Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Map of the Week - Stay Indoors!

I'm not a regular at NOAA's weather pages so I don't know how typical this is but today's weather map sure looks scary-and colorful too! The legend was hard to copy and paste and is hard to read anyway. You can click the image to get to their interactive map and see what you should be scared of in your back yard. We've got advisories on boats, wind, avalanches, floods, fire, gales, snow storms (I'm watching one as I type), cold and fog. Even Hawaii's in on the action with surf advisories. The ten plagues! One of the safest places to be today is Alaska.
Have a great New Year, stay warm and dry!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Map of the Week-Christmas Lights

With all the do it yourself map technology available it's surprising how few maps of Christmas lights I've been able to find. The best one for sheer volume is the Chicagoland Christmas Lights page.

The locations are color coded and you can click them for more information. Unfortunately no pictures come up but some of them have web links such as Nick's Lights. Thank you Nick Diaz. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Map of the Week-Are You Happy?

This map shows "subjective well being" and is based on data from Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss. So maybe you thought Disney World was the happiest place on earth but you're wrong! It's Denmark!

I have not read this book so I don't know what all the criteria are but the caption references Happy Denmark's free education and health care as well as spending on the elderly and children. I agree that governments should spend on the elderly and children but am a bit skeptical that spending = happiness.

The map was produced by a geography student at
the University of Oregon and appeared in their alumni magazine. Thanks to Michael5000 for another great submission. Yes it only takes me 5-6 months to get reader's submissions out!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Map of the Week-Filling Empty Space

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is being built on an empty desert landscape around the village of Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. They have put together this interactive map (takes a minute or two to load) as a recruiting tool. In their own words:
"Just launched this month, the map offers students, faculty, research partners and community members the opportunity to explore the university via an immersive and cutting edge digital map, highlighting everything from residential flats, lab and research facilities, sustainability features, community services, recreational facilities, flyover video and more.
Currently the interactive map's main purpose is that of a recruiting tool, something which differentiates it from virtually every other campus map. Rather than showing students how to get from point A to point B, however, the map serves to share the KAUST story with them. Also, KAUST is using the map to showcase its commitment to sustainability by highlighting the green aspects of every building."

The map allows you to switch between the plans for the university and an aerial view (left) and is "the only physical link to an entire institution which does not yet exist."

This empty piece of desert is rapidly being transformed as this recent photo shows.

Soon it will look like this:

Thanks to Jason Hellman of Fleishman-Hillard for the above comments.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Daily Masshole Obstacle Course

I frequently complain about my commute. Yes it's "only" 8 miles but 8 miles of stress. It is much more stressful than my job and probably the main thing that leaves me drained at night. In addition to the usual problems of heavy traffic, construction, bad roads and "Masshole" drivers, the route itself is a crazy serpentine pattern-there is no straight line to get me there.
Below is a map of my route through eastern Massachusetts. I've generalized it a bit and left off place names to make it less obvious where I live and work. Green text indicates southbound issues, purple northbound and black means the problem is in both directions.

The 8 mile route takes me 25 minutes with no traffic, 35-40 minutes typically and can be up to an hour in bad traffic situations. I can ride my bicycle there in 40-45 minutes when I don't get whacked. Public transit is a 3 bus system and takes an hour and 20 minutes. Walking? I haven't tried that one yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Map of the Week-Cotton Pickin' Democrats!

Yes these images have made the rounds of many other map blogs and yes I was supposedly done with Election 2008 but this is interesting. In my November 5th post I alluded to the county patterns and the possible race factor among others. Now we have courtesy of Allen Gathman from Southeast Missouri State University (Go Redhawks!) an explanation. He compared an 1860 map of cotton production to the pattern of southern counties that voted for Obama on this page. The Strangemaps blog took this a step further and actually overlaid the two maps. Each dot from the 1860 map represents 2000 bales of cotton.

There is the obvious racial component as the cotton belt counties have a higher concentration of African Americans. However, the Vigorous North blog takes this even another step beyond to show how the shallow ocean waters of the Cretaceous Period influenced the soil types and thus the suitability for cotton and thus the racial settlement patterns and thus the election results in the cotton belt counties.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Map of the Week-Strolling Baby Through Weird Alternate Realities

Here's a delightfully odd marketing strategy. Bugaboo strollers (right) has enlisted some avant-garde artists to make a series of day trip maps for cities in Europe, North America and Australia. They have points of interest you can click on to get more info. Apparently "third world" places such as Asia, Africa and Philadelphia don't rate with them.

One of the more interesting ones is Mina Monnee's Portland. I especially like how she wrapped the river around it.

I also like Prague by Dustin Arnold.

Robert Nakata has some of the most "artistic". Here are his renderings of Toronto and Brighton (England)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Map of the Week addendum

Here is a nice Election 2008 cartogram that goes by county. I found it on this site. There's a more red/blue version but I like the purple gradations - it makes us seem less divided for what that's worth.
Unfortunately it's missing two states.
Watch out! The San Francisco Bay area is trying to escape!

