Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Mapping the Nuclear Fear

I've lived in many different places in the United States and one thing that people in every place seem to have in common is the belief that their region is a primary nuclear target. I came across this map on a Reddit thread that I can no longer locate. The thread was full of anecdotes from all over the country of people being told that their town was one of the top targets of the Soviet Union back in the Cold War days.
The map is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and dated September, 1990. Though I lost the thread, it was posted by Daniel Reetz. Here is the caption
Reddit is full of these kinds of maps and threads. Some of the maps are based on out of date information and show decommissioned sites. Here is a typical example of one of these maps showing two different scenarios - the black dots are mostly military installations while purple triangles are population centers. The comments are filled with people who are either proud to live in a targeted area or sad that their town isn't important enough to nuke.
Here is another map focused on the military installations with the colors representing fallout areas.
Here are evacuation routes for St Louis County via Reddit- this assumes an attack on downtown when there may be various other targets throughout the city and county.
Of course, the United States was not the only place threatened. Here is a scary map of a 1970 Warsaw Pact plan for attack on northwestern Europe - highlighting the Copenhagen region of Denmark, via War is Boring.
Australia too-click for link.
Here is a very detailed map of places in Russia (and Manchuria) targeted by the United States in 1945.
This map is from the Nuclear Secrecy blog, a blog that also features Nukemap, where you can choose your bomb and location and see where the  extent of destruction. There are more recent maps showing the primary targets in Russia that I am not authorized to show (though you can Google them) - mostly production facilities for various metals and oil refineries.

Here is a communist propaganda map showing Russia encircled.
Finally here is a real estate agent's map of where it is safe to buy real estate in the event of an all out nuclear attack on the U.K.'s to 20 cities - via the Shropshire Star.
See you in Lancaster, or Aberystwyth.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Deaths in the Desert

Since 1999 over 2000 people (probably even more since this source is a few years old) have lost their lives crossing the desert in southern Arizona. Traditional border crossings have been closed off forcing many migrants to cross in desert areas - places where the government thought the harsh conditions would deter people from crossing. These deaths have been documented by the Tucson Samaritans, a group dedicated to saving lives
 Here is a closeup of the Ajo sector for a better idea of the terrain.
Humane Borders, another group of volunteers trying to save lives, made posters for distribution on the south side of the border warning potential undocumented migrants of the dangers they face trying to cross through the desert on foot. The text in Spanish at the bottom translates to “Don’t do it! It’s hard! There’s not enough water!” The posters include estimated walking times from various entry points, as well as the sites of migrant deaths and the location of water stations.
They also created maps showing deaths that include location of water stations, rescue beacons and land ownership,
as well as an interactive map where you can look up names and filter deaths by location, year, land type or cause. Here are deaths from exposure.
A closeup of an area near the Organ Pipe Cactus Wilderness gives a good sense of how bleak the landscape is.
A click on the points helps to humanize each death-something many of our politicians are unwilling to do.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Monochrome Mapping

Cartographer Daniel Huffman hosted a monochrome mapping competition on his blog. He posted the results yesterday. Keep in mind that monochrome does not necessarily mean black and white. It refers to two colors, usually a foreground color (often black) and a background color (often white) with shades (ie. grays) of in between color. In the case below the foreground color is green with a pink-ish background.
Sarah Bell - Inland Northwest Washington Art Deco Map
Here are some of my favorites. Click on them to see the maps in their entirety.
Ireland by Alex Hotchkin. Some of the details are a bit fanciful and I'm not sure what those stone (?) formations are north and west of Belfast. Here is a bit of the southwest.
For a more computer produced but still beautiful look here is an Appalachian Trail fold out shelter map by John Nelson and Erich Rainville using a blue-white color scheme.
Here is a map of Iturup, one of the Kuril Islands by Heather Smith. The hand drawn topographic shading is particularly nice.
A flow map of the Grand River in Ontario by Warren Davison done blueprint style.
Finally this brown (bistre) and black map of Alaska's Tongass National Forest by Evan Applegate, Matt Strieby, Aiyana Udesen, and Ezra Butt.
The map faeturse a diagram of the trees of the area at the bottom,
and this nicely done locator map, accompanied by colorful text such as "glaciers hemorrhaging water so blue it hurts your teeth to even look upon't...." It also contains a plea to "write some checks" to prevent the "moribund timber industry" from knocking down more of the old growth forest.

Other highlights include a stunning relief map of Peru, a hand drawn historic map of Paris and a "wealth topography" of LA. To see the full range of maps go here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Battle for Germany, 1944

My wife found a treasure trove Life Magazines from the 1940's on the curb. The issue from 75 years ago today has some excellent maps showing the war situation.

