Watch weather forecaster nail pronunciation of: Llanfairpwll​gwyngyllgogery​chwyrndro​bwllllantysilio​gogogoch


Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a village on the island of Anglesey off the coast of Wales, UK. Nice work, Liam Dutton of Channel 4. Read the rest

Iceland names street after Darth Vader. It's called "Black-head."

The Reykjavík City Council has approved a citizen-led effort to rename a street Svarthöfði, translated as Blackhead, which is the Icelandic name for Darth Vader. Read the rest

Europe, China, India & US comfortably fit into Africa's landmass

The most common way of representing Africa on maps and globes dramatically understates the size of the continent. Read the rest

The dirty secret of Google's self-driving cars

They've 700,000 miles, but mostly the same few thousand miles, over and over again -- because the cars only work if every single light, piece of street furniture, and other detail is mapped and verified by armies of human and computer analysts, and when anything changes, the mapping needs to be re-created. Read the rest

Expanded Animaniacs "Capitals" song for the whole world

The beloved Spielberg cartoon's greatest accomplishment was its repertoire of hilarious, catchy, educational songs like Wakko's State Capital song. Read the rest

Danish Geodata Agency commissions 1:1 Minecraft replica of Denmark

For the kids! (Thanks, Shi-n0-bi) Read the rest

Making a planetary-scale sandwich

Svabialonso, a redditor in Iceland, teamed up with a friend on the (approximately) opposite side of the planet in New Zealand to make a world-sized sandwich: each of them went to a specific location at a set time and pressed a piece of bread to the ground there, with appropriate toppings. Read the rest

On the Road converted to ebook of Google Maps directions

Here's On the Road for 17,527 Miles, a 45 page ebook of driving directions for recreating the journey of Sal Paradise in Jack Kerouac's 1957 classic On the Road. Its author, German college student Gregor Weichbrodt, is selling it as a print-on-demand title via Lulu, in case you want a hardcopy to take with on your trip. Read the rest

Canada's weirdly recursive geography

Mrmcd sez, "Contained within the borders of Canada are: the world's largest island in a lake on an island; the world's largest island in a lake on an island in a lake; and the world's largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island. Read the rest

Gorgeous Map of the Internet: XKCD meets National Geographic

Martin Vargic has produced a gorgeous mashup of XKCD's Map of Online Communities and the classic National Geographic Maps, producing a work of art that is a wonder to behold. It's for sale on Zazzle, as a $37, 34"x22" poster. Read the rest

Globes: art-book traces 400 years' worth of strange and gorgeous globes

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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Public transit times mapped

Andrew Hardin, a grad student from the University of Colorado's geography department, created an interactive map that shows how long it takes to get there from here in several major U.S. cities. A paper reveals the methodology used. [via Flowing Data] Read the rest

Openstreetmap: why we need a free/open alternative to proprietary maps

In the Guardian, Serge Wroclawski makes the case for Openstreetmap, a free/open map tool maintained by a volunteer community. Wroclawski argues that allowing companies to own maps allows them to own places: to determine which features of our neighbourhoods are worthy of inclusion, to determine which parts of our cities should and shouldn't be considered in route planning, and to monitor our decisions about where we travel and what we do when we get there. It's a dangerous proposition, and Openstreetmap is a viable, and often superior, alternative (see, for example, the map above of the neighbourhood around my office):

The second concern is about location. Who defines where a neighbourhood is, or whether or not you should go? This issue was brought up by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) when a map provider was providing routing (driving/biking/walking instructions) and used what it determined to be "safe" or "dangerous" neighbourhoods as part of its algorithm. This raises the question of who determines what makes a neighbourhood "safe" or not – or whether safe is merely a codeword for something more sinister.

Right now, Flickr collects neighbourhood information based on photographs which it exposes through an API. It uses this information to suggest tags for your photograph. But it would be possible to use neighbourhood boundaries in a more subtle way in order to affect anything from traffic patterns to real estate prices, because when a map provider becomes large enough, it becomes the source of "truth".

Lastly, these map providers have an incentive to collect information about you in ways that you may not agree with.

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Planetary-scale chicken

There is a chicken lurking in the geography of our continents.

A giant chicken.

The world’s countries can be arranged to form a giant chicken. (via Making Light) Read the rest

Interactive graphic of migration within US

Chris Walker created a fascinating interactive graphic of migration patterns within the United States. It's based on US Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey estimates. Here are a few insights that Walker gleaned: Read the rest

China City of America coming to the Catskills?

Chinese developers are vying to build a massive China-themed retail center and casino in New York's Catskills. The 600-acre project is called "China City of America" and, surprise, it's highly controversial. I think it might do better in the hometown of hyperreality, Las Vegas! You can see the pitch at the China City of America site and read about it below:

"Developers pitch bringing a piece of China to Sullivan County" (YNN)

"Mysterious China-themed 'city' proposed in New York’s Catskills" (Fox News, thanks Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest

Why Google Maps is often wrong about your exact location

How does Google Maps account for plate tectonics? That's the seemingly simple question that led George Musser to unearth some fascinating facts about map-making, history, and the accuracy of modern GPS systems. Turns out, not only does the crust of the Earth, itself, move, but so do the locations of lines of latitude and longitude. Both those things contribute to small errors when your GPS tries to pinpoint exactly where you are. Read the rest

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