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The Map Room

A weblog about maps

Last Build Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:30:45 +0000


The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and Puerto Rico

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:30:45 +0000

Both Atlas Obscura and CityLab look at efforts by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team to update and improve the quality of maps in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Previously: Volunteers Mapping Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico.  

Australian Braille Globe Being Digitized

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:45:42 +0000

A rare Braille globe held by the Queensland State Library is being digitized so as to create a 3D-printed replica. The globe, invented by Richard Frank Tunley in the 1950s, is one of the last copies still in existence and is in poor physical shape—problematic for something designed to be touched. That’s where the replica … Continue reading "Australian Braille Globe Being Digitized"

‘They Just Wanted to Fix Some Things About the State Borders’

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 13:00:47 +0000

Today’s xkcd. Apparently, the graphic-designer dictatorship will, in their zeal to fix the state borders, overlook Point Roberts.

Street View at the Top of the World

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 19:16:01 +0000

At 82° north latitude, Quttinirpaaq National Park is on the northernmost tip of Canada’s northernmost island, Ellesmere Island. It takes days to fly there and requires you to hire a charter plane. Fewer than 50 people visit every year. And along with the remote northern communities of Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay, it’s just been added … Continue reading "Street View at the Top of the World"

‘Counter-Mapping’ the Amazon

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 17:00:30 +0000

The Conversation has a piece on how indigenous peoples in the Amazon are using “counter-mapping” to reclaim not only their ancestral lands, but as a way to counter the colonial process of mapmaking itself. Maps have always been part of the imposition of power over colonised peoples. While map-making might be thought of as “objective”, it … Continue reading "‘Counter-Mapping’ the Amazon"

A Map of the Entire French Rail Network

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:00:34 +0000

I love track network maps. I’ve told you about Franklin Jarrier’s rail maps, Transport for London’s track network map, and Andrew Lynch’s network map of the New York subway. Now for something grander: the SNCF’s map of the entire French rail network (28 MB PDF). It shows TGV lines, freight-only lines, number of tracks, and … Continue reading "A Map of the Entire French Rail Network"

‘The Un-Discovered Islands’ Comes to North America

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 13:00:58 +0000

Last year I told you about The Un-Discovered Islands, a book by Malachy Tallack that told the stories of some two dozen islands that were once thought real but are now no longer on the map. It existed only as a British edition, though a U.S. edition was said to be forthcoming. That U.S. edition is … Continue reading "‘The Un-Discovered Islands’ Comes to North America"


Wed, 11 Oct 2017 19:00:21 +0000

Will Geary’s TransitFlow project is an experimental set of tools to build animated transit flow visualizations, built from Transitland’s open-source transit schedule data. More than a dozen visualizations are available in video form here; each shows the flow of trains, buses and other forms of transport over the course of a day. Very high visual … Continue reading "TransitFlow"

‘The Perplexing River Systems of Middle-earth’

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 17:00:35 +0000

Having ruffled fannish feathers with a post critiquing Middle-earth’s mountains and another admitting that they don’t like fantasy maps, Alex Acks returns with a post about the problems with Middle-earth’s river systems. Specifically, the Anduin, which breaks all kinds of hydrological rules: it cuts across mountain ranges (and parallels the Misty Mountains), it lacks tributaries … Continue reading "‘The Perplexing River Systems of Middle-earth’"

Tomlinson’s Ph.D. Thesis Now Available

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:00:20 +0000

James Cheshire reports that the Ph.D. thesis of the “father of GIS,” Roger Tomlinson, has been digitized. Tomlinson completed his thesis, “Geographical Information Systems, Spatial Data Analysis and Decision Making in Government,” at the University College London’s Department of Geography in 1974. It can be downloaded as a PDF at this link.

Guns and Voters

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 13:00:49 +0000

We’ve seen a lot of maps correlating election results with other demographic or geographic data, but SurveyMonkey’s exit polling on the correlation between politics and gun ownership seems particularly stark, particularly in the context of recent events. In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, nothing predicted who you’d vote for more than whether you had a … Continue reading "Guns and Voters"

Getting Lost with a Cellphone

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 17:00:12 +0000

Writing for the Washington Post, Jenny Rough looks at how people get themselves lost hiking, despite having a cellphone or a GPS for directions, and how to get reoriented when lost in the wilderness: by remaining calm, by getting yourself situated, and yes, by learning how to use a map. [Geo Lounge]

Bellerby on CBS Sunday Morning

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 14:48:53 +0000

Bellerby & Co., makers of expensive bespoke handmade globes, continues to get all kinds of good press: earlier this week they were featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

A History of Canada in Ten Maps

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 13:00:28 +0000

The odd thing about A History of Canada in Ten Maps, the new book by Adam Shoalts out today from Allen Lane, is that it’s almost entirely uncontaminated by maps. It’s not just because the electronic review copy I received (via Netgalley) contained no images of the maps being referred to in the text: I expect … Continue reading "A History of Canada in Ten Maps"

New Editions of Two Smaller Times Atlases (One Very Small Indeed)

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 13:11:30 +0000

Today marks the U.K. publication of two atlases in the Times atlas range: the eighth edition of the Times Reference Atlas of the World and the seventh edition of the Times Mini Atlas of the World. The Reference is right in the middle of the Times atlas range: it’s inexpensive (£30 list, compared to £150 for the Comprehensive, £90 for … Continue reading "New Editions of Two Smaller Times Atlases (One Very Small Indeed)"

Mappa Mammalia

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 19:00:49 +0000

Mappa Mammalia is a series of maps of places in the shape of animals from Jeppe Knudsen Ringsted and Nicolai Søndergaard. “Each map is honouring a specific class/family/subfamily of animal by naming mountains, seas, lakes, cities etc. after fictional and non-fictional animals falling within each group. For example one map is made in the image of the tiger. That one is called … Continue reading "Mappa Mammalia"

