Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Map of the Week-Thinking Big in St. Paul

The Minnesota Historical Society is sponsoring an exhibit called "Minnesota on the Map" at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. The exhibit runs through September 7th and features four centuries of maps from the Society's collection. Below is an unusual example. Published by the St. Paul Board of Trade in 1871, it shows the "projected" railway system for 1900. The map was a response to an earlier map from that year published in the St. Paul Press. The Press map showed the "dominating influence of the St. Paul system" of railroads but displayed "extreme modesty" in "underrating the future of the Great Metropolis...."

The main detail that stands out is the St. Paul & London Inter-Continental Double Track Railway, featuring a "most magnificent" suspension bridge over the Atlantic Ocean.

Other details emerge when zooming in on the map such as the Sub-Oceanic tunnel under the Pacific to "Peek-in" that will be excavated by "gopher power" and the "Balloonic Route" to the North Pole. The text at the bottom details the need to move Minneapolis and the small town of Kandiyohi far to the north to accommodate the growth of the Metropolis. It also mentions that Duluth will be "wiped out entirely, as it deserves to be for having the temerity to exist."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Map of the Week-Dining in Gallup

Before Interstate 40, there was Route 66. Before Route 66 was the Atchsion, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Before Denny's there was Fred Harvey and the Harvey Houses, the world's first restaurant chain. Fred Harvey was an entrepreneur who opened restaurants in depots along the ATSF line under a contract from the railroad company. Many of these restaurants evolved into hotels.
When trains began to include dining cars Fred got the contracts to run those also. Eventually the company moved into airports, bus and ferry terminals and highway rest areas before being sold off. Most of the Harvey Hotels have been demolished, victims of the highway age.

This postcard mapped the Fred Harvey empire at an unspecified time period. The card includes mileages between cities and the motto "3000 Miles of Hospitality from Cleveland to the Coast." Thanks to Card Cow for the image.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Map of the Week-Dining in Knoxville

User Friendly Maps won both second and third place in the Recreational/Travel category of this year's Map Design Competition from the Cartography and Geographic Information Society. Here is the second place entry, a plate shaped map showing where to eat in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

At first glance I was unsure about this design but examining it more closely, I think it really works well. The author has made a large amount of information clearly legible by spinning the text out to the edges of the plate. There is a "B" code for restaurants that have bars in the blue ring. The white area indicates the style of food. If there was some generalized color codes for these it might help out the visitor who is looking for a specific type of food but otherwise it works well.
This map also accomplishes what a good visitor map should by making me want to visit Knoxville, stroll along Market Square and sample some Nuevo Latino or Asian French cuisine.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Map of the Week-The Music Underground

A few years ago music writer Dorian Lynskey created this map for the Guardian, charting the history of recent western music along Harry Beck's famous London Underground map. Each line represents a musical genre. The more eclectic artists are at the intersections. The Circle Line represents Pop music because it intersects all the other genres.
Of course, it is not possible to do this without leaving out important artists or placing others in debatable locations. In the words of the author: "Pedants, of course, will find flaws. Musical influences are so labyrinthine that any simple equation will be imperfect." Still I can't help but wonder what Wilco has to do with Electronica and Dance or why the late King of Pop Michael Jackson is only on the Soul line.

Some of the article's comments are amusing too such as this one: "The most stereotypically self-indulgent Guardian wank I can think of, bordering on self parody. Smug, London obsessed (and I live in London) nonsense. It's got nothing to do with anything! There's people like, dying and stuff. And where are the Arctic Monkeys, anyway...?"

The full map at low resolution is below. For a detailed .pdf version link to the article from the thumbnail above.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Map of the Week - Challenging Counties

One of the perks of membership in the Extra Miler Club ("the shortest distance between two points is no fun") is that they send you maps. These people are obsessed with counties and visiting as many as possible, if not all of them (in the USA). Scott Zillmer, an EMC member made this map of "Challenging Counties" - counties that are difficult to reach.

There are two categories. Most challenging counties are in black while local challenges are in gray. The challenge factor considers accessibilty and connectivity. Island and peninsula counties have connectivity challenges while accessibility is a problem for counties with few or difficult roads. Distance is varies by your locality so it was not included as a factor.
I will be travelling later today and will eventually be heading for one of the gray ones that I still don't have. Hopefully I'll make it safely to Dushore, PA. Wish me luck!