CNN doesn’t know where Queensland is. Google doesn’t know where the Dutch-German border is. At least no one’s going to get invaded over this. (Right?) Via @xxxriainxxx and @spatialanalysis.
The Irish Times has a review of If Maps Could Speak, a memoir by the former director of the Irish Ordnance Survey, Richard Kirwan, which the Times calls “[f]ascinating, lyrical, [and] affecting in its candour.”
On MapHist, Waldo Tobler (yes, him) announced that his 1972 translation of J. H. Heinrich’s 1772 work, Anmerkungen und Zusätze zur Entwerfung der Land- und Himmelscharten (Notes and Comments on the Composition of Terrestrial and Celestial Maps), is being reprinted in a new edition by Esri Press.
The problem with cartograms is that they can be difficult to interpret: distorting a country to be larger or smaller isn’t helpful if you don’t know the size of the country in the first place, or can’t recognize it when you’re done. None of which applies, however, if you distort a flat map along a third axis — i.e., a three-dimensional cartogram. And if you happen to do it with Lego bricks, well, that just adds an extra veneer of awesome. Via @dvdhns, among others.
A couple of links about map projections to share with you.
Mapping London is a new blog by James Cheshire and Oliver O’Brien, whose work we’ve seen before. Here’s how James announced it on his own blog: “Oliver O’Brien and I have decided to team up to launch the mappinglondon.co.uk blog for people who like to see maps of London without the techie blurb/ code you often see here. This is timely as there are some fantastic London mapping events in the pipeline (stay tuned) that I know will spread the good word about the geography and cartography of this great city.”
Let’s keep some perspective about Facebook’s influence on the democratic uprisings in the Middle East. An interactive map from CNN looks at the comparative penetration rates of Facebook, the Internet, and mobile phones in North Africa and the Middle East. Check out the mobile phone usage rates on the Arabian peninsula. Flash required. Via @geoplace.
With this map, Earth Observatory connects the two major earthquakes to hit Christchurch, New Zealand:
This map shows the earthquakes that occurred near Christchurch since September 3, 2010. On that day a magnitude 7.1 quake struck to the west of Christchurch. Black circles represent earthquakes from September 3, 2010, until February 21, 2011. Red circles show the locations of the magnitude 6.3 quake and aftershocks on February 22 and the morning of February 23. Larger circles represent stronger earthquakes. Yellow shows urban areas, including Christchurch.
The Washington Square News, NYU’s student paper, reports on efforts to improve navigation guides for tourists in New York’s Little Italy and Chinatown, who apparently are getting themselves lost with current guides. Apparently many kiosk maps are “upside down” — which I think means that “up” points away from the direction the person reading the map is facing.
Putting Bath on the Map, an exhibition of maps from a private collection that show Bath, England from the 17th century to the present. “Collectively these maps tell the story of the city’s evolution from the medieval city to the Georgian spa and beyond. The maps also reveal the development of map making as both an art and a science.” The exhibition opened last Saturday and runs until November 28, 2011, at the Building of Bath Collection, Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel, in Bath. Via @jpmaps.
An eerily beautiful MODIS image of “cloud streets” across New England and the Maritimes from January 24, 2011. For another pretty image of winter from space, see this view of snow on the Korean peninsula.
Previously: The Snowpocalypse from Space.
Oliver O’Brien reviews OpenStreetMap: Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World by Frederik Ramm, Jochen Topf and Steve Chilton. “The book succeeds in simultaneously being OpenStreetMap for Dummies, OpenStreetMap: The Missing Manual and the O’Reilly OpenStreetMap book — that is to say, complete beginners, intermediate users and enthusiasts/hackers will all get something out of the book. If you are at all interested in the OpenStreetMap project, even if you don’t intend to contribute to the project but are just curious about what it is or what you can do with it, then I recommend this book. It’s as near-perfect as any book can be about one of the web’s, and the geospatial community’s, most exciting projects.” Via @steev8.
Previously: OpenStreetMap Manual Reviewed.
The news earlier this month that MapQuest had added Canada (among other countries) to its suite of Open MapQuest sites — was something I’d been dreading for some time. I’ve been making contributions to OpenStreetMap’s Canadian maps for a year, adding my own GPS traces here in western Quebec as well as New Brunswick, and tracing imagery in at least five provinces (especially Manitoba, where I grew up), and I can tell you: Canada’s OSM maps are just not ready for prime time.
The basic problem, as I see it, is that there are too few volunteers trying to cover too much territory. As a result, I’ve noticed several critical issues with the state of Canadian map tiles and how they’re being edited.
