Rev Dan Catt reveals three hidden(ish) Flickr map features, including GeoRSS, microformats (both automatically built into RSS feeds and photo pages, respectively) and URL shortcuts.
Dvorak, being Dvorak, disses GPS devices: “I’ve had the various DeLorme and Microsoft systems and a number of nifty handheld devices. My conclusion: Buy a friggin’ map! Much of the appeal of the GPS is that the general public today is too stupid to read a map. I know plenty of people who actually think that going north on a map means they are going uphill.” Compares nav systems with backseat driving and asking for directions. Even if he’s trolling, you know he’s having fun. Via All Points Blog.
In response to Transport for London’s crackdown on London tube map remixes (previous entry), the Wikimedia Commons is putting together a series of freely available maps of the London Underground. The maps are generated using PHP to process GPS data; the maps are available in SVG and PNG formats. (Enough acronyms?) Zone maps, individual line maps, and maps of the bombings are available. One caveat: because they’re processed from GPS tracings — automated processes do not make for original graphic design — they’re all to scale rather than diagrams à la Beck, which may or may not be a good thing, depending. Via Boing Boing.
Coming up at the British Library and running from November 24 to March 4, an exhibition called “London: A Life in Maps”: “Maps, views, letters, and ephemera from the British Library collections, show the city’s transformation from a Roman outpost to the huge, heaving metropolis of today — and look to the Olympic and post-Olympic future.” Free admission; there’s also a companion book by Peter Whitfield coming out. Thanks to peacay for the link.
Very Spatial notes that MapQuest is 21st in Alexa’s rankings of popular web sites, which sounds impressive for a standalone map site. But, a couple of caveats. One, Alexa’s methodology is kind of like the Nielsen ratings — it gathers its metrics from a user-installed web browser toolbar. Two, from what I can glean, subdomains are measured as part of the main site, so the numbers for maps.yahoo.com, maps.google.com and local.live.com are folded into their parent domains (#1, #2 and #12, respectively).
Stefan speculates on some of the potential ways that Google’s mapping products could be integrated into its other services and products, as per a recent company directive to make their stuff work together better.
A year ago, if you had asked me which mapping blogs were my favourites (and my greatest competition), I would have said, with little hesitation, Cartography, the Canadian Cartographic Association blog run by Paul Heersink, and GeoCarta, by surveyor Roger Hart. Times have changed: GeoCarta was last updated in March and is, as such, dormant; and now Paul has announced that the requirements of his new job (time, potential conflicts of interest) are forcing him to cease blogging. Well, crap. I understand the decision — he has to do what’s in his best interest, after all — but I’ll certainly miss his blogging.
GPS receivers with built-in street maps and driving directions are now so ubiquitous that it’s apparently hard to remember any other sort. This article reprinted from the Wall Street Journal discusses handheld GPS receivers with
driving walking directions for pedestrians — i.e., directions that ignore one-way streets and traffic control measures and that take paths into account. Now you’ll be able to collide into stationary objects and fall into bodies of water without having to take your car with you. Via GPS Tracklog.
This site is a digital archive of maps produced by the Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny, the Polish Geographic-Military Institute, which existed between 1919 and 1939 and produced some very good topographic maps of the country. Lots of scans here, all very large files, of maps at 1:25K, 1:100K and 1:300K scales. Via Maps-L.
The Jasper Booster reports that two Jasper residents named Mike (Mike Mitchell and Mike Day) have spent the past few years designing a new map of Jasper National Park, the first map of the entire park since Parks Canada released one on its 100th anniversary in 1985. (I have that map: it’s essentially a 1:250,000-scale topo map.) This project — a partnership with the Friends of Jasper National Park — is a bit more ambitious, though, with artistic pretensions and trail locations verified by GPS (trails are frequently marked incorrectly on Canadian topo maps). The map is scheduled for release next year, to mark the park’s centennial. Via Maps-L.
