10 Million Dots: Mapping European Population

Posted by on March 23, 2017

Creating a giant dot density map using R....

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Mapping 5,000 Years of City Growth

Posted by on March 6, 2017

I recently stumbled upon a great dataset. It’s the first to provide comprehensive data for world city sizes as far back as 3700BC. The authors (Meredith Reba, Femke Reitsma & Karen Seto) write: How were cities distributed globally in the p...

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Big Data and Design

Posted by on February 28, 2017

I recently had the pleasure of giving a Creative Mornings talk. Each month there is a new theme that the presenters need to refer to – mine was “fantasy” so I chose to open with one of my favourite fantasy creatures: the unicorn. It...

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Illustrations of Chartography

Posted by on January 23, 2017

I discovered this on ebay last week and had to buy it. Entitled “Illustrations in Chartography” it shows a series of different cartographic (or chartographic?) techniques used in the “School anti fungal Atlas of Physical Geography&#...

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How to email your lecturer (and get a useful reply)

Posted by on January 10, 2017

I took a week of leave before term started and tried really hard not to check emails. With a few assessment deadlines due this week it’s left me with a small backlog of email queries from students. Seeing them as a chunk of enquiries like this,...

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My Year in Maps

Posted by on December 31, 2016

Lots happened in 2016 to keep cartographers busy…here are some of my highlights (in no particular order).   Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line at the British Library is an absolutely extraordinary exhibition at the British Librar...

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Useful Geographic Datasets

Posted by on October 27, 2016

There’s more data out there than ever before and I’m keen for students and researchers to make full use of it. Here are a number of my “go to” places for good data for geographers. This has a UK focus to reflect my interests. ...

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7 Deadly Sins of (Academic) Data Visualisation

Posted by on October 11, 2016

I was recently asked to deliver a days training on scientific data visualisation. I spent a while scanning through papers to pull out what I see as the “7 deadly sins” of academic data visualisation (there are probably many more) . These ...

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Mapping (historic) tracks in ggplot2

Posted by on October 10, 2016

This tutorial was first published in “Geocomputation a Practical Primer“. Here is a more complex example showing how to produce a map of 18th Century Shipping flows. The data have been obtained from the CLIWOC project and they represent a...

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Datashine: Mapping the UK Population

Posted by on September 8, 2016

All the DataShine websites (except DataShine Election) are derived from a common codebase and use the OpenLayers 3 mapping platform to display a full-window slippy map, with user controls and key overlaid. DataShine Census DataShine ScotlandCommissio...

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10×10: Bermondsey

Posted by on September 6, 2016

Mapping London editors James and Ollie were invited earlier this year to create a drawing for the 10×10 charity auction taking place later this week in London. The auction is organised by Article 25, an architectural charity (we took part last y...

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10×10 London: Land Water Land

Posted by on September 6, 2016

Every year, for the last few years, Mapping London editors Oliver and James have been invited to create and submit an artwork for 10×10 London, a charity art auction organised by Article 25, the architectural development charity (originally call...

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The Power of Print

Posted by on September 6, 2016

*Cross-posted from London: The Information Capital’s website* London’s maps are special. They were drawn by pioneers such as Charles Booth, who revealed the full extent of the city’s poverty, Jon Snow, who deployed maps to determine the cause o...

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The Coder and the Designer

Posted by on September 6, 2016

*Cross-posted from London: The Information Capital’s website* Whenever I teach an R class, I usually start by saying how the software is now used by the likes of The New York Times graphics department or Facebook to manipulate their data and pr...

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London As You’ve Never Seen it Before…

Posted by on September 6, 2016

*Cross-posted from London: The Information Capital’s website* As London: The Information Capital enters its second year in print, we think its maps and graphics continue to show London at its best. Here are 12 of our favourites… 12. Pho...

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#15MinuteMap: Tropical Cyclone Tracks 1842-2014

Posted by on July 15, 2015

More and more I stumble across really cool datasets online that are crying out to be mapped, but I never seem to have the time to do anything fun with them. I had a spare 15 minutes yesterday and challenged myself to map something. I wanted to map tr...

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Colour of Votes: 2015 General Election

Posted by on May 9, 2015

There have been many great interactive maps and graphics produced for the 2015 General Election. A map I haven’t seen though is one that attempts to show the relative strength of support for each party in each constituency. This is what the ma...

