pedestrians & cyclists can't really avoid pollution in the capital. However it is possible to cut your exposure to air pollution in half by avoiding the city's busiest roads.

The Cross River Partnership can help you find a healthier route for your walking and cycling journeys with a new interactive map, the Clean Air Route Finder. The map allows you to enter a starting point and a destination for your walk and then suggests routes that avoid the busiest roads.

The Clean Air Route Finder in fact suggests three different routes for each query. The red route shows the most polluted walk or ride. The green suggestion shows you the route with the lowest pollution. The amber route is somewhere in the middle. The map also tells you the distance and the estimated walking or biking time for each route.

Cycling and walking route finders depend to a large degree on the underlying routing data. The Clean Air Route Finder works really well in my neighborhood, fully utilizing road free bike paths and canal towpaths (you might be surprised how many other biking & walking direction maps ignore these routes). Judging by its choice of the cleanest routes it also seems to have a good understanding of the level of traffic on London's roads.