Without question, the most popular post on The Map Room so far this week—by two orders of magnitude—was this post pointing to Chaz Hutton’s “A Map of Every City.” Hutton’s map went kind of viral, and not just here. He’s since announced that a print of the map will be available at some point; he’s also written a post on Medium explaining some of the background behind the map.
The Miami International Map Fair is just around the corner: it runs from February 5th to 7th. Relatedly, Joseph H. Fitzgerald has just published a short (64 pp.) history of the fair: The Miami Map Fair: The First 20 Years. From the excerpt I saw on Amazon it looks like one of those dry institutional histories, but there are people for whom this will be interesting. [via] Buy at Amazon (Canada, U.K.)
Planetary globes aren’t the only map-related 3D-printed items being sold on Shapeways; Ian Grasshoff writes to say that he’s flogging 3D relief maps there as well. “I have made it a focus to only use Open Data (LiDAR where available) and Open Source GIS/modeling software,” he writes. “I think the results speak for themselves.”
I’ve blogged about the Tabula Peutingeriana before. It was a medieval copy of a fourth- or fifth-century map of the Roman road network. Combined, its 11 sheets form a scroll 6.82 metres long and only 34 centimetres wide, with territories elongated beyond modern recognition; it was basically the classical period’s equivalent of a TripTik or Beck network map. The sole remaining copy is held by the National Library of Austria: it’s too fragile to put on display, though an exception was made for a single day in 2007.
Anyway. During my online meanderings today I stumbled across two academic books about the Tabula that I was previously unaware of: The Medieval Peutinger Map: Imperial Roman Revival in a German Empire by Emily Albu (2014) and Rome’s World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered by Richard J. A. Talbert (2010). Both from Cambridge University Press, neither cheap.
The Ancient World Mapping Center—formerly the Classical Atlas Project, the team behind the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, the expensive atlas later reborn as an iPad app (iTunes link)—has a web-based map interface to classical/late antiquity geographic data. The original (2012) version of “Antiquity à la Carte” is kind of old school and clunky; the (2014) beta version shows a bit more promise. [via]
Jug Cerović has reimagined the map of London’s transit network. It’s one of several transit maps that share a common design language. Mapping London calls it “a lovely map of the London system that manages to combine the tube and commuter rail networks into a single map that is clear and pleasant to read, unlike the official ones. The INAT London Metro Map is a lesson in simplifying and making attractive a complex topological map.” Though I think the rhetoric about moving away from Beck is a bit overdone—it’s not like we’re completely abandoning diagrammatic map design here.
Previously: A Geographically Accurate Tube Map.
Pulling back the academic veil can be fascinating. I remember one day 25 years ago in my first year of university, when my history professor paused to tell us about his current research project (a biography of an early 20th-century French politician). For a half hour he held the class rapt as he detailed the long effort required to nail down one specific detail in his subject’s life. For me it was a revelation: history was detective work, and therefore exciting stuff. That may have been the moment that sent me to graduate school in history (and not just me—that professor generated more graduate students than anyone else in that department).
I was reminded of that day as I was reading Mark Monmonier’s memoir, Adventures in Academic Cartography, which does much the same thing as my prof did back then: pull back the veil to reveal an entire academic career that was hidden from our view. Monmonier is a familiar name to those of us interested in maps, having published a dozen books—scholarly, erudite but accessible to the lay reader—over the years. (I’ve reviewed three of them myself: How to Lie with Maps, his essential text on how maps persuade and deceive; Rhumb Lines and Map Wars, a look at the politicization of the Mercator projection; and From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow, on the politics and controversies behind place names.) But, like my professor, we are largely aware of only one aspect of his career: in Monmonier’s case, the books. Adventures in Academic Cartography, which he self-published in the fall of 2014, fills in the blanks.
We’ve all seen business listings on online maps that don’t quite jibe with reality: the map marker’s on the wrong place, and driving directions don’t get you to your destination. The Wall Street Journal reports on how businesses deal with online map errors. Getting a wrong listing fixed is a rather high priority (a lost customer is a lost customer, if you follow me), but it turns out to be a more time-consuming—and expensive—process than I thought: there are firms that charge thousands of dollars to solve this for you. [via]
The Nation has a long article by Paula Findlen on the Selden Map, a Chinese watercolour map acquired by the 17th-century jurist and scholar John Selden and bequeathed to the Bodleian Library in 1659. Findlen recounts the origins of the map and its rediscovery in the Bodleian’s vaults in 2008, and describes it in intricate detail. [via]
The map’s rediscovery has set off a flurry of interest and publications (see book list below). Findlen also looks at the scholarly debates about the map.Brook and Batchelor have both written books about the Selden map, and each scholar takes a somewhat different approach to framing the story and to interpreting a reconstruction of the document’s origins. Yet they concur that this is a Chinese maritime map and a product of late-Ming ambitions, enterprise, and mobility,” she writes.
Books About the Selden Map:
- London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689 by Robert K. Batchelor (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
Amazon (Canada, U.K.) | iBooks
- Mr. Selden’s Map of China: Decoding the Secrets of a Vanished Cartographer by Timothy Brook (Bloomsbury [U.S.], House of Anansi [Canada], Profile [U.K.], 2013).
Amazon (Canada, U.K.) | iBooks (Canada, U.K.)
- The Selden Map of China: A New Understanding of the Ming Dynasty by Hongping Annie Nie (Bodleian Libraries, 2014).
Available as a PDF in English and Chinese.
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Lake Poopó has become the Aral Sea of the Andes. Thanks to drought, water diversion and mining activity, the lake—long, wide, shallow, saline and the second-largest in Bolivia—has basically dried up, as this comparison of 2013 and 2016 Landsat 8 images demonstrates. CBC News, The Independent.