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Mapping Flows in R

Posted by on March 30, 2015

Last year I published the above graphic, which then got converted into the below for the book London: The Information Capital. I have had many requests for the code I used to create the plot so here it is! The data shown is the Office for National S...

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Burger Cartography

Posted by on March 29, 2015

  I enjoy burgers and have a passion for maps and mapping, which is probably why Andrew Hill’s recent blog post “In Defense of Burger Cartography” offered a sufficiently large piece of bait for me to bite on and respond to (I...

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OpenStreetMappers of London

Posted by on December 11, 2014

This is a slightly edited cross post from Oliver O’Brien’s Suprageography blog. It offers a behind the scenes look at one of the graphics we created for the opening essay in London: The Information Capital. From Ollie: I contributed a num...

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London: The Open Data Capital

Posted by on December 5, 2014

This has been cross-posted from a guest blog post I wrote on the London Datastore. Throughout London’s history, its data have inspired innovative maps and visualisations from the likes of John Snow, William Farr, Charles Booth and Florence Nighti...

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24 Hours in UK Airspace

Posted by on November 19, 2014

This is one of the best 3D visualisations of a large spatial dataset I have seen....

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Improving R Data Visualisations Through Design

Posted by on November 6, 2014

When I start an R class, one of my opening lines is nearly always that the software is now used by the likes of the New York Times graphics department or Facebook to manipulate their data and produce great visualisations. After saying this, however...

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DataShine Update

Posted by on November 6, 2014

Back in June Oliver O’Brien and I launched an interactive census map called DataShine. It has been hugely successful with a core of regular users in addition to many visitors passing who want to learn more about their area or a specific datase...

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London: The Information Capital

Posted by on September 30, 2014

I am pleased announce that London: The Information Capital will be published on the 30th October. It is a book bursting with maps and graphics about the world’s greatest city and the result of a year of intense work with designer Oliver Ube...

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Population Lines Print

Posted by on August 18, 2014

I recently produced a map entitled “Population Lines”, which shows population density by latitude. The aim was to achieve a simple and fresh perspective on these well-known data. I have labelled a few key cities for orientation purposes b...

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Mapped: Journeys to Work

Posted by on July 25, 2014

Today the Office for National Statistics released the long awaited journey to work data collected by the 2011 Census in England and Wales. Here it is in all its glory. En masse you can really see the dominance of London in the South tramadol East as ...

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Welcome to DataShine!

Posted by on June 17, 2014

Last October I was fortunate enough to be awarded an ESRC “Future Research Leaders” grant. These run for up to 3 years and offer the opportunity for early career researchers to focus on their research interests and personal development ...

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Front Page of the British Medical Journal

Posted by on February 22, 2014

Oliver O’Brien and I have managed to sneak a map on the front page of this week’s issue of the British Medical Journal. The graphic shows the modelled flows of bikes between docking stations and accompanies a paper on the positive health...

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Stunning Maps of World Topography

Posted by on February 7, 2014

Robin Edwards, a researcher at UCL CASA, has created these stunning topographic maps using the high resolution elevation data provided by the British Oceanographic Data Centre. The transitions from black (high areas) to blue (low areas) give the ma...

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Introduction to Spatial Data and ggplot2

Posted by on December 9, 2013

For those starting out with spatial data in R, Robin Lovelace and I have prepared this tutorial (funded as part of the University of Leeds and UCL Talisman project). Here we introduce a range of analysis skills before demonstrating how you can deploy...

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The Ultimate Christmas List for Map Lovers

Posted by on November 25, 2013

It is about this time of year that I get asked if I want anything in particular for Christmas. So for others in the same position, or if you are searching for a gift for a map obsessed loved one, here is my ultimate Christmas wish list. Most of these...

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Climate Change and the State of Science

Posted by on November 22, 2013

This is a really nice video funded by the UN Foundation and produced by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Globaia. It combines a range of impressive data visualisations depicting the human impacts on our environment with a clear com...

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Cinematic Mapping

Posted by on October 24, 2013

I recently posted a great visualisation showing 24 hours of shipping in the Baltic. I liked it for its cinematic appeal (was a bit less keen on the music though), and said that such work goes a long way to broaden the appeal of data visualisation. 4...

