Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Frosted States of America

My wife is obsessed with cookie cutters. We travel places and get them as souvenirs. A few years ago I decorated a cookie as a Vermont Foliage Map. Our friend's son Ezra just one upped me with this rendering of the entire lower 48 on a remarkably small US shaped cookie.

He even followed the rule about no same colored states touching-except for a last minute blunder at Vermont. You can nitpick about other geographical details but I doubt you can do better. Nice job Ezra!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The "Greatest Grid"

Yesterday I made a trip to the Museum of the City of New York to see The Greatest Grid. This exhibit celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Commissioner's Plan of 1811 that established the city's grid system. The exhibit is full of historic maps and the centerpiece is the Commissioners Plan Map of 1811 laid out on a glass covered table.

The grid was placed over the more sparsely settled areas above North Street (now Houston) without regard to the city's topography, water features or existing houses. Villages such as Harlem were eliminated to make room for straight streets. Houses that stood in the way (or even near the way) were demolished or moved. There is a section of the exhibit showing how houses were moved to accommodate the grid. This map from the exhibit's web site is one of many that show the land before the streets were built with the grid superimposed in light gray.

The exhibit starts with a video loop of residents proudly stating their address along the grid eg."125th and First!" After spending hours gawking at the maps you can go upstairs and see The Unfinished Grid, a collection of future design speculations resulting from a call for ideas from the Architectural League of New York. Many of these designs revolve around ways to break free from the grid's restrictions.

This collection of maps, photographs, newspaper clippings and other artifacts is very impressive and well worth a visit if you are in the New York metropolitan area. It runs through April 15th, 2012. The museum is located on the grid, at 5th and 103rd.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Celebrating 150 Years of Italy Through Tables

Italy week continues with SESSANTUNA,  a collection of tables celebrating 150 years of Italian unity.

From the website of Cassina, the store that will be selling them:
SESSANTUNA is an art work consisting of 61 tables and designed as a historical retelling of Italy's unification. Every table, by Gaetano Pesce, is numbered in sequence according to the time when the state in question became part of the Union. Thus each one is historically relevant. The work also includes the smaller islands (Caprera, Elba, Lampedusa, Ischia, Ventotene and the Island of Montecristo), represented on a larger scale. The tables will be sold through an exclusive auction mechanism at the best Cassina stores (see the Where and How to purchase section).
The tables represent regional areas, not official regions or provinces. According to the site
the project is not meant as an accurate historical-geographical reconstruction of Risorgimento. 
Here are a couple of tables.

Molise, on the Adriatic coast

Immediately to the east is The Gargano, "Italy's Spur"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mapping the Italian Food Cliches

Here are a few Italian food maps I've been stockpiling. I guess I'm a little hungry and in the mood for Italian.

Prodotti Tipici Della Traditione Italiana:

Typical or perhaps stereotypical food by region:

There are various pasta maps out there - I like this one the most.


Artist Antoine Corbineau's "Prodotti Traditionali Italiani" - he also has a similar wine map. I could do an entire post just on wine maps of Italy if I was inclined to do so.

And finally, a detail from the above map.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Dogs of London

The Westbourne Grove Church Art Space in London recently held an exhibition titled The Dogs of London. The main feature was the Dogs of London map, a "playful take on social stereotypes and local observations" drawn by artist Anna Walsh.  A higher resolution image where you can read the tiny text is available here. Below is a detailed section - click to get the entire map.

Here is a description the exhibition's page:

The main feature is a Dogs of London Map; an illustrated map of where each dog 'lives' in London. It is inspired by traditional map drawings, especially of London, where the river Thames more often than not takes centre stage, splitting the city in half with its curvaceous, winding form. Each of the 35 dogs is placed in their postcode area, with an 'explanation' to the sides giving a brief description of each breed. Much of the text is taken from the book 'Champions Dogs of the World' by Richard Hamilton Glyn, as Walsh found the descriptions of the dogs often uncannily describing the inhabitants of certain areas…..
 Going along with the stereotypes and descriptions by the author one might say that residents of Hackney are "boisterous and self confident, can create unintentional havoc" whereas those from Shoreditch are "lively and affectionate" and will make "an affable companion." "Regular grooming" is  "essential" for the residents of Battersea.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Map Crafts

Emily Garfield is a Boston area artist who creates "imaginary cartography." She will be showing her work in several area venues starting this weekend. Here are some of her maps - I have a few small prints of these.

