On The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Postcards blog, Lawrence Biemiller has a chat with James Akerman about the history of road maps in the United States.
Interesting discussion at Ask MetaFilter: the original question wasn’t phrased this way (or all that well), but essentially it’s whether changes in elevation make any difference in the distance travelled. For example, is a road with a lot of 10 percent grades up and down longer than a perfectly flat road? Basic trigonometry suggests that it is, but in practice, it’s not much more than a rounding error. And besides, the distances indicated on road maps — a point in the original question — would have taken that into account.
Chris Yates writes: “You covered my old simplified interstate map about 3 years ago, and I wanted to let you know I’ve created a new, revised edition that addresses many of the errors and omissions of the original. Hopefully it is also even more interesting to look at too!” What do you think?
I grew up in Winnipeg, so I was thrilled to discover the thousand-plus maps of Winnipeg, Brandon and the rest of Manitoba posted on the Manitoba Historical Maps Flickr account. The maps include old city maps, transit maps, insurance maps, planning maps, topo maps, highway maps — some of which I actually recognized from my childhood. Favourites so far include a 1941 map of Greater Winnipeg’s streetcar, trolley bus and bus lines (above), a 1963 Texaco map of Winnipeg that seems awfully familiar (I probably had a more recent edition in the house when I was a kid), and 1954 Manitoba highway map. So: not just thrilled — giddy. Via Urban Cartography.
Jalopnik has a guide to map reading for those too reliant on navigation systems. “A dangerous norm is emerging. The widespread adoption of navigation systems is dumbifying the American navigator, making them incapable of reading a map, much less understanding… • Continue reading this entry.
The National Post’s Peter Kenter bemoans the passing of the skilled road navigator, from an era when “a driver or a passenger who was particularly skilled at reading maps was an important asset on any road trip. Born with an… • Continue reading this entry.
The most recent addition to Harold Cramer’s Historical Maps of Pennsylvania site (which looks massive) is a collection of old road atlases dating from 1889 to 1930. (At right, an example from 1892.) Via MapHist…. • Continue reading this entry.
The California State Automobile Association has donated 7,000 old road maps to Stanford University’s Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections; the donation was triggered by the CSAA’s move to new headquarters with less space. “Along with the road maps,… • Continue reading this entry.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the California State Automobile Association, one of only two regional auto associations still producing their own paper maps, is getting out of paper map publishing by the end of the year. Maps of northern… • Continue reading this entry.
This is lovely: All Streets by Ben Fry, a data visualization of “[a]ll of the streets in the lower 48 United States: an image of 26 million individual road segments. No other features (such as outlines or geographic features)… • Continue reading this entry.
Canada Back Road Atlas MapArt, 2007. Paperback, 702 pp. ISBN-13 978-1-55368-614-9 MapArt is easily the largest publisher of road maps in Canada, publishing not only maps of cities and metropolitan areas (both as folded maps and as coil-bound and saddle-stitched… • Continue reading this entry.
Street names are becoming a source of confusion in rapidly growing Visalia, California: as the city expands, street suffixes change from rural “roads” to urban “streets,” “avenues” and “boulevards” in conformance with Visalia’s conventions. Which leads, as you might expect,… • Continue reading this entry.
Four more cities in Google Maps Street View: Houston, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Diego. Cute: Google Maps Street View Circa 1907 — or, rather, a sample of Rand McNally’s photo auto-maps, which apparently predated road maps…. • Continue reading this entry.
Free, official road maps seem to be an endangered species. Via MAPS-L, a press release from Illinois’s Department of Transportation announcing that, for the second year running, their Official Highway Map would be available free of charge thanks to… • Continue reading this entry.
The big news so far from Where 2.0 is the announcement of Google’s street-level imagery for five U.S. cities — Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and (of course) San Francisco — which, in a fit of originality, they’re… • Continue reading this entry.
Some more material about updating road data after disasters that I missed the first time around (and am only getting to now). Via Mapping Hacks, a San Francisco Chronicle article that discussed updating driving directions in the wake of… • Continue reading this entry.
The Road Map Collectors Association’s 2007 annual meeting and map expo will take place September 21-22 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Few details available as yet, but, they say, “We expect to have displays of rare Texas maps, courtesy of… • Continue reading this entry.
This week has revealed a lot about how the online mapping sites respond to disasters that close major routes and affect driving directions. Within two days of the MacArthur Maze freeway collapse in Oakland, Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and MapQuest… • Continue reading this entry.
Footpaths to Freeways: The Evolution of Michigan Road Maps is an exhibition now on display (until June) on the fourth floor of the west wing of Michigan State University’s Main Library; if you can’t visit, there is this online… • Continue reading this entry.
