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. — Maggie
I love California, but according to the personality test I took, I belong in Montana!
Which US state matches your personality?
Here is our world divided equally into territories of about 10m people, with existing boundaries taken into account.
"The logic of the map does not entirely discount existing ethnic or national boundaries, but neither is it beholden to them. The particular political rationale behind these divisions is not addressed - whether these are independent nation-states or provinces of a world government is left to the imagine of the viewer. The map is rather meant to provide a visual representative of the radically unequal distribution of the world’s population."
Zoom in: Pacific Rim, south-east Asia, the subcontinent, western Europe. [via MeFi]
Joshua Katz, at NC State University's Department of Statistics, compiled a series of simple, striking maps that visualize the words Americans use—and where they use them. The data was compiled from a survey conducted by Bert Vaux at the University of Cambridge. Below are just a few to whet your appetite for the full set of 122.
Read the rest
John B. Sparks' 1931 Histomap charted 4,000 years of human civilization with beautiful, reductive clarity. Here's John Brownlee, at Fast Company:
From a modern perspective, Sparks’ Histomap will raise a few eyebrows. For one, it subscribes to an outdated (but, at the time, quite in vogue) idea about how different cultures throughout history could be grouped into various "peoples." The chart also underestimates or omits certain cultures that historians at the time didn’t truly appreciate the importance of. The chart is also more Eurocentric than it would be if it were created today, with little space devoted to African civilizations or even American civilizations before Europeans settled the New World in the 15th century.
It seems hard to find in print form at a reasonable price (Amazon has it for $150). I've embedded an enormous 2MB image below.
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New York has the worst subway map in the world. Instead of using London Underground-inspired abstract maps like a normal metropolis, the locals prefer a more geographically-faithful "spaghetti" rendering, thereby making wayfinding a pain for tourists. But it's not as if improvements haven't been attempted: New York's peculiar layout, and the density of its downtown lines, tend to make minimalist maps confusing in other ways. Mapmaker Max Roberts, however, has created this incredible "circular map", which uses a Tube-like style but with the 90- and 45-degree angles ditched in favor of radial lines emanating from the Upper Bay.
Look, No Grid! NYC Reimagined As A Circular Metropolis [Fast Co]
P.S. Roberts tried the same thing with the London map, but to my eye it only introduces unnecessary decompression to the original's optimized snarl.
Sound it Out # 49: Maps - “A.M.A” (free MP3)
James Chapman makes music under the name Maps in his basement in Northampton, England. And while he appears to be something of a loner as a musician, the songs on the new Maps record Vicissitude have a welcoming sweetness that feels like a fortuitous amalgamation of many talented minds.
“A.M.A.” is the first single from the new record, and it’s a keeper. Chapman’s whispery vocals combine with a sparse and relentless beat that is simultaneously cheerful and foreboding.
Download “A.M.A” for free below!
GIF: Maps On The Web
Vince Miklos collects GIFs of Empires, from the Roman to Soviet. [io9]
(Click to embiggen)
Jim sez, "My sister and I helped my mom start cleaning out her basement yesterday, and this 1978 Tony Graham Graphics 'United States of New York' poster was one of the things we found. As a little kid living in Brooklyn, this definitely goofed up my ideas about geography. My parents didn't want to keep it, so I got to snag it. I need to re-frame it, but then it's going up on the wall, since I definitely remember it from when I was a kid. So I wanted to share a very very big copy of it for any New Yorkers out there that may be interested. Sorry for the blurry bits, there's only so much resolution you can squeeze out of your cell phone."
(Click to embiggen)
Feòrag NicBhrìde has provided us with a vital cartographic reference: a map of Europe showing the word for "beer" in each country.
The Essential Map of Europe and Environs.
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.
[Click to enlarge]. Mikeal is making an incredibly labor-intensive scale model of the Game of Thrones Westeros map, and you can watch him build it at his tumblr: myownprivatewesteros.tumblr.com. 3D-printed castle models, walls of putty, hand-painted rivers and hills. This guy is serious.
(Thanks, Tom Osborn)
Elisabeth Lecourt recycles old maps and turns them into beautiful dresses and shirts. I don't imagine they're wearable, but they'd look lovely on the wall nevertheless.
Elisabeth Lecourt | Les robes géographiques:
(via Crazy Abalone)
: An idea so nice, I blogged it twice! Here's the original