Making subway maps is more than just choosing between Beck-style diagrams and geographically accurate maps, or something in between; as with any good map design, colour choice matters too. Yale Daily News tells the story of alumnus R. Raleigh D’Adamo, who in 1964 was one of three winners of a contest to redesign the map of New York’s subway system.
D’Adamo said he noted then that London used eight colors to represent eight transit lines and Paris used eight to represent 15, but New York had for years used only three colors to represent 34 transit lines.
“Maps of New York subways are trying to make too few colors do too much work,” D’Adamo said in his winning entry.
These three colors represented three previously separate subway systems that were unified in 1940. D’Adamo said by 1964, the colors were unnecessary because the divisions they represented were no longer relevant.
D’Adamo added four more colors and tweaked other aspects of the existing subway map, leaving a map system that has remained virtually unchanged since its original implementation, he said.
See previous entry: New York Subway Maps.
This is, by my count, the 1,500th post to The Map Room, which I will now waste by emitting stunned noises at having reached the 1,500-post mark. Whoa.
At the University of Michigan’s Clements Library until December 22: Shakespeare’s World in Maps. From the Ann Arbor News article: “The maps, many of them produced during Shakespeare’s lifetime, were selected from the Clements collection and include several rarely seen cartographers’ works, including the 1579 atlas of England and Wales by Christopher Saxton, which is open to the page showing Shakespeare’s hometown, spelled ‘Stretford’ instead of Stratford.”
Strange Maps has been having fun with the maps of philosopher Leopold Kohr, who argued for smaller states in his seminal 1957 work, The Breakdown of Nations. An appendix to that book contained maps hypothesizing successful and unsuccessful federations in the U.S. and Europe: his thesis was that the U.S. was successful, because no one state could dominate the other, whereas Europe was unsuccessful because one state could. He turned both examples (as well as Switzerland) on their heads — a Europe of many small states, a U.S. of a few large states dominating smaller ones — to make his point.
Now that Firefox 2.0 is out, we can look at how it handles the complex code behind online map services. Fantom Planet finds that it handles Google and Yahoo! Maps well, but runs into a few quirks with Live Local. (Figures.) Also looks at some of the browser’s new features and their implications for web mapping.
NASA’s Earth Observatory marked the U.S. population reaching the 300-million mark with a population density map of the United States (and surrounding countries).
Retired University of Maine professor Walter Macdougall has written a biography of early Maine surveyor and mapmaker Moses Greenleaf, the Bangor Daily News reports. Macdougall’s book, Settling the Maine Wilderness: Moses Greenleaf, His Maps, and His Household of Faith, 1777-1834, appears to be available only locally at the moment.
Via GPS Tracklog. This skit is teh funny, but what it describes is also totally possible: all you’d need to do is mash up census data with driving directions.
In the same vein, Charlie White writes on Gizmodo that this isn’t quite farfetched. “Honestly, aren’t there some areas of your town you’d rather not drive through in the middle of the night?” he asks. “Our GPS system proposed a route through the most crime-ridden area of a large American city at 1 AM last weekend, and we were wishing our GPS unit were aware of crime statistics. Maybe Discriminav is not that far from a real product after all. Behind comedy lies at least some truth.” Leaving aside, of course, the too-common conflation of crime, class and race.
The New Popular Mapping site is a rough and ready interface to out-of-copyright (i.e., more than 50 years old) Ordnance Survey maps of England, most of which are from the postwar New Popular Edition series. It’s basically an alpha in the midst of testing, and there’s a ton of work still to be done, but it’s still interesting even at this early stage. Via OpenGeoData.
As God as my witness, I thought Germans could drive. But we have two more stories of drivers following their GPS navigation systems to unusual ends: last Monday, a driver rammed a staircase in Rudolstadt, and on Thursday a driver brought his BMW to a halt inside the train station in Karlsruhe. On the tracks. He was, I guess, only following orders. (Ermorden Sie mich nicht, bitte.) Links in German. Via Engadget.
