Friday, November 28, 2008

Maps of War: March of Democracy

Maps of War: The Visual History of War, Religion and Government offers Flash animated maps to help users understand historical and current events. The latest addition to the site is March of Democracy, charting the ebb and flow of democratic ideals through history and across the map of the world:

Where has democracy dominated and where has it retreated? This map gives us a visual ballet of democracy's march across history as the most popular form of government. From the first ancient republics to the rise of self-governing nations, see the history of democracy: 4,000 years in 90 seconds...!
Other maps include:

History of Religion: How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries? and Imperial History: Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Newest Country: Coolest Country?

Yesterday, Greenland voted in favor of independence from Denmark. While the new status will not take effect until June 21, let us take a moment to welcome them to the family of nations. Also, we must acknowledge that they have one of the coolest flags!

Known as Kalaallit Nunaat in the local Inuit language, the new nation will be able to control the vast and lucrative untapped Arctic resources. With global warming, it may be easier to access petroleum products, as well as gold, rubies, uranium, aluminum, nickel, platinum, tungsten, titanium, and copper. Does this make Greenland the only nation that is in favor or global warming? Perhaps greater tourism is in their future. Greenland: the new Riviera of 2078?

Meanwhile, it's still pretty cold there. I would presume that Greenland is the coldest nation, north to south... someone will correct me if I am wrong.

UPDATE: OK, I stand corrected. They only voted for greater autonomy. It sounds like they will be able to act like a separate country in nearly every way...

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Here's Mud In Your Eye

For the last week or so, the blogosphere has been abuzz over the unveiling of the LIFE photo archive hosted by Google. You can now search Google Images to retrieve photos and other images from 1750 to the present. Many of the classic LIFE photos are now searcheable by keyword.

I finally got around to browsing the collection and naturally, I typed in the keyword "map". One of the many results was this less than appetizing array of martinis:

Map of the US w.Martini glasses either empty or filled w. varied portions of black liquid representing the amount of air particulates in the state on which they rest As a result of the US Dept. of Health's "Air Pollution Measurements fr. 1957-1961.
Location: US
Date taken: November 1963
I guess if you were going to drink the polluted air, the best place to be was in the Rocky Mountains, and stay away from Chicago Gary.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where I've Been

Paticipants of the Facebook and MySpace social networking sites may already be familiar with this type of interactive "Where I've Been" map. Douwe Osinga offers this Create your own visited map of The United States that you can plug into your own blog or website:

visited 33 states (66%)

In most of these states, I have spent some time, or at least driven through. Washington and Alaska only appear here because I had a brief layover in the Seattle and Anchorage airports.

I have far less red on my Create your own visited map of The World:

visited 6 states (2.66%)

Of course I have visited Canada and Mexico and I spent four months in Taiwan during college pretending to learn Chinese. Japan and South Korea were, once again, layovers.

I have never been to India, but those of you that have can also Create your own visited map of India.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Giant Map and Globe Fun

How about a giant globe toy to go with your map rug?

From the folks at The Conran Shop: "Give your children the world! This giant cloth globe comes with a set of 181 Velcro-attachable felt motifs, including famous landmarks, animals and figures in national costume which can be placed anywhere on the globe."

(Thanks Tony!)

Speaking of giant maps... National Geographic has Giant Traveling Maps! Coming to a school near you...

Via Contours - The National Geographic Maps Blog


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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Russian Cake Art Maps

Who could have the heart to cut into, and eat, one of these cakes?

St. Petersburg:


More Russian Cake Art at Damn Cool Pics.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Map Plates

Feast on this:

Available from What on Earth: "You might serve pasta on Italy, pierogi on Poland, sauerkraut on Germany, or paella on Spain. Each plate is shaped like the nation it represents, with major cities highlighted. Pieced together, you can create a substantial serving platter."

Via Apartment Therapy The Kitchen and thanks, Hunter!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Map Pillows

Decorative Geographic Pillows from Burchfield's Golf Gallery:

Via Cafe Cartolina

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

International Watersheds

While writing about Montana last summer, I went off on a tangent about Ocean Drainage basins. Water is, and will likely continue to be, an important international environnmental issue.

Aaron T. Wolf, et al, have published a paper that reflects on the impact of global geopolitics and water. The paper includes a map highlighting the areas of the world where two or more nations share a watershed river basin:

Access to the water resources and the quality of that water will require international cooperation, or all may suffer (and thirst?).

While preparing to post this map, I came across (via The Daily Dish) another from UNESCO highlighting the groundwater resources of the world (PDF) and the necessity for international cooperation to avoid water wars.

Read more in this article from the New Scientist.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Michigan Mittens

Can too much ever be said about the "mittenmorphic" State of Michigan? Who else can say they were born carrying a map of their home state? In a Say Yes! to Michigan post last Spring, I demonstrated how to create a map of Michigan with two hands:

The clever folks at Michigan Mittens are now offering special mittens with a map of a Michigan peninsula on each hand. Never get lost in Michigan AND keep your hands warm! Now you can have it all!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Map Shoes Go Swoosh!... and Splash!

Rex Parker, crossword puzzle solver and vintage paperback book collector, sent to me this photo of a map on a Nike shoe:

That prompted me to seek out more info... instead, what I found were additional examples of maps on Nike shoes.



See previous examples of map shoes:

The Tennessee Representa and Jennifer Collier's map shoe sculpture.

Also, while searching for map shoe information, I was reminded of this amusing, yet environmentally tragic story the cargo ship full of Nike products that accidentally dumped in the North Pacific back in 1999. Shoes and other flotsam were washing up on British Columbian beaches for years.

