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The Map Room

A weblog about maps

Last Build Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:01:13 +0000


Some Gun Maps

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:01:13 +0000

Reddit user academiaadvice maps the rate of gun homicides per 100,000 residents by state from 2007 to 2016 (above). From 2015: Business Insider’s map showing, by state, the rate of gun ownership. Note that the two maps do not precisely correlate. [both via Boing Boing] The Washington Post has maps of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High … Continue reading "Some Gun Maps"

Mapping ‘River of Teeth’

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:48:07 +0000

Sarah Gailey is the author of two novellas, River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, about an alternate America that domesticated hippos, which promptly ran swam feral in the Mississippi. In this post, she describes how there wasn’t supposed to be an accompanying map, but one got made anyway. It had never occurred to … Continue reading "Mapping ‘River of Teeth’"

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Imposes New Congressional Map

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:54:54 +0000

A major development yesterday in the case of Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered congressional electoral district map, which was thrown out as unconstitutional last month by the state’s supreme court. The legislature and governor having failed to submit a new electoral district map by the  court’s deadline, the court has imposed what it calls a remedial plan, drawing … Continue reading "Pennsylvania Supreme Court Imposes New Congressional Map"

OpenStreetMap ‘In Serious Trouble’

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:51:16 +0000

Much chatter on Twitter about a blog post criticizing OpenStreetMap that made it to the front page of Hacker News; problem is, said chatter hasn’t been linking to said blog post. Here it is: “Why OpenStreetMap is in Serious Trouble,” in which Serge Wroclawski argues that OSM has lost its way on a technical and management level: … Continue reading "OpenStreetMap ‘In Serious Trouble’"

Pictorial Railway Maps

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 15:53:53 +0000

At Retours, a digital magazine about railway history and design, Arjan den Boer looks at pictorial railway maps. In the mid-20th century pictorial maps in cartoonish styles were a popular way of promoting travel and tourism. In contrast to objective, realistic maps they appeal to emotions such as romance, fantasy and humor. They are used … Continue reading "Pictorial Railway Maps"

The United States of Canada

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 14:13:42 +0000

We’ve seen maps reimagining the United States reorganized into a different number and configuration of states before, but this map by Reddit user Upvoteanthology_ looks north of the border for inspiration. It imagines what would happen if the U.S. were organized like Canada, with the same population imbalances: Ontario, for example, has 38.9 percent of … Continue reading "The United States of Canada"

Gladys West, GPS’s Hidden Figure

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 13:56:48 +0000

The Associated Press has a story about Gladys West, now 87, an African-American mathematician who did pivotal early work on the calculations that led to GPS. She collected information from the orbiting machines, focusing on information that helped to determine their exact location as they transmitted from around the world. Data was entered into large … Continue reading "Gladys West, GPS’s Hidden Figure"

The Pyeongchang Winter Games: Maps and Toponyms

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 23:39:18 +0000

The official Pyeongchang 2018 website has maps of the various facilities for the Winter Games, though except for the Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza and Gangneung Olympic Park maps, there isn’t a lot of detail. Some of that is ameliorated by this Story Map of Olympic venues, which makes use of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery; the interface is … Continue reading "The Pyeongchang Winter Games: Maps and Toponyms"

Indiana University Is Digitizing Its Collection of Russian Topo Maps

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:45:05 +0000

Indiana University’s collection of some 4,000 Russian military topographic maps is being digitized, thanks to a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. “The world-changing differences documented by maps in the Eastern Bloc Borderlands project cannot be overstated,” says Michelle Dalmau, head of Digital Collections Services for IU Libraries, and the project’s principal … Continue reading "Indiana University Is Digitizing Its Collection of Russian Topo Maps"

Colour Differences in Metro Maps

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 16:03:11 +0000

Scientific American reprints a 2016 article from The Mathematical Intelligencer on an obscure, but important, corner of transit map design: how to choose a colour for a metro line. The discussion is rather math heavy (and therefore above my pay grade), but the gist is that for ease of use lines’ colours should look as different … Continue reading "Colour Differences in Metro Maps"

