Pulling back the academic veil can be fascinating. I remember one day 25 years ago in my first year of university, when my history professor paused to tell us about his current research project (a biography of an early 20th-century French politician). For a half hour he held the class rapt as he detailed the long effort required to nail down one specific detail in his subject’s life. For me it was a revelation: history was detective work, and therefore exciting stuff. That may have been the moment that sent me to graduate school in history (and not just me—that professor generated more graduate students than anyone else in that department).
I was reminded of that day as I was reading Mark Monmonier’s memoir, Adventures in Academic Cartography, which does much the same thing as my prof did back then: pull back the veil to reveal an entire academic career that was hidden from our view. Monmonier is a familiar name to those of us interested in maps, having published a dozen books—scholarly, erudite but accessible to the lay reader—over the years. (I’ve reviewed three of them myself: How to Lie with Maps, his essential text on how maps persuade and deceive; Rhumb Lines and Map Wars, a look at the politicization of the Mercator projection; and From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow, on the politics and controversies behind place names.) But, like my professor, we are largely aware of only one aspect of his career: in Monmonier’s case, the books. Adventures in Academic Cartography, which he self-published in the fall of 2014, fills in the blanks.
We’ve all seen business listings on online maps that don’t quite jibe with reality: the map marker’s on the wrong place, and driving directions don’t get you to your destination. The Wall Street Journal reports on how businesses deal with online map errors. Getting a wrong listing fixed is a rather high priority (a lost customer is a lost customer, if you follow me), but it turns out to be a more time-consuming—and expensive—process than I thought: there are firms that charge thousands of dollars to solve this for you. [via]
“How to Cite GIS Materials” is an older post (Caitlin Dempsey Morais first posted it to GIS Lounge in 2012, but retweeted it recently) but all the same a perennially useful one: it demonstrates proper citation format for GIS data sources as well as maps, whether paper or online.
The map’s rediscovery has set off a flurry of interest and publications (see book list below). Findlen also looks at the scholarly debates about the map. “Brook and Batchelor have both written books about the Selden map, and each scholar takes a somewhat different approach to framing the story and to interpreting a reconstruction of the document’s origins. Yet they concur that this is a Chinese maritime map and a product of late-Ming ambitions, enterprise, and mobility,” she writes.
PlowNYC is the City of New York’s official snow removal website. It allows New Yorkers to, in real time, “(1) track the progress of DSNY spreader/plow vehicles; and (2) confirm the snow designation of City streets (i.e., primary, secondary, tertiary, or non-DSNY).” [via]
Le Grand Paris en Cartes is a collection of interactive maps and infographics about the Grand Paris Express, a multi-billion-euro project to extend Paris’s Metro and rapid transit network deep into the surrounding Île-de-France region (if you can read French, the official site and French Wikipedia page provide a lot more information). These maps not only illustrate Parisians’ commuting routes and Metro usage, but also (see above) the kind of sociological data that underpins transit planning: employment centres, population density and so forth. In French. [via]
Cities and Memory is an exercise in sound mapping: a map of ambient sounds from hundreds of locations. Stuart Fowkes writes, “Every location and every faithful field recording on the sound map is accompanied by a reworking, a processing or an interpretation that imagines that place and time as somewhere else, somewhere new. The listener can choose to explore locations through their actual sounds, or explore interpretations of what those places could be—or to flip between the two different sound worlds at leisure.” It’s open to submissions.