Gizmodo takes a look at the Imaginary Maps group on Reddit, where members mostly post imagined maps from alternate timelines—countries that never existed, the aftermath of wars that went the other way, that sort of thing. The bulk of the piece is an interview with frequent contributor xpNc, who talks about their own motivations for creating such maps. Some, of course, are controversial—a good way to pick a fight, apparently, is to draw a map of the Balkans with alternate borders. And, as xpNc tells Gizmodo, “Some people are just a little bit too enthusiastic about scenarios where Germany takes over the world, and I really don’t want to attract that crowd”—fortunately the wave of “Germany wins the Second World War” maps that I saw on the group a while back (last year?) seems to have abated.
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.
There have been plenty of fantasy transit network maps—maps that imagine the subway, rail or bus system they think their city should have. BlogTO points to a good one: a map that reimagines the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway network posted to Reddit by architecture student Henry Lin. BlogTO calls it “one of the most ambitious and beautiful (like, if you’re into that stuff) yet. It’s the subway map Toronto deserves to have—though we probably never will. I mean, if a one stop subway extension costs $3.35 billion, this system would cost a few trilly to build, at least.” Lin’s done a few maps like this one that seem be modified from the original maps (see, for example, Ottawa’s or Montreal’s); the point of exercises like his, though, isn’t the originality of the design, but imagining the expanded network.
Reddit user academiaadvice maps the rate of gun homicides per 100,000 residents by state from 2007 to 2016 (above).
The Washington Post has maps of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—where last week’s shooting took place—and its surrounding area.
We’ve seen maps reimagining the United States reorganized into a different number and configuration of states before, but this map by Reddit user Upvoteanthology_ looks north of the border for inspiration. It imagines what would happen if the U.S. were organized like Canada, with the same population imbalances: Ontario, for example, has 38.9 percent of the Canadian population, so this map imagines a superstate, Shanherria, with 38.9 percent of the U.S. population that spans the entire U.S. South, plus Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas and the non-Chicago parts of Illinois. Meanwhile, Maine is roughly equivalent to Prince Edward Island, and the three northern territories map to Alaska.
Here’s an animated map showing each country’s average life expectancy at birth for every year since 1960, posted by Reddit user DataFreelancer to the Data Is Beautiful subreddit. [Boing Boing]
Before we’re inundated by the results from the 2016 U.S. presidential election, here are a couple of looks back at the 2012 election that explore the results from slightly different angles.
This map shows the county-by-county results but the intensity is by raw vote totals, not percentages: the darker the colour, the more actual votes there are. It’s an attempt to compensate for counties of different sizes, but you still end up with distortions if the county is both large and populous. [Maptitude]
Most Democratic strength is in the cities; most Republican strength is in rural areas. This map depicts the opposites: the urban counties won by Mitt Romney in 2012 and the rural counties where Obama won. [Maps on the Web]
Reddit user joostjakob posted the above map to MapPorn with the following caption: “Why population density maps are hard to read: exactly the same amount of people live in the black and in the blue areas.” [Maps on the Web]
Of the maps of the Democratic and Republican U.S. presidential primary and caucus results I’ve seen so far, I rather like the county-by-county maps done by Reddit user Mainstay17. Here’s one for the Democrats that includes the results from the Super Tuesday states:
And here’s the equivalent map for the Republicans:
NPR and the Washington Post report a fascinating story of how a rare atlas was identified in an unlikely fashion: being posted to Reddit. Last month, reference librarian Anders Kvernberg stumbled across an uncatalogued atlas in the vaults of the National Library of Norway. He could make out that it was an Ottoman atlas from 1803, but not much more than that, since he couldn’t read Ottoman Turkish. He did scan and post one of its maps to Reddit, where Redditors went to work translating the text. Then, a couple of weeks later, another Redditor posted an Ottoman map of Africa, which was identified as part of the Cedid Atlas (Cedid Atlas Tercümesi), published in Istanbul in 1803. The Library of Congress has a copy, which it acquired in 1998, digitized, and put online. Kvernberg went and looked—and, he says, “started recognising the scans. Then I realized this was the very same atlas I had held in my hands a few weeks earlier.” The Cedid Atlas was rare: only 50 were printed, and only 14 were known to be held in public institutions. It turns out that the National Library of Norway has the 15th. [via]