Ryan Miller writes, “I was looking to find a map showing where the Los Angeles wildfire was, and this map viewer was very helpful. It’s easy to use, and it has a few convenient layers to use.” The server is understandably getting creamed; your best bet is the direct link to the Topanga area, which is more basic — it just shows the fire perimeter. The main map uses a series of layers in the usual web-based GIS user-unfriendly (very detailed, but a challenge to use) idiom, and is quite slow at the moment. Kathryn Cramer points to a similar site with a similar interface: Fire Planning and Mapping Tools from the California Fire Alliance.
The big news this week for Google watchers this week is the announcement Wednesday of a memorandum of understanding between Google and NASA’s Ames Research Center. Press releases from ARC and Google; news coverage from the San Jose Mercury News (reprinted in the Miami Herald); via Google Earth Blog and Ogle Earth.
The immediate implications are unclear: while one Googler talked about the idea of a Google Mars, and it appears that Google will get access to satellite and space data, what NASA is getting is not yet apparent. Google is building a facility on the Ames campus, and there will be some collaborations on a number of fronts, but this is probably more in terms of pure research than in tangible products — i.e., it doesn’t look like we’re talking about a merger of Google Earth and World Wind.
Winer’s unhappy with the idea of a government agency collaborating with the private sector, but from what I can gather this is well within the ARC’s mandate. Besides, it’s not the first NASA/Google collaboration: see, for example, the Global Connection project (via All Points Blog), and, don’t forget, Google Moon (see previous entry).
Schoolchildren in Liverpool, as part of a safety project called “Our Walk to School,” have mapped their local areas in an attempt to highlight road and traffic hazards; the maps, on A4 paper, have been collected in an atlas which, along with a film, will be displayed at Liverpool’s Maritime Museum starting tomorrow.
Through January 6, a Library of Congress exhibition in the corridors of the Madison Building called Maps in Our Lives: “The exhibition explores four constituent professions represented by ACSM [the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping], the nation’s primary professional organization dedicated to surveying and mapping activities: surveying, cartography, geodesy and geographic information systems (GIS). The approximately 50 items in the exhibition are drawn from the Library’s collection of historic maps and the ACSM collection in the Library of Congress.” Via MapHist and All Points Blog.
Once more into the breach. India is the latest country where concerns are being expressed about the high-resolution imagery in Google Earth, now that several Indian cities have had their photos updated. As usual, the concern is about sensitive installations — this time military. (Apparently, the Pakistanis might see something. Or, worse yet, the Indians.) Don’t miss Ogle Earth’s coverage (and links) here and here.
Kathryn Cramer reports that the first post-Hurricane Rita images from the areas hardest hit by the storm have been posted by NOAA. As was the case with Katrina, the interface — starting with a base map index page — is not the most intuitive or user-friendly, and the images are rather large, raw and unprocessed: not for the faint of heart or those needing points of reference. Fortunately they’ve apparently been processed into a Google Earth overlay as well.
iPodSubwayMaps.com has received cease-and-desist letters from the New York and San Francisco transit authorities, who are invoking their copyright on their system maps, which the site breaks into iPod-screen-sized pieces that can be parsed via the scroll wheel. The developer, William Bright, has pulled the maps and is rereleasing his own versions.
See previous entry: iPod Subway Maps.
E. Forbes Smiley III has not talked to the media since the news of his arrest on map theft charges broke in July. The Hartford Courant, however, has interviewed friends, neighbours, colleagues and detractors to piece together a portrait of the man. It’s a very long, very interesting article that, in part, points out Smiley’s long-standing financial problems — the implication being, I guess, that those problems may go some way to explaining Smiley’s motives.
Smiley is scheduled to appear in court on October 3. See the Map Thefts category archive for previous coverage of this case.
Gadling points to a new release from über-expensive book publisher Taschen: a reproduction of Joan Blaeu’s 1665 Atlas Maior. The original was in Latin and in 11 volumes; the modern version is nearly 800 pages, weighs 7.2 kg, and, from the pictures on Taschen’s web page for the book, looks stunning.
This reprint is made from the National Library of Vienna’s complete, colored, gold-heightened copy, thus assuring the best possible detail and quality. The book’s introduction, by the University of Utrecht’s Peter van der Krogt, discusses the historical and cultural context and significance of the atlas; Krogt also provides detailed descriptions of the maps, allowing modern readers to fully appreciate Blaeu’s masterwork.
