May 2011

An iOS Roundup

I’ve done a lousy job trying to keep up with all the map- and navigation-related stuff coming out for the iOS platform (i.e., iPhone, iPad, iPod touch). There’s just too much out there. (Someone could do a whole blog about it.) But here are a couple of recent items.

GPS Tracklog notes the Bad Elf GPS, which attaches to iOS devices that lack onboard GPS.

(If I recall correctly, the iPad supports GPS via Bluetooth: you can, for example, tether a WiFi-only iPad to an iPhone and use the iPhone’s GPS.)

Meanwhile, The Unofficial Apple Weblog’s Erica Sadun offers reviews of Navigon’s and TomTom’s navigation apps for the iPhone, both of which sound, well, less than perfect. Despite Navigon’s navigation “oddities,” she prefers their app to TomTom’s because of the latter app’s “weak interface.”

India Censors The Economist’s Kashmir Map

Copies of the latest issue of The Economist distributed in India have been censored: a map showing the disputed status of Kashmir has been covered over by a white sticker in some 30,000 copies, BBC News reports. I knew the Indian authorities were touchy about this subject, but I wasn’t aware that they would go as far as this — I thought they usually stamped them super bad map or something. Via Collins Maps.

Previously: India’s Mapping Panic Continues; The Survey of India Isn’t Helping; India Stamps Publications’ “Incorrect” Maps at the Border; Maps Must Be Cleared by the Survey of India; Google Earth, India and Security — Again.

A Question on Low-Cost Map Restoration

Jonathan Longobardi writes:

I recently came upon an 1776 map of New York Island that came from an atlas that accompanied the first edition of John Marshall’s The Life of George Washington published in 1807. It is truly a beautiful map and I would love to have it framed and hanging on my wall someday. So here’s the thing, I know nothing about maps. I liked it so I bought it ($35 can’t go wrong, right?). It definitely is in need of repair as it has yellowed over the years. I live in Manhattan but am of modest means, to say the least. Do you know of anyone who might be interested in either restoring the map gratis (I know, I know, but I have to ask) or at a relatively low cost? I’m trying to save money for my wedding next summer so funds aren’t exactly plentiful.

I don’t think free map restoration is likely for a map in a private collection, but I thought it would be worth sharing his question to see what the options are for this sort of thing.

Garmin Announces Montana Series

Garmin Montana 650

Garmin has announced the Montana series of GPS receivers, which seems to be an attempt to make an all-round, all-in one, GPS unit — i.e., it can be used on the trail as much as it can be used in the car.

Garmin’s previous attempt at a dual-use GPS, the nüvi 500 series, was a dashboard unit that doubled as a handheld; the Montana, on the other hand, is a handheld unit that comes with turn-by-turn directions. It resembles the Oregon, in that it’s a ruggedized touchscreen device, but is larger and heavier, with a four-inch, 272×480 pixel screen (the Oregon has a three-inch, 240×400-pixel screen).

The 600 is the base unit, the 650 adds a five-megapixel camera, and the 650t also adds preloaded topo maps. Available reasonably soon; MSRP ranges from $550 to $700 — which is to say, pricey. I can’t help but think that separate dashboard and handheld units might be a better option in most cases.

Read Rich Owings’s post on GPS Tracklog.

PostGIS in Action in Print, Reviewed

Book cover: PostGIS in Action I’ve been hearing about PostGIS in Action for a couple of years now, so I’m surprised that it only came out (in print form, at least) last month. Richard Marsden reviews it on Geoweb Guru: “This is the first book to be published that covers PostGIS in depth, and as such should be a welcome addition to most open source geospatial bookshelves.”

Previously: PostGIS in Action Reviewed.

