Maps and drawings are created by hand in an aluminum foil sheet. The metal is embossed with a variety of tools to produce raised lines and areas of varying height, texture and width. The maps are labelled with key letters that are identified on the pages preceding each map. The master drawing is duplicated by the Thermoform process to make clear, sharp copies. The 11×11½-inch plastic sheets are bound into volumes with cardboard covers and spiral plastic binders.
Opening this Saturday, 25 June at the Art Institute of Chicago and running until 6 November, Unique Perspectives: Japanese Maps from the 18th and 19th Centuries “showcases the beauty of Japanese printmaking. The 18th- and 19th-century maps on view feature the world, the Japanese archipelago, and the country’s major cities, including Osaka, Yokohama, Edo, Nagasaki, and Kyoto. Highlights include works from trustee Barry MacLean’s comprehensive collection.” [WMS]
Fast Company profiles Google’s geospatial technologist Ed Parsons, whose name should be familiar to longtime Map Room readers. (I first encountered his work when he was still at the Ordnance Survey; he joined Google in 2007.) In some way the profile uses Ed to understand Google’s mapping ambitions, which Ed discusses at length. Understanding the corporate via the personal, as it were. (Parsons was also the subject of a similar profile in The Independent in 2014.) [Owen Boswarva]
“Seven New Maps of the World,” a presentation by Benjamin Hennig (Views of the World) and Danny Dorling (People and Places), both renowned cartogrammers, will take place on the opening weekend of the Oxfordshire Science Festival Sunday, 26 June 2016 at 1 PM, at the Story Museum, Pembroke Street, Oxford. Tickets £5. [Benjamin Hennig]
Update, 20 June: And here are the seven maps in question.
Moris Büsing’s interactive map chronicles the deaths of migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe over the past 15 years—more than 32,000 deaths in all. [Boing Boing]
The Library of Congress’s map blog, Worlds Revealed, has begun a series of posts about imaginary maps. “We’ll be exploring all of these types of maps and imaginary worlds this summer. Come revisit the Hundred Acre Wood and the other worlds of your favorite children’s stories, spend some time in medieval Europe, and run from White Walkers in Game of Thrones.” So far we have an introduction and a look at maps from the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, with Tolkien’s map of Middle-earth next on the schedule. [WMS]
Victor van Werkhooven’s cartographical pet peeve: historical maps of Europe that include Flevoland, which didn’t even exist until the 20th century. (Polders. Dikes. Land reclamation. You get the idea.) It’s not often that the physical shape of the world—the coasts, the shorelines—has to be taken into account when creating a historical map, but this is one such case. [Mapfail]
In “Cartographic ethics: Oceania, the truncated continent,” Dietmar Offenhuber complains about world maps of climate change that obscure the region of the world most affected by it: Oceania. It’s an important point both in specific and in general, as he goes on to say:
Oceania is mostly an invisible continent: its islands, islets, and atolls being too small to be printed on most world maps. On the outer fringes of most world maps, its territories are cropped or covered by a legend. With of our example, the world ends just after New Zealand, and the legend covers eastern parts of French Polynesia.
The thoughtless use of Mercator projections in world maps is generally frowned upon, but truncating the lobes of projections such as Mollweide and Robinson is just as bad. But even without such mistakes, all political maps struggle with a conflict of intent: on the one hand, accurate representation of territory, on the other hand, the appropriate representation of populations.
To get a better picture of Oceania, I made a simple map of all named islands and atolls, described in the remainder of this post.
(See map above.) [Boing Boing]
Every so often I think about creating directories of map societies or a calendar of upcoming events. That way lies madness, especially since I’d be reinventing the wheel. John Docktor already maintains calendars of exhibitions and meetings and events; sure, I’d like them to be machine-readable (i.e., have the ability to add events to your phone’s calendar), but he’s the one doing the work, so I’ll shut up now. As for map societies, Tony Campbell lists the international societies, while James Speed Hensinger maintains indexes of the local map societies.
There may be other resources out there along these lines; let me know about them and I’ll post them.
Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth, recently purchased by Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, is being put on display—but only for one day. Mark your calendars: Thursday, 23 June 2016, from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Weston Library. [Tony Campbell]
(The only other instance of a single-day map exhibition I can think of was when the Austrian National Library put the infinitely more delicate and valuable Tabula Peutingeriana on display for a single day in 2007.)
A new online atlas of artificial sky brightness is now available, based on updated light pollution data published last week. (There’s also a 3D globe version that may not work in all browsers.) Light pollution, as I’ve blogged before, is the bane of professional and amateur astronomers alike, obscuring fainter objects and interfering with observations, both naked-eye and through telescopes. As the article in Science Advances puts it, “This atlas shows that more than 80% of the world and more than 99% of the U.S. and European populations live under light-polluted skies. The Milky Way is hidden from more than one-third of humanity, including 60% of Europeans and nearly 80% of North Americans.” [Rumsey Map Center]