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Mapping Where We Live

Posted by on October 21, 2013

Showing where we live is, of course, one of the oldest and most useful reasons to create a map. As we bask in the “Big Data” era, the trend for mapping population is increasing simply because there are more data points out there, the bul...

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Open Data as Art: Data Windows

Posted by on October 16, 2013

Ollie O’Brien and I have just dropped off our invited artwork to the  10X10 “Drawing the City London” project run by the building design charity Article 25. We are amongst a number of (much higher profile) contributors who hav...

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The Next Big Spill Animation

Posted by on October 14, 2013

This stunning animation (complete with a dramatic soundtrack) shows one day of shipping in the Baltic Sea. It is a great example of the use of data visualisation to make a political (or in this case environmental) point. I think there are many more d...

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Animating French High Speed Rail

Posted by on September 16, 2013

The video above by the MIT Senseable City lab is one of the nicest I have seen to illustrate train and passenger flows along a rail network. The network itself, the SNCF high speed trains in France, is fairly sparse in terms of the number of trains ...

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NikeFuel Map

Posted by on September 6, 2013

Here is an extract of a map I co-created with Ollie O’Brien as part of a project to produce a “walkable London Tube map” for Nike to promote their FuelBand personal movement tracker. It shows the walking routes and distances between Tub...

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Research Position working with Big Open Data for Social Science

Posted by on September 4, 2013

As part of my recently awarded ESRC “Future Research Leaders” grant I am recruiting a researcher assistant/ associate to work with me on the analysis and visualisation of the latest big and open social science datasets. I am after someone...

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UK Public Transport Flows

Posted by on September 3, 2013

Joan Serras from CASA has produced this great animation that demonstrates Britain’s public transport network. It details train, coach, metro (tram and tube), ferry and air trips over a typical weekday in 2009. Different modes of transport are a...

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Live Singapore

Posted by on August 30, 2013

Live Singapore is a project run by MIT’s Senseable City lab. It takes a large number of data feeds and combines them to create a series of innovative visualisations about Singapore. The work (like much from MIT) is impressive not least becaus...

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Animating Auckland’s Public Transport

Posted by on August 13, 2013

This video, produced by Chris McDowall,  shows the journeys that the buses (teal), ferries (blue) and trains (red) take each day in Auckland. Chris’s description on Vimeo summarises what’s going on brilliantly: “The animation begin...

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Big Open Data: Mining and Synthesis

Posted by on August 12, 2013

I have just been awarded and ESRC Future Research Leaders grant entitled “Big Open Data: Mining and Synthesis” (BODMAS). The project is an exciting opportunity to start to get to grips with the latest developments in geographic data for t...

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Crime Map of London

Posted by on July 27, 2013

I was delighted to be asked to be part of the the Financial Times Magazine’s special graphics issue. It is a really great “celebration of visual culture” and includes an interview with Edward Tufte and work from Stamen. The map I pr...

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Can Maths Predict a Riot?

Posted by on July 17, 2013

Hannah Fry, CASA‘s own Lecturer in the Mathematics of Cities talks through some of the ways in which spatial modelling has the potential to predict major events in cities – in this premier-pharmacy.com/product/synthroid/ case rioting. Han...

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Mapping Spanish Spending

Posted by on July 2, 2013

Access to credit/ debit card data is, quite rightly, heavily restricted, so there aren’t many data visualisations out there that can match the detail of the one above, produced at the MIT Senseable City lab. It shows how Spanish spending patter...

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Updated: Colonial Shipping Routes

Posted by on June 26, 2013

One of the most popular set of maps I produced last year showed English, Spanish and French Shipping between 1750-1800. I am pleased to say it has been revamped and published in a book entitled “The Infographic History of the World“. Vale...

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Role of CyberGIS in Analysing Urban Data

Posted by on June 24, 2013

This is a talk a gave in August 2012 on the use of “CyberGIS” for the analysis of urban data. CyberGIS is a term that covers the suit of tools that are being developed to use large-scale premier-pharmacy.com/product/arimidex/ computing i...