See previous entry: Hang a Left at the Pile of Sand.
Kansas University geography professors Jerome Dobson and Peter Herlihy are trying to put geography back on the map (so to speak) after a long, post-WWII decline by proposing series of expeditions — the Bowman Expeditions — that would collect geographical data on the ground (rather than just satellite surveys). The first, prototype expedition is currently examining property changes in rural Mexico.
A couple of announcements related to my sad attempt to earn a living from web projects like these.
This site now accepts donations via PayPal via the button on top of the right-hand sidebar. (Donations may also be made against my web hosting bills.) Donations are by no means required, nor will I regularly try to drum them up; it’s simply there as an option if you’re feeling generous and like what I’m doing here.
In a related move, I’m experimenting with advertising on the full-text RSS feed. I’ll try to keep the number of ads to a minimum; there will be some tinkering during the first few days, though. The partial feed will remain ad-free.
In any case, I recognize that ads in general are a nuisance and will keep them only insofar as they’re worthwhile.
NPR science correspondent Robert Krulwich had a story over the weekend about the practice of naming places after living people: in the 19th century, towns had a distinct tendency to be named after their postmasters; nowadays, though U.S. places cannot be named after living people, seamounts and Antarctic mountains are unregulated by international law: a mountain range in Antarctica, for example, is named after successive (and living) retired executive secretaries of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. (Kind of like how biologists name species after one another.) Via All Points Blog.
(Mark Monmonier covers this ground in chapter eight of his recent book, From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow.)
- Buy From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow at Amazon.com
In addition to the Map Designers conference next month in Glasgow (see previous entry), the British Cartographic Society is running Better Mapping 2006, four day-long seminars on map design: London, Oct. 30; Cardiff, Nov. 7; Liverpool, Nov. 23 and Edinburgh, Nov. 30. Again, the premise is to improve the cartographic quality of maps produced via GIS. Via GeoCommunity.
Carl J. Weber, a history professor at DeVry University, argues that a well-known map, purportedly made by Father Jacques Marquette during the 1673 Joliett-Marquette expedition to the Mississippi Valley, is, in fact, a 19th-century forgery meant to bolster Marquette’s place in history as an explorer of the North American interior (at the expense of La Salle).
Weber collects the evidence for his claim, along with a conference paper, on his eponymous web site. His argument can be summarized thusly:
The evidence for the theory that the Marquette Autograph Map is not authentic is based on three considerations: (1) the course of the Illinois River is too accurate for the time it was supposed to have been drawn, (2) Marquette is not known to have received training in cartography, and (3) there is no other map purported to be Marquette’s in existence.
The question is not whether Joliett and Marquette reached the Mississippi, only that this map cannot, Weber argues, be attributed to Marquette or to the 17th century.
Grant reviews the Mac version of National Geographic’s Topo! software: “a pretty decent package, but not great.” Via GPS Tracklog. Because the Topo! series is U.S.-only, I haven’t had cause to try it out; I hope someday to find an excuse.
See previous entry: National Geographic Topo Maps for the Mac.
See previous entries: OpenStreetMap at Where 2.0; OpenStreetMap Animations; Ed Parsons on OpenStreetMap; OpenStreetMap: Manchester’s Next; OpenStreetMap to Map Isle of Wight; OpenStreetMap London Poster as Fundraiser; OpenStreetMap; London Free Map.
The API is only one half of a map mashup; the other half is the data being plotted on the map. In many cases, mashup makers do not own the data they’re mapping, but are using public (or at least publicly available) sources. This means that the data source’s availability is largely out of their control. Theoretically, at least, the data may disappear at some point. Even so, I don’t think anyone could have predicted what would happen to Seattle911.com, which used the data feed from Seattle 911 phone calls.