NATRF2022 Datum Coming to North America in 2022

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 17:30:09 +0000

Geoff Zeiss posts about the forthcoming NATRF2022 datum, which will replace NAD 83 and NAVD 88 in 2022. It will address the shortcomings of the earlier datums and for the first time provide a common datum for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. “Practically,” Geoff writes, “this means that elevations may change by up to a … Continue reading "NATRF2022 Datum Coming to North America in 2022"

An Austro-Hungarian Mapmaking Guide

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 16:00:34 +0000

The Bodleian Map Room Blog posts some excerpts from an 1882 Austro-Hungarian guide to mapmaking. “The Schlüssel und vorlageblatter für den situations zeichnungs unterricht (which translates roughly as ‘Key and template for drawing lessons’) is a teaching aid created by the Institute of Military Geography in the Austro-Hungarian Ministry of War in 1882 for the drawing … Continue reading "An Austro-Hungarian Mapmaking Guide"

The First Railroads

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 14:30:11 +0000

Derek Hayes’s latest historical atlas (there have been many) came out last week from Firefly Books: The First Railroads: Atlas of Early Railroads. “In this book, Derek Hayes compiles archival maps and illustrations, many never before published, showing the locations and routes of the world’s early railways, as well as the locomotive and rail technology that was … Continue reading "The First Railroads"

Augmented Reality Comes to OS Maps

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:00:39 +0000

The Ordnance Survey’s OS Maps mobile app now has a new augmented reality mode. “Using the phone or tablet’s camera view, hills, mountains, coastal features, lakes, settlements, transport hubs and woodland in the vicinity are identified and labelled. If a label is pressed and there is a data connection, a page of useful information about … Continue reading "Augmented Reality Comes to OS Maps"

18th-Century Maps Reveal Florida’s Missing Coral Reefs

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 19:00:43 +0000

In the 1770s British surveyor George Gauld mapped the Florida Keys, taking careful note of the location and depth of Florida reefs. A study published last month in Science Advances compares Gauld’s maps with modern-day satellite imagery and concludes that half of the area occupied by coral in the eighteenth century has disappeared. As the Washington Post reports, … Continue reading "18th-Century Maps Reveal Florida’s Missing Coral Reefs"

Mapping Mass Shootings

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 17:30:28 +0000

CityLab maps the geography of mass shootings in America since 1982, “both geographically and by number. ‘Mass shooting’ is defined as an incident during which four or more people are killed during a single attack in a public place, excluding the shooter. This is one of the more conservative counts—the data does not include shootings … Continue reading "Mapping Mass Shootings"

New Map Books for October 2017

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 16:00:42 +0000

It’s a busy month for map book publishing; so far I’m aware of eight map-related book (many of them scholarly monographs) seeing print in October. New Views: The World Mapped Like Never Before by Alastair Bonnett (Aurum Press, 26 October). Collects 50 “unique and beautiful” maps of our world. [Amazon] Mapping Naval Warfare: A Visual … Continue reading "New Map Books for October 2017"

London National Park City Map

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 14:30:54 +0000

Urban Good’s London National Park City Map is a 125 × 95 cm paper map of Greater London’s green spaces that “includes all of the capital’s 3,000 parks plus woodlands, playing fields, nature reserves, city farms, rivers, canals and all the spaces that contribute to London’s parkland. Some of the most iconic walks through and … Continue reading "London National Park City Map"

Trafimage: Interactive Swiss Railway Map

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 13:00:56 +0000

I’ve seen real-time maps of Swiss trains before; this one, Trafimage, comes courtesy of the Swiss Federal Railways, and includes all kinds of information about the network: rail and bus lines, stations, fare networks, as well as real-time train data. Clicking on “Train tracker” makes the trains appear as circles moving along the rail lines; it’s … Continue reading "Trafimage: Interactive Swiss Railway Map"

Two Kickstarters

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 19:00:21 +0000

Two recent map-related Kickstarter campaigns: Modern Map Art Prints turns a map of a location of your choice into an abstract art print. Already funded. Map on Table aims to create a small (42×42 cm) table made up of a laser-cut metal map of New York, London or the world mounted on wooden legs (see above). … Continue reading "Two Kickstarters"

The Great Lake Winnipesaukee Map Fight

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 17:30:51 +0000

Last month, the Boston Globe reported on a curious rivalry between two mapmakers and their boating maps of Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Bizer and Duncan Press, both family businesses, are locked in a bitter battle with one another, as each touts their own map of the lake as the best … Continue reading "The Great Lake Winnipesaukee Map Fight"

Volunteers Mapping Post-Hurricane Puerto Rico

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 16:00:55 +0000

When disaster strikes, crowdmapping kicks into high gear. Last Friday, six universities hosted mapathons where volunteers, using satellite imagery, contributed to the map of Puerto Rico and other hurricane-damaged areas on OpenStreetMap. More from one of the universities involved. Here’s the relevant project page on the OSM Wiki.

Between Stations

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 14:30:33 +0000

In Nicholas Rougeux’s latest project, Between Stations, subway maps “were broken down into the segments between each station and rearranged to fill a common simple shape: a circle. Each diagram shows every segment in a subway system while maintaining geographic orientation (no segments were rotated).” The project page is full of hypnotic animations in which … Continue reading "Between Stations"

Three Map Exhibitions

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 13:00:01 +0000

Historic Maps of the Southwest, an exhibition at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts in Los Lunas, New Mexico (just south of Albuquerque), features maps on loan from the Albuquerque Museum. Opened on 9 September and runs until the end of December. The Valencia County News-Bulletin has details: “Most of the maps in the … Continue reading "Three Map Exhibitions"