Thursday, December 27, 2007

Maps as Wallpaper

What a clever way for a map lover to decorate a room: use old National Geographic maps as wallpaper!

From somewhere in the midwest, this home renovator says, "You will find out that I love maps. I just think they are beautiful. For years I had been saving the maps out of National Geographic Magazine and I used them to paper the walls in here. I sealed them with a couple of coats of water based poly so I could wipe them clean."

Check out the before and after photos at Home Again-Vintage Treasures


Saturday, December 22, 2007

The United States of Magnets

Visited the in-laws recently, and their refrigerator, like most, is covered with photos, grand children's art, and of course, the ubiquitous state magnet:

I did a quick snap of this with the camera phone. Oddly, of all the popular forms of map memorabilia, this is one that I have never collected.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Maps of Middle Earth

In the last couple weeks, I've started a theme about imaginary countries. Sometime in the next few weeks I'll start writing about some of my own imaginary countries, but in the meantime, a couple maps found while looking for something else:

How about an entire website devoted to maps of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth? From Ring Obsession, a language distribution map:

While looking for that map, I came across this one. I think it is pretty funny. You don't have to agree with the politics to get the joke...

From Professor Pollkatz's Pool of Polls.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Smallest World Atlas

Ms. Cartophiliac is currently reading Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures, by Anne c. Bromer and Julian I. Edison. She showed me this teeny tiny smallest world atlas:

Atlas of the British Empire
London: Edward Stanford, c.1928. 2 x 1½"
The smallest world atlas, reproduced from Queen Mary's Doll's House Library at Windsor Castle.
Twelve double-page colored maps.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Urban Sprawl at Santa's North Pole

Like any Mega-Corporate company town, Santaville, NP, has seen its share of sprawl:


I hear there is a big cross-town rivalry between the elfootball teams at NPU and Santa A&M


Monday, December 17, 2007

Tuck's Russo-Japanese War Map

One of my favorite map related blogs, Strange Maps, posted today about three postcards related to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. It inspired me to find the vintage Russo-Japanese War postcard from my own collection:

I recall picking this up at a paper collector's show in Columbus. On the back:
Raphael Tuck & Sons' Post Card Series No. 1355 "Russo-Japanese War"

No date on the card, but it appears to have been published during or soon after the war...

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Peace on Earth

Three Christmas tree ornament globes from my collection:

UPDATE 12/18: I would not, however, waste good Bacardi to get this effect... (from Cartophilia, September 5, 2007)


Map Rugs for Home & Classroom

A few months back, I blogged about a relief map rug. Here's another map rug from World Maps Online:

These map rugs appear to be designed with the classroom in mind. In fact, the rug depicted above is actually a large game board for use with the STOPS Geography Trivia Game.

However, I think this Earthworks Rug would make a nice addition to a family room. I would enjoy having it in my home.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chernobyl: Wolves Eat Dogs

I am a fan of Martin Cruz Smith's "Arkady Renko" series of mystery novels. Renko is a Russian detective. The earliest books in the series take place in Soviet Russia, and the latest in today's "new" Russia.

Currently, I am reading Wolves Eat Dogs, the fifth novel in the series. Senior Investigator Renko is searching for clues in the "apparent" suicide of a successful "New Russian" millionaire business man. His trail leads him to the sit of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Smith provides fascinating detail about life in and around "The Zone"; the restricted areas around the site of the nuclear plant.

The book provides a helpful map on the inside cover, but here is a larger, more detailed look at the entire affected region:

Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes and will never be allowed to return. In the novel, Renko runs into poachers, squaters, and the "old folks" were are unwilling to live anywhere else, in spite of the danger to their health.

The disaster happened before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and I knew that Chernobyl is located in the new Republic of Ukraine. I wasn't aware of how close the plant was to Belarus, nor the fact that the largest percentage of "hot zones" are in that republic. The new international borders only add more complications to Renko's investigation.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hands Around Jerusalem


The right wing's Jerusalem gambit: A new coalition of religious hard-liners with ties to President Bush seeks to scuttle any plans for dividing Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians.
By Gregory Levey

An interesting article in its own right, illustrated with a map. Not a map that is helpful in locating Jerusalem, but instead hands holding, protecting or guarding the troubled city. I'm not exactly sure what the illustrator is trying to say with this... "Hands off my Jerusalem"?

