I don’t think the Mapbox unionization story is over. Last week the Mapbox Workers Union accused Mapbox of retaliating against union organizers, several of whom, they say, have been abruptly fired. Retaliation is against U.S. labour law, and they’re filing unfair labour practice charges in that vein.
“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.
Virginia Tower Northwood is sometimes called “the mother of Landsat” for her invention of the multispectral scanner that was launched aboard Landsat 1. An alumna of MIT, she is the subject of this long profile by Alice Dragoon in the MIT Technology Review, which looks her entire career, which prior to Landsat involved radar and antenna design—including, notably, the transmitter on the Surveyor 1 lunar lander. See also this profile on NASA’s Landsat Science page.
Bloomberg: “Employees at Mapbox Inc., which makes mapping tools used by Instacart Inc. and Snap Inc., have announced their intention to unionize, making them the latest group of tech workers to embrace organized labor in a traditionally nonunion industry.” Two-thirds of Mapbox’s 222 U.S. employees have signed union cards; in an internal statement Monday, Mapbox declined to voluntarily recognize the Mapbox Workers Union—which presumably means that there will be a government-supervised vote on whether to unionize.
OpenStreetMap, says Joe Morrison, “is now at the center of an unholy alliance of the world’s largest and wealthiest technology companies. The most valuable companies in the world are treating OSM as critical infrastructure for some of the most-used software ever written.” Corporate teams, rather local mappers, are now responsible for the majority of edits to the OSM database; Morrison speculates that their participation is about “desperately avoiding the existential conflict of having to pay Google for the privilege of accessing their proprietary map data.” In the end, he argues that we’re in a strange-bedfellows situation where corporate and community interests are aligned. (To which I’d add: for now.) [MetaFilter]
Angie Cope reports that the Seeger Map Company, the Wisconsin-based publisher of hundreds of city, county and state maps, many for the American Automobile Association, since the 1970s, will be closing down at the end of the year. “At the height of the company’s success in the mid-1990s, they employed 27 people and produced 2 million maps a year.” [MAPS-L]
The Philadelphia Print Shop (not to be confused with the Denver-based Philadelphia Print Shop West), an antique prints, rare books and maps dealer that closed last December, is back in business. David Mackey has bought the business from Don Cresswell, who founded it in 1982, and is relocating it from Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighbourhood to nearby Wayne. A “COVID-style grand opening” is planned for October. [WMS]
Garmin’s online services have been hit by a ransomware attack, TechCrunch reports, with outages still ongoing as of this writing. “The incident began late Wednesday and continued through the weekend, causing disruption to the company’s online services for millions of users, including Garmin Connect, which syncs user activity and data to the cloud and other devices. The attack also took down flyGarmin, its aviation navigation and route-planning service.” Email and call centres are also reportedly out of operation.
A short piece in the Edinburgh Evening News last April noted the 100th anniversary of the death of John G. Bartholomew (1860-1920), the fourth of six generations of mapmaking Bartholomews; their firm, John Bartholomew and Son, was responsible for the Times atlases before they were taken up by HarperCollins.
Speaking of his ancestor’s legacy, great-grandson, John Eric Bartholomew, told the Evening News that the fact John George Bartholomew is recognised as the man credited with being the first to put the name Antarctica on the map remains a great source of pride.
Little known is that, in 1886, Bartholomew had a brief flirtation with considering the name “Antipodea” for oceanographer John Murray’s map depicting the continent, before settling for Antarctica.
Previously: Robert G. Bartholomew, 1927-2017.
Cartographer Hans van der Maarel, of Red Geographics, is interviewed about what it’s like to be a cartographer for a podcast called Discover Your Talent—Do What You Want. I’ve never heard of this podcast, but seems to focus on careers and career planning, which explains some of the questions. The episode is thirty minutes long. [via]
Columbus Globes, the century-old German globe manufacturer, lost its warehouse to a fire Thursday night. The 2,500-m2 building in Krauchenwies, Baden-Württemberg was completely destroyed, causing at least €1.5 million in damage. Police suspect arson: there have been a number of deliberately set fires in the Krauchenwies region in recent weeks—two at the Columbus site. News coverage (German only): DPA (Badische Zeitung, RTL, Süddeutsche Zeitung), SWR.
Search Engine Land: “Earlier this week Mapquest was sold by corporate parent Verizon to System1, an ad-tech company you’ve probably never heard of for an undisclosed amount, which was ‘not material enough for Verizon to file paperwork.’ That’s a metaphor for how far Mapquest has fallen since its heyday as the dominant online mapping site roughly a decade or so ago.” Verizon got MapQuest as part of its purchase of AOL in 2015. [Brian, James]
— Soc of Cartographers (@CartoSoc) August 22, 2019
The Society of Cartographers posted a notice on Twitter announcing the formal dissolution of the Society after its upcoming (and now presumably final) Annual Summer School Conference. That conference will be held in conjunction with the British Cartographic Society’s Annual Conference on 11 and 12 September at the Ordnance Survey’s Southampton headquarters.
Apart from reactions like Kenneth Field’s, there is no other information about the Society’s dissolution available online, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s been discussion in members-only areas. What on earth happened? (Comments open.)
Previously: Whither the BCS?