Drawing Inspiration from Print Maps

Saman Bemel Benrud, a designer at Mapbox, looks to print maps for inspiration. “I like looking at print maps because they remind me how far web map design has to go. Even an average print map involves a designer making thousands of small decisions about where to place individual features and how to kern and size each label,” he writes. “You can’t work like that with web maps that are global and zoomable.” Still, he provides some favourite design elements from paper maps; it’d be interesting to see how they might be rendered online.

How to Support The Map Room

Here are two ways to support The Map Room, if you’re so inclined. You can contribute to my hosting costs ($10 minimum) or buy me the equivalent of a coffee ($2). Both methods use PayPal.

With online ad revenues a fraction of what they once were, I’m exploring other ways of making this project economically viable; these are two of them. (I’m also contemplating Patreon, but not yet: I need to rebuild the audience a bit more for that to be worth doing.) Your support is not at all obligatory but would allow me to dedicate more time and effort to The Map Room and upgrade my hosting package to something more robust.

It’s also deeply appreciated. My profound thanks to those who have contributed so far.

Upcoming Talks and Workshops

Here are some talks and workshops hosted by local map societies coming up in the second half of March 2016:

Thursday, 17 March 2016, Chicago IL. In-Car Navigation Systems: A Twenty-Year Retrospective. Michael Quane, who gave a talk to the Society on in-car navigation systems in February 1996, returns for another talk “to help us understand how much has changed in the world of in-car navigation and to give us some notion of where the field might be five (or even twenty) years hence.” Chicago Map Society meeting. Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library, 60 W Walton St, Chicago IL 60610. 5:30 PM. Donations requested.

Saturday, 19 March 2016, Richmond VA. Introduction to Antique Maps Workshop. “While examining a variety of antique map types, guest speaker Eliane Dotson will discuss map terminology, color application, printing techniques, manufacture and creation, and clues to look for to identify reproductions and forgeries. Join us to explore questions such as what you should ask or think about when looking at a map and what maps can relate to us within their broader context.” Fry-Jefferson Map Society meeting. Library of Virginia, 800 E Broad St, Richmond VA 23219. 10 AM. Free; registration required.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016, Boston MA. Missing Women, Blank Maps, and Data Voids: What Gets Counted Counts. Joni Seager, author of the State of the Women in the World Atlas (now The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World) will discuss “the persistent paucity of gender-disaggregated data.” Boston Map Society meeting. Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St, Copley Square, Boston MA 02116. Free.

Thursday, 24 March 2016, Washington DC. Watching the Apocalypse: Using GIS and Social Media to Map Refugees. The Library of Congress’s John Hessler discusses the mapping tools used to chart population movements in the face of war, humanitarian disasters and epidemics. Washington Map Society meeting. Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building (Geography and Map Room, basement), 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington DC 20050. 7 PM. Free.

heezen-tharp

Tuesday, 29 March 2016, Denver CO. Marie Tharp, Illustrator of a Paradigm. John Lindemann gives a talk on the woman who mapped the ocean floor. Rocky Mountain Map Society meeting. Denver Public Library (Gates Room, 5th floor), 10 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver CO 80204. 5:30 PM. Free.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016, Boston MA. The World for a King: Pierre Desceliers’ Map of 1550. “Chet Van Duzer will give an account of the large (4.4 × 7 feet) and elaborately decorated manuscript world map made by the Norman cartographer Pierre Desceliers in 1550.” Boston Map Society meeting. Boston University, Hillel House, 213 Bay State Rd, Boston MA 022151506. 5:30 PM. Free.

Every Person in Scotland

every-person-scotlandEvery Person in Scotland Mapped, a dot density map by Heikki Vesanto with a bit of a methodological twist. Rather than randomize the location of population dots within a given postcode, the map “creates a random point within a building shell inside of a postcode area, which is repeated for every person in a postcode. This is in contrast to a simpler process, which does not take into account buildings at all, working simply with postcode areas.” Zoom in and see. [via]

Cartastrophe on Decision Desk HQ’s Election Cartograms

michigan-primary-cartogramOn Cartastrophe, Daniel Huffman points out the problems in Decision Desk HQ’s interactive cartograms for the U.S. presidential primaries, which maintain a state’s shape but resize the counties as the results come in. “Unfortunately, in so doing, they shuffle the counties around any old which way. The Lower Peninsula of Michigan has 68 counties in reality, the Upper Peninsula has 15. But Decision Desk HQ has shoved most of the counties into the Upper Peninsula, which now has 58, vs. 25 that remain in the Lower Peninsula,” Huffman writes. “This means that we can’t really see spatial patterns, which is sort of the point of having a map.” [via]

La Carte de Cassini

carte-cassini

There are several online versions of the Carte générale de France, the first comprehensive map of France produced by the Cassini family in the 18th century. Some, like those hosted by the EHESS and the David Rumsey Map Collection, georectify and stitch together the individual maps together to make a more-or-less seamless whole. On Gallica, the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s digital library, it’s presented as individual sheetsthe Library of Congress does the same with its copy—the better to appreciate the originals, I suppose. [via]

