Speaking of London, Londonist has published an illustrated history of the Tube map, with examples both pre- and post-Beck.
It shouldn’t surprise me that there’s a mobile version of the London A-Z Street Atlas. There are, in fact, several, the most recent of which is the Greater London A-Z Street Map, which covers some 3,743 km2 of territory and stores all its maps—the same maps you’d get in the paper edition—on the device. (Which makes it a fairly significant download: 603 MB on iOS, 382 MB on Android.) The iOS version costs £5 and is compatible with both the iPhone and iPad. The Android version is available on Google Play and costs about the same.
Greg Milner’s Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Technology, Culture and Our Minds is out this month from W. W. Norton. (The British edition, published by Granta, comes out in July.) Pinpoint explores the social impact of GPS, which sounds very interesting. I’ll have to lay hands on a copy. Reviews: Will Self in the Guardian, Kirkus Reviews and Maclean’s. Amazon, iBooks.
The project is to select one candidate landing site and design an actual map that you envision will be useful in surface operations. We ask that you do not create simply a geologic map, but rather a product that can be used by the astronauts during their approximately one-year long mission within the Exploration Zone. This requires creativity, and it is also useful to have a good knowledge of surface features, surface hazards, science goals and the use of the proper cartographic tools.
The contest is open to students, young professional cartographers, and graphic artists in any country of the world.
If the attempts by India, China and other countries to control how they’re mapped seem like a throwback to an earlier age, it’s probably because they are: last September Justin O’Beirne looked at the recent, rapid changes in cartography and came to the realization that, thanks to the ubiquity and accessibility of modern mobile maps (especially Google’s), “for the first time in human history, the majority of the world might soon be using the same map.” Bespoke maps that speak to your particular world view are, in the face of global corporations on the one hand and global crowdsourcing on the other, quaint. A cry for special, partial treatment; frustration at having lost control. [Afflictor]
Writing for The Wire, Sumandro Chattapadhyay and Adya Garg discuss the recent Indian draft bill that proposes fines and jail terms for publishing a map that shows the “incorrect” Indian borders. They provide some background, setting out the government’s past history of trying to regulate maps of India, and point out some flaws in the proposal:
The regulatory measures proposed by the bill do not only cause worry but also bewilderment. Take for example Section 3 that states that ‘no person shall acquire geospatial imagery or data including value addition of any part of India’ without being expressly given permission for the same or being vetted by the nodal agency set up by the Bill. If implemented strictly, this may mean that you will have to ask for permission and/or security vetting before dropping a pin on the map and sharing your coordinates with your friend or a taxi service. Both involve creating/acquiring geospatial information, and potentially adding value to the map/taxi service as well.
Let’s take an even more bizarre hypothetical situation—the Security Vetting Agency being asked to go through the entire geospatial data chest of Google everyday (or as soon as it is updated) and it taking up to ‘ three months from the date of receipt’ of the data to complete this checking so that Google Maps can tell you how crowded a particular street was three months ago.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret pact among the Triple Entente to partition the Ottoman Empire into their respective spheres of influence. Above, the map delineating those spheres of influence, signed by diplomats Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot eight days earlier. [NLS Maps]
Google Earth Blog has a roundup of the available satellite imagery of the Fort McMurray wildfire.
GPS has become as invisibly ubiquitous as oxygen, and just as vital to many of society’s functions. What happens when it breaks? The Christian Science Monitor reports on GPS’s vulnerabilities, real (jamming) and potential (attack on the satellites), and what backups might exist if and when it goes down. [Alex Chaucer]
“For the past number of years, I have been collecting the U.S.G.S.’s maps, treating them as eminently affordable pieces of American art,” writes Tom Vanderbilt in the New York Times Magazine. “The beauty intrinsic to these maps is the byproduct of an entirely different mode of production, the last gasp of an antiquated way of representing the world.” [Gretchen Peterson]
The Gallery of the Geographical Maps was a papal tour de force for its size, scope, speed and style. At 120 meters it is longer than a football field, yet the magnificent frescoes articulate the space with an elegant rhythm. The hall itself was designed by Ottaviano Mascherino for Pope Gregory XIII who wanted to link his new astronomical observatory, “The Tower of the Winds,” with the apostolic palace, so his guests would walk amidst terrestrial maps before climbing to observe the heavens.
Last month a Bloomberg story looked at the racial implications of Amazon’s same-day delivery service, which, the story demonstrated in a series of maps, tended to exclude predominantly black ZIP codes.
The exclusions were basically driven by the data: where their customers were, driving distance to the nearest fulfillment centre, that sort of thing. But the issue, it seems to me, is that the demographics behind the data are not racially neutral (something that Troy Lambert’s analysis for GIS Lounge, for example, fails to address): Amazon basically failed to ask its data the next question. Be very careful of why your data is the way it is. In the event, Amazon has since announced that excluded neighbourhoods and boroughs in Boston, New York and Chicago will get same-day service.
(Full disclosure: The Map Room is an Amazon associate.)
The Washington Post’s Wonkblog has an interview with Parag Khanna that features six interesting maps from his book Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization (Amazon, iBooks); each map is discussed in some detail. [Cartophilia]
Previously: The U.S. as Seven Mega Regions.
Satellite imagery from the Pléiades-1A satellite showing the extent of wildfire damage caused to Fort McMurray, Alberta can be viewed through a web-based mapping application released by the government of Alberta. (Doesn’t work in Safari for Mac; works fine in Chrome.) [CBC News]