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The Map Room

A weblog about maps

Last Build Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:06:24 +0000


An Online Atlas of Canadian Election Results

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:06:24 +0000 is an online atlas of federal and provincial election results in Canada. At the federal level the maps go back as far as the 1925 general election; provincial election maps go back as far as the late 1960s or early 1970s. Poll-by-poll results are available for the most recent elections. This is a huge resource, … Continue reading "An Online Atlas of Canadian Election Results"

Snowfall as Animated Relief Map

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:30:08 +0000

Here’s something neat from Garrett Dash Nelson: “the total seasonal snowfall in the continental US for 2017–2018 so far, shown as a relief map,” where total snowfall is expressed as elevation. That’s neat. Even neater: the animated gif that depicts it (a frame of which is above). Even neater than that: he shows how he made … Continue reading "Snowfall as Animated Relief Map"


Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:20:06 +0000

It’s been a while since we last saw a map of Donald Trump’s world view (previously), but now, inspired by the president’s reported comments about shithole countries, we have a new one from The New Yorker’s Peter Kuper. [Facebook/Twitter] Previously: The Huffington Post Maps Trump’s World.

Navigation: A Very Short Introduction

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:23:12 +0000

The problem with Jim Bennett’s Navigation: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, May 2017) is summed up in its subtitle: it’s very short, and it’s only an introduction. Part of Oxford University Press’s Very Short Introductions series, Navigation discusses the tools and methods used by mariners and navigators to find their way across the seas, beginning … Continue reading "Navigation: A Very Short Introduction"

Alex Clausen and the Fake Waldseemüller Globe Gores

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:12:53 +0000

It seems like everyone who evaluated the Waldseemüller globe gores is going to get a profile. The recently discovered gores were going to be auctioned by Christie’s last month until experts found evidence that they were carefully faked copies. That was, as I said at the time, a bombshell. Since then we’ve seen profiles of … Continue reading "Alex Clausen and the Fake Waldseemüller Globe Gores"

How Ptolemy’s Geography Helped Get a Man Burned at the Stake

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 15:00:33 +0000

Last November the Library of Congress’s map blog, Worlds Revealed, published Cynthia Smith’s interesting piece on Michael Servetus, a Renaissance theologian who, in 1553, Calvin had burned at the stake, along with his books, for heresy. One of those books was a 1535 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography, and while that book was not one that got … Continue reading "How Ptolemy’s Geography Helped Get a Man Burned at the Stake"

North Carolina’s Gerrymandered Congressional District Map Ruled Unconstitutional

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:28:39 +0000

North Carolina’s congressional district map has been ruled unconstitutional by a panel of federal judges, the New York Times reports. Significantly, it’s because the map represented a partisan gerrymander, engineered to ensure a Republican stranglehold on North Carolina’s congressional delegation, rather than a racial gerrymander. Partisan gerrymanders have not previously been considered illegal; it’ll be interesting to see … Continue reading "North Carolina’s Gerrymandered Congressional District Map Ruled Unconstitutional"

Book Roundup for January 2018

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:09:47 +0000

Augustine Herrman’s Chesapeake A Biography of a Map in Motion: Augustine Herrman’s Chesapeake by Christian J. Koot, out last month from NYU Press, is an exploration of an iconic map—Virginia and Maryland as it is planted and inhabited this present year 1670 (see above)—and the mapmaker behind it, Augustine Herrman. “[T]he map pictures the Mid-Atlantic in breathtaking … Continue reading "Book Roundup for January 2018"

Route 338: A Giant Educational Map About Canada’s Political System

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 15:27:55 +0000

I’ve mentioned Canadian Geographic’s giant floor maps, which are loaned out to schools and come with additional teaching materials, before (namely, the Vimy Ridge map). Now CTV News takes a look at another one of their maps, this one focusing on Canada’s political system and improving students’ “democratic literacy.” It’s called Route 338, and it’s a 10.7×7.9m (35′×26′) floor … Continue reading "Route 338: A Giant Educational Map About Canada’s Political System"

xkcd’s 2016 Election Map

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 21:51:36 +0000

The maps that appear from time to time on xkcd are usually a lot more whimsical than the one Randall posted today: his somewhat belated “2016 Election Map” assigns one figure for every 250,000 votes for each of the 2016 presidential election candidates. As Randall says in the alt text, “I like the idea of cartograms … Continue reading "xkcd’s 2016 Election Map"

Wired Covers the Mapzen Shutdown

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 21:37:54 +0000

Wired’s coverage of the Mapzen shutdown (see previous entry) is fairly comprehensive. The good news is that, in some ways, Mapzen’s founders built it to fail. “Part of the rules with Mapzen is that everything is open source and we only deal with open data,” says CEO Randy Meech. “Luckily, we’re staffed to help people stand … Continue reading "Wired Covers the Mapzen Shutdown"

Hot and Cold

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 15:56:32 +0000

The deep freeze is unevenly distributed. NASA Earth Observatory published this temperature anomaly map based on data from the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. A temperature anomaly map shows how much warmer or colder temperatures are versus the average—in this case, land surface temperatures from 26 December 2017 to 2 January 2018 are compared … Continue reading "Hot and Cold"

Century-Old Maps Reveal Long-Term Abundance of Kelp Beds

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:46:59 +0000

Comparing century-old maps of kelp beds in the Pacific Northwest to modern aerial surveys, a University of Chicago professor was able to track the long-term abundance and health of the beds, which in most cases remained remarkably constant: Journal of Ecology article. The kelp bed maps, made from surveys in 1911 and 1912, were the result of U.S. … Continue reading "Century-Old Maps Reveal Long-Term Abundance of Kelp Beds"

The Best Part Is the Two Africas

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 15:14:03 +0000

Found, says the anonymous Reddit poster, in a Chinese coffee shop. [Map Fail]

The Texas Restorers Who Examined the Fake Globe Gores

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 14:11:43 +0000

Still more coverage of the cancelled auction of the Waldseemüller globe gores that were later identified as fakes, this time from the Houston Chronicle, which pursues the local-interest angle by talking to Michal and and Lindsay Peichl, restorers from Clear Lake, Texas (their firm is Paper Restoration Studio) who were brought in to examine the gores … Continue reading "The Texas Restorers Who Examined the Fake Globe Gores"


Wed, 03 Jan 2018 21:55:25 +0000

Yesterday I told you about Mapzen’s announcement that it would be closing down at the end of the month. So it’s bittersweet that I find, in my to-do list of links to post here, a Mapzen project. Morphology is a tool that abstracts the map into an unlabelled set of lines, patterns and forms. The default view combines … Continue reading "Morphology"

Bellerby Is Hiring Again

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 13:00:34 +0000

Bellerby & Co., the maker of expensive hand-made globes, is hiring again: this time they’re looking for a graphic designer/cartographer—a skill set more widely available than that for the apprentice globemaker they were looking for last year. They’re also looking for a woodworker to build the wood bases for their globes.

Mapzen Is Shutting Down

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 20:09:51 +0000

Mapzen announced today that they were shutting down at the end of January 2018. Our hosted APIs and all related support and services will turn off on February 1, 2018. You will not be charged for API usage in December/January. We know this is an inconvenience and have provided a migration guide to similar services for … Continue reading "Mapzen Is Shutting Down"

The Great Map of Movieland

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:56:39 +0000

The Great Map of Movieland is a whimsical map that plots 1,800 movie titles on an imaginary terrain. Film genres appear as regions (Adventure Plains, Coming of Age Peninsula) and the films themselves appear as towns, with town size correlating to a film’s importance. (It’s a bit odd to see Star Wars and Star Trek in the … Continue reading "The Great Map of Movieland"