The fire department changed the feed from text to an image, breaking the mashup. The data was still available, just harder to repurpose. The department cited security concerns, but that’s simply risible. For one thing, it’s hard to imagine how terrorists could make practical use of such 911 data. (I don’t buy their rationale that pinpointing emergency crews puts them at risk: by that logic, don’t use sirens.) For another, the data is not only still available, but it’s possible to convert the image to useable text with a single line of code. But this is how bureaucracies — generally risk-averse, secretive and self-important — think, and these latent tendencies have only been encouraged post-9/11. Security through obscurity.
Either make it usable or take the data down; either it’s a risk, full stop, or it isn’t. Easily side-stepped half-measures just make you look foolish. Or did you think that your data wouldn’t be used?
GIS Monitor reviews a new book from ESRI Press, A to Z GIS: An Illustrated Dictionary of Geographic Information Systems. “With short, clear, and authoritative definitions of more than 1,800 terms written by more than 150 subject-matter experts, this small book is so useful it is addictive!” The reviewer also nitpicks one entry about which he knows much, wonders about the accuracy elsewhere. Via Slashgeo.
- Buy A to Z GIS at Amazon.com
BibliOdyssey introduces us to an online collection by France’s national archives of the Atlas de Trudaine, a series of more than 3,000 maps made by Charles-Daniel Trudaine between 1745 and 1780. “The maps themselves are highly detailed and were originally commissioned to plot the royal roads. But they constitute a significant and broad 18th century historical corpus, documenting parks, churches, convents, cemeteries, ruins, castles, waterways and essential geophysical features in the landscape.”
Two books about programming with the Google Maps API are coming early next year, Google Karten reports: Beginning Google Maps Applications with Rails and Ajax, in the same series as the previously mentioned book about PHP and Ajax, and by the same authors; and Google Maps Mashups, which looks like a more general manual from Wrox.
See previous entry: Beginning Google Maps Applications with PHP and Ajax.
- Buy Beginning Google Maps Applications with Rails and Ajax at Amazon.com
- Buy Google Maps Mashups at Amazon.com
The Associated Press’s Dave Carpenter takes a look at map publisher Rand McNally on the occasion of its 150th anniversary, looking back on its history and at its future challenges (especially in re digital mapping). “[F]ollowing two ownership changes and a bankruptcy reorganization, the storied company appears to have finally regained its bearings. A sales decline has been reversed, the company says profitability is up over 30 percent since its 2003 overhaul and it is even poised to make acquisitions.” Article available via the Globe and Mail, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and many, many other venues. Via All Points Blog.
See previous entry: A Brief History of Rand McNally.
BBC News’s magazine article, The Map Gap, is all over the map: a discussion of how hard it is to present a true representation of the planet ends up touching briefly upon such diverse elements as map projections, Google Earth, the Times atlas, OpenStreetMap and mashups. Via Map GIS News Blog Etc. Etc.
The Hartford Courant: “A state judge sentenced E. Forbes Smiley III, the Martha’s Vineyard map thief, to the maximum five years in prison Friday, a move that was largely symbolic and unlikely to add time to the 3½-year sentence Smiley has received in federal court.”
This sentence is for the three state charges of larceny in addition to the federal charge for which he was sentenced last month. Smiley will serve his state time concurrently with his federal time, but will be eligible for parole sooner, so his overall sentence is unchanged — i.e., he’ll be in jail for at least three years.
The state judge was none too happy with the federal prosecution for rewarding Smiley’s cooperation: “Judge Richard Damiani faulted the federal government for taking what Smiley told them as ‘gospel truth,’ joining the chorus of voices expressing disappointment in the investigation. ‘The problem is they’re taking the word of a thief,’ he said.”
Smiley’s state sentencing was originally supposed to take place on the same day as his federal sentencing — on September 27 — but it was pushed back.
