Mercator: Extreme

To follow-up on xkcd’s Madagascator cartoon (previously), I missed the fact that clicking on the cartoon at the xkcd website actually did something, but Keir caught it: it links to Drew Roos’s Mercator: Extreme, an online tool that allows you to have some fun with the Mercator projection’s excessive polar distortion by making any point on the planet the North Pole and which clearly served as Randall’s inspiration.

The Design Choices Behind Maps of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

In Geographical magazine, Doug Specht and Alexander Kent examine some of the design choices made by media organizations mapping the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Cartographic design choices over colour, layout, lettering and symbology, for example, all influence our attitudes and feelings towards the war in Ukraine. […] [B]y understanding how these choices (e.g., regarding the selection and classification of features as well as their colour and symbology) mask the nuances of reality, we can be better at reading the stories they are trying to tell.”

Relatedly, in a Twitter thread, Le Monde’s cartographic team explores the decisions behind one of their print maps (in French).

Previously: How Maps of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine Can Mislead; Mapping the Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Roundup #3.

The Spilhaus Projection for Designers

Spilhaus projectionThe Spilhaus projection has been available to ArcGIS Pro users for nearly two years. Now, to expand the Spilhaus’s availability beyond ArcGIS users, John Nelson provides vector assets suitable for designers working in, say, Illustrator.

Previously: The Spilhaus Projection Comes to ArcGIS Pro; Everything’s Coming Up Spilhaus; About the Spilhaus Projection.

Natural Resources Canada Releases Updated World Map

The World (Natural Resources Canada)
Natural Resources Canada

Canada’s federal Department of Natural Resources has released a new wall map of the world, its first since 2005, under an open government licence.

The World is a general reference political map focused on the names and international boundaries of sovereign and non-sovereign countries. The information is portrayed using the Winkel II projection at a scale of 1:29 000 000. The dataset includes international boundaries, populated places, and labelled major hydrographic and physical features.

Because it’s produced by a federal department, the map and the download page are at pains to emphasize that the boundaries, labels and other information is not necessarily representative of the Government of Canada’s position (viz., Persian Gulf and Sea of Japan; disputed boundaries are included, frozen conflicts not so much).

Thirty Day Map Challenge

The Thirty Day Map Challenge is taking place right now on Twitter: see the #30DayMapChallenge hashtag. For the second year in a row, mapmakers are challenged to make a map based on the day’s theme. (Today’s, for example, was to map with a new tool.) It’s open to everyone; for more information and resources see the challenge’s GitHub page. Here’s the page for the 2020 challenge, which saw 7,000 maps from 1,000 contributors.

Atlas of the Invisible

Atlas of the Invisible, James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti’s collection of new maps and visualizations based on “enormous” datasets, is out today in the United States from W. W. Norton. (The British edition, published by Particular Books, came out in September.)

The Royal Geographic Society reprints a map from the book showing the flow of ice on the Greenland ice cap and interviews James about how they used the data. James has also published some education resources related to the book on his website. And of course there’s more at the book’s website.

See John Grimwade’s post about the book, in which he asks the authors about their ideas and process. Also see reviews from Fast Company and the Guardian.

Amazon (Canada, UK) | Bookshop

Previously: Where the Animals Go.

Related: Map Books of 2021.

Latitude, Longitude and Decimal Points

Vladimir Agafonkin’s post, which demonstrates just what latitude and longitude to x decimal places looks like, is a visual complement to xkcd’s comic about coordinate precision: both tell you that when it comes to latitude and longitude, more than a few decimal points is pointless. “As you’ve probably guessed, 6 digits should be enough for most digital cartography needs (spanning around 10 centimeters). Maybe 7 for LiDAR, but that’s it.”

A Flurry of New Book Announcements

News about upcoming map books has been thin on the ground of late, which is hardly surprising given the havoc the pandemic has wreaked on the publishing industry as a whole. But in just the past two days we’ve seen three significant new book announcements.

Kenneth Field’s long-awaited Thematic Mapping: 101 Ways to Visualise Empirical Data, which takes as its starting point a map of a single event—the 2016 U.S. presidential election—will be out from Esri Press as an ebook on the 31st of August, Ken announced yesterday. Pre-order: Amazon (Canada, UK).

You might remember James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti’s amazing 2016 book Where the Animals Go. Their next book of data visualizations, Atlas of the Invisible, will be out in September from Particular Books in the U.K. and in November from W. W. Norton in North America. Pre-order: Amazon (Canada, UK), Bookshop.

The Quarantine Atlas: Mapping Life under COVID-19 is the byproduct of CityLab’s 2020 project soliciting hand-drawn maps of life under quarantine (previously here and here). In the book version, Laura Bliss matches 65 of those submissions with original essays. Due out in April 2022 from Black Dog & Leventhal. Pre-order: Amazon (Canada).

I’ve updated the Map Books of 2021 page with these books; that page still looks awfully sparse compared with previous years. If there’s a map-related book coming out this year that I haven’t listed, please let me know.

Esri’s New Giant Globe

“When you are a global Geographic Information Technology company with a globe in your logo, you don’t shy away from the opportunity to have a great big glorious 8.5-foot diameter illuminated rotating globe in your new office building. But what sort of globe cartography do you design? How should this gigantic model of our lovely home planet appear?” John Nelson and Sean Breyer explain the design and construction process behind Esri’s new globe—a custom Earthball manufactured by Orbis World Globes.