Monday, March 31, 2008

Miserable Hawaii

I haven't bored you all with postcards from my collection in weeks. So, today I'll share my Hawaii postcards, along with a few highlights (lowlights?):

Many people assume Hawaii is a "paradise". I've never been there... but that's what I've been told... Bob Neubauer tells us about his honeymoon, in Miserable Hawaii. "We came for sunny skies and relaxation. Instead we got rain and bad colds."

A Forum dedicated to Things you HATE about Hawaii, including:
  • Gigantic size cockroaches that fly.
  • Noisy coqui frogs
  • Coffee Can mufflers
  • Expensive everything (not just housing)
  • Hawaii is sinking and the beach is disappearing
  • Giant Red Stinging Ants!
  • Beat Up a Haole Day
  • Giant toads

Hawaii has a crystal meth problem (However, the drug-rehab site linked here has a nice map themed design...)

Each island is actually a volcanic explosion waiting to happen...

A military wife hated living in Hawaii so much that she bought a domain and started a blog about it. "Hawaii Sucks" only lasted two months before she ran out of steam. Maybe it got better... (or maybe she escaped...)

UPDATE 4/30/10: Hawaii Sucks lives on via The Way Back Machine

Racial tensions are simmering in Hawaii's melting pot

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on Hawaii weather:

I'm sure there are far more people who appreciate living in or visiting Hawaii than are respresented here... But since I have been assaulted in the past about the "paradise" of Hawaii, I thought I'd share a little bit of the other side...

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

After Iraq

It is always a delight to see where a map might lead me... This week, while browsing the magazine stacks in the library, I was awe-struck by the map design on the cover of the January/February, 2008, issue of The Atlantic magazine. How did I miss it when it came out? I immediately appreciated the artists intent by his use of game pieces and dice on a map of the Middle East, as if it was all some sort of game.

After Iraq, by Jeffrey Goldberg, discusses the effects of the Iraq War on the Middle East including the possibility of independence for Kurdistan from Iraq. British influence in the Middle East led to the formation of Iraq and the separation of Palestine. A large-scale conflict between Shiites and Sunnis in the Middle East could occur. Intelligence expert Ralph Peters comments on U.S. plans for the unification of Iraq and the spread of democracy.

Peters also discusses the artificial nature in which Middle-Eastern borders were created following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire:

All states are man-made. But some are more man-made than others. It was Winston Churchill (a bust of whom Bush keeps in the Oval Office) who, in the aftermath of World War I, roped together three provinces of the defeated and dissolved Ottoman Empire, adopted the name Iraq, and bequeathed it to a luckless branch of the Hashemite tribe of west Arabia. Churchill would eventually call the forced inclusion of the Kurds in Iraq one of his worst mistakes-- but by then, there was nothing he could do about it.

That quote about Churchill and the arbitrary nature in which borders were redrawn after the Great War reminded me of a book I read just last year, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, by Margaret Macmillan. The author describes the six months following the end of the First World War when leaders of the great powers, as well as men and women from all over the world, all with their own agendas, converged on Paris to shape the peace. Wilson had noble (and naïve?) intentions of reshaping Europe (and the Middle-East) to create a lasting peace, but his frustratingly vague concepts like 'self-determination' often confused even his own advisors. Eventually, many of the borders drawn in Paris served only to forestall conflict. Just as the fall of communism exposed the underlying currents of racial strife in the Balkans, the fall of Iraq has served to re-ignite religious and ethnic tensions enclosed in the new borders.
Below are two maps from Paris 1919 that illustrate some of the many plans for divvying up the Ottoman spoils:

Another aspect of Goldberg's Atlanic article are his speculations on how the map of the Middle-East could change in the next ten to fifty years, as regimes rise and fall, and ethnic and religious differences lead to reduced, enlarged and newly created nations.

In his article, "Blood borders: How a better Middle East would look," in the June, 2006, issue of the Armed Forces Journal, Ralph Peters took a turn at re-imagining the Middle-East:

Jeffrey Goldberg talked to Peters in preparation for his Atlantic article:
Peters drew onto his map an independent Kurdistan and an abridged Turkey; he shrank Iran (handing over Khuzestan to an as-yet-imaginary Arab-Shiite state he carved out of what is now southern Iraq); he placed Jordan and Yemen on a steroid regimen; and he dismembered Saudi Arabia because be sees it as a primary enemy of Muslim modernization.

