The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The good, the bad and the ugly – thanks to

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Links and embeds to maps I have stumbled upon that interested me

Just plain stupid maps

I have ranted for ages about “just because you can put it on a map …..”

Here are a few examples

Occupy Map

The Occupy protests in October 2011 spread from Wall Street to many other locations but did the Guardian really need to present them on a map? If they did could they not have come up with a slightly better effort?

Sound Maps

I am a sceptic about sound maps in general because I can’t normally see the significance of a spatial distribution of sound clips or why you would want to search for sound clips by location.

Among the silliest in my opinion is the UK SoundMap from the British Library. I doubt that much of value will come from allowing anyone to upload any sound clip they wish and associate it with a point on a map.

In contrast Memory Loops clearly has focus and undoubtedly the sound clips are a valuable historical archive.

“With Memory Loops, Munich is creating a virtual memorial for the victims of National Socialism. Michaela Melian’s audio work of art comprises 300 German and 175 English audio tracks which can be found on a map drawn up by the artist …”

The hand drawn map creates an interesting background for the sound clips which are well worth browsing through. I guess if you live in Munich today the locations might add a little relevance but in my opinion these clips would be a chilling record of European history without any map.


In the flurry of interest around the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic someone mappy had to get in on the act. I was a bit surprised to see the grandfather of all things geo, ESRI come up with this StoryMap I really don’t see the point.

April 2012

I don’t get this

Placing Literature: Where Your Book Meets the Map is a site where people can plot locations from novels that they have read. I can’t see the purpose of this effort and the implementation is so dull that I doubt many people who stumble upon it will ever return. Good writing opens up a sense of a place to the reader’s imagination that is on another level to a pin on a map and a dull callout.

Grumpy, June 2013


I love this map of the Swiss Train network which updates in real time showing the positions of the trains, their speed and directions. Not quite sure why the Swiss think they need this since their trains seem to run just like their watches 🙂

I really like Mapnificent London even though the interface is a little slow. This map shows the areas you can reach by public transport in a given period of time (with and without a bike). I don’t know how accurate it is but no doubt in time the timetables and other data available will get smarter and this kind of site will become common place. At the moment looks pretty good to me, maybe you have seen a better implementation?


Those of you who know me know that I love twitter and of course I am quite keen on geo so mapping the twittersphere should be right up my street. Unfortunately several of the attempts to parse wisdom from the location of tweets are off with the fairies.

These Urbagrams seem pretty pointless to me but you may like that as a form of post Lichtenstein art form or maybe it’s Seurat

These tweetographs from the team at CASA are certainly pretty but are they telling us anything more than people with geolocated devices who tweet tend to concentrate close to the centre of cities?

There are a couple of examples of trying to mine the sentiments of tweets that I will try to find and post shortly

Historic Maps

These old maps of Bristol are presented in a really neat, if somewhat fiddly, interface. You need silverlight to get the best out of the site but well worth it. Try setting one time as the base and another as the spyglass and then explore.

Southwark also have some beautiful historic OS maps that CDR scanned for them and you can view integrated with their current site. Not as spectacular interface as Bristol but very clean. I am amazed at how excellent the 100 year old maps are compared to today’s latest and greatest, thumbs up to OS veterans.

Maps to print

FIND let’s you apply some styling to a Google base map or switch to OpenStreetMap or OS OpenData, add some useful admin boundaries, layers of historic buildings and stuff and then print the whole thing out as a PDF. This is neat although very Flashy, but I am not sure why I would ever want to use it.

Weather Maps

The Meteorological Office have a great beta weather map in their Invent section.


There are surprisingly few maps using opendata that are worth a comment from a geo perspective. Many of them seem to just throw stuff on a map because they can. Whilst I am not sure that I like the way they are visualising the data sets for See-UK and the OS OpenSpace just crawls along taking for ever to render ward boundaries there is definitely some interesting tech behind this site from Seme 4

Heat Maps

Well actually fire maps from Greater London Fire Service. I am trying to work out what this map is showing, are we to assume that there is a geographic performance trend or that fires in general are geographically distributed? If so why? Does the use of a raw count of incidents that is not population or property weighted work or misinform? Probably a blog post needed.

Scottish Green Spaces Map

I love the fact that all of the councils have worked together to compile this comprehensive record of Scotland’s Green Spaces which they claim is a worldwide first. Not so keen on the fact that all of this publicly funded and created data is not open, see the reference to needing an OS license to access the raw data, what a load of tosh! The interface is cludgy and very GISlike and worst of all there is absolutely no useful data apart from the classifications. For more opinions see Andy Whightman’s article on the Guardian site


Sept 2011

 Twisted Maps

Danny Dorling delivered an outstanding keynote at GeoCommunity ’11 yesterday. His weird and twisted maps take some getting used because the “regular” land shapes of UK or wherever we live and know well are almost iconic images burnt into our brains and we tend to reject these images as “wrong” but of course they aren’t wrong they are just different. You can view some of his work at Views of the World. Here is an image of showing monthly average rainfall

Borrowed from

I think I am in map heaven!

 Historic Map Links

Thanks to Kimberley Kowal there is now a page of Historic Map links

Oct 2011

 F*%@ yes maps

A vast array of mappiness with pictures and links to weird and wonderful map sites

Bob Dylan’s World

As an old Bob Dylan fan this map of Bob Dylan’s World shows every place he sung about (or does it?)