Self-driving cars require insanely detailed maps in order to function. But, as The Drive’s Stephen Edelstein writes, “The Chinese government is blocking foreign companies from mapping its roads in great detail, according to a Financial Times report. The restrictions, which reportedly do not apply to Chinese firms, are being instituted in the name of national security. China is concerned about spying.” Mapping, geotagging, geographic surveys—all of these have been subject to Chinese government restrictions for many years (recall the trouble Google Maps has had operating in China), so this is more of an additional data point than an actual surprise. [Boing Boing/PC Mag]
Out last month, the expensive, 600-page Routledge Handbook of Mapping and Cartography (Routledge). Edited by Alexander J. Kent (who co-wrote The Red Atlas) and Peter Vujakovic, the book “draws on the wealth of new scholarship and practice in this emerging field, from the latest conceptual developments in mapping and advances in map-making technology to reflections on the role of maps in society. It brings together 43 engaging chapters on a diverse range of topics, including the history of cartography, map use and user issues, cartographic design, remote sensing, volunteered geographic information (VGI), and map art.” [The History of Cartography Project]
New Academic Books
New academic books on maps and cartography published over the past couple of months include:
A reader just brought to my attention an issue that will probably be familiar to the four hundred or so of you who subscribe to The Map Room’s daily email digest: embedded videos (such as YouTube) included in blog posts don’t work in email clients, and in fact can bork the formatting of the email. A little digging on my part revealed that this is a longstanding issue: email clients don’t generally display scripted or embedded elements. Not sure whether this is something I can fix from this end, but in the meantime I’ll try and hold off on the embedded video.
What happens when a Google Street View car meets its Bing equivalent? The Verge explains: “As it turns out, when two Google Street View and Bing cars pass each other, only one (in this case Google) will admit to it publicly. Like an embarrassed or jilted lover, Microsoft masks the memory of the Google encounter with a giant white rectangle in Bing maps. […] Google however, proudly shows off the Bing car in all its glory.”
Macrostrat’s interactive geologic map covers the world with geologic map data aggregated from diverse sources; clicking on a location brings up more detailed information about said location. [Maps Mania]
The results of last week’s special Alabama senate election have been crunched and mapped. Matthew Isbell looks at some of the factors that contributed to Doug Jones’s upset win: education, race and voter turnout. Lots of county-by-county choropleth maps to mull over here. Meanwhile, the Washington Post is not the only one to map a salient point: Jones won the state but lost six out of seven congressional districts, thanks to the way those districts were drawn—a function of race, majority-minority districting, and gerrymandering.
More on the cancelled auction of the Waldseemüller globe gores from Minneapolis-St. Paul TV station KARE, which looks at the work by the James Ford Bell Library that raised questions about the authenticity of the gores that Christie’s was set to auction last week. And a seriously buried lede: another set of Waldseemüller globe gores may not be authentic either: “During this process, experts also discovered that a copy at the Bavarian State Library in Germany may not be authentic, as well. Ragnow said that copy matches closely with the 2017 Christie’s one.” [WMS]
A power struggle involving two factions of the International Society for the History of the Map has drawn the attention of, of all places, Deadspin’s The Concourse. The factions are, on the one hand, Dr. Zsolt G. Török, the former president who maintains control of the original ISHMap website; and, on the other, a new executive, chaired by Matthew Edney and elected at an AGM after Török failed to hold an online election, who maintain that Török vacated his post by failing to renew his membership. The latter group has a temporary website here, which outlines their position and details how the organization arrived at what they describe as the “constitutional crisis of 2017.” Both sides claim to be in charge of the society. One imagines the cartographic community splitting into pro- and anti-Török factions: Team Török and Team Edney. It’s the People’s Front of Judea vs. the Judean People’s Front all over again. [WMS]
If The Map Room’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide still leaves you wanting for ideas (and the additional books in the Map Books of 2017 page don’t do it either)—maybe you just want to give something that isn’t a book—here are some other map related gift guides.
This BBC News article leads with a reasonably interesting geographic fact: that Mount Hope, on the Antarctic Peninsula, has been remeasured at 3,239 metres, making it the tallest mountain in territory claimed by the United Kingdom. (Its location is also claimed by Argentina and Chile.) But it’s really about the British Antarctic Survey, who are using stereographic satellite data to create more accurate maps of Antarctica’s mountains for pilots operating on the continent. BAS press release. [Kenneth Field]
The Washington Post assesses Democrat Doug Jones’s chances against Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate election next month by mapping three factors: the extent to which Moore underperformed Mitt Romney in 2012 (Moore ran for chief justice of Alabama in 2012 at the same time Romney ran for president), the racial makeup of Alabama’s precincts and the 2016 precinct-level election results.