Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Measure of America

The American Human Development Project offers interactive maps for over 60 human development indicators including health, education, income, environment, housing and security. Data can be presented by state or congressional district, and can be exported as a printable PDF file. Below is an example of the education statistics; a map of congressional districts by the percentage of the population with less than a high school education:

Maps can also be created for individual states (although they might not be quite so useful for the western states with only one or two congressional districts...)

Via The Electoral Map

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Sunrise Over Lake Huron

The American holiday, Labor Day, is coming up on Monday, September 1. Why do we celebrate workers in September? Because May Day is just too "socialist"... By moving it to September, we can all ignore the reason for the holiday, and just celebrate a long weekend at the end of Summer... But that's a topic for another blog.

This year, the 51st annual Mackinac Bridge Walk will take place in Michigan. Every Labor Day since 1958, one side of the bridge has been closed to traffic and the general public are allowed to cross the five-mile span on foot from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City. Traditionally, the State Governor has led the march.

Ten years ago, on Labor Day 1998, I particpated in the Mackinac Bridge walk.

I arrived in Mackinaw City late the night before, and attempted to sleep in my car, with little success. However, I was able to catch, in the early hours before dawn, one of the first busses to St. Ignace. They started the walk before sunrise and the timing was perfect. I was about halfway across the bridge when the sun began to rise over Lake Huron. It was spectacular!

I bought the commemorative t-shirt, and some Mackinaw City Fudge and prepared to head home.

The shirt, I thought, needed a bit more, so I stopped in a T-Shirt shop and had them add this Michigan map to the back.


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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mile High T-shirts

The Democratic National Convention is taking place this week in Denver, Colorado. In front of 80,000 people, Barack Obama will give his acceptance of his party's nomination at Mile High Stadium.

In anticipation of this event, I have been saving these two t-shirts from my collection. I almost forgot to post them this week...

I think I may also have a couple Colorado map postcards tucked away somewhere... but they will have to wait for another day.

You would think that 80,000 people would be the largest crowd ever for such a speech, but John F. Kennedy also addressed a crowd of 80,000, at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, for his acceptance speech in 1960.

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New New and News Maps on Magazines

Magazine cover designers never disappoint me. I can always count on a map or two every month. This month I present magazines with the word "New" or "News" in their title. How about that?
The New Republic August 13, 2008

Cover story: Trading Places by Alan Ehrenhalt
The demographic inversion of the American city.

The tiny image here does not do the cover justice, but it depicts the new "heart" of cities that are revitalizing, in the style of a transit map.
Two maps from the New Scientist magazine in one month!

First, August 6, 2008, another transit map is used to illustrate the story by Mark Buchanan on Why complex systems do better without us
The August 20, 2008, issue fills a water balloon globe to illustrate: Looming water crisis simply a management problem, by Jonathan Chenoweth

For another cover on this theme, see Squeezing out the last drops, my magazine post from earlier this month.

Finally, the September 2008 issue of ARTnews uses a map tatoo of China to introduce us to China's Art Market Boom by Barbara Pollack

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Roswell, Texas

Roswell, Texas, (by L. Neil Smith, Rex F. May, Scott Bieser, and Jen Zach) is a graphic novel that takes place in an "alternate universe" where Texas remained an independent republic after The Alamo. Fast-forward to 1947 and President Charles A. Lindbergh has dispatched some Texas Rangers (law enforcement officers, not baseball players) to Roswell, in West Texas, to investigate a reported crash of a flying saucer!

However, other countries are interested in getting there first. President Walter Disney of California and his Nazi allies, as well as the United States and the Franco-Mexican Empire are all interested in what can be found at the crash site.

For graphic novel and/or alt history fans, it is an amusing, fast-paced frolic. The story is full of actual historical figures as main characters or just a cameo appearance, including John Wayne, Lawrence of Albania (Arabia), Frank Sinatra, Lyndon B. Johnson and The Pope.

Only little tidbits of the "why and how" of this alternate timeline are revealed in the story, but I was first intriged by the map of the Federated States of Texas on the back cover (hightlighted below). The borders of this Republic of Texas are much larger than the State of Texas today, or even the territory of Texas that was wrested from Mexico in 1836 and 1848.

In little bits here and there throughout the story, the reader learns that in 1861, when the American Civil War started, Texas cut a deal with the United States. In exchange for Texan assitance putting down the rebellion, they were deeded most of Louisiana, Arkansas, and all or part of present day Missouri, Kanasas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

While the scenario is a bit implausible, it is necessary to create the shoot-from-the-hip culture that exists in this Texas of 1947 (and 1964). Every Texas stereotype is enlarged for comedic effect. For instance, in Texas, all citizens are required to carry a handgun. You must have a permit to be exempted from this law...

