Mapping Gentrification


Governing used interactive maps to measure the gentrification of the neighbourhoods of Boston (above) and 49 other cities as part of their report on gentrification in the United States last year. “While it has become much more prevalent, gentrification remains a phenomenon largely confined to select regions, not yet making its way into most urban areas. In the majority of cities reviewed, less than one-fifth of poorer, lower priced neighborhoods experienced gentrification. If all city neighborhoods are considered—including wealthier areas not eligible to gentrify—less than one of every ten tracts gentrified. Cities like Detroit, El Paso and Las Vegas experienced practically no gentrification at all.” [via]

Best Maps from the Journal of Maps

TJOM_Best_Map_2015Since 2008 the online Journal of Maps has been giving an award to the “best map” published in its virtual pages; 2015’s winner is a map of municipalities in the Czech Republic created by Vít Pászto, Alžběta Brychtová, Pavel Tuček, Lukáš Marek and Jaroslav Burian for their article “Using a fuzzy inference system to delimit rural and urban municipalities in the Czech republic in 2010.” Past winners are available for purchase as prints (of various sizes). [via]

The Journal of Maps launched in 2005. I believe it was open-access at that point; since coming under the umbrella of Taylor & Francis in 2012, it no longer appears to be.


portlandness Elliot McIntire writes to recommend Portlandness: A Cultural Atlas by David Banis and Hunter Shobe (Sasquatch, October 2015). “It came out last fall, and has a wild and innovative cartography ‘explaining’ the weirdness of Portland. The authors are at Portland State University and much of the data compilation and topic selection came out out a series of classes they have run over the last few years.

“It includes information about such topics as how street names ‘speak the language of the past,’ the weather (official rain totals are at the airport, the driest part of the metropolitan area), areas with Nutrias, punk houses and condos with the hip crowd, food carts, geeks, Portland as portrayed in movies, why it’s Soccer City USA, noise levels in various parts of the stadium during Portland Timbers games, how to get from Union Station to Portland State going by the least number of surveillance cameras, etc.

“Obviously not a comprehensive atlas in the usual sense, but a real hoot, especially for old, or new, residents.”

From the sounds of it, it kind of reminds me of Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City, which is not a bad thing. Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)

The Mapmakers’ World

mapmakers-worldIn Geographical magazine’s February issue, Nicholas Crane reviews The Mapmakers’ World: A Cultural History of the European World Map by Marjo Nurminen (Pool of London, September 2015). It’s a history of early European mapmaking from the early Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century. “The last few years have produced a rich harvest of map books, so newcomers have to stand tall to win notice,” writes Crane. “The Mapmakers’ World delivers an ambitious thesis with style.” [viaBuy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)

Upcoming Talks

4 February, London. Maps and Society lecture. Dr. Kevin Sheehan on “Construction and Reconstruction: Investigating How Portolan Maps Were Produced by Reproducing a Fifteenth-Century Chart of the Mediterranean.” Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Woburn Sq, London WC1H OAB. 5:00 PM. Free admission.

4 February, Kennebunk, ME. Dinner and lecture; Matthew Edney and Steve Spofford on “Mapping the History of Boatbuilding in Kennebunkport.” Table, 27 Western Ave, Kennebunk ME 04043. 5:00 PM. $70. [tickets]

5 February, Boston. Boston Map Society meeting. “Dr. Ron Grim, Curator of Maps at the Normal B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, will talk about these off-site maps hung at the Langham Hotel while guests taste Scotch. (Lecture is free, drinks are pay-as-consume.)” Langham Hotel, 250 Franklin St, Boston MA 02110. 5:30 PM.