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Geneva’s Mobile Phone Traces

Posted by on June 17, 2013

This stunning animation was produced as part of the Ville Vivante project that utilised data collected from mobile phone connections to create these digital traces across the city of Geneva. Mobile phones create a wealth of “invisible” ...

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Where is the R Activity?

Posted by on June 10, 2013

R has become one of the world’s most widely used statistics and visualisation software packages with an ever growing user community. Thanks to the release of log files containing all hits to http://cran.rstudio.com/ server it is possible t...

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London Cycle Hire Tails

Posted by on June 10, 2013

Whilst this animation, produced by Jo Wood at City University, is a really nice representation of  the five million Barclays Cycle Hire journeys made in 2010/11 in central London, its main purpose is to show the effect of changing the length of the...

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Mapped: London’s Fire Engine Callouts

Posted by on June 3, 2013

This map shows the geography of fire engine callouts across London between January and September 2011. Each of the 144,000 or so lines represents a fire engine (pump) attending an incident (rounded to the nearest 100m) and they have been coloured acc...

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Connected States of America

Posted by on June 3, 2013

Mobile phone data represent one of the “Big Data” frontiers due to their huge volume and the depth of behavioural insights they offer. One illustration of this is the MIT Senseable City lab’s “The Connected States of America&#...

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What’s so Great About a World Flight Paths Map?

Posted by on May 30, 2013

The stunning map depicting global flight paths produced by Michael Markieta has proved extremely popular (over 13k shares on the BBC when I last checked). The data used to create it (from OpenFlights) have been around for years and there have been m...

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London in Motion

Posted by on May 27, 2013

This animation, produced by Jay Gordon, does a great job of capturing the daily flows of London’s commuters. It combines the 16 million or so daily transactions made with London’s Oyster cards with vehicle-location data from the cityR...

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Pigeon Sim- A fresh way to interact with urban data?

Posted by on May 20, 2013

  Thanks to an Xbox Kinect, Google Earth and some programming wizardry from UCL CASA researcher George MacKerron it is now possible to fly over London. The video below shows “Pigeon Sim” which has been developed to offer a fresh way ...

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Subway Maps and Visualising Social Equality

Posted by on May 15, 2013

Most government statistics are mapped according to official geographical units. Whilst such units are essential for data analysis and making decisions about, for example, government spending, they are hard for many people to relate to and they don’...

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The Art of Data Visualisation Video

Posted by on May 13, 2013

Map design and cartography are now, more than ever, seen as just one set of tools in a growing data visualisation arsenal. This video features well-known data visualisers who talk through some of their guiding principles, offering many insights for t...

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3D Mapping in R

Posted by on May 8, 2013

This tutorial has been kindly contributed by Robin Edwards (from UCL CASA). RGL is R’s box of power-tool for 3D object rendering, with functionality for creating 3d mesh objects and curved surfaces, and for using materials and directional ligh...

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Prof. Mike Batty Talks Big Data and Smart Cities

Posted by on May 6, 2013

“Big Data” and “Smart Cities” are two concepts receiving a lot of attention at the moment. CASA‘s Director, Professor Mike Batty cuts through the hype to reveal some of the insights we can gain through the analysis and...

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A Crash Course in R

Posted by on May 1, 2013

This code has been kindly contributed by Robin Edwards (from UCL CASA). There are many useful introductory guides out there to R, but below is the kind of thing I now wish I’d been given when I first started using it – something with simple log...

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Visualising for Human Geography

Posted by on May 1, 2013

The publication of the International Benchmarking Review of UK Human Geography back in March was a major event for the discipline. The report concludes that the UK human geography community is setting the intellectual agenda for the subject and can ...

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Twitter Languages in the Guardian

Posted by on April 26, 2013

An updated version of the London Twitter Languages map I produced with Ed Manley recently appeared as a double page spread in the Guardian. The colour scheme is different to the original and we use a far larger premier-pharmacy.com/product/predniso...

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Mapped: Twitter Languages in New York

Posted by on February 20, 2013

Following the interest in our Twitter Tongues map for London, Ed Manley and I have teamed up with Trendsmap creator John Barratt to offer this snapshot of New York City’s Twitter languages. We have visualised the geography of about 8.5 mill...

