Author Archives: Heikki Vesanto

30 Day Map Challenge 2019

Last November I took part in the 30 Day Map Challenge. An excellent project suggested by Topi Tjukanov on twitter:

I perhaps had a bit of an advantage. I had already completed a very similar challenge in 2014. Mapvember.

Where I made a post on this blog every day for all of November, primarily maps.

You can browse all of the posts in:
https://gisforthought.com/category/mapvember/

And a summary:
https://gisforthought.com/mapvember/

There are a lot of advantages to this style of map creation and a few down sides.

Advantages:

  • It puts a time limit on the maps. This forces you to put them out there no matter the status. It is easy to leave maps half finished because they are not perfect. I know the internet can be a harsh critic sometimes, but you are making a map a day, it won’t be perfect.
  • You can revisit some older maps that have been discarded in the past. Perhaps they didn’t look so good, weren’t so interesting. That doesn’t matter, you are posting a map a day they don’t have to be perfect.
  • There are a lot of ideas out there. I use a Google keep note to store map ideas I have. The list keeps on getting longer and without some pushing it never gets shorter.
  • Collaboration. There were some great maps made, and every day you could enjoy them as well, feeling part of the community. Sharing ideas and techniques.
  • Increase your talents. The only way you are going to get better at mapping is by making some maps. No better way to do it than pushing yourself.
  • Work with new data. 30 maps is a lot of maps. You can explore new datasets and new software.
  • Grow your following. As the challenge is on Twitter it is a good way to build your following. I got 139 new followers over the month. Now for some people that isn’t much. But I only have 600 in general so it’s a sizeable amount. Although I’m not sure there is that much value to followers. But 197k impressions is good? 1 follower per 1000 who saw a map.

Disadvantages:

30 maps is a lot of maps to make. A day is a short time to make one. My tactic, based on my previous experience, was to make a few upfront and ready to go. So by the time November started I had a few maps ready, so I could be ahead of the curve.

I used tweetdeck to schedule the tweets. I didn’t map on the weekend for the most part. I had other commitments, so scheduling and making some easy maps was crucial to completing the challenge.

There are no real rules to the challenge, interpret it how you wish. Do a map a day, or a map a week, but the important part is enjoying it.

Maps

There is a great website that collects all the maps created by theme and creator:
https://david.frigge.nz/30DayMapChallenge/index.html

My maps:

I have posted all of my maps here.

With a select few favorites:

Day 1Points – Ireland’s population mapped as one point per person. 6,572,675 points in total:

Day 2Lines – 1 week of flying for Ryanair EI-DYP Boeing 737-800:

Day 5Raster – Total rainfall in Ireland in 2018 from Met Eireann data:

Day 10Black and White – Register of renewed liquor licences: Publican’s Houses Dublin:

Day 19Urban – Perhaps Dublin’s most confused street:

All in all I whole heartedly recommend taking part when November rolls around again.

Ireland 2020 General Election HEX Maps

Ireland has a great single transferable election system. It means that every vote is meaningful even for smaller parties and candidates. It also means mapping the results is difficult. As each constituency has more than one seat, ranging from three to five.

One way to map the results is to have the constituencies split up. Either geographically, so split into parts based on how many seats it has. Or into equal sized pieces, like hexes.

Since I had not seen an election hex map for Ireland yet. I thought I would attempt to make one for the February 2020 General Election.

As HEX. One hex per seat.
Hex no labels.
Constituencies split into equal sized parts based on number of seats.

The hexes and split files can be found on GitHub:
https://github.com/HeikkiVesanto/Ireland2020GeneralElectionHEX

Geometries were split using the tutorial from Paul Ramsey:
http://blog.cleverelephant.ca/2018/06/polygon-splitting.html

John Snow Pub

I was once at an OpenStreetMap conference where 6 out of the 8 talks in one day had an image of the John Snow Cholera Map. And no surprise, it is an excellent, relatable, and interesting early example of GIS. The spatial relationship is unmistakable.

Original map overlaid on modern day London:

The site of the Broad Pump is now the location of a pub called the “John Snow”, which is well worth a visit if you are in London.

John Snow location:

John Snow Pub
Sign with blue plaque
Blue plaque
Pump without handle memorial

Every Person in Great Britain Mapped

A follow up to my previous post: Every Person in Scotland on the Map. Winner of the 2016 OS OpenData Award for Excellence in the use of OpenData from the British Cartographic Society.

Full size interactive map.

The mapping process is pretty straightforward, and not accurate. I don’t know where you live. But I can make an educated guess.

I simply amalgamate the two sets of census data from the NRS (National Records of Scotland) for Scotland (2011 census) and the ONS (Office of National Statistics) for England and Wales (2010 census).

Postcodes were then created based on the ONS Postcode Directory, filtering for postcodes that were live in 2011 (which is the latest census data). The postcode centroids were turned into polygons using voronoi polygons.

Then we simply select all of the buildings in a postcode from Ordnance SurveyOpen Map product, filtering out most schools and hospitals. Then we put a random point in a random building for each person in that postcode.

I would have loved to include Northern Ireland, but the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland do not have an equivalent open building outline dataset, like Open Map from the Ordnance Survey.

Rendered with: QGIS tile writer python script. Processing done 100% in PostGIS.

Struve Geodetic Arc

The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of triangulation stretching more or less down the 26° E line of longitude from near Hammerfest on the Arctic Ocean over 2,820 km south to Izmail on the Black Sea. The survey was carried out between 1816 and 1855 under the guidance of F.G.W. Struve.

Theoretically, a degree of latitude is a constant and would have the same value at the equator as at the pole. But already Isaac Newton believed that the Earth was slightly flattened at the poles. This question of the shape and size of the Earth inspired the astronomer Friedrich George Wilhern Struve to come up with his famous Meridian Arc measurement.

The scheme included 258 main triangles with 265 not and over 60 subsidiary station points.The selection of points involves a total of 34 sites on the Struve Geodetic Arc. In today’s geography. the Arc passes through ten countries, viz. Norway (4 station points), Sweden (4), Finland (6), the Russian Federation (2), Estonia (3). Latvia (2). Lithuania (3). Belarus (5), the Republic of Moldova (1), and Ukraine (4).

All of the points in the Arc were designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2005.

The site at Puolakka is easily accessible from central Finland, for example from Tampere, or especially Jyväskylä.

There is parking at the start of the walk, which is not maintained during the winter. But there is ample space on the roadside for parking. The path itself was in good condition but the road to the start could be difficult after a heavy snowfall.

The walk itself is 1km, all uphill. The path is very well maintained with stairs for the steeper sections. The view is definitely worth the time to visit.

Beginning of the walk.
740 meters to the start and 260 to the lookout tower
Stairs on the path
Lookout tower
Triangulation pillar at the top
View from the tower
View from the tower
Info board at the start of the walk
Path map

Walk path: