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The Map Room

A weblog about maps

Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:51:16 +0000


A Primer on Election Map Cartography

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:51:16 +0000

With less than two weeks before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it’s time for a refresher on election map cartography, particularly in the context of U.S. presidential elections. Cartograms Let’s start with the basics: at All Over the Map, Greg Miller explains the problem with U.S. presidential election maps—big states with few electoral votes look more important than … Continue reading "A Primer on Election Map Cartography"

5,000-Year-Old Stone Map Found on Danish Island

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:26:42 +0000

An archaeological dig on the Danish island of Bornholm has turned up a small stone, in two pieces, with scratches in a criss-cross pattern that has led researchers to conclude it’s a 5,000-year-old map of the island. Copenhagen Post, Kristeligt Dagblad (in Danish), The Local. [Tony Campbell/WMS]

Earthquakes, Eruptions and Emissions

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:22:40 +0000

The Smithonian’s Earthquakes, Eruptions and Emissions interactive map “is a time-lapse animation of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes since 1960. It also shows volcanic gas emissions (sulfur dioxide, SO2) since 1978 — the first year satellites were available to provide global monitoring of SO2.” [Axis Maps]

Texas Monthly on Smith Map Studio

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 23:25:23 +0000

Texas Monthly has a piece about Christopher Alan Smith, who for the past decade has been creating original maps, mostly of Texas and Texas-related subjects. It’s been his full-time gig since 2008. Smith uses a mixture of pen-and-ink and acrylic paints: I tend to follow the style of postage stamps and currency. I use a pen-and-ink … Continue reading "Texas Monthly on Smith Map Studio"

Mapping Mosul

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:21:27 +0000

The New York Times is mapping the battle for Mosul on this page; the maps show the changing front lines around the city (see above). Meanwhile, the Washington Post explains the history of Mosul in five maps.

Mapping Clinton and Trump’s Upside Potential (Whatever That Means)

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:07:57 +0000

Earlier this month FiveThirtyEight built a county-by-county model showing where both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s “upside potential” — by which they meant where they would each benefit from the shifts in the electoral landscape. Compared to 2012, Clinton is underperforming with non-college-educated whites and Trump is underperforming with Asians, African-Americans, Latinos and college educated whites. To get … Continue reading "Mapping Clinton and Trump’s Upside Potential (Whatever That Means)"

Mapping Scottish and/or Nonexistent Islands

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:55:35 +0000

The Scotsman’s review of Scotland: Mapping the Islands  focuses on the Scottish islands that didn’t exist, particularly in a 1560 map by Italian mapmaker Giorgio Sideri (aka Callapoda). On the other hand: “In contrast to Callapoda’s chart, many genuine Scottish islands were omitted from maps of Scotland altogether until only 150 years ago.” [Tony Campbell] Speaking of islands … Continue reading "Mapping Scottish and/or Nonexistent Islands"

River Basins in Rainbow Colours

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 01:25:36 +0000

The latest map to go viral is Robert Szucs’s dramatic and colourful map of the U.S. river basins. It’s even more spectacular in high resolution. Made with QGIS, the map separates river basin by colour and assigns stream thickness by Strahler number. I do have a couple of quibbles. The map doesn’t distinguish between the Hudson Bay and … Continue reading "River Basins in Rainbow Colours"

Exhibition Writeups

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 01:01:17 +0000

A couple of reviews of recent map exhibitions that I’ve mentioned before. First, the Arctic Journal looks at the Osher Map Library’s current exhibition, The Northwest Passage: Navigating Old Beliefs and New Realities (see previous entry). And the St. Louis Library’s fantasy maps exhibit (see previous entry), which wrapped up earlier this month, got a writeup from Book Riot. [Book Riot/Osher Maps]

Road Trees

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:38:23 +0000

The Road Trees project has produced animated isochrone maps showing road networks erupting fractally from a single departure point. An isochrone in a map shows with the same color all points from which it takes the same time to arrive to a specific location. We chose 10 locations around the world and for each of them … Continue reading "Road Trees"

Fewer Maps, But Better Maps

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:28:24 +0000

Alan Smith of the Financial Times adds to the conversation about when to use a map to present your data, when not to—he gives an example where a gridded infographic is a much better choice than a map—and when more than one map is required to tell the whole story. “So as lovers of maps, we are … Continue reading "Fewer Maps, But Better Maps"

The Map That Came to Life

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:46:40 +0000

As part of National Map Reading Week, the British Library’s map blog points to at least one example of how map reading used to be taught. One of the most celebrated 20th century children’s map reading guides is showcased in our forthcoming exhibition Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line. Published in 1948, Ronald … Continue reading "The Map That Came to Life"

A Map of Proposed Constituency Boundaries

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:36:59 +0000

Oliver O’Brien’s map of proposed electoral constituency district changes in the United Kingdom uses a slider to shift between current and proposed boundaries, which I think is a neat way of going about it.

A Historical Atlas of Tibet

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 14:51:50 +0000

Karl E. Ryavec’s Historical Atlas of Tibet (University of Chicago Press, May 2015) was reviewed in India Today by an unusual personage: Nirupama Rao, who among other things has served as India’s ambassador to China and the U.S. Rao calls it “a much-needed and welcome work of scholarship that should benefit and enlighten committed scholars and Tibet aficionados alike. This is a 200-page … Continue reading "A Historical Atlas of Tibet"

Gregor Turk’s Conflux

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:39:35 +0000

Gregor Turk’s Conflux is on display at Spalding Nix Fine Art in Atlanta, Georgia until October 28. Conflux “features wall-mounted box-like maps of global choke points, strategic locations where passage by land or sea is constricted.  Coastlines are depicted as alternating positive and negative cut-outs, framed in a grid and wrapped with repurposed rubber (bicycle inner tubes). Shadows and negative space … Continue reading "Gregor Turk’s Conflux"

Pluto Globe Announced

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:25:53 +0000

Astronomy magazine has announced a new globe of Pluto based on data from the 2015 flyby of the dwarf planet by the New Horizons probe. The 12-inch globe is limited by what New Horizons was able to see: it’s low-resolution in some areas and blank in others. In addition, 65 surface features are labelled—a brave move … Continue reading "Pluto Globe Announced"

Atlas of Improbable Places

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:07:36 +0000

Travis Elborough’s Atlas of Improbable Places: A Journey to the World’s Most Unusual Corners came out last month from Aurum Press. The maps are by Alan Horsfield. “With beautiful maps and stunning photography illustrating each destination, Atlas of Improbable Places is a fascinating voyage to the world’s most incredible destinations. As the Island of Dolls and … Continue reading "Atlas of Improbable Places"

Free Workshop on How to Value Antique Maps

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 12:46:52 +0000

The Fry-Jefferson Map Society is hosting a free workshop on how to value antique maps. It takes place at the Library of Virginia in Richmond on Saturday, 5 November 2016 and is led by Eliane Dotson, co-owner of Old World Auctions. I’d attend this if I could; I used to get a lot of questions from readers … Continue reading "Free Workshop on How to Value Antique Maps"

Matthew Picton Exhibition in Portland, Oregon

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 22:12:30 +0000

An exhibition of Matthew Picton’s art is taking place at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, Oregon. The Fall runs until 29 October. Matthew Picton’s wall-mounted sculptures constructed from paper and vellum provide aerial views of urban environments. Unlike street maps, Picton’s representations are at once cartographic, topographical and cultural, incorporating period-specific texts and popular culture ephemera. In … Continue reading "Matthew Picton Exhibition in Portland, Oregon"

Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 19:10:27 +0000

Another book coming out this month: Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Shapiro (University of California Press, 19 October). It’s the third and apparently final book in a series of city atlases authored or co-authored by Solnit — you may remember Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (2010) or Unfathomable City: A New … Continue reading "Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas"

