Lego’s 11,695-Piece World Map

Lego Art World Map
Lego

Lego’s recently announced world map is 104 cm by 65 cm (41 × 26 inches) and has a staggering 11,695 pieces. Part of the Lego Art series aimed at adults, it’s built basically pixel-by-pixel, and comes with pin pieces to mark locations once it’s finished.

Lego says that you can customize the oceans in any number of colours or patterns, but it seems to me, based on the building instructions, that there’s nothing stopping you from doing the continents completely differently as well. You’re not physically limited to the three choices the instructions give you: Europe and Africa in the centre, the Americas in the centre, or Asia and Australia in the centre. You could do a different map projection, or even a different globe. But that’s the point of Lego, isn’t it?

Anyway, it’s available as of this week for US$250/€250/£230/C$350; it’s already out of stock at the online store but may be available through other channels. [Boing Boing]

John Nelson’s Cassini Globe Ornament

Another year, another DIY papercraft globe ornament from John Nelson. “This ornament is a blending of NASA Visible Earth imagery and Esri/USGS Ecological Land Units. It uses the Cassini projection as six half-gores for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, arranged in ArcGIS Pro.” In this blog post he shows how to print and assemble it.

Last year John released a set of Dymaxion ornaments. The year before that, a more complex geodesic globe ornament. This is now officially a tradition, John.

A Guide to Map Stationery

To keep myself connected to distant friends and family members during the pandemic, one thing I’ve been doing has been to send them actual, handwritten correspondence. A bit old-fashioned in the era of Zoom meetings and video chat, but it gets me away from the computer, and the firehose of awful that comes with it. Since I’m me, I was interested in finding map-themed postcards, notecards and stationery that I could use when writing to friends and colleagues who shared my interest in maps. It turns out that there is some out there.

This post is a roundup of what map-themed stationery for correspondence I’ve been able to find. It can serve as a gift guide, if map-themed stationery strikes you as a good gift; the holidays, after all, are coming up. As usual, I link to stores selling the stuff; I get a small cut of the income from qualifying purchases.

Continue reading “A Guide to Map Stationery”

IKEA’s All-Black Globe

IKEA sells an all-black globe as part of its LINDRADE series. It costs $20 in the U.S. and £17 in the U.K.; for some reason it’s not available on the Canadian store. If it were, I might just get one.

Per standing IKEA policy, New Zealand is not shown.

The reviews on the U.S. store are hilarious, but on the U.K. store the single a review on the U.K. says that the globe is chalkboard (it’s made of polystyrene), which makes the product a good deal less absurd. Otherwise, it occurs to me that it could make a halfway decent base on which you could paste your own globe gores. [Cartophilia]

New Canada-Shaped Coin Released

Royal Canadian Mint

This, believe it or not, is a coin—a coin in the shape of a map of Canada, with various animals forming the shape of each province and territory. The design was created by Ottawa illustrator Ali Giroux, who posted it online as a letterpress map. Then, as CBC News and CTV News report, the Royal Canadian Mint came calling.

Commemorative coins aren’t cheap. This one is made of three ounces of pure silver and sells for $340 (Canadian). It is being produced in a mintage of 2,000 and will ship in December.

(And yes, despite its weirdo shape, it is a real coin: the Queen is on the other side, a traditional, coin-shaped portrait embedded in the centre. It has a face value of $50, but that’s only if you want to use it to pay a bill or something, and who’d do that with this?)

A Hungarian Globe Puzzle

Sometimes called a Rubik’s globe, though Rubik had nothing to do with it, this Hungarian-made globe puzzle from the 1980s, known variously as the Földgöm, Globus Gömb or Varázs Gömb, sometimes shows up on the lists of collectibles dealers. Consisting of a plastic core and tin surface pieces, the puzzle operates on two axes; the eight corners do not move. Jaap’s Puzzle Page has details on its origins and how to solve it, and also shows a couple of non-geographical globe puzzle variants. Here’s a short blog post from the Retro Game Museum (in Hungarian). And here’s an unboxing video from someone who bought a globe (bundled with a Rubik’s cube) on eBay. [Harvard Map Collection]

Waldseemüller Globe Ornament

I didn’t know Replogle made Christmas ornaments. I stumbled across the above, a Waldseemüller globe ornament—i.e., an ornament based on the Waldseemüller globe gores—while poking around my local map store for the first time in years. I bought the last one they had in stock. It’s 3¼″ (8.3 cm) in diameter, comes with a stand, and cost me all of $10. There’s apparently a Coronelli globe ornament as well.

No links to point you at. Amazon doesn’t stock them (though they have other globe ornaments, like this one and this one), and Replogle’s terrible website is Flash-only.

Miniature Maps and Minchiate

The William P. Cumming Map Society’s North Carolina Map Blog has a post looking at miniature maps of North Carolina (“miniature” is defined as less than four inches in size) and a post about minchiate, a 16th-century Florentine card game; there were were educational minchiate decks with a map on each of the 97 cards. [WMS]

Two Kickstarters

Two recent map-related Kickstarter campaigns:

  1. Modern Map Art Prints turns a map of a location of your choice into an abstract art print. Already funded.
  2. Map on Table aims to create a small (42×42 cm) table made up of a laser-cut metal map of New York, London or the world mounted on wooden legs (see above). Not yet funded; campaign runs until 17 October.

[The Verge, Mapping London]

An Error-Ridden Tube Map Shower Curtain

Speaking of Londonist, they had a great deal of fun pedantically savaging a decidedly unofficial tube map shower curtain. “This error-ridden shower curtain was purchased via a random seller on ebay, whom we’re not going to gratify with a link. A bit of googling reveals that tube shower curtains are a bit of a thing. There are many variations out there, all presumably knocked together and marketed without permission from Transport for London.” (So much of a thing that I thought I’d linked to something like this before, but apparently not. No doubt my readers can send me links.)

Previously: Map Shower Curtain and Bikini; More Map Shower Curtains; Sea Monster Shower Curtain.

Great Circles in Cardboard

The Global Map (The Global Map Company, 1940). David Rumsey Map Collection.
The Global Map (The Global Map Company, ca. 1940). David Rumsey Map Collection.

The Global Map is a neat toy from the 1940s. The whole thing is just under one by two feet in area, and consists of two rotating hemispheres that touch at a single point, with the purpose of showing the shortest distance by air or sea between two points—a quick and dirty way of showing a great-circle route with a bit of cardboard and no math. From the David Rumsey Map Collection. [Maps on the Web]