What is your emotional response to this image of hands on a map?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wish You Were Here

The other day, I brought up the topic of "Imaginary Countries". What is the first thing you are supposed to do when you travel to a new far off place? Send your friends a postcard! So, when you travel to an imaginary place... well, then why not tell your friends where you've been?

On the back of the card:

Wish You Were Here
Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor and Dilophosaur are among the many wonderous living and breathing dinosaurs that only visitors of
Jurassic Park(tm) can experience.

From the back of the cards:

Tired of visiting the same old tourist attractions, take a trip to a time when elves, dwarves and hobbits walked among men. Be sure to bring something "precious".

Two Towers Rohan and Gondor map from New Line Cinema

Looking for a little western swing? Visit the Cartwrights at their Ponderosa Ranch:

Be sure to request ahead of time, if you want the Pre-Adam years or Post-Adam years... (See Pernell Roberts).

From the back of the cards:
Ponderosa Ranch
Incline Village, Nevada
On the North Shore of Beautiful Lake Tahoe

Apparently the Ponderosa Ranch was a Bonanza themed amusment park from 1967 till it closed in 2004.

How about a vacation "long long ago, in a galazy far far away"?

This was actually a postcard I recieved from the home shopping channel, QVC, promoting their "Sci-Fi Week"

But why not take a trip to all the most popular Jedi hangouts?

On the back of this card:
The exciting trek to Tatooine, home planet of Rebel hero Luke Skywalker, includes a complementary visit to a Mos Eisley cantina.
From Disneyland

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Library of Congress presents the Map that Named America

This week the Library of Congress will begin offering access to their materials in new and interactive ways:

Library of Congress Exhibition Begins Transformation of Public Spaces Through Merger of Knowledge, Technology
“Exploring the Early Americas” Presents Kislak Items, Map That Named America

A new exhibition opening Dec. 13 marks the beginning of a months-long transformation of public spaces in the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson Building into an experience for visitors that merges cutting-edge technology with the knowledge and inspiration embodied in the Library’s unparalleled collections and curators.

"Exploring the Early Americas," which features items from the Jay I. Kislak Collection and Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 World Map—the first document of any kind to use the word "America"—focuses on the history and legacies of the Americas and the impact of European contact, culture and conquest.

The Waldseemüller Map:

See a preview of "Exploring the Early Americas," visit for an interactive Flash copy of "Buccaneers of America," (pirate illustrations and all!) in addition to a Flash tour of the Tortuguero Box – complete with Mayan translations of the box’s images.

A map of Panama from "Buccaneers of America":

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

"Imaginary" Countries

In the coming weeks, I plan to write a bit about "imaginary" countries, and their maps. These countries come in many forms: they might be from works of fiction, like J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, they could be "fleshed out" for a Dungeons & Dragons roll-playing universe, or they might simply be acts of whimsey. However, first I am going to look at "imaginary" countries that physically exist, here and now, even if not everyone recognizes them. They are often referred to as "Micronations".

If you would like to visit one of these fantastic places, you should plan to pick up a copy of Lonely Planet Micronations from Lonely Planet Travel Guides.

Bored of visiting the same UN-recognised countries? Ready to explore somewhere unique and perhaps a little wacky? want to add some really rare stamps to your passport? Then let Lonely Planet's guide to home made nations take you to a bunch of places you've never heard of. Micronations takes a curious look at some of the most curious places on the planet. Designed to generate interest in the strange world out there, this is a fully illustrated, humourous mock guidebook to the nations people create in their own backyards. A global selection of micronations are profiled with facts and figures, cultural information, Things to See & Do, Getting There & Away, and interviews with the quirky characters who've set themselves up as presidents, emperors and serene highnesses. The book also features full colour photographs and sections detailing the historical, philosophical and most definitely satirical aspects of the micronation phenomenon. For lovers of humour, trivia and ephemera, this is a gift book, a reference text and a travel guide rolled into one.

In this fun guide you will be introduced to the Kingdom of Elleore

Founded on a lark by some school teachers in 1944, this island kingdom off the coast of Denmark now has a King and Queen and issues their own currency and stamps, even though the island is uninhabited for 51 weeks out of the year.

