Visualizing Data: Mapping Earthquakes

Overview

This tutorial shows you how to visualize data on Google maps. As an example, the maps in this tutorial visualize data about the location of earthquakes and their magnitude. Learn techniques to use with your own data source, and create powerful stories on Google maps like the ones below.

The first 2 frames seen above (from left to right) display maps with basic markers, and sized circles. The last frame displays a heatmap.

Importing your data

This tutorial uses real-time earthquake data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS website provides their data in a number of formats, which you can copy to your domain for local access by your application. This tutorial requests JSONP directly from the USGS servers by appending a script tag to the head of the document.

// Create a script tag and set the USGS URL as the source.
        var script = document.createElement('script');

        script.src = 'http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp';
        document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(script);

Placing basic markers

Now that you have pulled data about the location of earthquakes from the USGS feed into your application, you can display it on the map. This section shows you how to create a map that uses imported data to place a basic marker at the epicenter of every earthquake location.

The section below displays the entire code you need to create the map in this tutorial.

TypeScript

let map: google.maps.Map;

function initMap(): void {
  map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map") as HTMLElement, {
    zoom: 2,
    center: new google.maps.LatLng(2.8, -187.3),
    mapTypeId: "terrain",
  });

  // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source.
  const script = document.createElement("script");
  // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at
  // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp
  script.src =
    "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js";
  document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script);
}

// Loop through the results array and place a marker for each
// set of coordinates.
const eqfeed_callback = function (results: any) {
  for (let i = 0; i < results.features.length; i++) {
    const coords = results.features[i].geometry.coordinates;
    const latLng = new google.maps.LatLng(coords[1], coords[0]);
    new google.maps.Marker({
      position: latLng,
      map: map,
    });
  }
};

JavaScript

let map;

function initMap() {
  map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map"), {
    zoom: 2,
    center: new google.maps.LatLng(2.8, -187.3),
    mapTypeId: "terrain",
  });
  // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source.
  const script = document.createElement("script");
  // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at
  // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp
  script.src =
    "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js";
  document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script);
}

// Loop through the results array and place a marker for each
// set of coordinates.
const eqfeed_callback = function (results) {
  for (let i = 0; i < results.features.length; i++) {
    const coords = results.features[i].geometry.coordinates;
    const latLng = new google.maps.LatLng(coords[1], coords[0]);
    new google.maps.Marker({
      position: latLng,
      map: map,
    });
  }
};

CSS

/* Always set the map height explicitly to define the size of the div
       * element that contains the map. */
#map {
  height: 100%;
}

/* Optional: Makes the sample page fill the window. */
html,
body {
  height: 100%;
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
}

HTML

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Earthquake Markers</title>
    <script src="https://polyfill.io/v3/polyfill.min.js?features=default"></script>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="./style.css" />
    <script src="./index.js"></script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <div id="map"></div>

    <!-- Async script executes immediately and must be after any DOM elements used in callback. -->
    <script
      src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&callback=initMap&libraries=&v=weekly"
      async
    ></script>
  </body>
</html>
let map; function initMap() { map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map"), { zoom: 2, center: new google.maps.LatLng(2.8, -187.3), mapTypeId: "terrain", }); // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source. const script = document.createElement("script"); // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp script.src = "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js"; document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script); } // Loop through the results array and place a marker for each // set of coordinates. const eqfeed_callback = function (results) { for (let i = 0; i < results.features.length; i++) { const coords = results.features[i].geometry.coordinates; const latLng = new google.maps.LatLng(coords[1], coords[0]); new google.maps.Marker({ position: latLng, map: map, }); } };
/* Always set the map height explicitly to define the size of the div * element that contains the map. */ #map { height: 100%; } /* Optional: Makes the sample page fill the window. */ html, body { height: 100%; margin: 0; padding: 0; }
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <title>Earthquake Markers</title> <script src="https://polyfill.io/v3/polyfill.min.js?features=default"></script> <!-- jsFiddle will insert css and js --> </head> <body> <div id="map"></div> <!-- Async script executes immediately and must be after any DOM elements used in callback. --> <script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=AIzaSyB41DRUbKWJHPxaFjMAwdrzWzbVKartNGg&callback=initMap&libraries=&v=weekly&channel=2" async ></script> </body> </html>

Try Sample

Using shapes and heatmaps to customize maps

This section shows you other ways to customize rich datasets on a map. Consider the map created in the previous section of this tutorial which shows markers on every earthquake location. You can customize the markers to visualize additional data, like locations that have the most earthquakes, and their magnitude or depth.