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London’s Oyster Card Flows

Posted by on January 26, 2013

Here is an animation that Ollie O’Brien created a couple of years ago for the “Sense and the City” exhibition at the London Transport Museum. The map shows the touch-ins (going into the network) and touch-outs (leaving the network) of Oyste...

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Lisbon’s Blood Vessels

Posted by on January 26, 2013

This animation from Pedro Miguel Cruz depicts Lisbon’s roads as “blood vessels” (complete with their own clots)....

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Pulse of the City

Posted by on January 26, 2013

The work of UCL CASA’s Jon Reades above depicts the London Underground network as a set of arteries that thicken as passenger volumes passing through the network increase then decrease before, during and after rush-hour....

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Just Landed Tweets

Posted by on January 26, 2013

...

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Mapped: Twitter Languages in London

Posted by on October 22, 2012

  [zoomit id=”IIY6″ width=”auto” height=”400px”] **Update: You can see a new fully-interactive version here** Last year Eric Fischer produced a great map (see end of post) visualising the language communities ...

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In Maps We Trust

Posted by on August 17, 2012

Of all the different types of data visualisation, maps* seem to have the best reputation. I think people are much less likely to trust a pie chart, for example, than a map. In a sense, this is amazing given that all maps are abstractions from reality...

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Life Expectancy BBC News

Posted by on July 26, 2012

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Lives on the Line: Life Expectancy and Child Poverty as a Tube Map

Posted by on July 19, 2012

Maps have always been a powerful way of  highlighting London’s social inequalities (Charles Booth‘s and John Snow‘s are the most iconic examples of this) and they continue to show how the richest and poorest Londoners often live si...

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Editorial: Visualisation Tools for Understanding Big Data

Posted by on July 9, 2012

I recently co-wrote an editorial (download the full version here) with Mike Batty (UCL CASA) in which we explored some of the current issues surrounding the visualisation of large urban datasets. We were inspired to write it following the CASA Smar...

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In Praise of Paper Maps

Posted by on June 28, 2012

When was the last time you held a paper map? I don’t just mean a map printed on paper, I mean one that was designed to be viewed on paper in the first place. The London A to Z would count, so would those in a printed atlas or obtained from a t...

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Mapping the World’s Biggest Airlines

Posted by on June 7, 2012

The map above shows the routes flown by the top 7 airlines (by international passenger distance flown). The base map shows large urban areas and I have attempted to make it look a bit like the beautiful “Earth at Night” composite image pr...

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Information Graphics

Posted by on May 15, 2012

Taschen’s Information Graphics book is the most comprehensive I have seen concerned with modern (and historic) data visualisation. The book itself is worthy of its own infographic as it weights about 5kg and spans nearly 500 pages to include “200...

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Mapping City Flows as Blood

Posted by on May 8, 2012

Blood is everywhere when it comes to describing cities. We have arterial roads, pulsing transport flows, and cities with different metabolisms. Thanks to great new datasets and visualisation software the analogy of cities with pulsing flows is being ...

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Sensing the City: Mapping London’s Population Flows

Posted by on April 26, 2012

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at the first Data Visualisation London Meetup event where I spoke about some of work we do at UCL CASA. A fair chunk of the slides were movies so I thought it best to stick them in a blog post. If you like wh...

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The Twitter Languages of London

Posted by on April 13, 2012

Last year Eric Fischer produced a great map (see below) visualising the language communities of Twitter. The map, perhaps unsurprisingly, closely matches the geographic extents of the world’s major linguistic groups. On seeing these broad patte...

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Mapped: British, Spanish and Dutch Shipping 1750-1800

Posted by on March 30, 2012

I recently stumbled upon a fascinating dataset which contains digitised information from the log books of ships (mostly from Britain, France, Spain and The Netherlands) sailing between 1750 and 1850. The creation of this dataset was completed as part...

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Fast Thinking and Slow Thinking Visualisation

Posted by on March 1, 2012

Last week I attended the Association of American Geographers Annual Conference and heard a talk by Robert Groves, Director of the US Census Bureau. Aside the impressiveness of the bureau’s work I was struck by how Groves conceived of visual...

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Deceptive in their Beauty?

Posted by on February 9, 2012

  Finding ways to effectively map population data is a big issue in spatial data visualization.  The standard practice uses choropleth maps that simply colour administrative units based on the combined characteristics of the people that live t...