The Loyalists of the Dominion of British West Florida dispute the legality of treaties signed, following the American Revolution, that ceded West Florida to Spain (and later to the United States).

Today, the "Acting Governor General" seeks recognition and dominion status within the British Empire.

Based on Article 1 of the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Republic of Molossia asserts its right to self-determination.

Founded in 1977 (just two years after the founding of my own "ant country" see Story of a Cartophiliac), the Republic of Molossia is everything my country could have been if I stuck with it. But then, who's got that kind of time? More on that later.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lilly: The World Map Master Baby Genius

23-month-old knows 80 countries on a map of the world!

From the orignal YouTube poster:
Lilly is my niece. She was 23 months old when this was done in August 2007 in her parents small one bedroom apartment. She now knows over 80 countries. Yes, we know that Tasmania is not a country everyone. It's still a fun place to know.
She knows better geography than a 5th grader. She has been doing this for about 8 months. She is one funny niece. If you think that this is cruel and unusual, get a life.

Cruel and unusual? Hey it beats, "What does a cow say?"

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The Elephant and the Dragon

This evening I was Christmas shopping at Borders and the cover of this book jumped right out at me. The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us by Robyn Meredith.

It is not a map of anything... however, the image of an elephant and a dragon create the impression of continents on a globe. A clever use of cartographic imagery.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bad Trips

Bad Trips: a sometimes terrifying, sometimes hilarious collection of writing on the perils of the road, edited and with introduction by Keath Fraser.

Some of the best-known writers of the twentieth century share stories about "bad trips," and I don't mean on drugs... They're talking about everything from losing their luggage, to getting lost in the wilderness. Authors include: David Mamet, Martin Amis, Umberto Eco, Bob Geldof, John Updike, Paul Theroux and Graham Greene.

Of course, the part of the book that caught my eye, is the map. I especially like combining the metaphors of map, jigsaw puzzle and being set adrift on an ice flow.

Can anyone identify the location of the map on the cover? It appears to be part of Canada's Northwest Territories or Nunavut.

UPDATE: Click on this image to get a higher res view of the map:

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Balkanization of Belgium

Belgium is heading for a record 150 days with no government unless the Christian Democrat and Liberal election winners resolve a spat blocking their bid to form a coalition. [From The Independent].

Since the creation of the Belgian State there have been differences and disagreements between the Dutch speaking region of Flanders and the French speaking Walloon. Flemish separatists continue to talk of a Partition of Belgium. To draw attention to this dilemma, and spark debate, a Walloon TV station recently broadcast a "fake news" report about a Flemish declaration of independence, causing some consternation.

However, this is not the first such hoax. On April Fool's Day, 1992, the London Times reported that the nation had split. The Flanders region would join The Netherlands, and the Wallonia would join France. [From the Museum of Hoaxes] This report allegedely even fooled the British Foreign Office.

I have no opinion on what is right for Belgium. One separatist organization calls Belgium "the last artificial state in Europe". This is no doubt in reference to the unification of Germany, the division of Czechoslovakia, the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the break-up of the Soviet Union, all along ethnic lines. The Basque and Catalan of Spain may disagree with that statement (among others).

Your comments are welcome.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Who is reading Cartophilia?

Since I began this blog in September, I have enjoyed watching the visitor stats I get from StatCounter (see the little green counter at the bottom of the right-hand column on this page). In addtion to telling me how many visitors I get, it also tells me, based on IP address, where they are coming from, and the search terms they used to get here. It even offers a Google map, like this one:

I wonder who it might be, floating in the South Atlantic, off the coast of Africa, at zero degrees by zero degrees... could it be Colonel Bleep?

A special thanks to The Map Room,, The Electoral Map, and Diary of a Booklover for linking to this blog recently, thus steering new visitors my way.

I am enjoying writing this blog. I have mounds of material yet to share. All it takes is time. I hope you are also enjoying your visit(s). The only thing missing is a dialog with my readers. PLEASE feel free to comment on any post that catches your fancy.


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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Time Magazine goes double with maps

How did I miss this one in November?

The November 26, 2007, issue of Time Magazine sports a spoof of a famous Norman Rockwell self-portrait:

In addition, the cover of their Europe/Asia/South Pacific edition also has fun with a map. Global Corporation? Put the globe on your brief case.

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