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The Map Room

A weblog about maps

Last Build Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2017 19:48:53 +0000


Two Asian Map Exhibitions in the Netherlands

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:09:59 +0000

Two related map exhibitions are taking place right now in the Netherlands. Mapping Japan runs until 26 November at the Japan Museum SieboldHuis in Leiden. Its focus is on 18th- and 19th-century Japanese maps from the Leiden University Libraries’ collections. “The impressive scroll painting of the Japanese coast and the personal maps belonging to Philipp … Continue reading "Two Asian Map Exhibitions in the Netherlands"

Guatemala’s Giant Relief Map

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 01:52:52 +0000

Atlas Obscura has the story of Guatemala’s Mapa en Relieve, an exaggerated-relief 3D relief model of the country. The 1:10,000-scale horizontal, 1:2,000-scale vertical map is approximately 1,800 square metres in area and made of concrete. Built by Francisco Vela and put on display in 1905, the map includes present-day Belize as part of Guatemala, which claimed the British … Continue reading "Guatemala’s Giant Relief Map"

Hurricane Irma’s Water Footprint

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 01:28:27 +0000

Quite the dramatic animation from the USGS’s Office of Water Information: it shows not only Hurricane Irma’s path through Florida, but also the total accumulated rainfall and stream gauge height. As the path of the hurricane moves across the U.S. mainland, the map erupts in the blue that shows total rainfall.

Matthew Cusick in Automobile Magazine

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 23:42:20 +0000

Matthew Cusick’s art, which is constructed from collages of old maps, has turned up in an unusual place: Automobile magazine, which has an article looking at his more car- and highway-inspired pieces. [WMS] Previously: Another Look at Matthew Cusick.

Predicting Future Malaria Outbreaks from Satellite Data

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 23:33:14 +0000

Data from NASA’s earth-observing satellites is being used to predict future malaria outbreaks in the Amazon rainforests of Peru. To be sure, as the above video shows, this is really about taking geospatial and remote sensing data from several different sources and correlating them to build a predictive model: it’s John Snow’s cholera map at large … Continue reading "Predicting Future Malaria Outbreaks from Satellite Data"

New Gravity Map of Mars

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 02:06:54 +0000

A new gravity map of Mars that shows the thickness of the Martian crust based on gravity measurements from Martian orbiters, reveals a crust that is less dense and shows less variation than earlier maps. “The researchers mapped the density of the Martian crust, estimating the average density is 2,582 kilograms per meter cubed (about 161 … Continue reading "New Gravity Map of Mars"

Oxford Atlas of the World Updated, Reviewed

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 01:49:21 +0000

The Oxford Atlas of the World touts itself as the only world atlas series that gets updated every year. Unlike the Times and National Geographic series it doesn’t come in multiple sizes: there’s just the one, which is roughly equivalent to the Times Concise in size and page count but cheaper ($90 vs. $125). The next edition is the … Continue reading "Oxford Atlas of the World Updated, Reviewed"

Le Jardin au Bout du Monde

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 00:00:11 +0000

A couple of weeks ago Atlas Obscura had a fascinating story about toponomy—the naming of places—and my adopted home province of Quebec. In 1997, the Quebec government decided to mark the 20th anniversary of the Charter of the French Language (known popularly around here as Bill 101) by naming 101 islands in the Caniapiscau Reservoir in northern … Continue reading "Le Jardin au Bout du Monde"

Choosing Whether There Will Be a Map

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 23:33:18 +0000

A couple of data points on authors and their decision whether to have a map of their fantasy world. Mark Lawrence says there won’t be maps for his Book of the Ancestor series of fantasy novels. “I’ve nothing against maps, I just never look at them,” he says; and besides, in the case of these … Continue reading "Choosing Whether There Will Be a Map"

Repairing and Cleaning Old New York Maps

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 23:13:56 +0000

In yesterday’s New York Times, a piece on efforts by the New York City Municipal Archives to preserve the city’s earliest maps and architectural drawings. Inside the lab, conservators talk about the care of antique maps like a doctor discusses a patient’s condition and treatment in an intensive care unit. Conservators will lay a given map … Continue reading "Repairing and Cleaning Old New York Maps"

New Map Books for September 2017

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 22:57:12 +0000

Map books coming out this month: The Art of Cartographics (Goodman) is available now in the U.K. but won’t come out in North America until March 2018. The publisher describes it as “a stunning collection of maps designed in a unique way. […] This carefully curated book selects the most creative and interesting map design projects … Continue reading "New Map Books for September 2017"

Tracking Hurricane Irma

Sun, 10 Sep 2017 23:40:21 +0000

As they did with Hurricane Harvey, both the New York Times and the Washington Post graphics departments have frequently updated map pages showing the projected path and impact of Hurricane Irma. The Times’ page looks at the hurricane’s current and projected path, threat of coastal flooding, and areas under evacuation, plus some context; the Post maps Irma’s forecasted … Continue reading "Tracking Hurricane Irma"

Rare 1857 Map of Chicago Being Auctioned

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 14:18:31 +0000

A rare copy of James Palmatary’s 1857 map of Chicago is being auctioned next week, Crain’s reports. Only four copies are known to exist of the map, a bird’s-eye view that depicts the city as it was before the Great Fire; this is the only one in private hands. The remaining surviving copies are held by … Continue reading "Rare 1857 Map of Chicago Being Auctioned"

Cartography: ‘A Gently Interactive Show’ at the Halifax Fringe Festival

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 13:46:48 +0000

If you’re in Halifax, you might still have a chance to catch a showing of Colleen MacIsaac’s Cartography at the Halifax Fringe Festival. As The Coast describes it: For Fringe she has meticulously constructed a small show at The Living Room—maximum 30 seats and 20 minutes—in which she paints a map live, trying to get back to … Continue reading "Cartography: ‘A Gently Interactive Show’ at the Halifax Fringe Festival"

Debunking a Fake Hurricane Map

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 12:51:12 +0000

Also from last week: someone on Facebook circulated a map showing the path of Hurricane Irma hitting Houston, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a warning on Twitter about fake forecasts (real forecasts only go out five days). Media factchecking service PolitiFact has the details. Fun fact: making a counterfeit or false weather forecast … Continue reading "Debunking a Fake Hurricane Map"

Norman Leventhal’s 100th Birthday

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 12:28:44 +0000

Last week Boston magazine marked the 100th birthday of Norman B. Leventhal. The real estate developer, philanthropist and map collector died in 2015; in 2004 he co-established the eponymous Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library as a public-private partnership with the Library. [WMS]

Alastair Bonnett’s Beyond the Map

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 22:07:03 +0000

Alastair Bonnett’s latest book, Beyond the Map, is out today in the U.K. from Aurum Books. An exploration of “thirty-nine extraordinary places, each of which challenges us to re-imagine the world around us,” including disputed enclaves, emerging islands and other idiosyncracies of geography, Beyond the Map looks like a follow-up to his 2014 book, Off the Map (published in … Continue reading "Alastair Bonnett’s Beyond the Map"

Project Subway NYC’s X-Ray Area Maps

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 23:17:04 +0000

As part of her Project Subway NYC, architect Candy Chan has created a series of X-Ray Area Maps of various New York subway stations. These maps show the subway stations—their platforms, their passages, their staircases—relative to the surrounding streets and buildings. Absolutely engrossing. Chan explains her methodology in this blog post. She’s also selling posters. [Kottke]

More on Patents and Cartographic Inventions

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 23:05:12 +0000

Earlier this year I mentioned the publication of Mark Monmonier’s latest book, Patents and Cartographic Inventions. This week at All Over the Map, Betsy Mason does a bit more than mention the book, with a closer look at some of the more unusual patents from Monmonier’s book: an early voice navigation system, a map folding method, … Continue reading "More on Patents and Cartographic Inventions"

India and Pakistan in Textiles

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 20:50:55 +0000

Pakistani clothing company Generation has put out a textile map of Pakistan showing the embroidery techniques of each region. Earlier this year, Craftsvilla did something similar with its fabric tour of India. [My Modern Met]

Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 20:42:06 +0000

The Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography takes place from 19 to 21 October 2017 at the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University. Speakers include a number of graduate students—the conference’s focus is on emerging scholars—as well as Connectography author Parag Khanna, who’s giving the keynote, and Chet Van Duzer, who’s giving a talk on the … Continue reading "Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography"

Mapping Hurricane Harvey’s Impact

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:36:09 +0000

The Washington Post maps rainfall and flooding levels in the Houston area. The New York Times is collecting several maps on two web pages. The first page deals with subjects like rainfall, river level, current and historical hurricane tracks, damage reports, and cities and counties under evacuation orders. Maps on the second page look at Harvey’s … Continue reading "Mapping Hurricane Harvey’s Impact"

Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 20:45:04 +0000

Christina E. Dando’s Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era (Routledge) came out earlier this month. From the publisher: “As women became more mobile (physically, socially, politically), they used and created geographic knowledge and maps. […] Long overlooked, this women’s work represents maps and mapping that today we would term community or participatory mapping, critical cartography and … Continue reading "Women and Cartography in the Progressive Era"

Simplified Middle-earth

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 18:46:14 +0000

While we’re on the subject of fantasy maps, here’s Camestros Felapton with a thing: “I thought I’d look at the most classic of fantasy maps again but from a different perspective. Part of the problem and the attraction of Tolkien’s original map is the additional detail and a sense of a bigger explorable world. What happens … Continue reading "Simplified Middle-earth"

In Defence of Fantasy Maps

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 18:39:15 +0000

Paul Weimer offers up a defence of fantasy maps, at least the good ones. It might be facile to hashtag #notallmaps, but, really, not every map is a geologic mess, not every map is a Eurocentric western ocean oriented map, with an eastern blend into problematic oriental racial types. Not every map has borders which … Continue reading "In Defence of Fantasy Maps"

Extreme Event Attribution

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 16:40:12 +0000

Whenever a cataclysmic weather event occurs—like Hurricane Harvey right now—there’s usually a heated political argument over whether or not it can be blamed on climate change. It turns out that there’s a field of research dedicated to assessing whether extreme weather can be attributed to climate change: it’s called extreme event attribution. There have been … Continue reading "Extreme Event Attribution"

FEMA Flood Maps Don’t Account for Future Sea Level Rise

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 16:28:23 +0000

NPR last month, reporting on a problem with FEMA’s flood insurance maps: they’re not keeping up with reality. “FEMA’s insurance maps are based on past patterns of flooding. Future sea level rise—which is expected to create new, bigger flood zones—is not factored in. So some communities are doing the mapping themselves. Like Annapolis, the state capital … Continue reading "FEMA Flood Maps Don’t Account for Future Sea Level Rise"

Two Views on Fantasy Maps

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 17:44:07 +0000

At Longreads, Adrian Daub has a long, discursive, in-depth essay about fantasy maps, fantasy novels with maps, and what it meant to grow up loving same. It’s so full of good bits and covers so much ground that quoting just a paragraph would mislead you into thinking it was just about that one thing. It’s … Continue reading "Two Views on Fantasy Maps"

Mapping Confederate Monuments

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 17:26:13 +0000

Politico maps the locations of Confederate monuments in the United States, and correlates their locations with where African-American populations are concentrated. The majority of these symbols were dedicated between 1900 and 1920, when the South enacted Jim Crow laws aimed at resegregating society or discriminating against blacks. There was also a notable spike in new … Continue reading "Mapping Confederate Monuments"

A Brief History of Maps

Sun, 27 Aug 2017 17:07:20 +0000

Distilling the entire three-thousand-year history of maps and mapmaking into a 2,400-word article seems awfully hubristic, but Clive Thompson’s piece for the July 2017 issue of Smithsonian Magazine gives it a try, tying everything together right from the outset: Is it possible that today’s global positioning systems and smartphones are affecting our basic ability to navigate? … Continue reading "A Brief History of Maps"