The Washington Post’s article about OpenStreetMaps’s “citizen cartographers” portrays it as the efforts of what I guess could be called lovingly obsessive locals who care more about getting it right than “a couple of guys driving a truck down a street.”
A travelling exhibition of early printed maps, Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps, 1472-1700, comes to the Princeton University Library on February 7, and runs until August 1.
Through the language of cartography, the maps in the exhibition illustrate the way in which scientists, mathematicians, explorers and cartographers came to grips with the shape, size and nature of the Earth as a whole and its place in the universe. Highlighted in the exhibition are the important contributions to this evolving cosmography of: Ptolemy (c. 90-168 ); Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543); Galileo Galilei (1564-1642); Johannes Kepler (1571-1630); and Edmond Halley (1656-1742).
The exhibition was at the Sonoma Museum last fall, and will be at the University of Southern Maine’s Osher Map Library beginning in September (details).
The David Rumsey Map Collection announces the online availability of The California Water Atlas, “a monument of 20th century cartographic publishing.”
When the atlas came out in 1979, it got rave reviews from both historians and scientists. Charles Wollenberg, writing in the California Historical Quarterly, called it “a very big and beautiful book … well-written, spectacularly illustrated, and filled with useful information for expert and layman alike … an indispensable sourcebook for decades to come.” The Quarterly Review of Biology said it was “a major reference work of interest to applied ecologists concerned with water supply and usage and to ecologists in general in California.” Over 30 years old, the atlas is still fresh and germane to today’s issues and no doubt will be so for a long time to come.
An exhibition of map art titled Off the Map opens February 12 at the Kirkland Art Centre in Kirkland, Washington (a suburb of Seattle). “Recognizing our increasing dependency on maps, the artists in Off the Map present alternative perspectives and reveal significant relationships that are otherwise too obscure to see, visualizing the connectivity in our world and simultaneously make the unknown more rational.” The exhibition runs until March 10.
This will be a busy spring for maps at the BBC, which has announced that BBC Four will run two television series on maps: a three-part, one-hour series called Mapping the World and a four-part, one-hour series called The Art of Maps. This, on top of a BBC Radio 4 series coming in March.
It turns out that the reason for all this Beebish map activity is an upcoming exhibition from the British Library, which, among other things, will feature the enormous Klencke Atlas of 1660. Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art will run from April 30 to September 19, 2010 at the British Library’s PACCAR Gallery, and it’ll be free. More about the exhibition from the Guardian.
Previously: BBC Radio 4 Series on Maps Coming in March.
Here are two animated historical timelines that map geopolitical change over time. This one from the British National Archives, which maps the 20th century, proceeds by period; it gets a few colours wrong here and there, and I’m not sure that occupations are represented consistently. (Also: Mercator? Seriously?) An animation by Pedro Cruz, Visualizing empires’ decline, charts the rise and fall of four European colonial empires during the 19th and 20th centuries; it’s not strictly cartographic, but it is fun to watch — colonies become independent by bursting from their mother countries’ bubbles.
An interesting story on the website of Chicago-area antique map store George Ritzlin Antique Maps and Prints: “The most unusual map we’ve ever encountered recently walked (literally) into our gallery. A nice young woman mentioned in the course of conversation that she loved maps so much that she had one tattooed on her foot. It’s a map of the Chicago Transit Authority elevated system. She is a frequent user of the El lines and finds the map to be handy. She has even used it to give directions.”
Thanks to Dennis McClendon for the link.
Previously: Map Tattoos.
All the attention OpenStreetMap has been receiving of late with respect to the Haitian earthquake prodded me to stop procrastinating, sign up for an account there, and poke around with it a bit. In what I think was a wise move, I stayed well away from the Haitian map tiles and fiddled around with the online editor in areas I knew well but were not mapped very thoroughly. (My home town is scarcely mapped at all. I will have to do something about that.)
So, if any OSM members have been wondering who the hell has been screwing up the maps in the Ottawa-Gatineau area (especially Hull and Aylmer), the Upper Ottawa Valley (especially the Quebec side) and a couple of spots in Winnipeg — um, that was me. Sorry. It was too much fun.
