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Preview: The Map Room

The Map Room

A weblog about maps

Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:25:08 +0000


Review: Treasures from the Map Room

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:22:48 +0000

If all maps must necessarily be selective, choosing what to show and what to leave out, surely map books must do the same. That thought came to mind as I perused Treasures from the Map Room—no relation—a book that presents maps from Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, collected and curated by the Bodleian Map Room’s senior library assistant, Debbie Hall. … Continue reading "Review: Treasures from the Map Room"

His Favourite Map: Natural Heritage of Texas

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 02:22:03 +0000

James Harkins of the Texas General Land Office shares his favourite map: the 1986 Natural Heritage of Texas map, which featured endangered and vulnerable Texas wildlife. I was three years old when this map was released. When I was at Moore Elementary (home of the fighting Armadillos!) in the late 1980s, and early 1990s, I specifically … Continue reading "His Favourite Map: Natural Heritage of Texas"

Observatory Books Closes

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 02:12:56 +0000

Observatory Books of Juneau, Alaska has closed its doors, owing to the illness of its longtime proprietor, the 82-year-old Dee Longenbaugh. (Here’s a profile from 2014.) Observatory Books dealt in antique and rare books and maps; its website includes a primer on map collecting for beginners. [Tony Campbell]

An Economic Geography of the United States

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 01:21:30 +0000

In a paper published in PLOS One, Garrett Dash Nelson and Alasdair Rae explore whether megaregions—i.e., a region centred on a major metropolitan area—can be determined algorithmically, using commuter flow data. In the end they conclude that “any division of space into unit areas will have to take into account a ‘common sense’ interpretation of the validity … Continue reading "An Economic Geography of the United States"

Austrian Presidential Election Cartograms

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:41:40 +0000

The second round re-vote of the Austrian presidential election took place yesterday. (The first round took place on 24 April; a repeat of the second round, narrowly won by Alexander Van der Bellen on 22 May, was ordered by the Constitutional Court.) Full, final results are not yet available, but has created the above cartogram of … Continue reading "Austrian Presidential Election Cartograms"

2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Calendars

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:45:08 +0000

Calendars are apparently still a thing. If they’re still a thing for you, here are a few 2017 calendars that have, as you might expect, maps as their focus: Antique Maps (The British Library) Antique Maps of the World (Flame Tree) Scottish Maps (National Library of Scotland) Vintage Maps in wall and desk sizes (Cavallini) Wonderground Map … Continue reading "2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Calendars"

‘The Massive Scope of America’s Infrastructure’

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:49:54 +0000

The Washington Post has six maps of U.S. flights, shipping lanes, electrical transmission lines, railroads and pipelines that highlight “the massive scope of America’s infrastructure” that will presumably be the focus of future Trump administration spending. [Benjamin Hennig]

xkcd’s U.S. State Names

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:15:10 +0000

Randall is messing with us again in today’s xkcd, which assigns malapropisms and synophones to U.S. state names. The results are about what you’d expect. Previously: xkcd’s United States Map.

Mapping Arctic Sea Ice

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 23:52:54 +0000

Something’s going on in the Arctic. As the Washington Post reported last month, the Arctic Ocean was far, far warmer than normal—about 20 degrees Celsius higher than average. (Meanwhile, the air over Sibera is at record cold levels.) According to the Post, the higher temperatures are the result of record low amounts of thinning sea ice, as well as … Continue reading "Mapping Arctic Sea Ice"

The Chimney Map

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 17:52:56 +0000

The big news in the map world this week is a 17th-century map that was found in Aberdeen, Scotland, stuffed up a chimney to stop drafts. Discovered during renovations, the map was handed over to the National Library of Scotland, which found it to be in very bad shape: the 2.2×1.6-metre map, identified as work by the Dutch … Continue reading "The Chimney Map"

2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Books

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 20:09:36 +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—this guide may give you some ideas. This year, as you … Continue reading "2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Books"

Iwan Bala’s Controversial Brexit Exhibition

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 12:10:45 +0000

Running until 30 November at the Penarth Pier Pavilion in Penarth, Wales, Dyma Gariad (fel y moroedd)/Here is a love (deep as oceans) is an exhibition by Welsh artist Iwan Bala. It’s an angry, provocative collection of caricatures and maps about Brexit, from a strongly Remain perspective, done in a style described by the Penarth Times as “the rapid often … Continue reading "Iwan Bala’s Controversial Brexit Exhibition"

Missing Maps

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:39:05 +0000

Quartz takes a look at the Missing Maps project, which I suppose can best be described as a way to jumpstart mapping the unmapped developing regions of the world with OpenStreetMap. What’s interesting about Missing Maps is how it systematically deals out tasks to people best able to do them: remote volunteers trace imagery, community volunteers do … Continue reading "Missing Maps"

Map Art to Adorn Dubai Hotel

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 10:50:41 +0000

Map art will be featured on the walls of a new hotel in Dubai: the upcoming Address Boulevard Hotel will display art by Matthew Picton (previously) and Ewan David Eason. [WMS]

Great Circles in Cardboard

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 18:49:57 +0000

The Global Map is a neat toy from the 1940s. The whole thing is just under one by two feet in area, and consists of two rotating hemispheres that touch at a single point, with the purpose of showing the shortest distance by air or sea between two points—a quick and dirty way of showing … Continue reading "Great Circles in Cardboard"

Mapping Post-Election Violence in the U.S.