Here are some options to customize the basic marker:

  • Using circle size:
    You can draw circles (or any other shape) with sizes that are relative to the magnitude of an earthquake by using symbols. In this way, powerful earthquakes are represented as the largest circles on the map.

  • Using heatmaps:
    The Heatmap Layer in the visualization library offers a simple yet powerful way of displaying the distribution of earthquakes. Heatmaps use colors to represent the density of points, making it easier to pick out areas of high activity. Heatmaps can also use WeightedLocations so that, for example, bigger earthquakes are displayed more prominently in the heatmap.

Circle size

The map below displays customized markers using circles. The circle size increases with the magnitude of an earthquake at that particular location.

The section below displays the entire code you need to create a map with customized circle markers.

TypeScript

let map: google.maps.Map;

function initMap(): void {
  map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map") as HTMLElement, {
    zoom: 2,
    center: { lat: -33.865427, lng: 151.196123 },
    mapTypeId: "terrain",
  });

  // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source.
  const script = document.createElement("script");

  // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at
  // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp
  script.src =
    "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js";
  document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script);

  map.data.setStyle((feature) => {
    const magnitude = feature.getProperty("mag");
    return {
      icon: getCircle(magnitude),
    };
  });
}

function getCircle(magnitude: number) {
  return {
    path: google.maps.SymbolPath.CIRCLE,
    fillColor: "red",
    fillOpacity: 0.2,
    scale: Math.pow(2, magnitude) / 2,
    strokeColor: "white",
    strokeWeight: 0.5,
  };
}

function eqfeed_callback(results: any) {
  map.data.addGeoJson(results);
}

JavaScript

let map;

function initMap() {
  map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map"), {
    zoom: 2,
    center: { lat: -33.865427, lng: 151.196123 },
    mapTypeId: "terrain",
  });
  // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source.
  const script = document.createElement("script");
  // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at
  // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp
  script.src =
    "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js";
  document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script);
  map.data.setStyle((feature) => {
    const magnitude = feature.getProperty("mag");
    return {
      icon: getCircle(magnitude),
    };
  });
}

function getCircle(magnitude) {
  return {
    path: google.maps.SymbolPath.CIRCLE,
    fillColor: "red",
    fillOpacity: 0.2,
    scale: Math.pow(2, magnitude) / 2,
    strokeColor: "white",
    strokeWeight: 0.5,
  };
}

function eqfeed_callback(results) {
  map.data.addGeoJson(results);
}

CSS

/* Always set the map height explicitly to define the size of the div
       * element that contains the map. */
#map {
  height: 100%;
}

/* Optional: Makes the sample page fill the window. */
html,
body {
  height: 100%;
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
}

HTML

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Earthquake Circles</title>
    <script src="https://polyfill.io/v3/polyfill.min.js?features=default"></script>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="./style.css" />
    <script src="./index.js"></script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <div id="map"></div>

    <!-- Async script executes immediately and must be after any DOM elements used in callback. -->
    <script
      src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&callback=initMap&libraries=&v=weekly"
      async
    ></script>
  </body>
</html>
let map; function initMap() { map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map"), { zoom: 2, center: { lat: -33.865427, lng: 151.196123 }, mapTypeId: "terrain", }); // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source. const script = document.createElement("script"); // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp script.src = "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js"; document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script); map.data.setStyle((feature) => { const magnitude = feature.getProperty("mag"); return { icon: getCircle(magnitude), }; }); } function getCircle(magnitude) { return { path: google.maps.SymbolPath.CIRCLE, fillColor: "red", fillOpacity: 0.2, scale: Math.pow(2, magnitude) / 2, strokeColor: "white", strokeWeight: 0.5, }; } function eqfeed_callback(results) { map.data.addGeoJson(results); }
/* Always set the map height explicitly to define the size of the div * element that contains the map. */ #map { height: 100%; } /* Optional: Makes the sample page fill the window. */ html, body { height: 100%; margin: 0; padding: 0; }
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <title>Earthquake Circles</title> <script src="https://polyfill.io/v3/polyfill.min.js?features=default"></script> <!-- jsFiddle will insert css and js --> </head> <body> <div id="map"></div> <!-- Async script executes immediately and must be after any DOM elements used in callback. --> <script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=AIzaSyB41DRUbKWJHPxaFjMAwdrzWzbVKartNGg&callback=initMap&libraries=&v=weekly&channel=2" async ></script> </body> </html>

Try Sample

Heatmaps

Heatmaps make it easy for viewers to understand the distribution of earthquakes, reported by USGS. Rather than placing a marker on each epicenter, heatmaps use color and shape to represent the distribution of the data. In this example, red represents areas of high earthquake activity.

