Oyster Card Touches for a Weekday

This still is from an animation produced for an exhibition Sense and the City, which was at the London Transport Museum during 2011-12. The animation shows Oyster card “touch ins” and “touch outs” as people enter and leave the network of tubes and (some) trains, using the ubiquitous smartcard. Reds show a net influx into the system, while greens show a net flow outwards.

UK General Election – Swing Map

This can be viewed at http://vis.oobrien.com/election/. It was my earliest “coloured circles in centroids” map and led to a London Council Elections map as well as the Bike Share Map. It primarily shows the predominant “swings” of the votes between parties, as compared with the previous general election.

It was originally published shortly after the election in 2010, but has been recently (2013) updated to utilise the latest version of OpenLayers, allowing it to be viewed effectively on mobile devices. The styling has also been slightly updated, with the user interface elements changed from solid dark blue blocks to translucent rounded black rectangles. It was further updated in 2015, to include the results from the General Election that year, as well as rebrand it as part of the DataShine portfolio of websites.

Boundary Changes

Showing the spatial impact of the proposed Boundary Commission revised constituency boundary changes (released in late 2016, for possible implementation in 2018) for the UK home nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), by means of a slider fading between the current (red) and proposed (blue) outlines.

The website uses browser geolocation to default to your local area, and an OpenStreetMap background map. It is simple (200 lines of HTML/Javascript + Stylefiles for the Mapnik-based boundary map images), written in HTML5, and mobile-friendly. The original version (showing the 2013 proposals) was assembled in less than a couple of hours following publication of the data by the Boundary Commission for England. The latest version incorporates the proposals from the commissions of all four of the home nations, together in a seamless map. Zoom in to see the current/proposed names. The 2013 version also remains available for historical interest.

Direct link to the website.

Mapping London

Co-authoring Mapping London, a blog which launched in early 2011 and has quickly become the definitive blog about current and historic mapping of London. Over sixty maps were featured in the first year.

I also designed the user interface for the Mapping London Names website.

The logo for Mapping London was designed by my co-author.

Streets of Crime

Thickening the streets of west London proportionally based on the linear density of shoplifting crimes recorded along them.

(Work in progress.)


CityDashboard shows real-time, rapidly updating data about a city – combining public transport information, weather and first-hand observations with social media (Twitter) trends and messages. CityDashboard is currently available for eight cities around the UK.

More information and a direct link to the website.

Reworking the Booth Map

The Booth Map of London poverty, c. 1889, was groundbreaking, in that it individually coloured each house according to the assessor’s result. By applying this technique (a form of dasymetric mapping) to two more modern datasets (the Output Area Classification of Great Britain based on the 2001 Census, and the Index of Multiple Deprivation for England 2010) we can similarly colour in the buildings, while leaving the uninhabited parks and fells free of distracting colour.

Acknowledgements: Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011. Data from the ONS.

Further information and a direct link to the map.

Bike Share Map

A visualisation of docking station states for around 50 cities with bicycle-sharing systems (similar to London’s Barclays Cycle Hire) across the world. Each circle, representing a docking station, moves from blue to red as the docking station fills up with bikes. The area of the circle represents the total size of the docking station. AJAX is used to load in the latest information every few minutes. The visualisation allows overall usage patterns to be seen during the day – the patterns being different for each city. An animation mode replays the last 48 hours, allowing commuter flows and other distinctive characteristics to be spotted. Various different colour schemes are available.

The background map is a custom render of OpenStreetMap data. It is designed to show relevant contextual information without distracting from the featured data.

Bike Share Map has been retweeted over 5000 times and derivatives of it have featured in magazines and newspapers including National Geographic Magazine (US June 2012 edition).

The map can be viewed at http://bikes.oobrien.com/. The above map is showing the bicycle-sharing system in Valencia, Spain.

Queen Mary Orienteering Map

This orienteering map was produced in Adobe Illustrator for a special sprint race at the Queen Mary (University of London) campus in East London, including part of Mile End Park. The printed map was at 1:4000 and was produced to the ISSOM (International Specification for Sprint Orienteering Mapping) standard. Because of the larger scale, more detail is shown, such as crosses representing benches.

Printed. Based on Ordnance Survey mapping with the permission of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. Crown Copyright. License No. 42323U. BOF Registration SE-08-624.

