Friday, January 19, 2018

Where Have All the Poppies Gone?


In 2014 artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper installed 888,246 ceramic red poppies in the moat of the Tower of London. The artwork was called 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' and was created in commemoration of the centenary of the start of World War I. Each of the poppies planted in the moat represented a colonial or British serviceman killed in the war.

After the installation ended the poppies were sold for £25 each, in order to raise money for service charities. You can now see where a lot of the poppies have gone on a new interactive map.

Owners of a poppy can plant their flowers on the Where are the Poppies? map. So far nearly 35,000 people have added their poppies to the map. If you click on a poppy on the map you can read the story about the flower that the owner has shared with Where are the Poppies.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Supply Chain Mapping


The Green Supply Chain Map is a new interactive map which shows the Chinese supplier lists of a number of international brands alongside real-time environmental data. The map allows customers to view both a brand's supply chains in China and their environmental performance.

If you select a company from the map sidebar you can view the factories in China which are part of that brand's supply chain. If you select a factory's marker on the map you can then click through to view whether the factory has violated any environmental codes. The Green Supply Chain Map also includes air pollution and water pollution in China.


Many companies are becoming more open about how and where their products are manufactured. As part of this trend some individual businesses have created their own  supply chain maps to inform consumers about the origins of the raw materials and / or the global factories where products are made.

The Nike Manufacturing Map is an interactive map which shows the location of independent factories contracted to make Nike products. The map also allows you to access information about the product made by each factory and data about the employees.

If you select a factory on the map you can view details on the number of employees employed, the percentage of female employees and the number of migrant workers. If you want to learn more about Nike's compliance standards you can click through to read their Code of Conduct and Code of Leadership Standards.


In the UK the retailer Marks & Spencer has also released a supply chain map, the M&S Supplier Map. In order to be more transparent with their customers M&S has created this interactive map to show the factories around the world where M&S source their branded clothing, clothing accessories, footwear, food, non-alcoholic drinks and household products.

Using the map you can view details on individual factories around the world which are part of the M&S supply chain. If you select an individual manufacturer on the map you can view a few details about the factory, such as the total number of employees and the percentage of female & male employees.

May the Map Be With You


If you've ever wanted to map the Star Wars galaxy then you will probably like the Star Wars API. SWAPI contains all the data you might ever need from the Star Wars series of films. This includes data on Star Wars' planets, spaceships, vehicles, people, films and species.

You can discover what kind of data the API includes about the planets in this interactive guide to the Star Wars Planets. This visualization orders the planets by size, population, population density, and how long the planet takes to rotate & how long it takes to orbit the galaxy's sun.


You might get a better idea of the size of the Star Wars planets with this Star Wars Galaxy map. The Star Wars Galaxy is a huge 3d WebGL map of the entire fictional galaxy from George Lucas' series of Star Wars films. The map includes 3d models of all the planets and moons that feature in the movies

This 3d map of the Star Wars Galaxy was sketched out in ArcMap and is displayed using the Esri CityEngine. Using the map you can explore the Star Wars galaxy in 3d, visiting all the major planets and even the Death Star!

When the map loads you should press the play button in the bottom left-hand corner of the map to set out on a tour of the whole galaxy and the major planets. You can also navigate to individual planets using the menu that runs along the bottom of the map. If you get lost in your travels around the galaxy you can use the search option to search for individual planets by name.


The above 3d map is quite memory intensive. If you are on a slower computer or a browser that doesn't support WebGL then you might prefer this 2d map of Star Wars. The Star Wars Galaxy Map is a two dimensional interactive atlas of a galaxy far, far away. You may have heard of the legendary battles between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. Now you can explore the spatial background to this epic galactic war on your own map.

The map shows the location of planets, sectors and regions within the Star Wars Galaxy. You can click on regions and planets to reveal their names and a link to the relevant Wookieepedia article. You can also select which layers you want to see displayed on the map by clicking on the 'visible layers' button. The layers included on the map are Planets, Hyperspace, Sectors, and Regions.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

London's Busiest Tube Stations


Where do passengers get on and off the tube? is an interactive map of the London Underground showing how many passengers enter and exit the tube at each London tube station. The size of each tube line on the map reflects the number of passengers who enter and exit the tube at each station.

