Low-cost carrier Easyjet has prototyped "Sneakairs," a pair of shoes that have small vibrating motors and Bluetooth links; they work in concert with your mobile phone's mapping app, buzzing left or right when it's time to turn, and twice if you've gone the wrong way. Read the rest
The Bodleian Libraries at Oxford acquired a recently-discovered map of Middle-earth annotated by JRR Tolkien, "which reveals his remarkable vision of the creatures, topography and heraldry of his imagined world where The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place. The annotated map went unseen for decades until October 2015 when Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford put the map on display and offered it for sale."
(Thanks, Gary Price!) Read the rest
Google Maps and similar services are most useful, but who has the most recent space footage of your neighborhood? Check out mapbox, a Landsat viewer that tells you when the satellite image you're looking at was taken, and when a new snap is scheduled. The zoom level really isn't useful for anything at a life-lived level – with the exception of recent weather, disasters, etc – but all services should expose metadata like this. Read the rest
London is a ghost of all the things that were once there, and The Lost London Tube Map shows off some of the most famous forgotten landmarks. Biscuit Town and Bedlam are long gone, but others (like Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens) are still around to be rediscovered.
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Some losses are definitely for the best. Few would welcome back the public horror of Tyburn gallows, or the miserable Marshalsea Prison. Other losses are a cause of some regret: Euston Arch and the Astoria, for example. Imagine a city where Whitehall Palace still stands, and Old London Bridge yet straddles the Thames. Of course, we're barely scratching the surface. We've not included the Overground or DLR, and have limited the scope to (roughly) zone 1. A whole heap of buildings such as Watkin's Folly and the White City Olympic stadium are left out, and we don't have room to include all the important stuff lost from central London.
not all urban areas are growing at the same speed — or are growing at all. All of Italy's and Greece's urban centres are losing inhabitants, as are the Ruhr and Katowice, Ostrava and Bucharest. Biggest winners? Istanbul and Ankara, plus two other Turkish cities, and Brussels and Amsterdam — all gaining more than 2 percent p.a. Growing more modestly, at 1 percent, are the English and Scandinavian citiesRead the rest
Chinese law makes independent mapmaking a crime (you may not document "the shapes, sizes, space positions, attributes, etc. of man-made surface installations") and requires tech companies to randomly vary the locations of all landmarks by 100-500m. Read the rest
After the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Ted Danforth, the owner of a print shop in lower Manhattan, wondered why. Why did these attacks happen? Who is Osama bin Laden and why did he hate America? What was the history leading up to this tragedy and what about the future of the world as we know it? Through extensive research, Danforth discovered the answers were not so simple. One answer led to many more questions and Danforth soon discovered that the trail of hate, revenge, partnerships, mistrust, conquests and cultural differences went back thousands of years.
To try to make some sense of this long history of conflict, Danforth created The Eastern Question, a soft cover coffee table sized book containing text and over 108 hand-drawn watercolor maps and illustrations. The information is dense but Danforth uses metaphors and easy-to-follow stories that help explain the "Geopolitical Dynamics” of Eastern and Western history starting from AD 565.
The Eastern Question will no doubt appeal to the historian, but with drawings and maps reminiscent of cartoons from The New Yorker, non-historians can pick up some great information too. – Carole Rosner
Be Expert with Map and Compass has been in print for more than fifty years and remains one of the standard guides on land navigation and orienteering. In easy-to-follow sections, the book lays out how to dependably navigate by compass, read and interpret a topographical map, set way points and bearings for extended hikes, give map instructions in a standardized format so others can follow your route, and much more. Each section is accompanied by practice exercises that are well-suited for use by a family or a group of varyingly experienced navigators. The latter third of the book is devoted to explaining the sport of orienteering, which seems like a fun combination of a cross-country run and a treasure hunt.
I was tragically born without a sense of direction, so much of this book was a revelation to me. Also – in a surprising synchronicity – the practice topographical map included in the back was from an area I had hiked just a few days before finding this title at a library sale!
I read the 1994 edition for this review, but the book was revised in 2009 with GPS information and updated web resources. If you just want the skills promised by the title, the early editions can be had for a few dollars (and you can save the rest to buy a compass). – William Smith of Hangfire Books
Ordnance Survey, Britain's official mapping agency, has made available for download a massive map of Mars in its classic style.
The planet Mars has become the latest subject in our long line of iconic OS paper maps. The one-off map, created using NASA open data and made to a 1:4,000,000 scale, is made to see if our style of mapping has potential for future Mars missions.
Sadly, they're not selling it in foldable print map form. They should!
Martin Vargic, the 17-year-old cartographic wunderkind from Slovakia responsible for the "Map of Stereotypes" that went viral last year, has done some seriously fine work in this collection of highly-detailed, thoroughly researched and beautiful maps. While some are factual maps based on data and infographic in nature, many are the product of Vargic's imagination, research, and incredible information organization skills. He uses classic cartographic techniques to map out abstract landscapes like music, gaming and the internet.
As Vargic says in the introduction of the book, drawing something out as a map gives you a unique opportunity to present many different metrics of visual information all at once. Charting maps of these systems, landscapes, and fields of culture provides so many dimensions for the reader to dig into and analyze: the size, color, geographic traits, and bordering territories of each region offer a new way to think about all of the pieces in relation to one another. Every page is filled with hundreds of opportunities to pick up some trivia (e.g. "Subway has forty-three thousand locations worldwide"), inspire a quick Google (e.g. "Wait, 'baroque pop' is a thing?"), or jog a memory (e.g. "Aww, I miss Encyclopedia Britannica!"). Flipping the book open to a random page can almost be a little disorienting, because there's just so much to look at. This is the perfect book to look through with a friend or two, pouring over the maps together to discuss, debate and learn. Read the rest
If you've ever locked yourself out of your home and googled for a locksmith, you've seen that it's virtually impossible to reach a real local locksmith. Read the rest