Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekend Puzzlers

National Geographic has jigsaw puzzles on their web page. They're a great time waster at work or on a rainy/snowy weekend. I did this Africa puzzle at work in 8 minutes and 20 seconds while fielding a tech. support call!

The finished product:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I Did for a Living

When I was a graduate student at the University of Kansas in 1992, I was offered a job producing a map for disabled students. I recently discovered that this map is still actively used on KU's website.

I remember spending 13 hours uncompressing the original CAD drawing from Facilities Management to a useable format. Back then there were no status bars to tell you how long it would be or if it was even working. Just 13 hours of waiting and hoping something was actually happening. I converted the file to an eps format and brought it into Free Hand - a product that appears to be going out of use.

The map uses blue (I think they've darkened it a bit) to indicate the accessible buildings because it's the color of the handicapped signs as well as the color of the Kansas Jayhawk's uniforms. It's not the best color for sending a clear message but it basically works. The blue arrows point to the accessible entrances. My (misspelled) name appears in the credits at the bottom of the page.*

*Update (December, 2013) - They changed the web page. I no longer see my misspelled name but I'm surprised that they're still using it rather than some googly thing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Africa is really big, Vatican City is really small

The designer Kai Krause recently produced this infographic showing the size of Africa in relation to various other countries and regions of the world. Click on it for a higher resolution image.

 Here is a more detailed view of the map section.

Comparing countries to continents is a little like apples to crabapples (unless that country is Australia), but it is a very effective graphic and should help fight "rampant Immapacy", in the author's words.

Xefer made this graphic of the world's smallest country, Vatican City, inspired by Krause's work.

The Africa image lists the top 100 countries by size, while the Vatican one lists the bottom 100. Here is a closeup showing the size comparisons between the Vatican and the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Great Pyramid of Giza, the Ile de la Cite in Paris, Alcatraz, Rockall in the Atlantic Ocean and Boston's Fenway Park. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Map of the Week-River Systems

Last year, I featured a map from London's Waterways, using a Harry Beck London Underground inspired schematic.  Cartographer Daniel Huffman has created a beautiful series of schematics for various river systems here in the USA. Below is the Mississippi River System.

Details about the creation process can be found on his blog. Prints can be purchased here. Here are some nice detailed views from the series.

The Mississippi/Ohio jumble:

Boston Metro (from the "Southwest New England" map):

The Mighty Columbia:

Thanks to Cartogrammar for the heads up.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Storm of the Week

Here in the Northeast we are still dealing with the tail end of the Groundhog Day Storm-another week, another storm. This map posted yesterday on AccuWeather nicely shows how big this storm was (or still is up here) with advisories in 43 states.


Each color represents a different type of advisory and they range from severe thunderstorms to blizzards, gales, floods, wind, wind chill, marine warnings, high surf, dense fog, air stagnation and my personal favorite, heavy freezing spray.  I think that last one is along the lakes of northern Michigan but with so many colors it's tough to distinguish. The most common colors are the dark purply blue (winter storm), purply pink (blizzard), orange (wind chill) and the brown stuff in the south that I think is a wind advisory.

Despite the ugly projection, strange inclusion and exclusion of certain cities (especially in eastern Canada), and gratuitous topography that is easily mistaken for other weather patterns, the map still tells a pretty impressive story.  Punxsutawney Phil says early spring-yeah, right. Have fun digging!