It was an act of knowing whimsy, he said. But it was seen by tbe Middle East's more fevered minds as a window onto the American imperial planning process. "The reaction was pure paranoia, just hysterics," Peters told me. "The Turks in particular got very upset." Peters explained how he made the map. "The art department gave me a blank map, and I took a crayon and drew on it. After it came out, people started arguing on the Internet that this border should, in fact, be 50 miles this way, and that border 50 miles that way, but the width of the crayon itself was 200 miles."
It certainly looks like we are nowhere near an end to turmoil in the Middle-East, and I fear that there will be more blood shed before there can be a "lasting peace". It is possible that to achieve that peace, new borders will need to be drawn...

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Mind the Gap

From the Get your London Underground gear:

This site if full of everything that a British expat or fan could want, from biscuits to oven mits and flip-flops to lentil soup.

Use one of these mugs to drink your soup... and never get lost on the tube again...

A Friendly Reminder to American Tourists.

Spoof London Underground Announcements by Emma Clarke

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Take Manhattan

For your entertainment, two views of New York City:

Places & Spaces presents "New York - Global Island" by Danielle Hartman. "This image of Manhattan presents New York literally as a global island. Country shapes are arranged into the form of Manhattan. The circular title reintroduces the shape of the globe. This map is inspired by the international diversity if New York’s residents." Based on 2000 Census Data.


From Appealing Industries, an animated GIF starts with a blank subway map and draws each line in the sequence in which it was built.

Via the Manhattan Users Guide.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Life, the Universe, and Your Own Private Island Paradise

A couple weeks ago I posted about "The World" real estate development in Dubai. Apparently, the folks in Dubai are not stopping with "the world"... next stop, "The Universe":

What you see in the photo above is just the beginning. "The Universe will feature man-made islands built in the shape of the Sun and the Moon, with a string of planets in between." The project will take 15 to 20 years for completion.

If you cannot wait, here are the Top 10 Man-Made Island Paradises from International Listings.

Zoran Island is planned for Phuket, Thailand. Finally! A place where I can park my superyacht!

Or, if you prefer the romance of Venice, without leaving the United States, there are these new Venetian Islands, near Miami. Not sure if there are any singing gondoleers, but these islands have been under construction since 1922, and if you are ready to own one, I'm sure they can dredge something up.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Managing Geographic Information Systems

I have lately experienced an interesting phenomenon that I imagine many bloggers, at least those with a moderate following, have experienced: The Promotion Campaign. I have been contacted several times by PR people as part of their attempt to create some buzz about the product, exhibit, service or website they are promoting. If it is relevant to my topic, maps and map memorabilia, I am more than happy to give them a plug.

In that same vein, I was delighted to post about John Krygier's book, Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, not only because it is an interesting book, but I also am a fan of his supplementary blog, Making Maps: DIY Cartography. As stated from the beginning, I am not a cartographer, nor professional geographer. Neither am I versant in the use of geographical information systems. I felt semi-competent commenting on Krygier's book because it had wonderful advice for the amateur mapmaker, as well as some clever and useful illustrations.

Presumably, because of that review, and the fact that I am a librarian, Krygier's publisher, Guilford Press, has me on a list. Today I received a review copy of Managing Geographic Information Systems, Second Edition, by Nancy J. Obermeyer and Jeffrey K. Pinto. Aside from my wholehearted endorsement of the attractive use of topographic map iconography in the cover design, I am very unqualified to comment on the quality of the book's contents. I just don't do GIS. However, I would like to honor Guilford's trust in me by at least attempting to get a review for them. Therefore, I am willing to mail this copy of the book to anyone interested in GIS and feels as if they could give this book and its authors a fair evaluation. Contact me and include your address (USA only) and I will send it your way. Write up a review and I will post it here.

