A Christmas Map Roundup

Detail from Willem Barentsz, <em>Map of the Polar Regions</em>, 1598, showing a man wearing a red suit in a sleigh being driven by reindeer.
Detail from Willem Barentsz, Map of the Polar Regions, 1598. Newberry Library.

The Newberry’s David Weimer explains the presence, in a 1598 map of the Arctic Circle, of a man in a red coat riding in a sleigh pulled by reindeer.

Maps Mania links to two Santa trackers: NORAD’s and Google’s.

In a post from last year, James Cheshire notes how Indian and Chinese laws about depicting their contested borders are reflected in Christmas ornaments made in each country. [Mappery]

Projection Connections: A Genealogy of Map Projections

Projection Connections: a diagram showing the relationships between various map projections by Daniel Huffman
Daniel Huffman

Fresh off of producing a (now sold-out) line of map projection trading cards, Daniel Huffman has produced a 16×24-inch poster showing the surprisingly close and entangled relationships between the various map projections.

I first learned about a couple of these connections several years ago. I don’t quite remember how or where, but I found out that the Mercator projection was equivalent to a Lambert Conformal Conic with the standard parallels set opposite each other across the Equator. And that if you moved both those parallels up to a pole, you got a Stereographic. My mind was suitably blown, and I saved it as a fun fact to share with people. This year, while working on The Projection Collection, I spent a lot of time on daan Strebe’s site looking up details, and I often saw his notes (usually derived from Snyder/Voxland) about how projections were related to each other. I started to realize there were a lot of these connections out there, and I thought it might be fun to diagram them in some way.

The diagram is digital-only (PDF) and donationware.

Georeferencing Familiar Places

On the Leventhal Map Center’s website, Ezra Acevedo describes what it’s like to georeference a century-old atlas of your hometown. “Spending many hours poring over maps of such a well known place was really exciting. My knowledge of the town coupled with its resistance to change meant that the historic maps of Ipswich weren’t all that difficult to line up with the modern map. However, I did learn four important lessons while georeferencing my hometown.”

NYC Tree Map

Screenshot of the NYC Tree Map
Screenshot

The impressive and/or insane thing about the New York City Tree Map is that it maps individual trees: now about 860,000 of them, all managed by the city’s parks department on city streets and in parks, down to the species and trunk diameter, which also means you can filter for those parameters, plus get most recent inspection and tree care data on specific trees. You can even favourite individual trees. If trees had social media accounts, they’d be here. [Bloomberg CityLab]

Previously: Mapping Central Park’s 19,630 Trees.

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Once again, I’m a bit late with my annual gift guide. The idea of which is, if you have a map-obsessed person in your life and would like to give them something map-related—or you are a map-obsessed person and would like your broad hints to have something to link to—this guide may give you some ideas.

This list is a long way from comprehensive. Be sure to check out gift guides from previous years: see, for example, the 2021, 2019, 2018 and 2017 gift guides (in 2020 I focused on map stationery). Much of what’s listed may still be available. And even more books are listed on the Map Books of 2022 page.

Please keep in mind that this is not a list of recommendations: what’s here is mainly what I’ve spotted online, and there’s probably a lot more out there. In many cases I haven’t even seen what’s listed here, much less reviewed it: these are simply things that look like they might be fit for gift giving. (Anyone who tries to parlay this into “recommended by The Map Room” is going to get a very sad look from me.)

Finally, this post contains affiliate links; I receive a cut of the purchase price if you make a purchase via these links.

Continue reading “2022 Holiday Gift Guide”

The Bois Forte Native Names Map

Bois Forte Native Names Map

The Bois Forte Native Names Map collects more than 100 original Ojibwe names in the traditional territory of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, in what is now northeastern Minnesota. The hand-drawn map is the result of a two-year collaboration between the band, Ely Folk School and volunteer artists. A limited first-edition print is available via a school fundraiser; plans are afoot for a mass-produced paper map, as well as an online version. Details here; also see the Star Tribune’s coverage. Thanks to Paul for the link.

