Writing at Atlas Obscura, Jeffrey Arlo Brown has the frustrating story of a German map thief—the extraordinarily slippery eel Norbert Schild—and the decades-long attempts by librarians to catch him, or when caught convict him, or when released stop him from stealing again.
All over Germany, librarians waited for the Bonn state prosecutor’s investigation to proceed. But they never filed charges against Schild. The evidence was largely circumstantial: While libraries could show that Schild used the damaged books, they couldn’t necessarily prove that he was the one cutting out the pages. A search warrant executed at Schild’s home on November 22, 2002, turned up “tools of the trade,” such as bibliographies and lists of historical materials at Germany libraries, but no actual stolen maps. Prosecutors in Bonn were busy, and the stakes may have seemed low—old books, not human lives. The charges in Trier—where Schild was caught red-handed—were dropped due to negligibility, after damages were estimated at just €500. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Bonn declined to comment.
Simon Weckert created a virtual traffic jam in Berlin by pulling 99 used smartphones in a wagon: a large number of phones moving slowly looks like a traffic jam to Google Maps. “Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic.”
Google’s statement to 9to5Google suggests that they’re taking Simon’s hack in stride: “Traffic data in Google Maps is refreshed continuously thanks to information from a variety of sources, including aggregated anonymized data from people who have location services turned on and contributions from the Google Maps community. We’ve launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia and Egypt, though we haven’t quite cracked traveling by wagon. We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time.”
So people fed up with traffic being rerouted onto their residential streets could, conceivably, hack that traffic elsewhere—but not for much longer.
On the left, Deutsche Bahn’s official network map of all Intercity and Intercity Express routes in Germany (PDF). On the right, a much more ambitious map of said network by Reddit user theflyingindonesian. Cameron Booth much prefers the unofficial map: while the official map is “incredibly average” (a putdown I will have to make a point of remembering), the unofficial map is “a major upgrade” that is “infinitely superior” to the official map. “I particularly like the dead straight trajectory of the lines from Hamburg down to Fulda, and the clear treatment of the potentially difficult and convoluted Rhine-Ruhr area. I also like the way that the routes for trains that pass through major stations get a ghosted-back line to link the routes across the (sometimes very large) station rectangles.” I know which one I’d rather spend a long time staring at.
Columbus Globes, the century-old German globe manufacturer, lost its warehouse to a fire Thursday night. The 2,500-m2 building in Krauchenwies, Baden-Württemberg was completely destroyed, causing at least €1.5 million in damage. Police suspect arson: there have been a number of deliberately set fires in the Krauchenwies region in recent weeks—two at the Columbus site. News coverage (German only): DPA (Badische Zeitung, RTL, Süddeutsche Zeitung), SWR.
A quick tour around European news sources this morning turned up few, or small, maps of the results of yesterday’s federal election in Germany. (At least so far: it’s only been a day, and I wasn’t very thorough.) I’ve mostly seen graphs and other infographics being used to show the results: see ZDF’s gallery. But yesterday Maps Mania found the Berliner Morgenpost’s live map of the results, which presumably was being updated in real time yesterday. German elections are a little complicated, so the map has a number of tabs showing various aspects of the results: first (constituency) and second (party) votes, who came second or third, where various parties got the bulk of their support and so forth.
Decades after German reunification, there are still stark differences between the former West and East Germany, and every so often those differences are explored and examined. Yesterday marked the 26th anniversary of reunification, for which the Washington Post saw fit to dust off and update a 2014 analysis. There are lots of maps, exploring everything from employment to flu vaccination to camper trailer ownership, but all but one date seem to be from that earlier version. This Post piece draws heavily on a 2014 article from Die Zeit (in English), which has even more interesting maps (with a rather funky design).
The Berliner Morgenpost has an interactive map showing the results of the Berlin state elections held on 18 September 2016. (Berlin is a state in its own right.) The choropleth map is shaded to show the margin of plurality; more information is given when you hover over or click on a particular district. The biggest gains were made by the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland and liberal Freie Demokratische Partei; the Pirate Party, which won 15 seats in 2011, was wiped out. [Maps Mania]
Everything Flows is an interactive online map that shows how much water comes into, is consumed in and flows out of Germany.
“Water flows” does not only refer to the hydrological processes related to natural watercourses. The project also answers the following questions: How much water flows through Germany in terms of natural, artificial and virtual flows? What are the different ways in which water is used and for what? Who uses it and why? And how much water flows out of Germany—physically and virtually?
CBC News: “A German website called Hoax Map is debunking false rumours about refugees throughout Germany and Austria, many of which range from the absurd to the disturbing.” Here’s the link; in German.