Interesting Heat Map Shows How Popular Your Name Is Across the United States Over the Past Century

We just found an interesting heat map that you could check the popularity of your (or your family and friend’s) name(s) across the U.S. in the past 100 years. Simply enter your name in the search box, select the gender, and then wait for the GIF heat map tells you the answer. interactive us heat map popular baby names

You could see the heat map about popularity of your name from 1910 to 2012, and detailed statistics can be found in mouseover box of each state.

Map Reviews: 3.5/5 Stars
This map is interesting for us to search how popular our names are in the past century. However, a timeline is omitted that we would not select specific period as the heat map is some kind of a GIF image. As there are so many regions in the heat map, it is impossible for me to mouseover all the boxes within one second for detailed information, therefore, I have to refresh the map and wait for the specific year again. It sounds a bit silly.
This heat map will be better if a timeline or a pause button is enabled.

Interactive Map Shows How Boston Startups are Similar to Silicon Valley


The following interactive map of Boston startups may be surprised you that it reveals Boston is resembling the tech scene in Silicon Valley.

interactive boston map techscene

This interactive Boston Techscene map is created by Jay Batson, based information from Crunchbase, for visualizing the density of Boston startups in greater Boston area. According to this map, it unveils more than 600 startups have raised abount $4.8 billion, and created abount 14,500 jobs in a decade.

You can now find job postings or find press releases about startups using the map by selecting the points on the map or in the marker list.

Map Reviews: 3.5/5 Stars
We like this map, includes the map theme, the usages, the map color settings, and present of the marker list. However, it would be better if there is clustering feature, and improved performance for the filtering function.

Since there are over 600 points on the map, it would be better present those points with clustering, which is a way to group markers on the map based on factors, such as proximity or map data that makes the map leaner and cleaner without flooding with overlapping markers. You can get more idea about clustering in the following video:

Usable Restroom Along MTA NYC Subway

Few weeks ago, we have share an NYC Subway map about best coffee by stop, and today we would like to share another one about usable restroom along the subway.


This MTA New York City Subway map about usable restroom is created along with a YouTube video created by Eron Watt to show those 48 subway restrooms he visited from 2009-2014. Out of NYC’s 468 subway stations, only 129 of them claim to have restrooms, and many of them are locked, though MTA spokesman claimed that the only times restrooms are locked is from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. for cleaning purposes and prevention of crime, except when they are under construction.

Here is the video produced by Eron Watt:

Interactive Heat Map: Global Slavery Index 2013

According to the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Dlacery Index 2013, there are nearly 30 million slaves in the world, and almost 60,000 of them are living in the U.S. Here is an interactive world map about the index.

According to the Walk Free, slavery defines as one of the following: human trafficking, forced labor, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children including in armed conflict.

The index ranks 162 countries based on a combined measure of three factors: estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, a measure of child marriage, and a measure of human trafficking in and out of a country.

The index is mapped into two maps: an interactive heat map & an interactive bubble chart. In the heat map, country with higher slavery prevalence is highlighted with darker red while country with lower slavery prevalence is highlighted with yellow. Map users could see details of each country by mouse clicking the region, or select specific category in the category legends.

In the bubble chart, countries are being plotted on the chart according to their prevalence rank vs human development index/financial service index/corruption index. However, there is no popup box of each bubble for detailed information, and no map legend to indicate various bubble sizes that a bit confuse the map users.

interactive heat map the global slavery index 2013

According to the index, 10 countries with the highest prevalence of slavery are Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Moldova, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Gabon. Among all the above mentioned countries, India has the most slaves in the world, with an approximated 14 million. 

However, even countries like Iceland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom rank 160 in the index, it does not mean these countries are slavery free, for example, it is estimated there are between 4200 to 4600 “slaves” in the UK.

Map Review: 4.5/5 Stars
We love this map as the map design is simple but informative with clear instruction and indications for users to filter related information in seconds.
There are just minor suggestions to the bubble chart:

  • add a map legend to indicate the bubble sizes
  • insert infobox for each bubble for detailed information

Alternatively, showing data of each country with bubble can be presented on the world map rather than on the chart. Bubble chart map can be easily created in mapping software that you may take following video for reference:

Interactive World Map About Deforestation

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), it’s estimated 500 soccer fields of forests are lost every minute. WRI cooperated with about 40 organizations, and has created the following Global Forest Watch (GFW), an online forest monitoring system, to see where are we losing the forests in real-time.

interactive world map global forest watch

You can see related data by selecting specific items in the category legends, for example see the forest changes, forest cover (heat maps), forest use (e.g. logging/mining/oil palm). Using this map, we could track the effects of using forest illegally, for example the illegal gold mining in Peru’s Amazon.

