China Restricts Foreign Firms from Mapping Roads for Self-Driving Cars

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]

Previously: The Business of Making Maps for Self-Driving Cars.

A Book Roundup

The Routledge Handbook

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:

More on Books We’ve Heard of Before

National Geographic interviews Malachy Tallack, the author of The Un-Discovered Islands, and The Guardian shares seven maps from James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti’s Where the Animals Go.

Related: Map Books of 2017.

Embedded Videos and Email Subscriptions

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.

Street View Car Gets Disrespected by the Bing

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.”

Andrew Douglas-Clifford’s Maps of New Zealand

New Zealand cartographer Andrew Douglas-Clifford (“The Map Kiwi”) recently got profiled by The Press, a Christchurch-based newspaper. I’ve been aware of his work for a while; it includes some interesting items, like a map of state highways in the form of a metro map, a series of circle-shaped city maps (so-called “map dots”), and, most recently, a map of New Zealand’s uninhabited places. Prints available via his website. [WMS]

Mapping the Alabama Senate Election Results

MCI Maps (Matthew C. Isbell)

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.

How the James Ford Bell Library Fingered the Fake Waldseemüller Globe Gores

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]

Previously: Waldseemüller Auction Cancelled After Experts Suspect FakeryMore on the Waldseemüller Globe Gores AuctionSixth Waldseemüller Globe Gore to Be Auctioned Next Month.

What the Hell Is Going On with the International Society for the History of the Map? 

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]

Other Gift Guides, 2017 Edition

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.

James Cheshire’s Ultimate Gift List for Map Lovers, which I mentioned earlier, includes books, shirts and other articles of clothing.

All Over the Map’s list is a diverse collection of map-related items: books, shirts, ties, glassware, notebooks, decorative maps, trail maps and so forth.

Caitlin’s list at GIS Lounge focuses on gifts for and by the GIS community, for the mapmaker in your life.

If I encounter any others, I’ll add them to this list. (Send links.)

Waldseemüller Auction Cancelled After Experts Suspect Fakery

Christie’s

This is a bombshell. Christie’s has cancelled its upcoming auction of a (supposedly) newly discovered copy of Waldseemüller’s globe gores. Experts found evidence suggesting that the gores were a carefully faked copy of the gores found in the James Ford Bell Library. In today’s New York Times, Michael Blanding (who wrote a book on the Forbes Smiley affairhas the scoop on how the red flags were raised. The auction was supposed to take place on Wednesday; the gores were expected to fetch between £600,000 and £900,000.

Previously: More on the Waldseemüller Globe Gores AuctionSixth Waldseemüller Globe Gore to Be Auctioned Next Month.

British Antarctic Survey Remeasures Mount Hope

Mount Hope, 18 March 2004. Photo by Euphro. Creative Commons licence.

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]

How to Build a Fire Map

Last October Robin Kraft posted an online map of the northern California wildfires showing satellite imagery from before and after the fires (see previous entry); today he’s posted a blog entry explaining how he built it, in great technical detail. The timing is not accidental: “There is another fire raging in Los Angeles right now — if DigitalGlobe and Planet release their data, you can use this guide to make your own map.”

Mapping the Chance of an Upset in Alabama

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.

The Melbourne Map

Lewis Brownlie inks the new edition (The Melbourne Map)

The Melbourne Map is getting a new edition. The original came out in 1990. Inspired by bird’s-eye maps she’d encountered on her travels, Melinda Clarke teamed up with illustrator Deborah Young to create a pictorial map of the city that became something of a local success. Now, decades later, they’ve teamed up with illustrator Lewis Brownlie to create a new, updated version of the map. A crowdfunding campaign earlier this year was 584 percent successful, raising the equivalent of $88,000; production has been delayed a bit by revisions to the map, but it’s on track to be completed in 2018. They’re taking preorders; copies of the original map are also available. [ICA]