Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This Town was Named for You


Many places around the world have decided to celebrate your life by naming roads, neighborhoods and towns in your honor. You can discover all the wonderful locations which now bear your name using the Where the Streets Have Your Name map.

Where the Streets Have Your Name is a great application that you can use to create a Google Map showing all the places around the world that have your name. Just enter a name into the search box, press 'Map it!' and a map will display towns, parks, rivers and other locations which share your name.

You can also use How Many Places Are Named ... to view an interactive map showing all the places named after you. You can use the map to search your own name but you can also use it to search for locations around the world sharing any other name or word. For example you could try using swear words to find rude place-names around the world (here's a map of everywhere called 'Fart').

Who Owns England?


There has been a lot of speculation recently about who owns England? Land ownership in England is a closely guarded secret. The reason why the ownership of English land is kept such a closely guarded secret is because the answer is - the French.

England is owned by the French. Or, more accurately, the Normans.

In 1066 William the Conqueror and an army of northern Frenchmen successfully invaded England. Following his success William proceeded to divide England up among his supporters. And there you have it. Because of the almost complete lack of social mobility in England the families mentioned as owning land in the Domesday Book are probably the same families who own the land today.

At least that is my theory. I might be wrong - but then there is no way of checking. You could have a look at the new Who Owns England interactive map. Unfortunately because the Normans want to keep land ownership a secret the Who Owns England map only really shows land which is owned by the government, government bodies or charities.

If you want to know who owns a piece of land which is blank on the map (most of the country) then you might as well look up the place-name in the Domesday Book. That is probably the closest you will get to discovering the real owner of the land. Alternatively you could check this Farm Payments for Environmental Stewardship map. This map shows where landowners are claiming Environmental Stewardship grants. If you click on a highlighted area on the map you can see who is the recipient of the grant. The recipient might just be the owner of the land (although for tax avoidance reasons the person named may also not be the owner of the land).

BTW - if you don't believe me when I say that the Normans still own and rule England then explain to me how 950 years after the Norman conquest students with Norman surnames are still over-represented at the countries elite universities.1

Monday, May 22, 2017

Climbing the Himalayas


The Discovery Channel's Mount Everest in 3D is probably the closest that you will ever get to climbing Mount Everest.

In effect the climb is just a video of (what I assume is) a 3D map of Everest. However the video is linked to an elevation scale and as the video plays you can keep track of the rising elevation. On your ascent of the mountain you can also stop off at the Khumbu Icefall.

The Khumbu Icefall is where sixteen Nepalese guides died in an avalanche in 2014. The avalanche occurred near Everest Base Camp on the southern side of Mount Everest and resulted in the deaths of the sixteen guides and serious injuries to nine other guides.


An Eye at the Summit is a planned expedition to climb the Baruntse mountain in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal. In October of this year a team of French mountain climbers will begin a 35 day expedition to ascend the Méra Peak (6,476 m), reach the summit of Baruntse (7,129 m) and finally climb Lobuche Est (6,120 m). The Baruntse climb has been organized in order to raise funds for the visually impaired.

You can follow the planned route of the 35 day expedition on the Carte du Parcours. The map not only shows the expedition's route it also includes some stunning panoramic imagery of Baruntse. If you click on the black circular markers on the map you can explore these custom Street Views which allow you to actually observe for yourself some of the spectacular views of the Himalayas from the Baruntse mountain.


It is also possible to view panoramic imagery from the Everest region of the Himalayas with Google Maps Street View. To capture these stunning panoramas Google teamed up with Apa Sherpa (a Sherpa mountaineer who holds the world record for reaching the summit of Mount Everest 21 times) and the Nepalese nonprofit organization Story Cycle.

During a 10-day trek through the Khumbu region with Apa Sherpa Google managed to capture Street Views of mountain trails and a number of Sherpa villages. The best way to explore this Street View imagery is to visit the Khumba map on Google Treks.


The Khumba site on Google Treks includes some lovely hand-drawn maps of the featured villages. Each of the maps include map markers which lead to Street Views captured on Google's 10-day trek. These include Street View imagery of monasteries, temples, trekker's lodges and of course some wonderful mountainous scenery.

Interactive Geological Maps


William Smith was an English geologist who created the first nationwide geological map of the UK. A geologic map reveals the distribution of geological features such as different types of rocks. Smith's beautiful 1815 map visualized Britain's geological types using different colors for different types of geological feature.

You can view interactive versions of William Smith's Maps online. These allow you to explore his geological maps of England, Scotland & Wales in close detail. The interactive map interface allows you to view geo-rectified overlays of a number of William Smith's maps including his original 1815 geological map and his 1828 New Geological Map of England and Wales.


Digital geological maps can add a level of interactivity to the visualized geological strata. In other words they can allow you to click on the different colors to learn more about the visualized geological features. A good example of this is the Geological Map of the Grand Canyon and Vicinity.

The Geologic Map of the Grand Canyon and Vicinity is a beautiful Leaflet.js based interactive map of the Grand Canyon. The map is based on data gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The map uses different colors to show the different rock units and geologic strata in the Grand Canyon and surrounding area. The map also includes contour lines. If you hover over the map the geologic strata at that location is revealed in the small information window. If you click on the map you can learn more about that geologic strata in the information dynamically loaded below the map.


Another good example of an interactive geological map is the Geologic Map of Arizona. The Geologic Map of Arizona also includes interactive colored geological features. If you mouse over a feature on the map the geological information is shown on top of the map.

