Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Schematic Newton

I have worked in the City of Newton, Massachusetts for almost two decades creating maps of the City. As part thought exercise and part learning project for using Inkscape, I decided to try a very schematic map.

Newton's geography is very complicated. There is no downtown, rather 13 (or 14 depending on who's counting) villages, each with some central downtown or at least crossroads. The city outline was extremely simplified. The diamond shape I went with made it hard to fit in some major roadways in the far eastern (Hammond, Hammond Pond) and western (Grove and Lexington) parts of the city.  
The EST. and INC. are from the signs at the borders.
This evolved quite a bit after finding some mistakes (this was all done from memory) and some comments from city residents and even elected officials. I like simplicity of this early version, though there is a major mistake in not showing that Commonwealth Avenue crosses Interstate 90 in the western part of the city. Still there's always a level of accuracy that gets lost in the name of simplicity.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Remarkable Maps of Mr. Tornado

Last night I watched "The Remarkable Mind of Mr. Tornado" on PBS. Tetsuya "Ted" Fujita was a pioneer in meteorology, known for developing the F-scale to measure tornadoes. His studies led him to draw many maps of this nature.
What I enjoyed the most was his personal maps. When he was invited to the University of Chicago to work with professor Horace Byers, he experienced his first airplane flight. During the flight he drew this charming map showing the clouds he passed through on a multi-day flight with two stopovers on Wake Island and in Hawaii.
Via PBS, "American Experience"
This map is a bit hard to read at this size so here is some detail. Click the picture above to see the entire map at higher resolution.
In his own words "Without wasting the expensive flight time, I began sketching the vertical time cross section of clouds along the flight path. Shortly before 1600 JST, the aircraft flew into towering cumuli, encountering severe turbulence. I heard crashing sounds of dishes and utensils in the flight kitchen. A moment after, the flight became smooth and I saw a beautiful arc of low clouds.”

After settling in Chicago he began to document his travel throughout the United States and Canada, first by railroad, then by car.
He traveled through every state except Rhode Island. According to the map he only missed it by a few miles. I have chronicled my own travels in this manner but not with nearly as much charm or detail.

Highlights of this map include the tornado-chasing squiggles through Oklahoma and the green elevation contours.

More on Mr. Fujita here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Detroit's Urban and Interurban Charms

Before becoming the nation's center of auto manufacturing, Detroit had an extensive urban and regional transit system. The Detroit United Railway, a consolidation of various streetcar and regional railways produced some gorgeous panoramic maps.
via Reddit
A version of this 1920 map from the David Rumsey Map Collection allows you to zoom way in and really see the nice details.
This version only has the panoramic map section. Another version on Reddit shows the whole map complete with the title block,
and descriptions of the points of interest and "nature's interurban charms."
Here's the view from Port Huron spotlighting some more rural parts of the region and a nice title block.
A less panoramic, but still charming map of the entire system area from 1913 can be found and purchased on Cameron Booth's Transit Maps web site. The above map is also for sale there.
I like the ships and fonts.
While you're vacationing through the interurban charms of southeastern Michigan, you may want to stay at the Hotel Fort Wayne. It is conveniently located at the cirner of Cass & Temple in the middle of everything as this map (via Detroitography) shows.
A zoomed in view shows the proximity to the theaters, transit and City Hall

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Gerrymandering the EU for Funds and Profit

There's a good article in The Pudding showing how countries like Hungary have been able to increase their share of European Union development funds by splitting the most economically developed regions. This creates "have not" regions within the "have" regions that are more likely to meet the threshold for aid.
In the map above the entire Budapest region is shaded in green (above average development) whereas the rest of the country is shaded pink for below average development. By making a tight ring around Budapest and calling the rest of the region "Pest", the country now has one more below average region that can receive aid, while Budapest has a more concentrated (greener) level of development.

This is a similar process to the gerrymandering so familiar in the United States. Lithuania and Poland have also done similar splits. The maps below illustrate nicely the difference between development at a larger scale (country wide) and at a regional scale.

You can really see how one or a few cities can change the balance, most notably in France. The article does this great "scrollytelling" bit that shifts between these two maps and then with further scrolling send each region flying over to its position on a graph.

To get the full effect and see much more go here and scroll away.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mapping Your Neighborhood Under Lockdown

Bloomberg Company's CityLab and the New York Times have both asked readers to submit maps of their neighborhoods under lockdown. The Times one, via Instagram includes this map from Nate Padavick,
and some directions on how to make it.

Here are some reader submissions that I like.

Three ways to the creek in Austin, Texas by Champ Turner
Birding the Pandemic by Rick Bohannon of Minnesota.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia is known as the City of rings for its network of Ring Roads. Augusto Javier León Peralta's shows his neighborhood "ring" incuding the route from home to the market and back. "We can even see some animals in the city that were not seen before"
Here is one from Calais via Twitter
A map from Lauren Nelson of Arlington, Virginia showing the "moat" that the Potomac River has become.

Finally, one from the NY Times Travel Instagram- a nice, simple pen & ink from Emily Bouchard in Chicago.
For more from instagram click here, but you need to wade through a bunch of stupid, gorgeous photos to find the maps. For the more maps go to CityLab

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Maps of Televsion Places - Part 1 of ?

With much of the World's population under some sort of lockdown a lot of TV is being consumed. I was watching an old (they're all old) rerun (they're all reruns) of The Office the other night when I noticed this map on the wall.
I had wondered about the frequent mention of these places - wait a minute, where's Stamford? Much more obvious is the giant Pennsylvania map in Michael's office. Both of these maps can be bought on Screenbid.
In past blog posts I have covered shows such as The Simpsons,
and Batman.
These are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. There are probably more that I've covered over years of blogging. The world of television is full of maps of places both real and imaginary. One map the caught my attention a few years back but I never got around to featuring it. Here is Pawnee, Indiana from Parks & Recreation.
An article from New Zealand's zm shows how this map was taken from Christchurch.
 Here is the Land Use and Important Facilities Map of Pawnee.
Image stolen from Pinterest who stole it from Buzzfeed?
There are plenty more of these places to map (I could probably do an entire post on Westeros) and there will probably be future posts. Especially if we're all stuck inside for a couple more months.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The San Francisco Model

The San Francisco Model has been digitally assembled by the David Rumsey Map Collection
The Map Collection page describes it as 

"a 42 by 38 foot wooden replica of the city of San Francisco as it was in 1940 in 158 pieces at a scale of 1 inch to 100 feet. The pieces contain about 6,000 removable city blocks. The model was built by The Works Progress Administration in the late 1930's, under the New Deal. It was first displayed in sections in the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay in 1939. In 1940-1942 it was displayed in San Francisco City Hall. The model was used as an urban planning tool by San Francisco city agencies and departments through the 1960's. In 1968, the downtown portion of the model became a research and planning tool in the Environmental Simulation Laboratory in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. The model has not been on public view, in its entirety, since 1942. UC Berkeley is the current owner of the model. The intent of the makers of the model was to have it updated as the city changed over time and they conceived of it as a tool to help understand and plan for changes in the city's built environment."

The entire model can be browsed here. Here are some samples:

Alamo Square Park. To the right is Steiner Street where everybody in San Francisco lives according to Hollywood. I don't know if the painted Victorian houses were painted back in 1940 and the street looks notably less fashionable from this view.
The entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge, though the bridge is not shown.
 A residential area in the south part of the city.
To see more go to their viewer page.