Judgmental Maps is a blog that posts snarky, profane city maps—basically, city maps overlain with snarky labels of various neighbourhoods—submitted by readers. (Think of the project as Yanko Tsvetkov but with less talent.) A map of Albuquerque posted there last March got noticed by a local radio station, which naturally stirred up some local controversy. This seems to happen a lot: last month it was Orlando. I’m sure this means something, though it’s escaping me at the moment. [via]
I feel a little embarrassed by my constant linking to Geographical magazine’s book reviews, but they point to books, particularly British books, that I otherwise hadn’t heard of—such as Dan Smith’s State of the Middle East Atlas (New Internationalist, November 2015), the third edition of which was just published. From Laura Cole’s review: “[T]he atlas has been revised with new analyses of the region since the Arab Spring began in 2011 as well as the latest on the Israel-Palestine conflict, the refugee crisis and foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria. Smith, cartographer and director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, has kept up with the compelling changes and complicated dynamics of Middle Eastern politics.” Buy at Amazon U.K.
In a blog post, Bradley Beaulieu describes how he worked with artist Maxime Plasse on the map for his fantasy novel Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (published in the U.K. as Twelve Kings). “There’s been a lot of back and forth to get things from my very rough starting point to the final version, so I thought I’d share some of it to give you a sense for how the process typically works.” I am, as you know, a sucker for process; Beaulieu takes us from his own map, which he generated with Fractal Terrains and Campaign Cartographer, to Plasse’s final, full-colour map (above). [via]
Meanwhile, and speaking of georectified map viewers, a project to create a multi-layered online map of London, with maps from the 17th century onward georectified and available through a single interface, has received development funding from the Heritage Lottery. Work on Layers of London, as it will be called, will begin in May. Londonist, IHR, MOLA.
The National Library of Scotland has an online map viewer that overlays georeferenced old maps atop a modern web map interface (Bing, I believe). Among my crowd, it’s the various 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps of London that generate the most excitement, though there are plenty of other locales (mostly but not exclusively in the U.K.) and time periods.
Designer Cameron Booth wondered whether London’s Tube Map could simply be drawn better. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the current iteration of the Tube Map is a diagram that’s almost completely forgotten that it is one. There’s very little rhythm, balance or flow to the composition of the map outside the central ‘thermos flask’, and there’s shockingly little use of a underlying unifying grid. As a result, nothing really aligns properly with anything else anymore.” His solution included getting rid of fare zones, redrawing accessibility icons, rejigging alignments, and lots of other changes. Read his post and his follow-up post for the end result (or results: he’s continuing to refine the map).
The population of the world from 1 CE/AD through the end of the 21st century (projected) is mapped in this video and interactive map from Population Connection, a group concerned with the carrying capacity of the planet and the environmental impact of overpopulation (they used to be Zero Population Growth back in the day). In each, one dot represents one million people. [via]
“While many skills have become obsolete in the digital age, map reading remains an important tool for building children’s spatial reasoning skills and helping them make sense of our world,” writes Deborah Farmer Kris on the PBS Parents website. [via]
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]
Since 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.
Another look at Plotted: A Literary Atlas (Zest, October 2015) a collection of maps of literary worlds by Andrew DeGraff (whose work is quite distinctive and unique), this time from Atlas Obscura (and focusing on his map for Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time). Previously. Amazon (Canada, U.K.) | iBooks
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.”
In 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.” [via] Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
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.