Published by Big Head Press, the comic was originally serialized on their website, and can still be found there in full color.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Libros en Español

The beginning of my recent trip to Mexico was marred by flight delays and cancellations. I ended up stuck in the Indianapolis airport for nearly eight hours, and by the time I reached Dallas I had already finished the several magazines I brought along as reading material. At the Dallas airport I picked up a copy of Carl Hiaasen's latest novel, Nature Girl. Adventure, revenge and humor in the Florida Everglades; I recommend his work for light, fun reading.

That book lasted for a few days in Cuernavaca, but by the time we reached Mexico City, I had to go looking for bookstores. Generally, I cannot visit another city or country without checking out the bookstores anyway... but now I needed something to read, and in English! Most of the new book stores I found had very little in English, but then I found a street full of used book stores, only a few blocks away from the hotel. I was now in librarian/book lover heaven. Eventually I settled on a big fat hardback book, Mexico, by James Michener. The author started this book in 1961, and picked it up and finished it thirty years later. Perhaps he should have left it on the shelf. While, as with most of Michener's work, it is steeped with history, I found the characters thin and clichéd. But worst of all TOO MUCH BULLFIGHTING! More than anything else, the book was about the culture of bullfighting in 1961. It might have made a good chapter. But at least it was something to read, to keep my eyes and hands busy in the evening, or on long bus rides.

Enough about books I'm reading, what does this have to do with maps? While in the several Mexico City new book stores, my eyes were drawn to several book covers that used maps in their design. Two of them are illustrating this post. El Espejo Enterrado (The Buried Mirror) by Carlos Fuentes and Breve Historia del Mundo (Brief History of the World) by Ernest H. Gombrich.

Map lovers can be found around the world. It is a universal language.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Happened While I Was Gone?

Mrs. Cartophiliac and I are back from our trip to Mexico. We visited Mexico City and several nearby sites, Including Teotihuacan:

I found a handful of map postcards, but not much else in the way of map memorabilia. I'll post a few things in the next few days.

Normally, I like to keep tabs on the news, and of course most of the news I saw was in Spanish, so I wasn't always sure what was going on... however, clearly the two biggest news stories of the last two weeks have been the Olympics and the fighting in the former soviet republic of Georgia. Since returning home I have been doing some catching up... so some of these images may be old news for you...

The New York Times has this terrific Olympic cartogram, that compares the number of medals won per country, at every Olympic Games from 1896 to the present:

Via The Map Room

Also via The Map Room is this embarassing Google News map goof:

Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show makes light the average American's ignorance about World Geography:

"War. God's way of teaching Americans geography."

The Princess Sparkle Pony Blog was more than a little tired of the media's repeated allusion to the Ray Charles song, Georgia on My Mind.


I do not find humor in the loss of life in this conflict between Georgia and Russia, but I cannot help but find ironic humor in the silly and ignorant responses to the tragedy.


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Friday, August 15, 2008

The Walmart Epidemic

The Flowing Data blog created an animation showing the growth of Walmart. It starts slow and then spreads like wildfire...

Via Boing Boing

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sweet Unfolding

A new advertiser has found her way here via Project Wonderful:

The Sweet Unfolding offers a collection of wedding favors, gifts, and accessories. The fact that they want to advertise on a map memorabilia website, only further confirms their high class and good taste. I'm guessing they like maps too, as they use them in several of their product images...


Monday, August 11, 2008


Steve Brodner having some map fun at the expense of presidential candidate, John McCain, at the New Yorker:

More political map gaff fun...

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hasta la vista, Baby!

As noted earlier, Mrs. Cartophiliac is in Cuernavaca, Mexico, studying Spanish. Señor Cartophiliac es muy solitario, however, not for long. I will be joining her this weekend, and we will spend the next week or so exploring Mexico City and its environs.

What a sweetheart! Yesterday, in the mail, I received not one, but TWO map postcards from the state of Morelos, where Cuernavaca is located:

Señor Cartophiliac es un hombre afortunado!

Aside from a few visits to Canada, this is my first trip outside of the United States since my trip to Taiwain in 1980! Needless to say I'm a bit excited. I hope to come back with interesting map memorabilia, but I won't likely be posting here from Mexico (why would I waste my time on vacation in an Internet cafe?). If I have some time before I leave, I may pre-program a couple posts to keep things from becoming completely dormant...

Hasta la vista!


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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Squeezing out the last drops

Three recent magazine covers using maps in their design:

Scientific American, August 2008, has a cover story on the freshwater crisis. Squeezing out the last drops.

The news-digest magazine, The Week, covers Barack Obama's "celebrity" trek.

Agency Sales magazine has it's head in the clouds on the global marketplace.


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