Last month the U.S. Federal Communications Commission released an interactive map showing 4G/LTE cellular voice and data coverage in the United States from the four major providers. This is the first FCC map released under the 2020 Broadband DATA Act, which mandated better maps than the FCC has been producing in the past (previously). [The Verge]
The Verge maps the gaps in U.S. broadband coverage. “This map shows where the broadband problem is worst—the areas where the difficulty of reliably connecting to the internet has gotten bad enough to become a drag on everyday life. Specifically, the colored-in areas show US counties where less than 15 percent of households are using the internet at broadband speed, defined as 25Mbps download speed. (That’s already a pretty low threshold for calling something ‘high-speed internet,’ but since it’s the Federal Communications Commission’s standard, we’ll stick with it.)” They’re using anonymized Microsoft cloud data rather than the FCC’s numbers (which don’t have a good track record reflecting real-world speeds).
Mark Ovenden has made a career of publishing books about transportation systems and their maps that are both comprehensive and copiously illustrated. These include books about transit maps, railway maps and airline maps, as well as books about specific transit systems like the London Underground and the Paris Metro.
His latest, Underground Cities (Frances Lincoln, 22 Sep), is in some ways a natural progression from his past work: in the introduction he muses on the link between transit geekery and wondering about “what else lies down there beyond the walls” (p. 6). But in other ways this is quite a different book.
Speaking of Washington, the D.C. Underground Atlas is a project to map all the tunnels under the city: utility, transportation and pedestrian tunnels alike, from metro and water tunnels to the underground corridors connecting congressional buildings. The maps are presented as Esri Story Maps and there’s lots of accompanying text. The project is the brainchild of Elliot Carter, who is profiled by CityLab and the Washington Post: both pieces reveal one challenge in mapping the underground infrastructure of Washington—getting past security concerns. [WMS]
The Washington Post is mapping the locations where migrant children are being detained, and is asking for reader submissions to update the map. [Kaz Weida]
I believe other maps of detained children are being produced; I’ll post links as I learn of them.
Here’s an interactive map of the European electrical grid from ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity.
This map is a comprehensive illustration of the transmission system network operated by members of the European Network of Transmission System Operators.
In general the map shows all transmission lines designed for 220kV voltage and higher and generation stations with net generation capacity of more than 100MW.
In February the FCC released a new broadband map showing the availability of high-speed internet in the United States. The previous map was apparently useless, but the new map has been coming in for its share of criticism as well because it doesn’t match the reality on the ground. Partly it’s because the map shows the number of internet providers providing service by census block whereas actual availability is more granular than that. But only partly. Techdirt’s Karl Bode says both old and new versions of the map “all-but hallucinate available options out of whole cloth while vastly over-stating the speeds available to American consumers”:
For example, I can only get access to one ISP (Comcast) at my residence in Seattle, purportedly one of the nation’s technology leaders. Yet the FCC’s new map informs me I have seven broadband options available to me. Two of these options, CenturyLink DSL and CenturyLink fiber are somehow counted twice despite neither actually being available. Three others are satellite broadband service whose high prices, high latency and low caps make them unsuitable as a real broadband option. The seventh is a fixed-wireless option that doesn’t actually serve my address.
Cyber Squirrel 1, a map that tracks electrical outages caused by squirrels, birds, raccoons and other critters, is only semi-satirical. Its point is that animals disrupt the power grid more than hackers ever have. (The number caused by the latter may be one. Or two.) As Popular Science puts it, “If there is a cyber war happening, it’s one fought between humanity and nature, not nations against each other.” Gizmodo, Washington Post.