Here is her Map Teapot, on display at Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge.

A short hop to the other side of the country will get you to the 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, Oregon to see a globe exhibit called Welcome to My World - opening tonight!

Below is a work called "Underworld" by book artist and friend of the Map of the Week family, Susan Collard.

Several of the globes take on Global Warming as a theme. My favorite is this one by Bonnie Meltzer.

Finally, I'll leave you with Rebecca's Room by David Chelsea- acrylic paint on globe.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

American Migration

Forbes has a very nice interactive map showing migration within the USA. Click on any county and you can see where people are coming from (in blue) and where they are leaving for (in red.) Hover over a county to get the specific numbers. Clicking the year under the bar chart will give you the figures from that year.

Data is from the IRS and a more detailed description can be found here. You can see the effects of the housing bubble when comparing 2005 to 2009 in certain cities, especially Las Vegas which went from mostly blue to an almost even split. The per capita income figures are also shown for each county. This shows that many cities and other areas are exporting wealth and importing poverty. Click the map above and explore.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Native American Industry

Thanksgiving is a time to travel, shop, cook, watch the Cowboys lose and argue with your relatives. It is also a time to honor those who were here before we took their land. We may think of Native Americans in simplistic cliches, but the interior cultures had an extensive network of production and trade called the Hopewell Exchange System.

This map shows the extent of trade among the different cultures that flourished from about 200 BC to about 500 AD (or CE.) The map's author, Hieronymous Rowe has numerous maps of Native American culture on Wikipedia.

A few centuries later, members of the Mississippian Culture began quarrying chert, a stone used to make tools and ceremonial objects. The raw material was dug up and transported to nearby settlements to be made into hoes, spades and other tools. Here is Rowe's map of the production sites at Mill Creek, Illinois.

Tools were then traded extensively as seen here.

And you thought they only made turkeys and yams!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Your Favorite Map Projection Says About You

xkcd, everyone's favorite nerdy webcomic takes on map projections this week. I'll be the first to admit that I've never heard of the Waterman Butterfly or the Peirce Quincuncial. And I call myself a cartographer!
Click for better legibility.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Web 2.0 Map

In the last couple of years I've seen many attempts to show the internet using a metaphoric map. Most of those attempts have not held my interest and left me confused. The Web 2.0 Map is also confusing (after all the web itself is a confusing place) but it captured my interest because it is attractive, well organized and interactive. You can pan and zoom and also click the icons for further information.

The map is like a Risk board with icons for the primary players in the industry. If you click on them you get a somewhat advertise-y description of each one. As you zoom in more companies appear on the map. It is built on Google's mapping API and is organized from north to south with the "Clouds of Infrastructure" then the "Oceans of OS and UI", the "Platform Plateau", a couple of continents to hold social networking, searching and payment and at the bottom a "Subcontinent of Advertising." There's also some good puns scattered about.

At the top of the map there are alternate views for "Movements" and "Data Layers." Movements is designed to show "how a handful of major actors in the Internet Economy are moving from their bases of power into other points of control across the map." At the moment this view doesn't appear to change anything. The "Data Layer" tab was built for the 2011 Web 2.0 Conference. This view represents eight major internet players as cities, with skyscrapers for different data categories such as social, location, search and and content.

  Each city has the same buildings at different heights so in the view above we see Twitter having interest data as its highest building, Facebook has tall buildings for social and wildcard (uncategorized) data, Google's tallest building represents search data and Yahoo's is content.

Confused yet? For a description of the main map see John Battelle's Web 2.0 Summit blog post. For a description of the Data Layer (or Data Frame) see his Searchblog post.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Melting Sea Ice in the Arctic Ocean

Ice in the Arctic Ocean is melting faster than climate models have predicted. A recent article from The Economist looks at the causes. Included is this map comparing average and recent sea ice extents.

