Shape land like Slartibartfast with an augmented reality sandbox

Here's a sandbox with a topographical map projected onto it. Move sand about, and the map moves with it, like an insane tech demo of some augmented-reality version of classic God-game Populous.

Your very own AR sandbox costs $7,050 and it comes with the laptop, projector and camera rig. The software, though, is free of charge. Here's a detailed project report on the prototype if you fancy shaving a few grand off that tag. [via r/interestingasfuck]

Correction: this post originally likened the shaping of land to the activities of God. Slartibartfast is the correct object of comparison. Boing Boing regrets the error. Read the rest

Boston school district switches to a more accurate world map, blows kids' minds

The Mercator projection maps we're all familiar with dates to a 16th-centry Flemish cartographer who wanted to emphasize colonial trade routes; as a result, it vastly distorts the relative sizes and positions of the world's continents, swelling Europe and North America to absurd proportions and shrinking South America and Africa. Read the rest

America divided into states with the population of England

Earlier I crudely redivided the USA into states the size of California, its most populous state. This results in eight states. But what if old England, having abandoned Europe and been abandoned by Scotland and the other bits of its shabby island hegemony, somehow ended up in the Union?

Leaving aside all the actual important and interesting social and demographic consequences of such a near-future scenario, here's a dumb map of what America would look like if the current states were kept, but glommed together to form larger ones with the population of England—roughly 55m each.

Now you have six (not including England itself.)

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America divided into states with the population of California

Speculative redivisions of the USA into equal-population states tend to discard the existing ones entirely in favor of the average. I thought it would be interesting to instead keep the most populous state, California, then combine other states to meet it in size. Since they're always complaining. Read the rest

Make your keyboard look like a subway map

SA Metro is a set of keys for mechanical keyboards that form colored subway lines in the classic style of the London Underground map. Three editions are planned, covering staggered, gridded and ergonomic keyboard layouts; to be absolutely clear, it lacks standard legends. If it gets enough votes at Massdrop, it will be manufactured by Signature Plastics.

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Global Shark Tracker

Never be caught unawares by a shark again with the Global Shark Tracker. There are apps for mobile platforms, but it doesn't work very well on a small display. Always go with a bigger boat.

In a collaborative environment established by Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer, OCEARCH shares real-time data through OCEARCH’s Global Shark Tracker, inspires current and future generations of explorers, scientists, and stewards of the ocean, and enables leading researchers and institutions to generate previously unattainable data. OCEARCH has completed 26 worldwide expeditions.

In 2015, OCEARCH open sourced the data on the Global Shark Tracker to 2.3 million users, achieved an annual global reach of more than 12.2 billion media impressions, a Facebook reach of 150 million impressions, and a Twitter reach of 36 million impressions.

OCEARCH expeditions and digital outreach platforms are enabled through the support of Costa Sunglasses, YETI, Yamaha, Contender, SAFE Boats, and oneQube.

You can follow the OCEARCH tagged sharks by accessing the near-real time, free online Global Shark Tracker, by downloading the Global Shark Tracker App available for Apple and Android platforms, or by following OCEARCH on all social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

As fascinating as the map is, its creators are described as unscientific Jacques Cousteau wannabes whose methods of tagging sharks are held in some disrepute.

“Shark Wranglers” is the same crew (minus Dr. Michael Domeier) formerly featured on the show “Shark Men” on the National Geographic Channel, which itself used to be called “Expedition: Great White.” These guys specialize in a unique, possibly unnecessarily-invasive procedure to catch and tag large sharks.
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Stunning 23-foot wall chart of human history from 1881

Sebastian C. Adams's Synchronological Chart from the late 19th century presents 5,885 years of history (4004 BCE - 1881 AD) on a magnificent 27 inch x 23 foot illustrated and annotated timeline. What a stunner. You can zoom and pan through the whole thing at the David Rumsey Map Collection or order a scaled-down print.

According to the book Cartographies of Time: History of the Timeline, the Synchronological Chart "was ninetheenth-century America's surpassing achievement in complexity and synthetic power."

(via Clifford Pickover)

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Map shows Middle East based on who actually holds territory

From Geopolitical Futures via Joshua Landis. Seems rough on details. If Islamic State gets wee satellites down in Yemen, you'd think the Sinai Insurgents would at least get some diagonal shading! Read the rest

World map of disputed territories

A World of Disputed Territories maps all the countries in the world fighting over territority. Sometimes the disputes are quaint, even comical—visit Rockall or Hans Island!—but others are as tangled as they ever have been. Want to live somewhere undisputed? Try Svalbard! Read the rest

Most popular baby names by state, 1910-2015

Zip through 105 years of popular baby names in this interactive map by Mike Barry. Toggle for boys or girls. We've come a long way from John and James and Helen and Mary. Read the rest

1000 years of royalty: nice map of Europe's nastiest families

Nadieh Breme's Royal Constellations is a delightful starry visualization of a millenium of familial connections between European royals, and it gets right down to business: "Royal & aristocratic families are known for their fondness of marrying within their own clique."

Pick any two and it draws a line between them, revealing ancestral lines going back to the beginning—from the kings of medieval Wales all the way to the Windsors. Read the rest

Google Earth now available in VR

A virtual reality version of Google Earth is now available on Steam for the HTC Vive. Viewers can walk around, or fly, or browse any number of recorded locations. Read the rest

Every country's tourism slogan

FamilyBreakFinder created this map, featuring the slogans of every country's official tourism board. The key division, I think, is between ones that could apply to any country and ones that identify something specific to the country. [h/t Leigh]

Generic: USA: All within your reach Chile: All are welcome India: Incredible India

Specific Peru: land of the Incas Mongolia: Go nomadic Britain: What a knife island. Read the rest

Meet the small team producing some of the last handmade globes in the world

Bellerby & Co is one of the last companies that handmakes globes. It's a team of 15 people including woodworkers, painters, and a digital cartographer. (Great Big Story)

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A more accurate world map wins prestigious design award

The grand prize winner of Japan's 2016 Good Design Award went to a world map, designed by Tokyo-based architect and artist Hajime Narukawa.

From Spoon & Tamago:

Narukawa developed a map projection method called AuthaGraph (and founded a company of the same name in 2009) which aims to create maps that represent all land masses and seas as accurately as possible. Narukawa points out that in the past, his map probably wasn’t as relevant. A large bulk of the 20th century was dominated by an emphasis on East and West relations. But with issues like climate change, melting glaciers in Greenland and territorial sea claims, it’s time we establish a new view of the world: one that equally perceives all interests of our planet.

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Google Maps Streetview Player animates any entered trip

Created by developer Brian Folts, this nifty program "will take in either a starting point and end point, or a provided file of a route and provide a playthrough of the Google Streetview images that are available." Read the rest

ShipMap generates gorgeous maps of global shipping routes

Here's a fun interactive map of global shipping. ShipMap allows users to selected color coding for ship types: container, dry bulk, tanker, gas bulk, and vehicles. It even lets you select animated ships on their routes. Read the rest

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