Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands first appeared (in English translation) in 2010. Since then it seems to have achieved a longevity few books of any sort manage. A pocket edition came out in 2014. On Wikipedia (of all places) there’s a companion to the book, linking to entries for each of the Atlas’s essays. And just last week it was featured on The Paris Review’s blog. (See also this 2013 interview with Schalansky at, appropriately enough, The Island Review.) Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
A couple of years ago the Ordnance Survey posted a series of cartographic design principles to inform and promote “good map design.” The principles are understanding user requirements, a consideration of the display format (e.g., paper vs. web), simplicity, legibility, consistency, accessibility (everything from data format to colourblind inclusiveness to licensing), a clear visual hierarchy, and good composition. (Last year the Ordnance Survey’s blog published a series of posts on these principles, using mostly similar text but different examples.)
This Book Riot piece on fantasy maps from last September touches on a number of subjects I can never get enough information on: the editorial decision on whether to include a map, how one becomes a fantasy map maker, what information from the author does the map maker have to work with, how the maps are created. Practical subjects, in other words. Includes quotes from two people in publishing and two map makers: Tim Paul and Rhys Davies. [via]
Here are two interactive maps that show the scale of recent refugee migrations. Lucify’s interactive map (screenshot above) shows the flow of asylum seekers to European countries since 2012. And this interactive map, compiled by The Conversation from UNHCR data, shows the size of refugee populations originating from or residing within each country from 1975 to 2010. In each case, the numbers grow with each passing year. More from Scientific American’s SA Visual blog. [via]
Time’s John Patrick Pullen compares how easy or difficult it is to send driving directions to your phone using maps from Apple, Google and Microsoft before coming up with a surprise winner: “I pulled up MapQuest for a punchline on this story, but the joke’s on all of us. MapQuest is, by far, the easiest way to get maps from your desktop to your phone.” I really ought to try this out myself and see if I agree with him.
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These two Landsat images illustrate the extent of flooding along the Wabash and Illinois Rivers at the end of last year, as 6-10 inches of rain fell over the midwestern United States. The image from 8 December 2015, above left, shows normal water levels; the image from 1 January 2016, above right, shows the rivers in flood. Use the slider to compare the two views. Original image. [via]
January 14, London. Maps and Society lecture. University of London PhD candidate Nydia Pineda De Avila (PhD Candidate, Queen Mary, University of London) will speak on “Experiencing Early Lunar Maps through an Eighteenth-Century Collection.” Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Woburn Square, London WC1H OAB. 5:00 PM. Free admission.
January 19, Washington, DC. The authors of Mapping the West with Lewis and Clark (Levenger, 2015) will discuss their book. “Ralph E. Ehrenberg, chief of the Library’s Geography and Map Division, and his co-author, Smithsonian Institution curator emeritus Herman J. Viola, retrace the expedition with more than 100 images reproduced in exquisite detail.” Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20050. Noon. Free admission.
January 26, New York. Andrew Kapochunas of LithuanianMaps.com will give a talk entitled “How Maps and Map Collecting Helped an Immigrant Find His Place in the World.” “Andrew will take attendees on a journey through time, beginning with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 13th Century, and through space, as he discusses his struggle to find his place in the world.” New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwartzman Building, South Court: Classroom A, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, NY 10018. 6:30 PM. Free admission.
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.