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London Cycle Hire and Pollution

Posted by on February 2, 2012

As a cyclist in London you can do your best to avoid left turning buses and dozy pedestrians. One thing you can’t really avoid though is pollution (although I accept cyclists probably aren’t much worse off than pedestrians and drivers in ...

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Great Maps with ggplot2

Posted by on February 2, 2012

The above map (and this one) was produced using R and ggplot2 and serve to demonstrate just how sophisticated R visualisations can be. We are used to seeing similar maps produced with conventional GIS platforms or software such as Processing but I ha...

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The Power of Comparison: Just How Big Is It?

Posted by on January 16, 2012

  If I said a country was 1594719800 metres squared it would mean a lot less to you than if I said it was about the size of Greater London (so long as you know about how big Greater London is). For this reason the media tend to report the extent...

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Coming of Age: R and Spatial Data Visualisation

Posted by on January 10, 2012

I have been using R (a free statistics and graphics software package) now for the past four years or so and I have seen it become an increasingly powerful method of both analysing and visualising spatial data. Crucially, more and more people are wri...

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Mapped: Christmas Around the World

Posted by on December 20, 2011

It would be a shame to end the year without a festive map! Jack Harrison (@jacksfeed) is studying for a research masters in “Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation” at UCL. I teach on the course and it obviously hasn’t worked J...

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My Academic Research: What’s in a Name?

Posted by on December 16, 2011

I have spent the last few years investigating the geography of family names (also called surnames). I work with the team who assembled the UCL Department of Geography Worldnames Database that contains the names and geographic locations of over ...

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The Best of 2011

Posted by on December 6, 2011

As 2011 draws to a close it is worth reflecting on what, I think, has been a defining year for mapping and spatial analysis. Geographic data have become open, big, and widely available, leading to the production of new and interesting maps on an almo...

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Just how far can the Tube take you?

Posted by on November 22, 2011

Transport for London have just released their performance data (link here) for the London Underground network. It is in the form of a really detailed file that contains, amongst other things, the “Peak Operated Kilometres” and “Peak...

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OpenStreetMap: 5 Years of Mapping London

Posted by on November 12, 2011

This week I am giving a talk on some of the London maps that we produce in CASA. The hours of work I put in to such maps is minuscule compared to the amount of effort and time that the OpenStreetMap community have invested in producing a truly ope...

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Why do we need a census?

Posted by on October 24, 2011

Last week I attended a “Beyond 2011” Census event organised by the Prof. Dave Martin and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The attendees came from central and local government, private companies that utlise census data, and a few...

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The Times Atlas of London

Posted by on October 17, 2011

*This post has been cross-posted from the Mapping London blog.* A few months back I had the honour of being asked to approve the use of a couple of excerpts from my London Surname Map in The Times Atlas of London. The wait was finally over last week ...

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Mapping Academic Tweets

Posted by on October 10, 2011

Another day, another Twitter map- this time showing the global distribution of tweets that link to academic journal articles. I am always a bit skeptical of Twitter data (especially with location information) but as an academic seeking to publish in ...

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Interview for the Global Lab Podcast

Posted by on August 31, 2011

This week I feature on the 4th Episode of the Global Lab podcast. The podcast is a great new initiative led by Martin and Steve from CASA where they talk about cities, global connectivity and the impact of technology on people’s premier-pharma...

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Naming Rivers and Places

Posted by on August 26, 2011

A map doing the rounds at the moment (thanks to a plug from flowingdata) is Derek Watkin's brilliant map of "generic" terms for rivers in the United States (above).The map shows how different cultural and linguistic factors have influenced the naming...

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Improved Tree Maps with R

Posted by on August 17, 2011

“Treemaps display hierarchical (tree-structured) data as a set of nested rectangles. Each branch of the tree is given a rectangle, which is then tiled with smaller rectangles representing sub-branches. A leaf node’s rectangle has an area ...

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Welcome

Posted by on August 16, 2011

Welcome to the the new look Spatial Analysis blog. My last post was way back in March so I have a lot of catching up to do! The prolonged absence was due to all my energy being spent on completing my PhD thesis in order that I could get it out of the...

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