The section below displays the entire code you need to create this map.

TypeScript

let map: google.maps.Map;

function initMap(): void {
  map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map") as HTMLElement, {
    zoom: 2,
    center: { lat: -33.865427, lng: 151.196123 },
    mapTypeId: "terrain",
  });

  // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source.
  const script = document.createElement("script");

  // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at
  // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp
  script.src =
    "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js";
  document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script);
}

function eqfeed_callback(results: any) {
  const heatmapData: google.maps.LatLng[] = [];

  for (let i = 0; i < results.features.length; i++) {
    const coords = results.features[i].geometry.coordinates;
    const latLng = new google.maps.LatLng(coords[1], coords[0]);
    heatmapData.push(latLng);
  }
  const heatmap = new google.maps.visualization.HeatmapLayer({
    data: heatmapData,
    dissipating: false,
    map: map,
  });
}

JavaScript

let map;

function initMap() {
  map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map"), {
    zoom: 2,
    center: { lat: -33.865427, lng: 151.196123 },
    mapTypeId: "terrain",
  });
  // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source.
  const script = document.createElement("script");
  // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at
  // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp
  script.src =
    "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js";
  document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script);
}

function eqfeed_callback(results) {
  const heatmapData = [];

  for (let i = 0; i < results.features.length; i++) {
    const coords = results.features[i].geometry.coordinates;
    const latLng = new google.maps.LatLng(coords[1], coords[0]);
    heatmapData.push(latLng);
  }
  const heatmap = new google.maps.visualization.HeatmapLayer({
    data: heatmapData,
    dissipating: false,
    map: map,
  });
}

CSS

/* Always set the map height explicitly to define the size of the div
       * element that contains the map. */
#map {
  height: 100%;
}

/* Optional: Makes the sample page fill the window. */
html,
body {
  height: 100%;
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
}

HTML

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Earthquake Heatmap</title>
    <script src="https://polyfill.io/v3/polyfill.min.js?features=default"></script>
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="./style.css" />
    <script src="./index.js"></script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <div id="map"></div>

    <!-- Async script executes immediately and must be after any DOM elements used in callback. -->
    <script
      src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&callback=initMap&libraries=visualization&v=weekly"
      async
    ></script>
  </body>
</html>
let map; function initMap() { map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map"), { zoom: 2, center: { lat: -33.865427, lng: 151.196123 }, mapTypeId: "terrain", }); // Create a <script> tag and set the USGS URL as the source. const script = document.createElement("script"); // This example uses a local copy of the GeoJSON stored at // http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/feed/v1.0/summary/2.5_week.geojsonp script.src = "https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/examples/json/earthquake_GeoJSONP.js"; document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(script); } function eqfeed_callback(results) { const heatmapData = []; for (let i = 0; i < results.features.length; i++) { const coords = results.features[i].geometry.coordinates; const latLng = new google.maps.LatLng(coords[1], coords[0]); heatmapData.push(latLng); } const heatmap = new google.maps.visualization.HeatmapLayer({ data: heatmapData, dissipating: false, map: map, }); }
/* Always set the map height explicitly to define the size of the div * element that contains the map. */ #map { height: 100%; } /* Optional: Makes the sample page fill the window. */ html, body { height: 100%; margin: 0; padding: 0; }
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <title>Earthquake Heatmap</title> <script src="https://polyfill.io/v3/polyfill.min.js?features=default"></script> <!-- jsFiddle will insert css and js --> </head> <body> <div id="map"></div> <!-- Async script executes immediately and must be after any DOM elements used in callback. --> <script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=AIzaSyB41DRUbKWJHPxaFjMAwdrzWzbVKartNGg&callback=initMap&libraries=visualization&v=weekly&channel=2" async ></script> </body> </html>

Try Sample

More information

Read more about the following topics: