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The Map Room

A weblog about maps

Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:45:18 +0000


Other Gift Guides, 2017 Edition

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:45:18 +0000

If The Map Room’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide still leaves you wanting for ideas (and the additional books in the Map Books of 2017 page don’t do it either)—maybe you just want to give something that isn’t a book—here are some other map related gift guides. James Cheshire’s Ultimate Gift List for Map Lovers, which … Continue reading "Other Gift Guides, 2017 Edition"

Waldseemüller Auction Cancelled After Experts Suspect Fakery

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:54:16 +0000

This is a bombshell. Christie’s has cancelled its upcoming auction of a (supposedly) newly discovered copy of Waldseemüller’s globe gores. Experts found evidence suggesting that the gores were a carefully faked copy of the gores found in the James Ford Bell Library. In today’s New York Times, Michael Blanding (who wrote a book on the Forbes Smiley … Continue reading "Waldseemüller Auction Cancelled After Experts Suspect Fakery"

British Antarctic Survey Remeasures Mount Hope

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:04:20 +0000

This BBC News article leads with a reasonably interesting geographic fact: that Mount Hope, on the Antarctic Peninsula, has been remeasured at 3,239 metres, making it the tallest mountain in territory claimed by the United Kingdom. (Its location is also claimed by Argentina and Chile.) But it’s really about the British Antarctic Survey, who are … Continue reading "British Antarctic Survey Remeasures Mount Hope"

How to Build a Fire Map

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 00:10:10 +0000

Last October Robin Kraft posted an online map of the northern California wildfires showing satellite imagery from before and after the fires (see previous entry); today he’s posted a blog entry explaining how he built it, in great technical detail. The timing is not accidental: “There is another fire raging in Los Angeles right now — if … Continue reading "How to Build a Fire Map"

Mapping the Chance of an Upset in Alabama

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 23:53:36 +0000

The Washington Post assesses Democrat Doug Jones’s chances against Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate election next month by mapping three factors: the extent to which Moore underperformed Mitt Romney in 2012 (Moore ran for chief justice of Alabama in 2012 at the same time Romney ran for president), the racial makeup of Alabama’s … Continue reading "Mapping the Chance of an Upset in Alabama"

The Melbourne Map

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 01:40:35 +0000

The Melbourne Map is getting a new edition. The original came out in 1990. Inspired by bird’s-eye maps she’d encountered on her travels, Melinda Clarke teamed up with illustrator Deborah Young to create a pictorial map of the city that became something of a local success. Now, decades later, they’ve teamed up with illustrator Lewis Brownlie to create … Continue reading "The Melbourne Map"

Wymer’s D.C.

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 16:26:59 +0000

Wymer’s D.C. is an online collection of the hand-drawn maps, notes and (especially) photographs of John P. Wymer (1904-1995), who in a four-year period between 1948 and 1952 systematically photographed and documented the streets of Washington, D.C., taking thousands of pictures and drawing and describing the city, which he divided into 57 equal sections. The … Continue reading "Wymer’s D.C."

Mapping the Halifax Explosion

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:43:23 +0000

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, which took place when a French cargo ship laden with explosives collided with another ship in Halifax Harbour. The resulting blast killed around 2,000 people and devastated the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia; it was the largest artificial explosion of the pre-nuclear age. Maps Mania points … Continue reading "Mapping the Halifax Explosion"

Indigenous Contributions to Early Maps of Alaska

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 20:00:34 +0000

A lecture by independent historian John Cloud about indigenous contributions to early American mapmaking and surveys of the newly acquired territory of Alaska is now online. The lecture, titled “The Treaty of Cession, as Seen through the Lenses of Art, Cartography, and Photography,” is 80 minutes long and full of interesting stuff about the early history … Continue reading "Indigenous Contributions to Early Maps of Alaska"

Global Assessment of Reptile Distributions

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 18:00:16 +0000

The Global Assessment of Reptile Distributions project aims to map the distribution of every species of amphisbaenian, crocodilian, lizard, snake, tuatara and turtle, with the goal of identifying biodiversity hotspots and priorities for conservation efforts. Reptile biodiversity does not, it appears, align with other vertebrate biodiversity; this is one point raised by a recent article … Continue reading "Global Assessment of Reptile Distributions"

Bing Maps Updates Oblique Imagery

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 16:00:57 +0000

Bing Maps is still trucking along, even if Apple and Google take up most of the oxygen in the online mapping space these days. Two weeks ago the Bing Maps team marked the 450th location to receive oblique “Bird’s Eye” imagery. All the cities listed as receiving new oblique imagery are in the United States.

Geological Mosaic Map

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:52:41 +0000

The York Museum Gardens’ Geological Mosaic Map is a four-metre-square pebble mosaic that depicts the Yorkshire part of William Smith’s 1815 geological map of Great Britain—a copy of which is held at the adjacent Yorkshire Museum. The mosaic was commissioned in 2015 and created by mosaic artist Janette Ireland, who “used many imaginative devices—including fossils, both real and … Continue reading "Geological Mosaic Map"

Ming-Era Silk Road Map Donated to Palace Museum in Beijing

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 20:00:01 +0000

“A huge colored map of the Silk Road from a royal court of the mid-Ming Dynasty was officially welcomed home at the Forbidden City in Beijing on Thursday,” China Daily reports. “The 30-meter-long by 59-centimeter-wide scroll, named the Landscape Map of the Silk Road, is painted on silk. It depicts trade routes starting at Jiayuguan—at the … Continue reading "Ming-Era Silk Road Map Donated to Palace Museum in Beijing"

20 Years of Observing Our Living Planet

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 18:00:50 +0000

NASA: “Satellites measured land and ocean life from space as early as the 1970s. But it wasn’t until the launch of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) in 1997 that the space agency began what is now a continuous, global view of both land and ocean life. A new animation captures the entirety of this … Continue reading "20 Years of Observing Our Living Planet"

Czech Railways’ Annual Diary Pulled Because of Sensitive Map

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 16:00:24 +0000

Czech Railways (České dráhy) have pulled its upcoming annual diary from circulation because it includes a sensitive map of Europe, the Lidové nivony reports (in Czech; Google Translate). The map, created by Kartografie Praha, shows Crimea, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia as disputed regions and marks the territory held by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. … Continue reading "Czech Railways’ Annual Diary Pulled Because of Sensitive Map"

Waldseemüller Globe Ornament

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 14:23:44 +0000

I didn’t know Replogle made Christmas ornaments. I stumbled across the above, a Waldseemüller globe ornament—i.e., an ornament based on the Waldseemüller globe gores—while poking around my local map store for the first time in years. I bought the last one they had in stock. It’s 3¼″ (8.3 cm) in diameter, comes with a stand, … Continue reading "Waldseemüller Globe Ornament"

Server Upgrade

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 13:59:57 +0000

On Friday I finally upgraded The Map Room’s hosting plan, moving from shared hosting to a virtual private server. There was a small hiccup: initially the VPS was housed at my web host’s Oregon data centre while the MySQL server was in Virginia: this led to pages hanging for about seven seconds before loading unless … Continue reading "Server Upgrade"

A Video Profile of James Niehues, Ski Resort Map Artist

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 20:00:33 +0000

Earlier this year Great Big Story did a short video piece about legendary ski resort map artist James Niehues, whom I’ve blogged about here on several previous occasions. Though this 2½-minute video is obviously less in-depth than, say, the Aspen Daily News’s profile of him from last year, I don’t mind another look at him and … Continue reading "A Video Profile of James Niehues, Ski Resort Map Artist"

Historian Searching for Maps to Support Vietnam’s Claims to the Paracel Islands

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:45:20 +0000

Using old maps as “proof” of one side’s claim over disputed territory, or a disputed place name, is something we’ve seen many times before. It’s happening with the Paracel Islands as well. They’re claimed (and occupied) by China as part of their claim on the South China Sea (the Nine-Dash Line); Vietnam considers the islands … Continue reading "Historian Searching for Maps to Support Vietnam’s Claims to the Paracel Islands"

Fast Food vs. Schools in London

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 15:23:01 +0000

One of the proposals in the new draft London Plan is to prohibit new fast food establishments within 400 metres of an existing school as a means of combatting childhood obesity. This is going over about as well as you’d think. Dan Cookson has mapped the locations of London’s fast food establishments and the 400-metre exclusion … Continue reading "Fast Food vs. Schools in London"