Clickhole: Rising Sea Levels to Turn Australia into a Rhombus

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:25:09 +0000

Clickhole, The Onion’s satirical clickbait website, had a hilarious piece last October declaring that rising sea levels will turn Australia into a rhombus: good news for cartographers, for whom Australia will be easier to draw. According to a new study by the National Ocean Service, melting icecaps and glaciers will raise sea levels enough to … Continue reading "Clickhole: Rising Sea Levels to Turn Australia into a Rhombus"

Estimating Population

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 23:45:43 +0000

NASA’s Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) has produced a population estimation service “for estimating population totals and related statistics within a user-defined region.” Basically, it provides a population estimate for an area drawn on a map. Available as data via map and GIS clients, it’s also accessible via a web app. I’ve noodled about with it; its … Continue reading "Estimating Population"

Dee Longenbaugh

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 23:15:56 +0000

Dee Longenbaugh, former proprietor of Observatory Books in Juneau, Alaska, died Friday at the age of 84. Observatory Books, which specialized in rare books and maps, especially pertaining to Alaska, closed in late 2016 owing to Longenbaugh’s illness; the store’s stock was later inventoried. [WMS]

Coming Soon: Kenneth Field’s Open Online Course on Cartography

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 23:45:50 +0000

Esri will be hosting a free, six-week massive open online course (MOOC) on cartography later this year. Called Cartography., it’s taught by Kenneth Field and coincides with the release of Field’s textbook of the same name. Each weekly lesson in the Cartography. MOOC focuses on the creation of one exemplary map that draws together key cartographic … Continue reading "Coming Soon: Kenneth Field’s Open Online Course on Cartography"

Strava, Responding to Security Concerns, Disables Features

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 23:29:26 +0000

Strava has reportedly disabled certain features in the wake of the privacy and security issues raised last month, with users reporting that they can no longer create workout segments. In a statement given to The Verge, Strava said: “We are reviewing features that were originally designed for athlete motivation and inspiration to ensure they cannot … Continue reading "Strava, Responding to Security Concerns, Disables Features"

Freedom in the World, Mapped

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:53:14 +0000

The 2018 edition of Freedom House’s annual report on political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World, is out, and it’s illustrated by maps that categorize countries into “free,” “partly free” or “not free” and assign them a score out of 100. (I can’t say 1 to 100, because Syria is -1. According to them, … Continue reading "Freedom in the World, Mapped"

Wisława Szymborska’s ‘Map’

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 23:37:21 +0000

I like maps, because they lie. Because they give no access to the vicious truth. Because great-heartedly, good-naturedly they spread before me a world not of this world. From “Map,” the last poem the Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska wrote before her death in 2012. Translated and reprinted in The New Yorker. [WMS]

Daily Overview

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 13:26:32 +0000

Daily Overview is a website that curates spectacular aerial and satellite imagery. Founded by Benjamin Grant, and inspired by the Overview Effect—”the sensation astronauts have when given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth as a whole,” it’s available in virtually every social media format out there; a book, Overview, came out in October … Continue reading "Daily Overview"

Planetary Maps for Children

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 00:17:01 +0000

Planetary Maps for Children is a collection of pictorial maps of several moons and planets of the Solar System (so far: Venus, Mars, the Moon, Io, Europa, Titan, and Pluto and Charon), aimed at younger map readers. The maps are vibrant and colourful, full of sight gags and “fabulous make-believe creatures” and other sight gags. They’re … Continue reading "Planetary Maps for Children"

LIDAR Mapping Reveals a Far Greater Mayan Civilization

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 23:29:50 +0000

A 2016 aerial survey of ten sites in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve used LIDAR to digitally remove the tree canopy from the landscape, revealing, National Geographic reports, “the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed”—and one that likely supported a much higher population than … Continue reading "LIDAR Mapping Reveals a Far Greater Mayan Civilization"

Are Africa and South America That Hard to Tell Apart?