In addition to my acts of map data desecration, I’ve been doing some reading on how to create, edit and classify the data. I don’t have anything profound to say yet, but I might later on.
Update, 12:40 PM: I should clarify that when I say “my town is scarcely mapped at all,” I mean that it’s scarcely mapped in OpenStreetMap — it’s well covered by both Navteq and Tele Atlas and shows up in Google, Bing, MapQuest and Yahoo.
Grough reports that the Ordnance Survey has made two previously published official histories of the organization available online: A History of the Ordnance Survey, published in 1980, and Ordnance Survey: Mapmakers to Britain Since 1791, published in 1992.
OpenStreetMap seems to have become the default map on the ground in Haiti.
Previously: Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 22; Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 20; Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 16; Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 15; ESA Satellite Imagery of Port-au-Prince; Mapping the Destruction in Port-au-Prince; Mapping the Haitian Earthquake.
Writing the Earth: 2,000 Years of Geography and Mapping opens on Saturday, January 30 at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut and runs until May 2. ArtDaily: “The exhibition features a selection of world maps that were printed between 1511 and 1800 and are on loan from a private collection. The show also includes a small group of maps from 1570 featuring the Americas.”
Neil Freeman’s map imagining 50 U.S. states with equal populations, thereby equalizing congressional overrepresentation from small states and rural areas, is making the rounds of the blogosphere (and Twitterverse™) lately (see, for example, here); we first saw it five years ago, in Martin’s comment on this entry about maps with what-if political boundaries. Not that it isn’t worth unearthing for another look. Thanks to James for the tip.
The Boston Globe website briefly had Martha Coakley winning the Massachusetts Senate election over Scott Brown with 100 percent of polls reporting long before the polls had closed, the Boston Herald reports (in typical journalistic Schadenfreude-with-respect-to-the-competition fashion). It was a glitch using test data. The real map, with the real results, is here. Via Catholicgauze.
A tourist map financed by the German embassy in Rome indicates which shops in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, don’t pay extortion money to the Mafia, AFP reports. Inspired by the Addiopizzo movement protesting widespread extortion payments to the Mafia, the map is being produced for German tourists, who are the largest group of tourists in Sicily; 10,000 copies have been printed. To me this seems, um, brave. Via All Points Blog.
Sony has announced a digital camera, the evocatively named DSC-HX5V, that adds a compass to its built-in GPS. Based on my experience shooting with a GPS logger, direction is a useful bit of data to add; the question is whether anything that currently supports geotagging will also support directional data. More at Engadget, Gadgetwise and Gizmodo; thanks to Richard for the tip.
- Buy Sony DSC-HX5V at Amazon.com
The Silverlight version of Bing Maps is out of beta, and will become the default over time; those averse to installing Silverlight can still use the default AJAX version.
Previously: Bing, Google and MapQuest Add Each Other’s Features.
Maps dating back to the early 1800s have been disappearing from the vaults of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, The Times of India reports:
Almost nothing remains of the entire set of maps that date back to 1803-04: they depict the expanse of Mumbai (then Bombay) in great detail when the first revenue survey was carried out. Called the Dickinson survey, close to 350 rolls had every part of the city drawn — its street plan, forts, old tanks, buildings. The 200-year-old guardian of these maps has no clue how they slipped through its fingers.
Another 150 maps are missing from another of the Society’s collections.
This false-colour image of Haiti was taken by the ASTER instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite yesterday.
A Bing Maps application allows you to toggle between pre- and post-earthquake imagery.
More on OpenStreetMap. Harry Wood on the use of OSM in Haiti (via Peter); another page of video tutorials, one of which we’ve seen before (via geoparadigm). Information on using OSM data within ArcGIS (via geoparadigm).
Paper maps are still relevant to relief efforts: the U.S. military has produced thousands of paper maps, which were sent to units on the ground (via All Points Blog.
A story about Boston University students producing maps of the Haitian earthquake (via MAPS-L).
Previously: Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 20; Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 16; Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 15; ESA Satellite Imagery of Port-au-Prince; Mapping the Destruction in Port-au-Prince; Mapping the Haitian Earthquake.
