Life expectancy in the UK

Regional differences in life expectancy in the UK - women (left) and men

Newly released data from the British Office of National Statistics shows huge variations in life expectancy across the UK. The Guardian has pushed the figures into four maps, two for each gender – life expectancy and another indicating the change from the period 2001-3 to 2007-9

With the sole exception of males living in Orkney, these reveal increasing life expectancies everywhere, but widening regional variations. Rising from 9.8 to 11.3 years for males, 8.2 to 10.1 years for females

The most striking geographical differences occur in male life expectancy (pictured top right): Scotland fairs worse than England. Apart from a handful of wealthy districts in London and the south, rural areas outperform cities.

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World maps of glowing plants

Did you know plants emit a faint reddish glow (fluorescence) as a by-product of photosynthesis ?

In a set of maps described in NASA’s news release as ‘groundbreaking’, scientists working at the Goddard flight center have depicted this activity for land vegetation around the globe for the very first time.  The data was collected with the spectrometer on the Japanese Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT).

Two maps show the striking difference between fluorescence in the winter and summer seasons in Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Global plant fluorescence  July vs December

Apparently previous maps showing plant ‘greenness’ suffer from a significant time lag between changes on the ground occurring and what satellites can detect. Measuring plant fluorescence offers much more immediate insight into things like environmental stress.

How could this data be used ?

They could help farmers respond to extreme weather or make it easier for aid workers to detect and respond to famines. Fluorescence could also lead to breakthroughs in scientists’ understanding of how carbon cycles through ecosystems – — one of the key areas of uncertainty in climate science.

Read more at NASA.

Also See: The Green Planet

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Listed buildings in Great Britain mapped

English Heritage, an independent public body funded by the British taxpayer, maintains a list of several hundred thousand historically significant structures in England. Structures are graded according to importance – Grade I being the highest.

English Heritage listed buildings map, showing central London

A new interactive map on the English Heritage website displays the locations of all these sites. Everything from cathedrals and castles to red telephone boxes and street lamps. Zoom-in or search by location. There’s also a option that allows you to click on a structure to bring up further details.

British Listed Buildings

It’s not the first time these buildings have been mapped. Last year, using Freedom of information requests, Mark Goodge managed to get his hands on location data for the 3 constituent countries of Great Britain – England, Scotland and Wales.

He’s put all this information on . with options for users to leave comments and upload photos. The mapping part of the site is still in beta, but perfectly functional, if not particularly pretty.

British listed buildings mapped

It’s interesting how times have changed. An attempt, nearly a decade ago, to put a complete search-able database of low resolution photos of listed buildings online proved controversial. Some private owners were unhappy about their properties being highlighted in this way – claims were made that such information would become a ‘burglar’s charter’. I guess it just shows how services like Google Street View have altered peoples’ perception of risk from such data being put in the public domain.

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Astronaut’s view of the Earth

Hurricane Florence viewed from the International Space Station

In this breathtaking video tour of the Earth, Dr Justin Wilkinson, from the Crew Earth Observations Office at the NASA Johnson Space Center, offers a personal view of the incredible landscape and weather features astronauts notice from space.

The seven minute film, a compilation of high definition footage taken by astronauts on the international space station, captures spectacular locations such as the red sand dunes in the Namib desert – described as one of the most beautiful sights that you can get when you’re flying – and a strikingly two-tone Great Salt Lake in Utah, caused by a railroad trestle that blocks salt circulation.

Switch to full screen in high definition and enjoy.

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Visualizing early Washington D.C.

Capitol building in spring 1814

Capitol Building in Spring 1814, visualized by the UMBC Imaging research center

UMBC’s Imaging research center is working on a best guess reconstruction of Washington DC in 1814 – the year the British systematically set fire to Government buildings including the then under-construction Capitol and White house.

Apparently what started off as a ‘simple’ exercise in 3D digital modelling has turned into full-blown research effort. The biggest challenge: lack of reliable historical evidence – early illustrations and maps of the city often turn out to be fanciful representations of reality.

You can catch an overview of the ongoing work in this video:

There’s more information on the project’s blog:

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New map reveals tropical forest carbon storage

New research from a NASA led team reveals the extent of carbon storage in the world’s tropical forest.

Carbon storage in tropical forests

Based on satellite and data gathered at ground level the map depicts the distribution of 247 billion tons of carbon across 75 countries. To put that in perspective:

about 10 billion tons of carbon is released annually to the atmosphere from combined fossil fuel burning and land use changes.

According to the study forests in Latin America hold 49% of these carbon reserves, with Brazil alone at 61 billion tons, almost equalling the entire carbon stock of Africa – 62 Billion tons

As the NASA press release explains, deforestation is a major contributor to carbon emissions – accounting for 15-20% globally. This research provides a baseline for scientists to keep track of this.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/Winrock International/Colorado State University/University of Edinburgh/Applied GeoSolutions/University of Leeds/Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux/Wake Forest University/University of Oxford
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Impressive new crime map from Trulia

Trulia crime map of America

Real estate website has just launched an interactive map showing reported crime in 48 cities across the USA. Like its price reduction map, the application is another result of Trulia’s recent takeover of the geo-visulization company Movity.

The maps allow you to explore and compare numbers of crimes by intersection, with daily reports and details of types of crimes shown. The information is pretty up to date, running up to just a couple of weeks previously.  A heat map option allows you to view relative crime density by area across each city

Trulia crime map, heat map option

Significantly, the maps run in directly in the browser without using Flash, built upon openstreetmap base data.

One major caveat: the maps currently don’t appear to take into account population density – areas can appear as crime hotspots by virtue of being highly populated. But the application is labelled as beta so perhaps it’s something which will be factored in at a latter stage.

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A hundred years of over-fishing

Atlantic fish stocks 1900, mapFrom David McCandless, a striking visualization of plummeting fish stocks over the past 100 years. Maps from 1900 and 2000 compare the biomass of popularly eaten fish in the North Atlantic.

The images were commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trusts as part of European Fish Week (June 4-12) – an effort to highlight the problem of over-fishing. The week’s activities coincide with the publication of a review into the European Union’s fishing policy.

See the visualization at the Guardian Datablog.

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