Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Redistricting Mini Golf

To show the absurdity of congressional district shapes, Dylan Moriarty and the Washington Post have designed this wonderful miniature golf game you can play online

Above is the Ohio 1st District. Republicans split Cincinnati into three districts to dilute that city's voting power. While not nearly the trickiest hole to play you have to squeeze the ball through the narrow gaps of Cincy.

The game begins in Wyoming, a state with only one district, therefore not one that can be manipulated. You can see from the layout that each district, or hole has an info box describing its demographics and voting patterns. 

The Illinois 4th District is famous for its "earmuff" shape, packing the Hispanic vote into the Midwest's only Hispanic-majority seat.

Indiana 7 is a trick hole. While the district looks very regular in shape, it is still designed in a highly political way by packing all of Indianapolis into it.

The toughest to play, by far is Maryland's terrible third. The water traps are completely unforgiving. 

You can see how I struggled with it by looking at my score sheet. Even with a generous par of 26, I was up to about my 50th stroke when I got caught in an impossible water situation and had to bail out.

Here is my final score sheet. I accidentally skipped the bonus hole-the original Gerry-mander in Massachusetts. This was my second go around so my scores on the other holes were pretty good. You have to play it at least once to get the hang of it. Have fun!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Routes to the Riot

A year ago "patriots" traveled across the country to stage a terrorist attack on the US Capitol to stop a democratically elected President from taking power, because that's what patriots do. Here are some maps of the routes taken. These are from the Colorado Times Recorder, a news organization that I know very little about so this is not meant as an endorsement of them.

The routes are the "cowboy route" for people from the west, the "rebel route" for southerners and the "minuteman route" for the northeast. Once there they had this map, featuring white supremacist hero Pepe the Frog, to orient them and keep them away from the "unsafe" zones, ie. places where non-white people live.
Looking forward to a new year where half the members of Congress continue to pretend that none of this ever happened.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Recreational Map of the Berkshire Hills

I'm spending a couple of days in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. In the hallway where I'm staying hangs this pictorial poster map.

Produced in 1939 by the Berkshire Hills Conference, it is full of nice details as you look closer.

Here is the corner locator map, designed to look like a book with a charmingly misshapen Massachusetts.

The dark, woodsy marginalia makes the world outside of Berkshire County look spooky,

even with the happy sun shining on it,

while inside county limits people are happily golfing and fishing.

Finally here is an art deco north arrow plus mileages to other places so you don't get lost.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

ATL Rap Map

I'm probably not the right person to post this given that my knowledge of Atlanta Hip Hop is basically limited to Outkast (upper left corner),

and my knowledge of Adult Swim where creator Joseph Veazy is a senior designer, is even more limited. Nevertheless the Atlanta Rap Map is a charming, hand painted map with lots of nice details relevant to that city's vibrant hip hop scene. Details like this horse on pink roller skates riding towards Bone Crusher's Bankhea(ddd)d.

Here is some downtown detail for your enjoyment.

Outkast makes their appearance below just north of East Point, just north of the airport, the only place I've been to in Atlanta - so far.
You can buy the poster here  - proceeds will be donated to HOPE Atlanta, an agency dedicated to fighting homelessness in the area.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor was attacked 80 years ago. Steve Walkowiak made a really nice map showing the Japanese first wave (red arrows) and second wave (purple) attacks. The damage to ships is shown as colored dots.

Click the image or this link to see the full map. The Japanese sent 353 planes in an attempt to cripple the United States Pacific Fleet. Here is a detail of the Battleship Row area.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Thirty Day Map Challenge - Part 3

Here is the final batch of maps for the #30DayMapChallenge. The first ten maps are here. The second installment here.

Day 20 -  Theme: Movement

The first plane trip I ever took. PHL to HOU with an hour layover in Atlanta.

Day 21 -  Theme: Elevation

I learned that you can make quick elevation profiles using Google Earth Pro and was curious what the Finger Lakes, some of which are very deep, would look like. Most of the work was in annotating the hills and valleys.

Day 22 -  Theme: Boundaries

At my day job I was asked to emulate a project from  the City of Columbus. When I first encountered that crazy boundary I didn't know what I was looking at but here it is. Many cities such as Detroit and Los Angeles surround well known enclaves but I've never seen anything close to this. Had some fun with the magnifying glass on the locator map.

Day 23 -  Theme: Data Challenge 3: Global Human Settlement Layers (GHSL)

Like many, I was completely unfamiliar with this data set. I still don't know much about it but I downloaded their built-up areas and drew them as if they were elevation, hills being the settled areas. I looked around for a good pattern and found Quebec City. In retrospect, I could have done a better job lightening the greys and changing the elevation quotient but there's only so much time in a 30-day challenge. I played around with some additional data layers in GIMP to create this image.

Day 24 -  Theme: Historical Map

I did some recent tutorials on how to create a historic looking map in GIS software.  The least historic place I could think of was Las Vegas. I got the buildings layer from the City of Las Vegas upon which I discovered that the main strip (including the casinos) is not even in the city but rather in Paradise, Nevada. Unable to find their buildings, I drew my own. I added an ad for wagon lumber. The text was inspired by other maps from that era. The title block was taken from a map of Las Vegas, New Mexico via the Library of Congress. Some image manipulation was used to change "N.M." to "NV" and the elevation from 6,400 feet to 2,000.