A Map of Stellar Systems with Exoplanets

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 16:00:03 +0000

Via a friend, this map of stellar systems with exoplanets, produced in 2014 by the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. This is a map of the over one thousand stellar systems with known exoplanets. The map helps to visualize the relative distance and location of exoplanets systems with respect to … Continue reading "A Map of Stellar Systems with Exoplanets"

More on the Waldseemüller Globe Gores Auction

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 14:00:57 +0000

When the news broke that Christie’s was auctioning a previously unknown copy of Waldseemüller’s globe gores—the sixth known to still exist—I wondered where it came from and how it was found. Christie’s has now posted an article about the globe gores that answers that question. Waldseemüller’s set of gores was widely reproduced, yet the example … Continue reading "More on the Waldseemüller Globe Gores Auction"

Fake Maps! (Very Dishonest)

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:59:20 +0000

Here’s a video of Steven Feldman’s informative and entertaining talk at FOSS4G in Boston last August: “Fake Maps, Very Dishonest” looks at the ways in which maps, through ignorance, incompetence or deliberate intent, can mislead, misinform, misfire and miss the point. Very much in the vein of Monmonier’s How to Lie with Maps, or Andrew Wiseman’s … Continue reading "Fake Maps! (Very Dishonest)"

Confederate Maps at the U.S. National Archives

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:00:01 +0000

The Unwritten Record, a blog by staff at the U.S. National Archives’s Special Media Archives Services Division, announced last month: “Civil War maps are always popular at the National Archives, and the Cartographic Branch is pleased to announce the digitization of over 100 Confederate maps from Record Group (RG) 109.  All are now available to view … Continue reading "Confederate Maps at the U.S. National Archives"

Miniature Maps and Minchiate

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:11:53 +0000

The William P. Cumming Map Society’s North Carolina Map Blog has a post looking at miniature maps of North Carolina (“miniature” is defined as less than four inches in size) and a post about minchiate, a 16th-century Florentine card game; there were were educational minchiate decks with a map on each of the 97 cards. [WMS]

Literature and Cartography

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 14:00:13 +0000

Here’s a book that, given my interest in maps and literature, I’ll have to track down: Literature and Cartography: Theories, Histories, Genres, edited by Anders Engberg-Pedersen and featuring contributions from 15 other authors. “Literary authors have frequently called on elements of cartography to ground fictional space, to visualize sites, and to help readers get their … Continue reading "Literature and Cartography"

The Future of Mapping: Semantic Maps

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 16:38:48 +0000

The future of mapping, according to John Hanke and Brian McClendon, who basically created Google Earth, is something called a semantic map. Now, semantic mapping has very different meanings in literacy, statistics and data science; in this case a semantic map refers to “a map that continues to learn about the physical world and refine its … Continue reading "The Future of Mapping: Semantic Maps"

An Exhibitions Roundup

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 14:16:16 +0000

Hyperallergic takes a look a the Leventhal’s current exhibition, Beneath Our Feet: Mapping the World Below, which runs until 25 February 2018. Previously: 1, 2. [Dave Smith] Exhibits from last month’s Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography (previously) remain on display at Stanford’s David Rumsey Map Center until 6 April 2018, as well as online. [WMS] … Continue reading "An Exhibitions Roundup"

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:59:18 +0000

Every year at about this time I post a gift guide that lists some of the noteworthy books about maps that have been published this year. If you have a map-obsessed person in your life and would like to give them something map-related—or you are a map-obsessed person and would your broad hints to have a link—this guide … Continue reading "2017 Holiday Gift Guide"

The Library of Congress Acquires the Codex Quetzalecatzin

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:43:34 +0000

The Library of Congress has acquired the Codex Quetzalecatzin, an extremely rare 1593 Mesoamerican indigenous manuscript that depicts, using Nahuatl hieroglyphics and pre-contact illustrative conventions as well as Latin characters, the lands and genealogy of the de Leon family. John Hessler’s blog post describes the codex and helps us understand its significance. Like many Nahuatl codices … Continue reading "The Library of Congress Acquires the Codex Quetzalecatzin"