Friday, September 30, 2016

Mapping the Aliens


Germany has a growing problem with illegal aliens (the kind that come from outer space). Since 1945 almost 9,700 UFOs have been spotted in Germany. The number of these sightings has increased significantly since 2007.

Im Land der Untertassen shows all UFO sightings in Germany from 1945 to 2016, reported to the German Society for UFO Research (DEGUFO). The map provides a number of map views analyzing different aspects of the UFO sighting data. For example, the map shows how the number of sightings is closely related to population density. Im Land der Untertassen speculates that this might be down to the number of people in cities. It may also be due to the closeness to artificial light sources and different types of air traffic.

The map also explores a number of locations away from high urban populations that have recorded high numbers of UFO sightings. Im Land der Untertassen believes that the huge spike in UFO sightings since 2007 could be due to the rise in mobile telephones with built-in cameras.


The UFO Sightings Map plots over 90,000 reports of UFO sightings since 1905 in the USA. The map uses data from the National UFO Reporting Center.

UFO sightings are shown on the map using scaled map markers. The size of each marker relates to the number of eye witnesses. If you select a marker on the map you can actually read the witness reports. Many of the reports are accompanied by videos or pictures recorded by the eye witnesses.


For a number of years UFO Stalker has been using the Google Maps API to show the locations of the latest UFO reports to MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network).

The map includes a number of filters, which allow you to filter the aliens on the map by date and the type of close encounter. If you click on a map marker you can read the event details of the reported sighting. It is also possible to search the map by location and date and view the latest reports in list format.

Misty Mountain Mapping


Misty Mountains is an interesting Esri Story map explaining how a nice mist effect can be created on digital maps by adjusting the opacity levels of elevation data.

To achieve this mist effect lower elevated areas on a Digital Elevation Model are made more opaque and higher elevated areas are made more transparent. The result is that fog or mist appears to be rolling along the valley floors of your map.

The Misty Mountains Story Map goes into more detail about how you can achieve this effect by using a gradient opacity level on your elevation data in ArcGIS Pro. It also include a number of example maps of the effect applied to different mountain ranges around the world.

The Story Map also includes an animated example of a Norwegian mountain range where the mist appears to start on the valley floor and roll upwards to cover the whole of the mountains.

You could use a similar technique to give the appearance of snow levels creeping down a mountain range as winter progresses. To do this you would just need to reverse your opacity / transparency gradient, so that higher elevations are made more opaque and lower lever are made more transparent on the map. You could then increase the transparency of the lower elevated areas on your DEM over time to give the appearance of snow cover creeping lower down mountains over the winter.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Street Sounds of San Francisco


What are the distinctive sounds of San Francisco? The SF Bay Area Sound Map might be able to answer that question with its interactive Google Map documenting and presenting the sonic experiences of the city and surrounding areas.

Using the map you can listen to sound recordings captured at locations throughout the Bay Area, from the wailing sirens of San Francisco's early warning system to the cries of 'hot chocolate' & the cheers of the crowd at a Giants game.

To listen to the contributed sounds you just need to click on a marker on the map. You can filter the sound recordings shown on the map by city, tags and by the date the sound was recorded. If you log-in to the map with a Google account you can even add your own recorded sounds to the map.

Check out the Sound Maps tag on Maps Mania for more maps of soundscapes, accent & dialect recordings and the sounds of nature around the world.

Mapping 18th Century London


In the Eighteenth Century 'Grub Street' in London became the home to a concentration of impoverished writers, aspiring poets and low-brow publishers & booksellers. The literary occupants of Grub Street tended to work at the margins of London's journalistic and literary scene. Hence 'working in Grub Street' has become a pejorative phrase used against writers or 'hacks' who work for hire and are prepared to prostitute their art for profit.

The Grub Street Project is attempting to document and map London's literary and publishing scene in the 17th & 18th Centuries. As part of this project it has created a number of interactive vintage maps of London. These maps are then being used to show the locations important to London's emerging publishing & literary scenes and their associated trades.

So far the Grub Street Project has created a number of interactive versions of original 18th Century maps. At the moment Strype's 1720 Plan of the City of London, Westminster & Southwark is the only map which contains a number of layers which can be overlaid on the map. Strype's 1720 map includes layers showing the locations of coffee houses, taverns & inns and a place index providing information about London's 18th century roads and streets.


