An Interactive Map of Every Cargo Ship in the World in 2012

Map by Kiln

Using over 250 million data points from the UCL Energy Institute (UCL EI), Kiln, a London-based data visualisation and digital journalism studio, created the incredible interactive map embedded below.

The map displays movements of the global merchant fleet over the course of 2012, overlaid on a bathymetric map. You can also see statistics such as a counter for emitted CO2 (in thousand tonnes) and maximum freight carried by the represented vessels (varying units).

The merchant fleet is divided into five categories, each of which has a filter and a CO2 and freight counter for the hour shown on the clock. The ship types and units are as follows:

– Container (e.g. manufactured goods): number of container slots equivalent to 20 feet (i.e. a 40-foot container takes two slots)
– Dry bulk (e.g. coal, aggregates): combined weight of cargo, fuel, water, provisions, passengers and crew a vessel can carry, measured in thousand tonnes
– Tanker (e.g. oil, chemicals): same as dry bulk
– Gas bulk (e.g. liquified natural gas): capacity for gases, measured in cubic metres
– Vehicles (e.g. cars): same as dry bulk

To see a full screen version of the map embedded below visit You can also find some additional information on the map below.

[via Digg]

Why do ships sometimes appear to move across land?

In some cases this is because there are ships navigating via canals or rivers that aren’t visible on the map. Generally, though, this effect is an artefact of animating a ship between two recorded positions with missing data between, especially when the positions are separated by a narrow strip of land. We may develop the map to remove this effect in the future.

Why are there fewer ships visible in the first part of the year?

Unfortunately the data we are using for the map is incomplete for the first few months of the year: roughly January to April.

How was the map created?

UCL EI took data showing location and speed of ships and cross-checked it with another database to get the vessel characteristics, such as engine type and hull measurements. With this information they were able to compute the CO2 emissions for each observed hour, following the approach laid out in the Third IMO Greenhouse Gas Study 2014. Kiln took the resulting dataset and visualized it with WebGL on top of a specially created base map, which shows bathymetry (ocean depth), based on the GEBCO_2014 Grid (version 20150318), as well as continents and major rivers from Natural Earth.

Where did you get the data and who paid?

Our data sources for shipping positions are exactEarth for AIS data (location/speed) and Clarksons Research UK World Fleet Register (static vessel information). We are very grateful to our funders, the European Climate Foundation.

Read more:

The Relative Size of Colorado from the Equator to the North Pole Using Mercator Projection

To demonstrate how the Mercator projection distorts the size of places on a map the further you get from the equator, reddit user h2ppyme used the website to show how Colorado ‘grows’ as it approaches the North pole.

If you check out the interactive website you can enter any country in the world and drag it around to see how its ‘size’ changes depending where it is placed on the map.

[via h2ppyme on reddit]

Read more:

How Many Minimum Wage Hours Does It Take To Afford A Two-Bedroom Apartment In Your State?

Ever wonder how people manage to get by on minimum wage? Oftentimes, they don’t…

Read more:

17 Landmark Smoking Bans That Cleared the Air


A smoking ban icon is seen inside Hofbraeuhauskeller traditional beer hall on January 2, 2008 in Munich, Germany.
Image: Johannes Simon/

On March 29, 2004, Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce comprehensive legislation that banned smoking in the workplace, including in all bars and restaurants. In advance of the bill, pub owners and citizens spoke out, claiming the ban would “sound the death knell for the Irish pub.”

Despite resistance, the measure had its intended effect: One year later, it was reported that 7,000 people had given up smoking, and researchers found a 17% drop in respiratory issues. Recent research indicates the ban saved an estimated 3,700 lives.

“I didn’t anticipate the world focus on it,” Ireland’s former health minister told the Independent.

Smoke-free legislation hardly began with the Emerald Isle, however. In fact, the very first anti-smoking edict was issued in the 16th century by Pope Urban VII, best known for succumbing to malaria after a two-week reign. Urban VII proclaimed that anyone who “took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church” risked excommunication. In the 17th century, meanwhile, the American colony of Massachusetts attempted to curtail smoking outdoors, mainly in the hopes of preventing fires.

Although the United States holds no federal ban on smoking in the workplace, each U.S. state has introduced its own legislation designed to safeguard non-smokers against the dangers of secondhand smoke. Arizona was the first state to restrict smoking in government buildings, health facilities and other public places in 1973. Aspen, Colo., became the first U.S. city to ban smoking in restaurants in 1985.