In addition to this overall map are three maps showing greater details of the western, southern and eastern fronts.
A zoomed in view shows the slow movement of the line of Allied control in Normandy between June 6 and August 18th, 1944.
The Southern Front map shows the recent landings in southern France.
The simple and clearly readable topography is a nice touch. Here is the Eastern Front.
Here is a little detail with the August 18, 1944 battle line clearly shown.

Getting Personal at the La Jolla Map Museum

For a final post of my Spring visit to the La Jolla Map & Atlas Museum I want to spotlight a few maps that are interesting to me for various personal reasons.
Photo courtesy of the La Jolla Map & Atlas Museum
This map by William Faden shows the movements of George Washington's troops against the King's army in New Jersey in 1776 and 1777. Faden's 1777 map of Philadelphia hangs on my wall and part of it appears on the header image at the top. The New Jersey map has lots of bits of historical information but this less important detail in the southwest corner is what interests me the most.
My childhood home is at the bottom of the map, just a little south and east of Middletown (now Langhorne, but the surrounding area is still Middletown Township). We would often take the drive to Newtown to get ice cream and visit the stores. It was a nice country drive to a nice little town. Newtown is still a quaint olde towne but is now surrounded by a partial beltway and a sea of ugly (IMHO) housing developments. I like seeing this view of Pennsylvania before runaway development.

Woodblock map of Edo (Tokyo) ca 1840 from the Shogun period.
Photo taken at the La Jolla Map & Atlas Museum
I have always been fascinated with Japan and especially Tokyo. I also love woodblock maps and all the tiny details found within them.
There is a detail page on this map on the museum's web site.

I took this photo and then rotated the map, out of habit of wanting to see north up. The map is actually reverse "oriented" with west at the top. My rotation was a kind of accidental mistake but I've left it this way because it fits the blog dimensions better. Here is the description from the museum's page.

"beautiful woodblock map of Tokyo from the golden age of Japanese woodblock map printing. Combining the elements of traditional Japanese map-making: rice paper, woodblock printing, delicate application of colour, the inclusion of topographical views into the map proper, and all text seems to radiate from the centre of the map; with a more modern western-influenced directional orientation with north to the right of the image. "  
Here is a bird's-eye view of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island in southern California. I've never been there and I don't know exactly why this map speaks to me. It just looks like a warm, welcoming town nestled in among the mountains - probably with crazy high real estate prices.
Photo courtesy of the La Jolla Map & Atlas Museum
Downtown detail.
The map is surrounded by images both real and fanciful of seals, buffalo, mermaids and people having all kinds of recreational fun. Here is one showing the road signs.
This last item is of interest due to its uniqueness. It is a display case used by Folsom Brothers to sell real estate in San Diego.
The case folds closed like a suitcase to carry around. The map is a relief map showing the topography in detail.
Here is the handle just west of Point Loma

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mapping the Slave Trade

Four Hundred Years Ago this month, the first African slaves arrived on the shores of what would become the United States. The Pulitzer Center's 1619 Project seeks to reframe the history of the United States by using this as a foundational date in the nation's history. This Sunday's New York Times Magazine is a special issue on American slavery.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)'s Slave Route project features a good map of the trade. Click below to load at higher resolution.
Map via UNESCO
The black arrows show human trafficking while colored arrows show the "triangle trade" routes where sugars, tobacco, coffee and cotton were brought from the colonies to Europe (green arrows) and weapons and jewelry (orange) were brought to Africa. Dashed lines show extensive overland and sea routes throughout Africa and Asia.
The smaller maps below show trade volumes of deportation through the centuries. The 17th Century map shows the first, relatively small numbers of slaves sent to the Jamestown Colony.
Map via UNESCO
By the 18th Century that number had grown tremendously.
Map via UNESCO
The numbers shrank for the 19th Century as importation of slaves was outlawed in the United States 1807.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Woodstock in Maps

While watching a documentary on PBS about the Woodstock Festival on its 50th Anniversary, I noticed an intricate site map. The site was spread out and I imagine one could get lost easily-especially if under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This appears to be an official map - via the Woodstock Preservation Archives.
I dig the legend - it's groovy! Also, good to know where the barbed wire is.
Here is another map that was used at the festival.It came from an underground magazine called "Rat" and is available at WorthPoint.
The map has a "Survival Guide" printed on the side and many nice details,
in addition to another carefully done legend. It even shows the outhouses though that may be a generous description of the porto potties on the site.
Finally, here is the cover of the East Village Other showing a nice, fanciful map of the area and some nice psychedelic details like birds with instrument heads and women being squeezed out of Gleem toothpaste tubes - via Barron Maps.