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The Map Room

A weblog about maps

Last Build Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 21:56:33 +0000


Callum Ogden’s Fantasy Map of North America

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 21:56:33 +0000

Last year Callum Ogden started making real-world maps in the style of fantasy maps; his most recent is this map of North America, which is very much in the post-Lord of the Rings-movies style of things. In this Medium post he talks about the process of making it.

New Orleans: ‘Totally Unrealistic’ Fantasy City

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 21:46:42 +0000

Holy cow—if you like fantasy maps, spend some time looking at New Orleans. WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON WITH THIS CITY?! If this came in from a freelancer, there are half a dozen things that would raise my eyebrows. — James L. Sutter (@jameslsutter) March 19, 2018 Don’t miss writer and game designer James … Continue reading "New Orleans: ‘Totally Unrealistic’ Fantasy City"

The Coastline Paradox

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 19:51:01 +0000

This short video does a good job explaining the coastline paradox, which basically results from coastlines being fractal, and the length of a coastline can vary quite a lot depending on the method you use to measure it. More at Mental Floss. [WMS]

Globes Exhibit in Abu Dhabi

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 19:42:56 +0000

Here’s something to do if you’re in the United Arab Emirates. Opening tomorrow (23 March) at the Louvre Abu Dhabi and running until 2 June, Globes: Visions of the World presents works from the Bibliothèque nationale de France and other loaned works, including more than 40 globes. Starting with the great minds of ancient Greece, … Continue reading "Globes Exhibit in Abu Dhabi"

Atlas Obscura Readers’ Dream Islands: The Results

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 16:11:10 +0000

I mentioned Atlas Obscura’s call for readers to submit maps of their perfect dream island, but I neglected to post a link to the results. Atlas Obscura: “We received submissions from readers young and old, all full of fun and creative details. Entries included islands full of cats (there were several of those, in fact), political strongholds, simple sandbar … Continue reading "Atlas Obscura Readers’ Dream Islands: The Results"

Map to Globe

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 16:07:57 +0000

Map to Globe is an online tool that makes a globe out of any two-dimensional image. (Caitlin went for the Tabula Rogeriana.) For best (read: least distorted) results, you want to upload a 2:1 ratio map in an equirectangular projection. Some examples here.

Traffic Congestion, Mobile Apps and Game Theory

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:41:01 +0000

There have been numerous complaints that mobile map apps have been dumping traffic from freeways onto nearby residential streets (previously). But a team of researchers, including Berkeley’s Alexandre Bayen, have been looking at the problem from the perspective of game theory (see papers here and here). Basically, the apps operate selfishly, and lead to results … Continue reading "Traffic Congestion, Mobile Apps and Game Theory"

Don’t Put Shetland in a Box

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:33:23 +0000

Shetland’s representative to the Scottish Parliament has moved an amendment to proposed legislation that would require public authorities to portray Shetland “accurately and proportionately” in Scottish maps: BBC News, iNews, The Scotsman. Because Shetland is so far to the northeast of the island of Great Britain, it’s usually shown in an inset map; this move would, it seems, … Continue reading "Don’t Put Shetland in a Box"

Alejandro Polanco’s Minimal Geography

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 13:40:45 +0000

Our friend Alejandro Polanco has produced a nifty infographic poster map that is centred, for a change, on the Dymaxion projection. The central map is surrounded by lots of little inset maps and infographics. Called Minimal Geography, it’s available for sale via Kickstarter as a €6 digital download in two print sizes. A second reward … Continue reading "Alejandro Polanco’s Minimal Geography"

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Republican Appeal of New Pennsylvania Congressional Map

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 13:21:10 +0000

CNN: “The Supreme Court has denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block new congressional maps that could tilt several key races in Democrats’ favor from being used in the midterm elections.” The new map was imposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after the state’s governor and legislature failed to come up with a replacement for … Continue reading "U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Republican Appeal of New Pennsylvania Congressional Map"

Van Duzer Assesses Urbano Monte’s Work

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 16:56:36 +0000

More on Urbano Monte’s 1587 world map, a copy of which the Rumsey Collection acquired last year (see previous entry). Chet Van Duzer presented his findings on the map and the mapmaker at Stanford last month, LiveScience reports. His conclusion? Monte was “both a mastermind and a copycat”—and not a very good artist, either. But the … Continue reading "Van Duzer Assesses Urbano Monte’s Work"

OpenStreetMap and Its Women Contributors

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 16:00:07 +0000

When I started contributing edits to OpenStreetMap in earnest, I couldn’t help notice certain idiosyncrasies in its tagging: for example, there was a tag for brothels, which I didn’t need to use, but there wasn’t one for daycares, which in Quebec there are rather a lot of. That seemed odd. And it was indicative of … Continue reading "OpenStreetMap and Its Women Contributors"

Comparing Cartograms

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 14:51:02 +0000

Datawrapper has added population cartograms to its map collections, and in its blog post discusses the advantages and disadvantages of cartograms vs. geographical maps, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of some of the different types of cartograms. Turns out that cartograms are kind of like map projections: each has its pros and cons; each … Continue reading "Comparing Cartograms"

Ogilby’s Britannia

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 14:42:12 +0000

Something I missed when I posted about Alan Ereira’s biography of 17th-century cartographer John Ogilby: scans of all 100 plates of his 1675 atlas, Britannia—considered the first road atlas of Great Britain—are available online at this site. [Tom Harper] Previously: New Biography of 17th-Century Cartographer John Ogilby.

