Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tramways of Portland, Maine

I found some great old maps of the tramway system of Portland, Maine on a German Wikipedia page. Interestingly, there does not appear to be an English-language version of this page.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/97/Portland%2C_Maine_-_Map_of_the_Horse_Rail_Lines_1876.jpg/1920px-Portland%2C_Maine_-_Map_of_the_Horse_Rail_Lines_1876.jpg

The city began a horse-drawn tramway in 1863. The image above highlights the tramways in yellow over a panoramic image from 1876. The details in this panorama are spectacular.

The map below shows the growth of the horse tram system from 1883 to 1896
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fe/Portland%2C_Maine_-_Map_of_the_Horse_Rail_Lines_1883-1896.jpg
The Portland and Forest Avenue Railroad Company was founded in 1860 and began operating a horse drawn carriage system. The first section ran between Spring Street and the Grand Trunk Railway Station (shown in the panorama detail) opened in October, 1863. The fare for the entire route was 5 cents. The following year two more lines were added. The red lines shown above represent the system by the end of 1864.

The author,  Maximilian Dörrbecker traced the tram lines over a US Geological Survey map from 1916.

The lines were electrified starting in 1891. Over the next two decades the system expanded far into the suburbs.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Portland%2C_Maine_-_Map_of_the_Electric_Railway_Lines_1891-1914.jpg
 A detail on the lower left side gives a good view of the extent of the system by 1902. Not shown are extensions to Lewiston, Falmouth, Saco and Old Orchard Beach.
Here is a bird's eye view from 1909.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c9/Portland%2C_Maine_-_Map_of_the_Rail_Road_System_1909.png/800px-Portland%2C_Maine_-_Map_of_the_Rail_Road_System_1909.png
Again the beauty is in the details.
Here is a subway style map showing the lines at the system's peak in 1916.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ec/Portland%2C_Maine_-_Electric_railways_route_map_1916.png

After World War I the system began to decline. The suburban lines were abandoned in the early 1930's and by 1941 the entire system had been replaced by buses.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Guardian Building Mural

Next time I visit Detroit the Guardian Building, an art deco "cathedral of finance" will be on my must see list. Not because it is a "timeless depiction of creativity and accomplishment" but because of the Michigan map mural. Just look at how it's situated! It's like the Cathedral of the Holy Map!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/amberwillits/26418884725/
The map on its own does not show much - mainly colored counties and water bodies along with various figures and coats of arms. If you're a Michigan purist you will note that most of the Upper Peninsula is missing. Its more about how the map is displayed.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zxgirl/6464055379/
Here I have zoomed in a bit for better detail
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zxgirl/6464055379/
The above pictures are from this page on flickriver but you can also go inside the lobby on Google StreetView.
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.32956,-83.045978,3a,75y,156.89h,90.99t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipNBHFcqNNfQPgDpGmxahv14IvZqy6GAIAScFYET!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipNBHFcqNNfQPgDpGmxahv14IvZqy6GAIAScFYET%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi-0-ya223.32114-ro0-fo100!7i7168!8i3584
You can also see some great art deco details from the links above including a Tiffany glass clock, a stained glass Native American mosaic, light fixtures and even details around the elevator doors.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Where to See the Best Eclipse Maps

It's not about where to go to see the upcoming eclipse (August 21st, 2017) -it's where do you see the best maps that interests me. The Great American Eclipse site is a good starting point. They feature very detailed maps showing how much time the total eclipse will last.
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53c358b6e4b01b8adb4d5870/53eee705e4b0b80451132d74/53eee74be4b0880c7d4f6c09/1408166076430/SouthCarolina_Central.jpg?format=1500w
Above is the area around Columbia, South Carolina where some friends of mine (and possibly me but that is unlikely at this point) are gathering. I'm not sure why they want to drive 30 miles to get an additional 10 seconds of eclipse time but maybe it's better watching it over Lake Murray. Hopefully they get a sunny day-chances are much better of that in Nebraska or Wyoming.

This site features maps of the nation, for each state, drive time maps, videos of the path, lots of highly detailed maps like above and statistics. You can also buy "Occupy Totality" T-shirts. I like their logo too.
Here is a simple nationwide map from the South Carolina State Museum via the Columbia Total Eclipse Weekend site.
http://totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/solar-eclipse-map-2017.jpg.png
The Washington Post has a great page where you can scroll down and follow the eclipse's path. Here are two screen shots of Oregon.
 Also Carhenge, because Carhenge is awesome.
Teams of students under the Eclipse Ballooning Project will be sending up high altitude balloons with cameras across the country to live stream the event. You will be able to watch here.
Rexburg online (Idaho) has a nice simple state map.

You can see where future eclipses will be from Scientific American. Their interactive graphic works nicely for small countries...
...but gets unwieldy for larger ones.
There are probably many other good graphics. You can look up at the sky or look online for more maps. If you are in the USA and you miss this one, there will be another one in seven years. Click the picture for more details.
https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/april-8-2024/


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mapping the Detroit Riot from the Streets

50 years ago one of the largest riots in US History took place in Detroit. The following year geographer William Bunge began an innovative project, the Detroit Geographical Expedition. People from underprivileged neighborhoods were taught to use mapping as a tool to highlight racial inequities. These untrained mappers created some excellent maps showing the plight of their neighborhoods. I plan to show more of these in a future post, but for now here are some maps of the 1967 riot.

The report that includes these maps can be seen here - this is a large file that may be slow to download.

July 25, 1967*, 7:30 AM
The riot stemmed from a raid at an after hours bar called the Blind Pig (top of the map) on 12th Street (now Rosa Parks Boulevard). The next map shows the spread of the riot between 7:30 and 9:30...
... and then at 9:45 AM.
Here is a map of fire damage across the city.
The 12th Street Riot area is the dense cluster north of Grand Boulevard and West of Woodward.

