Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Message in a Bottle

This map appeared in my inbox a while back and now I can't seem to find any reference to it online.
If you put a message in a bottle, who will find it? The map is credited to the Weather Bureau of the USDA and shows "bottle paper courses" from 1892 and 1893. The legend is cut off but I think that the blue lines are from 1892 and the red from 1893. Either the weather bureau actually placed bottles and then retrieved them or this is just some theoretical map based on currents.

Almost all of the bottles travel eastward, with the flow of the St Lawrence Seaway. However the ones placed near shore in the Toronto area get caught in a counterflow that takes them to the west before heading south and then back to the east.

If anyone has additional information about this unusual map I'd love to know more.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tactile Atlas of Switzerland

I enjoy making fun of the sometimes cultish nature of the Esri User Conference. However, among the over-hyped items there is a really useful map for the visually impaired on display.
Created by Anna Vetter of Esri Switzerland, the map uses minimal and well separated details so the user can feel their way around the country without being confused with too much conflicting information. More good pictures from Twitter can be seen here,
and here, where you can see it in action at the conference.
Esri has put together a nice online version of the map. You can't feel it but you can pan, zoom and get the visual idea.
http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=651b04a8ad3940aaa7ae47a2e0fbabfe
The legend shows the wonderful simplicity of the maps.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ancient Earth Globe

The Ancient Earth Globe allows you to pan, zoom and rotate the earth to see what it looked like during various eras, from 600 million years ago,
 to a more recognizable 105 million years ago,
 to a much more recognizable 20 million years ago.
You can spin it around yourself, or sit back and watch it rotate.
There are arrow keys to move it through eras of time-in 20-40 million year increments.
There are also options to remove the clouds or jump to specific era's in the planet's life.
This visualization was created by Dinosaur Pictures, who specialize in high resolution images of dinosaurs.

Maybe they'll make a flat earth version to appease the reality deniers.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada 150

In honor of Canada's 150th birthday here is an animation showing the evolution of the provinces and territories via Wikipedia.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Worldwide Urbanization

In 2015 The Guardian posted a couple of interesting maps highlighting the trends of urbanization. By 2050 the world population is expected to be 70% urbanized. Here is a map showing how many people are added each hour to the world's large cities.
https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/11/19/1447951960277/6feee86c-cf4f-45ea-a3bc-e21de6c1fe2e-2060x1003.jpeg?w=780&q=20&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&dpr=2&s=bdd964404817092bf812e4484766999c
The data is from the London School of Economics Urban Age program. The map is a bit hard to read. Numbers are sized by city growth, making lower growth cities like London hard to read. Since the dots are already sized by number they could have kept the numbers all at a readable size. Also using a different color for each continent is somewhat pointless. Nevertheless the data is interesting-Lagos gains 85 new residents every hour while Rio only gains 10.
The map below shows past and projected growth by time period.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/8969e81e3b29dbcc0a6059dd7c2ff39b9f962e51/23_480_3228_1732/master/3228.jpg?w=620&q=20&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&dpr=2&s=9837146295d0c8aaf4331c7d1734efbe
Green cities saw most of their growth occur by 1950 while the more yellow ones are currently seeing the most growth. Some cities, particularly in India have a more mixed pattern of concentric circles showing steady growth throughout past and future decades. These maps are a bit hard to read at this size. If you click on them, you can see larger sizes. Here is a detail from the map above showing Europe vs South Asia and East Africa.
For much more on the urban footprint, environmental impact, economic development and land use see The Guardian

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fifty Fantasy States

Chris Engelsma is working on creating fantasy maps for the 50 states using toponyms - translations of place names to their original meanings. Here is North Dakota , aka Northern Land of Friends.
https://50fantasystates.tumblr.com/post/161750918716/northern-land-of-friends-a-toponymic-fantasy-style
Here is a nice detail from Idaho (Light on the Mountains) showing the light on the mountains
https://50fantasystates.tumblr.com/post/155699376321/light-on-the-mountains-a-toponymic-fantasy-style
10 states are completed. Prints are available on his Etsy page. This also includes his map of Australia.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/520557874/illustrated-toponymic-fantasy-style-map?ref=shop_home_feat_3

Thursday, June 15, 2017

San Francisco Ships Update

Last December I posted some maps showing the ships that are buried under San Francisco. As a quick recap, what is now the Financial District was once a shallow cove. During the gold rush many ships landed here and were quickly abandoned or sunk. The cove was eventually filled with these ships still in place.
The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is working on a new map of these ships, adding details from archaeologists that were not on their original map from 1963.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/2017/06/02/map-post-sf-shipwrecks/03-map-post-san-francisco-shipwreck.adapt.1190.1.jpg
This map will appear in the Park's visitor center. Here is a detail from the image-via National Geographic
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/2017/06/02/map-post-sf-shipwrecks/01-map-post-san-francisco-shipwreck.adapt.1190.1.jpg
A detail of the detail just to show how nice it looks up close.

