In my work as a map designer and science writer, I have collected over the past two decades hundreds of curious stories related to cartography or geography. These stories have seen the light of day in the form of hundreds of articles in magazines and blogs, as well as in posters or maps of very diverse types. Now, I’ve decided to compile my best maps and lesser-known but interesting curiosities from all that material I’ve collected over the years. The result is this book, an atlas designed to awaken your curiosity. The thematic maps that I have selected are part of the ones that I have created in the last years, improving them and adapting them for this book.
Alejandro is currently running a Kickstarter for the book. €18 gets you the digital edition, €65 the print edition (in softcover).
So you would like to use a satellite image in your article and you would like to explain it to your viewers? Here is a short guide covering some of the most frequently asked questions and giving some general explanations on satellite images. It by no means covers all aspects, as there are far too many types of satellite images, but should give you a good start to find out more on your own and maybe motivate you to create your own images, which has become quite easy and quick even with no prior knowledge of it.
Complete with examples of imagery, examples of how to use it properly, and links to resources.
Our friend Alejandro Polanco has produced a nifty infographic poster map that is centred, for a change, on the Dymaxion projection. The central map is surrounded by lots of little inset maps and infographics. Called Minimal Geography, it’s available for sale via Kickstarter as a €6 digital download in two print sizes. A second reward level adds a full edition of Alejandro’s Maptorian.
Today Facebook announced disaster maps for use by relief organizations. Based on aggregated and anonymized user data, the maps of users’ location, movement and check-ins can, Facebook says, provide relief organizations with valuable information about where the need is greatest. At launch only the Red Cross, UNICEF and the World Food Programme will have access to the data; a process will be established to determine how it will be shared with others. [Engadget]
Published late last month, Mark Monmonier’s new book, Patents and Cartographic Inventions: A New Perspective for Map History (Palgrave Macmillan) is on a somewhat more arcane and non-obvious subject than his usual fare. It’s an exploration of the U.S. patent system that focuses on map- and navigation-related inventions. The publisher’s description: “In probing evolving notions of novelty, non-obviousness, and cumulative innovation, Mark Monmonier examines rural address guides, folding schemes, world map projections, diverse improvements of the terrestrial globe, mechanical route-following machines that anticipated the GPS navigator, and the early electrical you-are-here mall map, which opened the way for digital cartography and provided fodder for patent trolls, who treat the patent largely as a license to litigate.” Actually sounds interesting as hell; the book is quite expensive, though. Amazon, iBooks.
Speaking of National Geographic. If the magazine is known for its cartography and its photography, one should not forget the illustrations, charts and infographics that accompany many of the articles and appear on the back of every folded map that comes several times a year with a magazine subscription. Now there’s a book of them: National Geographic Infographics. Edited by Julius Wiedemann and published by Taschen, the book “gather[s] the magazine’s best infographics of the past 128 years.” More at Atlas Obscura and Wired.
Quartz takes a look at the Missing Maps project, which I suppose can best be described as a way to jumpstart mapping the unmapped developing regions of the world with OpenStreetMap. What’s interesting about Missing Maps is how it systematically deals out tasks to people best able to do them: remote volunteers trace imagery, community volunteers do the tagging and labelling. There’s even an app, MapSwipe, that gives its users “the ability to swipe through satellite images and indicate if they contain features like houses, roads or paths. These are then forwarded onto Missing Maps for precise marking of these features.” [WMS]
As part of an article looking at semi-automatic weapons being sold online, NPR produced the above map, which shows the locations of classified listings on Armslist (a website described as “the Craigslist of guns”) between 12 and 15 June 2016 (i.e., immediately after the Orlando nightclub shooting). About 90 percent of Armslist listings had location data; about one in four of these listings are for semi-automatic weapons. [Maps on the Web]
Maps and drawings are created by hand in an aluminum foil sheet. The metal is embossed with a variety of tools to produce raised lines and areas of varying height, texture and width. The maps are labelled with key letters that are identified on the pages preceding each map. The master drawing is duplicated by the Thermoform process to make clear, sharp copies. The 11×11½-inch plastic sheets are bound into volumes with cardboard covers and spiral plastic binders.
It was, to say the least, an imperfect system. Caretakers essentially acted as the cemetery’s librarians, but without a Dewey Decimal system to guide them. Numbers were not necessarily sequential, or the system shifted over the years, making the maps essential to finding the older graves. And as time rolled on, the maps began to deteriorate, fraying at the edges or cracking apart.