Toby Lester, author of The Fourth Part of the World, the very fine book about the Waldseemüller Map that I reviewed last month, is speaking this Sunday at the Hingham Public Library in Hingham, Massachusetts, just southeast of Boston. The Boston Globe spoke with him about his upcoming talk; it’s a very brief item, but it’s worth a read.
- Buy The Fourth Part of the World at Amazon.com
The University of Toronto’s Department of Geography and Planning reports the death last month of geography professor William G. Dean: “Bill will be best known to University of Toronto geography students, where he taught for over 30 years, and to the numerous participants in the two major atlas projects he led to outstanding success, the Economic Atlas of Ontario (1969) and the Historical Atlas of Canada (3 vols., 1987, 1990, 1993 and the Concise Historical Atlas of Canada, 1998). He was also editor (1960 to 1967) of the Canadian Geographer during its formative years.” Via MapHist.
Previously: Historical Atlas of Canada.
Thanks to the Collins Map blog, we know that there will be a series on maps on BBC Radio 4 coming in March: On the Map will be a series of 10 15-minute programs running Monday to Friday at 3:45 PM, beginning on March 23. The host will be Mike Parker, author of Map Addict (which I reviewed in October).
Nokia announced this morning that Ovi Maps for its smartphones, including turn-by-turn navigation, will be free from now on — an inevitable result, I suppose, of two things: the rapid transformation of maps and navigation on mobile devices from paid or subscription to free, catalyzed by Google’s move late last year, and Nokia’s acquisition of Navteq in 2007.
Notably, maps are available globally (Google’s is, for the moment, U.S.-only) — that’s leveraging your Navteq purchase. Nokia also allows caching — handy when you’re roaming (expensive, but precisely when you need mobile maps) or can’t get a signal.
Google Maps Mania reports that Street View imagery is now available in Sweden and Denmark, as well as National Trust properties in the United Kingdom.
Update: Google’s announcement; Italy, Taiwan and the U.S. got Street View updates as well.
High-resolution digital terrain models (DTMs) of the Martian surface, created from stereo images taken by the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The upshot is an extremely detailed topographic/terrain map of the Martian surface — think the Terrain layer in Mars in Google Earth. More information here. Via HiRISE.
So, how do you implement zoom on a paper map? Here’s how: each square of the “map2” folds out to reveal a smaller-scale map of the same area. Beyond neat; Anne Stauche’s £8 map of London is the only exemplar she’s selling so far. Via GIS Lounge.
Previously: Map Publishers in Court over Folding Method.
The New York Times has a review of the Library of Congress’s exhibition of Matteo Ricci’s 1602 Chinese-language map of the world, which, it turns out, is being displayed across from the Library’s copy of Martin Waldseemüller’s map. (Seems appropriate.) Edward Rothstein’s article also goes into considerable detail about the Ricci map.
Satellite and Aerial Imagery
Last night, Google released imagery of Port-au-Prince at even higher resolutions (15 cm) than before (above). The images were taken on Sunday, January 17, and will be available in Google Maps, in Google Earth by some time today, and directly to relief organizations. Google has also released a KML file that allows you to toggle between imagery taken before and after the earthquake, and has updated the Haiti Earthquake KML layer.
Recent releases of NASA satellite imagery have focused on the potential for landslides near the epicentre. See Earth Observatory and images the ASTER instrument abaord the Terra satellite, taken on January 14, and the EO-1 satellite, taken on January 15.
DigitalGlobe is offering free access to its Haiti earthquake imagery, presumably to appropriate parties. Via geoparadigm. DigitalGlobe imagery is also available via Bing Maps, which in turn is available through ArcGIS. Via geospatialnews.
Community mapping has produced a huge amount of new map data for Haiti, but, as Sean Wohltman points out, it’s being split between Google Map Maker and OpenStreetMap.
But OSM and Map Maker aren’t talking and I think it is a big problem — if you want to help rescue efforts in Haiti where do you go to digitize? OSM? Map Maker? … As it stands right now, even though the MapMaker data is free for non-profit use, projects like OSM can’t use the data because there are commercial uses for OSM and the data belongs to Google, not OSM.