Chris Yates has created a Beck-style diagram of the Interstate highway network — simplified, of course, so not every highway is listed. Interesting to see how the grid works: this is something my younger self, armed with an out-of-date… • Continue reading this entry.
I’m sure you’ll forgive me a brief digression into road geekery. In yesterday’s New York Times, there was an article about how MapQuest et al. fail to display regionally unique intersection geometries, such as frontage roads, jughandles (at right),… • Continue reading this entry.
Though I don’t collect them per se, I’ve always been a big fan of old road maps, so I enjoyed reading Ephemera’s interview with Richard Horwitz — he’s a past president of the Road Map Collectors Association, he owns… • Continue reading this entry.
A new book from the University of Chicago Press looks interesting: Cartographies of Travel and Navigation, edited by James R. Akerman, a collection of essays about the history of all kinds of transportation-related maps — railroads, roads, nautical and… • Continue reading this entry.
An article in yesterday’s New York Times about collecting old road maps and other assorted gas-station paraphernalia — “petroliana.” Profiles John Margolies, the co-author of Hitting the Road: The Art of the American Road Map, who gave a recent presentation… • Continue reading this entry.
The Associated Press’s Dave Carpenter takes a look at map publisher Rand McNally on the occasion of its 150th anniversary, looking back on its history and at its future challenges (especially in re digital mapping). “[F]ollowing two ownership changes… • Continue reading this entry.
Another story about growth outpacing mapmaking, as the Arizona Republic looks at the Phoenix Metropolitan Street Atlas, published by local map store Wide World of Maps, and its cartographer, Bob Cournoyer, who has to deal with an average of 4,000… • Continue reading this entry.
On Friday the 7th, there was an item on mapping on Patt Morrison’s afternoon show on 89.3 KPCC, a public radio station based in Pasadena, California. On deck were representatives from Thomas Brothers Maps and Navteq; much of the focus… • Continue reading this entry.
Caught Mapping is a nine-minute film, made in 1940, about how the road maps of the time were made — and, more importantly, revised, with a fair bit on field surveyors. I was surprised that the film reported that… • Continue reading this entry.
This really doesn’t have anything to do with maps per se, but I think you’ll be interested in it anyway. Last week’s Los Angeles Times had a profile of John Trichak, whose job it is to approve all the proposed… • Continue reading this entry.
A Calgary mapmaker has been fined C$8,000 for making a cheap knock-off of a competitor’s city atlas. The judge ruled that Commodore Allen’s AMI Calgary Street Atlas infringed the copyright of Sherlock Publishing’s atlas of Calgary, saying that the differences… • Continue reading this entry.
This week’s New Yorker has a long article by Nick Paumgarten on mapping, the principal focus of which is driving directions, but which has lots of little digressions into cognate areas like road maps (and their history) and digital mapping… • Continue reading this entry.
iPods have been used for subway maps before (see previous entries: 1, 2, 3); now this site generates driving directions from Yahoo! Maps that can be exported to a photo-capable (i.e., colour-screen) iPod. Via Scoble…. • Continue reading this entry.
Samuel John Klein’s Brief History of Rand McNally is up on Designorati today. Interesting to see that William Rand and Andrew McNally started with railroads (road travel was some decades away); their first map, in 1872, was the Railway Guide…. • Continue reading this entry.
I like old road maps, and I’m apparently not alone. Ian Byrne’s Petrol Maps is one of several web sites dedicated to collecting and documenting old road maps; this one looks at maps of Europe issued by oil companies. Via… • Continue reading this entry.
This article, which appeared in Friday’s Vancouver Sun, offers a paean to old highways maps and bemoans — but does not provide concrete examples of — their modern-day equivalents: “[T]oday’s pale spectres provide us with little more than stock photographs,… • Continue reading this entry.
From today’s edition of the LA Times, a story about how maps can’t keep up with the pace of suburban growth in fast-growing areas like California, Nevada and Arizona. Some of those areas add thousands of new streets a year…. • Continue reading this entry.
Roadmap Art of the Road is a Flickr group that shares “scanned images from vintage roadmaps from gas stations, municipalities and the like.” The focus is on the cover art, not the cartography, but it’s still of interest. See previous… • Continue reading this entry.
More scans of old maps — the covers only, alas — at a site that looks like it was just getting started — back in 1998 — and stayed there (via Things Magazine)…. • Continue reading this entry.
I’m a sucker for road maps, so I think I’ve saved the best of Plep’s three links to various Osher Map Library pages for last: an exhibition of early highway maps, called Road Maps: The American Way, that took place… • Continue reading this entry.