blog 01.12.2023

The 30 Day Map Challenge

A description of the daily maps produced by Kurt Menke (@geomenke) during the 30 Day Map Challenge 2023

Kurt Menke Af Kurt Menke

Day 1: Points

For the first day, I downloaded the lighthouse points from OpenStreetMap. To represent the light, I created a wedge buffer using a Geometry Generator expression in QGIS. The lights were then animated with another expression in combination with the QGIS Temporal Controller.

Day 2: Lines

For lines, I made a map of the OpenStreetMap Roads of Denmark styled with a Feature Blending Mode of Addition. This is a method for showing road density. This technique is covered in my Data Visualization with QGIS course offered next March.

Day 3: Polygons

For polygons, I made a map showing the range of the wasp species ha in the genus Aha. For polygons, I made a map showing the range of the wasp species ha in the genus Aha. This results in name Aha ha. This wasp was described and named by my father in 1977. The story goes, when he looked at the specimens, he exclaimed “Aha! A new genus!” to which his colleague, Eric Grissell, responded doubtfully, “ha!”. He named the genus Aha and the species ha. Yes, this is a true story! At the time my father said that if he were sent more new species of Australian wasps, he would name the new genus Oh no, and report the discovery in a paper entitled “Oh no, another new genus of Australian Sphecidae.”. However, Oh no never happened.

Day 4: A bad map

Here I tried to make a map with many of the common mistakes I see from students. How many mistakes can you find?

Day 5: Analog map

My wife and I teamed up to make this analog map of Denmark on our dining room table out of coffee beans.

Day 6: Asia

An animation of the 2020 Pacific typhoon season showing first Typhoon Molave and then Goni. Made in QGIS with mesh data from Copernicus EU. Working with mesh data is also covered in the upcoming Data Visualization with QGIS course course.

Day 7: Navigation

24 hours of ship traffic around Denmark using a Feature Blending Mode in QGIS. I generated the tracks from 9 million AIS data points from 3.November, 2023. I obtained the data from the Danish Maritime Authority.

Day 8: Africa

I did not have much spare time on this day, but here I created a quick rendering of the Machame Route up Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Day 9: Hexagons

Archaeological Site Density in Denmark - hexes within a hex! One of my favorites. It use QGIS Layer Effects which are covered in the Data Visualization with QGIS course.

Day 10: North America

A map of the bathymetry and terrain of the greater Lake Superior region. Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake by area and is also very deep. This is part of a large analysis to compute omnidirectional biodiversity connectivity in the region. More on that below.

Day 11: Retro

A slightly tweaked version of last years Repo Man (1984) map, but this time with the “Retro” QGIS Easter egg deployed. It is a re-creation of the opening titles to one of my favorite movies and a place I used to live!

Day 13: Choropleth

A temporal animation of the COVID-19 rate by county in the USA during the initial spread of the pandemic through early August 2021. This was produced from data maintained by the New York Times using the QGIS Temporal Controller. Animating time based geospatial data covered in the upcoming Data Visualization with QGIS course course.

Day 14/15: Europe/OpenStreetMap

A map of Europe using topological coloring & some expression based stippling around the polygon perimeters combined with a shapeburst fill to give it that historic look. Using both topological coloring and using expressions for symbology are both covered in the upcoming Data Visualization with QGIS course course.

Day 16: Oceania

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, I landed on Tutuila, American Samoa & taught a 3 day QGIS course to an amazing group of people at their Department of Health. I have never laughed so much teaching! It was a magical 33 x 3km mountainous island. I hope to return someday. Here I used another new tool - Aerialod, which I want to experiment with more!

Day 17: Flow

Initial results of an analysis to model potential omnidirectional connectivity for biodiversity in the US portion of the Lake Superior region. Omniscape was used to model flow…how highly biodiverse areas are connected. Omniscape.jl implements the Omniscape connectivity algorithm developed by McRae et al. (2016). This software package can be used to produce maps of omni-directional habitat connectivity useful for scientific research as well as landscape management and conservation.

Day 18: Atmosphere

A quick animation in QGIS of the week’s storm in Denmark. I had some issues with the timestamps & didn’t have time to troubleshoot - maybe an improvement will be forthcoming. The data was downloaded from the DMI QGIS plugin.

Day 19: 5 minute map

Actually, it took 4 minutes and 35 seconds from start to finish. A map of the digital surface model for Trelleborg, Denmark. If you want to learn how to create terrain maps like this, register for my next Data Visualization with QGIS course course.

Day 20: Outdoors

An animation of a bike ride around Halsnæs Denmark done in QGIS with a geometry generator clock!

Day 21: Raster

For this day I made two maps. 1 - Tanaka contours for Mt. Rainier created using a Geometry generator expression in QGIS.

Day 21: Raster (Contd.)

2 - Bathymetry (dybdemodel) around Denmark. The data used here was the EMODnet bathymetry dataset because it extends beyond the Danish border.

Day 22: North is not always up

Northern Europe with a south arrow! It is amazing how such an easy change to a map can create such a different view of the world.

Day 23: 3D

I did a quick experiment with the new 3DTile support in QGIS 3.34. I used the Cesium ion plugin and flew around our office in Copenhagen using the Google Photorealistic 3D Tiles.

Day 24: Black & White

A historic map of Birmingham, Pennsylvania. I created this for Dr. Dave Stuart, for a book tracking a family’s westward migration. I based this on a historic map of Birmingham from 1872.

Day 25: Antarctica

Unknown Pleasures…a Joy Division plot of Antarctic elevation done using a Geometry Generator in QGIS.

Day 26: Minimal

Minimal Denmark using one layer.

Day 27: Dot

With this theme, a Dannebrog map of Denmark seemed the obvious choice:) Denmark or Dotmark? The dannebrog rendered in dots via the point pattern fill in QGIS.

Day 28: Is this a chart or a map?

Denmark’s Population by Age Group per Municipality. The charts are sized by the area of each municipality. The data was obtained from Danmarks Statistik.

Day 29: Population

Denmark’s population density rendered in Aerialod & finished in QGIS. The data came from the GHS population grid.

Day 30: "My favorite..."

My favorite coffee bars in Copenhagen. All are cozy and have good coffee. Some are just conveniently near my office, but some also have truly exceptional coffee. At this point I was getting a little obsessed with Aerialod. This map was finished in QGIS.

It is the first of December which means another 30 Day Map Challenge is over. This event takes place via social media every November. During the month each day has a specific theme (see image above). The challenge is to produce a map each day using the day’s theme, and post it to social media with the #30DayMapChallenge hash tag.

Importantly, it is not a competition and there are no winners. It is about creativity and openness.

I had not planned on finishing this years challenge, but I kept finding inspiration and finished all but one day (South America). I made up for that missed day, by creating two Raster maps for Day 21. I focused on Denmark when possible. It was not always easy to find the time, but it was a lot of fun, and I learned more mapping tools and discovered new datasets! I also found a lot of inspiration from all the beautiful maps, which were created by cartographers from around the world, using many different tools.

I present my results here. On average I spent about an hour on each after work, so none are perfect. For each day I begin with the theme, followed by a short description and finally the map! I produced 90% of them using QGIS and all with open source software. Many of the maps use techniques I teach in the Data Visualization with QGIS online course. This course is held each spring and fall. You can read more and register for the next class here.

Want to learn more about data visualization and cartography with QGIS?

If you are interested in learning more about data visualization and cartography in QGIS, then sign up first for the Introduction to QGIS Symbology course, which starts on 30.January 2024 and/or the Data Visualization with QGIS course, which starts on 7.February, 2024.

We also have a large number of other QGIS courses, you can read more about them here.