NASA Earth Observatory has a map showing the record melt of Greenland’s ice cap in 2010, during which the melt started earlier and lasted longer than usual. “This image was assembled from microwave data from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) of the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program. Snow and ice emit microwaves, but the signal is different for wet, melting snow than for dry. Marco Tedesco, a professor at the City College of New York, uses this difference to chart the number of days that snow is melting every year. This image above shows 2010 compared to the average number of melt days per year between 1979 and 2009.”
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo: “With the battle going on in Wisconsin, we wanted to ask: How many states have collective bargaining with public employees’ unions? How many forbid it? Check out our map. It’s pretty revealing.”
During a space weather event, sat nav users may experience a loss of satellite signal or errors in position. During the last big solar storm in October 2003 position shifts of greater than 10cm horizontal and up to 26cm vertical were recorded in higher latitude northern Europe - not such a big deal for drivers, but that it makes map making a lot more difficult!
So don’t panic about your in-dash GPS — it’ll get you just as lost as it always has.
The National Broadband Map, launched yesterday, “is a searchable and interactive website that allows users to view broadband availability across every neighborhood in the United States.” Not surprisingly, the $200-million project, with 25 million searchable records, shows a clear divide between urban and rural connectivity. More at Engadget, Flowing Data and the New York Times.
A whole cloth quilt based on a map of the New York subway system. Karyn’s used a diagrammatic map that confused me for a moment: since the map comes from the New York City Transit Authority, it dates from between 1953 and 1968 (pre-Vignelli, in other words), but diagrams of that sort were produced by Salomon in the 1950s, and Goldstein and D’Adamo in the 1960s, according to Mark Ovenden’s Transit Maps of the World. Via Rebecca Blood.
The Ordnance Survey Blog has the first of a three-part series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the OS’s cartography team. The team, says the blog, is “responsible for deriving and maintaining cartographic databases, and providing the finished data for Ordnance Survey national series paper and data products. They do this through the manipulation and enhancement of our core databases. But as well as this ‘core’ work, they work on lots of other projects from specialist maps to innovative work on the effects of colour vision deficiency on mapping.”
Marleen’s Maps and the City: a new map blog that might be worth keeping an eye on.
An exhibition called Harry Beck and the London Tube Map, which is “based on a local private collection and traces the development of the London Underground map from the 19th Century to the present day,” is running at the Church Farmhouse Museum in Hendon, London, until March 27, 2011. Free admission. News coverage. Via MapHist.
A couple of recent announcements from MapQuest: walking and transit directions for the desktop/web version (playing catchup here — Google added walking directions in 2008, Bing in 2010 — but playing catchup is better than not playing at all) and a new, free Android app.
Update: Also another catchup feature: alternate routes — the ability to choose from several options when getting directions.
In Maps & Legends is a digital comic book series about a fantasy mapmaker who finds herself drawn into a mysterious world she’s been mapping.
Kaitlin is a newly single freelance artist who is stuck in the rut of the well-paying, for-hire covers and maps she creates for fat fantasy novels.
But at night, driven by some strange compulsion, Kait has been working long hours on an intricate, mixed-media map of a place she’s never been, a map that covers all four walls of the window-less spare room she keeps locked next to her tiny bedroom. She’s not sure where the inspiration for the map comes from, but she can’t seem to help herself.
One cold night, Kait is visited by a disheveled man named Bartamus who claims to be from another world. He needs her to finish a map of his dying world so he can use his skills to save it.
The comic is available through a number of venues, including e-book readers, Graphic.ly, and Comixology. Four of ten issues have been published so far, with a new issue coming out every six weeks. Each issue costs 99¢. The first four issues are also available as a combo e-book for the Kindle and the Nook for $2.99.
I read the combo e-book on the Kindle app for the iPad, which is a less effective interface than the Comixology app (which has a free eight-page preview). The art is full-colour on the iPad, and is rotated 90 degrees: enable your screen lock, rotate your iPad and, counterintuitively, scroll up.
The artwork by Niki Smith is, as you can see above, beautifully done, with steampunky bits and lasers contrasting with map-influenced earth tones. The story, written by Michael Jasper, makes full use of what Jo Walton calls “incluing” — things are revealed in bits and pieces rather than in a giant infodump (as in the description I quoted above). It’s an effective literary device, but it does mean that it is not immediately clear what is going on, particularly when, as in a comic book, description is purely visual: we’re shown, not told, unless it’s spoken or thought. The fact that it’s a serial is a little frustrating: it’s hard to stop at issue four, and wait six weeks for each new installment, when things are still so mysterious — I want the rest of the story now, which I think is a good sign: it’s tense and it’s gripping. Definitely worth a look.
