National Geographic looks at the rivalry between two early cartographers of Mars who based their maps on observations made during Mars’s “Great Opposition” in 1877: Nathaniel Green, whose Mars “was a delicately shaded world with landforms that gradually rose from vast plains and features that blended into one another” (pictured here) and Giovanni Schiaparelli, whose Mars had more detail—including those famous canals—but was less accurate.
Kenneth Field has released a dasymetric dot density map of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results. One dot equals one vote. “Data at a county level has been reapportioned to urban areas. Dots are positioned randomly.” It’s in the same vein as his 2016 map, which went all kinds of viral when he posted it in early 2018. A high-resolution downloadable poster is here; an interactive version is here.
Penn State University Libraries’ collection of Pennsylvania Sanborn fire insurance maps dates to 1925, which means that as of this year they’re in the public domain—and freely available to use. Meanwhile, Maps Mania has a roundup of other fire insurance maps resources. The Library of Congress has a collection of 50,000 Sanborn atlases, 35,000 of which are available online (collections, navigator). In the United Kingdom, fire insurance maps were produced by Charles E. Goad Ltd.; Goad maps are available via the British Library and the National Library of Scotland.
Fire insurance maps are an invaluable resource for historical researchers: they’re extremely detailed snapshots of the built environment of virtually every city and town, and there are usually several such snapshots (I’ve seen at least three for my little village, for example), so you can chart a town’s growth over time at a level of detail an OS, quad or topo map can’t match.
Google explains how they identify and take action against fraudulent content—fake reviews, fake listings, content vandalism—on Google Maps.
The Map Books of 2021 page is now live, but at the moment it has very few books listed. If there’s a book coming out in 2021 that should be on this page—basically, any and all books about cartography, maps and related subjects—please let me know. Ideally books should have a publication date (though I’m well aware that dates can move around a lot) and other details available, but I’ll work with what I can get.
Crowdsourced incident reporting—a feature already available in Google Maps and Waze—is coming to Apple Maps: the beta release of iOS 14.5 enables users to report accidents, road hazards and speed checks, with Siri and CarPlay integration. More at CNet’s Roadshow and MacRumors, among others; the final, public release of iOS 14.5 should come out some time in the spring, I think.
So this animation went viral last week:
Pretty amazing full plate tectonic animation of the last billion years from @AndrewMerdith – Merdith et al. 2021 (Earth Science Reviews) @MullerDietmar @EarthByteGroup @UniAdelSciences https://t.co/Plne1y1Qm7 pic.twitter.com/IIFGRaZ3vD
— Alan Collins (@geoAlanC) January 29, 2021
It shows the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates over the past billion years, and it was posted by one of the co-authors of this study proposing a new, single model of plate tectonic activity that covers the past billion years of Earth’s existence. (Previous models, if I understand the abstract correctly, covered shorter periods—for several-hundred-million-year values of short—and didn’t line up with each other.)
Late last year Dan Ford launched a Kickstarter to create a board book (i.e., a children’s book printed on paperboard) about map projections called Map Projections for Babies. Presumably intended to be in the same vein as other board books on surprisingly advanced science topics (Chris Ferrie has a whole series of them; Quantum Computing for Babies is a typical title), Map Projections for Babies “explains how we unwrap the round Earth to make flat maps. This guide for babies (and their loved ones) describes a complex concept in kid-friendly terms. […] This project began last year, when I was inspired threefold by my daughter’s curiosity, my love for maps, and a growing number of board books that condense complex concepts for babies.” The Kickstarter was successful, the book is now at the printing stage and is on track for delivery in April; additional orders will be accepted at some point. [Geography Realm]
The New York Times maps the distribution of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles. “County officials recently estimated that one in three of Los Angeles County’s roughly 10 million people have been infected with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. But even amid an uncontrolled outbreak, some Angelenos have faced higher risk than others. County data shows that Pacoima, a predominantly Latino neighborhood that has one of the highest case rates in the nation, has roughly five times the rate of Covid-19 cases as much richer and whiter Santa Monica.”
While you’re waiting for me to review Kären Wigen and Caroline Winterer’s Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era, here is some more information about this collection of essays about how maps have been used to depict time. Time in Maps is the end product of a conference held at Stanford’s David Rumsey Map Center in November 2017, and the editors are history professors at Stanford, so naturally the university’s media channels are all over it: Stanford Today published a piece last week that coincided with the book launch, and there’s also a short video.
Previously: New Books from the University of Chicago Press.
The New York Times maps the risk of getting COVID-19 in the United States on a county-by-county basis (previously: Mapping COVID-19 Exposure Risk at Events). [Maps Mania]
Now that vaccines are available, they can be mapped as well. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker includes this map of total doses administered in the U.S.; this NBC News county-level map showing the percentage of Americans living within 50 miles of a pharmacy expected to carry a vaccine dates from December and is probably out of date by now. [Maps Mania]
According to a survey, more than a quarter of the U.S. population would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if it was available to them. This number is not evenly distributed: this map from MIT Technology Review, presented as a map showing whether your neighbours want to get vaccinated, reveals the regional pockets of vaccine hesitancy (see above). (What the actual hell, Louisiana?)
Alejandro Polanco’s latest Kickstarter project is the Pandemic Atlas. The idea, he says, “is to gather the most relevant information about the pandemics and major epidemics that have hit humanity throughout history to create an atlas in the visual style of my Minimal Geography project.” In 130 pages, the Pandemic Atlas explores major epidemics throughout history, and includes general chapters on heath subjects. The project’s inception actually predates the COVID-19 pandemic; it was initally inspired by the 100th anniversary of the 1918 pandemic, but at the time there was not much interest in the topic. Fast forward today, when an atlas about historical pandemics is just a little too topical.
The Pandemic Atlas Kickstarter runs through 24 February (it’s already met its goal). €20 gets you a digital copy of the atlas, €60 adds the hardcover.
Previously: The Minimal Geography Atlas.
Keyhole co-founder Michael T. Jones died January 18th at the age of 60. He’d been undergoing cancer treatment. Geospatial World: “Words can’t describe the contribution and impact of Michael Jones’s work on democratizing and personalizing maps. He is to be credited for not only launching Keyhole in 2000—the original version of Google Earth, quite accidentally as he put it in a conversation with Geospatial World—but also for his years of work on improving on it as the Chief Technology Advocate of Google after its acquisition by the IT giant.” Last year the Royal Geographic Society awarded him the 2020 Patron’s Medal.
(To be honest, between Jones, John Hanke and Brian McClendon I’m not sure who did what at Keyhole and Google Earth: the company history isn’t quite as ingrained in computer lore as, say, Apple’s is.)
In an interview with Atlas Obscura’s Max Ufberg, legendary ski resort map artist James Niehues (no stranger to us here at The Map Room: previously) discusses some of the challenges involved in creating his paintings. For example:
What’s the most challenging aspect of the work?
Showing all the trails in the most understandable and navigational way. It may not always be in one view, but I strive for the single view because it leaves no doubt about any trail connections or direction. Many mountains have slopes on more than one face, which requires manipulating the features to show the back side with the front on a flat sheet of paper. This has to be done with care since skiers will be referring to the image to choose their way down; all elements have to be relative to what they are experiencing on the mountain.
More to add to the list of map stationery. San Lorenzo Design sells a number of map-themed items, including, notably, Kartos’s A5 notepad and two sizes of map notecard sets (small, large). You’ll find them at specialty stores rather than on the big online stores. The Pen Addict has a review of the large notecards.
Previously: A Guide to Map Stationery.