6 February, Lancaster. Maps and the Landscape: Distortion and Reality, a “study day” consisting of series of lectures by various academics: Angus Winchester on “Distorted reality? Maps as Historical Evidence”; Bill Shannon on “King Arthur, Tarn Wadling and the Gough Map”; Pat Saunders on “‘Nieuwe Kaarte van’t Koninkryk Bengale’ 1726: An Influential but Unreliable Dutch Map of Bengal”; Catherine Porter on “Progress or Plagiarism? The Mapping of Early Modern Ireland”; and Graham Cooper on “Control by the Crown of Salters (Deer-Leaps) in Private Deer-Parks: New Insights from a Duchy Dispute Map of Leagram Park, 1608.” Lancaster University, Regional Heritage Centre, Lancaster LA1 4YT. 9:30 AM to 3:50 PM. £25.

18 February, Chicago. Chicago Map Society meeting. Richard Pegg on “A Chinese Map of the World (Wanguo yutu) in the Newberry Library Collection.” Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library, 60 W Walton St, Chicago IL 60610. 5:30 PM. Donations requested.

18 February, New York. New York Map Society meeting. Field trip to Manhattan Borough President’s Map Room. A behind-the-scenes look at oversize manuscript maps held by the Manhattan Map Room led by official topographer Hector Rivera. Municipal Building (19th floor), 1 Center St, New York NY 10007 (subway: Brooklyn Bridge). 6:30 PM. RSVP mandatory (see link for details).

18 February, Washington, D.C. Washington Map Society meeting. John Rennie Short on The National Atlas. “This talk looks at the emergence of the modern national atlas in the late nineteenth century down to the present day and reflects the rise of the postcolonial, the newly independent and the recently reinvented. The talk considers a number of themes, including how the atlas depicts national landscapes, embodies national communities and condenses national debates.” Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building (Geography and Map Room, basement), 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington DC 20050. 7:00 PM. Free admission.

23 February, Cambridge. Cambridge Seminars in the History of Cartography. Dorian Gerhold on “Plans of London buildings drawn c. 1450–1720.” Emmanuel College (Gardner Room), St Andrew’s St, Cambridge CB2 3AP. 5:30 PM. Free admission.

23 February, Denver. Rocky Mountain Map Society meeting. Lorraine Sherry on “Lithuania and the Baltic States: Welcome to NATO and the Euro Zone!” Denver Public Library (Gates Room, 5th floor), 10 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver CO 80204. 5:30 PM. Free admission.

24 February, Washington, D.C. Philip Lee Phillips Map Society meeting. Curtis Melvin, creator of North Korea Uncovered, on “North Korea Uncovered: The Crowd-Sourced Mapping of the World’s Most Secret State.” Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building (Mumford Room, 6th floor), 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington DC 20050. Noon. Free admission.

25 February, London. Maps and Society lecture. Maj. Tony Keeley on “Cartography in the Sands: Mapping Oman at 1:100,000 and Fixing the Position of the Kuria Muria Islands in 1984.” Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Woburn Sq, London WC1H OAB. 5:00 PM. Free admission.

Seafloor Gravity Map

NASA Earth Observatory map by Joshua Stevens

The ocean floor is still very much terra incognita: only 5 to 15 percent of it has been mapped via bathymetry. But using military satellite measurements of the Earth’s shape and gravity field, a new map of the ocean floor has been created. “The result of their efforts is a global data set that tells where the ridges and valleys are by showing where the planet’s gravity field varies. […] Shades of orange and red represent areas where seafloor gravity is stronger (in milligals) than the global average, a phenomenon that mostly coincides with the location of underwater ridges, seamounts, and the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates. Shades of blue represent areas of lower gravity, corresponding largely with the deepest troughs in the ocean.”


Three Fantasy Authors Talk About Maps

traitor-baru-cormorantSeth Dickinson’s debut fantasy novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant (which by the way is an amazing book that I recommend wholeheartedly) contains a map unlike your typical fantasy map: it includes annotations by the protagonist that conceal as much as they reveal, and reveal more about the protagonist than they do the geography. In a post on Omnivoracious last October, Dickinson explained how that map came into being.

In Rosemary Kirstein’s Steerswoman series (which has been recommended to me), the scope of the maps broadens book by book as the protagonist’s horizons expands. Today she talked about working with the map (now in digital form) as she writes book five of the series.