- Buy In Maps & Legends #1-4 (Kindle) at Amazon.com
The Mapping of California as an Island: An Illustrated Checklist, by Glen McLaughlin with Nancy Mayo, is a cartobibliography that catalogues all known maps that depicted California as an island — 249 in all, along with title pages, frontispieces, and celestial charts. Published in 1995 by the California Map Society, it’s been scanned and put online by Stanford University. The scans are in JPEG format and as such the text is not searchable, but the book is lavishly illustrated (though not in colour). Via MapHist and MAPS-L.
In response to the Houston Press’s map of the United States of Beer, which was found wanting in terms of the choices of beer for some states, GOOD has produced a map of the United States of GOOD Beer (pun almost certainly intended), based on reader suggestions. Via many sources, including @NYPLmaps.
Researchers from the University of Sheffield geography department have created maps showing the pattern and rate of retreat of the British ice sheet during the last Ice Age. From the press release:
The unique maps record the pattern and speed of shrinkage of the large ice sheet that covered the British Isles during the last Ice Age, approximately 20,000 years ago. The sheet, which subsumed most of Britain, Ireland and the North Sea, had an ice volume sufficient to raise global sea level by around 2.5 metres when it melted.
Using the maps, researchers will be able to understand the mechanisms and rate of change of ice sheet retreat, allowing them to make predictions for our polar regions, whose ice sheets appear to be melting as a result of temperature increases in the air and oceans.
The maps are based on new information on glacial landforms, such as moraines and drumlins, which were discovered using new technology such as remote sensing data that is able to image the land surface and seafloor at unprecedented resolutions. Experts combined this new information with that from fieldwork, some of it dating back to the nineteenth century, to produce the final maps of retreat.
The short version: comments are back. They’re powered by Disqus, and you can log in with one of several accounts (e.g., a Facebook, OpenID, Twitter or Yahoo account).
The long version would have involved an extended whinge on the complexity of getting comments working in Movable Type, how hard the server has been hit by the commenting engine of previous versions of Movable Type, an explanation of why I haven’t abandoned Movable Type for WordPress, my adventures in not getting comments, plugins and third-party extensions to work in this new Movable Type Pro install, still another justification for staying with Movable Type, and my adventures with comment spam.
But basically I wanted a pushbutton-simple commenting option that did not hammer my server, and Disqus seems to fit that bill quite nicely. We’ll have to see how it works in practice.
I was wondering what had happened to Casio’s digital camera with built-in GPS, which had been announced last year at CES and was scheduled to be released last fall (see previous entry). Turns out that in the interim it had been renumbered the Exilim EX-H20G, which stymied my search. Anyway, it’s out, and Engadget had a review last December. Their conclusion:
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another point-and-shoot on the market with a feature set like this one, particularly when you consider the impeccable Hybrid GPS system. It’s not the smallest nor the cheapest pocket cam on the market, but if you’ve been yearning for a geotagging compact with 720p video, above-average image quality and a 10x zoom, it could definitely be $350 well spent. Sure, we wish the inbuilt mapping system was a bit more robust (and interactive, while we’re on the subject), but given that each and every shot/video we grabbed integrated perfectly with iPhoto and Picasa with regard to location, we can’t kvetch too loudly.
Links to a number of GPS reviews have been piling up in my files over the past few months, and mentioning them here is long overdue. During that time, GPS Tracklog has had reviews of the Garmin nüvi 2350LMT and TomTom GO 2505TM automotive GPS receivers, as well as the Magellan eXplorist 710 outdoor receiver. GPS Review, meanwhile, reviewed the Garmin nüLink! 1695, a “connected” receiver. A review of the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w appeared on the Adirondack High Peaks Forum (via @DeLormeGPS). And finally, Garmin’s Forerunner 210 watch got a review from DC Rainmaker (via @gpstracklog).
Briefly, a pocket map is a separately issued, folded map with a cover; they are sometimes also called case maps. Pocket maps have a long history in European cartography associated with traveling or military use. In the United States, retail pocket maps appeared on the market in the 1820s from makers like H. S. Tanner and S. A. Mitchell; and they became associated primarily with rail travel which started at about the same time. …
The maps shown here date from circa 1825 to 1925, when automobile road maps became common. All are from American publishers and of Pennsylvania and the surrounding region; many illustrate rough usage. A couple are also shown elsewhere on this website. The image size is given, sheet sizes are only slightly larger for pocket maps. The coverage is divided into three periods, circa 1825 to 1874, 1875 to 1899, 1900 to 1925.
Previously: Old Road Atlases of Pennsylvania.
