Thursday, July 31, 2008

Free Gas? Your Choice

During a recent stay at a hotel, I noticed a poster for their summer promotion. Make three hotel stays at their hotels and get a $50 gas card. The advertising material is designed to look like some sort United States board game:

While I'm not endorsing Choice Hotels (although I did have a pleasant stay), I do like hotels that use maps in their advertising.

The game looks about as interesting as Candyland, but perhaps with that $50 gas card, I could afford one of those "Land o' the Free" road trips...


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Land o' the Free

"When the mercury rises, it's all about freedom—to hit the road, float a lazy river, down a cold one in a mountain saloon, climb a crag or two, munch some local grub, cast for lunkers, watch the sunset from a seaside lodge."

I recently came across a July 2003 issue of Outside Magazine featuring descriptions of ten different summer road trips across the United States. Each road trip profiles the route, including "Adventure Stops", "Top Digs" (motels), "Best Eats", other "Don't Miss" opportunities, as well as recommendations for road tunes "On the Stereo"

Unfortunately, with the price of gas in 2008, I will content myself with the article illustrations by Zohar Lazar. Each article includes an illustrated map, designed to look like one of the old "Wish You Were Here" postcards.

These aren't postcards, but they should be!


Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mapping a Tragedy

Newspapers, and their accompanying websites, often create maps, diagrams and charts to provide further insight into current events. For those who have been following the story of the tragic shooting and murders at a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tennesee, the Knoxville News Sentinal has created a map of the church, diagraming the sequence of events on Sunday morning:



Kathryn Rodrigues

Kathryn Rodrigues, a Chicago based artist, says that maps are an enormous inspiration to her and her work.

Where Land Ends and Sea Begins #3, 2007. Mixed media.
By the time I was beginning high school, my family had moved ten times. This transient lifestyle left me with a deep interest in geography, memory and cultural identity. I see maps as being the intersection of these three subjects. They are able to reflect both home and abroad, the known and unknown, belonging and longing. It is precisely this ambiguity that continues to intrigue me. By referencing both visual and symbolic aspects of maps, I have recreated the process of investigating what and where I have come from, and the world around me today.

Germany. 2008. Photogram.



Monday, July 28, 2008

Fantasy Cartography

Fantasy Cartography is a blog that offers a collection of maps from various fantasy and science fiction books. Also included are "other goodies from literature, the Bible (not fiction), or television programs, movies, and video games."

Since January of this year, the (unnamed) blogger has pulled together hundreds of maps. While I did not make an exhaustive search, nearly every one of a half-dozen or so authors I checked were represented in the collection. Each entry is extensively tagged allowing the user to search any title in the author's series in order to find the relevant map.

Below is an excellent example of a map of the Young Kingdoms surrounding Melniboné, from Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné series of fantasy novels; authorized by the author.

My only quibble with the site is that many of the maps are not clearly marked to indicate if they are the "official" map (included in the book, or approved by the author) or "fan maps", drawn by fans based on their perception of the author's imaginary world.

Via The Map Room


Labels: ,

Friday, July 25, 2008

More Ohio Postcards

I finally got around to scanning the rest of my Ohio map postcards. There's not a whole lot to say about them. If you enjoy map postcards, then enjoy perusing these.

If you are interested in trading postcards, see Map Postcards to Trade and my Postcard Gallery.


Labels: ,

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Power Grid

My latest boardgame aquisition is Power Grid. As eurogames go, this one is middle-range in complexity. Success requires analysis and planning. I have played this game for several years, and a few weeks ago, I actually won for the first time! So I decided it was time I owned a copy.

The object of this game is to supply the most cities with power. To accomplish this goal players purchase power plants and the raw materials needed to run the plants. These materials include coal, oil, garbage, and uranium, but also includes wind and solar-powered plants. The winner of the game will create the most efficient network of plants powering the most cities. The base game comes with a map of the United States on one side:

and a map of Germany on the other:

Official game expansions include Italy, France and the Benelux countries:

However, many enterprising Power Grid fans have created their own maps, allowing them to play in Scandinavia:

...and Connecticut

As it often happens, I found something cool while looking for something else. is offering Power Grid (and other boardgame) themed T-shirts:

Power plant #44 in the game deck is one of the most desirable in the set, as it powers up to five cities, but because it uses solar and wind power, you do not need to purchase resources to burn.