For Smiley’s federal sentencing and the fallout from that, see the following previous entries: Breaking News: Smiley Sentenced to 3½ Years; Connecticut Public Radio on Forbes Smiley Sentence; Antiques and the Arts Online on Smiley’s Sentencing; Hartford Courant: String Him Up! The Map Thefts category archive has entries on Smiley’s arrest, subsequent investigation and all the other stuff.
As he has for previous elections in Europe, Edward Mac Gillavry critiques the media’s maps of the Belgian municipal election results, which fall into two categories: a Google Maps mashup and a Flash map by Zonky that has appeared on several sites. I note with some nervousness that none of these maps show the results for the entire country: it’s either Flanders or Wallonia, never both.
Google’s announcement yesterday of a new Treo version of Google Maps for Mobile made me wonder whether it would also work on WiFi-equipped Palm handhelds, despite their absence from the list of compatible devices. Now, I don’t have a Palm with WiFi — I’ve all but retired my Tungsten T2 — but my significant other Jennifer does, so I borrowed her Palm TX to see what would happen.
The short answer is, it works.
I connected the Palm to my home wireless network and entered the URL in Blazer, the Palm’s web browser, and was presented with a page from which I could download the Google Maps software in PRC format — the format of Palm OS applications. The download was 426 KB, and installed a separate program: on the Palm, Google Maps runs as its own program, not as a web page.
The software runs well, has both map and satellite imagery layers (which look very nice on the TX’s high-resolution screen), and loads quickly, at least on a WiFi network connected to a 2 Mbps cable modem — expect different results on GPRS! I didn’t test traffic directions. It’s definitely a subset of the full site’s features, though. Also, it doesn’t support full-screen (320×480) Palms like the T3, T5 and TX; the virtual Graffiti area stays up.
Would I use this? Hell yes. (Or at least I would if I had the requisite gadgetry, got out of the house once in a while, or lived in an area with better cellphone coverage or more WiFi hotspots than, well, my own.)
Environment Canada’s Weather Office says they’ve improved the radar section of their web site. “The improvements include: the provision of extra geographical references, easier navigation from one local radar site to another, and a ‘how to use’ section.” Overlays at the city level; animation speed and duration can also be customized. Works nicely enough, though I don’t know what it was like before.
In California, Santa Clara County’s digital mapping data is so expensive to licence that they prevent “all but real estate developers, utility companies and insurance companies and other deep-pocketed customers from accessing it. The fees can go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for the countywide map,” the Associated Press reports. So they’re being sued by the California First Amendment Coalition under the Public Records Act. Thanks to Michael Webster for the link; see also All Points Blog.
Slashgeo reports: “As a followup on previous announcement of the end of paper maps for Canadians, we learn today that ‘[…] the decision to close the Canada Map Office as of next year has been reversed by the NRCan Minister.’” No source or link. Will look into this.
Update #1, 9:55 AM: There may be something to this. Gordon Baker received a reply to his letter about the topo maps decision from his MP’s parliamentary assistant:
I have been in touch with the office of the Minister of Natural Resources regarding your map issue. I am advised that the previous Liberal Government decided in 2001 to close down the Canada Map Office and that the Office has been working toward that Liberal goal ever since, with a final date of March 31, 2007.
Your new Conservative Government is looking seriously at this closure and all though it is still awaiting information on which to base a final decision, the Ministry does not think a March 31, 2007 closure is very likely at all. A more firm answer should be available to me in a few weeks but in the meantime, I would not be too concerned about the closure occurring any time soon.
Much of the above via Maps for Canadians.
Update #2, 10:50 AM: CBC News reports:
Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced Wednesday that the Conservative government has yanked that plan off its course, and the map office will remain open.
Kathleen Olson, a spokeswoman for Lunn, said Natural Resources Canada received a flood of letters protesting the planned closure.
“We did start seeing a lot of commotion around the idea of this office closing,” Olson said.
“The minister wanted to found out more about it and once he did, he quickly realized that this is not something he wanted to see happen.”
Looks like the letter-writing campaign got his attention.
