Thursday, April 29, 2010

And the Bizarre Map Challenge Winner Is...

The Alligator Bayou! Despite the fact that I didn't vote for it and despite the confusing legend (high and low what?) and drab color scheme, this map, showing the distribution of French colonial long lots won first prize - $5000. Long lots are narrow lots that extend in a perpendicular direction from the waterfront. This is a distinctive French settlement pattern.
Congratulations to Christopher Brown from the University of Alabama.

For the second and third prize winners check the challenge's online award list. There are also some honorable mentions at the bottom of the page that are worth a look.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Map of the Week-Baseball Week 3

I could be highlighting a map video of volcanic ash clouds but instead we're going to talk about something really important -baseball! In Japan! I have one more post to honor the start of the baseball season. Bills Sports Maps did a very nice map showing the location of and attendance for Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league teams.

The hats are sized proportionally to 2009 attendance figures. There's some nice detail when you zoom in. The topography is a bit extraneous but makes for a pretty map.

Some facts about Japanese Baseball (many are from Bill's Sports Maps.)

There are two leagues, the Central and Pacific. They do not appear to be arranged by location. The winner of each league plays each other in the Nippon (Japan) Series.

The Pacific League uses designated hitters while the Central League does not.

Teams are often named for corporations rather than, or in addition to cities or regions. So a team such as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters are named for Nippon Ham. Not a group that fights their enemies with (or over) pieces of ham.

There is a much larger range of attendance among teams than in the U.S. Attendance figures for the lower drawing teams may be artificially inflated.

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp have seen a 34% increase in attendance after moving into their brand new Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium. They appear to be wearing recycled Cincinnati Reds hats.

The Hanshin Tigers had the highest attendance figures in 2009 despite their 4th place finish and history of disappointing seasons.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bizarre Map Challenge-Vote Soon!

The Department of Geography at San Diego State University is hosting the Bizarre Map Challenge. This challenge is open to high school and college students. Bizarre refers to "maps that are strikingly out of the ordinary." The top 10 finalists were selected this week and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes will be announced April 27th. Subject matter includes personal ads, Thai formation skydiving records, French North American settlement patterns, staycation destinations and opinions about health care. Some of these maps are large files and can be slow to download. I made lower resolution images of some of my favorites.

Here is a map of California where the spacing and color of the county names is used to reflect physical geography. Letter spacing is tighter in the mountainous areas to give the illusion of topography.

Next is the "earth in reverse" - a map that uses a reverse color scheme, making the highest mountains look like the deepest parts of the ocean and vice versa. The map is also flipped so that south is up and west is to the right.

Finally, a map showing the locations of missed connections in Burlington Vermont from the I-Spy feature that appears in the personal ads of the Seven Days weekly.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Map of the Week-Baseball Week 1

Here in the US of A the baseball season has begun! To honor the occasion I have a couple of baseball related posts. The indiemaps blog maps out where balls were hit. The first one is of a perfect game pitched by Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox on July 23rd, 2009. The small blue dots are hits and the pink ones are outs. Click on the image to get to an interactive google map of US Cellular Field in Chicago where you can click each point for more information. Highlighted is a 9th inning home run saving catch over the wall that helped preserve the perfect game.

The blog entry discusses the details of how the maps are created using these diagrams from MLB Gameday. The points were converted from pixels to geographic coordinates. The diagram locations are based on observation and may not be as accurate as what you might pay to get from for-profit firms.

The next map, from a Phillies-Pirates game played at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia, shows how different ballpark dimensions can affect the outcome of a game. The hit locations are shown (map on left) then transferred to PNC Park in Pittsburgh (map on right) to show how some of the home runs would have stayed in the park in PNC's larger outfield. Note that differing stadium orientations necessitate rotating the coordinates.

The entry continues with a long discussion about how to transfer the data and a link to the code on github in case you want to try plotting your own favorite game. Good luck! Go Phils!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Map of the Week-Sarah Palin on Facebook

What do you do when a watered down health care bill that you disagree with passes? Sarah Palin's Facebook page has a fairly striking map in which she "aims" for House Democrats who sponsored the bill. The point symbols on the map are described by some of her supporters as "surveyor's symbols*" and by most other commentators as "rifle sights", "crosshairs" or with similar language - judge for yourself.

*based on some of the comments on facebook - after all we cartographers use surveyor's symbols all the time - especially to map large areas like Congressional Districts!