The Earth is round, and maps are flat. While we have may mapped nearly every inch of our world, figuring out how to translate that information from three dimensions to two remains a problem.
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If you've ever wanted to make your own map—either of the real world or a fantasy world of your creation—these tips are essential.
Above, a map of the "Square and Stationary Earth" (1893) by a Professor Orlando Ferguson of Hot Springs, South Dakota. Read the rest
You can explore it interactively for free and download a jumbo wallpaper JPEG, but the print edition is $250.
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Sotheby's currently has auctions for several beautiful pocket globes from the 1790s
and early 1800s
. If you have a few grand lying around, one of these 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch beauties could be yours. Read the rest
Here's a tantalizing preview [PDF] of The Art and History of Globes, a massive, gorgeous art-book tracing the history of globes. Written by Sylvia Sumira, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in March. The globes pictured run back 400 years, and come from the collection of the British Library. As Levi from the press says, "they're amazing: beautifully designed and drawn, intricate, strange--just incredible objects."
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Artist Rachel Evans makes gorgeous poster-art with a spirograph, and has an especially sweet line of world-maps made using the technique, which she sells as posters. Click through for a video of her in action.
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The supremely creative design/data experimentalists at Stamen launched Map Stack, a fascinating and super-simple tool to design your own maps and cartographical mash-ups:
You can use it to combine custom cartography, colors, and satellite images into custom, easily modified maps.
Map Stack by Stamen
We provide access to different parts of the map stack, like backgrounds, roads, labels, and satellite imagery. These can be modified using straightforward controls to change things like color, opacity, and brightness. So within a few minutes you can have a map of anywhere in the world with dark green parks and blue buildings. You can get very precise with image overlays and layer effects, using layers as cut-out masks for other layers. Or just make a regular-looking map in the colors you want.
Stamen Design's Oakland Crimespotting - Boing Boing
Silcon Valley's high-tech bus commuter lines visualized - Boing Boing
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Artist Ed Fairburn selective colors in maps, revealing faces lurking in potentia in their many lines, contours and shapes. He sells prints. These are gorgeous. Shown here: Paris.
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Google Maps has added notorious, secretive North Korean prison camps to its maps of the country. The data is gleaned from user contributions, including a first-person account of Shin Dong-Hyuk, who escaped from Camp 14, a death camp where he was born and raised.
Called Map Maker, Google’s information for the country’s layout comes primarily from visitors and from former citizens who defected, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The mapping idea stemmed in part from a 28-year-old South Korean who tried to use Google maps on a trip to Laos four years ago, but found it unhelpful, at best. He ultimately helped devise the Google map application for North Korea.
“I thought if I could fill in information on North Korea, it might be useful in an emergency or tragedy if Google can provide a map for aid agencies,” the South Korean told the Wall Street Journal.
Google maps North Korea, including prison camps [Cheryl K. Chumley/Washington Times]
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You've got TWO HOURS to get in on Jeffrey Beebe's Kickstarter to produce limited edition prints of his maps of Refactoria, an autobiographical D&D style kingdom.
Did you know that there was a major American election on Tuesday? Great. Let us all never speak of it again. At least for the next 3.5 years.
But before we send the parts of our brains that care about politics off to recuperate at a nice imaginary spa, take a quick look at a page of election maps put together by University of Michigan physics professor Mark Newman. He studies complex systems, including the networks of human relationships and decision-making that go into election results. His page of maps shows several different ways to visualize the same 2012 presidential election data — methods which provide different pieces of context that you don't normally see in the simple state-by-state map.
The basic map — the one you see on TV and in the newspaper — doesn't really tell you the whole story. It gives you no idea of population density (a factor that obviously matters a lot in tallying the popular vote), and it only shows the winning party in each state. In reality, the vote is seldom all-Democrat or all-Republican. There's a gradient, no matter where you live.
The map above takes both those factors into account — distorting the country to make the more populous parts larger, and showing split turnouts in shades of purple.
See all Mark Newman's maps at his website
And here's his FAQ
Thanks, Rick Musser! Read the rest
The surface wind data in this beautiful wind map from Hint.fm comes from the National Digital Forecast Database. It's basically an art project, not guaranteed to be scientifically perfect, but it's dramatic stuff today during Hurricane Sandy:
These are near-term forecasts, revised once per hour. So what you're seeing is a living portrait. (See the NDFD site for precise details; our timestamp shows time of download.) And for those of you chasing top wind speed, note that
maximum speed may occur over lakes or just offshore.
If you're looking for a weather map, or just want more detail on the weather today,
see these more traditional maps of
There's a beautiful animated version, too. Read the rest
This image, made using a laser mapping technology called LIDAR, was taken on September 17, 2001. It shows a 3-D model of the rubble left behind in lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Minnesota Public Radio's Paul Tosto has a really interesting peek into the way mapping techniques like LIDAR were used to help rescuers and clean-up crew understand the extent of the damage, look for survivors, and rehabilitate the area around the disaster zone.
The Library of Congress work also includes data from a a thermal sensor flown at 5,000 feet over Ground Zero that provided images to track underground fires that burned for weeks at the site.
It's worth remembering that Google Earth didn't exist back then. The ancient science of cartography has been reborn with the technology of the last decade. Let's hope it's not called on again to map destruction.
See more at the MPR News Cut blog
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From the Google Maps blog:
September 12th is 'Space Day' in Japan, and we are celebrating by releasing new, comprehensive Street View imagery for two of Japan’s top scientific institutions: the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan). With panoramic imagery in and around these locations now available via the Street View feature of Google Maps, space enthusiasts around the world have a more complete and accurate sense of what it’d be like to virtually swap places with an astronaut.
More here. (Thanks, Nate Tyler!) Read the rest
Victoria Johnson revisits the maps we "wandered into" as kids:
If I ruled the world, or at least a publishing company, all books would contain as much supplementary information as possible. Nonfiction, fiction—doesn't matter. Every work would have an appendix filled with diagrams, background information, digressions and anecdata. And of course, maps.
I did not accept that I was a map nerd until the day I caught myself scoffing at geological implausibilities in a map in a pulp fantasy novel. An excellent coffee-table compendium is J.B. Post's Atlas of Fantasy, but the itch may be scratched immediately with Google and TVTropes' entry on Fantasy World Maps. Artist Jon Roberts specializes in making them. Mapblogger Jonathan Crowe has an overview of resources for following suit.
Pictured above is fantasy epic Elfquest's world of Abode, a personal fave, and refreshingly geologically plausible until you start thinking about biomes.
Previously: Wondrous, detailed map of the history of science fiction and Maps. Read the rest