Update #3, 11:00 AM: From GISuser.com:
This comes from the GIS Coordinator, Maps, Data and Government Information Centre, Carleton University Library … “On the morning of October 11, 2006 the Map Uses Advisory Committee was contacted by Kathleen Olson, Acting Director of Communications to the Minister of Natural Resources. Ms. Olson wanted to make key stakeholders groups aware of Minister Lunn’s recent decision to keep the Canada Map Office open. According to Ms. Olson, ‘as soon as this was brought to Minister Lunn’s attention he recognized the need to continue this service to stakeholders and Canadians.’”
See previous entries: A Letter to Gary Lunn; Maps for Canadians: Lobbying for Paper Topo Maps; Canadian Topo Map Update: CCA Conference Items; Paper Maps: Doomed in Canada, But Not Elsewhere?; Canadian Topo Map Update: CBC Coverage; Canadian Topo Map Update: Globe and Mail Coverage; Canadian Government Abandoning Paper Topo Maps?
The Map of Early Modern London is an interactive annotated map of London based on the 16th-century “Agas” woodcut map, with clickable points (akin to Google Maps pushpins) that take you to more detailed information about a given location. Via Things Magazine.
Microsoft Streets & Trips 2007 was announced today. The highlight is that it comes with an improved USB GPS “locator” that turns your computer into a GPS receiver. This isn’t new: the 2006 version also came with such a device, but I wasn’t paying attention; I don’t know when they started adding it. $129 with the locator, $40 without (less via Amazon). Via Gizmodo.
Wow. The 1477 Cosmographia, which was expected to fetch £1-1½ million at auction yesterday, instead sold for £2.136 million to an unnamed collector (AP, Reuters). That’s more than any other antique map or atlas has ever gone for at an auction. Via Map the Universe.
See previous entry: Cosmographia Auctioned.
Update, Oct. 21: More on the auction from Map the Universe.
Map Rectifier is an online georeferencing tool. Take a map image, identify the coordinates of a half-dozen or so points, and the program will “warp” the map image to fit the projection on the right-hand side of the page — producing a GeoTIFF that can be imported into other applications. Fantom Planet, Slashgeo, Tanto.
Storybook England is an interactive map to the locations associated with children’s literature, whether as fictionalized setting or behind the scenes. Briefly mentioned in the New York Times, which article promises a downloadable map, link to which downloadable map generates a 404. Via MapHist; see also Cartography.
David Naffziger wonders which online mapping service has the most current maps and finds that for Chandler, Arizona (where rapid growth allows the maps to be dated relatively precisely), Yahoo! seems to be a step or two ahead of the competition. I wonder whether that holds true for all locations.
The popularity of online mapping sites is having an impact on aerial- and satellite-imagery companies, Newsweek reports. Long dependent on government contracts, these companies now find their new clients — Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! et al. — contributing increasing amounts to their bottom line; in one firm’s case, it’s approaching 20 per cent.
As a result, scores of decades-old mom-and-pop aerial-mapping firms are suddenly thriving, along with the nation’s two major commercial satellite imagery companies. “The geospatial-imaging industry seems to be at the epicenter of a war between Google, Microsoft and Yahoo,” says Edward Jurkevics of Chesapeake Analytics Group. “It’s a good place to be.”
Via All Points Blog.
Recently I’ve received a couple of very similar questions: both are from people asking how to edit and manipulate scans of paper maps.
Chris Ellison writes,
I am a history teacher who regularly uses maps for teaching purposes. The thing is, I always wish I could add an extra arrow or that I could erase a distracting feature, or remove a modern adaptation. Is there any simple(ish) software where I can take a scanned map and make adaptations (change the scale, add and remove features, add or remove colors)? Perhaps there is a commonsense approach to this, but I don’t know it. Thanks in advance to you or your readers for any advice.
And Ed Brumby writes,
I’m completely new to drawing maps. I want to edit a 1780 map that has sort of contour lines that look like shading. I am using Adobe illustrator. How do I do this?
