Google Roundup for January 2017

Google Maps has updated its ride services mode in its iOS and Android app, allowing you to book an Uber ride from within the app, and may offer parking availability in an upcoming Android release. [Engadget]

Meanwhile, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, seems to be scaling back its satellite imaging ambitions: it’s apparently in talks to sell its Terra Bella division, which it acquired as Skybox Imaging for $500 million in 2014, to competitor Planet. [Engadget]

Maclean’s Profiles Nova Scotia’s COGS

Nova Scotia Community College’s Centre of Geographic Sciences, a tiny, 200-student campus in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, gets two writeups in Canada’s national newsmagazine, Maclean’s, as part of its annual campus guide: its unique marine geomatics program is profiled here, and the W. K. Morrison Special Collection, which I told you about last June, is profiled here.

Utah Drawn

James H. Young, “Map of the United States of America,” in Samuel Augustus Mitchell, A New Universal Atlas (Philadelphia, 1850). Note the presence of Deseret on the map.

Another map exhibition I neglected to mention yesterdayUtah Drawn: An Exhibition of Rare Maps runs from 27 January to late summer 2017 at the Utah Capitol Building in Salt Lake City; it features “forty rare historical maps depicting the region that became the state of Utah from its earliest imaginings by European cartographers to Utah’s modern state’s boundaries.” [Tony Campbell]

Dirty Reprojectors

Maps online invariably use the Web Mercator projection. The Dirty Reprojectors project aims to change that, at least in Mapbox. Anand Thakker explains.

Almost all web mapping libraries render maps using Web Mercator, making an assumption that you generally can’t change out-of-the-box. This has advantages, but it posed a real challenge for us when we set out to build the Washington Post’s live election results map, where using the Albers USA projection was an important requirement. To meet that requirement, we built a pipeline to pre-process geometries.

It’s a bit of a kludge, a way of fooling Mapbox into showing a different projection—latitude/longitude coordinates aren’t accurate any more—but it’s an impressive stab at a real problem. The Dirty Reprojectors web app demonstrates the possibilities, with all the projections available through the d3-geo and d3-geo-projection libraries. [James Fee]

Duck Dynasty and Donald Trump

The New York Times

Last month the New York Times mapped the U.S. cultural divide by looking at television viewing preferences. More precisely, the geographic distribution of viewership for the 50 most-liked TV shows. The correlation between Duck Dynasty fandom and voting for Trump was higher than for any other show. More surprisingly, the show most correlated with voting for Clinton? Family Guy.

Indiana State Maps Reprinted Over Spelling Error

Hundreds of thousands of Indiana state highway maps that misspelled the new governor’s name are being destroyed and reprinted at the vendor’s expense. (WTHR’s coverage does not indicate what the spelling error was.)  Misspelling the boss’s name is obviously politically awkward; I can’t help but suspect that actual cartographic errors would be let through with a sticker or an errata notice instead. [MAPS-L]

Two Upcoming Exhibitions

California as an Island and Worlds That Never Were, an exhibition of maps from the Roy V. Boswell Collection for the History of Cartography at California State University at Fullerton. Runs from 22 January to 29 March at CSU Fullerton’s Pollak Library. News release. [WMS]

Mapping Texas: From Frontier to the Lone Star State features maps spanning more than 400 years of Texas history, mostly from the Texas General Land Office, as well as two museums and private collectors. Runs from 27 January to 8 October at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. News release. [WMS]

Seymour Schwartz’s Hidden Passion

Seymour Schwartz is a familiar figure in the map world. A professor of surgery by day, he’s built a reputation as a map collector (and donor), historian and author (his books include The Mismapping of America and Putting “America” on the Map). On Thursday he’ll be appearing at the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, as one of the speakers in their Hidden Passions series. University of Rochester news release. [WMS]

Previously: Schwartz Collection Exhibition Opens MondaySchwartz Donates Maps to University of Rochester.

Gender Differences in Spatial Ability Are a Social Construct

A recent psychology paper challenges the notion that men are better than women at directions. When the same test was presented as a measure of spatial ability that women typically did worse at, women did worse than men. But when the same test was presented as a measure of empathy, women did just as well as men. Social conditioning, in other words, may be at play here. Good magazine. [MAPS-L]

How Not to Get Lost

I am not one of those people who is always getting themselves lost. In fact the idea of lost is a more or less academic concept to me: I have a rock-solid sense of direction. I suspect that the same is true for most of the map aficionados who read this website. But maybe you are someone who gets lost very easily, or you at least know someone who is. For such people, the New York Times’s Christopher Mele has a set of practical tips to improve your sense of direction, most of which are predicated on grounding yourself, observing your surroundings and relying not so much on the technology. [MAPS-L]

Sohei Nishino at SFMOMA

Sohi Nishino, "Diorama Map London," 2010.
Sohi Nishino, “Diorama Map London,” 2010.

An exhibition of Sohei Nishino’s work is taking place right now at SFMOMA, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In his Diorama Map series, Nishino assembles patchwork-quilt aerial views of cities from thousands of his photographs; each city is thrown deep into its own uncanny valley. Here’s an Atlas Obscura profile from last November. New Work: Sohei Nishino runs until 26 February. More at SF Weekly. [WMS]

American Nations Applied to the 2016 Election

Portland Press-Herald
Portland Press-Herald

Writing for the Portland Press-Herald, Colin Woodard compares the 2016 presidential election results to the eleven regional cultures he sets out in his 2011 book, American Nations. “The bottom line: the 2016 presidential election results exhibited the same regional patterning we’ve seen in virtually all competitive contests in our history, including those in 2008 and 2012. But by running on an unconventional platform, Donald Trump was able to erode his rival’s margins in certain nations.” He did better enough in rural Yankeedom and the Midlands to deny Clinton the victory in states she could not afford to lose. With plenty of maps to show the swing from the 2008 and 2012 votes. [Cartophilia]

Previously: Electoral Map What-Ifs.

Christine Gedeon’s Stitched Plots

Christine Gedeon, "OSH, Brooklyn (Plot re-visualized)," 2012. Fabric, thread and paint on raw black canvas, 54″×32″.
Christine Gedeon, “OSH, Brooklyn (Plot re-visualized),” 2012. Fabric, thread and paint on raw black canvas, 54″×32″.

An exhibition opening this week at the Jane Lombard Gallery in Manhattan features, among others, the work of Christine Gedeon, an artist who “uses a sewing machine, fabric and paint on raw canvas to create improvisational stitched ‘plots’ that toe the line between abstraction and landscape. Examining issues of the urban environment, cartography, and urban planning, Gedeon investigates how humans interact with each other and our built environment to form relationships, narratives, and identities.” Examples of Gedeon’s stitched work can be found at her website. [The Map as Art]

The Cartographer Behind Virginia’s Official Highway Map

Virginia Official State Transportation Map (detail)
Virginia Official State Transportation Map (detail)

Official highway maps—paper highway maps—are still a thing: the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot has a profile of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s sole cartographer, Dwayne Altice, who’s responsible for the biennial updates to that state’s official transportation map. Includes some interesting behind-the-scenes detail about how the map is made—and how it used to be made (layers and layers of film). [WMS]