But computer mapping may be about to overtake hand-drawn illustration. John M. Nelson has created an ArcGIS style that does the very thing Dan Bell does by hand: emulate the maps of Middle-earth executed by Christopher Tolkien and Pauline Baynes. The style is called, naturally, My Precious: John explains it here and here, and demonstrates the style with this map of the Americas.
There are, of course, some flaws in this method: a mechanical representation of a hand-drawn style risks falling into the uncanny valley’s cartographic equivalent, especially when mountain and forest signs are clone-stamped over large areas. And to be honest I’m not a fan of the Aniron font: those letterforms were used in the Lord of the Rings movies, but never the books’ maps, and now they’re found on damn near every Tolkien-style map, and we hates it, precious, we hates it forever. But Nelson is basically emulating modern fantasy map practice: modern fantasy maps are invariably done in Illustrator, labels are computer generated rather than hand-drawn, and hill signs are clone stamped. Applying it to real-world maps, and GIS software, is new, but a difference in degree.
Earlier this year, we shared the first results of this effort with pollution levels throughout the city of Oakland.
We’re just beginning to understand what’s possible with this hyper-local information and today, we’re starting to share some of our findings for the three California regions we’ve mapped: the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and California’s Central Valley (the Street View cars drove 100,000 miles, over the course of 4,000 hours to collect this data!) Scientists and air quality specialists can use this information to assist local organizations, governments, and regulators in identifying opportunities to achieve greater air quality improvements and solutions.
Seeking Civilization: Art and Cartography, an exhibition at Gallery Wendi Norris in San Francisco, “offers a timely re-contextualization of cartographic narrative in contemporary art and dialogue. Including works ranging from deconstructed colonial maps to neon light installations documenting personal journeys in search of love, these artworks direct us towards new reflections on citizenship, power and nationhood.” Featuring art by Michael Arcega, Val Britton, Guillermo Galindo, Taraneh Hemami, Omar Mismar, Miguel Angel Ríos (above) and Adrien Segal, Seeking Civilization opened on 23 March and runs until 6 May. More at SF Weekly. [Texas Map Society]
During the gold rush, San Francisco was literally built on top of abandoned ships, as its waterfront was extended out into the Bay. The above map, part of the SFgenealogy site’s section on buried ships, shows the position of those ships. More at UpOut. [Michael Kodysz]