Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ohio is a Piano

OK, I think I think we have a winner for coolest map-thing-of-the-year. Andy Woodruff at Cartogrammar has created a musical map:
Last month, as I was driving through Ohio to collect my final three counties in the state, it dawned on me: There are 88 counties in this state. There are 88 keys on a piano. I don’t know anything about music, but holy crap, I have to make a map based on this coincidence.

And so I did, bit by bit, gradually descending into madness in the process. It has no purpose, really, apart from being an experiment in some sort of weird artistic musical cartography. Ohio is a piano. Check it out. (It’s in Flash.)

Each county on the map is keyed to a piano note. Play the OhioPiano by plucking a county, or pull together a string of notes by charting a route between two cities. Change the note of each county by ranking them, highest to lowest, by a demographic (such as population, ethnic groups, number of farms, etc.). Arrange them just right to play a tune, or use one of the pre-programmed songs.

Woodruff says he's "gone off the deep end, musically and cartographically", but I say "Go Andy" you are now my carto-hero of 2009!


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shoes: A Little Las Vegas in Chicago

Seen in a Chicago store window:

Thanks Orange!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle of Civilization

From The Accordion Guy: FOX News Doesn’t Know Where Iraq Is...

OK... you seen one cradle of civilization, you seen them all...

The Fox graphics department is also known for its tendency to mislabel badly-behaving Republicans as Democrats...

Via The Map Room

The Wrong Georgia on Google's Mind
Iraq-Pakistan Border

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Don't Worry, Be Cool

Today I noticed the cover of the 11 July issue of The Spectator magazine. The illustration shows the planet Earth enjoying the sunshine without a care in the world (sort of like my vacation last week) I couldn't find a complete image of the cover online, but here are two bits...

In the cover story, "Meet the man who has exposed the great climate change con trick"
James Delingpole talks to Professor Ian Plimer, the Australian geologist, whose new book shows that ‘anthropogenic global warming’ is a dangerous, ruinously expensive fiction, a ‘first-world luxury’ with no basis in scientific fact. Shame on the publishers who rejected the book
I'm not going to argue about global warming here (take it to some other blog). I'll just post this link and image from The Guardian's rebuttal: "Spectator recycles climate rubbish published by sceptic"

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Postcards Take a Vacation

Last week I lamented the lack of map postcards, and postcards in general while on vacation in North Carolina. On our last day on the beach, we decided to try parasailing. After a long drive around the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, we arrived at Atlantic Beach in time to find out that all parasail flights had been canceled due to thunderstorms. So we toured historic Fort Macon instead.

And there, in the park gift shop, I found two map postcards!

Both of these cards depict the Outer Banks of the North Carolina coast, a portion of NC that I have never actually visited, but that has never stopped this map postcards collector before.

The second postcard records the many shipwrecks of the area. An interesting thing I learned at Fort Macon was that just a couple years after the state of North Carolina had restored the Fort as part of a State Park, the U.S. Army re-armed the fort as part of the coastal defences in 1942. Several of those ships on the card were sunk by German U-Boats.

After returning home from this vacation, I was pleasantly surprised to find this fine postcard to add to my collection. I've never been to Scotland either.

Thanks Allison!

Naturally, when you return home from a week's vacation, you need to go grocery shopping. Another surprise! The grocery store has an Ohio postcard that I haven't seen before. w00t!

So, I guess I can call this a successful postcard vacation after all.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Europe 2020

The Map Scroll has posted a speculative map from Coming Anarchy (which appears to be down at the moment...). What if all the separatist movements of Europe were to succeed?:

With the continued integration of the European Union this map becomes less far fetched. If individual European states continue to cede power to EU, will it matter if Scotland, or the Basques or Flanders has its own local government?

Another Europe
Disunited States of America


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Driving to the Beach

So, as previously noted, I am vacationing on the beach. In my nearly half-century of life, this mid-western boy has never done the "week on the beach" kind of thing. Its been a pretty laid back week. Not much to do (and that's just fine) but it doesn't make for much interesting map stuff. So, feel free to move on to the next post.

I'm on the North Carolina coast for a family reunion. All three of my brothers, and most of our kids, wives and grandchildren (none for me yet, thank you) are all staying in a big house of the beach.

The family is scattered all over. My brothers and I are originally from Michigan, but now we live in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Florida and Maryland. I've done a bit of swimming and bicycling, but mostly just hanging out with the family. The biggest bicycling challenge was climbing to the top of the bridge that connects our island to the mainland, over theIntracoastal Waterway

I find it quite fascinating that the Army Corps of Engineers has built this waterway that connects most of the Gulf and Atlantic coastal states with navigable rivers, straits and canals, allowing commerce and pleasure boats to travel without hitting the high seas. Perhaps more on that in a future post.

Another mappish thing noted on this trip: While I haven't added any new states to Where I've Been, I did drive a stretch of highway I've never driven before. That's always fun.

No new map postcards, in fact, I don't think I have even seen a postcard at all this week. Fewer and fewer shops even carry them any more. Who sends postcards any more I wonder...

I'll be back to a more regular schedule next week.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

London Cut Out

Famille Summerbelle offers designs and accessories for decorating a child’s room.