The data behind the map is interesting and the resulting map looks quite pretty. As a visualization of the data however the map could be better. For some reason the map's creator has decided to make a 'geographically accurate' map of the London Underground rather than copy Harry Beck's iconic tube map design. This would be fine if the map had station labels. It doesn't. It is therefore very difficult to work out where individual stations are on the map. This would be less of a problem if the map copied the London Underground map design. At least then people familiar with the tube map would have some idea where a lot of stations are on the map.

You can hover over the map to view the names of stations. The map also has a search function. Unfortunately the search engine doesn't appear to recognize half of the names of London Underground stations.

Of course the number of passengers entering and exiting a station doesn't necessarily reflect how busy a station is. On this map North Greenwich appears to be about 8 times busier than West Ham. However, anyone using the Jubilee line in East London will know that West Ham is often far busier than North Greenwich. At West Ham most of the activity is from passengers moving between different tube lines. So although it is often the busier station West Ham doesn't have as many passengers entering and exiting the station as North Greenwich.

Map of the Day


Scotland's Trunk Road Gritter Tracker wins the internet today. This real-time map of Scotland's road gritting trucks is creating a bit of a winter storm on social media.

The popularity of the Trunk Road Gritter Tracker is not because you can follow the trucks in real-time as they grit Scotland's roads. Don't get me wrong - watching the little truck markers moving around on a map of Scotland is lots of fun. However, what has excited the internet more is the hilarious names given to some of the trucks.

Some of my favorite truck names on the map include Gritty Gritty Bang Bang, Sir Salter Scott, Gritty Gonzales, Luke Snowalker and Grittie McVitie,

How to Rob a Country


The problems with having an oligarch as a president is that they will steal as much money as they can while they are in power. The longer they remain in power the better they become at laundering their stolen money. This is particularly true of those oligarchs who are supported by Russia.

Take Viktor Yanukovich for example. As president of Ukraine from 2010-2014 he managed to steal billions of dollars using a global money laundering network. Al Jazeera has used documents recovered after the Ukrainian revolution to map how Victor Yanukovich was able to move his stolen money around the world.

The Oligarchs is an interactive story map which tracks the movements of the stolen money through shell companies in offshore tax havens and other money-laundering hotspots around the world, such as the UK. As you progress through the story map you can follow the trail of the money as it is laundered clean by being passed from bank to bank and tax haven to tax haven. None of the banks used, including those in the United States, flagged the money or its movements as suspicious.

Al Jazeera suggests that the money stolen from Ukraine by Victor Yanukovich is now being used to fuel dissent in Ukraine.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

How Well Does Your Home Score?


Two factors that you might want to consider when buying a new house are how noisy the neighborhood is and how busy the local roads are. Both of these factors can hugely affect your quality of life and neither may be entirely apparent until you move in to your new home.

That is why Total Home Score has been released. Total Home Score is a new interactive map that rates every building in Chicago and Boston (hopefully the rest of the United States will be coming soon) for noise and traffic.

The 3d buildings on the Total home Score interactive map are colored by either noise or traffic levels (you can switch between the two by using the buttons on the map). If you select a building on the map you can view its 'Quiet Score' and 'Road Score'. Each of these scores are out of 100, with a higher rating being better than a lower rating. If you select the 'details' link next to either score then you can view some of the environmental factors which have contributed to the score (details are shown beneath the map).


The amount of traffic on a neighborhood's roads will affect how pleasant it is to walk around the neighborhood. You can discover how nice a neighborhood is for walking and cycling at Walk Score.

Enter an address into the Walk Score interactive map and you can find out how well it scores for walking, cycling and public transit. Walk Score also has a great apartment search facility which helps you find an apartment not only by price but by what nearby amenities are within an easy walk or bike ride.


Trulia Local is another useful interactive map which can help you find out how well a neighborhood rates for other important factors, such as crime, commuting times, local amenities and local traffic. It can also help you find out whether there are good local schools, restaurants, banks and stores nearby.

Trulia Local provides a heat map of local crime. This heat map shows areas of high and low crime and also maps individual crime reports. If you want to find how long it will take you to commute from a neighborhood to your work then you can mark your workplace on the map and view an isochrone map showing all nearby commute times.

