Mapping Methane Emissions

World map of methane emissions from fossil fuel exploitation
Methane emissions from oil, gas, and coal exploitation in the Global Fuel Exploitation Inventory (GFEI) version 1 in 2016 (Mg/y/km2)

NASA Earth Observatory:

Funded by NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, scientists recently built a new series of maps detailing the geography of methane emissions from fossil fuel production. Using publicly available data reported in 2016, the research team plotted fuel exploitation emissions—or “fugitive emissions” as the UNFCCC calls them—that arise before the fuels are ever consumed. The maps delineate where these emissions occur based on the locations of coal mines, oil and gas wells, pipelines, refineries, and fuel storage and transportation infrastructure. The maps were recently published at NASA’s Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC). (Note that 2016 was the most recent year with complete UN emissions data available at the time of this study.)

The Challenger Map Re-Emerges; Fundraising Campaign Under Way

The iconic Challenger map—a 26×24-metre exaggerated relief map of British Columbia made of nearly a million pieces of jigsaw-cut plywood, is now on display at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame as part of an exhibition on the early days of the Pacific National Exhibition, where the map was on display between 1954 and 1997. This is only for a few months; its appearance part of a fundraising campaign to restore the map.

Previously: Challenger Map Gets Reprieve; Challenger Map Update; Another Challenger Map Update; Challenger Map Back on Display, Sort Of.

North of Nowhere: The Osher’s Fantasy Map Exhibition

The Osher Map Library’s new exhibition, North of Nowhere, West of the Moon: Myth, Fiction, and Fantasy in Maps, opened on Saturday.

North of Nowhere title cardInspired by our recent acquisition of Bernard Sleigh’s six-foot long “An Ancient Mappe of Fairyland, Newly Discovered and Set Forth,” (1918) we have selected thematic maps, books, and ephemera from our collections that reflect whimsy and visionary thinking. This exhibit invites visitors to ponder the ways in which myth, fantasy, and fiction have, for centuries, provided both an escape into alternate worlds in times of great strife, as well as an opportunity to create alternate worlds and imagine new realities.”

Runs until May 30th; free admission with timed ticket. The digital version won’t be online until February (I’ll post an update then, because this is very much relevant to my interests), but in the meantime the Library is posting teasers on its Instagram account.

New Exhibition: Mapping Fiction

Title card for the Huntington Library's Mapping Fiction exhibitionA new exhibit on the relationship between maps and literature, Mapping Fiction, opened on January 15th at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. “On view in the Library’s West Hall, the exhibition is timed to coincide with the centennial of the publication of James Joyce’s groundbreaking 1922 modernist novel, Ulysses. […] About 70 items will be on view, focused on novels and maps from the 16th through the 20th century—largely early editions of books that include elaborate maps of imaginary worlds.” Tickets required; runs until May 2nd. More from the Guardian. [WMS]

Tupaia’s Map Reinterpreted

Tupaia’s map
Tupaia’s map

At Knowable, Cristy Gelling looks at new interpretations of Tupaia’s map of the Pacific Ocean. Tupaia was a Polynesian navigator who became attached to Cook’s expedition. His map, drawn beginning in 1769, has confounded observers because its islands do not line up with the actual geography of the Pacific’s islands. One 2018 study deciphers the map with an alternative, more complicated arrangement in which north is at the centre of the map. This proposal is not universally accepted.

States of Confusion

Richard Peter Johnson has been posting quizzes on Reddit where the shapes of countries and U.S. states are flipped, rotated and/or inverted and you’re challenged to identify them. It’s actually harder than you might think—especially when they’re inverted or mirror-flipped—and messes with your perception in the way that, say, upside-down world maps do.

COVID-19 Deaths in the Post-Vaccine Era

Maps from the New York Times showing in which U.S. counties COVID deaths increased or decreased after vaccines became widely available.
The New York Times

The New York Times looks at the death rates from COVID-19 after vaccines became widely available. Along with analyses of racial and age groups, there is this on the geographic front: “Where people are dying of Covid-19 also has changed since vaccines became widely available. Death rates fell in most counties across the country, and in about one in five counties, the death rate fell by more than half. But in about one in 10 counties, death rates have more than doubled.”

CityLab Continues Its COVID Mapping Project

Bloomberg CityLab is continuing its COVID-19 mapping project: they’ve issued another call for reader-submitted maps. “[T]he new year is a chance to take stock of where we stand now. Once again, Bloomberg CityLab invites you to make a map that reflects on how your world has shifted or been reframed during the pandemic.” Due date is 17 January.

The Quarantine Atlas (book cover)Previously: CityLab Wants Your Hand-Drawn Quarantine Maps; Maps from Isolation; CityLab Wants Your Homemade Map of 2020.

Preorder The Quarantine Atlas: Mapping Life under COVID-19 at Amazon (Canada, UK).

Google Rerouted Traffic Up Poorly Maintained Mountain Roads During a Blizzard

Screenshot of Google Maps showing driving directions in California
Screenshot (Crystal A. Kolden/@pyrogeog on Twitter)

Last week, when a snowstorm closed Interstate 80 east of Sacramento, Google Maps started redirecting traffic up poorly maintained mountain roads, which is about as good an idea during a blizzard as it sounds.

As SFGate reports,

Other dispatches from Twitter allege that the service—particularly its mobile app—directed people to closed-off highways, mountain passes and lakeside roads to get around. This is in direct contrast to Caltrans’ messaging to avoid workarounds. Caltrans District 3 spokesperson Steve Nelson told SFGATE on Monday that they were seeing drivers trying to skirt highway closures with side streets. “They’ll take side roads and try and sneak past the closures, and that never ends well,” he said.

Google engineer Sören Meyer-Eppler responded on Twitter to spell out some of the technical and logistical problems involved in rerouting traffic during bad weather: the difficulty in finding timely data (and in such cases data need to be really timely) and the risk of false positives. More at Jalopnik.

Hand-drawn Map Leads Man Abducted in Childhood to Birth Mother

Vice: “In an attempt to locate his birth family, a man who was abducted at the age of four resorted to drawing a map of his childhood hometown from memory and posting it online. The map went viral in China, resulting in the 37-year-old reconnecting this week with his long-lost mother, whom he is set to see for the first time in 33 years on Jan. 1.” [MAPS-L]

Upcoming Guardian Masterclass on Maps

An Evolution of Cartography is an online workshop offered by the Guardian as part of a series they’re calling masterclasses. “In this insightful masterclass with experts from Ordnance Survey, you will discover how maps, and our relationship to them, have evolved over time. You will learn how the way that a map is designed can influence the way in which it is interpreted, and why this means that even the most authoritative map may not be as objective as we think.” The three-hour course, taught by the OS’s Paul Naylor and Jess Baker, focuses on data visualizations and map techniques. It takes place on Thursday, 17 March 2022 and costs £89 plus booking fee. [WMS]