The Nuns Who Helped Map the Night Sky

Catholic News Service: “Of the many momentous or menial tasks women religious perform, one of the better-kept secrets has been the role of four Sisters of the Holy Child Mary who were part of a global effort to make a complete map and catalog of the starry skies. […] Sisters Emilia Ponzoni, Regina Colombo, Concetta Finardi and Luigia Panceri, all born in the late 1800s and from the northern Lombardy region near Milan, helped map and catalog nearly half a million stars for the Vatican’s part in an international survey of the night sky.” [@CUATheoPhilLib]

All Over the Map: A National Geographic Map Blog

You’d think that National Geographic’s stable of blogs would have included a map blog (I’m leaving aside Contours, a project of National Geographic Maps, which went dark in 2011), but that apparently hasn’t been the case until yesterday, with the launch of All Over the Map, co-written by former Map Lab bloggers Betsy Mason and Greg Miller. Map Lab closed down last November; it’s good to see Betsy and Greg back at it.

How to Circulate a Fake Election Map

fake-uk-elections BuzzFeed’s Jim Waterson calls out a map making the social media rounds that purports to show the results of the 2016 local elections in the U.K. Only it doesn’t. It’s apparently being spread by Labour supporters keen to defend their party’s performance in the elections and convinced their party is receiving unfair media treatment—and of course, people tend to believe what they want to believe. Waterson goes on to show how to make a fake map of your very own. [Thierry Gregorius]

Previously: When Maps Lie.

Preserving Blaeu’s ‘Archipelagus Orientalis’

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Joan Blaeu, Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus, 1663. Map, 118.5 cm × 152 cm. National Library of Australia.

The National Library of Australia’s copy of Joan Blaeu’s Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus, a 1663 map that has one of the earliest depictions of New Holland and Tasmania, is in “an exceedingly fragile state”—and it’s only one of four copies left. After a successful appeal two years ago to raise funds for conservation work, the map is now heading to the University of Melbourne, where conservation experts will determine the best way to preserve it. [History of Cartography Project]

DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery of Fort McMurray

DigitalGlobe’s satellite imagery of the Fort McMurray wildfire, which uses “short wave infrared imagery (SWIR) to ‘cut’ through the smoke and identify the active footprint and burning hotspots” and reveals where buildings have been damaged or destroyed by the fire, can be viewed at Gizmodo and on DigitalGlobe’s own blog.

Previously: Fort McMurray Fire Roundup.

It’s ‘Too Early’ to Announce the Fate of the Maine Atlas

It’s been three months since Garmin announced its purchase of DeLorme, and there’s still no word on the future of DeLorme’s Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, at least if this item in the May 2016 issue of Down East is any indication.

As of press time, Garmin hasn’t committed either to keeping or killing the Gazetteer, but the PR mumbo jumbo doesn’t sound good: “We’re currently evaluating the DeLorme product roadmap, but it’s too early to make any official announcements on our plan going forward,” one press rep told us. “We are still continuing to sell [Gazetteers] and we don’t expect that to change, um, right away,” said another.

The article also notes that, unlike the atlas, Google Maps and GPS don’t indicate road quality—which in rural Maine is very much a thing. [MAPS-L]

Previously: Mainers Speak Out on the DeLorme Atlas‘Keep Your Hands Off My Gazetteer’Maine Reacts to DeLorme’s Acquisition by Garmin; Garmin Is Buying DeLorme.

The First Global Topographic Map of Mercury

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The first complete topographic map of Mercury, based on data from the MESSENGER mission, was released last Friday: MESSENGER, USGS. The version above is a Robinson projection without labels (Robinson with labels, global DEM). “Mercury’s surface is colored according the topography of the surface, with regions with higher elevations colored brown, yellow and red, and regions with lower elevations appearing blue and purple.” [GIS and Science, The National Map]

And Now Some Map News from New England

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Philip Carrigain, New Hampshire, 1816. Paper map, 132 × 121 cm. David Rumsey Map Collection.

The Wiscasset Newspaper (seriously, that’s what it’s called) of Wiscasset, Maine profiles former resident Gary Flanders, who’s “made it a hobby collecting old colonial maps of the Wiscasset area.” [WMS]

The New Hampshire Union Leader marks the 200th anniversary of Philip Carrigain’s map of New Hampshire; only 250 copies were distributed, some of which are still in the possession of the communities who submitted their surveys to Carrigain. (The above copy comes from the David Rumsey collection.) [WMS]

Canada’s Arctic Waters Are ‘Dangerously Unmapped’

Climate change has made the Arctic increasingly open to shipping, and more ships travel the Canadian Arctic every year. But as Claire Eamer argues in Hakai magazine, the lack of mapping makes such voyages a dangerous proposition. “[J]ust because the ice is melting it doesn’t mean the waterways are safe. The federal Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) is responsible for mapping Canada’s waters. So far, they’ve only managed to map roughly 10 percent of Arctic waterways in accordance with international standards.” [CCA]

Fort McMurray Fire Roundup

Here are some links to maps and satellite imagery of the wildfire that forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alberta this week.

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1. The fire is fuelled in part by abnormally high temperatures: 32°C (90°F) was reported earlier this week. The above temperature anomaly map, based on MODIS data from NASA’s Terra satellite, demonstrates how unusual these temperatures are: “The map above shows land surface temperature from April 26 to May 3, 2016, compared to the 2000–2010 average for the same one-week period. Red areas were hotter than the long-term average; blue areas were below average.”

2. NASA’s Earth Observatory is also assembling a collection of Landsat satellite images of the fire:

(Sources: 3 May, 4 May, 5 May)

3. Smoke from the fire is making it into the United States, and turning up on NOAA imagery:

4. Maclean’s and CBC News have tried to depict the size of the fire by superimposing it on other cities in Canada and elsewhere in the world; so has Kyrstyn Morochuk, whose maps have been reposted by the Huffington Post. I’m not sure who came up with it first.

Previously: Canadian Wildfire Maps.

India Proposes Fines, Jail Terms for ‘Incorrect’ Maps

The government of India has long been obsessed with maps that failed to show its official and “correct” borders—i.e., maps that showed the Pakistan-controlled parts of Jammu and Kashmir as part of Pakistan, or Chinese-controlled Aksai Chin and Chinese-claimed Arunachal Pradesh as part of China. Maps for an international audience that showed the de facto situation on the ground rather than the Indian claim have been censored at the border. Now things have escalated: a draft bill proposes drastic penalties: up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 100 crore (about $15 million U.S.; 1 crore = 10 million) for publishing a map or geospatial data with the “wrong” boundaries. News coverage: Hindustani TimesQuartz IndiaWashington Post. [Stefan Geens/WMS]

Previously: India Censors The Economist’s Kashmir MapIndia’s Mapping Panic ContinuesThe Survey of India Isn’t HelpingIndia Stamps Publications’ “Incorrect” Maps at the BorderMaps Must Be Cleared by the Survey of IndiaGoogle Earth, India and Security—AgainGoogle Earth: Indian Reactions.

Chidō Museum Exhibit Features Huge Map of Northeastern Japan

An exhibition at the Chidō Museum in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture features a huge (11 m × 5 m) mid-17th-century map of northeastern Japan, the Asahi Shimbun reports: “It is a copy of the Dewa Ikkoku no Ezu picture map, which was jointly compiled by feudal domains controlling the region stretching from today’s Yamagata Prefecture to neighboring Akita Prefecture.” [WMS]