The Real-Time Electricity Map


The Electricity Map is a real-time map of electricity production around the world. The map uses data about electricity production and consumption from energy producers and government agencies across the globe to provide a near real-time dashboard of the live CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of individual states and countries.

Each country and state on the map is colored by how much CO2 is used to produce its electricity demand. If you hover over a country or state on the map you can view the percentage of its electricity which is low carbon or from renewable sources. If you click on a country or state then you can view a breakdown of how its electricity demand is met. For example, how much electricity is produced by wind, solar or hydro power plants.


If you are interested in the live production of electricity, especially from renewable sources, then you might also like this map of UK wind energy production. The United Kingdom generates a higher percentage of its electricity from offshore wind farms than any other country. You can view the current output of the UK's offshore wind farms on the Offshore Wind Electricity Map.

The map shows the locations of the UK's offshore wind farms. Each wind farm is represented on the map by a scaled animated wind turbine marker. The size of the marker represents the scale of the current output from each wind farm. If you select a marker on the map you can view the name of the wind farm and its current output in megawatts.

The map sidebar shows a dashboard reading of the share of the UK's electricity currently being generated by offshore wind. If you select a marker on the map the dashboard updates to show the operator of the selected wind farm, the site capacity, the number of turbines and the type of turbines.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Seas of Plastic Debris


The Seas of Plastic is a visualization of the floating plastic debris that is polluting the world's oceans. The visualization includes an interactive globe showing the five large circulating gyres of plastic in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, Indian, South Atlantic and North Atlantic oceans. The visualization also includes a Sankey Diagram that shows the amount of plastic debris which different countries contribute to each of these five circulating gyres.

The data for the Seas of Plastic visualization comes from a Lagrangian particle tracking model which simulated 30 years of input, transport and accumulation of floating plastic debris around the world. The model tracks the paths of plastic particles from land to sea and estimates the relative size of each of the five circulatory gyres.


Around 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the world's oceans every single year. This plastic is dangerous to marine life and, once it enters the food chain, ultimately dangerous to the health of the human race.

The Ocean Cleanup organisation believes that between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons of the plastic in the oceans originates from the world's river systems. Two thirds of it from the rivers of Asia. To help explain how and where plastic ends up in the world's oceans the Ocean Cleanup has released an interactive map, River Plastic Emissions to the World’s Oceans.

The map shows river systems around the globe. The predicted input from each river system is shown at the coast using scaled circular markers. These predicted inputs are based on a model which looks at population density, waste management, topography, hydrography, the locations of dams and the reported concentration of plastic in rivers around the world.


You can see where all that plastic goes on Sailing Seas of Plastic, an interactive mapped visualization of the concentration of plastic in the world's oceans. According to the map there are 5,250 billion pieces of plastic adrift on the seas of the world.

This dot density map shows the estimated concentration of floating plastic in the oceans. Each dot on the map represents 20 kg of floating plastic. The estimations are based on the results of 24 survey expeditions (2007-2013) and on wind and ocean drift models.

If you want you can also overlay the sailing tracks of the 24 survey expeditions on top of the dot map.

Funky Road-Trip Planning


Long car journeys can be very boring. If you want to break up a long road-trip then you can always use Make My Drive Fun to find interesting pit-stops along your route.

Make My Drive Fun is a route planner which includes the 'funkiest places' to visit along each route. Just enter your starting point and destination into Make My Drive Fun and it will create a map for your route. The map will include a number of markers showing 'funky attractions' within less than a 20 minute drive of your route.


You can also find fun things to do on your road-trip using the Rand McNally Trip Maker. This interactive road trip planning tool can give you turn-by-turn driving directions for your trip with the option to find interesting places to visit along the route.

If you are looking for interesting pit-stops on your journey then you can use the 'Things to Do' option. This allows you to search for rest-stops and points of interest along your route. You can even define how far you are prepared to deviate from your route by entering the number of miles. When you are happy with your planned road trip you can email and export your trips to any Rand McNally GPS device.


You can also use Roadtrippers to plan a journey with interesting diversions. Roadtrippers allows you to find pit-stops along your route using a number of different options. For example you can define how far off your route you want to search for suggested stops. You can also save your planned trips on Roadtrippers for later reference.

Roadtrippers includes a huge database of points of interest. This includes cafes, gas stations and hotels. It also includes tourist destinations and offbeat, strange and unusual places to visit.