Erin Eby writes, “Like you, I love maps but found that many of them look old and outdated. I’m an Art Director by trade, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own.” She’s got a few up on her Etsy store (where she’s selling them as prints), including The United State of Everywhere (above), a poster of all the countries in the world in alphabetical order, and this minimalist world map.
A map from The Economist charts the growth in global obesity between 1980 and 2008. It’s based on a study published in the Lancet: more detailed and granular data (and maps) are here. Says The Economist: “Polynesia aside, obesity was a rich-world phenomenon in 1980. By 2008 the rich world had itself expanded, bringing obesity to groups within countries that were previously considered poor, such as Brazil and South Africa.” Very few countries have bucked this trend: the Democratic Republic of Congo and, puzzlingly, India. Flash required. Via The Daily Dish.
A series of “map movies” from the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council provide cute animations of public transport and exercise-based travel. “The Council has produced several map movies which show bus, cycling and walking routes around the borough,” says the website. “The movies were made to help promote sustainable travel.” (Rotherham is in South Yorkshire, England.) Flash required. Via @beyondmaps.
Links to typographic maps of one sort or another — and it turns out that there is more than one sort — continue to come out of the woodwork, in numbers sufficient to warrant their own category. The latest comes from Janne Aukia, who writes with links to two word maps of the world he made a couple of years ago. Each is a map of the world made up of phrases describing cities, with colours and font sizes matching population size. One is “a map with Google search matches that are of the format ‘is * for its,’ such as ‘Helsinki is * for its’” (above); the other is of adjectives describing cities on Wikitravel. Janne describes the maps on his blog, here and here (in Finnish, but Google Translate isn’t bad).
The San Diego Union-Tribune covers this week’s opening of the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla, California, which displays the private map collection — about 500 items — of Mike Stone. The museum is open by appointment until regular visitor hours are established in around a month; admission is free.
A couple of compact digital cameras with built-in GPS have been announced at the CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show in Japan this week: Canon’s PowerShot SX230 HS ($350) and Pentax’s Optio WG-1 GPS (pictured; also in black), which at $400 is a $50 premium over its non-GPS cousin. Both to be available next month. News coverage: Digital Photography Review (Canon, Pentax), Photography Blog (Canon, Pentax).
I don’t think either Canon or Pentax has released a camera with built-in GPS before, but a Canon representative was predicting built-in GPS within two years only — um — two years ago. Since then, however, Casio, Nikon, Leica, Panasonic and Sony have all released cameras with built-in GPS.
Via many sources, this harrowing Sacromento Bee article about the dangers of relying on GPS navigation in Death Valley. It’s already cost some tourists — already woefully unprepared for the conditions — their lives.
Increasingly, park rangers say tourists are being led into danger by technology, especially satellite-based GPS units designed to guide them to unfamiliar destinations along a network of roads in a navigation database.
In Death Valley, many roads shown on some GPS systems are no longer passable. Some have been officially closed. Others are simply too rough for most vehicles and pose serious danger.
“People are so reliant on their GPS that they fail to look out the windshield and make wise decisions based on what they’re seeing,” said Alley.
This is a bit more serious than the usual story about following GPS directions.
The typographic maps keep coming. Andy Proehl writes to share a link to a set of typographic maps he’s been working on in his off hours. “I have a bunch more in mind and am working towards a complete series,” he says. At right: maps of the Mississippi and Nile rivers.
Last week, the British government launched an online crime map that offered street-level crime statistics. The website promptly crashed from the onslaught of visitors, which hit 18 million per hour at one point. News coverage: BBC News, The Guardian; The Independent.
Critiques of the map from Kenneth Field and Alex Singleton: privacy laws don’t allow the map to provide precise locations, but the map provides the data at pinpoints, which is misleading in that instead of being approximate, it implies that the crime from one location is actually taking place at another.
Previously: Concerns About Planned British Crime Maps.
Interesting animation from NASA showing three elements of the water cycle on a global scale. “The three animations of atmospheric phenomena were created using data from the GEOS-5 atmospheric model on the cubed-sphere, run at 14-km global resolution for 25-days. Variables animated here include hourly evaporation, water vapor and precipitation.” (Flash required.)
On the Making Maps blog, John Krygier adds to the increasing volume of posts on typographic maps, but also has a few things to say about map typography — i.e., how text is used on maps — including some excerpts from the forthcoming second edition of Making Maps (see previous entry).
This preposterously detailed map of New York’s Central Park took two years to survey and includes every trail, building, monument, recreational area and waterway in the park. It also includes every single tree — all 19,630 of them. (See the story behind the map and videos about the map.) The map is available as a 59×17-inch poster for $35. Via Kottke.