The problem to me seems to be the difference between a scanned image, which is a single-layer bitmap, and an Illustrator or Photoshop file, which can have each element on a separate layer and, in Illustrator’s case, is vector data rather than a bitmapped image. My guess is that any amount of editing an old map is essentially akin to photoretouching: you’re blotting out old features and adding new ones on top; editing scale and other features is essentially trying to manipulate GIS layers that simply don’t exist in a scanned image.
Is there a solution here? What can you do with a scanned image?
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s art critic points to an exhibition at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon: “Exterior and Interior Cartographies” by Joyce Kozloff, which, according to the museum, “features drawings, collages, prints, paintings and sculpture. For fifteen years, Kozloff’s art has centered on cartography, blending mutations raising geopolitical issues into her simulacra of old maps. She discovered in these images of physical terrain a mental territory that charts the topography of power.” No sample images that I’ve been able to find. Runs through October 15.
The selling off of the late Lord Wardington’s map collection (see previous entry) continues. Next week, one of only two privately owned copies of the Cosmographia, the world’s first printed atlas — it was published in 1477, and based on Ptolemy’s Geographica (see previous entry) —will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London next week. It’s expected to sell for £1-1½ million. News coverage from the Independent and Evening Standard; via Map the Universe.
See previous entry: Collection Auctioned, Expected to Raise £5 Million.
Set your TiVos: The Viking Deception, a Nova program about the Vinland Map forgery that was first broadcast in February 2005, is being rebroadcast on Tuesday the 10th. If you miss the show, the web site has plenty of supporting material, including a transcript. Via MapHist.
See previous entry: The Vinland Map.
- Buy Maps, Myths, and Men: The Story of the Vinland Map at Amazon.com
In the spirit of Maps for Canadians’s letter-writing campaign to overturn the Canadian government’s decision to stop producing topo maps (see previous entry), I have written my own letter to Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn. (More effective to write your own than to use a campaign’s template, I think.) It’s available here (PDF). I’ve also sent copies to my own MP and the three opposition Natural Resources critics. I decided it was appropriate to mail a paper copy in this case (I suspect that letters are more effective than e-mail), so the letter won’t arrive before Tuesday at the earliest; you get to see it first.
I know a little bit about ministerial correspondence offices and have no illusions that this letter will actually be read by the minister, but it will be interesting to see what answers — if any — I get from his office or from the other members of parliament. I’d like something pinned down at the political level; so far in this debate, we’ve only heard from bureaucrats.
I’ll post any answers I receive.
Should a judge forgive a car thief because he returned the vehicle? Should a mass murderer get a lighter sentence because he led police to more bodies? To imply that Mr. Smiley’s cooperation is somehow ennobling is an affront to his victims, and they include all who value history and view its irreplaceable artifacts as sacrosanct.
Okay, two thoughts.
One, comparing economic crimes and violent crimes is unfair. Then again, the sentence the British Library was asking for was about what you’d get for manslaughter. Eloquent rhetoric about the world’s heritage and priceless artifacts notwithstanding, killing someone is still more serious.
Two — as I’ve argued elsewhere (here and here) — do you want to get your maps back or not? Your anger at Smiley notwithstanding, remember what you’re trying to accomplish. Consider that arrested criminals will do whatever they can to reduce their sentences. They cooperate because it’s in their interest to do so. Take away that incentive from a map thief — if, say, they help you find 80 more maps and then you turn around and increase their penalties because of that — then they will admit to taking as few maps as possible. Make the prosecution prove every instance of theft. Then you’re getting a dozen maps back, after a lengthy trial, rather than a hundred. There is, in other words, a reason why cooperation merits consideration in sentencing.
But, you know, if you want your pound of flesh instead, go right ahead. It’s that or your maps back. You’re not going to get both.