At US$200, though, my obligatory Amazon link is probably just here for show.
- Buy Atlas Maior at Amazon.com
Ogle Earth reports that New York state comptroller Alan Hevesi is the latest politician to freak out about Google Earth as a potential tool for terrorists. But Hevesi does it in a particularly odious manner, invoking his status as trustee of the New York state pension fund, which owns Google shares. Because, you know, the experts who have guidelines about this sort of thing and who don’t have a problem with Google’s publicly available imagery don’t matter; the careers of grandstanding politicians trying to punch above their weight do.
See previous entry: Google Earth Privacy and Security Roundup.
The Canadian government wants to get out of the business of producing paper topographical maps, according to an e-mail from World of Maps president Brad Green (reprinted on Cartography). As of January 2007, when the lease on the Canada Map Office’s warehouse expires, the CMO will be closed down; instead, the Centre for Topographical Information will make the vector data available to third parties to print their own maps. Press runs on the maps have already been discontinued.
Green’s agin it, and I think I am too — I’m a fairly heavy consumer of topo maps (many of which bought at his store, actually), and, yes, I’d be affected by this decision.
The CMO states that paper maps are not their “raison d’etre” they want to concern themselves with the digital map files only, they claim because that is better but I am convinced their real motivation is simply because they think digital data is cheaper than a warehouse of paper maps.
Paper maps not the raison d’être of the map office? What, pray, is their raison d’être, then?
Green argues that vector data, while more current, is not as high quality as the original paper maps, which, while dated, are nonetheless useful for their audience, who need natural and geological information, rather than whether this or that highway is in the right spot. (These are topo maps, not road atlases.)
Read the entire e-mail; Green’s compiled a list of bureaucrats to contact to lobby against the decision. (He also lists the Minister of Natural Resources, but he’s reportedly quite ill and on a reduced workload; I’d be surprised if the map issue makes it to his desk.)
I haven’t been able to find anything about this on the Centre for Topographic Information’s web site, but I’ll do some digging and get back to you on this. Time for me to do some reporting, I think.
I’m totally the last person to be reporting this. A couple of weeks ago, Ogle Earth pointed to the story of Italian blogger Luca Mori (whose site seems to be down at the moment), who used Google Maps and Google Earth to discover the ruins of a Roman villa
on his property. A neat story, and a neat use of the software, I thought to myself, and filed it away in the hmm-that’s-interesting-but-I’m-behind-on-sixteen-other-entries-I-need-to-write-first part of my brain. Then Nature picked it up (the link is now behind a pay wall — that’s how late I am — but it was short and a sizeable excerpt was quoted on Boing Boing, whence via). Now, more recently, the BBC has picked up the story (and their links don’t expire; via Things Magazine). It’s a sign of how tremendously interested the media (and possibly, by extension, the public, but let’s not jump to conclusions) has become in mapping technologies, and represents how much Google Earth/Maps usw. have insinuated themselves in the Zeitgeist of the moment. Between this and their use during the hurricane crises in the U.S. — where analysts were using Google Earth live in the studio as a visual aid — is there any doubt that computer mapping has finally arrived? Remember, you read it here last.
On an organizational note, I’ve combined entries about Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita into a new Hurricanes 2005 category; links to the old Katrina category archives will be forwarded to the new URL.
Update, 5:25 PM:
About that Virtual Earth Rita tracker, Chandu Thota reports that “now you can see traffic camera info at some locations.”
Géo212 reports that Coronelli’s globes are on display in Paris for the first time in 25 years, as part of the reopening of the Grand Palais. See coverage from the Nouvel Observateur and Radio France Internationale; if you don’t read French, try, oddly enough, South Africa’s Mail and Guardian. Thierry Rousselin writes, “After this short exhibit they will be transfered to the National Library and after a few months of restoration they should be permanently exhibited before the end of 2006.”
This is as good an excuse as any to familiarize ourselves with the work of Vincenzo Coronelli, the cartographer and globemaker who in the 1680s was commissioned by Louis XIV to create two globes — one celestial, one terrestrial — each nearly four metres in diameter. These globes, the Marly Globes, are what went on display at the Grand Palais. After that commission, he went on to produce smaller, printed reproductions of the Marly Globes; this site sells facsimiles. (The Vienna-based International Coronelli Society for the Study of Globes is named after him.)
