Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Rivers of Plastic

There has been a large increase in both the amount of plastic in the oceans and in public awareness of the issue. National Geographic and Nature have both done a good job of covering this issue. Cartographer John Nelson made a wonderful map, inspired by the rivers/mountains type of diagrams that I recently featured here, showing the three most contributing rivers in that style.
For better resolution click above - here is a detail from the Yangtze River.
I like how he managed to give this not only an old style look but also make the river colors and textures look a bit like plastic.  Also it is worth noting that the boxes on the bottom of each river represent the weight of about five cars, this weight is multiplied by the number of boxes EACH DAY.
For more on Nelson's map click here

National Geographic also recently published an excellent graphic story on this subject. Here are rivers with circled sized by level of contribution of plastics,
and here is a graphic view. This is just for Asia,
and here is the rest of the world.
Note that the scale on the two above images is close but not exact. To see these side by side scroll through the article.

Finally, a map of the Yangtze basin showing the sources of mismanaged municipal plastic waste.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Sheep and Wheat

Sheep and wheat together.
This charming map, downloaded from the National Library of Australia is one of a series of maps by geographer Thomas Griffith Taylor. It is one of a series  from the 1920's called "The New Oxford Wall Maps of Australia." Taylor liked to show multiple variables, in this case density of sheep in green overlaid with wheat in a black line pattern. Helpful text tells you where there are "No Sheep" and "Some Sheep" with a thick boundary separating the sheep and non-sheep areas.

Also, though there is some shading in Tasmania, there are "no very important wheat areas" there. Similarly, here are cattle and minerals.
Cattle follow a similar pattern to sheep (neither animal does well in the desert) except in the north where cattle do better. The "V.F.C." and "FEW" text bits add charm. Minerals are identified mostly as points rather than areas, except for some more defined gold areas in the west.

Here is his vegetation map. There is a lot of Mulga. I had to look this up - it refers to bushy, sandy lands containing mulga trees, a type of acacia. Mallee, common in the south is a semi-arid climate region with scattered eucalyptus trees.
More of his maps can be seen on this page from ABC (Australia) news.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Random City 1

Last night Maptime Boston helped me indulge my occasional hobby or hand drawn maps. Here's the map I did.
I had no thoughts ahead of time of what to do but I started with a river, then thought about where the major roads would need to go and it took off from there. I tried to create a nicer north side and more industrial, gritty south side (sort of London-esque) but ended up making some nice parts of the south side too.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Pirates of the South Atlantic

This map is from imgur. Like so many things on that site, there are no credits. I like the exaggerated rivers and goofily drawn state boundaries.
[Map] Pirates of the South Atlantic and their flags

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Comparative Mountains and Rivers

Continuing last week's theme of comparative maps, here are a few examples of a genre of map that compares mountain heights and river lengths.
This map was originally published by Henry Tanner (1836) and modified by S, Augustus Mitchell (1846), both of Philadelphia.  Like last week's map, the geography is arranged to fit the space with the shortest rivers cleverly positioned atop the tallest mountains.

The peaks are numbered. On this and the other maps from this period the highest known peak was Dhaulagiri in the Himalayas, now the seventh highest. In addition to mountains, the heights of cities and lakes are shown. Below Quito, Ecuador is shown beneath Pambamarca.

Down at the bottom are some of the Pyramids of Egypt, the "Falls of Niagara" and lakes such as Ontario (42), Erie (36) and Superioir (32). Above that is Caracas and the limit (this is a guess) of where bananas grow. Also along the bottom are various cities and landmakes such as the mines of Huancavilica and the Philadelphia Shot Tower. More of this map can be seen on the David Rumsey Map Collection page here.

Here are a couple more variations on this theme You can click them to see enlarged views from the Rumsey collection. This one published in London by William Darton in 1823 has everything arranged on one side.
I like the treatment of the rivers here.
This one (Joseph Thomas, London, 1835) has the rivers at the bottom and the mountains in several rows.
Finally, for a local view, here are the rivers of Scotland.

Many more examples of this theme can be seen on this excellent blog post from the Rumsey collection.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Comparative Lakes and Seas

Here's a beauty from the David Rumsey Map Collection. Comparing lakes and seas all at a uniform scale.
The full title of this map is "Comparative Form and Extent of the Inland Seas and Lakes of the Globe" followed by the text "Drawn to uniform scale with indications of the nature and country in which they are situated." There are four panels, one for each continent (Australia was not included).
Lakes are placed where they fit on the page and are only arranged geographically if they are connected or otherwise grouped such as the Great Lakes or the lakes of central Manitoba-which are clearly not south of Chicago.
Here is part of Asia - the major seas are arranged geographically while the rest of the lakes are fitted in where space (land) allows.
 Published in 1852 by William Blackwood & Sons of Edinburgh and London, it is Plate 3 from the Atlas of Physical Geography, Illustrating, In a Series of Original Designs, The Elementary Facts of Geology, Hydrology, Meteorology and Natural History.  This atlas has some other gorgeous details such as this "chartography" from the frontispiece.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mapping the A:shiwi Perspective

