Jon Schwabish has been building the Lego world map (previously), but he’s also been building a spreadsheet version. “Because the map is laid out in a grid, it’s primed to be built in Excel. And voila, I present to you the Excel version of the Lego World Map! I built a grid in a big Excel spreadsheet with each number then placed in the appropriate spot according to the instructions. Each number is then assigned a color using Excel’s Conditional Formatting menu.” Good for making drafts of your Lego map, or also if you can’t lay hands on the real thing.
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?
More to add to the list of map stationery. San Lorenzo Design sells a number of map-themed items, including, notably, Kartos’s A5 notepad and two sizes of map notecard sets (small, large). You’ll find them at specialty stores rather than on the big online stores. The Pen Addict has a review of the large notecards.
Previously: A Guide to Map Stationery.
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.
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.
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]
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?)
Meanwhile, Caitlin has a roundup of guides to making your own map-based Christmas ornaments. They include John Nelson’s printable geodesic globe ornament, a decoupage ornament made by gluing map cutouts onto a round ornament, and ornaments made by recycling old maps.
Previously: Waldseemüller Globe Ornament.
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]
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.
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 recent map-related Kickstarter campaigns:
- Modern Map Art Prints turns a map of a location of your choice into an abstract art print. Already funded.
- 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.
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.)