Directions has compiled a page of links to U.S. government maps related to Hurricane Rita; this will be updated as new information becomes available, they say.
James Fee, in re ESRI helping various government agencies: “It seems that everyone has learned much about what happened after the devastation of Katrina and I think everyone is being proactive with Rita. … The infrastructure is already in place thanks to Katrina, so we’ll just add the appropriate links as they come in.”
This map plots Hurricane Rita’s path against the positions of all the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico (there’s also a layer showing Katrina’s path). Now you know why hurricanes disrupt oil production. Via Cartography.
See previous entry: Oh No, Not Again: Tracking Hurricane Rita.
Tyler Mitchell talks about the behind-the-scenes work to process approximately 1,500 NOAA images from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and upload them to the Katrina Image Warehouse, using open-source software; the basics were up and running within 48 hours. Via Glenn’s GISuser Weblog.
Previous entries about Tyler Mitchell’s work: Open Source Geospatial Tools; Web Mapping Illustrated; Web Mapping Illustrated Reviewed; Book Review Roundup; and Using Map Server with Chameleon.
Webmapper critiques the media’s interactive maps of Germany’s recent Bundestag elections. I agree with Edward: my favourite is Der Spiegel’s flash map: it loads quickly and shows both local constituency results (red and black, a more appropriately Stendhalian version of the U.S.’s red vs. blue) and percentages of the popular vote for each party by constituency. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s flash map takes forever to load, but is feature-equivalent to Der Spiegel’s; plus it’s zoomable. Compared to either of these, Die Welt’s map is quite basic.
Of course, what these maps show is the results by constituency: in the complex German system, additional seats are awarded based on the popular vote (e.g., a party winning 10 per cent of the votes but only 5 per cent of the seats gets topped up).
There are several resources for keeping tabs on the next volley of tropical storms to hit the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. NOAA’s Storm Tracker page for Rita and Philippe has tracking maps and satellite photos. Google Earth users can download a live hurricane tracker that lists all current storms worldwide (download here; via Google Earth Blog). For Google Maps users, the Central Florida Hurricane Center again has a tracking map for Rita as a mashup (via Google Maps Mania). The established hurricane information sites that tracked Katrina before it hit will obviously be worth having a look at again.
See previous entries about Hurricane Katrina.
Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference last week was the occasion for some Virtual Earth announcements. Directions got a heads-up prior to the conference; Andrew Coates has some notes from the Virtual Earth session, which covered using the API for commercial use (see previous entry) and upcoming features (due this fall: updated satellite imagery, the long-promised bird’s-eye view, and more), among other things. The Virtual Earth SDK is here; Via Virtual Earth has a tutorial on building a commercial web site with Virtual Earth.
American Ethnic Geography: the web site for a second-year geography course at Valparaiso University has an excellent collection of map galleries; the maps — mostly GIFs, some PDFs — provide a wealth of interesting information on North American demographics: ethnicity, culture, religion, voting patterns. Via MetaFilter.
Treasured Maps, an exhibition of more than 80 rare maps and atlases from the New York Public Library’s Map Division holdings, is on now through April 9, 2006 at the NYPL’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library (Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street). Free admission! The New York Times has a review (free registration required to read the article). Via Cartography. More information here.
About a month ago, our friend John Resig spent a week on Google Maps: “I’ve been working a number of contract jobs — all of which have centered around the usage of the Google Maps API, a powerful tool for programmers. As I’ve gone along, there have been a number of features that I’ve developed (or found) that I think other programmers would benefit from knowing.” What followed was a seven-part series demonstrating ways of implementing various enhancements on Google Maps: geocoding addresses and click-zoom, auto-scaling, advanced mouse control, clicking to add points, linking, animation, and mouse-wheel zooming. (Sorry for all the trackbacks, John.)
I’ll make note of this stuff — it may be useful for that far-off day when I clear my schedule enough (and work up the courage enough) to hack the Google Maps API myself. (Would that I were a programmer.)
More recently, Bill Pierce has written an ASP.NET server control for the Google Maps API to make it more accessible for .NET developers. The first two parts of a three-part series describing the control are available here and here.
Not that I understand much of this stuff; I mention it both for future reference and because many of you know more about this than I do.