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 23:08:09 +0000

People seem to be having an awfully hard time telling Africa apart from South America and swapping the former in for the latter: Exhibit A courtesy of Harrison Cole; Exhibit B via Reddit. [Gretchen Peterson, MapFail]

Literary Maps Exhibition at Harvard’s Houghton Library

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 00:03:54 +0000

Landmarks: Maps as Literary Illustration, an exhibition of literary and fantasy maps at Harvard’s Houghton Library, is free to the public and runs through 14 April 2018. “Presented in conjunction with the bicentenary of the Harvard Map Collection, this exhibition brings together over 60 landmark literary maps, from the 200-mile-wide island in Thomas More’s Utopia … Continue reading "Literary Maps Exhibition at Harvard’s Houghton Library"

The Gerrymanderers

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 23:53:15 +0000

When we talk about gerrymandering, about redrawing the political map to favour one’s own party at the expense of another, we talk a lot about the maps themselves. The mapmakers, not so much. Check out this New York Times article on the political consultants who do the redrawing; it focuses on the electoral map of Maryland, … Continue reading "The Gerrymanderers"

Transport for London’s Historical Archive of Car Line Diagrams

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 15:26:37 +0000

IanVisits has stumbled across Transport for London’s cache of car line diagrams (CLDs)—the linear maps that appear inside each train car. The TfL page includes CLDs ands CLD stickers for all lines going back to 1996; each line has its own PDF file that contains every iteration of its diagram, one per page. “No one … Continue reading "Transport for London’s Historical Archive of Car Line Diagrams"

The Miami Map Fair at 25

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 16:30:11 +0000

Coming this weekend, as it does every first weekend in February: the Miami International Map Fair, now in its 25th year. It’s marking that milestone without its co-founder, Marcia Kanner, who died last June at the age of 82. [WMS]

Cape Town’s Disappearing Water Reservoirs

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 15:10:10 +0000

Cape Town is running out of drinking water, a crisis dramatically depicted by NASA Earth Observatory maps that show the depletion of the city’s reservoirs. The animated gif above, for example, “shows how dramatically Theewaterskloof [Cape Town’s largest reservoir] has been depleted between January 2014 and January 2018. The extent of the reservoir is shown … Continue reading "Cape Town’s Disappearing Water Reservoirs"

Non-Anonymized Strava User Data Is Accessible

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 15:00:47 +0000

More on the privacy issues regarding Strava’s global heat map and its customer data. Now Wired UK is reporting that Strava’s data isn’t anonymous. Because you can compare your results with nearby users, all it takes is a local GPS tracklog—which can be created out of whole cloth, as Steve Loughran’s blog post demonstrates—to see … Continue reading "Non-Anonymized Strava User Data Is Accessible"

Geographical Fun: The Teenager Who Drew Serio-Comic Maps

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 19:06:20 +0000

We’ve seen “serio-comic” or caricature maps before, most of them dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but Caitlin takes us behind the scenes with a story about one of the artists behind such maps. The twelve maps published in Geographical Fun: Being Humourous Outlines of Various Countries (1868) were the handiwork of … Continue reading "Geographical Fun: The Teenager Who Drew Serio-Comic Maps"

War Games Disrupting GPS in the Western U.S.

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 15:30:32 +0000

Meanwhile, aerial war games conducted by the USAF over Nevada will disrupt GPS in the western U.S. over the next few weeks. As The Drive reports, “the USAF is going to blackout GPS over the sprawling Nevada Test and Training Range to challenge aircrews and their weaponry under realistic fighting conditions. The tactic will spill over … Continue reading "War Games Disrupting GPS in the Western U.S."

Strava Heat Map Reveals Soldiers’ Locations

Mon, 29 Jan 2018 13:28:09 +0000

Strava is a mobile fitness tracking app that uses GPS data from phones and watches. It has access to a lot of data, and has been using that data to create a global heat map showing the paths taken by its cycling and running customers. The map’s most recent update, last November, aggregates user data … Continue reading "Strava Heat Map Reveals Soldiers’ Locations"