My response is, cool your jets, everyone. If Apple and Google were planning to integrate iPhoto and Google Maps in a future version, it’s not likely that it would turn up in version 6.0.5; if this were to happen, it’d probably be held until iPhoto 7, which will almost certainly be announced in January. This probably means very little: as the original post points out, EXIF support has been in iPhoto for a while. My guess is that this is a dead end — the vestiges of something planned for version 6 that didn’t go anywhere. That doesn’t mean that GPS integration couldn’t come to the next iPhoto version, or that something isn’t in the works, just that you maybe shouldn’t read too much into hidden files in an application bundle. (Typically, AppleInsider segues from this to a hypothesized all-in-one handheld device and OS-level mapping. Wait and see, wait and see.)
Initially I didn’t get the significance of yesterday’s launch of Google Maps Netherlands (see Google Maps Mania, Google Karten and Ogle Earth), especially since parts of Europe got Google Maps coverage last April. But, as Webmapper points out, the Netherlands only now joins France, Germany, Italy, and Spain in having full street coverage. Or so it’s said: I’m seeing full street coverage in a number of other European countries, so I’m confused. Do they just mean geocoding and directions? What am I missing?
From the Sydney Morning Herald: as part of an exhibition called “Australia from Space,” geographer Stephen Young has created six images of Australia that show how the continent would look if the world’s sea levels were to rise anywhere from 100 to 500 metres. (At right, 300 metres.) Worth noting that even under extreme global warming, the sea levels aren’t going to rise as much as that; Young did not create these images for didactic purposes. There’s a slideshow associated with the article; click on the link beside “Multimedia.” Via About.com Geography.
Antiques and the Arts Online’s article on Forbes Smiley’s sentencing contains some information not seen in other coverage. It doesn’t hurt that it lacks the gosh-wow factor inherent in so much mainstream coverage, where reporters stand in awe of the maps’ age and value. It touches upon the recoverability of and alleged damage to the stolen maps, the financial impact on dealers who bought back stolen maps from their customers — and this tidbit about the libraries’ record-keeping, which could not have helped their case for a stiffer sentence:
In his sentencing memorandum of September 20, Schmeisser touched on one of the case’s most sensitive questions: how the maps could have been stolen in the first place and why libraries often failed to notice that they were missing. Wrote the prosecutor, “On more than one occasion, a library asserted a map had been stolen by Smiley only to find the map a week or even several months later in the library’s collection. In a number of instances, the libraries found maps missing from volumes that Smiley had not accessed, suggesting again either cataloging problems or other thieves.”
The prosecution on whether Smiley is fully cooperating:
“One lingering question,” said the assistant US attorney, was whether Smiley was “telling the whole truth but not the whole story. The government’s best assessment is that he is making the best effort to be truthful, but at the margin there may be a theft that he cannot recall and thus a map never returned.”
The prosecution’s sentencing memorandum was covered previously, but we didn’t see the full text.
Following previous lists issued by Harvard and Yale libraries, the New York Public Library has issued a list of missing antiquarian maps and a list of rare books from which maps have been taken. Via Maps-L. I don’t have any background with which to contextualize this announcement, though I expect it’s a result of the inventories taken after Forbes Smiley’s arrest, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were waiting until after Smiley’s sentencing to issue these lists.
A map showing selected CIA aircraft routes and rendition flights over the past five years is now on a billboard in Los Angeles. John Emerson, who designed it, sent along the link to his post explaining the project.
Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR)’s program, Where We Live, had a long segment dedicated to the Forbes Smiley sentence on last Thursday’s program. Featured, a long interview with map dealer William Reese (see previous entry), who shared his thoughts on the sentence, on Smiley personally, and on his work with Yale’s map library. Via MapHist.
See previous entry: Breaking News: Smiley Sentenced to 3½ Years.
Amazon’s A9 search engine has discontinued its street-level imagery and maps. Via All Points Blog.
See previous entry: A9 Adds Maps.