Related article: Global Forest Change

Interactive Global Map: Human Genetic History

Maybe you are the one who always dozing in history lecture, you may find “history” can be presented in a more vivid way by using interactive maps / graphics. Here we have found an interactive world map about human genetic history, and let’s start our history lecture now!

interactive google map human genetic history

The genetic map is created by researchers from Oxford University and UCL that lists detailed genetic history of 95 different populations across the world that we can see genetic impacts of European colonialism, the Arab slave trade, how Silk Road mixing population, and more. Simon Myers of Oxford’s Department of Statistics stated that DNA tells stories of humanity’s past, and most of the their genetic observations match with historical events, for example Hazara people of Pakistan are partially descended from Mongol warriors, which matches with the finding that Mongol DNA  entering the population during the Mongol Empire.

There are category legends for you to find information by historical event or population, or you can mouse click the icons on the map to see detailed information in the popup information column.

There is a minor design that we like, the scale line acts like a time line that it will indicate the time frame of the selected historical event.
time line

U.S. Energy Mapping System

Last summer, we have shared an interactive U.S. map about how green each state is. After a half year, we find another U.S. map about energy, U.S. Energy Mapping System, that pinpoints various power plants across the States.

Since the map displays all the data in default, it may takes time for loading, and it is also messy for searching related information. Fortunately, the map provides category legend for filtering that you can make the map more simple and neatly by disabling unrelated layers. Though category legend is provided, you may still be confused by the long list of legend items. We suggest you to remove all the layers first, and then check specific items in the checkbox for better filtering.

Similar to majority of interactive maps, additional information of each power plant (e.g. plant name, plant code, utility name, summer capacity) can be seen in the mouse click boxes.

Click the following image to see the interactive map:
interactive us map energy mapping system

Interactive World Map: NSA Interception

Last year, Edward Snowden leaked National Security Agency documents that remind us the insecure of our privacy. Here is an interactive world map, taking reference from the Snowden reports on surveillance by NSA, shows which countries are being intercepted by the spy services from the Western World (Five Eyes group – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).

The map is created by Sniffmap, which has run random tests on international internet traffic originating from a country for checking how many routes are intercepted by Five Eyes.

The concept of this map is checking if an internet route between two IP addresses would pass by an NSA controlled country. If yes, the route will be considered as intercepted that you can see around 80% of the routes are captured by Five Eyes in the map.

Limitations of the map:
Sniffmap admits that the map fails to take account data captured by non-Five Eyes countries.
The map depends on geographic IP to determine location of routers, which is not 100% accurate.
This map is lacking most of the data from African countries that you could improve it by contributing traceroute results.

world heat map nsa interception

Best Coffee in NYC by Subway Stops


We have shared various subway maps, no matter those are interactive or static, all the time since subway maps are so common and important to us in our daily life, especially to those who take subway everyday. Here we have found another useful subway map for busy New Yorkers to check out the best coffee around you by subway stops.

This NYC subway map is created by Butterfruit Labs that shows the best coffeehouses in Manhattan by subway stops. The standards of being “the best coffeehouse” are equipment they used, the type/source of beans, stop proximity, and reviews from both customers and professionals. You may find that Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks maybe in the map since some locations do not have great options other than these two.

Let’s try all the best coffee in town by following the map!
best coffee in new york cityMap Reviews: 3.5/5Stars
Subway map is the best material to create interactive image for various purposes, e.g. introduce attractions by stop, share audios/videos by stop, or introduce best coffee/restaurants by stop. This map is useful and informative to those living in NYC, especially those coffee-addicts.
Last year, we have shared an interactive Kuala Lumpur map of independent cafes, which provides detailed information for each cafe in pop-up boxes. Similarly, the above subway map can be more informative and interesting by converting it into dynamic images with tooltips/description boxes.
Furthermore, category legends can be created for categorizing those chain stores and independent cafes.
Let’s see if any interactive subway maps will be created in the future for another topics, and please feel free to share your findings to as well!