Though the effects of the Gulf Stream were known to seafarers for centuries, Benjamin Franklin was the first to name it and chart it. The Library of Congress’s map blog has a post about the maps of the Gulf Stream produced by Franklin with his cousin, Timothy Folger, a ship captain who knew the currents. “Folger and Franklin jointly produced a chart of the Gulf Stream in 1768, first published in London by the English firm Mount and Page. The Geography and Map Division holds one of only three known copies of this first edition (see above), in addition to a copy of the ca. 1785 second edition.”
Mapping Indiana: Five Centuries of Treasures is an exhibition of maps from the collection of the Indiana Historical Society. “Featuring several original—and some never before seen—pieces from our collection, Mapping Indiana explores the ways we think about maps, how we use them and how they have helped to shape Indiana.” From January 16 to April 2 at the Society’s Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis. [via]
Nicolas Crane reviews Jeremy Black’s Metropolis: Mapping the City (Conway, October 2015) for Geographical magazine. “The aim is to explore through time the visualisation of cities, so we start with a terracotta plan of the Mesopotamian holy city of Nippur, in what is now Iraq, then travel through Renaissance cities, New World cities, Imperial cities and mega cities. […] If you’ve ever wondered why cities work, you’ll find the answer in this beautiful book.” Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
An interactive map of attacks on aid workers since 2000. IRIN: “This map, a joint product between IRIN and Humanitarian Outcomes, is the first time ever the full scope of aid worker security events has been presented in visual form, which can be searched and filtered and browsed. It shows events from the beginning of 2000 until the end of May 2015. It’s a sobering testament to the dangerous work of saving lives.” [via]
Civilized Landscape was an exhibition of Ji Zhou‘s photographic art at New York’s Klein Sun Gallery. The Beijing-based Zhou merges physical art and photography in his work: “Ji Zhou collects maps, hand-sculpting them into peaks and troughs to mimic mountaintops. He includes books that are assembled into cantilevered towers resembling city skyscrapers. These ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ illusions are then photographed, further augmenting reality.” The exhibition apparently ran from September to October 2015, but the Huffington Post got hold of it this week, and it’s gone viral from there.
Yesterday the New York Public Library made available high-quality downloads of some 180,000 public-domain photographs, postcards, maps and other items from its digital collection—of which more than 21,000 are maps, based on my quick search. I can see spending an awful lot of time poking around in there, can’t you?
Clouds swirl across the Pacific Ocean in this time lapse. The data is from Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite in geostationary orbit over New Guinea. Every 10 minutes, it photographs the hemisphere below it. This animation is a loop of yesterday’s images. Strong winds head from East Asia, in the upper left, toward Alaska, hidden by clouds in the upper right. Australia is in the bottom center, with the edge of the Antarctic ice sheet below it and tropic storm Ula to its right. The reflection of the sun on smooth water, called sunglint, moves east to west across the Pacific just south of the Equator. At this time of year – the Southern Hemisphere’s summer – the North Pole is never sunlit, but the South Pole always is.
Also from Birlinn, The Railway Atlas of Scotland: Two Hundred Years of History in Maps by David Spaven, which came out last October.
Previously: British Railways, Past and Present.
The National’s Alan Taylor reviews Glasgow: Mapping the City by John Moore (Birlinn, October 2015), an illustrated book of maps of the city dating back to the 16th century (via). This is one of several map books published by Birlinn that cover the history of Scotland in maps: previous volumes include Edinburgh: Mapping the City by Christopher Fleet and Daniel MacCannell (2014) and Scotland: Mapping the Nation by Christopher Fleet, Charles W. J. Withers and Margaret Wilkes (2012).
A new geologic map of Alaska has been published by the U.S. Geological Survey. From the USGS release: “This map is a completely new compilation, carrying the distinction of being the first 100 percent digital statewide geologic map of Alaska. It reflects the changes in our modern understanding of geology as it builds on the past. More than 750 references were used in creating the map, some as old as 1908 and others as new as 2015. As a digital map, it has multiple associated databases that allow creation of a variety of derivative maps and other products.” The map is available traditionally in two PDF sheets, as well as in geodatabase, Shapefile and other database formats.
The place needs decorating and a new coat of paint, there’s still a ton of things to do to make it feel like home, and more than a few glitches that still need fixing, but it looks like the structure will stay up and keep the inside dry and warm. Time to open the doors.
In other words: welcome back to The Map Room.
It feels good to be back at this.
Susan Dennard: “Because I’m currently writing the second book in the Witchlands series (titled Windwitch), I thought I’d discuss maps. Why? Because maps are really, really important in storytelling. I don’t care what genre you’re writing—knowing Where Things Are not only helps the drafting process, but it also helps ground the story.”
Gretchen Peterson reviews the second edition of Cynthia Brewer’s Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users (Esri Press, December 2015). “I’d say it’s much better than the previous edition. All the images have been updated and are now in keeping with modern cartography practices. All the typical things that you need to know are covered from fonts and labels to color and layout.” Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
Dirk’s LEGO globe consists of nearly 4,000 bricks. With the stand, it reaches half a metre in height (20 inches) and weighs 7.3 kg (16 pounds). The project page describes the project in obsessive detail, with lots of photos.