Travel Advice

I have not planned my summer holiday yet. I know when I’m going, how I’m going but not where I’m going. I don’t need to, that’s one of the perks of traveling with an RV. Especially in times like these. The best way to check if a country is safe is to check the Dutch government’s website Nederland wereldwijd (The Netherlands worldwide). Unfortunately, you have to look up every country individually, there is no overview map nor a list of countries. Or I didn’t find it, which would mean I did some work for nothing 🙂 As I am traveling overland, I am not only interested in the situation in the destination country, I need to be aware of the situation in the countries I will pass on my way over there as well.

I figured I’d compose an overview myself, based on the information found on ‘Nederland wereldwijd’, While reverse-engineering the website, I found that there was no easy way to get the status of a specific country. The status of a given country is shown on a (per-country) map. Green means “all clear”, yellow means “there are some risks, pay attention”, orange means “don’t go there unless you absolutely have to” and red means “don’t go there’. So I needed some way to determine the color of a country and I needed a way that would work with all the different sizes and shapes of the various countries. I decided to look at the color palette and used the “ColorExtractor” PHP library to do so. Check what colors are used, sort them by the number of pixels of that specific color, ignore the colors used for neighboring countries, seas, lakes, etc. and then look at the top one. That worked.

I wrote a PHP script to gather all data, export it in JSON format and I used amCharts to visualize it. Check the result below.

The data is cached for an hour. If you are the first one to look at the map after the cache expires, please be patient. It will take up to 30 seconds to update the per-country status info.

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