Observatory Books’s Stock Inventoried

If you were wondering what happened to Observatory Books’s inventory after it closed its doors last November, the Juneau Empire has the story: it took more than three months for historian Patti David to sift through “every map cabinet and stack of paper in every corner of the bookstore”; the store’s collection of Alaskana will be shipped to Seattle to make it easier for collectors to purchase. [WMS]

‘Original’ Disneyland Map to Be Auctioned

An “original,” hand-drawn presentation map of Disneyland is one of nearly a thousand Disney-related artifacts to be auctioned on Sunday by Van Eaton Galleries. From the catalog:

This is the original presentation map of Disneyland that was created by Walt Disney and Herb Ryman in 1953. This map was then the main presentation piece for Roy Disney’s meetings with potential investors in New York, which succeeded in getting Disney the financing from ABC that was necessary to build Disneyland. This same map returned from New York and was displayed at the Disney Studio where it was used by Walt in numerous development meetings throughout the remainder of 1953 and into 1954. Later in 1954, this map received newly inked outlines and additional color, and was used as the first publicly released full-image of Disneyland. The significance of this map in the history of Disneyland cannot be overstated.

The auction ruffled a few feathers when it hit the news last month, partly because of media reports attributing the map to Disney himself, or calling it the original map, which it isn’t. Theme Park Insider notes that “[t]he original concept map of Disneyland, hand-drawn by Herb Ryman in 1953, sits safely in the archives of Walt Disney Imagineering. It’s not for sale and likely never will be.” A post on the Friends of The Walt Disney Family Museum Facebook page goes further, calling the map to be auctioned

a large-format photostat or brownline of Herb Ryman’s original drawing, which is safe and sound in the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library. Dozens of these were made to pitch the Park to investors and participants. Shame on Van Eaton for knowingly misrepresenting a big photocopy as a valuable artifact worth a million dollars.

In a comment on that post, Van Eaton Galleries defended themselves by clarifying that the map being auctioned is the original presentation map, not Ryman’s original pencil drawing on vellum.

Vellum is a fragile paper, like a tracing paper. It’s not the kind of paper you would take to New York as your main presentation piece. What vellum is exceptionally good for though, is letting light through during the brownline process, as the “Disney historian” mentioned. The vellum pencil drawing was used to transfer the line work to this map, which was then hand colored, inked, mounted to a presentation board, and taken to New York by Roy Disney to pitch to ABC. The vellum pencil drawing was never intended to be the final product, otherwise Ryman would have drawn it directly onto a more durable paper for Roy to take. It was however, used to create the map that we are bringing to auction.

(The New York Times article on the auction was corrected to reflect that distinction. For other coverage, see ABC News and CNN, among many others.)

Update, 27 June: The map sold for $708,000 to an unknown buyer. ABC NewsBBC News.

Canada’s Indigenous Communities on Google Maps

CBC News reports that more than 3,000 indigenous communities in Canada—traditional First Nations reserves as well as treaty settlement lands and urban reserves—have finally been added to Google Maps. For some reason I thought they already were—U.S. Indian reservations have been on Google Maps for some time, after all (their visibility, or lack thereof, was commented on in 2011: here, here and here).

Books Update

A lot of things accumulated in my inbox during the move, and the backlog is kind of overwhelming right now, but I’ve finally updated the Map Books of 2017 page to include all the books that came to my attention during that time.

Speaking of backlogs, I still have several books in my reviewing queue, which I hope to be able to tackle soon.

And speaking of reviews: publicists should note that while my mailing address has not changed, my street address has. If you’re sending me review copies by any means other than the postal service, please contact me to get my new street address. (See also my reviewing guidelines.)

The Lewis Ansbacher Map Collection

Here’s a recent piece in the Florida Times-Union introducing readers to the Lewis Ansbacher Map Collection at the Jacksonville Public Library. Ansbacher died in 2004 during negotations to donate his private collection of some 244 maps, mostly of Florida, to the library, which housed them in a dedicated space in its new main library, which opened the following year. Here’s a Times-Union piece about the collection from 2005. [Tony Campbell]

A Map of the Ideological Leanings of U.S. Congressmen

Maps on the Web

Based on data from GovTrack, this map displays the ideological leanings of current (at the time) members of the U.S. House of Representatives by their district. “The data is based of numbers from 0-1. If the congressman is a 0 he is the most liberal in the House. If a congressman is at 1 then he is the most conservative. If the congressman is a 0.5 they are centrist. […] The most conservative congressman is Jeff Duncan, a Republican from South Carolina’s 3rd District. The most liberal congressman is Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California’s 13th District.”

The Business of Making Maps for Self-Driving Cars

CNN on the big business involved in creating detailed maps—called HD maps—for self-driving cars. “If you believe self-driving cars will eventually operate everywhere, then every city and street will need to be mapped out in granular detail.” How granular? During one test, a single-pixel error on one map caused cars to avoid a patch of road as though it was raised 10 inches. [Osher]

Previously: Human-Annotated Maps for Self-Driving Cars.

Baltimore’s Radi(c)al New Transit Map

Maryland Transit Administration

Baltimore gets a radical new transit map (direct PDF link) to go along with its redesigned bus network, which goes into service on Sunday. The map, which Greater Greater Washington reports was designed by Marc Szarkowski, adopts a diagrammatic radial style—essentially, a diagrammatic map based on concentric circles rather than a grid.

For those who find such a map just a little too out there, the Maryland Transit Administration also has a system map with a more familiar design (PDF).

Maryland Transit Administration

They call it a geographic system map, only it isn’t: it’s still a schematic, just less radical—or, if you like, less radial. [Planetizen]

Facebook’s Disaster Maps

Facebook

Today Facebook announced disaster maps for use by relief organizations. Based on aggregated and anonymized user data, the maps of users’ location, movement and check-ins can, Facebook says, provide relief organizations with valuable information about where the need is greatest. At launch only the Red Cross, UNICEF and the World Food Programme will have access to the data; a process will be established to determine how it will be shared with others. [Engadget]

NOAA to Move Away from Paper Charts

The Baltimore Sun: “In a potential sea change for a nautical industry heavy on tradition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recent National Charting Plan suggested that, eventually, ‘the reduction or elimination of traditional paper nautical charts seems likely.'” (This is NOAA looking into the future, but note that private companies, rather than NOAA, already do the printing and distributing of paper charts; NOAA’s charts are, of course, available online and can be printed.) [WMS]

Roman Roads, Subway Style

Sasha Trubetskoy

There are a lot of Tube map-inspired maps of non-Tube map things out there, and not all of them are worth mentioning. This one, however, is: Sasha Trubetskoy’s map of the major roads of the Roman Empire in the year 125, done up like a subway diagram, colour-coded by name (both real, where available, and “creatively invented,” where not) and with all text in Latin.

A Year’s Worth of Changes in Google and Apple Maps

Justin O’Beirne is back with a look at how both Google and Apple Maps have changed incrementally over the past year.

Shortly after I published my Cartography Comparison last June, I noticed Google updating some of the areas we had focused on[.]

Coincidence or not, it was interesting. And it made me wonder what else would change, if we kept watching. Would Google keep adding detail? And would Apple, like Google, also start making changes?

So I wrote a script that takes monthly screenshots of Google and Apple Maps. And thirteen months later, we now have a year’s worth of images […]

It’s cool to see how much Google Maps has changed over the past year. But it’s also surprising to see how little Apple Maps has changed[.]

Previously: What Happened to Google Maps?; The Universal Map; Comparing Google and Apple Map Styles.