Updraft_9780765377838_HC.inddFran Wilde’s debut novel Updraft (which I’ve heard great things about and should read soon) came out last September. Yesterday, in a blog post called “A Map Year,” she ruminated on the many ways an author encounters maps, in fiction and in real life, and as a metaphor for growth and creativity.

The Hunt-Lenox Globe


The Hunt-Lenox Globe, a five-inch engraved copper globe dating from the early 1500s, is one of the earliest surviving globes, one of the earliest depictions of the New World and one of only two places where the phrase hic sunt dracones (“here be dragons”) can be found. It’s held by the New York Public Library, who are justly proud of it. They’ve received a grant to produce a 3D scan of the globe; once that’s finished, the 3D model will be available online. In the meantime, here are some other images of the Hunt-Lenox Globe from the NYPL. [via]

Mapping the Zika Virus (and the Problems with Doing So)

Maps about the Zika virus have been cropping up lately. I’ve been reluctant to post them, initially because I didn’t want to play a role in whipping up unnecessary panic, but also because—the more I looked at them—many of the maps are problematic in and of themselves.

Some, like this CDC map of countries with active Zika virus transmission, lack useful detail. Or if they have detail, it’s not at all helpful: The Economist’s map shows the local risk of transmission and the number of travellers from Brazil; this map aggregates news stories about the virus and overlays the predicted distribution—predicted, mind—of two mosquito species. Neither map says anything about the spread of the virus itself; both could do a great job of scaring the crap out of anyone who gives either map a casual look. Finally, like these Scientific American maps, they can be extremely U.S.-centric, suggesting that the virus is only a problem insofar as it affects us. [via]

Update, 4 February: Direct Relief’s Zika virus maps, some of which taken from the above, share the problem of indirectness but lose the U.S.-centricity. [via]

Another Look at Matthew Cusick

Matthew Cusick, Genevieve's Wave (after #3884 by Pierre Carreau), 2014 Inlaid maps on panel 40 x 62 inches.
Matthew Cusick, Genevieve’s Wave (after #3884 by Pierre Carreau), 2014. Inlaid maps on panel.

Creative Boom, an art an design blog, has a brief profile of the artist Matthew Cusick that focuses on his recent ocean scenes. I first blogged about Cusick in 2006; he’s even better now. If you’re not familiar with his art, which is constructed from collages of old maps, you really owe it to yourself to take a look. A close look. [via]

Lost Cornish Map Rediscovered

A seventeenth-century map of Falmouth, Cornwall lost for more than a century has turned up in the private collection of a local historian who died last June. Created by George Withiell in 1690, the map, titled A True Map of all Sir Peter Killigrew’s Lands in the Parish of Mylor and part of Budock Lands, was last on public display in the 1880s and had gone missing since then. The historian, Alan Pearson, found it for sale in Bristol 10 years ago. The map is now on display at the Cornwall Record Office in Bristol. BBC News, West Briton. [via/via]

A Snowstorm Revealed Through Traffic Delays


NPR graphics editor Alyson Hurt discovered that this month’s blizzard was showing up in Google Maps as traffic delays, and whipped up a little script that took regular screencaps of Google Maps’s traffic layer. She then created an animated GIF from the screencaps. The end result (above) dramatically shows the storm sweeping across the mid-Atlantic states.

Andy Woodruff then took Hurt’s script and created an animation of an ordinary day of Boston traffic. For a “quick, crude” script it certainly seems to have potential. [via]

‘We Are One’ in Colonial Williamsburg

We Are One: Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence, an exhibition by the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center (it ran from May to November last year) is going on tour. First stop: Colonial Williamsburg. From March 2016 to January 2017 it will appear at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia. From the press release: “More than 30 unique objects from Colonial Williamsburg’s collections will be included in the exhibition, which were not shown when it initially opened at the Boston Public Library in May 2015. […] Many of the objects from Colonial Williamsburg’s collection to be seen in We Are One are on view for the first time or are rarely exhibited.” [via]

Previously: Mapping the American Revolution.