More recently, there have been grisly stories of Nike (and other) shoes, with feet still in them, washing up in BC.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Last Word on 2008 Electoral Maps

The presidential electoral season brought so many interesting variations of the electoral map, I have resisted the urge to post them all here. So, as a goodbye to the 2008 election, I'll just post these two.

The Economist polled their world-wide readers: What if the whole world could vote in the U.S. election:

I suspect these results confirm the suspicions of both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are pleased that we will have a president that most of the rest of the world likes, and Republicans see Obama as the favorite of terrorists and socialists... (Although, I'm not sure how that explains Cuba going for McCain...)

Leave it to The Onion to carefully explain the electoral results:

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Map Lamp

Chez Larsson offers a map lamp howto:

Benita is an artist and a visual merchandiser in Sweden. While it is not clear from this image, if you visit the howto page you will see that the map on the lamp is of Stockholm.

Via Craftzine, thanks to Ms. Cartophiliac.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Michigan's Superior Peninsula

In his book, Lost States: Real Quests for American Statehood (discussed earlier this week) Michael Trinklein discussed the proposed State of Superior. Composed of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and portions of Northern Wisconsin, this state would presumably give the attention this region deserves, but is not getting from Lansing or Madison.

While the proposal gained some traction among "Yoopers" in the 1960s and `70s, it never came to a formal vote. Although they do have their own flag:

Some residents of the U.P. have an inflated view of their region's importance (as seen in this postcard):

(See other inflated views)

Additional map postcards with views of pleasant peninsulas:

Speaking of the Keweenaw Peninsula... For those of us of a certain age, who grew up in or near Detroit, we remember TV Weatherman, Sonny Elliot, and his special recognition of the Keweenaw Peninsula... ("Right... spweeeeet!... here...") Watch this video just past the two minute mark:

As you can see, his very first weathermap of Michigan lopped off the Keweenaw, and he had to add it on... In later years he made sure his (higher-tech) weather maps always had a detachable Keweenaw. He was also famous for coining new weather terms: cloudy and cool = "clool"!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No man is an island, but there sure are a lot of them

It has been too long since I did an all-map-postcard post. While looking through a stack of cards in my collection, I noticed a number of islands scattered throughout. So, let's take a tour.

We'll start close to home, with the islands of Marth's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Interesting factoids: Martha's Vinyard is the 57th largest island in the United States and Nantucket is famous for being the subject of limericks.

Bermuda is a British territory in the North Atlantic, famous for popularizing a style of uniform shorts.

The Dominican Republic is on the good side of the island of Hispaniola. For the last forty years, they have been able to avoid most of the political turmoil that plagues their island-mate, Haiti.

Jamaica is the birthplace of the Rastafari movement and Reggae music, as well as some pretty good rum. Good jams, mon, good jams.

Christopher Columbus named the Virgin Islands afer Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes, shortened to Las Vírgenes, after Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgins. The islands are divided between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Across the Atlantic in the direction of north Africa lies Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands of Spain. (See more of my Canary Islands map postcards.) The island was formed about 5 million years ago by volcanic eruption. Today its economy depends heavily on tourism.

Finally, let's head over to the northern Aegean Sea. Across the millenia, the island of Thasos has been ruled by Phoenicians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Turks, and Bulgarians. Today it is part of the nation of Greece. The island has been strategicaly important because of deposits of lead, silver, gold, copper, calamine and iron.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Lost States

Last week I wrote about How the States Got Their Shapes. It turns out that the fifty states we know and love were not the only states that we might have seen... Over the course of our history, many other states have been proposed, only to be shot down or ignored.

Michael Trinklein has written a book about these failed attempts: Lost States: Real Quests for American Statehood. Heavily illustrated, this book tells the tale of would be state-builders and forgotten corners of geography, with wit and humor. Some of these attempts were very serious, some no more than pranks. Here are two examples:

The colonists who followed Daniel Boone through the Cumberland Gap in the 1770s called their coloney "Transylvania" (wich means "through the woods" and has nothing to do with vampires). After the start of the Revolutionary War, representatives went to the Continental Congress seeking recognition, but Virginia, who claimed most of that land, would hear nothing of it. Later, the area was rearranged into Kentucky and Tennessee.

Many new states have been proposed by carving up or rearranging already existing states. Often because residents of a region feel neglected by the rest of the state government. Folks in norther California often feel ignored and underappreciated by the rest of the state. The same goes for southern Oregon. In 1941 a new state, Jefferson (to keep Washington company?), was proposed. A cabal attempted to declare independence on December 4... but were overshadowed by the events of December 7.

For more samples, visit the author's website.

UPDATE:  In the Spring of 2010, Trinklein came out with an updated expanded edition.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Wearing Maps

Looking for a piece of fabric with a map on it? Who doesn't want to wear a shirt made of out map fabric?

From the The True Up blog:

From J & O Fabrics:

From Geography Matters:

From Warm Biscuit:

A former associate of mine made this shirt for me from some map fabric she found:


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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Purple States of America 2008

Mark Newman has already come out with his 2008 Election Cartograms. (Last year I highlighted his 2004 Election Cartograms.)

Take the standard electoral vote maps we have been seeing since election night, and adjust the shape and size of each state for population and you get this:

It gives some real perspective on the size of Barack Obama's electoral vote landslide. However, as we know, in many of these states, the popular vote was very close. Re-color the map to show how the counties voted; strongly for Obama is dark blue, strongly for McCain is bright red, and shades of purple for everything in between...

Once again, the nation is bruised, but carries on...


Declan Butler has his own calculations for a population cartogram. He also includes Hawaii and Alaska (that sort of looks like a squashed bug...)

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ice Electoral Map

Just as they did in 2004, NBC News turned the ice rink at Rockefeller Center into an electoral map:

A video can be seen here on

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What Time Do the Polls Close?

I just love how elections produce all kinds of colorful maps!

Via The Daily Dish

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