The ocean floor is still very much terra incognita: only 5 to 15 percent of it has been mapped via bathymetry. But using military satellite measurements of the Earth’s shape and gravity field, a new map of the ocean floor has been created. “The result of their efforts is a global data set that tells where the ridges and valleys are by showing where the planet’s gravity field varies. […] Shades of orange and red represent areas where seafloor gravity is stronger (in milligals) than the global average, a phenomenon that mostly coincides with the location of underwater ridges, seamounts, and the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates. Shades of blue represent areas of lower gravity, corresponding largely with the deepest troughs in the ocean.”
Seth Dickinson’s debut fantasy novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant (which by the way is an amazing book that I recommend wholeheartedly) contains a map unlike your typical fantasy map: it includes annotations by the protagonist that conceal as much as they reveal, and reveal more about the protagonist than they do the geography. In a post on Omnivoracious last October, Dickinson explained how that map came into being.
Fran Wilde’s debut novel Updraft(which I’ve heard great things about and should read soon) came out last September. Yesterday, in a blog post called “A Map Year,” she ruminated on the many ways an author encounters maps, in fiction and in real life, and as a metaphor for growth and creativity.
Maps about the Zika virus have been cropping up lately. I’ve been reluctant to post them, initially because I didn’t want to play a role in whipping up unnecessary panic, but also because—the more I looked at them—many of the maps are problematic in and of themselves.
Some, like this CDC map of countries with active Zika virus transmission, lack useful detail. Or if they have detail, it’s not at all helpful: The Economist’s map shows the local risk of transmission and the number of travellers from Brazil; this map aggregates news stories about the virus and overlays the predicted distribution—predicted, mind—of two mosquito species. Neither map says anything about the spread of the virus itself; both could do a great job of scaring the crap out of anyone who gives either map a casual look. Finally, like these Scientific American maps, they can be extremely U.S.-centric, suggesting that the virus is only a problem insofar as it affects us. [via]
A seventeenth-century map of Falmouth, Cornwall lost for more than a century has turned up in the private collection of a local historian who died last June. Created by George Withiell in 1690, the map, titled A True Map of all Sir Peter Killigrew’s Lands in the Parish of Mylor and part of Budock Lands, was last on public display in the 1880s and had gone missing since then. The historian, Alan Pearson, found it for sale in Bristol 10 years ago. The map is now on display at the Cornwall Record Office in Bristol. BBC News, West Briton. [via/via]
NPR graphics editor Alyson Hurt discovered that this month’s blizzard was showing up in Google Maps as traffic delays, and whipped up a little script that took regular screencaps of Google Maps’s traffic layer. She then created an animated GIF from the screencaps. The end result (above) dramatically shows the storm sweeping across the mid-Atlantic states.
Planetary globes aren’t the only map-related 3D-printed items being sold on Shapeways; Ian Grasshoff writes to say that he’s flogging 3D relief maps there as well. “I have made it a focus to only use Open Data (LiDAR where available) and Open Source GIS/modeling software,” he writes. “I think the results speak for themselves.”
I’ve blogged about the Tabula Peutingeriana before. It was a medieval copy of a fourth- or fifth-century map of the Roman road network. Combined, its 11 sheets form a scroll 6.82 metres long and only 34 centimetres wide, with territories elongated beyond modern recognition; it was basically the classical period’s equivalent of a TripTik or Beck network map. The sole remaining copy is held by the National Library of Austria: it’s too fragile to put on display, though an exception was made for a single day in 2007.