Ordnance Survey Announces Colour-Blind Map Style

Ordnance Survey regular (left) and colour-blind (right) colour templates

The Ordnance Survey Blog has announced a colour scheme that accomodates people with colour vision deficiency (CVD) — i.e., colour-blindness. “Rather than creating separate colour schemes for those with various forms of CVD and those without, we were working on a colour palette that would work for everyone. Well a year later and we think we’ve cracked it and are now close to releasing a colour scheme for use with OS VectorMap Local, our customisable digital mapping product.” Above left, their regular scheme; above right, the new CVD-friendly scheme.

Previously: Ordnance Survey Announces Colour-Blind Mapping.

Comparing Canadian Federal Election Results

Michael Gregotski writes, “On one of your posts you asked if anyone else had any maps from the [Canadian] election. Here’s an application I put together that compares the 2011, 2008 and 2004 results (I skipped the 2006 election becasue the results from 2004 to 2008 were more dramatic). Just click Scale and Location in the lower part of the screen to synchronize the maps. The Identify tool in the lower right will get you more information about the results from the ridings.”

Previously: Mapping the 2011 Canadian Federal Election Results; Twelve Maps of the 2011 Canadian Federal Election Results.

Southeast U.S. Tornado Tracks

An ASTER visible-IR image of tornado damage near Tuscaloosa, AL

It’s amazing how clear the damage from tornadoes appears in satellite imagery. Above, an ASTER visible-infrared image of a tornado’s path near Tuscaloosa, Alabama: “In the picture, captured just days after the storm, pink represents vegetation and aqua is the absence of vegetation. The tornado ripped up everything in its path, scouring the Earth’s surface with its terrible force. The ‘tearing up’ of vegetation makes the tornado’s track stand out as a wide swath of aqua.” NASA’s Earth Observatory also has a set of satellite photos of the tornado tracks.

Previously: Southeast U.S. Tornado Maps and Images.

Twelve Maps of the 2011 Canadian Federal Election Results

vidioman: Canadian Federal Election 2011

A user on SkyscraperPage Forum has produced a dozen maps of the results of the 2011 Canadian federal election, including maps showing each party’s popular vote by riding and maps that show what the results would have looked like if we had runoff voting or if the Liberals and NDP merged. Via Andrew Coyne.

Previously: Mapping the 2011 Canadian Federal Election Results.

Mercator Revisited

A conference taking place next spring in Belgium: Mercator Revisited: Cartography in the Age of Discovery runs from April 25 to 28, 2012, in Sint-Niklass, to mark Mercator’s 500th birthday. “The conference focuses on the place of cartography in general and of Mercator in specific in the 16th century. … This Age of Discovery presented mapmakers with both unprecedented opportunity and scientific obligation to collect, record and categorise the world ‘as it was’. At the same time, the greatest mapmakers of the era were also scientists, craftsmen and humanists influenced by international politics, science and philosophy. Their maps not only reflect the factual discoveries of the time but also the environments within which the maps were produced.” Via MapHist and @jpmaps.

The Map Reader

Book cover: The Map Reader Martin Dodge writes to let us know about The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation, a collection of essays he co-edited with Rob Kitchin and Chris Perkins. “The volume excerpts over 50 key pieces of scholarly writing on cartographic representation and mapping practice from the last few decades, along with five new interpretative essays,” he writes. The publisher’s page has a couple of downloadable excerpts in PDF.

Ken Jennings’s Map Book Is Coming in September

We knew that Jeopardy force of nature Ken Jennings was working on a book about maps; now we know that the book, entitled Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks, will be coming in September. Publishers Weekly has an interview with Jennings. US Airways magazine has an excerpt. Via All Points Blog.

Previously: Ken Jennings Is Writing a Map Book.

The New York Times’s Natural Disaster Map

New York Times: Where to Live to Avoid a Natural Disaster

At the end of last month, the New York Times published a map called Where to Live to Avoid a Natural Disaster, measuring the risk to 379 U.S. metro areas from hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. Matt Rosenberg doesn’t like this map: “This map is irresponsible as it gives a false sense of security to those who live in extremely hazardous cities and overstates the hazard in tornado-prone regions. Perhaps the map is simply a reflection of recent disasters in the news. Regardless, no city west of the Rocky Mountains should be listed as low risk as the entire Western United States is seismically active. They definitely could have done better.”

