The Future Mapping Company has announced the discovery of a new island 20 kilometres off the coast of Great Britain. They have naturally already produced a new map of this island.
The Isle of Bait is a small, beautiful and untouched paradise, but there is a hitch—it is only visible through the Face Swap Snapchat filter.
It appears that a glitch during the most recent geological shift caused a permanent geofence to go up around the island, preventing it from being visible to the naked eye.
Geocached for so long, local authorities are debating whether to rename landmarks and points of interest to bring the island into the post-Brexit era. Bay of Bright Futures, the Eneychestuary and Happiness Hill are all remnants of a past that is no longer a reality for the rest of the country. Toblerone Ridge, a local favourite for its distinctive jagged shape, may be the worst affected as plans to widen the gaps between peaks are unveiled as part of a “Greater Value Modernisation Programme.”
For this reason, this map is already a collector’s item, so we would advise acting now before the facts are revealed to be of an alternative nature.
Not since the discoveries of Null Island or San Seriffe has there been news of this magnitude—indeed, this announcement comes 40 years to the day after the Guardian published its supplement on the latter island.
On 1 April 1977, the Guardian published something that has become known as one of the finest April Fool’s gags in history: a seven-page supplement about the fictional, “semi-colonial” island of San Serriffe, complete with a map (at right) full of typographic puns and gags. The Guardian has a page on the gag and has reprinted a couple of the articles here and here; the Museum of Hoaxes has scans of the entire supplement.
Zero degrees longitude, zero degrees latitude is literally nowhere: situated in the middle of the open ocean, off the coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, the only thing to mark its presence is a weather observation buoy [via]. But it’s also a significant set of coordinates, in that it’s the location you might get in the case of geocoding errors.
Hence the invention of Null Island, an imaginary place to flag geocoding failures. It shows up in version 1.3 of Natural Earth, for example, as an island one square metre in size, but coded so that it would never appear in an actual map. Gary Vicchi explains Null Island in more detail. As is the way of fictional places, Null Island has grown in the imagination: it has its own website, replete with sections on its history, geography, people and economy, and its own flag.
Take a map from a popular Nintendo video game. Draw it in the style of a familiar transit map. That’s what Matt Stevenson has done here, with a half-dozen or so maps from Final Fantasy, Metroid, Zelda and other games done in the style of metro system maps from Washington, New York and other cities. Available for sale as posters. [via]
Another look at Plotted: A Literary Atlas (Zest, October 2015) a collection of maps of literary worlds by Andrew DeGraff (whose work is quite distinctive and unique), this time from Atlas Obscura (and focusing on his map for Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time). Previously. Amazon (Canada, U.K.) | iBooks
Without question, the most popular post on The Map Room so far this week—by two orders of magnitude—was this post pointing to Chaz Hutton’s “A Map of Every City.” Hutton’s map went kind of viral, and not just here. He’s since announced that a print of the map will be available at some point; he’s also written a post on Medium explaining some of the background behind the map.
Andy Woodruff imagines Boston neighbourhoods as islands, where any unpopulated areas—commercial districts, industrial areas, highways, parks—are represented as water. “Some neighborhoods of the Boston area are actual islands, or were at one point. Others, however, can feel that way even when connected to each other by land. Water isn’t the only thing that can create a gulf between neighborhoods; sometimes it’s created by features of the urban landscape and the experience of passing through them.” [via]
Uploaded by Reddit user Lowtuff to MapPorn, this map imagines the Earth’s biomes if the continents were rotated 90 degrees, with the North Pole somewhere in North Africa. It mines more or less the same territory as Randall Mundroe does in this What If? answer. [via]
Emily Garfield’s art is a pen-and-watercolour exercise in the cartography of imaginary places. Her drawings “are inspired by the visual language of maps, as well as the fractal similarity that cities share with biological processes such as the patterns of cells and neurons.” Above: “Branching Networks (Cityspace #178).”
Another one for those of you who like geofiction as much as I do. The Sorolpedia is an online encyclopedia of the distant and fictional world of Sorol, containing articles about the planet and its inhabitants. The maps are something else: far better than you’d expect from such a project (there’s even a KML file to import it into Google Earth). Its creator has put it on indefinite hiatus since 2010, so we may not see any more updates, but it’s still fascinating stuff.
I love geofiction—creating imaginary worlds through maps—and OpenGeofiction is something I’ve wanted to see for a long time: a collaborative map of an imaginary world that is built with OpenStreetMap’s editing tools. The world is divided into territories, some of which any member can edit, others that are assigned to individual members (after a waiting period). More info here.
I’ve been playing with it and am already nervous about the amount of time I can see myself losing to this. (Though one wrinkle is having no real-world referents to determine scale: without GPS traces or aerial imagery, figuring out how big a house, or a cloverleaf loop, should be is going to be tricky.)
Previously: Ian Silva’s Koana Islands.
I was not aware that Batman’s Gotham City has had a consistent map for the last fifteen years or so. Its geography was defined in 1998 by illustrator Eliot R. Brown for the “No Man’s Land” storyline but has been used ever since, including by the Christopher Nolan trilogy of movies. Brown describes how the map came to be on his website; the story has also been picked up by Smithsonian.com. Thanks to Caitlin and Dwight for the tip.
Here are some map books that I recently found out about:
- Mr. Selden’s Map of China: Decoding the Secrets of a Vanished Cartographer by Timothy Brook (Bloomsbury Press/House of Anansi Press/Profile Books, 9/13). A book-length study of the enigmatic Selden Map of China, donated to the Bodleian Library in 1659 and only rediscovered in 2009. (Amazon)
- The Golden Age of Maritime Maps: When Europe Discovered the World by Catherine Hoffman, Hélène Richard and Emmanuelle Vagnon (Firefly Books, 9/13). One of those big, illustrated books of old maps; this one looks at portolan charts. It’s an English translation of L’Âge d’or des cartes marines. (Amazon)
- Maps of Paradise by Alessandro Scafi (University of Chicago Press, 11/13). Explores “the diverse ways in which scholars and mapmakers from the eighth to the twenty-first century rose to the challenge of identifying the location of paradise on a map, despite the certain knowledge that it was beyond human reach.” (Amazon)
- The International Atlas of Mars Exploration: The First Five Decades, 1953 to 2003 by Philip J. Stooke (Cambridge University Press, 9/12). The first of two volumes (the second will be subtitled Spirit to Curiosity) that maps the extent of exploration by orbiters and landers. (Amazon, author’s page)
Wired Map Lab has the story of Ian Silva, who’s been posting astonishing road and transit maps of the imaginary Koana Islands to Reddit; the Islands now have their own section on the site, replete with a travel guide. It’s as serious an undertaking as William Sarjeant’s Rockall, Jerry Gretzinger’s Ukrainia, or Austin Tappan Wright’s Islandia.
I admit it: I love geofiction—creating imaginary worlds through maps—and I always get excited when I encounter a great new mapmaker. This is no exception.