Here is part of the museum's original 1963 map - also via National Geographic
For more see the National Geographic story

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Evolution of Ordnance Survey Mapping

Britain's Ordnance Survey has consistently produced some of the world's finest and most detailed maps. Here is a display showing the evolution of their mapping styles, blended together with Photoshop.
https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2012/11/the-evolution-of-ordnance-survey-mapping/
I like the subtle stylings of 1895. You're welcome to disagree. I also really like how the legend is made from a theoretical landscape.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Beyond the Sea

Our local Bostonographer and Maptime Boston co-host Andy Woodruff has been working for a while on mapping what is across the ocean from where you stand. His latest "flowing and exploding" version is quite fun to watch,
or interact with by pointing your mouse and seeing where it goes-here.
If the results are unexpected it is because the lines go perpendicular to the coastline, rather than following a specific latitude. We are conditioned to think that "across" means the same latitude on the other side. As children going to the Jersey shore we imagined that we were looking at Portugal on the horizon-because we were geography nerds. However the shore is angled in a northeasterly direction so you are actually looking southeast, towards either South Africa or in some areas missing that continent entirely and rounding the Cape of Good Hope, reaching all the way to the west coast of Australia. That would be the case for most of the shoreline, but any bay or other odd turn in the coast and you may be looking at Norway, Nova Scotia, Morocco or Brazil.

If you are more interested in latitude, there is a nice map series from the Washington Post, showing the continents color coded by what's across the way. Here is Africa, for example.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/08/03/whats-across-the-ocean-from-you-when-youre-at-the-beach-in-7-fascinating-maps/?utm_term=.57978062dd22
 This one shows that Portugal is across from the Jersey shore but to see it you need to look at an angle.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Maps of the Flat Earth Society

In a world of alternate facts and ridiculous theories, the flat earth alternate fact has stood the test of time despite obvious evidence to the contrary. All NBA star and flat-earther Kyrie Irving needs to do is look out the plane window on his next flight to see the curvature of the earth. He doesn't even need to pay attention to the northward tilt of the flight path.

The Flat Earth Society has various examples of flat-earth maps such as this one by Samuel Rowbotham.
It has a nice letter coding system to help the average flat earther figure out the difference between Land (L) and Water (W). N is the north pole (more on that below) and D is...darkness?

One of the most common maps used by flat earthers is from Wilbur Glenn Voliva, an evangelist who offered a $5,000 prize for anyone who could disprove the earth is flat. By choosing to disbelieve any takers, he never had to pay the money.
What these maps have in common is that they all see the world as round-circular or elliptical. The Sun (as shown above) rotates around the equator, explaining the differences in climate. They believe in the North Pole, but not in the South Pole. The southern edges of the world are conveniently edged by a wall of ice to keep mariners from falling off. Some believe in a dome shaped sky with stars hanging down.

The belief that the South Pole cannot exist, gives rise to many conspiracy theories about why airline flight routes go the way they do. These theories are easily debunked by anyone who has flown between cities in the southern hemisphere.

Yes they don't fly over the South pole because the great circle routes are much further north.

Here is a flat earth globe

For more see the Flat Earth Society's maps page.
 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Rapid Growth of Chinese Metro Systems

This remarkable animation from Peter Dovak shows the rapidly accelerating growth of metro systems in China, including Taiwan.
http://pdovak.com/projects/#/chinese-metro-evolution/
China's first metro opened in Beijing in 1969. Growth of the systems was modest up to 1990. From then until (proposed) 2020 you can see how quickly things changed. The animation is an adaptation from his wonderful mini metros project where he designed a bunch of icons for wordlwide metro systems, many of them instantly recognizable, such as Washington DC (bottom) - Beijing is the one below.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

English Settlement

 The English Landscape and Identities Project has some tri-variate maps of England showing eras of archaeological sites. The author, Chris Green, begins with an apology to those with color deficiencies. Because three color channels are needed, it would be hard to make this more legible to color blind readers*. The legend is shown first to see what you are looking at.
Darker areas are more "complex" - meaning there are sites from more time periods. The primary colors show more specific time periods as seen above. Magenta is Roman in case the image is hard to read.
https://englaid.com/2017/05/12/regionality-complexity/
There is a second map based on more local variation on the blog post, but I find this one easier to interpret. Some of the patterns that show up are settlement along Roman roads (magenta lines), some clusters of prehistoric sites in the southwest and northeast and a much lower level of intensity in the west (fewer archaeological sites here?) Some of the darkest, most intense areas are along major river valleys where quarrying activities have possibly uncovered more sites than average.

This map is based on available data and may not tell the full story but it does give an idea of the variation and complexity of archaeological records.

* This color scheme (via StackExchange) would have worked for color deficiencies.



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Seattle Awareness Map

In 1978 the Seattle Department of Community Development published this map to raise awareness of the city's cultural landmarks.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/2572719557/in/photostream/
Seattle Municipal Archives posted a scanned copy on their Flickr site. The cover is a nice grouping of buildings, statues and ferries.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/2572719557/in/photostream/
Inside the map is densely populated with landmarks and yellow descriptive text bubbles,
https://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/2572719673/in/photostream/
sometimes with additional info or commentary added.
 Some more detailed scans can be found on Rob Ketcherside's Flickr pages.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tigerzombie/5076442361/
One final view-because I briefly lived near the Arboretum Gate House

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

LEGO Poland

Last year, the first LEGO store in Poland opened, in a Warsaw shopping mall. The event was celebrated with a huge 3D model of the country built by kids and adults.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/biplex/28509278013/in/album-72157671813609731/
Here are some photos from various stages of completion via this Flickr gallery.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/biplex/29128034255/in/album-72157671813609731/


https://www.flickr.com/photos/biplex/29022656902/in/album-72157671813609731/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/biplex/29095453436/in/album-72157671813609731/
A couple more from the Hive Miner page
https://farm9.static.flickr.com/8334/29570331026_148842ac8c_b.jpg

https://farm9.static.flickr.com/8086/29314178810_e7cc164e1f_b.jpg