Once again, I’m a bit late with my annual gift guide. The idea of which is, if you have a map-obsessed person in your life and would like to give them something map-related—or you are a map-obsessed person and would like your broad hints to have something to link to—this guide may give you some ideas.
This list is a long way from comprehensive. Be sure to check out gift guides from previous years: see, for example, the 2021, 2019, 2018 and 2017 gift guides (in 2020 I focused on map stationery). Much of what’s listed may still be available. And even more books are listed on the Map Books of 2022 page.
Please keep in mind that this is not a list of recommendations: what’s here is mainly what I’ve spotted online, and there’s probably a lot more out there. In many cases I haven’t even seen what’s listed here, much less reviewed it: these are simply things that look like they might be fit for gift giving. (Anyone who tries to parlay this into “recommended by The Map Room” is going to get a very sad look from me.)
Finally, this post contains affiliate links; I receive a cut of the purchase price if you make a purchase via these links.
The Bois Forte Native Names Map collects more than 100 original Ojibwe names in the traditional territory of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, in what is now northeastern Minnesota. The hand-drawn map is the result of a two-year collaboration between the band, Ely Folk School and volunteer artists. A limited first-edition print is available via a school fundraiser; plans are afoot for a mass-produced paper map, as well as an online version. Details here; also see the Star Tribune’s coverage. Thanks to Paul for the link.
Satellite observations have made it possible to evaluate the success of Ukraine’s wheat and barley harvest, even in active war zones or occupied territories. NASA Earth Observatory reports that the harvest was, in the end, larger than expected: “At the outset of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February, some analysts cautioned that 20 to 30 percent of Ukraine’s winter crops might not be harvested at the end of the summer. However, NASA Harvest’s analysis indicates that 94 percent of the winter crop was harvested, including 88 percent of winter crops in areas not controlled by Ukraine.”
Garrit Franke thinks a change in Google Maps’s web address—it now redirects from a subdirectory, maps.google.com, to a folder on Google’s root directory, google.com/maps1—means that location permission given to Google Maps (a normal thing to do when using maps) could be applied across all of Google’s services without asking for additional permissions. [Daring Fireball/Lat × Long]
Kenneth Field has been a vocal critic of the London tube map’s increasing complexity and clutter. Earlier this year he advocating dumping the map and starting from a clean slate. At last month’s NACIS conference he revealed two versions of a redesign that does just that. Based on an earlier 2019 redesign exercise, this version is inarguably a Beck-inspired diagram; it just benefits from not shoehorning more and more information into an existing, already busy map. In fact, it removes quite a bit of information, relegating it to the index on the reverse side. And in his second variant (above), he commits what I gather is a minor heresy by removing the iconic colours of the original Tube lines, allowing the map to use colour to indicate mode and also accommodate people with colour vision deficiency. Ken explains on his blog post; his NACIS talk is available on YouTube.
The lack of common, broadly adopted geospatial data exchange standards is crippling the geospatial industry. It’s a bit like going to an EV charger with your shiny new electric vehicle and discovering you can’t charge it because your car has a different connector to the one used by the EV charger. The electricity is there and ready to be sucked up and used, but, sorry—your vehicle can’t consume it unless you miraculously come up with a magical adaptor that allows the energy to flow.
James produces a couple of counterexamples—standards for transit data and indoor mapping developed by Google and Apple, respectively—and points to Esri as a possible force for data standardization.
Anton Thomas gives us an update on the map he’s been working on for the past two years: Wild World. “With much ocean ahead, and Antarctica, I think it’ll take another year to finish. But most of the land is done. And prints of certain continents are already available, so the map is going well. It’s just . . . more complex and detailed than I ever dreamed.”
New research from the University of Miami confirms what a lot of emergency managers already knew, that people don’t understand the cone, and the UM experts are working with the National Hurricane Center to reshape it. Meanwhile, one Miami-based TV station, WSVN Channel 7, has already changed the way it displays the cone for storms, starting with Category 1 Hurricane Nicole in November.
Basically, TomTom is building a map ecosystem that can be built on by developers and businesses: an apparent shot across the bow at the Google Maps ecosystem. And indeed that’s how The Next Web sees it: an attempt to “wrestle control” of digital mapping away from Silicon Valley.
TomTom plans to do so by combining map data from its own data, third-party sources, sensor data, and OpenStreetMap. I’ve been around long enough to know that combining disparate map data sources is neither trivial nor easy. It’s also very labour intensive. TomTom says they’ll be using AI and machine learning to automate that process. It’ll be a real accomplishment if they can make it work. It may actually be a very big deal. I suspect it may also be the only way to make this platform remotely any good and financially viable at the same time.
It seems to be steam engine time for GPS alternatives. We’ve already seen two proposals that suggest using constellations of low-flying satellites to provide greater accuracy and more resilience against signal blocking than GPS and other orbital navigation systems can provide. Now a research team in the Netherlands is developing a project called SuperGPS, which promises decimetre-level (10 cm) accuracy through the use of terrestrial transmitters connected to a fibre-optic network. They’ve built a working prototype, and published the results in Nature. More at the TU Delft news release.
A book about the work of Emma Hart Willard (1787-1870) is coming out this month from Visionary Press. The book, Emma Willard: Maps of History, includes an essay by Susan Schulten (who also edited the book) along with reproductions of Willard’s maps, atlases and time charts (for example, the 1828 set of maps that accompanied her History of the United States, or Republic of America), which proved hugely influential in terms of using maps in pedagogy, as well as historical maps and graphical depictions of time. The book is part of a series, Information Graphic Visionaries, that was the subject of a successful Kickstarter last year. Outside of that crowdfunding campaign, the book can be ordered from the publisher for $95 (it’s on sale right now for $85). [Matthew Edney]
“When looking at maps, we should always be mindful of the question: Who is mapping what and for what purpose?” A new exhibition at the Museum Volkskunde in Leiden, in collaboration with Leiden University Libraries, Kaarten: navigeren en manipuleren [Maps: Navigating and Manipulating], which opened last month, gathers together contemporary art and antique maps from their respective collections to explore the question of truth and perspective in maps. One example: a “serio-comic map” from the Crimean war (in Dutch). Another video, also in Dutch. Runs until 29 October 2023. Tickets 15€ or less.
Marie Tharp is the subject of today’s Google Doodle, with an interactive narration of her life story. That story—how Tharp’s pioneering work mapping the ocean floor helped prove the theory of continental drift—is familiar to long-time readers of this blog: this is the 12th post I’ve made about the legendary cartographer. But someone is going to be one of today’s lucky 10,000 because of this, and that’s not a bad thing.
Scientists have now mapped the seafloor around the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai volcano, and as a result we have learned just how massive the January 2022 eruption was. By comparing their soundings with 2017 data, they determined that at least 9.5 km3 of material was discharged. Debris was found 80 km from the volcano, and the volcano’s caldera has been replaced by a cavern 850 m deep. More from the NIWA media release and from ABC (Australia).