Several years ago Finnish cartographer Topi Tjukanov began the Thirty Day Map Challenge and it has run every November since. The idea is to create a map every day of November based on a theme he posts at the start. These maps are posted to Twitter using the hashtag #30DayMapChallenge. There have been some wonderfully inspiring maps created in this process. I had never participated before this year, correctly assuming it would take up a major part of my time and energy.
As in other years, I had no plans to do this but on November 1st I suddenly found myself making a map and it took off from there. At the risk of being a self-indulgent show off here are the first 10 maps. As of right now I don't have an online portfolio so here is a place for me to post them. I'm hoping to continue on this challenge but time will tell if I make it to the 30-day mark.
Day 1 - Theme: Points
I'd been working on a general "where I've been" map and I got to thinking about places I've spent the night. I looked at a few states that either didn't seem interesting or had too many uncertainties when I settled on Ohio. I've been working on my weak artistic skills. This was drawn in watercolor pencils by hand while looking at a map of the state.
Day 2 - Theme: Lines
I don't really like the song "Every Day is a Winding Road" by Sheryl Crow, but somehow it got stuck in my mind and I set out prove it. I used various mapping services such as Google, Bing, Apple and OpenStreetMap to illustrate examples of streets around the world named for the days of the week. One of the tricky parts was finding streets that are in fact "winding."
Day 3 - Theme: Polygons
Points, lines and polygons are the main building blocks of maps so each one gets a day. DC seemed like a good polygon city. I used Opendata DC to get my points. I removed some tiny triangles and it's possible I missed a few circles and squares. There are many rectangular parks that I didn't include because they don't have "square" in their name. I almost forgot about the Ellipse!
This was a mixed media project. I made
and printed a map using QGIS annotated it with pencils and put a little
watercolor into the rivers.
Day 4 - Theme: Hexagons
Hexagons are a popular way to represent grids these days. Studies show that certain patterns are easier to detect with a hexagon grid than a square grid. They are particularly popular with election maps but I was looking to do something a little more creative. Not many things in nature are hexagonal. Bee hives use that shape but that kind of map has been done by many others. While looking for inspiration, I discovered that some of Annie's Snack Crackers are hex shaped, including their saltines and cheddar crackers. I decided to use them as my hexagons.
where is a place that has both salt and cheese production? I settled on
upstate New York, knowing where some of these places are located. The
salt areas are mostly based on an old map I found showing salt deposits,
mostly in the southwest. I also know of a couple of salt facilities
from my travels so I put those in. I used the term "more likely" to
cover the uncertainties but some of those hexagons in the southwest
should probably be cheese. The cheese areas were determined by a
combination of dairy farm maps and places I know that make cheese.
Day 5 - Theme: Data Challenge 1: OpenStreetMap
There are many translation issues here. French and Spanish have different masculine and feminine words and the Spanish words (mona, mono) are contained within many other words and names. My Hindi translation must have been especially off since all my results came from outside of India. Anyway I did what I could here.
Day 6 - Theme: Red
Day 7 - Theme: Green
in the realm of the personal, Rittenhouse Square is around the corner
from my grandmother's former building. As a child I enjoyed playing
here, especially with the goat statue. I also lived in the area briefly
as an adult. I'd been thinking about how the same places look in
different map services so I made an animation of the square using Apple,
Google, Bing, Mapbox, Carto, Esri, Stamen, Mapquest, OSM and the
philly.gov web site.
Day 8 - Theme: Blue
I started out trying to get a list of blueberry names using the Day 5 OSM theme but the results were not great. Next, I tried using the Google Maps API but also had issues with that. Finally, I found an embedded Google Map from travel-mi.com. I wasn't planning on a Michigan focus but because the data set was there I went with it. I already had a blueberry symbol from my What They Drop on New Years Eve map so I was good to go!
Day 9 - Theme: Monochrome
Day 10 - Theme: Raster
made a very low resolution version of a satellite image of Australia.
Then I made a fuzzy version. I couldn't decide which I liked better so I
made an animation: blocky vs fuzzy
Day 11 - Theme: 3D
Day 12 - Theme: Population
This is a map of Arctic settlements done "firefly" style, which is fashionable these days in cartography circles.