Sean has maps showing the coverage from each, how they overlap and how they differ (above right). Via Off the Map. Muki Haklay tries to square the circle by selecting between Map Maper and OSM on an area-by-area depending on which has better coverage for a given area; via Dave Smith.
Links to Resources
Previously: Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 16; Haitian Earthquake: Links for January 15; ESA Satellite Imagery of Port-au-Prince; Mapping the Destruction in Port-au-Prince; Mapping the Haitian Earthquake.
Soft Maps are quilted maps of cities and neighbourhoods; the maps are stitched into the quilt through a combination of hand and machine stitching. Not inexpensive, to be sure; a number of cities are available, as are custom orders. Via geoparadigm.
There are reports that Forbes Smiley, who was sentenced to 3½ years in prison in September 2006 after admitting having stolen nearly 100 maps from various libraries, was released from prison on Friday: Geolounge, Philobiblos.
Smiley, you may recall, was apprehended in July 2005 trying to take maps from Yale’s Beinecke Library. See my posts about map thefts for past coverage of the Smiley affair.
NASA’s Earth Observatory on the above image: “While not detailed enough to reveal earthquake damage to houses and buildings, this regional view of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, on January 15, 2010, illustrates some of the physical obstacles that have complicated the job of aid workers in the aftermath of the recent earthquake along the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden Fault south of the city.”
Slashgeo, news that an unmanned drone from the U.S. Air Force has been diverted to Haiti to take aerial photos of the damage.
Space.com has a story about efforts by several agencies to provide satellite imagery of the disaster.
Google notes that Map Maker data for Haiti is available for download.
Multiple CrisisCamp events are taking place today “to bring together volunteers to collaborate on technology projects which aim to assist in Haiti’s relief efforts by providing data, information, maps and technical assistance to NGOs, relief agencies and the public.”
Previously: Bing, Google and MapQuest Add Each Other’s Features.
SERVIR produces maps and data for Central America and the Caribbean, including maps for disaster support. Maps of the Haitian earthquake produced to date include damage assessments from satellite imagery, including damage to Port-au-Prince’s seaport, and a map showing erosion risk (above) — no small thing where hillside buildings have collapsed. Thanks to Francisco Delgado for the link.
Ryan Strynatka demonstrates what it would be like to set up a GIS of the Haitian earthquake in the field. “Nothing fancy: I just wanted to see how long it would take and if it would be challenging to pull together base mapping data and then view it all together. No real geoprocessing, but just data acquisition and setup using open source software and publicly available data. This would be a similar to real-world workflows one could use for in-the-field mapping applications.” The result? “This workflow isn’t very sophisticated, but it does demonstrate the ability to get up and running relatively quickly. SRTM and OSM data are both invaluable resources – ideal for humanitarian work in disaster areas. As for the timing: if you know where to get the data, I think the simple example above could be completed in under an hour. That includes software installation, data downloads, and then assembling the data in a GIS.” Via Slashgeo. Previously: Field Guide to Humanitarian Mapping.
The European Space Agency says that new satellite maps of Port-au-Prince are being produced.
Data are being collected by various satellites including Japan’s ALOS, CNES’s Spot-5, the U.S.’s WorldView and QuickBird, Canada’s RADARSAT-2, China’s HJ-1-A/B and ESA’s ERS-2 and Envisat.
These data are being processed into maps that show the degree of destruction. As soon as new data arrives, updated maps will be produced and made available to the international community.
So far, we have this early map showing the location of public buildings and this map evaluating building damage by city block (above).
The New York Times has produced an extremely effective interactive map showing satellite imagery of Port-au-Prince before and after the earthquake in Haiti. The trouble with looking at the GeoEye-1 satellite’s post-earthquake imagery in its raw form is that it isn’t annotated — if we’re unfamiliar with Port-au-Prince (and I suspect most of us aren’t), we don’t know necessarily what we’re looking at. The Times’s map zooms to specific landmarks in the city, and you can switch between pre- and post-earthquake imagery with a slider. (Honestly, I’ve never seen such innovative uses of a slider control outside their online maps.) Thanks to Kathryn Cramer for the link.