While I wait for the long-promised Mac version of Google Earth (hint), I note with interest that both Google Earth and Google Maps got their satellite imagery updated (Google Earth Blog, Google Maps Mania). But a separate enhancement is even more interesting: National Geographic layers for Google Earth that index National Geographic stories and, among other things, include the Megaflyover — a set of high resolution images of Africa (see also Google Earth Blog).
More coverage of the recent theft of three maps from the British Library from the Hampstead and Highgate Express; the article seems particularly clueless, and tries to draw in other missing items that are as likely to be misplaced as not.
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey’s Historical Map and Chart Collection “contains over 20,000 maps and charts from the late 1700s to present day. The Collection includes some of the nation’s earliest nautical charts, hydrographic surveys, topographic surveys, geodetic surveys, city plans and Civil War battle maps.” It’s a huge, searchable database; the large files (several megabytes each) are in MrSid format, for which you will need the appropriate plugin. Thanks again to peacay.
The Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives is the professional organization for map librarians and cartographic archivists in Canada; their web site lists their published maps and books, and has some resources for map cataloguing. I’ve volunteered to catalogue the maps in my local archives, so I’ll have to take a close look here.
Glenn of GISuser.com has been collecting photos, maps and other graphics related to hurricanes — Katrina in particular, naturally — on his Flickr account.
Late to the party, but Microsoft has put in a solid, if buggy effort with this Virtual Earth powered feature on MSNBC’s web site. Conceptually, it’s excellent: clicking on the camera icons on the Virtual Earth hybrid map brings up before and after photos for that location, but it does not work properly in Firefox and Safari (I can’t test IE; see Cartography on bugginess). More from Chandu Thota (1, 2), Robert Scoble and the Virtual Earth team blog.
Not quite maps, but these aerial images show New Orleans beginning to dry out.
Continuously changing real-time maps of cell phone usage in Graz, Austria, created by MIT researchers by tracking anonymous data from thousands of mobile phones, will appear as part of Kunsthaus Graz’s “M City: European Cityscapes” exhibition between October 1 and January 8. Press release, images (4.9-MB PDF). Via Boing Boing.
Update, 9/21 at 9:15 AM: Images link fixed; see also Science Daily coverage (thanks, peacay).
The Montreal Gazette also covers the news that three maps were stolen from the British Library (see previous entry). The Gazette article focuses on a map of particular significance to Canadian history — a 1578 map of Martin Frobisher’s discoveries in northern Canada — and, significantly, fingers Forbes Smiley as a “prime suspect” in the thefts.
The FBI then issued an alert to map libraries around the world [after Smiley’s arrest for the Yale University thefts], advising curators to check their collections and determine whether the accused had recently visited their institutions.
That’s when the British Library first noticed the missing Frobisher map and the two other apparent thefts. Peter Barber, head of the library’s cartography section, recently told the Hartford Courant that records show Smiley visited the library twice in the past 18 months and examined at least two of the books.
Developing, as they say. Earlier coverage of the Forbes Smiley case and other map theft news can be found in my Map Thefts category archive.
It’s been a few days since I last posted on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Here are a few more links. Apologies for letting them accumulate.
ESRI’s Hurricane Katrina Disaster Viewer is, according to ESRI’s Lisa Kensok, who submitted this link, “designed to provide more detailed information than satellite imagery about impacted areas to responders, people affected, and the general public. You can locate an address or zoom to areas of interest and view FEMA damaged areas, U.S. Postal Service affected delivery areas, post-disaster satellite imagery, population density, street maps, and a lot more info. You can also generate demographic reports for selected areas.”
People are making good use of Google Maps hacks; Google Maps Mania had a roundup last week. Not a Google mashup, but a kindred spirit: this page uses a slider to show the size of the flooded area by superimposing it on a map of Boston (via O’Reilly Radar).
Antique Maps of Iceland: “All antique maps of Iceland (older than 1900) that are in the collection of the National and University Library of Iceland and the Central Bank of Iceland have been converted to a digital format and are accessible here. A short historical description in Icelandic and English is available for most of the maps. They are based on the book Kortasaga Íslands (A history of cartography of Iceland) by Haraldur Sigurðsson.” Thanks again, peacay.
