Boing Boing 

Autobiographical D&D maps kickstarter: TWO HOURS TO GO!

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, previously featured here on Boing Boing!

Printing the Map of Western Refractoria (Thanks, Jeffrey!)

Finally, Google Maps for iPhone again

TO13 3 1Google Maps is now available again for iPhone. I'll be home soon. (via Google's Official Blog)

Hand-drawn maps of New York

Illustrator Jenni Sparks has released a very beautiful hand-drawn map of NYC:

Hi everyone, so here is the Hand Drawn Map of New York that I've been working on for what seems like FOREVER! It was once again commissioned by the lovely and was just as hard as the Map of London, if not harder... Anyway, I'll let the images speak for themselves as I have lost the ability to think about anything other than buildings. I hope you like it, New York is a super cool city, and if you wanna buy one you can pick one up HERE.

The image above is just a section -- go see the whole thing:

Hand Drawn Map of New York (via Kottke)

Hand-drawn maps of an imaginary kingdom are artist's autobiography/confessional

Alain sez, "Artist Jeffrey Beebe's website dedicated to his autobiographical/imaginary world called Refractoria; the website features dozens hand-drawn geopolitical maps, city maps, celestial charts, genealogical charts, etc. profoundly influenced by OD&D/AD&D 1st Edition and various fantasy maps."

Map of Refractoria (Thanks, Alain!)

Different names for the same thing: Visualizing the 2012 election

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!

Wind map shows Sandy's gusts

The surface wind data in this beautiful wind map from 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 temperature and wind.

There's a beautiful animated version, too.

Google's Hurricane Sandy crisis map

Here's an excellent resource to link and re-tweet: a crisis/storm-tracking map from Google, with shelter information, and updated data on Sandy's expected course.

LocalWiki Antarctica, a crowdsourced map of the icy southern continent

LocalWiki's Philip Neustrom says,

My non-profit, LocalWiki, has been working on this really incredible project to help document the continent of Antarctica. Most notable, at least right now, is this custom map we've pieced together from very-hard-to-find NASA aerial imagery and coastline datasets. It's probably the most beautiful thing I've ever worked on.

Check out the LocalWiki for Antarctica. The project "aims to document the full extent of human involvement on the continent," and for now is focused on a two-mile region surrounding Palmer Station.

Unique issues in Japan for Apple iOS6 maps

Inconsistencies and funny goofs with Apple's new iOS6 maps feature have been widely reported. But in Japan, a country-specific set of technical issues contribute to the feature's lack of reliability there. The biggest problem, according to a NYT article by Hiroko Tabuchi, is that "much of its data appears to be drawn from OpenStreetMap Japan, a Wikipedia-like service that contains a lot of incorrect and outdated information," and Japan "uses a system of longitude and latitude that differs slightly from the global standard." Apple may have mixed up conflicting data sources that use both systems. (

Your friendly neighborhood boring machine

Check out this great interactive map of the London subway system, showing the real-time location of the giant boring machines that are currently digging new tunnels beneath the city. (Via Nicola Twilley)

IOS6 maps fail so hard, a Tumblr is born

You know you have an issue when someone brews up a Tumblr to mock you:

Gorgeous 1939 map of physics

I love this Map of Physics that turns an entire academic discipline into a fictional country, showing the way different sub-disciplines interact and the concepts that connect seemingly disparate discoveries.

Posted by Frank Jacobs at The Big Think, it dates to 1939. I'm not sure who or what originally made it (maybe one of you know) but it's great.

The map is more than a random representation of the different fields of physics: by displaying them as topographical elements of the same map, it hints at the unified nature of the subject. “Just like two rivers flow together, some of the largest advances in physics came when people realised that two subjects were [like] two sides of the same coin”, writes Jelmer Renema, who sent in this map.

Some examples: “[T]he joining of astronomy and mechanics […] by Kepler, Galileo and Newton (who showed that the movement of the Moon is described by the same laws as [that of] a fallling apple.” At the centre of the map, mechanics and electromagnetism merge. “Electromagnetism [itself is] a fusion between electricity and magnetism, which were joined when it was noted by Oersted that an electric current produces a magnetic field, and when it was noted by Faraday that when a magned is moved around in a wire loop, it creates a current in that loop.”

Read the rest and see some close ups of various corners of the Land of Physics at The Big Think blog

Via Ananyo Bhattacharya

Syrian insurgency front lines

The complex zones of control in Arab Spring uprisings can be baffling. Here's the BBC's new map of Syria's myriad front lines (compare to religious demography), which makes everything perfectly clear.

Flying robot makes 3D map of building's interior

[Video Link]The video is from 2010, but the flying robot that stars in it makes the same kind of 3D map of a building's interior that the drones in Prometheus make.

Toronto subway system map, Mario style

Dave created a quite fab Super Mario 3-style map for the Toronto subway system. Delighted with the popular interest in the design, he's offered it for sale as a poster.