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Elisabeth Lecourt Map-Wear

In one of my very earliest Cartophilia posts, I commented on maps as art, by highlighting the clothing-art work of paper sculpture artist Jennifer Collier. Yet another maps-clothing-artist comes to my attention:

Elizabeth Lecourt uses maps to sculpt clothing. In the October 5, 2005 issue of Step Inside Design Magazine, Mary Fitcher said:
... Technically she's not a fashion designer, however, Elisabeth Lecourt (a French student of art in England) is turning heads with her intriguing line of map-wear. She folds and cuts individual maps by region to produce clothes not to be worn but rather hung. To date she has pressed and ironed 60 pieces of faux garments, mostly pleated parochial dresses and button-down shirts made out of modern maps. Universal by nature, her work is popular wherever shown...

Thanks to Ms. Cartophiliac for pointing me in the direction of this cartographic artist.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

10 Ideas That are Changing the World

Time Magazine once again treats us to a map as part of the cover design:

"10 Ideas That are Changing the World: More than money, more than politics, ideas are the secret power that this planet runs on. Here are a few you need to know about."

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Das Taxi

Classify under "interesting maps found while looking for something else"...

This appears to be a "transit map" of possible taxi routes in Hamburg, Germany. I cannot discern if this is a serious map, or a bit of humor... could this mass of squiggles actually be useful?... It is entertaining, nonetheless.

Image found on this Russian website: Das Taxi - Схема метрополитена, by way of The Where Blog

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An "A" for Quastolia

Earlier this year, I shared some maps from my "imaginary country", Quastolia. In addition, I re-created the flag of Quastolia, that has become my unofficial logo:

The other day, while browsing through my collection of Quastolian artifacts, I came across a school project about Quastolia! I remember this. It must have been my ninth-grade English class. I don't know what the assignment was... I'm sure the assignment was NOT to create an imaginary country, but my teacher OK'd a report about Quastolia for credit. I turned in a 19-page document that included:
  • maps (of course)
  • government structure
  • voting process done online by computer (in 1975!)
  • courts and judicial system
  • military structure
  • population
  • monetary system
  • major religions
The cover of the report was decorated with this flag:

What an archaeological find! I had forgotten that this was the original flag of Quastolia. The flag with the eight-pointed Star of Quas came later, after the royal restoration. Note the Tolkienesque alphabet used in the lettering at the three points of the triangle. They were the characters in our language for "A", "C" and "Q", for Aqceyquas... the land founded by Aq, Ceygol and Quas.

Needless to say, my teacher was impressed. She gave me an "A", with these comments:
What can I say! After 16 years of teaching, this is the first time I have ever read anything so creative and different. You gave it considerable thought. Would like you to explain this to class.
Scribbled below her comments was my answer: "No way!"

For someone who had tought school for 16 years, she showed very little understanding of adolescents. If I were to stand up in front of my class and explain to them all about the imaginary country in my back yard, populated by ants, I would be guaranteed to get my ass kicked outside the building after school...

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Erin Go Bragh

On March 17, millions of Americans drink foul tasting green beer, get staggering drunk and walk around spouting nonsense words like "Erin Go Bragh" and "Top O' the Morning To Ye" They call themselves "Irish for a Day" or desperately cry out, "Kiss me, I'm Irish". Unlike the real Irish, who drink good beer, don't wait till one day per year to get really pissed, and are probably kissed by other Irish persons on a daily basis! But, let us not digress into unfair cultural stereotypes.

In honor of today's St. Patrick's Day celebration, we bring you two map postcards appropriate for the day, from Karen's Whimsy and the St. Louis Time Portal (Irish music warning: turn down the volume on your computer...)

"They're After Me Lucky Charms!"

Follow this map to see if you can find the Leprechaun's treasure:

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Indoor and Arena Football Nation

In addition to my passion for maps and boardgames, I am also a big fan of minor league arena and indoor football; a fast-paced, high scoring version of American Football. While games are played indoors on a 50-yard field, with padded dasherboard walls, they are two different game systems. Both the Arena and Indoor football seasons started this month.

Arena Football is the patented game system used by the Arena Football League and arenafootball2. The distinctive feature of Arena Football is the large net stretched across the end zone. If the ball bounces off the net, it remains in play. Indoor Football avoids violation of the patent (which expires this year) by leaving out the nets. In most other ways, the game is the same. Eight men on the field (sometimes seven), emphasis on passing, quick scoring, and fans close to the action.