It’s hard to believe that Google Maps was only released last February, especially when you consider how a huge web-based ecosystem has sprung up around it since then. But it didn’t spring from nothing. Killer Maps, the cover story for the October 2005 issue of Technology Review, looks at how we got to this point — earlier mapping services and their unhackability; the decision to descramble GPS in 2000 — and the implications of making all kinds of data location-specific. It’s as good a summary of the past year as I’ve seen so far. Via Google Earth Blog. (The title of the article is a play on “killer app” — the apocryphal program that encourages mass adoption of a new technology: VisiCalc for the Apple II, e-mail for the Internet, et cetera, et cetera.)
Three early maps — two 17th-century maps of North America and a 16th-century world map — have been taken from the British Library, The Independent reports in today’s edition. The maps were taken earlier this year, in March and June; the investigation is, as they say, ongoing.
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have generated a colour map of Pluto; it’s a bit of a stretch to call the map “detailed,” but on the other hand it’s rather amazing to have any detail on a map of a tiny planet four to six billion kilometres away. It took a year of observations and two years of computer processing to generate this map. Via Very Spatial.
When the satellite-photo version of Google Maps came out earlier this year, there was some apprehension about the impact of these high-resolution photos on individual privacy. For example, some nervousness about being able to see the car in your driveway. I’m sensitive to privacy concerns, but for the most part I think these worries are unwarranted: most individual activities wouldn’t show up on even the highest resolution photos, and the age of the photos, as we’ve seen, can be considerable in some cases.
There is a difference, though, between individual concerns about privacy and state concerns over secrecy. When individuals fret about satellite photos, I try to understand; when governments get nervous about those photos, I get nervous. It reminds me of authoritarian regimes who banned topo maps of less than 1:25,000 scale to prevent people from knowing about secret installations — both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union did this.
For the past couple of months, Ogle Earth (and some other blogs, but Stefan’s coverage has been the most comprehensive) has been tracking various governments’ concerns over the fact that certain sensitive installations were visible via Google Earth. Here’s a list:
- Australia: The operators of Australia’s nuclear reactor wanted Google to censor the image of the reactor, but the federal government concluded that the imagery posed no risk; the photos were already publicly available through other sources. (Ogle Earth)
- The Netherlands: Two Dutch legislators worried that terrorists could use Google Earth to target government facilities or reactors; see the AP story at Forbes and USA Today. (Ogle Earth)
- South Korea: The South Korean government said it was concerned that military installations and the presidential palace were available on Google Earth; their availability on Google Earth apparently violates domestic security laws. (GeoCarta, Ogle Earth)
- Thailand: Not to be left out, Thailand’s military worries about terrorists using Google Earth to attack government buildings. (Ogle Earth)
- United Kingdom: The British nuclear security watchdog said it would try to block detailed photos of nuclear power plants. (Ogle Earth)
- United States: A Queens assemblyman also voiced concerns that Google Earth could be used by terrorists (All Points Blog).
On a related note, Ogle Earth had a look at the new USGS guidelines on disseminating aerial photography: apparently access was sometimes restricted without actually assessing the security risk — they were restricting things by default, in other words, which is exactly how not to do things in a democracy. One key point that Stefan noted was that secrecy was not justified if the data was available from other sources.
A 2004 Rand study of publicly accessible geospatial information concluded that terrorists would need more detailed data than is available via satellite images. The report also said they are more likely to turn to “direct observations” or “individuals familiar with the operations of a particular facility” to conduct attacks.
In other words, everybody is overreacting. We’re seeing two things: one, the political need to be seen to be doing something about terrorism, no matter how ineffectual, so long as it’s visible; and two, the bureaucratic impulse to keep things secret as a solution to a problem. For them, it’s easier to suppress information than to improve security.
The Map Realm: The Fictional Road Maps of Adrian Leskiw is a marvellous collection of hand-drawn and digitally made highway maps of non-existent places conjured straight from Adrian’s imagination. I love this stuff. I used to draw maps of made-up places all the time as a kid; it’s good to know that at the very least I was not alone in my insanity. Thanks, peacay.
Today’s Los Angeles Times has a story about the Forbes Smiley case that focuses on the security measures adopted by rare book libraries. (If the site asks that you register, clear your latimes.com cookies.)
Housed in a three-story glass atrium at the company’s headquarters in Yarmouth, Maine, Eartha took two years to build and represents Earth as it is seen from space. Every continent is beautifully detailed, with vivid colors illustrating all levels of vegetation, major roadways and cities. Ocean depths are also completely represented.
Amazingly, if you’ve got $6 million or so jangling in your pocket, you can get one too (smaller ones cost less). Anyone? Anyone? Via Gadling.
