Mapping Anti-Trans Legislation Risk

A map of the United States showing the risk to the safety and well-being trans people by state legislation.
Erin Reed

There has been an outbreak of anti-trans legislation at the state level in the United States, and Erin Reed has spent the last three years tracking it. Her anti-trans legislative risk map measures the extent to which trans people are endangered by such legislation, whether it’s already on the books or could be the offing before the next election. The map reveals, no surprise, a polarized America: one where some states are racing to put anti-trans laws on the books while others enact protections and set themselves up as safe harbours.

Previously: Mapping Safe Washrooms.

European Night Train Network Map

Back on Track map of European night trains, 2023

Night train advocacy group Back on Track has a map showing the current network of European night trains offered by various train operators. It’s colour coded by operator, but individual lines are a bit hard to follow, and using various dashed lines for both less-than-daily service and forthcoming service is a bit confusing. Then again, given the sharp uptick of night train services being offered, it’s almost unavoidable that any map of this sort will be a bit of a jumble: compare with Jug Cerović’s version (previously) to see what I mean.

Leventhal’s Urban Atlas Explorer Atlascope Is Expanding, Seeking Sponsors

A screenshot of the Leventhal Map Center's Atlascope platform, which presents late 19th- and early 20th-century urban atlases in a web interface overlaid on a modern street map.
Atlascope (screenshot)

Speaking of georeferencing old maps, the Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library has a collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century urban atlases. Their Atlascope platform presents 101 of them in a web interface overlaid on a modern street map. The Leventhal is now looking to expand Atlascope’s coverage beyond the Boston area to towns and counties across Massachusetts, and is raising funds to do so (it can apparently take 60 hours to process one atlas). Details on sponsoring an atlas here. See their Instagram post.

GeoTIFFs Explained

Neueste General- Post- und Strassen Karte der Oesterreichischen Monarchie : mit politischer Eintheilung der einzelnen Provinzen derselben und Angabe der wichtigsten Bergwerke u. besuchtesten Mineralquellen : nebst einer bildlichen Darstellung des Monarchie-Wapens, so wie sämmtlicher Provinzial-Wapen
Neueste General- Post- und Strassen Karte der Oesterreichischen Monarchie, 1854. Map, hand-coloured, 71 × 104 cm. Library of Congress.

The blog of the Library of Congress’s Geography and Maps Division isn’t the first place you’d expect an explanation of the GeoTIFF format (basically, an image file in TIFF format that includes georeferencing metadata, so that the image can be projected on a map grid). But georeferencing old maps so that they can be placed on a modern map grid is definitely a thing, and Carissa Pastuch’s piece, “The Secret Life of GeoTIFFs,” looks at GeoTIFFs through the lens of an experimental dataset of georeferenced late 19th- and early 20th-century Austro-Hungarian maps.

Mapping Russia’s Military Presence in Crimea

Journalists working for Radio Liberty’s Crimean Realities project have released an interactive map of Crimea showing the location of more than 200 Russian military facilities. It’s meant as a warning to residents: these are the areas you need to stay away from. In Russian and Ukrainian only. News coverage: Radio Svoboda (Ukrainian; Google Translate), Ukrainska Pravda (English), Newsweek. [Maps Mania]

NOAA’s Aurora Forecasts

NOAA aurora forecast map

It turns out that auroras are a thing you can generate weather maps for. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center has this experimental Aurora Dashboard that predicts the visibility of the aurora borealis and australis for the next two nights.

(And space weather is in fact something that NOAA tracks: the term covers the effects of solar phenomena, cosmic rays, the ionosphere—think aurora sunspots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and their impacts on climate, communications, the power grid, GPS.)

Wildfires in Alberta

Here are some links to maps and satellite imagery of the wildfires devastating Alberta right now. The Alberta provincial government’s Alberta Wildfire Status Dashboard shows active wildfires and historical data; CBC News has produced four maps that distill and simplify data from that dashboard. NASA Earth Observatory has images of the wildfires from the Terra satellite’s MODIS instrument.

Updated Satellite Imagery of Ukraine Reveals Russian Fortifications, Damage

Recent satellite imagery reveals the extent of Russian defensive fortifications built in the past few months in occupied territory in anticipation of Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive: see coverage from CNN and Reuters. Meanwhile, Maps Mania reports that Google Maps’ updated satellite imagery of Ukraine shows the damage inflicted by the Russian invasion.

Google Maps as Social Space (and Time Waster)

Writing for The Atlantic, Will Peischel suggests an alternative to wasting all your time on social media: wasting all your time poking around in Google Maps.

Google Maps’ main purpose is to enable people to get directions and look up businesses. But along the way, it has become a social space too. Sort of. To fill out the world map it created, Google invited people to add snippets to all the digital places. You upload your photos; you leave your reviews; you look at the artifacts others have left behind. The pictures of a restaurant on Google Maps are often a mismatched succession of interior-design shots, flash photos of messy plates, and outdated menus. There’s plenty of detritus too: irrelevant photos, businesses that don’t exist, three-star reviews without an explanation.

The result is random and messy in a way that is different from the rest of the social web. […] But especially as algorithmic content has taken over the web, many of the surprises don’t feel fresh. They are our kind of surprises. Google Maps offers something many other platforms no longer can: a hodgepodge of truly unfamiliar stuff that hasn’t been packaged for your taste or mine. […] Because zooming out and scrolling around are so easy, you can bump into little treasures at every turn that would never land on an Instagram feed.

The Economist’s Interactive History of the Ordnance Survey

The Economist looks at the history of the Ordnance Survey in an interactive feature that shows the progress of the first 19th-century maps across Great Britain. Of course the definitive history of the Survey’s first century, as the Economist article readily allows, is Rachel Hewitt’s Map of a Nation (2010), which I reviewed here. [Maps Mania]