Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Extermination of the American Bison

Artist David Buckley Borden created this wonderful, sad map showing the demise of the bison.

Borden adds many clever touches to his maps including the downward facing buffalo head.
The map is based on conservationist William Hornaday's 1889 map that showed the declining range of the bison throughout North America. Hornaday is credited with preserving the bison from extinction. The present day (2003) tiny distribution of bison herds is shown in the tiny upside down* map in the bottom right corner.

Hornaday's original map is also quite striking.
 Here is a detail-you can click on the map above for a full, zoomable version.
*The upside down map is a theme of Borden's. Here is a detail of his Ecological Distress Hydroscape Map. I like the clever use of arrows to indicate distress points-including the City of Ecological Sin.
In Borden's words:
No disrespect should be shown to the map of the United States of America; the map should never be displayed with the Great Lakes down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life, property or landscape.

More of his maps can be seen on this page.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Trip Happy

TripHappy, an online booking site created some nice visualizations, showing trips planned using their online booking tool.
Points represent stops along a travel itinerary. Land and water are removed to emphasize the patterns. They are colored based on clusters - places that show up on the same itineraries. The pattern in the Western Hemisphere is unremarkable but the Eastern side has some interesting clusters. Northern and Eastern Europe cluster together. Southeast Asia is more connected to Australia and New Zealand (left off the image below due to space constraints) than to China, and Russia is connected to parts of the Middle East.
There are also some interactive graphics showing the number of trips per city and country. One bug is that each city is listed by country name instead of city name.
These interactive visualizations were created using Tableau Public, which I don't know much about but seems to have some great visualization tools. Finally, here is a map showing country connections though without any other geographic aids just looks like one of those rubber band balls.
The list below it explains the connections better. Here the most connected countries.
    1    Hong Kong to China
    2    Brazil to Argentina
    3    Tanzania to Kenya
    4    Macau to Hong Kong
    5    Macau to China
    6    Netherlands to Germany
    7    United Kingdom to France
    8    United States to Canada
    9    Uganda to Congo
    10    Germany to Czech Republic
    11    Thailand to Cambodia
    12    France to Spain
    13    Vatican City to Italy
    14    Turkey to Greece
    15    Germany to Austria

To see the maps, visualizations and more details click here.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Snark Map

It's nice to start a new year off on a clean slate so here is the map of the ocean from Lewis Carroll's nonsensical poem "The Hunting of the Snark."
The poem is divided into eight "fits"-  the map is described in the second.
He had bought a large map representing the sea,
   Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
   A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
   Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
   "They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
   But we've got our brave Captain to thank
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best—
   A perfect and absolute blank!"
This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
   That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
   And that was to tingle his bell.

The poem was published on April Fool's Day in 1876. Artist Henry Holiday created nine illustrations for the poem, including the map. His text along the margins is interesting. Cardinal directions are as expected but the positions of the equator and poles are random. He also included geographic concepts such as Zenith, Nadir and Equinox as if they were places.

The entire poem can be found here.