Via GeoCarta, a report that an inaccurate map was responsible for the city of Gearhart, Oregon encroaching on private property during bridge construction. From the article: “City Manager Dennis McNally told the City Council Wednesday the city had poured the concrete footings for the bridge based on an inaccurate map, so the footings extended onto private property.” They’re paying the property owners $15,000 as a result.
The W. H. Pugsley Collection of Early Canadian Maps at McGill University:
In 1971-72 Dr. William Howard Pugsley, a McGill alumnus, donated a collection of 50 early Canadian maps, dating from 1556 to 1857, to the McGill University Libraries. Dr. Pugsley collected these maps during the late 1930s, and World War II, principally in England. Now housed in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in the McLennan Library, this set of maps tells the story of the discovery and exploration of North America. The oldest map in the Pugsley collection is from Ramusio’s Delle navigationi et Viaggi, vol. 3, 1556, the first book published to present a detailed account of North America.
The maps are available online in both 72 dpi and ginormous 300 dpi versions; the latter are several megabytes but print-worthy. Thanks again, peacay.
Virtual Earth hacks have either been few and far between or they just haven’t been getting any attention (see previous entry; the same could be said about Yahoo! hacks). I wonder whether the announcement that the Virtual Earth APIs are now available for commercial use will make a difference.
Forbes reports that FEMA’s outdated flood maps meant that many people in Hurricane Katrina’s path didn’t have flood insurance because, according to those maps, they weren’t in a flood plain and didn’t need it. More generally on inaccurate flood maps from this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. Via All Points Blog and Cartography.
I mentioned the Very Spatial Podcast a few entries back. A couple of other GIS- or cartography-themed audio programs have turned up since then. (These two audio programs have been referred to as podcasts, but that’s not strictly true unless they’re delivered via an RSS feed.)
Audio, and especially podcasting, is the hot thing online right now, so there will probably be more map-related audio content out there soon.
Denver is going to be a busy place for map lovers this month. The International Map Collectors’ Society’s symposium takes place between September 18 and 23, and is held in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Map Society’s antique map fair, which takes place just before the symposium on September 17 and 18. The symposium also overlaps with the GIS in the Rockies conference, which takes place September 21 to 23. No wonder that week has been proclaimed GIS Week by the Colorado governor. Via MapHist and Very Spatial.
The Ryhiner Map Collection “consists of more than 16,000 maps, charts, plans and views from the 16th to the 18th century, covering the whole globe. Together with the 20,000 manuscript maps of the State Archives, the Canton of Berne owns not only a local, but a worldwide geographical memory.” In German and English. High-resolution scans in the Swiss section; smaller images elsewhere, in incomplete sections (sometimes open directories). Thanks again to peacay.
Truck driver Ahmad El Maati was suspected of ties to Al Qaeda, and detained and allegedly tortured in Syria and Egypt, in part because of the presence of a map of government installations in his truck when he crossed the border in August 2001. The Globe and Mail reports (registration may be required) that the so-called, oft-cited “terrorist map” was, in fact, an outdated parking map for the Tunney’s Pasture government complex in Ottawa. (I worked in Tunney’s Pasture in 1999; it’s not exactly a strategic installation.) Via Cartography.
More flood maps of New Orleans (see this morning’s entry). Kathryn Cramer, whose blog has turned into an immense resource for Hurricane Katrina information, links to a Google Maps hack that shows the approximate water depth in flooded areas; because of the limitations of Google Maps, it’s a bit of a kludge, in that you click on a point and get a textual response rather than something more, well, cartographic, but it’s useful nonetheless. She also points to Flood Level Maps, which models which areas are flooded and which aren’t — it doesn’t indicate depth, but it’s somewhat easier to parse than satellite and aerial imagery that can be ambiguous in many instances.
Also from the USC Digital Archive, WPA land-use survey maps for the City of Los Angeles, 1933-1939:
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) conducted a land use survey from December 18, 1933 to May 8, 1939 for the city of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning. It covered approximately 460 square miles within the boundary of the City of Los Angeles and resulted in this series of 345 hand-colored land use survey maps. They are collected in 10 books (averaging 35 maps per book) each corresponding to a geographic region within the City’s boundary.
Thanks again to peacay.