Day 25 -  Theme: Interactive Map

I enjoy hockey so I was curious about the world's second major league, Russia's KHL. Without reinventing the wheel, I made a similar interactive map to my previous ones of transit tokens and for New Year's Eve. Wikipedia was extremely helpful for providing both an already usable data set and the team logos. Above is just a screen shot. The interactive map can be seen here.

Day 26 -  Theme: Choropleth Map

For anyone that doesn't know the jargon, a choropleth is a map with areas colored based on data. In this case I tried my hand at a bivariate (two data variables) choropleth. This was based on a Tweet from the European Commission showing the relationship between COVID-19 vaccination rates and death rates. These maps can be hard to follow but the expected pattern should be yellow (low death rates, high vaccinations rates) to dark blue (opposite). The lack of red or orange shows that countries with high vaccination rates do not have high death rates. The confusion of the map is compounded by needing to flip the legend so that the high vaccination rates are at the bottom of the legend.

Day 27 -  Theme: Heat Map

It took 27 days but I finally thought to reuse a data set and made a heat map of Day 25's KHL data. I did not love the look of the original map (below) so I tried to hand draw it. It looks sort of nice but I misplaced the Moscow area and had to make up for it by adjusting some of the other locations. Here is the original computer generated version.

Day 28 -  Theme: The World is not Flat.

Once again working with the KHL data I tried my hand at a spherical map projection. This data is good for this because of the impressive longitudinal reach of the league. Those players do some long traveling!

Day 29 -  Theme: NULL

Going back to the theme from Day 26, I noticed that certain countries routinely had null data values for their vaccinations. Here they are.

Day 30 - Theme: Metamapping Day

I thought it would be fun to use this theme to show the locations and software used for my other 29 maps. However, the wheels came off the bus or I ran out of gas or some metaphor. I had numerous unexpected technical problems and finally just had to throw up my hands and put this mess out there. A couple of days got buried in the data or otherwise lost, the legend needs work and the US inset map is almost unreadable. 

This has been an excellent learning experience. I can't imagine going through this again which means I'll probably be back at it next November.

I highly recommend checking out other people's entries into the #30DayMapChallenge. There is some beautiful and wonderfully creative stuff out there.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Thirty Day Map Challenge - Part 2

Here are the next batch of maps I've posted for the #30DayMapChallenge. The first ten maps are here.

Day 11 - Theme: 3D

For the 3D theme I attempted to recreate an exercise from my first cartography class back in the 1980's. That exercise was done using a pencil and graph paper. Unfortunately, I do not have my notes or remember the exact procedure. I did this one using GIS software instead. The map shows murder rates by state. Back then North Carolina was #1, now it's Louisiana. The map is "upside down" so that the higher southern states don't block the view of the lower northern states.

Day 12 - Theme: Population

This is a map of Arctic settlements done "firefly" style, which is fashionable these days in cartography circles.

Day 13 - Theme: Data Challenge 2: Natural Earth

Natural Earth is a set of publicly available data. It is a collaboration involving many volunteer NACIS members and cartographers around the globe. Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Tom Patterson led the effort. They have produced some beautiful topographic images of the world. The map was also inspired by a NACIS talk on indigenous place names. The topography and streams are from Natural Earth, while the place names came from Canada's Open Data site.

Day 14 - Theme: Map with a new tool

This one is a bit of a mess because I started doing a tutorial using R, a new tool for me, but I ran into some technical difficulties and then ran out of time. I never expected that Sunday, a non-work day might be the day that I run out of time. I had seem some recent Excel maps and made a blog post about this one. At the last minute decided to try one. Last Spring I tried my hand at a cross stitch map of Rochester, New York. This seemed like a natural fit for an Excel map since it is very grid-like. Instead of doing land use though, I tried doing one of those HOLC redlining maps from the 1920's. 

Lack of time forced me to go very low res. so the map ends up looking like not much at all.

Day 15 - Theme: Map made without using a computer. 

Several of the previous maps were hand drawn but I decided on a different approach here. This is a souvenir Pennsylvania cutting board stacked with coins representing the GDP of the metropolitan areas of the state. One cent = $1 Million. It's a nice, even formula but does not make the stacks high enough to really show the pattern well. Since it is helpful to see multiple angles, I created this mediocre video.

Day 16 - Theme: Urban/rural

This was mostly just an exercise in image manipulation to tease out the urban and rural areas by land cover. I picked Charlotte after looking for cities that might have an interesting looking pattern.

Day 17 - Theme: Land

While waiting in the San Diego Airport a few years ago, I noticed a display of Kumeyaay culture. I was unaware of these people as I suspect many are. There were a couple of maps which I later found copies of on a website dedicated to Kumeyaay culture. I find it interesting that their territory predates the US-Mexico border which has been imposed on their land. This is what the area looked like pre-border.

Day 18 - Theme: Water

This was just a fun exercise in grabbing some water data from northern Quebec and overlaying it on top of a cheesy tree pattern that I made just for this purpose. More art than map. The large lake in the west is Lac Couture, an impact crater.

Day 19 - Theme: Islands

I've always been fond of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Surrounded Islands installation so I decided to map it. Buffering is one of the most common and basic GIS functions (ie. is this property within 200 feet of the river?), here was an example of a real world buffer.

More to come (I hope).