Toronto TTC Subway/RT Map – Super Mario 3 Style (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Geology geeks: Time for a shopping spree

The United States Geological Survey is having a great big spring sale, with lots of maps, charts, and publications—some of them mid-century vintage—discounted to $1. Yes, $1. At that price, you can't afford to not own entirely too many USGS maps. (Via Travis Weller)

Apple rumors: sweet new 3D map feature coming to iOS6

Word on the Apple blogs today: in development for iOS 6, a maps application developed entirely in-house, to replace the Google Maps program running on iOS since 2007. "The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch," reports, "But it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience." Sources tell 9to5Mac the new app "will blow your head off." MacRumors has more. (via AllThingsD)

Sourcemap: visualizing supply-chains for the goods in our lives

Sourcemap shows supply-chain maps that reveal all the places in the world that feed into the common goods we consume in our lives. The service's about page implies that the supply-chain data comes from companies themselves, but there's a lot of what seem to be user-generated maps like this complex map labelled "Laptop Computer". It's a tantalizing set of maps, but I wish there was more information on the data-sources that went into each map.

On the other hand, I'm loving this reconstruction of Western Electric's 1927 telephone manufacturing supply chain by Matthew Hockenberry, who added this information: "This is a reconstruction of the supply chain for the Western Electric produced 'candlestick' style telephones of the late 1920s. Information is largely drawn from archival Western Electric/AT&T materials, as well as those of supplier companies. Some imagery is currently included for cotton and copper sources. This is a rough draft - many details are missing or incomplete."

Sourcemap: where things come from

U.S. teen pregnancy drops sharply; child impregnation most popular in Bible Belt

Richard Florida on this fascinating map, produced by the Centers for Disease Control:

There is good news: teen births are at their lowest level in more than 60 years (10 percent lower than 2009, 43 percent below their peak in 1970). But the geographic variation is substantial. Teen birthrates are highest in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, and New Mexico,. There are slightly lower concentrations in the neighboring states of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Arizona. New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have the lowest rates of teen births.

The full CDC report details drops in most states (excepting North Dakota, West Virginia and Montana), with the sharpest drops in Nevada, Arizona, California, Florida and Rhode Island. Elsewhere the impregnations continue apace, with Kansas, Michigan and Arkansas posting less dramatic declines.

The teen pregnancy rate is highest in Mississipi and lowest in New Hampshire, the CDC said.

What will stop Conservative America's progeny from having so much hot, wild, bareback sex?

U.S. Teen Birthrates Are Down, But Still High in These States [The Atlantic]

Fantasy maps are awesome

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.

US slumps in press freedom rankings

In this year's Reporters Without Borders international press freedom index, the U.S. slumped to 47th place, a fall of 27 places, largely due to arrests of journalists covering protests. The full report is available in PDF format. [RSF]

Explore Mars on your computer

Want to check out the surface of Mars the way you'd use Google Earth? HiRise makes it possible. (Via artimusclyde on Submitterator)

Mailifest Destiny: U.S. expansion visualized as post offices

Derek Watkins created a visualization tracking the spatial distribution of U.S. postal offices from the 18th to the 20th century. Gathering data from the USPS Postmaster Finder, with lat/long coordinates extracted from the USGS Geographic Names Information System, the results were animated using Processing. [Thanks, MR!]

London tube map with distance grids

London's famous tube map sacrifices geographical accuracy to make a useful diagram. Though a boon to travelers finding their way around the complex network, it does have drawbacks: for example, the distances between stations are all wrong. This makes it hard to estimate journey times, and easy to make mistakes when traveling overground—one's mental map of the city starts to resemble the tube diagram more than the real thing. Boing Boing reader Spiregrain created a version of the map where the background is a subtle, distorted grid. Like longitude and latitude lines on a world map projection, they tell the viewer how much geographic distortion is in play in any given region. []

Geographically accurate Tube map

London's Tube map is a masterpiece of abstraction, abandoning accuracy to create a more easily-navigated mental map of the city. Designed by Harry Beck in 1931, the diagrammatic format has changed little, even in the stylistic details, since then. Occasionally a designer attempts a more realistic plan, but the results only add confusion proportionate to London's demented geography.

Mark Noad's revision, however, is a weirdly convincing blend. It uses Beck's design fundamentals--the long straight lines and equidistant stations--but gently deforms them to hint at, if not adhere to, the true lay of the land. I dare say that I prefer it. Except the font. That font is wrong.

From Noad's blog:

The debate about the meaning and purpose of design is an important one, in particular the relationship between the ‘product’ and the user and how a graphic (map/diagram/whatever) can help/hinder someone in their decisions. Future updates of the map will add to this debate as we explore ways to access more information through the website and app.

There's something almost sinister about how good it is, like an artifact from a parallel universe where Beck had a nice long early lunch that day.

London Tubemap