Hoo boy. Globes are everywhere and proof of round-earther brainwashing: that seems to be the point of view of Kandiss Taylor, a former Republican candidate for Georgia governor and recently elected GOP district chair who apparently went full flat-earther in a recent podcast episode. See coverage from Gizmodo, Rolling Stone and Salon.
Author: Jonathan Crowe
Bellerby and the History and Craft of Globemaking
Profiles of premium globemaker Bellerby and Company aren’t exactly scarce, but this one from Geographical magazine is worth a read for its focus on the craft of making globes and its history, and where Bellerby fits into it.
Mapping Anti-Trans Legislation Risk
There has been an outbreak of anti-trans legislation at the state level in the United States, and Erin Reed has spent the last three years tracking it. Her anti-trans legislative risk map measures the extent to which trans people are endangered by such legislation, whether it’s already on the books or could be the offing before the next election. The map reveals, no surprise, a polarized America: one where some states are racing to put anti-trans laws on the books while others enact protections and set themselves up as safe harbours.
Previously: Mapping Safe Washrooms.
European Night Train Network Map
Night train advocacy group Back on Track has a map showing the current network of European night trains offered by various train operators. It’s colour coded by operator, but individual lines are a bit hard to follow, and using various dashed lines for both less-than-daily service and forthcoming service is a bit confusing. Then again, given the sharp uptick of night train services being offered, it’s almost unavoidable that any map of this sort will be a bit of a jumble: compare with Jug Cerović’s version (previously) to see what I mean.
Leventhal’s Urban Atlas Explorer Atlascope Is Expanding, Seeking Sponsors
Speaking of georeferencing old maps, the Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library has a collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century urban atlases. Their Atlascope platform presents 101 of them in a web interface overlaid on a modern street map. The Leventhal is now looking to expand Atlascope’s coverage beyond the Boston area to towns and counties across Massachusetts, and is raising funds to do so (it can apparently take 60 hours to process one atlas). Details on sponsoring an atlas here. See their Instagram post.
The blog of the Library of Congress’s Geography and Maps Division isn’t the first place you’d expect an explanation of the GeoTIFF format (basically, an image file in TIFF format that includes georeferencing metadata, so that the image can be projected on a map grid). But georeferencing old maps so that they can be placed on a modern map grid is definitely a thing, and Carissa Pastuch’s piece, “The Secret Life of GeoTIFFs,” looks at GeoTIFFs through the lens of an experimental dataset of georeferenced late 19th- and early 20th-century Austro-Hungarian maps.
New Podcast: Very Expensive Maps
Very Expensive Maps “is a podcast by cartographer Evan Applegate in which he interviews better cartographers.” His interviewees include names that should be quite familiar to my regular readers. In just over three weeks there have already been 14 episodes uploaded, which is kind of incredible.
Bakhmut in Satellite Imagery
CNN: “Before-and-after satellite imagery below shows the damage done to the hard-hit eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut over the past year.”
Mapping Russia’s Military Presence in Crimea
Journalists working for Radio Liberty’s Crimean Realities project have released an interactive map of Crimea showing the location of more than 200 Russian military facilities. It’s meant as a warning to residents: these are the areas you need to stay away from. In Russian and Ukrainian only. News coverage: Radio Svoboda (Ukrainian; Google Translate), Ukrainska Pravda (English), Newsweek. [Maps Mania]
Review: Atlas of Design, Vol. 6
Late last year I received, as a review copy, the sixth volume of the Atlas of Design. Things being what they are around here, there has been somewhat of a gap between receiving it, reading it, and saying something about it. But it’s worth saying something about that volume now, and the Atlas of Design in general, for at least one small reason I’ll get to in a moment.
I’ve mentioned the Atlas of Design series before, but it’s worth introducing it properly. Published every two years since 2012 by the North American Cartographic Information Society, the Atlas of Design is powered by volunteer editors and contributor submissions. Nobody’s getting paid for working on or appearing in these volumes—though it must be said that many of these maps are commercial ventures (posters available for sale at the mapper’s website) or works for hire (National Geographic and the Washington Post are represented in volume six), so the mapmakers aren’t doing this just for the exposure.
NOAA’s Aurora Forecasts
It turns out that auroras are a thing you can generate weather maps for. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center has this experimental Aurora Dashboard that predicts the visibility of the aurora borealis and australis for the next two nights.
(And space weather is in fact something that NOAA tracks: the term covers the effects of solar phenomena, cosmic rays, the ionosphere—think aurora sunspots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and their impacts on climate, communications, the power grid, GPS.)
Redesigning Oslo’s Transit Map
In October 2022 Torger Jansen released his second swing at creating a transit diagram for Oslo that incorporates metro, tram and train lines. (His first attempt was in 2017; Oslo’s official transit maps show each mode in isolation.) In this video, Jansen explains the design process and the choices he made.
Wildfires in Alberta
Here are some links to maps and satellite imagery of the wildfires devastating Alberta right now. The Alberta provincial government’s Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard shows active wildfires and historical data; CBC News has produced four maps that distill and simplify data from that dashboard. NASA Earth Observatory has images of the wildfires from the Terra satellite’s MODIS instrument.
Updated Satellite Imagery of Ukraine Reveals Russian Fortifications, Damage
Recent satellite imagery reveals the extent of Russian defensive fortifications built in the past few months in occupied territory in anticipation of Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive: see coverage from CNN and Reuters. Meanwhile, Maps Mania reports that Google Maps’ updated satellite imagery of Ukraine shows the damage inflicted by the Russian invasion.
Google Maps as Social Space (and Time Waster)
Writing for The Atlantic, Will Peischel suggests an alternative to wasting all your time on social media: wasting all your time poking around in Google Maps.
Google Maps’ main purpose is to enable people to get directions and look up businesses. But along the way, it has become a social space too. Sort of. To fill out the world map it created, Google invited people to add snippets to all the digital places. You upload your photos; you leave your reviews; you look at the artifacts others have left behind. The pictures of a restaurant on Google Maps are often a mismatched succession of interior-design shots, flash photos of messy plates, and outdated menus. There’s plenty of detritus too: irrelevant photos, businesses that don’t exist, three-star reviews without an explanation.
The result is random and messy in a way that is different from the rest of the social web. […] But especially as algorithmic content has taken over the web, many of the surprises don’t feel fresh. They are our kind of surprises. Google Maps offers something many other platforms no longer can: a hodgepodge of truly unfamiliar stuff that hasn’t been packaged for your taste or mine. […] Because zooming out and scrolling around are so easy, you can bump into little treasures at every turn that would never land on an Instagram feed.
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