Previously: Indigenous Place Names in Canada; Indigenous Place Names and Cultural Property; An Interview with Margaret Pearce, Mapmaker of Indigenous Place Names.

Satellite Observations of Ukraine’s Wheat Harvest

Satellite observations have made it possible to evaluate the success of Ukraine’s wheat and barley harvest, even in active war zones or occupied territories. NASA Earth Observatory reports that the harvest was, in the end, larger than expected: “At the outset of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February, some analysts cautioned that 20 to 30 percent of Ukraine’s winter crops might not be harvested at the end of the summer. However, NASA Harvest’s analysis indicates that 94 percent of the winter crop was harvested, including 88 percent of winter crops in areas not controlled by Ukraine.”

The Privacy Implications of a Slight URL Change

Garrit Franke thinks a change in Google Maps’s web address—it now redirects from a subdirectory, maps.google.com, to a folder on Google’s root directory, google.com/maps1—means that location permission given to Google Maps (a normal thing to do when using maps) could be applied across all of Google’s services without asking for additional permissions. [Daring Fireball/Lat × Long]

Kenneth Field Redesigns the Tube Map

One of two redesigned London tube maps by Kenneth Field. This one has a colour palette that is more accomodating to people with colour vision deficiency.
Kenneth Field

Kenneth Field has been a vocal critic of the London tube map’s increasing complexity and clutter. Earlier this year he advocating dumping the map and starting from a clean slate. At last month’s NACIS conference he revealed two versions of a redesign that does just that. Based on an earlier 2019 redesign exercise, this version is inarguably a Beck-inspired diagram; it just benefits from not shoehorning more and more information into an existing, already busy map. In fact, it removes quite a bit of information, relegating it to the index on the reverse side. And in his second variant (above), he commits what I gather is a minor heresy by removing the iconic colours of the original Tube lines, allowing the map to use colour to indicate mode and also accommodate people with colour vision deficiency. Ken explains on his blog post; his NACIS talk is available on YouTube.

Previously: Part Two of Unfinished London’s Tube Map History; Kenneth Field: ‘Dump the Map’; So the Launch of the New Tube Map Seems to Be Going Well.

Update, 16 Jan 2023: Commentary from Transit Maps.

‘Geospatial Data Is Stuck in the Year 1955’

James Killick’s blog, Map Happenings, looks very much like one worth following. Killick’s been around the block more than a few times, working at Mapquest, Esri and most recently at Apple’s Maps division. He’s seen things, in other words. In his latest post, he decries the geospatial industry’s lack of common data standards, which he compares to the shipping industry before container ships.

The lack of common, broadly adopted geospatial data exchange standards is crippling the geospatial industry. It’s a bit like going to an EV charger with your shiny new electric vehicle and discovering you can’t charge it because your car has a different connector to the one used by the EV charger. The electricity is there and ready to be sucked up and used, but, sorry—your vehicle can’t consume it unless you miraculously come up with a magical adaptor that allows the energy to flow.

James produces a couple of counterexamples—standards for transit data and indoor mapping developed by Google and Apple, respectively—and points to Esri as a possible force for data standardization.

Previously: Immersive View and the Death of Consumer Maps.

Anton Thomas’s Wild World: A Progress Report

Anton Thomas’s Wild World map, incomplete. Several continents are finished, but oceans and Antarctica are only fainly outlined. It’s using the Natural Earth projection.
Anton Thomas

Anton Thomas gives us an update on the map he’s been working on for the past two years: Wild World. “With much ocean ahead, and Antarctica, I think it’ll take another year to finish. But most of the land is done. And prints of certain continents are already available, so the map is going well. It’s just . . . more complex and detailed than I ever dreamed.”

Previously: Anton Thomas’s Next Project: Wild World.

Update, 20 Jan 2023: Interview with MapLab.