The A:shiwi Map Art Initiative is an indigenous mapping project sponsored by the A;shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center on the Zuni Reservation in New Mexico. The project seeks to challenge ideas of what maps are. To the Zuni, or A:shiwi people they are more about telling stories than about scale and direction.
Little Colorado River - Larson Gasper, 2009 via Emergence Magazine
There is an excellent article on this project with videos and maps in Emergence Magazine. According to Jim Enote, the museum's director more native lands have been lost through mapping than through physical contact. These maps seek to reclaim their land, names (including their own people's name) and memories.
Ho'n A:wan Dehwa:we (Our Land) - Ronnie Cachini, 2006 via Emergence Magazine
In the map above the modern road network intersects an otherwise dream-like landscape.
Migration of Salt Mother - Larson Gasper, 2009 via Emergence Magazine
Shiba:bulima - Levon Loncassion
These maps are in a traveling exhibition that has appeared in New York, Los Angeles, Albuquerque and Flagstaff.
Most of these are in the form of traditional paintings but there are also a couple of digital paintings.
"The maps represent landscapes but also historical events, such as Zuni migrations and Zuni relationships to places throughout the Colorado Plateau. The maps also guide viewers through Zuni cosmological processes where water, plants, animals, and even the sky make up the unique Zuni world. The exhibition shows how Zuni see their own history, their ancestral migrations, their ancient homes, and the parts of nature that sustains them."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Major Native American Map Found

A map drawn by Arikara tribal leader, Too Né for Lewis and Clark was recently discovered in the Bibliotheque National de France. Here is a sample.

Too Né drew this map in 1805 or 1806 and it shows how much the American explorers depended on the knowledge of Native Americans.

The map is from the May 2018 issue of  We Proceeded On, journal of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. It is available as a print copy only but the version above was put online by the Daily Astorian. Here is a quote from the Daily Astorian article:

“Monumental doesn’t fully cover the importance of this discovery,” historian Clay Jenkinson declared, noting that “individuals like Too Né were as important to the success of the expedition as, say, Sacagawea.”
here are a couple more map samples - the entire map can be seen here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Gulag Online

Gulag Online is a virtual museum and interactive set of maps that lets you travel through a labor camp and learn about the daily lives of 
Stalin's prisoners.

A zoom way out shows the hemispheric reach of the gulag system.

Zoom in on an area for details,

including camp diagrams
Some of these are from visits, while some can be seen from aerial photography.
Many of these camps are located along the Dead Road, a trans-polar railway that was to run almost 1,500 kilometers from Salekhard to Igarka (seen below on a military map)
An estimated 100,000 prisoners worked on this railroad between 1947 and 1953. The project was abandoned after Stalin's death. The extreme remoteness of the region has helped preserve many of these camps. Numbers below show dense clusters of camps.
 Here is a quote from the site about the Dead Road:
"it was clear to almost everyone in the leadership of the USSR that prisoners’ slave labour in the corrupt Gulag system was wasteful and desperately inefficient. Only Stalin failed to realise this and he was obsessed by similar construction projects. To this day, it is still not completely clear – even to Russian historians – what made him want to link the uninhabited and hostile environment of Siberia’s Polar regions by railway. It was most probably for strategic reasons."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Public Libraries of Massachusetts

Across the street from my office is a public library, where a copy of this map (circa 1904) hangs.
The library is a modern building so it is not on the map, but many of these libraries are still standing and in use today. That includes the Boston Public Library, shown on the bottom of the map, which houses the Norman B. Leventhal Center, which has this map in its digital collections.
The map beautifully illustrates each library. Above is the library in Arlington, near my house and also near the home of the map's author - "designed and drawn with pen and ink by George Hartnell Bartlett (author of 'Pen and Ink Drawing'). Arlington, Mass." 
So to recap, this map hangs in a library near my office but that library is not ON the map. It does show my (and the author's) home library which still looks the same except for an addition, and also shows the Boston library (which still looks the same except for an addition) where a copy of the map is located. So it's a circular thing. Now that we've cleared that up enjoy some classic old libraries from Worcester County.
The diversity of architectural styles is fun. Some of them are just mere Cape Cod style houses,
like this one, about as far from the Cape as you can get in the state. Others look like Greek temples or haunted houses.

Here's one from a town that no longer exists - it was flooded to create a reservoir so that when you visit the Leventhal Center, you can get a drink from the "bubbler" there.
The text at the bottom of the map reads
"A public library free to every man woman and child. Annual circulation three volumes to every inahbitant. 4,250,000 volumes. Annual circulation 9,000,000 volumes."

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Beautiful Trash

Beautiful Trash is a pretty visualization of trash truck routes created using Tableau, a good example of creating maps with non-GIS software. A week's worth of GPS tracks from the City of Cincinnati are color coded by collection day.
The black background really makes the colors pop. The areas served by each day show up nicely. It appears that Friday is a kind of pick up the missed stuff day and has by far the most mileage. Hover over a route to see the truck number and coordinates. You can choose a day at the top to see in isolation - for example Wednesday.
Also when you choose your day a kind of summary route appears at the top which I don't quite understand.

Anyway kudos to Jeffrey Shaffer for turning trash into treasure.