Previously: Mapping the Haitian Earthquake.
Pobediteli: Soldiers of the Great War was a Russian Internet project created in 2005 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II (in the former Soviet Union, the Great Patriotic War). It involves an incredible animated and interactive map of the Eastern Front from 1941 to 1945, with popup windows appearing as the timeline progresses that include original documents, audio and transcripts from surviving veterans, and details of key military engagements. Possibly the most over-the-top interactive historical map I have ever seen. Via Kottke; thanks also to Neil Bruder.
Altitude on maps is given using sea level as a baseline. But sea level is not a constant, NASA/JPL oceanographer Josh Willis explains: “Even though it’s sometimes convenient to think of the ocean as a great big bathtub, where turning on the tap at one end raises the water level in the whole tub, real sea level rise doesn’t quite happen that way. To understand why, you first have to realize that ‘sea level’ isn’t really level at all.” The JPL/Cal Tech Sea Level Viewer gives some examples of things that can affect the local sea level: El Niño, tsunamis, and hurricanes. In a global warming context, the sea level has risen an average of nearly two inches since 1993, but it’s a lot higher in some spots than others. Via What on Earth.
This post will be updated as needed.
Google reports that they’re working on getting post-quake imagery from its satellite imagery providers, and will update when that is available.
Google Maps Mania has a roundup of earthquake maps.
David Fawcett writes: “[Y]ou may want to mention the OpenStreetMap effort to provide improved data to support the response.” Here’s the link.
Geotagged photos on Flickr from Port-au-Prince tagged with “earthquake” should turn up on this map.
Rachel Berger compares BART’s new, geometric system map with its wigglier, geographically accurate antecedent, providing the now-familiar (for those of us following the debates on subway system map design) context from other cities’ subway systems. Honestly, I’m not sure the BART system is complicated enough for it to make much difference, and Rachel has, as a result, some mixed feelings about the change, though as a designer she had issues with the old map.
The BART system, with five lines and forty-three stations, is simple. The new map feels inauthentic. Lines have been straightened for straightness’s sake, not to solve design problems. The BART map gained legibility but lost a rare hectic energy. Now that the old map is nearly gone, I realize how wonderful it has been to be confronted by a poetic, painterly map, by a map that makes me uncomfortable.
Via Mark Ovenden.
Previously: BART Maps Go Linear.
Natural Resources Canada has produced a 42×45-inch poster showing the sites for the 2010 Winter Olympics in and around Vancouver. It’s a 1:250,000 topo map with 1:50,000 insets. Interestingly, the base map is in the old topo map format, while the insets are in the new CanTopo map format. The poster is available in JPEG and PDF formats. Via mapperz.
A copy of Matteo Ricci’s Impossible Black Tulip — a rare 1602 Chinese-language map of the world — is now on display at the Library of Congress. It’ll be there until April 10; after that, it will move to its new permanent home at the University of Minnesota’s James Ford Bell Library. News coverage: AP/Star Tribune, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Mark Ovenden notes (with obvious delight) that his book about the Paris Metro, Paris Underground (which I reviewed in November 2009), got a glowing mention on the New Yorker website (much like Strange Maps did in October).
- Buy Paris Underground at Amazon.com
Leszek Pawlowicz imagines a the perfect fieldwork GPS: “I keep getting asked by field professionals what the best handheld GPS is for serious field work. I have to tell them that there isn’t a single model currently available that does everything I’d like to see in such a unit, so they have to make some compromises. … There must be tens of thousands of field workers out there who would be a ready market for a reasonably-priced GPS that met their needs, like geologists, biologists, archaeologists, etc. I’ve put together a list of what I’d like to see in such a unit.”
I’m awfully impressed by the New York Times’s interactive map showing Netflix rental patterns, by neighbourhood, for a dozen U.S. cities. That’s an incredibly complex amount of data to display — especially when you consider that there’s a map for each of the top 100 movies — and could have led to a lot of clutter, but the map uses thumbnails for the cities and a slider (!) for the movie titles, and it works. Now we can see which movies are popular in which neighbourhoods. Via Here Be Dragons, Kottke and The Map Scroll.