The USC Digital Archive’s Sea of Korea Map Collection
consists of original old maps, dating from 1606 to 1895, in English, French, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Latin, German and Russian. It was formed by digitizing the combination of two private collections comprised of 172 maps. The David Lee Collection (of 132 maps) was assembled for the purpose of documenting the application of the term “Sea of Korea” (or similar terms) to identify the body of water between Japan and Korea. The Shannon McCune Collection consists of the maps gathered by the prominent professor of East Asian geography for use in his distinguished teaching and research career. Together, they help to illustrate how the West’s image of East Asia evolved over the course of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Thanks, peacay. For the dispute over the name of that particular body of water, see this previous entry: Google Earth and Disputed Borders and Names.
The Gough Map is the oldest surviving road map of Great Britain. (Pictured above; east is at the top of the map.) The map itself dates to around 1360, but was discovered by Richard Gough in 1774, and donated to Oxford’s Bodleian Library in 1809, where it remains today. Now, a joint project between the Bodleian and Queen’s University, Belfast, is under way to create an online interactive version of the Gough Map. That online version is available here; it’s an ArcIMS-based viewer with layers. Via MapHist.
Related reading: The King’s Two Maps: Cartography and Culture in Thirteenth-Century England by Daniel Birkholz.
I posted links to a lot of new blogs next month, but Cartography’s roundup of cartography and related blogs last week brought a grand total of seven more blogs to my attention.
Plus, I was already aware of Ed Parsons’s blog — he’s the CTO of the Ordnance Survey — and of Sean Gillies’s Import Cartography, which deals with cartography and programming. But I hadn’t mentioned them before, and haven’t added them to my blogroll. I’ll fix that now.
The seven blogs that are new to me:
- All Things Geography, by a pseudonymous GIS pro in California;
- blog.kart.no, which I can’t say much about because it’s in Norwegian, but it seems to cover a number of subjects;
- Brian Flood’s blog, another programming and GIS blog;
- Digital Earth is ostensibly a product blog, but has some other content as well — lately, a multipart wish list for Google Earth, for example;
- GIS Matters, David Maguire’s blog, with a strong ESRI focus;
- Glenn’s GISuser Weblog, a somewhat infrequent blog by the editor of GISuser; and
- Very Spatial, from geography Ph.D. students Sue and Jesse, supports their podcast — A Very Spatial Podcast. Yes, there’s a geography podcast. I’m going to have to have a listen.
That makes nine so far. The tenth comes via Ogle Earth, and it’s a very new German-language blog about Google Earth (at least I think that’s what it is — my German has atrophied considerably) called TerraGoo.
It’s gratifying to see so many mapping blogs out there, because two years ago, when I started The Map Room, there weren’t nearly as many — I don’t think it was just that I wasn’t aware of them. It looks like the GIS profession has moved to blogging in a significant way recently: I notice that of all the mapping blogs I’m tracking, most are on the professional and technical side of things. (Antique and historical maps are still the bailiwick of mailing lists, from what I can tell.)
Anyway, a lot of you have been linking to me in your blogrolls, which means that you’re aware of me before I’m aware of you; if you’ve got a mapping blog, send me a note to tell me about it. I’d be happy to mention it.
Over on GeoCarta, Roger goes beyond the latest satellite and aerial photography of New Orleans (which is what’s getting the lion’s share of attention); he looks at NOAA’s survey of the damage to the Mississippi River shipping channel and has posted a copy of FEMA’s flood map for New Orleans.
Of Maps and Men: In Pursuit of a Northwest Passage is an online exhibition from the Princeton University Library; it’s got an excellent collection of map scans: this page has 12 of them, dating from 1528 to 1907, which reflect our changing knowledge of the North; high-resolution versions are also available. But more maps are presented on other exhibition pages, too. Thanks, peacay.
In addition to the Forbes article I mentioned yesterday, both the BBC and New York Times (free registration required) cover the use of Google Maps and Earth by ordinary users to collect and distribute information about the disaster — i.e., the “non-official” Google Earth overlays and Google Maps hacks (via Google Earth Blog).
Here are some of them (via Google Maps Mania):
- The Katrina Information Map is a mashup where users can annotate a map with information about the disaster and the relief efforts. It depends on users’ self-restraint: they’re asked not to use it to ask questions or to provide basic labels.
- KatrinaShelter.com uses Google Maps to list private homes and shelters able to take people displaced by the storm; doesn’t work in Safari.
