The Fictional Maps International Conference, which I mentioned on my personal blog last August, takes place next weekend in Katowice, Poland. Of course I can’t be there. But the conference program is now online; abstracts are also available in this ebook.
The 6th International Symposium on the History of Cartography will be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia in October 2016. “The joint organizers invite contributions (papers and posters) on the dissemination of cartographic knowledge and the effectiveness thereof in diverse cartographic cultures and their related user groups around the globe. This includes the technological and conceptual aspects of cartographic production (maps, charts, globes, atlases, educational tools etc.), the usability of these techniques and the resulting products, as well as the conditions of the map trade as a changing network of private enterprises and official institutions, and the role of diverse audiences in the creation, circulation, consumption and ultimate preservation of knowledge.” Deadline for submissions is February 15. [via]
On New Year’s Eve The Arts Newspaper reported on the British Library’s efforts to digitize the 50,000 maps and plans that make up the King George III Topographical Collection. (George III was apparently quite the map collector, one not above choosing not to return maps he borrowed.) They’re about a quarter of the way through so far. The collection’s crown jewel, so to speak, is the ludicrously large (176 × 231 cm) Klencke Atlas.
Recent Google Maps updates include driving mode, an Android-only navigation mode that, as Android Police describes it, “uses your location history and web searches to make assumptions about where you’re going and give traffic updates and ETAs as you travel” [via]. Also this week, the world’s largest model railway, Hamburg’s Minatur Wunderland, was added to Street View. Quite engrossing if you’re into model trains.
To mark the publication this week of a new fantasy novella, The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster, the artist hired to create the map, Tim Paul, wrote an essay on how he did it. I’m struck by the lengths he took to “avoid making the map look too European” and by the careful consideration of what a map from that world should look like, which is almost unheard of in the fantasy map business, where maps invariably conform to a very specific style. The end result is a map that evokes portolan charts, replete with windrose lines and looking like it was drawn on vellum. As fantasy maps go, it’s one of the finer executions I’ve seen.
For the audiobook version (Amazon, iTunes), the publisher has taken the map and made it interactive: clicking on a location gives you an excerpt from the book. It might not quite be “[the] newest in map technology” but it’s a small and interesting innovation as far as fantasy maps are concerned.
On Shapeways, a site where users can upload and sell 3D-printed items, George Ioannidis is selling globes of the planets and moons of our solar system. There are individual globes, globes that take into account moons’ irregular topography (e.g. Phobos and Diemos, Iapetus), all in different sizes (none of which are very big: 50 to 200 mm), and collections where each planet and moon is to scale (as seen above, this can be somewhat unwieldy, but it’s neat for Jupiter’s Galilean moons, for example). I’m unreasonably enthusiastic about this sort of thing. [via]
Previously: Globes of the Solar System.
Mark Monmonier has posted an essay sharply critical of critical cartography and its distance from its own subject. It was originally commissioned as part of the forthcoming Cartographic Grounds but cut for reasons of space. Very incisive; I could quote you some but I’d end up quoting the whole damn essay. Go read. [via]
Yonah Freemark’s Transit Explorer is an online map of existing, planned and under-construction transit projects in cities across North America—“fixed-guideway transit,” which means bus rapid transit, light rail and commuter rail. I’ve spotted a couple of omissions (Montreal’s commuter rail and Winnipeg’s busway don’t appear) but that might be a problem with the underlying OpenStreetMap data. [via]
Hyperallergic has a review of Cities of the World (Taschen, November 2015), a reprint of colour plates from Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg’s Civitates Orbis Terrarum, which appeared in six volumes between 1572 and 1617. From Taschen: “Featuring plans, bird’s-eye views, and maps for all major cities in Europe, plus important urban centers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, this masterwork in urban mapping gives us a comprehensive view of city life at the turn of the 17th century.” Maps from the Civitates Orbis Terrarum can also be viewed online here and here. [via] Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
Cyber Squirrel 1, a map that tracks electrical outages caused by squirrels, birds, raccoons and other critters, is only semi-satirical. Its point is that animals disrupt the power grid more than hackers ever have. (The number caused by the latter may be one. Or two.) As Popular Science puts it, “If there is a cyber war happening, it’s one fought between humanity and nature, not nations against each other.” Gizmodo, Washington Post.