The 1699 map of North America by John Thornton that sold for something like £200,000 at auction last month is back on the market: the buyer, Daniel Crouch, is bringing the map to the Miami International Map Fair this weekend, where he hopes to sell it for more than twice that price. Via MapHist.
(The Winnipeg-based Hudson’s Bay Company Archives tried to acquire the map at auction, but was outbid. Fun fact: I worked there as a summer student in 1996, under the supervision of the manager quoted in that article. Small world.)
Daniel Huffman, author of the Cartastrophe blog about bad map design and — more recently — the map of profanity on Twitter, not only has a new blog called somethingaboutmaps, but his most recent mapping project is a series of maps of river systems done in the style of diagrammatic transit maps — for example, the map of the Mississippi River system, above. Via @axismaps, @beyondmaps and Cartogrammar.
The New York Times’s interactive map tracks each day of the protests in Cairo. Esri’s Egypt Events Map “pulls in social media related to the protests that have occurred in Egypt since January 25, 2011” — which is to say, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. Via @geoparadigm and @geoplace.
On paper, the idea of National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps seems almost ludicrous. These are truly giant maps — 26 feet by 33 to 35 feet (8m by 10-10.7 m) — that ship folded and rolled in tubes 10 to 12 feet (3-3.7 m) long that weigh around 145 pounds (66 kg). There are maps of North America, South America, Africa and Asia, with the Pacific Ocean coming later in 2011, but you can’t buy one. There are only 10 maps in existence. You can, however, rent one: National Geographic loans them out to schools and other facilities. They won’t fit in a classroom, but have to be unfolded and unrolled in a gymnasium or something similarly large. The maps are made of vinyl: they’re meant to be walked on, but wearing socks, not shoes. It costs schools $480 to rent one for two weeks; for others it costs $700. Because what could be better than a ginormous map, than a portable ginormous map that you can have delivered?
(I have no idea why I didn’t follow up on the Contours blog post about it from October 2008. I mean I flagged it in my RSS reader … )
Inspired by Paul Butler’s Facebook visualization, Olivier Beauchesne has constructed something similar based on a database of scientific collaboration: “From this data, I extracted and aggregated scientific collaboration between cities all over the world. For example, if a UCLA researcher published a paper with a colleague at the University of Tokyo, this would create an instance of collaboration between Los Angeles and Tokyo.” The result is this map of scientific collaboration between researchers. See also FlowingData. Via @spatialanalysis and @geoplace.
NASA’s Earth Observatory has more views of this weather system, including this animation of the storm over the past three days and a look at the midwestern U.S. after the storm had passed.
An update on the story of the copy of Abel Buell’s 1784 map of North America that was auctioned off by the New Jersey Historical Society — to no small amount of controversy — last December. The map was sold to a private collector, David Rubenstein, who is now loaning the map to the Library of Congress for display. (According to Rubenstein’s Wikipedia entry, this is not the first time he’s done this sort of thing.) Thanks to Reid Hardman for the link.
Update: More from the Washington Post — part of Rubenstein’s agreement with the Library is that they’re to put the map on display for at least five years.
The Map Room has a new address: it’s now at maproomblog.com. I figured that after nearly eight years and four thousand entries, this little blog has earned itself the right to its own domain name.
All links to old addresses should automatically forward to the new URLs. Those of you reading via RSS have probably already gotten double posts of the last 30 entries: sorry about that, but it’s probably only a one-time thing.
I’ve also upgraded the blogging engine to Movable Type Pro 5. A lot of the benefits of doing so turned out to be impractical in this case, such as paged archives and tags, and it seems to take a lot longer to publish than the creaky old install of Movable Type 3.21 I’ve been using for so long, but I suspect that it’s better overall to be using the most recent version. And there are certain technical benefits for me to use Movable Type instead of, say, WordPress.
One benefit I had been looking forward to was being able to use more authentication methods for comments, but so far I haven’t been able to get the comments form to load on my individual entry pages. Probably beyond my limited technical expertise. So for now I’ve turned comments off. This has not been a heavily commented-on blog — I’ve gotten maybe one comment for every three blog entries — but that might have been a function of using a single obsolete authentication service that failed to work when many of you tried it. I’m not averse to getting comments up and running in the future, but in the meantime I’m going to try running without them for a while. (To be honest, I’d rather worry about posting new entries than about managing comments.)
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. By all means send me a note if you feel a need to comment on an entry — I’ll update the entry or write a follow-up post as appropriate. Or write a reply on your own blog and send me the link. Or send me a comment via Twitter.
There are probably a few bugs on the site here and there, which I’ll have to clean up in the next few days. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you find one.