"Money isn't everything, but it is a tie-breaker in Power Grid"

Game board images from


Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Upcoming Hurricanes

From XKCD: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.


Labels: ,

The Three Stages of Language Fluency

In The Three Stages of Language Fluency, an article posted on, Steve Kaufmann argues that "billions of dollars are wasted on ineffective language and literacy instruction programs" which ignore what he calls, "the three natural stages in language growth." The key, he says, is "motivation and enjoyment, not a school or a diploma."

I like the illustrations they use for their articles.

Thanks to Hunter for the link!


Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Iraq-Pakistan Border

On Good Morning America, while commenting on Barack Obama's Middle Eastern tour, John McCain made a bit of a geography "gaff":

"We have a lot of work to do. It’s a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border."

While I will not likely be voting for McCain, it wouldn't be because of this silly little slip of the tongue. However, the satirical side of the vast left-wing media conspiracy is having a field day. I just enjoy the maps:

Countdown with Keith Olbmermann

Media Matters
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Matthew Yglesias

Hip Hop is Read

In the interest of fairness, as soon as the vast right-wing media conspiracy mocks Barack Obama with maps, I'll be sure to cover it here.

UPDATE 7/23: Mr. RW Anon (see comments) is making me do all the work. OK, here we go:

I had forgotten about Obama's 57 states comment... in fact I vaguely recall an editorial cartoon that included a map... but I found this one from the Power Line Blog:

"Reader Porter Yates created the 57-state map above in honor of Obama's recent slip of the tongue. The map highlights all 18 states that voted for Kerry in 2004, all 31 states in Mexico, the 6 provinces in Canada that didn't vote conservative in 2006, Jamaica and Cuba (naturally)."

However, I think this new lapel pin is the funniest image to come out of that whole flap:


Labels: , , , , ,

Señor Cartophiliac es muy solitario

Mi esposa, La Gringrissima, ha ido a México para las tres semanas próximas a estudiar español. La ensamblaré durante la cuarta semana.

My wife, La Gringrissima, has gone to Mexico for the next three weeks to study Spanish. I will join her during the fourth week.

She has been studying Spanish for several years, both in the classroom and on her own. Not only does she enjoy learning languages (she also knows a smattering of Italian, German and Russian) but Spanish could become more useful in our community, where we have seen a marked increase in the Hispanic Community.

The green parts of this map highlight the area where she could likely find Spanish speakers:

Senora Cartophiliac will be attending the ENCUENTROS school in Cuernavaca (south of Mexico City) where she will experience a three-week immersion. She will spend time in the classroom, take field trips and live with a local family. She anticipates that this experience will "get he over the hump" and help her be more fluent.

Next month Mr. Cartophiliac will join her there. This will be the first time I have been out of the country (not counting Canada) since 1980 when I spent four months in Taiwan pretending to learn Chinese. I expect La Gringissima to be an "old hand" and fluent in the language, so she can guide and translate for me.

I also hope I'll bring home some nice maps...


Labels: ,

Monday, July 21, 2008

Let's Clean House With Ike And Dick

The collection of Steve Davis, political memorabilia collector and County Court Baliff, is currently being exhibited at the Dayton Metro Library. “Politics on Display”, An exhibit of Ohio and Presidential campaign posters and more, June 16 – August 16, 2008.
Davis has loaned the library over 50 political posters, as well as, assorted buttons and memorabilia of gubernatorial, presidential and senate races from as far back as the 1920’s to present day. This non-partisan display features both Republican and Democratic candidates including Richard Nixon, James Rhodes, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Robert Kennedy, Walter Mondale and his running-mate Geraldine Ferraro.
Two items from the 1964 election have, of course, caught my eye: Both a Goldwater/Miller button, and a Johnson/Humphrey poster prove the patriotism of their candidates by using an image of the map of the United States (minus new states Alaska and Hawaii).