And here's the same map geographically.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Map of the Week-Dissecting the States

We've probably all seen some version of this map by now:

What's interesting is when you drill down into the states and get the county patterns. The New York Times maps allow you to do this. Aside from the usual urban-rural dichotomy much of the patterns can be explained by ethnicity, race and income. I could speculate about these states but I'd rather just enjoy them as is.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Map of the Week-Election Cartograms

You may have heard that the US Presidential Election just is around the corner. The best way to see the true distribution of electoral votes is to use a cartogram. A cartogram is a map showing areas sized by some factor other than area (in most cases population). Cartograms are usually pretty ugly things.

They can be one-legged spiny monsters;

or they can be acid trippy lava lamps.

That's why when I'm shopping for a cartogram, I usually go with the more subdued kind that you get from a serious sedate publication like the New York Times. By the way - if these colors don't look right to you, change them! Many of these sites let you change the states to whatever color and pattern makes you happy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crap of the Week

John Krygier, a professor of Geography at Ohio Wesleyan University and DIY Cartography blogger created the Crestview Road Dog Sh*t Map for his street in Columbus, Ohio. It's kind of ugly but makes a point and I like the little steaming pile symbols. These days I pick up piles like that daily but obviously many dog owners don't bother.

Here's another crappy picture I stole from one of his blog entires - the NY City street grid in grout. OK enough bathroom humor, maybe next week we'll return to "cleaner" subjects. We'll see.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Map of the Week-Holy Smokin' Smokies!

Outrage GIS produces recreational maps for the southern Appalachian Mountains. They have developed a trail atlas of the Great Smoky Mountains and give you an interactive look at the bird's eye view that appears in this atlas. Just use the little pan and zoom tools at the bottom to explore. Complete with fog for some extra realism!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Map Channels - Useful Content!

Map Channels is a service that lets you embed a custom map into your website or blog. In addition they have numerous "channels" to look at local events, book hotels and look at street views. They also have a nice function to compare Google Maps with Virtual Earth.
When you get past the flashy "cool" stuff there's actually some very useful functions here. Going to Los Angeles? Need to know what's happening? Below is a map of upcoming events. What's really nice about this is it's actually current to today! Usually these things are months out of date. Oh, and they have your city too. I know because I've checked.

Need a hotel? Here's a map of available hotel rooms in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Click a dot and make the reservation!

Here's another cool "channel" - free things to do in London. OK so most of them are parks - I can live with that.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Map of the Week-The Mural Arts Project

Driving through Philadelphia the other day we saw some pretty cool murals. I remembered that I had some info about the Mural Arts Program but had not been able to locate a comprehensive map. There are tour maps of the Center City Area but nothing showing the outer 'hoods. Upon further review I found muralBase created by the University of Pennsylvania's Cartographic Modeling Lab. You can choose a theme, artist, zip code or year and get a map showing the location of murals as well as descriptions and pictures about each one. Below is the map that results when you choose "Latino" as the theme - clustered in the Latino sections of town. On the right side is a mural of El Yunque - the rain forest in Puerto Rico.

Here's a nice one - Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Projection!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Map of the Week-The World According to UAlbany

I just got my alumni magazine from UAlbany aka SUNY Albany, Albany State, University at Albany (my school changes its name every other year). The cover has this world map, strangely reminiscent of the childrens' maps I showed a few weeks ago from the Barbara Petchenik Competition. Yes we're proud of our worldly outreach - we even found the other two places that are not NYC (Boston and Canada) and proudly label them on our map.
There's also a big suspension bridge linking the Rocky Mountains with the Pacific Ocean and a 150 mile tall palm tree growing in central Florida. We also moved Mount Fuji to Mongolia for your convenience!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Map of the Week - Trust the Experts

This map in today's Boston Globe reminded me of Middle East expert John McCain's various gaffes (Iran, Iraq, Sunni, Shiite, who can tell the difference?) Here's a map of his "Iraq-Pakistan Border" courtesy of Matthew Yglesias and the Atlantic Monthly.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Map of the Week - Prison Cell Mapping

The Lincoln County Jail in Wiscasset, Maine is well worth a visit. You can go into the cells of this now empty prison and see how conditions were for the prisoners. Among lots of interesting grafitti on the walls is this nicely detailed world map that I was able to photograph. The tour guide speculates that it was done by one of the many sailors who spent time there. It's not the prettiest MOTW entry ever but is very well done. Even the latitudes are shown. Ignore the areas where the paint has peeled off - those are not continents.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Map of the Week-Children are Colorful and Beauty

Every couple of years the International Cartographic Association organizes the Barbara Petchenik International World Map Design Competition for children 15 and younger. Entries are archived online by the Carleton University Library in Ottawa, Canada. You can see all kinds of fun maps on this page. Many of them are cliched and similar looking but there's also lots of clever ideas in these young minds.