Locating London's Past is another superb tool for exploring Eighteenth Century London life. The site uses John Rocque’s 1746 map of London as the basis for exploring many aspects of London life during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century.

The data sets that can be viewed on the map include records of Old Bailey Proceedings, coroner's records, historical directories, plague deaths, archaeology finds and much more. The interactive map includes the option to switch between Roque's 1746 map and Google's modern map of London.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Blocked Arteries of America's Roads


Metrocosm has created an interesting animated map of 24 hours worth of traffic on the U.S. Interstate Highway System. The US Highway Map visualizes an average day's traffic on the highways by hour of the day.

The simple visual metaphor used in this map is that the U.S. Interstate Highway System resembles the human circulatory system. As the map plays through an average day's traffic you can observe how the arteries become blocked at times of high road usage.

The data for the map is from the Department of Transportation. The map itself was custom made in WebGL with a little help from Three.js and D3.js. The map is actually in 3d so, if you want, you can rotate the map by left clicking on the map and dragging it around. You can also use your mouse's scroll wheel to zoom in & out on the map.

Play the 2016 Ryder Cup on Street View


If you can't wait until Friday for the 2016 Ryder Cup to begin then you might want to whet your appetite by exploring the complete Hazeltine National golf course in Street View.

Google Maps, Ubilabs and Turner Sports have collaborated to create a truly impressive immersive tour of the course. The Hazeltine Explorer provides you with a first hand experience of all 18 holes of the Hazeltine National and allows you to virtually explore the tees, fairways and greens on Google Maps Street View.

You can use the Hazeltine Explorer Google Map, showing a satellite view of the course, to navigate to any hole on the course. Click on a hole number on the map and you can explore the hole, from tee to green, using Google's 360 degree panoramic imagery. The Hazeltine Explorer also includes a video flyover and a short description of all 18 holes. There is also an audio guide to each hole, with a few tips on how the Ryder Cup players might approach playing each hole.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Great Smoky Mountains Species Map


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 1,800 different plant and animal species. You can now view where the park's different animals and parks live on a new interactive map of the park.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Mapper allows anyone to view the distribution of plant and animal life in the park. It provides a tool for park managers to protect life in the park and assess the impact of different species on other life in the the park. It also provides a handy tool for visitors to explore what they might see when they visit the park.

You can use the drop-down menu to select a species to view on the map. You can also select to compare the distribution of the selected species with one or two other plants or animals. Alternatively you can choose to compare your selected species with other species which share a similar distribution in the park.

Mapping Global Air Pollution


Air pollution causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide. To help fight this invisible killer the World Health Organization has launched the BreatheLife campaign. The campaign advocates key changes that governments around the world can take to reduce sources of climate-harmful air pollutants.

The World Health Organization's Global Ambient Air Pollution map shows the levels of pollution across the globe. The map displays the average annual atmospheric particulate matter levels throughout most of the world. The data used is from the WHO Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, which covers 3000 cities in 103 different countries.

The Global Ambient Air Pollution map helps highlight the fact that air pollution most effects those living in low and middle income countries. However 56% of cities in high-income countries also don't meet the WHO air quality guidelines. Even in high-income countries Urban air pollution levels tend to be higher in low and middle-income cities and in the poorer neighborhoods of high-income cities.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Underground Sound of America


Underground Sound is a series of four interactive maps exploring some of the lesser known music venues in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City.

Choose any of the four cities and you can discover some of the best local music venues, as chosen by Mic. The location of each venue is displayed on a custom styled Google Map. If you select a venue from the map you can view details about the club in the map sidebar, including a brief description of the club, its address, website and a link to a review of the club on Mic.

35,000 Marathon Runners Mapped


Over 35,000 people completed yesterday'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.

Buttons at the bottom of the map allow you to filter the runners shown on the map by gender. You can also filter the runners shown on the map by the home town of each competitor. So, for example, if you want to see how the 23 runners from San Francisco fared in this year's Berlin marathon you just need to type 'San Francisco' into the map search box. The runners from San Francisco will then be highlighted on the map. The average time of all the runners from San Francisco will also be displayed on the map.

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