It’s still about a hundred times larger than this nanometres-wide map of North America, but the 40-micrometre map of the world produced by the Photonics Research Group of Ghent University-IMEC is almost certainly the smallest map of the world. Above, how it appears in an electron scanning microscope. Via Gizmodo.
Debate about the authenticity of the Vinland Map continues to rage (as subscribers to MapHist will readily attest). A brief summary is now on About.com (via Matt). That summary points to this site on the controversy, which is still under development (and incomplete in a couple of areas).
I’ve been planning to delve into this subject myself. I have copies of Kirsten Seaver’s Maps, Myths, and Men and the Nova documentary on the map, The Viking Deception; with any luck, I’ll be able to report back to you about them soon.
- Buy Maps, Myths, and Men: The Story of the Vinland Map at Amazon.com
- Buy The Viking Deception at Amazon.com
Interesting discussion at Ask MetaFilter: the original question wasn’t phrased this way (or all that well), but essentially it’s whether changes in elevation make any difference in the distance travelled. For example, is a road with a lot of 10 percent grades up and down longer than a perfectly flat road? Basic trigonometry suggests that it is, but in practice, it’s not much more than a rounding error. And besides, the distances indicated on road maps — a point in the original question — would have taken that into account.
I’ve been remiss in covering the other global navigation satellite systems aside from GPS — such as Russia’s GLONASS system, completion of which was delayed by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the European Union’s forthcoming Galileo system, which has faced delays and cost overruns. Regarding the latter, the Telegraph reports that a contract to build 14 satellites in the Galileo constellation has been awarded, with the satellite network scheduled to go live in 2014. By the way, if these systems sound redundant, that’s partly the point: there’s an interest in not being over-reliant on the U.S. GPS system, both for economic and security reasons.
Chris Yates writes: “You covered my old simplified interstate map about 3 years ago, and I wanted to let you know I’ve created a new, revised edition that addresses many of the errors and omissions of the original. Hopefully it is also even more interesting to look at too!” What do you think?
It’s not just Europe: NASA’s Earth Observatory provides the same data mapped to a polar projection of the entire northern hemisphere: “This image illustrates how cold December was compared to the average of temperatures recorded in December between 2000 and 2008. Blue points to colder than average land surface temperatures, while red indicates warmer temperatures.” It all has something to do with something called the Arctic Oscillation. (Before you start making cracks about global warming — i.e., what global warming? — take a good look at Greenland’s temperatures. Things will get very interesting if that ice cap melts.)
Previously: Baby It’s Cold Outside.
A map’s scale can be expressed in several ways: as a ratio (e.g., 1:50,000) or by comparing units (e.g., one inch equals one mile). Converting between the different methods isn’t difficult, but it does take a little math. Free Geography Tools points to a couple of online map scale calculators: this simple tool converts a ratio to other methods; this one offers several different options.
Globetrotter XL is an online geography game with a twist: you’re given the name of a city and challenged to put it on the map, but your score is determined by how close to the target you can get, in kilometres — it isn’t enough, in other words, to get the right country — with bonus points for speed. Even trickier: the city names are given in the original language (e.g., Venezia instead of Venice) and, after a certain level, national borders disappear. Via desjardins.
Treehugger’s 22 Most Amazing Maps Changing How We See the World is a collection of environmental maps they saw and liked over the past year. “The year 2009 brought us some incredible maps, illustrating things like how the earth’s carbon cycle works which then unveiled new understanding about how carbon emissions from one country affect other parts of the planet; or how wilderness is disappearing, which pointed out some surprising conclusions about how little space humans actually inhabit while still impacting massive amounts of the globe.” Via geoparadigm.
The Integrity Logic blog looks at some of the things that can be done with elevation data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM); it gets particularly interesting when the SRTM data picks up artificial structures like skyscrapers and landfills. Via Slashdot (where, being Slashdot, commenters noted the potential for computer gaming).