*Most accounts say the riot began on the 23rd - though it lasted for several days, these maps appear to show the early stages. Therefore the date on the map (the 25th) may be inaccurate.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Message in a Bottle

This map appeared in my inbox a while back and now I can't seem to find any reference to it online.
If you put a message in a bottle, who will find it? The map is credited to the Weather Bureau of the USDA and shows "bottle paper courses" from 1892 and 1893. The legend is cut off but I think that the blue lines are from 1892 and the red from 1893. Either the weather bureau actually placed bottles and then retrieved them or this is just some theoretical map based on currents.

Almost all of the bottles travel eastward, with the flow of the St Lawrence Seaway. However the ones placed near shore in the Toronto area get caught in a counterflow that takes them to the west before heading south and then back to the east.

If anyone has additional information about this unusual map I'd love to know more.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tactile Atlas of Switzerland

I enjoy making fun of the sometimes cultish nature of the Esri User Conference. However, among the over-hyped items there is a really useful map for the visually impaired on display.
Created by Anna Vetter of Esri Switzerland, the map uses minimal and well separated details so the user can feel their way around the country without being confused with too much conflicting information. More good pictures from Twitter can be seen here,
and here, where you can see it in action at the conference.
Esri has put together a nice online version of the map. You can't feel it but you can pan, zoom and get the visual idea.
http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=651b04a8ad3940aaa7ae47a2e0fbabfe
The legend shows the wonderful simplicity of the maps.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ancient Earth Globe

The Ancient Earth Globe allows you to pan, zoom and rotate the earth to see what it looked like during various eras, from 600 million years ago,
 to a more recognizable 105 million years ago,
 to a much more recognizable 20 million years ago.
You can spin it around yourself, or sit back and watch it rotate.
There are arrow keys to move it through eras of time-in 20-40 million year increments.
There are also options to remove the clouds or jump to specific era's in the planet's life.
This visualization was created by Dinosaur Pictures, who specialize in high resolution images of dinosaurs.

Maybe they'll make a flat earth version to appease the reality deniers.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Canada 150

In honor of Canada's 150th birthday here is an animation showing the evolution of the provinces and territories via Wikipedia.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Worldwide Urbanization

In 2015 The Guardian posted a couple of interesting maps highlighting the trends of urbanization. By 2050 the world population is expected to be 70% urbanized. Here is a map showing how many people are added each hour to the world's large cities.
https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/11/19/1447951960277/6feee86c-cf4f-45ea-a3bc-e21de6c1fe2e-2060x1003.jpeg?w=780&q=20&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&dpr=2&s=bdd964404817092bf812e4484766999c
The data is from the London School of Economics Urban Age program. The map is a bit hard to read. Numbers are sized by city growth, making lower growth cities like London hard to read. Since the dots are already sized by number they could have kept the numbers all at a readable size. Also using a different color for each continent is somewhat pointless. Nevertheless the data is interesting-Lagos gains 85 new residents every hour while Rio only gains 10.
The map below shows past and projected growth by time period.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/8969e81e3b29dbcc0a6059dd7c2ff39b9f962e51/23_480_3228_1732/master/3228.jpg?w=620&q=20&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&dpr=2&s=9837146295d0c8aaf4331c7d1734efbe
Green cities saw most of their growth occur by 1950 while the more yellow ones are currently seeing the most growth. Some cities, particularly in India have a more mixed pattern of concentric circles showing steady growth throughout past and future decades. These maps are a bit hard to read at this size. If you click on them, you can see larger sizes. Here is a detail from the map above showing Europe vs South Asia and East Africa.
For much more on the urban footprint, environmental impact, economic development and land use see The Guardian

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fifty Fantasy States

Chris Engelsma is working on creating fantasy maps for the 50 states using toponyms - translations of place names to their original meanings. Here is North Dakota , aka Northern Land of Friends.
https://50fantasystates.tumblr.com/post/161750918716/northern-land-of-friends-a-toponymic-fantasy-style
Here is a nice detail from Idaho (Light on the Mountains) showing the light on the mountains
https://50fantasystates.tumblr.com/post/155699376321/light-on-the-mountains-a-toponymic-fantasy-style
10 states are completed. Prints are available on his Etsy page. This also includes his map of Australia.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/520557874/illustrated-toponymic-fantasy-style-map?ref=shop_home_feat_3

Thursday, June 15, 2017

San Francisco Ships Update

Last December I posted some maps showing the ships that are buried under San Francisco. As a quick recap, what is now the Financial District was once a shallow cove. During the gold rush many ships landed here and were quickly abandoned or sunk. The cove was eventually filled with these ships still in place.
The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is working on a new map of these ships, adding details from archaeologists that were not on their original map from 1963.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/2017/06/02/map-post-sf-shipwrecks/03-map-post-san-francisco-shipwreck.adapt.1190.1.jpg
This map will appear in the Park's visitor center. Here is a detail from the image-via National Geographic
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/2017/06/02/map-post-sf-shipwrecks/01-map-post-san-francisco-shipwreck.adapt.1190.1.jpg
A detail of the detail just to show how nice it looks up close.

Here is part of the museum's original 1963 map - also via National Geographic
For more see the National Geographic story

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Evolution of Ordnance Survey Mapping

Britain's Ordnance Survey has consistently produced some of the world's finest and most detailed maps. Here is a display showing the evolution of their mapping styles, blended together with Photoshop.
https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2012/11/the-evolution-of-ordnance-survey-mapping/
I like the subtle stylings of 1895. You're welcome to disagree. I also really like how the legend is made from a theoretical landscape.