Hazard Maps of Yukon Communities

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 01:20:28 +0000

Several Yukon communities are built on permafrost. In the context of climate change, that’s something of a problem. CBC News reports on a six-year research project that has produced hazard maps of seven Yukon communities; the maps evaluate the risk to future development from permafrost melting, flooding and ground instability. [CCA]

Marie Tharp’s Scholarly Work

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:47:54 +0000

This short profile of Marie Tharp — the third I’ve seen this year — is notable in that it’s at JSTOR Daily, and links to two of the research papers she co-authored with Bruce Heezen (both of which appear free to access, but require a JSTOR account). Direct links here and here. [WMS]

Maggiolo Planisphere of 1531 to be Auctioned

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 17:35:42 +0000

A 16th-century portolan chart is being auctioned later this month at TEFAF New York. “The map, which was created by a Genoese cartographer named Vesconte Maggiolo in 1531, is one of the first depictions of America’s eastern seaboard. It’s also the first (extant) map, ever, to show New York harbor,” Bloomberg’s James Tarmy writes. The asking price is … Continue reading "Maggiolo Planisphere of 1531 to be Auctioned"

New Map Books for October 2016

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 14:24:50 +0000

October is a busy month: I’m aware of six new map books coming out. Two deal with the mapping of war, three with the rich cartographical history of Great Britain, while the sixth is a colouring book. Maps of War: Mapping Conflict Through the Centuries by Jeremy Black (Conway, 11 October). “There is little documented mapping … Continue reading "New Map Books for October 2016"

New Website About the 1507 Waldseemüller Map

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 22:04:50 +0000

A Land Beyond the Stars is a major new website dedicated to Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 world map. Announced last week, it’s a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the Galileo Museum in Florence, Italy; the latter institution is responsible for the multimedia presentation. [The website] brings the map’s wealth of historical, technical, scientific and geographic data to … Continue reading "New Website About the 1507 Waldseemüller Map"

Trump, Clinton and the Gender Gap

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 17:22:48 +0000

A pronounced gender split is emerging in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Based on national polls in October, Nate Silver writes, “on average, Clinton leads Trump by 15 percentage points among women while trailing him by 5 points among men. How would that look on the electoral map?” Silver does a quick-and-dirty estimation by adding or subtracting 10 … Continue reading "Trump, Clinton and the Gender Gap"

A Paper Maps Roundup

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 15:29:15 +0000

Suddenly I’ve got several links in the queue about paper maps and the use and making thereof: The Daily Telegraph links a record year for rescues of climbers and walkers in the Lake District with a lack of preparedness and an inability to use a paper map and compass. [The Meek Family] BBC Autos looks at … Continue reading "A Paper Maps Roundup"

William Rankin, Author of ‘After the Map,’ Interviewed

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 16:21:43 +0000

YaleNews interviews William Rankin, who’s a history of science professor at Yale, about his book, After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, July 2016), which, the article says, “explores, among other topics, the shift in maps from a ‘gods-eye-view’ to the embedded experience of GPS.” A sample: … Continue reading "William Rankin, Author of ‘After the Map,’ Interviewed"

Google’s Missing Green Spaces

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 16:07:02 +0000

NPR reports on the disappearance of national forests from Google Maps, and the trouble with accurately displaying green spaces on maps. Typically, mint green highlights designate publicly owned wild spaces on Google’s maps. But as of this writing, some of those public lands have gone gray. The locations are still searchable, but if you don’t already … Continue reading "Google’s Missing Green Spaces"

Parnasium’s Fantasy Maps of Real-World Places

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 14:37:12 +0000

I’ve written before about maps of the real world done in the style of fantasy maps; they’re a key piece of evidence for my argument that fantasy maps have a distinct (and limited) style. Enough of these fantasy maps of reality are being done that it’s clearly a thing now. The latest examples I’ve encountered come from an … Continue reading "Parnasium’s Fantasy Maps of Real-World Places"