Cartography from the Age of Exploration

Cartography from the Age of Exploration is an exhibition now running at the University of Florida’s Grinter Gallery until August 20. “This exhibition celebrates the 80th Anniversary of the University of Florida Center for Latin American Studies with a collection of maps dating to the 16th and 17th centuries from collector and UF alumnus Steven Keats. Keats’ collection primarily focuses on cartography of the Americas and the Caribbean by European explorers.”

What Do You Call Proposed Streets on Maps?

Whelden Merritt has a question:

I am searching for a term or a name for fraudulent entries on maps and I don’t mean map traps as attempts to protect copyright.
What I mean is proposed streets and subdivisions that seem to be suggested by developers and entered into maps by officials of local planning departments.
By some strange process these proposals find their way into Google satellite images as translucent lines with names on them.
There are two such streets converging at right angles on our house as though a bulldozer could appear at any minute.
A few hundred yards away, some developer actually sold a plat out in the woods, but the official county planning website shows, on the one hand, the plat and the proposed street while, on the other hand, declares that there are no development activities at the site.
Do you know if such fictitious streets and subdivisions have a name?

I don’t know the answer (or maybe I’m overthinking it). Anyone?

Railway Maps of the World Now Available

Book cover: Railway Maps of the World Mark Ovenden reports that his new book, Railway Maps of the World, is now available; there’s an interview with him about the book on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog.

Previously: Railway Maps of the World.

Update, May 7: A brief article about the book, plus images, in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Update, May 9: BBC News has a short video about the book, narrated by Mark.

Update, May 11: Chicago Tribune review.

Mapping the 2011 Canadian Federal Election Results

A small version of Elections Canada's map of the 2011 preliminary results

Elections Canada, the agency that runs federal elections in this country, has posted its usual large PDF map of the preliminary results of Monday’s election. As always, maps of past elections are also available. (Previously: Elections Canada’s Big Elections Results Map.) Via Richard.

Less official but more interactive, CBC News’s election results page has pretty good maps, I think. Any others?

A more humorous map of the results. Via Andrew Coyne.

The Geospatial Revolution Project, Episode Four

Geospatial Revolution Project logo

The fourth and final episode of the Geospatial Revolution Project is now live; it covers the use of geospatial technology to study and deal with climate change, drought, famine and disease, looks at the Map Kibera project as an example of cartography from the ground up, and wraps things up generally.

Previously: The Geospatial Revolution Project; The Geospatial Revolution Project, Episode Two; The Geospatial Revolution Project, Episode Three.

Osama Bin Laden’s Compound

Using Google Earth or Google Maps to spot the compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan in which Osama Bin Laden was hiding (until, um, yesterday) is, it turns out, a bit problematic, since the compound is more recent than the available satellite imagery: Google Earth Blog, Google Maps Mania and (especially) Ogle Earth explore the question.

Update, 6 PM:

Defense department maps and imagery of the Bin Laden compound has been released; see galleries here and here, among others. See also the New York Times’s interactive map. And then there’s this recent satellite image of Abbottabad from Digital Globe [edit: since removed] which Ogle Earth’s Stefan Geens has made into a Google Earth overlay.

And finally, a high resolution image of Abbottabad from GeoEye.

16th-Century Maps vs. 21st-Century Satellite Images

On The Atlantic’s website, a slideshow comparing modern-day satellite images of cities with city maps from the 1572 Civitates Orbis Terrarum by Braun and Hogenberg. It’s not as effective as you might think: the atlas plates haven’t been georeferenced (some of them are bird’s-eye illustrations rather than top-down maps), so the images aren’t aligned. Via GIS Lounge.