Debt in America

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 17:30:21 +0000

The Urban Institute’s interactive map of debt in America explores the geography of debt, paying particular attention to medical debt and the racial (white vs. nonwhite) breakdown of debt, down to the county level. [Kottke]

New Jersey Borough to Close Streets to Congestion-Rerouted Traffic

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 15:38:04 +0000

When your navigation app (e.g. Waze) suggests an alternate route to avoid congestion, that has knock-on effects on the communities you’re routed through, particularly when a lot of traffic gets pushed onto quiet residential streets.  That’s the situation in Leonia, New Jersey, the New York Times reports, where later this month the police will be closing … Continue reading "New Jersey Borough to Close Streets to Congestion-Rerouted Traffic"

2017 in Numbers

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 17:04:45 +0000

Number of blog entries posted: 386 (including this one). Five most popular posts published in 2017: (1) The Medieval Fantasy City Generator (27 Jul); (2) World Life Expectancy (28 Dec); (3) ‘They Just Wanted to Fix Some Things About the State Borders’ (13 Oct); (4) Mapping the August 2017 Solar Eclipse (21 Jul); (5) The Territory Is Not the … Continue reading "2017 in Numbers"

A Digital Cartographer Tries Drawing by Hand

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 20:00:18 +0000

Fresh from trying to replicate hand-drawn effects (or even papercut effects) digitally, John M. Nelson has crossed over and begun attempting actual hand-drawn maps. Here he documents how he created a hand-drawn map as a Christmas present; here he gives hillshading by hand a try. Previously: Five Years of Drought; Cartographers’ Stories; The Earth at Night, Updated.

Early Radar Maps of Antarctica Digitized

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 18:00:15 +0000

Nature: “Glaciologists will soon have a treasure trove of data for exploring how Antarctica’s underbelly has changed over nearly half a century. An international team of researchers has scanned and digitized 2 million records from pioneering aeroplane radar expeditions that criss-crossed the frozen continent in the 1960s and 1970s. […] The digitized data extend the record of … Continue reading "Early Radar Maps of Antarctica Digitized"

U.S. Wildfire Causes, 1980-2016

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:00:22 +0000

Jill Hubley has mapped the causes of wildfires in the United States from 1980 to 2016, based on Federal Wildland Fire Occurrence Data. The map toggles between main causes (human and natural) and specific cause; there’s also a chart ranking the causes. The highest and lowest ranked causes are highlighted when the chart loads. These represent … Continue reading "U.S. Wildfire Causes, 1980-2016"

Canadian Geographic’s (and Chris Brackley’s) Best Maps

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 14:00:49 +0000

Canadian Geographic looks at the best maps it published in 2017. It did the same in 2016 and in 2015. The funny thing about the maps in these year’s-best posts is that they’re all by CG’s in-house cartographer, Chris Brackley, who the RCGS is clearly glad to have on board—and based on what I can see … Continue reading "Canadian Geographic’s (and Chris Brackley’s) Best Maps"

Matthew Cusick Interviewed

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 20:00:28 +0000

I’ve blogged about Matthew Cusick and his art, which is based on collages of old maps, before, but this interview from last September in Dallas Innovates is long, in-depth and offers many insights into the artist and his work. [WMS]

World Life Expectancy

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 18:00:34 +0000

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]


Thu, 28 Dec 2017 16:00:56 +0000

Cat Rambo livetweeted some of the good bits from the online class on creating fantasy maps she taught with Alex Acks and Paul Weimer earlier this month (see previous entry), using the #mappingfantasy hashtag. Most of those good bits were common sense worldbuilding advice; by and large the intended audience is authors creating their fantasy … Continue reading "#mappingfantasy"

Examples of Multivariate Maps

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 14:00:48 +0000

Jim Vallandingham looks at multivariate maps: There are many types of maps that are used to display data. Choropleths and Cartograms provide two great examples. I gave a talk, long long ago, about some of these map varieties. Most of these more common map types focus on a particular variable that is displayed. But what … Continue reading "Examples of Multivariate Maps"