London Council Elections

An interactive map showing the “colour” of each London ward, based on the results of the London Council Elections in May 2010. Each vote is considered to be red for Labour, blue for the Conservatives, and green for all other parties – the average “colour” can then be calculated and is displayed as a dot in the centre of each ward. The background is produced in Mapnik, with the circle symbology displayed using OpenLayers.

The visualisation can be viewed at http://casa.oobrien.com/misc/london/

Acknowledgements: Electoral data from the London Data Store. Ward and borough boundaries from Ordnance Survey Boundary-Line, part of the OS Open Data release. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2010. Background contextual data from OpenStreetMap, CC-By-SA OpenStreetMap and contributors.

Shaded Relief Maps

Using the SRTM (Shuttle Radiographic Topological Mission) data from NASA, and roads and placenames from OpenStreetMap, it is a relatively straightforward process to create a shaded relief map. The map is produced using the GDAL raster manipulation tools, with the labels and roads produced in Mapnik.

The sample here is of a region in north Wales.

Acknowledgements: Relief data from NASA’s SRTM. Contextual data from OpenStreetMap, CC-By-SA OpenStreetMap and contributors.

Health of the Nation

This choropleth map shows the results of the 2001 census question on health – in the greener areas, a greater proportion of the population in each statistical area consider themselves to be of good health, with redder areas indicating smaller proportions. The difference between the rural areas west of London, and north of Cardiff, are striking. A similar disparity can be seen when comparing east and west London.

Medium: Web. Acknowledgements: Census data is from the 2001 Census Area Statistics tables. Crown copyright 2003. Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO. Statistical area boundaries from UKBORDERS, an EDINA-supplied service. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2010. Contextual data from OpenStreetMap, CC-By-SA OpenStreetMap and contributors.

OpenOrienteeringMap – Street Orienteering

OpenOrienteeringMap is an automatically generated map of the world, based on the OpenStreetMap dataset but styled for use in informal orienteering competitions.

The style here is the “Street-O” style, a minimalistic network-style map as used for street orienteering. The map is created on-the-fly using Mapnik, a map creation engine.

Medium: Web and print.

Acknowledgements: Data from OpenStreetMap, CC-By-SA OpenStreetMap and contributors.

Current status: Online for the UK. A new version of the user interface is in development.

London Underground Station Use

Visualisation showing the changes in use of the tube stations in London. The example here is showing the changes in total exits and entries (by foot) to the tube stations between 2008 and 2009. Blue circles show increases in numbers and red circles show decreases. The area of the circle is proportional to the changes in numbers. The largest red circle is for Blackfriars station which was closed throughout 2009. The surrounding stations show increased usage, compensating for this closure.

The visualisation can be viewed at http://oobrien.com/vis/tube/

Acknowledgements: Data from the Transport for London website. Background contextual and tube line data from OpenStreetMap, CC-By-SA OpenStreetMap and contributors.

A Map of Scenicness

This map was created from the results of voting by visitors to the ScenicOrNot, who voted on a representative photo in each square kilometre of the UK, supplied by the Geograph project. A GIS was used to create a surface showing the results graphically. The more green an area, the more scenic it was judged to be. Redder areas scored lower.

The extract here shows the central Lake District, which scored very highly. The scores drop along the corridor created by the M6 motorway.

Acknowledgements: Voting results data from from MySociety ScenicOrNot. Contextual data from OpenStreetMap, CC-By-SA OpenStreetMap and contributors.

Current status: Offline.

Finding the Roads from the Buses

This map is a visual representation of some simple spatial analysis. Shows bus stops on OpenStreetMap, imported in bulk from the NaPTAN (National Public Transport Access Nodes) dataset, overlaid on the standard OpenStreetMap render showing roads. Bus stops which are further than 40 metres from the nearest road are coloured red, to highlight places where a road is likely to be missing and should be targeted by the community when aiming to “complete” the map. The nearness calculation is performed using a spatial SQL query on the underlying PostGIS-based database.

Acknowledgements: Data from OpenStreetMap, CC-By-SA OpenStreetMap and contributors. Includes data from NaPTAN (National Public Transport Access Nodes) which is Crown Copyright and also released under CC-By-SA licence.

Current status: Offline. Following the OS OpenData release, and other improvements to OpenStreetMap data sources, the utility of this tool was largely superceded.