Spanning one-ninth of the earth's circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents. Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity. For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.
MarineTraffic is a live map recording ship traffic based on AIS data. The site mainly covers European and North American coasts and includes info on vessels and ports, plus a gallery with some cool ship photos. Similar: see ShipAIS for live vessel movements from around the UK.
Sea levels are on the rise. Flood Maps mashes up NASA elevation data and Google Maps, and offers a zoomable localized visualization of the effects.