The Geologic Map of Arizona also visualizes different types of geological faults in Arizona. There is also a map legend which can be accessed by the 'View the legend' button. This legend isn't interactive but it would be possible to turn this legend into a menu which could be used to turn on and off the different geological strata (the different colors) on the map. This could be useful if you wanted to view all the locations with a specific type of geological feature while hiding all the other strata.

Beer Travel Time


The most important criteria to use when choosing a new house is the length of time it takes to get home from the best pubs. That's why Lauri Vanhala has worked out the time it takes to get to every address in Helsinki from the city's top 20 pubs.

In order to find the best places to buy property in Helsinki Lauri worked out the travel time on public transport from every address in Helsinki to every other address in the city during the morning rush-hour (7:30-8:00 am). This allowed him to see which areas were the best for commuting to work in the morning. He then worked out the travel time to every address in the city from the top 20 bars in the city after closing time (1:30 am).

You can view the results of Lauri's research on his Helsinkiläisen Parhaat Asuinpaikat map. Building footprints on the map are colored by their commuting times to work. You can view how long it takes to get to each building from the city's best pubs by clicking on the 'IPA' button. You can switch back to the work commute times by clicking on 'Duuni'.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scotland's Clan Battlefield Map


Following the success of their Clan Map of Scotland tartan makers Lochcarron of Scotland have released a new interactive map documenting all the major battles that took place between the Scottish clans throughout history.

The Clan Map of Scotland divides Scotland into geographical areas associated with the historical kinship groups of the country. If you select a clan region on the map you can learn more about the individual clan, including the origin of the clan and its historical ties to the area associated with it. You can also discover who the current clan chief is and view its heraldic badge, motto and its distinct tartan.

The new Clan Battlefield Map provides historical information about historical battles between Scotland's clans and shows you where those battles took place. You can use the interactive timeline to explore the battles by date. Alternatively you can use the drop-down menu to filter the battles displayed by individual clan. If you select a marker on the map you can read a detailed account of the chosen battle.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ice Flow in Antarctica


Like nearly everything else glacial land ice obeys the law of gravity. Therefore ice sheets flow downhill. They normally do this very slowly. Unfortunately we don't live in normal times.

Global warming has caused the the oceans to also get warmer. The warmer ocean waters undercut Antarctica's glaciers, causing them to flow quicker and quicker. Over 60% of the world's freshwater is locked in Antarctica's ice. If it melts we will see a global rise in sea level and coastal cities around the world will find themselves underwater.

The New York Times has created a series of maps to help explain how global warming could lead to the melting of Antarctica's ice sheets and cause rising sea levels around the world. In Antarctic Dispatches glacier ice flow is beautifully illustrated in a series of animated maps. The danger of global rising seas is explained in maps showing areas of Antarctica that have lost ten feet or more of ice since 2010.

Part 3 of Antarctic Dispatches uses a scrolling map to help illustrate the amount of water locked up in Antarctica's ice sheets. The scale of the Ross Ice Shelf is illustrated by overlaying the route of the New York marathon on top of satellite imagery of the ice shelf. The Ross Ice Shelf is huge!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Death of Bear 71


For ten years wildlife conservation officers in Banff National Park tagged and monitored Bear71. In the ten years up to her untimely death Bear71 was also often captured by trail cameras in the park. Some of this trail camera footage can be viewed in a new interactive web documentary exploring the life of Bear71.

At the heart of Bear71 VR is a 3D map of Banff National Park. The documentary is narrated from the perspective of Bear71. As the narration plays the map pans and zooms in relation to the content of the narration. If you want you can explore the map for yourself. Just click on the 'story' button at any time to synchronize the map back to Bear71's narration.

The interactive 3D map of Banff National Park also includes a number of interactive points of interest. You can click on these interactions to view webcam captured footage of some of the park's animals. The map also contains links to view traffic webcams and other images of wildlife in the park.

Lights Out in Syria


In his recent Lights On & Lights Out comparison of NASA's 2012 and 2016 Black Marble maps John Nelson drew attention to how NASA's imagery revealed the incredible fall of nighttime lighting in war-torn Syria. The BBC has now created a series of map animations which also use nighttime satellite imagery to drastically illustrate the effect of the war on Syria's electricity supply.

In Syria from Space the BBC has created three mapped animations showing how the cities of Aleppo, Damascus and Raqqa have been suffering from a lack of electricity supply. Using nighttime satellite imagery from NASA the BBC has made an interactive map for each of the cities which shows the cities lit up before the civil war began and then go dark as the war takes hold.

As the mapped animations plays out you can view the devastating effect of the war on Syria's electricity supply. On each map the lights start to go out as the war takes its effect on the country's infrastructure.

The BBC has also used daytime aerial imagery to provide before and after images of power plants, dams and electricity substations in the country. These before and after images are used to show the damage being done to Syria's infrastructure and to explain why those lights are going off in Syria's towns and cities.

Live Buses in Reykjavík


Strætó BS is the public transport company responsible for operating public transit buses in Reykjavík. I don't know how good they are at running buses but they do know how to make a brilliant route planning map.

The Strætó BS Route Planner map allows customers to easily plan which buses they need to take to travel between any two locations in the city and where they can catch those buses. To find your bus route you can either type in your starting point and destination or you can enter the two locations simply by clicking the locations on the map.

As you would expect the results of a search provide you with a mapped route, step by step instructions of which buses to catch, the times of the bus arrivals and the estimated time to complete your journey. The Strætó BS Route Planner also shows you where the buses are in Reykjavík with animated markers. The yellow markers show the live position of markers and even point in their direction of travel.

If being able to see where your bus is on a live real-time map isn't enough you can also click on individual bus-stops on the map to view the estimated times of arrival of the next few buses for that stop.