Over the years many Indoor and Arena Football teams have come and gone in Ohio. Currently there are six teams in four different leagues.
However, the team that first got me hooked on the game was the Dayton Skyhawks, of the now defunct Indoor Football League. I happened to attend the last home game of the 1999 season and was able to get a front row seat near the endzone. I not only enjoyed the style of game, I appreciated being very close to the action. I could see and hear every hit, and it was even possible to interract with the players and coaches with some good-natured "trash talk". We teased one player about what he was going to do, and he looked right at us and said, "I'm going to score a touchdown!"

After the Skyhawks and the IFL folded up their tent, I had to wait a few years for another team. In 2005 the Dayton Warbirds offered terrific action on the field. Unfortunately, the shady financial dealings of their owners, and their league (the infamous National Indoor Football League), left a sour taste for the city, making it unlikely that another team will be able to succeed in this market for years to come. Fortunately, the Miami Valley Silverbacks play in the city of Troy, to the north of Dayton, and I can always make the trek to Columbus to see the Destroyers.

During the last two seasons I ran a website and fan forum for fans of indoor and arena football in Ohio. It was called Ohio Indoor Football, but that venture is currently on hiatus (update: now defunct). You all must admit, that I had a cool logo... (logo design by Robert Cole).

The best place on the Internet to find news and other info about indoor football teams, arena football teams, and teams in any other American and Canadian minor league sport (baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer and outdoor football) is In addition to news, press releases, fan message boards, and netcasts, they also provide Google maps to locate all of the teams in all of the leagues. Below is the map for the Arena Football League.

Indoor and Arena Football. Check it out. Remember, if a ball goes in to the stands, you get to keep it. If a player ends up in your lap, you have to throw him back...

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Best of New York

My library's copy of the March 10-17, 2008, issue of New York Magazine has this festive cartographic image on its cover (right):

However, when I went to the magazine's website, they insist that this is the cover of the issue (left).

Do they perhaps have different covers for their city issues and the issues that go out to the hinterland? Do they assume non-New Yorkers will need this map to find their way around the Best of New York?...

UPDATE 3/12: Lauren Starke of New York magazine explains. "NY mag held a design competition for its Best of NY cover and chose 2 winners, one for subscribers (the subway map block letters) and one for newsstands. You can see runners -up here:"

Thank you!

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Festival of Maps Are Here, Hon.

Following the successful Festival of Maps in Chicago, the City of Baltimore will host a Festival of Maps March 16 through June 30, 2008. The exhibit at The Walters Art Museum includes this map of Virginia that includes modern day Maryland:

Virginia, in A Map of Virginia: With a Description of the Country, the Commodities, People, Government, and Religion
by John Smith
1612; printed map
Newberry Library, Chicago (Gift of Edward E. Ayers)
British settler John Smith laid the colonial foundation with the publication of this 1612 map of Virginia.

"The Baltimore Festival of Maps is a citywide celebration organized by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance to encourage Baltimore residents and visitors to explore museums, theaters, galleries and educational institutions." I wish I could be there.

You Are Here, Hon. is a blog by an enthusiastic map fan in Baltimore. She calls herself "Her Majesty of Maps. Just a local gal who has lots of attitude about latitude and who knows a thing or two about the map frenzy sweeping Charm City," She appears to be having a lot of fun posting maps from the exhibit, as well as oddball maps she finds along the way.

And here's something else I learned today: one of the nicknames for Baltimore is, "The Charm City." I'll buy that. I have visited the city many times and it has never been unpleasant. I love the Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium, and my favorite art museum in the world (sorry Walters), the American Visionary Art Museum.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dubai Island World

The Persian Gulf city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has created map of the world from an archipelago of 300 artificial islands. This $14 billion project is the world's largest land reclamation effort.

Dubbed "The World", the real estate devolopers are apparently selling these islands to the wealthy for homes and apartments. However, environmentalists complain that this project is damaging coral reefs and oyster beds.

UPDATE 9/18/09: The End of the World

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gallery: Map Postcards to Trade

Below are many of the map (and other) postcards I am willing to trade:

[See Map Postcards to Trade for more details.]






North Carolina



West Virginia

The World





(A set of 16 postcards of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg)



I will be adding a deleting from this page from time to time.