This entry is entitled "The world is colorful and beauty" and was done by Ferina Tjahyana from the Pelita Harapan Junior High School in Tangerang, Indonesia. She was 13 at the time this map was done (2003).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Map of the Week-Corporal Punishment

Human Rights Watch is focused on trying to end corporal punishment in the United States. It is already banned in most states but still prevalent in many. See any pattern in this map?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Map of the Week - Georgia's Abkhazian and Ossetian Problems

It's been tough finding good maps that really show what's going on in the Caucasus region. This CIA map illustrates why the South Ossetian and Abkhazian people want independence from Georgia - though I'm not sure that being a part of Russia is really what they want either. The Abkhaz are linguistically unique while the Ossetians not only have a different language but are also not considered to be "Caucasian". The map nicely illustrates how difficult it would be to create contiguous countries in the region. Also note the proximity of other recent spots of conflict such as Chechnya, Dagestan and Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. There are a couple of versions of this map on the web but Wikipedia has the best one I've seen.

For a nice, detailed general reference map of the region click here.

This is an interesting historical map of the region produced by American cartographer Thomas Bradford in 1835. Clicking the image will bring up a window so you can zoom and pan to get more detail.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Map of the Week - Beijing Olympic Venues

Friday is 8/8/08 and 8 being a very lucky number to the Chinese it will be the starting date for the Beijing Olympics. The Beijing 2008 website has this nice interactive map, showing the location of the venues. You can mouse over the dots to get basic information and a click on them will get pictures, diagrams, architectural drawings, links to schedules, game rules and much more. What's lacking is a mileage scale so it's not clear how close these places are to each other. Also some transit and/or parking/driving tips would be helpful. You can find that information in the "Spectator Guide"s but they could have put it in a more obvious place.
Hope your favorite country proves their athletic prowess to the world!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Map of the Week - The Vinland Map

The Vinland Map is a controversial map that would indicate that the Vikings came to North America before Columbus*. The map was uncovered in the 1950's along with a tract dating from the 1440's. It shows an island west of Greenland referred to as "Vinilanda Insula". Much doubt has been cast about the authenticity of this map, from the binding to varying Carbon dating results to the inks possibly containing synthetic pigments that did not appear until the 1920's. The map is currently housed at Yale University's Beinecke Library.

Webexhibits has this page where you can analyze the evidence and make your own decision about the authenticity of the map. If you want pages of detailed info. click the map above and you'll get it!

* This type of statement has been repeated by numerous web sites discussing the map. I'm not sure why that is controversial given that there is significant evidence of a much earlier Viking presence in North America, for example the settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Map of the Week - Bicycle Crashes

As some of you know, I was whacked by a car on my bike this past week. Here's a diagram of approximately what happened courtesy of the City of Toronto's Tips for Avoiding Car-Bike Collisions page.
Take away the traffic lights, train tracks and the fact that drivers in other places actually use turn signals and you get the picture. Technically I hit the car but I couldn't stop that quickly - she could and didn't. Anyway I'm still alive and well - just a bit beat up. I thought I'd look for some good bicycle accident maps but there's not much out there. Ghostcycle did a cool thing placing "ghostcycles" at accident sites in Seattle to raise awareness. Unfortunately their google mashup doesn't work (don't try the map-your computer will be sorry).
I was looking for something localized to see if there are local patterns to these crashes. The best thing I could come up with is this map from the Portland Oregonian. X's mark fatalities and you can click the dots for more info.There may be patterns here but I don't know that city well enough to spot them. Anyway keep on riding but be safe, read your tips and don't expect drivers to see you just because you're wearing dayglow colors and it's bright and sunny or you'll end up in a sling like me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Map of the Week-Britain Travel Time Maps

My Society has produced some nice travel time maps for Great Britain that you can see here. I particularly like this one comparing travel time by car and train from Cambridge. The red areas are quicker by train, orange is about the same and then yellow to green to blue gets gradually faster by car.

A couple of disclaimers about this map from their site:
"the road travel model takes no account of traffic or urban areas, so it is pessimistic about the time saving"
"However, the model of car journey times is very simplistic, so these results should not be taken too seriously—we hope to extend the work with a more realistic model of driving times, which may substantially change the comparative results."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Map of the Week-What is and How is Cascadia?

Attention residents of Cascadia (outlined in green on the map on the right): Sightline, a Seattle based think tank has a slew of maps showing health, environmental and economic data for your region. There are some nice animations but they don't come over well on this page so here are some static maps. On the left is the Seattle area classified by walkability and on the right is a map with pie charts showing the decline of Salmon stock in the region. For lots of other interesting maps of the region, visit their maps page.