- This before and after mashup puts pre- and post-Katrina satellite images of New Orleans side-by-side.
I’ve been getting e-mail from people asking about the state of various locations in and around New Orleans and other areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. I’m not the best person to answer such questions — I’m just someone from small-town western Quebec who runs a site about maps; I haven’t even visited New Orleans — but I’ve tried to be as helpful as I can be.
Part of the problem is that matching up an address to a satellite photo isn’t always easy. Kathryn Cramer has a couple of tutorials here and here: you can use Google Earth if your computer is powerful enough and runs Windows (note to Google: hurry up with the Mac version already), or you can manually match the address to the appropriate post-Katrina photo.
Now there’s an easier way. I mentioned before that Google Earth overlays, both official and third-party, were available. Google’s been updating its Google Earth overlays on a daily basis since then, and now Google Maps has post-Katrina satellite photography too; here’s a direct link. Just enter the address and toggle between map, satellite, hybrid and Katrina modes to see what’s happened. Via Google Blog.
The other part of the problem is that not every location has been photographed; a few people have asked about areas that haven’t turned up on the new photos. It clearly takes time to assemble detailed satellite imagery, and some areas haven’t yet been looked at. (I’ll try to find out a few things about how satellite photography works — especially coverage and lag time — for a future post.)
All we can do is keep looking for new images when they crop up. Most of the web sites I’ve linked to over the past week are frantically adding new photos as they become available, so keep checking them.
Here’s another one to keep an eye on: NOAA has collected some very high-resolution satellite imagery of New Orleans; the interface is confusing but the photos are big.
In the meantime, I’ll report updates and new sites as I find out about them.
Orbimage’s satellite photos of New Orleans post-Katrina, here and here, are in black and white; as a result, the detail is much sharper and the flooded parts of the city are much more visible, as the example above (courtesy Orbimage) shows.
False-colour images can be more revealing than straight photography, too: Spot Image’s infrared photo of the city brings the flooded areas clearly into view, especially when compared with a similar 2001 photo.
I’ve been reorganizing my categories a bit; my Hurricane Katrina entries now have their own category.
More satellite imagery: Before and after satellite images from GlobalSecurity.org. Landsat’s before and after images seem to have more detail than the others. NASA has posted a new photo of the levee breach which seems to be a subset of Digital Globe’s image (which I posted yesterday); see previous NASA Katrina images here and here. Via Cartography and HNBP.
Newspapers: Infographics from the New York Times and Washington Post are helpful and make use of recent satellite imagery. The LA Times’s map of the levee system (PDF) is also useful. Via Cartography and Cartotalk.
Cartotalk is an online forum for cartographic professionals, with lots about map design.
The World Atlas of Great Apes and Their Conservation, which I believe was launched yesterday, “provides a comprehensive overview of what is currently known about all six species of great apes — chimpanzee, bonobo, Sumatran orangutan, Bornean orangutan, eastern gorilla, and western gorilla.” In addition to being available for purchase in hard-copy form, maps from the atlas are available online, both as high-resolution TIFFs and more-accessible JPEGs. Via Cartography.
- Buy World Atlas of Great Apes and Their Conservation at Amazon.com
(Updated) More satellite imagery from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina is being made available. Space Imaging’s Image Gallery has images of New Orleans before Katrina and Mobile, Alabama after Katrina (via Cartography). Digital Globe’s Hurricane Katrina Media Gallery has before/after images of New Orleans and post-hurricane images of Biloxi, Mississippi at the moment (via Spatially Adjusted; see also Kathryn Cramer).
More images are undoubtedly coming. Pace Sean’s concern that flashy web maps are not what’s so badly needed — and he does have a point: MSNBC’s mapping feature (via Scoble) is seriously overproduced — people are desperately trying to find out what happened, and maps and satellite images are the best way to get the “big picture” at a glance.
(As with the previous entries on Hurricane Katrina, this entry will be updated as more links are found until it is superceded. Check back.)
Update, 12:15 PM:
The full-sized image is 3.2 MB, about which Steve Stone says, “As you scan across it, you will see that the darker areas are flooded … as you head south toward the Mississippi and the French Quarter, you can see dry land … the darker the areas, the deeper the water. It is hard to fathom how many thousands of homes are in that darkness.”
See also: Kathryn Cramer’s How to find out if your New Orleans house is underwater, involving comparing your address to current satellite images.