Christian Tate’s Transit Map of Middle-earth

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 18:25:27 +0000

Christian Tate’s map of Middle-earth in the style of a transit map, showing the journeys of the characters of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (or at least the film versions thereof), was commissioned for Empire magazine. It reminds me a bit of Andrew DeGraff’s Cinemaps. [Transit Maps]

A Google Maps Roundup

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 18:15:50 +0000

We’re almost at the end of the week of Mario on Google Maps. Announced for March 10 (“MAR10” Day), the temporary feature changed the navigator arrow into Mario driving his cart. Announced for both Android and iOS, but for some reason it never turned up in Google Maps on either my iPhone or my iPad, … Continue reading "A Google Maps Roundup"

The Rise and Fall of the Thomas Guide

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 21:38:05 +0000

KPCC’s AirTalk has a nostalgic look at the Thomas Guide, which at one point was to Los Angeles what the Gazetteer is to Maine or the Sherlock map is to Winnipeg. [Kottke/WMS]

MacVan Map Company Is Closing at the End of March

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 21:26:39 +0000

MacVan Map Company, the Colorado map publisher and store, is closing at the end of March—another victim, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, of car- and smartphone-based navigation systems: MacVan General Manager Bob Stanley, one of two remaining employees of a company that once employed nearly 20 people, said this week he and owner Ken Field agonized … Continue reading "MacVan Map Company Is Closing at the End of March"

The Pictorial Maps of Jean-Louis Rheault

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 01:50:40 +0000

KelownaNow reports that a pictorial tourist map of Kelowna, British Columbia will be updated by the original artist later this year. The original version, first released in 2012, was featured in the NACIS Atlas of Design in 2014. This local news item was my segue into the work of pictorial map artist Jean-Louis Rheault, who’s been producing … Continue reading "The Pictorial Maps of Jean-Louis Rheault"

Helen Wallis

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 15:09:59 +0000

It’s International Women’s Day, and the British Library is taking a moment to mark the life of Helen Wallis (1924-1995), who headed the Library’s map collections between 1967 and 1986. Helen Wallis was one of the leading figures in map librarianship who pioneered the study of cartography. She was the first woman to hold the … Continue reading "Helen Wallis"

Kenneth Field’s Dot Density Election Map

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 15:02:53 +0000

Earlier this week, Kenneth Field posted a quick-and-dirty dasymetric dot density map of the 2016 U.S. presidential election results to Twitter. It quickly went viral. In a subsequent blog post, he goes into some detail about the process of making the map. “The screengrab was quick and dirty and while there have been many and … Continue reading "Kenneth Field’s Dot Density Election Map"

The Unrecognized Women of Cartography

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 14:24:14 +0000

The Future Mapping Company looks at the unrecognized women of cartography. They point out that there are only two women (Marie Tharp and Jessamine Shumate) among the 200-plus names on Wikipedia’s list of cartographers, and come up with 10 names, some of which you might have heard of (Tharp, Phyllis Pearsall), others maybe you haven’t, … Continue reading "The Unrecognized Women of Cartography"

Atlas Obscura Wants a Map of Your Dream Island

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 23:48:26 +0000

Atlas Obscura is asking readers to draw a map of their perfect dream island and send it in to them. That’s something I can absolutely get behind. If you could make an island to your exact specifications, what would it look like? What would make it unique—the true island of your individual dreams? Maybe your … Continue reading "Atlas Obscura Wants a Map of Your Dream Island"

Indigenous Place Names in Canada

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 20:02:52 +0000

The University of Maine’s Canadian-American Center has published a map of indigenous place names in Canada: Commissioned by Dr. Stephen J. Hornsby, Director of the Canadian-American Center, Coming Home to Indigenous Place Names in Canada was researched and designed by Dr. Margaret Wickens Pearce. The map depicts Indigenous place names across Canada, shared by permission … Continue reading "Indigenous Place Names in Canada"

Two Different Ways to Make Maps for Self-Driving Cars

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 20:40:49 +0000

Another piece on the various attempts to create detailed, high-definition maps for self-driving cars, this time from Bloomberg’s Mark Bergen, who views it through the prism of Google’s efforts in that space, and whether its competitors will be able to stop Google from dominating the high-definition mapping space the way it has come to dominate consumer … Continue reading "Two Different Ways to Make Maps for Self-Driving Cars"

Waldo R. Tobler, 1930-2018

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 20:14:24 +0000

The influential geographer Waldo R. Tobler died last month at the age of 88. Tobler, who taught at the University of Michigan and UC Santa Barbara, was best known for his First Law of Geography, which he coined in 1970: “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.” … Continue reading "Waldo R. Tobler, 1930-2018"

Dot Density Maps of Belgium

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:53:11 +0000

Maarten Lambrechts discusses how to make a dot density population map, in technical detail. He uses QGIS to process data for his home country of Belgium. The map above is one result (he also zoomed in on Brussels).

The Chiswick Timeline

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:33:45 +0000

The Chiswick Timeline, a public mural of historic maps of Chiswick, London, situated along the walls of the underpass next to the Turnham Green tube station, opened earlier this month. A project of Abundance London, the mural is a series of panels reproducing maps of Chiswick from as early as the late 16th century, and traces … Continue reading "The Chiswick Timeline"

Apple, Google and Waze: Which Is Most Accurate?

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 23:28:15 +0000

Artur Grabowski spent most of 2017 testing three mapping apps—Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze—to see which app was the most accurate in terms of travel time to destination. His questions: which app estimated the shortest travel times, which app actually got him to his destination in the least amount of time, and how much … Continue reading "Apple, Google and Waze: Which Is Most Accurate?"

A Fantasy TTC Subway Map

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 23:47:12 +0000

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 … Continue reading "A Fantasy TTC Subway Map"