Labels: ,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Map Ads Get Their Point Across

Two recent ads seen in magazines and newspapers:

"The We Campaign is a project of The Alliance for Climate Protection -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort founded by Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore. Our ultimate aim is to halt global warming. Specifically we are educating people in the US and around the world that the climate crisis is both urgent and solvable."

The use of a "word cloud" globe emphasizes how all can be a part of solving the problem of climate change.

You might just have treasure buried somewhere in your home. Do you have old savings bonds? Cash them in! But who would store their old savings bonds in the garage?


Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Google Maps Gone Bad

Google Maps Gone Bad




Michael5000 has created a handy index to his Forgotten Lands.

Capital: Brevogrod
Population: 6,734,232 (1995 Census)
Area: 38,860 km2
Literacy Rate: 98%
Independence: 1672
Per Capita GNP: $12,030
National Anthem: “To Zagria we Pledge”

Economy: Zagria is an agricultural exporter, especially of grains, apples, grapes, and cheese. A coal/steel based heavy industrial sector suffers from aging and obsolete factories and facilities and from international competition. Oil fields underlying the southern plains of Svisla province provide Zagria’s most important source of foreign exchange.

Zagria is an anomaly in Eastern Europe. In this region of the Earth, as in no other, countries represent the territorial aspirations of cultures. The Poles have their Poland, the Slovaks their Slovakia, the Magyars their Hungary, and the half-dozen former Yugoslavs their half-dozen former Yugoslav republics. Yet within this mosaic of nation-states sits heterogeneous Zagria. Polyglot (Hungarian, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian), religiously inclusive (Catholic, Orthodox, Islamic, and, surprisingly, Lutheran), Zagria is easily as culturally diverse as any other similarly sized piece of land on Earth.

For all of this, many observers find Zagrian society is disappointingly prosaic. Its many ethnic groups have neither walled themselves off into discrete enclaves, nor exhibited an unusual degree of mingling or intermarriage. There is little sense of animosity or contention between the people of this land, but neither is there any widespread sense of patriotism or national unity (Menillini, The New Nationalism).

Since independence, Zagria has gone through prime ministers at a rate of more than one per year, with parliamentary coalitions in constant flux and no political party able to maintain a stable majority. Post-communist economic stagnation and a widespread culture of corruption and bribery have created fertile grounds for a shadow oligarchy of ostentatious gangster-businessmen and their well-dressed thugs. To the average Zagrian of any culture, such things have long since ceased to excite much anger. “In Zagria,” wrote Brevograd’s great novelist Gnadyy Zvorić, “public life is as constant as weather, and as fruitfully cursed.”

Flag: Based on the shields of the medieval dukes of Zagria, the flag is a simple black diagonal through a field of dark green.

UPDATED 2008-08-28


Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


In 1830, the Kingdom of Belgium secured its independence from the Netherlands. Later the Treaty of Maastricht, in 1843, precisely settled the exact boundary between the two nations. The cartographers carefully drew this new border along ethnic lines. Today, tiny enclaves of Belgium exist within the borders of the Netherlands.

Residents of the cities of the cities of Baarle-Nassau and Baarle-Hertog can find themselves crossing this international border as they walk or drive to work or just to visit their neighbors. Some, in fact live ON the border.

Via boingboing

Barry Smith



A postcard collector from the Philippines contacted me and we are now trading postcards. She sent me these beautiful cards from her homeland:

Spain colonized the islands in the 16th century. During the Philippine Revolution, they briefly won independence until occupied by the United States during the Spanish American War. The Filipino people continued to struggle for independence until the end of World War II. The nation became independent in 1946.

In 1972,President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. The People Power Revolution of 1986, led by Corazon Aquino, widow of the assassinated opposition leader, Benigno Aquino, ultimately overthrew that authoritarian rule.

In 2008, President Bush expressed his regard for the Filipino people: "I am reminded of the great talent of the -- of our Philippine Americans when I eat dinner at the White House.... And the chef is a great person and a really good cook, by the way, Madam President."

Contact me if you have map postcards to trade. I have many postcards, some with maps, others without, available to trade with you.


Labels: , ,