Mapping the Syrian Civil War

syria-conflict

The Syria Conflict Mapping Project (screenshot above), a project of the Carter Center, has been documenting events in the Syrian civil war since 2012 using open source information. “Using these publicly available resources, as well as regular consultations with stakeholders in the country, the Center has documented and mapped over 40,000 conflict events in Syria (including clashes, aerial bombardments, artillery shelling, etc.), the changing relations between thousands of armed groups, movements of internally displaced people, and humanitarian conditions.” [via]

The Onion on Fantasy Maps

The Onion, two years ago: “Unable to picture where in the Grand Realm the destroyed fortress was in relation to the dreaded desert of Quiltar, a fully grown adult man referred to the map on the opening pages of the fantasy novel The Tower Of Astalon Friday to determine the location of the ruined castle of Arnoth, accounts confirmed.” [via]

The Boston Globe on #MapMonsterMonday

#MapMonsterMonday makes the Boston Globe, in a piece looking at how the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center curates their weekly posts of map monsters on Twitter and Instagram. (An example below.) Though, to be fair, there are several map library Twitter accounts participating in #MapMonsterMonday. [via]

For #MapMonsterMonday, we’re featuring some of the creatures found in our Samuel de Champlain #map that was recently returned after having been so cruelly stolen from us over a decade ago. Though drawn way out of scale, these critters aren’t truly monsters, so we hope you’ll forgive our flagrant flaunting of this treasure of a map; we’re just really, really excited. Champlain’s map of New France included all manner of local flora and fauna, including the sea creatures shown in this detail: a seal, a sculpin, and some sort of monstrous sea-hotdog (quite possibly a sea cucumber- any thoughts, @muhnac @natural_history_museum @nhmla @calacademy?). More great news: the map was quickly digitized by @bplboston’s wonderful digital team and is now available on our website and free to download. Link in profile! #MonsterMonday #SamuelDeChamplain #NewFrance #Canada #NewEngland #GreatLakes #17thcentury #geography #history #naturalhistory #cartography #engraving #intaglio #BPLMaps #BPLBoston #BostonPublicLibrary #library #librariesofinstagram #rarebooks Samuel de Champlain. "Carte Geographique de la Nouvelle France.” Detached from: Les voyages du sieur de Champlain Xaintongeois, capitaine ordinaire pour le roy en la marine. Paris : Iean Berjon, 1613. http://goo.gl/e93wtD

A post shared by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (@bplmaps) on

Ellen Harvey’s ‘Network’ to Adorn Boston’s South Station

ellen-harvey-network

Ellen Harvey’s Network, envisaged as a hand-made glass mosaic depicting Boston’s transportation network, has been chosen as the permanent art installation to be installed at Boston’s South Station. From the proposal:

NETWORK will consist of a hand-made glass mosaic map of the surroundings of South Station juxtaposing the three principal forms of land transportation (rail, subway and road) with the older water-based routes into the city. Each form of transportation is coded a different color—black for subways, dark grey for rail, light grey for roads and silver for water. As travelers descend the stairs, they move towards the ocean where a small mermaid inset in the silvery sea of Boston harbor surveys (literally) the land. NETWORK imagines a world in which the mermaid escapes her destiny of romantic frustration and temptation and decides to take on the land, just as perhaps now we need nature to lead our transportation decisions, rather than to be subject to them.

Harvey, by the way, has the best quote: “There is no romance in your soul if you don’t love a map.” [via]

When Maps Lie

Andrew Wiseman’s “When Maps Lie” was posted on CityLab last year, but its importance is evergreen: it’s about map literacy, and how to avoid being fooled by confusing, misleading or simply bad maps. This is very much what Mark Monmonier did in How to Lie with Maps (see my reviewAmazoniBooks); Wiseman updates it for the social media age.

Maps are big these days. Blogs and news sites (including this one) frequently post maps and those maps often go viral—40 maps that explain the world, the favorite TV shows of each U.S. state, and so on. They’re all over Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and news organizations are understandably capitalizing on the power that maps clearly have in digital space: they can visualize a lot of data quickly and effectively. But they can also visualize a lot of data inaccurately and misleadingly.

It’s a must-read. [via]

The Cartography Behind Super Tuesday

Further to my last post, here’sNew York Times article on the technology behind their Super Tuesday election map.

There was a time, not too long ago, when our Super Tuesday map would have been impossible to put together and display. Even earlier in the digital era, a complete vote-totals map wouldn’t have been available until every ballot was counted at the end of the night. (Not to mention that in the print-only era, no map would be available until two days after the vote, and then often only in black and white.)

The New York Times Maps the U.S. Presidential Primaries

The New York Times graphics department invariably does first-rate work, and their interactive maps of the U.S. presidential primary and caucus results are no exception. You can zoom in, you can get results by county or congressional district (depending on the state), you can choose to view margin of victory (see screencaps below) or each candidate’s vote share.

The Democratic candidates as of March 9:

nyt-primary-d

And the Republican candidates:

nyt-primary-r