The article also links to an animation that shows the opening up of potential new shipping routes - also shown on the map above. Here is a still frame.

Some interesting notes from the article:

Melting ice creates a "feedback loop" where there is more water and less ice. Water absorbs light and heat, while ice reflects it. More water and less ice means more heat is retained.

Melting ice will enable the extraction of more fossil fuel from the area, creating another feedback loop in which more greenhouse gas emissions will be created.

The melting of the ocean ice will do little to raise the sea level, however eventually more ice will melt off of Greenland and other land areas and that will cause a sea level rise.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tunisian Election Irregularities

Tunisians voted this weekend for the first time since their revolution. I was hoping to find an election results map to see if there were any regional patterns to the vote but the results are not all in yet. What I was able to dig up was this interactive map of voting irregularities from ISIE, Tunisia's independent election commission.

 While it looks numerous, many of the irregularities are fairly benign acts like tearing down posters, not entering the voting booth in isolation, and using the flag-whatever that means. The violence and threat categories are either mostly empty or some data is missing. In fact, many of the categories are fairly empty. The above map shows all incidents. The map below shows "violation of silence" if my bad French comprehension is accurate. I chose this category because there are lots of incidents. The violence and corruption maps are pretty boring by contrast.

As you zoom in, the larger circles spread out to show more precise locations.

You can also change the basemap. I switched from the default aerial view because I find the street map easier to read. The only problem is the highway markers start to look like incidents.

If I find an interesting election results map I will put it in a future post.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Special-Intelliglobe Knows Too Much

Here is a cheesy video ad showing gangsters chasing Replogle's Intelliglobe through the streets of Chicago. The globe is not only interactive, but can outrun gangsters while telling passersby how long it will take to fly to Caracas and what animals are native to the southeastern USA.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Boylan Heights and the Poetics of Cartography

Denis Wood's recent book Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas is featured on Places, an online journal of design. In the 1970's and 80's he began working with his students on a "narrative atlas" of the Boylan Heights neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina. These maps are unique in that they remove the usual street patterns to reveal the bare details. His map of jack-o'-lanterns from this series was featured here on a Halloween post a couple of years ago.  The Places feature has a slideshow of some of these maps. Here are a couple of examples:


Traffic Signs

Porch Ceiling Colors

The Places feature includes Wood's eloquent descriptions of the creative process. Here is a quote about making the "Pools of Light" map:
 The usual “efficient” map would have located everything on the street onto a single sheet — that is, different marks for lamp posts, fire hydrants, street signs, trees. Our inefficient map concentrated on a single subject, and, rather than lamp posts, it brought the pools of light into view. No legend, no north arrow, no neat line, none of the usual apparatus. At last, a modernist feel!

That’s when I knew we could write poems in maps, and I began thinking seriously about a poetics of cartography.
 A few more maps:

Intrusions Under the Hill - water, sewer and gas lines

Barking Dogs

Other maps include a map of power lines titled "Squirrel Highways", a mailman's delivery route, a diagram of the distance and direction that rent money travels to absentee landlords, wind chimes, viewsheds, and a bunch of others. The slideshow can be seen here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Map of the Week-Shipwrecks of the Delmarva

National Geographic features Shipwrecks of the Delmarva on their maps page. I never would have guessed that the chicken farms on Route 13 were perched on such treacherous soil. Here is a detailed view from the Zoomify interface.

From the web page:
Developed by renowned marine archaeologist and accomplished author Don Shomette, and designed by award-winning cartographer Robert Pratt, Shipwrecks of Delmarva is a stunning cartographic piece based on years of research and expert visual design.
I can't resist a few more detailed views.

The burning ship in this last one represents the amazing 2011 Phillies playoff run. Or maybe the gently sinking Rose is the better metaphor - it's just downstream from the stadium.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Map of the Week - QSL Card Maps

QSL (Query Station Location) cards are postcards sent by amateur radio operators to verify station reception. The cards provide a visual identity for radio operators and are popular collectibles. Garth Hamilton, operator of station VE3HO in Fonthill, Ontario creates map based QSL cards for other operators. Here are some examples:

Here's his own card.