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 18:38:58 +0000

Crisis mapper Ushahidi is turning its focus to the United States, with an interactive map that collects reports of post-election violence, hate speech, protests and harassment. [The Verge]

Mapping Ineligible Voters

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 21:00:10 +0000

Last year Neil Freeman produced a map of ineligible voters in the United States. “There are three main groups of people who aren’t eligible to vote: children, non-citizens, and disenfranchised felons. The Census does a survey of voting age and citizenship, this map uses 2013 estimates.” [Max Galka]

Where the Animals Go

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:00:46 +0000

Co-authored by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti, Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics (Particular Books, 2016) is a book of maps by wild animals. It’s a compendium of tracking data from field biologists’ research projects, ably curated and turned into some spectacular maps (if the excerpts on the authors’ website … Continue reading "Where the Animals Go"

3D Election Maps

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 01:51:55 +0000

Mapping U.S. election results by county and state is a bit different than mapping results by electoral or congressional district, because counties and states don’t have (roughly) equal populations. Choropleth maps are often used to show the margin of victory, but to show the raw vote total, some election cartographers are going 3D. Max Galka of Metrocosm has … Continue reading "3D Election Maps"

Downloading County-Level Election Results

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 22:25:38 +0000

Maps need data. Election maps need election results. Data journalist Simon Rogers looks at the challenges of laying hands on open, publicly available county-level election results for use in election maps.

Globemaking Films

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 21:49:43 +0000

This short film on globemaking from 1955 has been making the social media rounds: Compare it to this short film from 1949: It’s nearly identical in its turns of phrase and factoids, though there are slightly different emphases. Though the firm is unnamed, it’s clearly the same one: it’s even the same guy doing the varnishing. These films … Continue reading "Globemaking Films"

Migrations in Motion

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 19:54:03 +0000

Migrations in Motion models the average directions wildlife will need to move in order to survive the effects of climate change. As Canadian Geographic explains, “As climate change disrupts habitats, researchers believe wildlife will instinctively migrate to higher elevations and latitudes, but for many species, that will mean navigating around, over or through human settlements and infrastructure.” The map, the design of … Continue reading "Migrations in Motion"

The New York Times Maps the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 00:15:24 +0000

The New York Times has a first-rate graphics department, and they’ve come up with some stunning ways to depict the 2016 U.S. presidential election results. They updated their maps of so-called “landslide counties” (see previous entry), which was straightforward enough. Their feature on how Trump reshaped the election map, with arrows showing the county-by-county swing (red and … Continue reading "The New York Times Maps the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election"

The Economist’s County-by-County Election Map

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 23:43:17 +0000

The Economist’s county-by-county election map is a standout because of its quick-acting slider: you can scroll quite quickly through 64 years of presidential elections. Their analysis also focuses on the urban/rural divide (there’s also a graph). [Benjamin Hennig]

U.S. Presidential Election Cartogram

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 20:43:34 +0000

I’ve delayed posting maps of the 2016 U.S. presidential election results because—well, because like many of you I’m still recovering. But here we go. We’ll start with Benjamin Hennig’s cartogram of the results which, as cartograms tend to do, correct for the urban concentrations that made up Hillary Clinton’s vote, and demonstrate the rural nature of Donald … Continue reading "U.S. Presidential Election Cartogram"

Cartography at the CIA

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:47:59 +0000

The CIA has posted a short institutional history of its Cartography Center, which reaches back before the CIA was created: in 1941 the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), which was replaced by the CIA’s forerunner, the OSS, hired a young graduate student named Arthur Robinson to start its cartography section. Small world. Another CIA page looks at … Continue reading "Cartography at the CIA"

The Phantom Atlas

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 13:52:17 +0000

Edward Brooke-Hitching’s new book, The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps (Simon & Schuster UK, November) is a book about fictitious and erroneous places that were presented on maps as real—“non-existent islands, invented mountain ranges, mythical civilisations and other fictitious geography.” Places like the Mountains of Kong, or the open ocean at the … Continue reading "The Phantom Atlas"

Atlas of Design, Volume 3

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 13:27:23 +0000

The third volume of the Atlas of Design is now available for pre-order and will ship some time this month. The Atlas’s 32 maps are listed here; Wired’s report has a gallery of some of them. At least one or two will probably look familiar to my regular readers. Published by the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS), the 98-page book costs … Continue reading "Atlas of Design, Volume 3"

xkcd’s British Map

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 14:50:44 +0000

Today’s xkcd is a British map labelled by an American. It’s another one of those where the longer you stare at it, the more it hurts. Randall’s messing with us again.

The British Library on Fantasy Maps

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 14:10:41 +0000

British Library curator Tom Harper writes about fantasy maps, which make up a major component of the Library’s current exhibition, Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line (previously). Fantasy maps increased in number during the 20th century due to the rise of science fiction and fantasy writing, and the birth of television and video games. … Continue reading "The British Library on Fantasy Maps"