Day 13 - Theme: Data Challenge 2: Natural Earth
Natural Earth is a set of publicly available data. It is a collaboration involving many volunteer NACIS members and cartographers around the globe. Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Tom Patterson led the effort. They have produced some beautiful topographic images of the world. The map was also inspired by a NACIS talk on indigenous place names. The topography and streams are from Natural Earth, while the place names came from Canada's Open Data site.
Day 14 - Theme: Map with a new toolthis one. At the last minute decided to try one. Last Spring I tried my hand at a cross stitch map of Rochester, New York. This seemed like a natural fit for an Excel map since it is very grid-like. Instead of doing land use though, I tried doing one of those HOLC redlining maps from the 1920's.
Day 15 - Theme: Map made without using a computer.
of the previous maps were hand drawn but I decided on a different
approach here. This is a souvenir Pennsylvania cutting board stacked
with coins representing the GDP of the metropolitan areas of the state.
One cent = $1 Million. It's a nice, even formula but does not make the
stacks high enough to really show the pattern well. Since it is helpful
to see multiple angles, I created this mediocre video.
Day 16 - Theme: Urban/rural
Day 17 - Theme: Landwebsite dedicated to Kumeyaay culture. I find it interesting that their territory predates the US-Mexico border which has been imposed on their land. This is what the area looked like pre-border.
Day 18 - Theme: Water
Day 19 - Theme: Islands
I've always been fond of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Surrounded Islands installation so I decided to map it. Buffering is one of the most common and basic GIS functions (ie. is this property within 200 feet of the river?), here was an example of a real world buffer.
Day 20 - Theme: Movement
The first plane trip I ever took. PHL to HOU with an hour layover in Atlanta.
Day 21 - Theme: Elevation
I learned that you can make quick elevation profiles using Google Earth Pro and was curious what the Finger Lakes, some of which are very deep, would look like. Most of the work was in annotating the hills and valleys.
Day 22 - Theme: Boundaries
At my day job I was asked to emulate a project from the City of Columbus. When I first encountered that crazy boundary I didn't know what I was looking at but here it is. Many cities such as Detroit and Los Angeles surround well known enclaves but I've never seen anything close to this. Had some fun with the magnifying glass on the locator map.
Day 23 - Theme: Data Challenge 3: Global Human Settlement Layers (GHSL)GIMP to create this image.
Day 24 - Theme: Historical MapLibrary of Congress. Some image manipulation was used to change "N.M." to "NV" and the elevation from 6,400 feet to 2,000.
Day 25 - Theme: Interactive Map
I enjoy hockey so I was curious about the world's second major league, Russia's KHL. Without reinventing the wheel, I made a similar interactive map to my previous ones of transit tokens and for New Year's Eve. Wikipedia was extremely helpful for providing both an already usable data set and the team logos. Above is just a screen shot. The interactive map can be seen here.
Day 26 - Theme: Choropleth Map
For anyone that doesn't know the jargon, a choropleth is a map with areas colored based on data. In this case I tried my hand at a bivariate (two data variables) choropleth. This was based on a Tweet from the European Commission showing the relationship between COVID-19 vaccination rates and death rates. These maps can be hard to follow but the expected pattern should be yellow (low death rates, high vaccinations rates) to dark blue (opposite). The lack of red or orange shows that countries with high vaccination rates do not have high death rates. The confusion of the map is compounded by needing to flip the legend so that the high vaccination rates are at the bottom of the legend.
Day 27 - Theme: Heat Map
Day 28 - Theme: The World is not Flat.
Day 29 - Theme: NULL
Day 30 - Theme: Metamapping Day
I thought it would be fun to use this theme to show the locations and software used for my other 29 maps. However, the wheels came off the bus or I ran out of gas or some metaphor. I had numerous unexpected technical problems and finally just had to throw up my hands and put this mess out there. A couple of days got buried in the data or otherwise lost, the legend needs work and the US inset map is almost unreadable.This has been an excellent learning experience. I can't imagine going through this again which means I'll probably be back at it next November.
I highly recommend checking out other people's entries into the #30DayMapChallenge. There is some beautiful and wonderfully creative stuff out there.