Boris Johnson is Britain’s new foreign secretary. The Independent’s indy100 news site has put together a map of all the countries BoJo has offended. It’s interactive: at the link, hover over the country to get the oh-god-what-did-he-say-and-did-he-really-use-that-word story.
Related: a map of countries with a buffoon for a foreign secretary.
Earlier this month Voice of America had a short, introductory piece on Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 map of the world. Because it’s the first time the word “America” appears on a map, it’s become known as “America’s birth certificate.” It’s for that reason that the Library of Congress spent $10 million to acquire the last known copy of the map. The story of the map, however, is much more interesting than that: it’s an amalgam of classical knowledge with more recent discoveries, a curious document that tries to bridge two different ways of thinking about the world. [WMS]
Several books about the map have been published. I haven’t yet seen The Naming of America: Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 World Map and the Cosmographiae Introductio by John W. Hessler (Giles, 2008) or Putting “America” on the Map by Seymour I. Schwartz (Prometheus, 2007), but I have read and reviewed The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester (Free Press, 2009), which wraps the map in considerable historical context (buy the book at Amazon or iBooks).
Previously: Digital Preservation and Waldseemüller’s 1507 Map; Review: The Fourth Part of the World.
BBC News: “A dress made from silk maps given to RAF soldiers in WW2 to help them find a route out of enemy territory has been sold for an undisclosed sum. The dress, made from ‘escape and evade’ maps, is thought to be from 1945-50.” [NYMS]
Here’s another, more in-depth look at Null Island, a point at the intersection of the equator and prime meridian that shows up in the event of a geocoding error, this time from the Wall Street Journal’s Robert Lee Hotz. [WMS]
Previously: Null Island.
New World Cartography, a South Carolina firm that produces maps that are produced with a computer but coloured by hand, gets a brief profile in Garden and Gun magazine.
On Canada Day, Nick Ross drew a map of Canada to help Americans out:
On the Fourth of July, Nick Ross drew a map of the U.S. to help Canadians out:
Cartographer John Nelson, whose relatively new but infrequently updated map blog is Adventures in Mapping, recently posted the above map to Twitter: it shows the intensity and variability of drought in the United States over the past five years. It’s not necessarily an easy map to read at first glance, but it’s striking to look at nonetheless.
During the gold rush, San Francisco was literally built on top of abandoned ships, as its waterfront was extended out into the Bay. The above map, part of the SFgenealogy site’s section on buried ships, shows the position of those ships. More at UpOut. [Michael Kodysz]
This Taipei Times article suggests that some copies of the Ricci map—Matteo Ricci’s 1602 map of the world produced for the Chinese emperor—have been altered, possibly to support (or at least not contradict) the present-day Chinese territorial claim to the Spratly Islands (and the nine-dash line). In particular, the article claims, the James Ford Bell Trust’s copy of the map has been altered:
Part of the legend reading “between the 15th and 42nd parallels” had been erased, with ocean patterns painted over the erasure. […] Whether this is a recent defacement done to obliterate evidence that China’s historical primacy in the South China Sea is a modern fiction, or an ancient one done to eliminate an error, is a subject for further research. […] Nonetheless, several other 16th century copies of the Ricci-Li map exist in Europe, South Korea and Japan, and all display the legend intact.
To be honest, the article isn’t so much making a case as it is casting some aspersions. It has an agenda: to shoot down the argument that China’s claims to the Spratly Islands are supported by the historical record. The Ricci map—like so many other maps caught up in territorial disputes and conspiracy theories—is simply a means to an end. [WMS/Leventhal Map Center]