By 2010, 25 states had enacted comprehensive smoke-free legislation, according to the U.S. surgeon general’s website.

While the surgeon general estimates 88 million Americans are still exposed to secondhand smoke on a daily basis, worldwide anti-smoking laws have helped millions breathe easier. A 2012 study conducted at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic found that smoke-free laws contributed to a 33% drop in the number of heart attacks in Olmstead County, Minn., as well as a 17% decline in sudden cardiac deaths. Meanwhile, a study spearheaded by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that regions that restrict public smoking saw a sustained drop in hospital admissions and deaths from a variety of smoking-related illnesses, including heart and lung disease and stroke.

“All people should avoid secondhand smoke to the extent possible, and people with coronary heart disease should have no exposure to secondhand smoke,” the authors of the Mayo Clinic study concluded.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Ireland’s historic legislation, we’ve created a map of other notable smoking bans around the world. Take a look to see how your country stacks up.

Read more:

I Always Thought The U.S. Was Christian/Jewish/Other. Nope. Check Out This Surprising Map.

We all know the U.S. is more Christian than anything else, but this map shows the second-most popular religion in each state. Wow. Look how how widespread Islam is and how Buddhism is such a widely practiced religion. California’s more Buddhist than Jewish? And how about those Hindus in Arizona? This is fun.

I’m also thinking we should take advantage of all these different viewpoints. Our diversity may be our most fundamental strength.

Read more:

7 Deadly Sins Map — How Does Your State Stack Up?

Geographers from Kansas State plotted the 7 deadly sins on a map of the U.S. The darker your county is, the more “sinful” it is. The methodology used to calculate each sin is stated below the map.

1. Greed was calculated by comparing average incomes with the total number of inhabitants living beneath the poverty line.

2. Envy was calculated using the total number of thefts — robbery, burglary, larceny and stolen cars.

3. Wrath was calculated by comparing the total number of violent crimes — murder, assault and rape — reported to the FBI per capita.

4. Lust was calculated by compiling the number of sexually transmitted diseases — HIV, AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea — reported per capita.

5. Gluttony was calculated by counting the number of fast food restaurants per capita.

6. Sloth was calculated by comparing expenditures on arts, entertainment and recreation with the rate of employment.

7. Pride is the aggregate of all data from the six other sins, averaged into an overview of all evil.

Read more:

Incredible USA Counties Map Made from Over 3,000 Carved Wooden Blocks

Artwork by Ben Graves

Ben Graves, 80, a retired oil refinery chief, now spends his days over a scroll saw, creating amazing maps out of various types of wood. Graves tells My San Antonio that it’s a hobby he loves and finds relaxing.

The generous artist has donated over a dozen wooden US maps to schools around Texas and he also donated the incredible USA county map (contiguous US) above to the Kerr County office. In a post on Facebook, Graves son, Bendy, says the 8 ft wide by 5 ft tall county map took over 6 months to build.

Below you can see an amazing close-up of another map Graves made that shows all of Texas’ counties.

Artwork by Ben Graves


My San Antonio: Kerrville craftsman donates maps made of various woods
u/uluman on reddit
Ben Graves on Facebook

Read more:

Country Maps Made from Regional Foods

Originally inspired by a passion for travel, Food Maps by Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves, use regional foods to create physical maps of countries and continents around the world. This does not necessarily mean the food originally came from the country, just that it is heavily incorporated into the country’s cuisine. As the duo explain:

Exploring new places through the food you eat is often a portal to the cultural complexities of that place… While we know that tomatoes originally came from the Andes in South America, Italy has become the tomato king. These maps show how food has travelled the globe—transforming and becoming a part of the cultural identity of that place… This project speaks to the universality of how food unites people, brings us together and starts conversation.

You can see the complete series on the duo’s website. You can also see their individual artworks at their respective sites here and here.

1. Map of India Made from Spices

Map of India Made from Regional Foods by caitlin levin and henry hargreaces (3)

2. Map of China Made from Noodles

Map of China Made from Regional Foods by caitlin levin and henry hargreaces (1)

3. Map of France Made from Cheese and Bread

Map of France Made from Regional Foods by caitlin levin and henry hargreaces (2)

4. Map of Italy Made from Tomatoes

Map of Italy Made from Regional Foods by caitlin levin and henry hargreaces (4)

5. Map of United States Made from Corn

Map of United States Made from Regional Foods by caitlin levin and henry hargreaces (5)