Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Map of the Week - The Vinland Map

The Vinland Map is a controversial map that would indicate that the Vikings came to North America before Columbus*. The map was uncovered in the 1950's along with a tract dating from the 1440's. It shows an island west of Greenland referred to as "Vinilanda Insula". Much doubt has been cast about the authenticity of this map, from the binding to varying Carbon dating results to the inks possibly containing synthetic pigments that did not appear until the 1920's. The map is currently housed at Yale University's Beinecke Library.

Webexhibits has this page where you can analyze the evidence and make your own decision about the authenticity of the map. If you want pages of detailed info. click the map above and you'll get it!

* This type of statement has been repeated by numerous web sites discussing the map. I'm not sure why that is controversial given that there is significant evidence of a much earlier Viking presence in North America, for example the settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Map of the Week - Bicycle Crashes

As some of you know, I was whacked by a car on my bike this past week. Here's a diagram of approximately what happened courtesy of the City of Toronto's Tips for Avoiding Car-Bike Collisions page.
Take away the traffic lights, train tracks and the fact that drivers in other places actually use turn signals and you get the picture. Technically I hit the car but I couldn't stop that quickly - she could and didn't. Anyway I'm still alive and well - just a bit beat up. I thought I'd look for some good bicycle accident maps but there's not much out there. Ghostcycle did a cool thing placing "ghostcycles" at accident sites in Seattle to raise awareness. Unfortunately their google mashup doesn't work (don't try the map-your computer will be sorry).
I was looking for something localized to see if there are local patterns to these crashes. The best thing I could come up with is this map from the Portland Oregonian. X's mark fatalities and you can click the dots for more info.There may be patterns here but I don't know that city well enough to spot them. Anyway keep on riding but be safe, read your tips and don't expect drivers to see you just because you're wearing dayglow colors and it's bright and sunny or you'll end up in a sling like me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Map of the Week-Britain Travel Time Maps

My Society has produced some nice travel time maps for Great Britain that you can see here. I particularly like this one comparing travel time by car and train from Cambridge. The red areas are quicker by train, orange is about the same and then yellow to green to blue gets gradually faster by car.

A couple of disclaimers about this map from their site:
"the road travel model takes no account of traffic or urban areas, so it is pessimistic about the time saving"
"However, the model of car journey times is very simplistic, so these results should not be taken too seriously—we hope to extend the work with a more realistic model of driving times, which may substantially change the comparative results."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Map of the Week-What is and How is Cascadia?

Attention residents of Cascadia (outlined in green on the map on the right): Sightline, a Seattle based think tank has a slew of maps showing health, environmental and economic data for your region. There are some nice animations but they don't come over well on this page so here are some static maps. On the left is the Seattle area classified by walkability and on the right is a map with pie charts showing the decline of Salmon stock in the region. For lots of other interesting maps of the region, visit their maps page.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Map of the Week-Happy Birthday USA!

In honor of July 4th, I've been looking at Uncyclopedia, a mostly stupid but amusing Wikipedia farce, for some fun maps of the US. So in the spirit of dumb holiday fun here is how the rest of the world sees us:

And this is the world according to us (or US):

And just because I like this picture, here is what they consider a typical road sign you'd find on Interstate 4 in Florida.