"This print is based on an original Famille Summerbelle hand paper cut of London. It shows detail of the central boroughs of London with the attractions and cultural pursuits that make London so special."

Paris also available.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beach Reading

Next week I'll be on the beach! Location and maps will be blogged, to be sure...

But in the meantime, I know you're all dying to know what I'll be reading on the beach:

(Feel free to purchase from Amazon through these links to help keep Cartophilia solvent. Thanks!)


Inspiring Design with Maps

The Design to Inspire blog pulls together ideas on interior design. After trolling flickr they have pulled together a dozen or so photos of maps used in design. Here are two of them:

UPDATE: or "Hot, sloppy, wet map pr0n" as fleela likes to call it...


Monday, July 13, 2009

HGTV Showdown Mexico City

I cannot say for sure if I have ever watched a program on HGTV, but Sunday night I received an urgent text message map alert from Hunter:
Mural map of Mexico City used as design element on HGTV Showdown right now.
Whereupon I quickly grabbed the Carto-remote and was able to catch a glimpse of this Carto-bedroom-design:

In each episode of HGTV Showdown, two design teams battle side-by-side on stage as they make over the same room for a couple whose decorating styles differ. With only four hours to work their magic under the scrutinizing eyes of the homeowners, the showdown is on to see which team will come up with the best plan for meeting the needs of both husband and wife, while transforming the room into an amazing space.
In tonight's episode teams tried to add style, honor Ray’s Mexican heritage and maximize the usable space in the challenge’s 660-square-foot apartment.

I don't know if I could handle that kind of nail-biting excitement on a regular basis but I like the wall mural. More photos here and here.

Thanks Hunter


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Middle Earth Map Boot

Item Not As Described takes a look at items advertised on Craigslist and wonders why anyone wouldn't want this crap these treasures (motto: Free is a Four Letter Word). Today, we look at Handpainted Middle Earth map on papier mache boot, circa 1979 and wonder why it hasn't yet found a home...

Maybe if it came with matching Narnia...

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Another Europe

Miguel Farah sends me this thought experiment map, wherein he plays "what if" with European history.
What would have happened if Simon de Montfort had failed and the Crown of Aragon had continued its northern expansion? What would have happened if the Castilian and Portuguese counties hadn't survived? What if the Sami people had had their own country? Or if the Austrians had avoided being robbed Tyrol by the Italians? Or if Bavaria had refused to be a part of the German Empire in the XIX century? Or if ...? When reading history, there are many occasions where one asks himself questions like this and speculates about the changes those would bring to a political map.

Significant divergences include an East/West schism in the Roman Catholic Church and the Austro-Hungarian Empire becomes progressive and gives its many ethnic groups greater autonomy (thus avoiding WWI). More...

I always enjoy alternate history, and maps always make these stories more interesting.


Disunited States of America
The People's Republic of America
Alternate Nations of North America
Roswell, Texas

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yuppie Locator

Jessica at has sent me this amusing tool to mash up Google maps with Census data to rank city neighborhoods based on different factors - e.g. Yuppieness, cougars, baby mommas etc. You're able to see which neighborhoods are more concentrated with these different factors. Below is a the Yuppie Locator for San Francisco:

You can do a search for other major cities. They also rank the city with an index, on a scale from 0-100, for a certain factor. The index is located to the right of the map. If you click the 'read more' panel, you're able to see how they defined and described the index and exactly which pieces of census data they used.

UPDATE: Moments after posting this map, I visited The Map Scroll. Chachy has also featured this site... AND used San Francisco for his example. LOL... great minds think alike. I think Chachy may live out there... I only chose SF because the data map for Dayton was pretty boring...

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Craig Ferguson in Kosovo

It's a video map triple-play! I just watched last night's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and we get another funny map:

Last week, Ferguson was on a USO tour to entertain peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. However, he was having a little trouble with Balkan geography.

See the video (for as long as CBS keeps it up).

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Al Franken's Stupid Human Trick

Two videos today! Sorry about that. But when a funny video includes a map, Cartophiliac is there.

Like him or not, Al Franken is the new Junior Senator from Minnesota. Like most politicians, he is also a comedian (the others just don't admit it...). Talking Points Memo has pulled together a collection of highlights from his career, including this 1987 appearance by Franken and Davis on the David Letterman show:

If you don't want to watch the full video, skip ahead to approximately 6:30 where you can view Franken perform his "Stupid Human Trick": Al Franken can draw a map of the contiguous United States in under two minutes!

What ever happened to Tom Davis?


UPDATE 9/7: Here's a new version:

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Mexico Builds Border Wall

As always, I depend on The Onion News Network for the most important news.

Warning: Contains "bad words"

Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out US Assholes

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Daddy Needs a New Pair of (Map) Shoes

I went shoe shopping this afternoon; looking for a new pair of casual shoes. These are the shoes I found. They really were the best shoes for the best price... really!

If I ever go to the Florida Keys, I won't get lost. I'll just check the bottom of my shoes.

Sadly, I am not a Jimmy Buffet fan.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Little Miami Scenic Trail - Part 3

This afternoon Mrs. Cartophiliac and I completed the third leg of our goal to bike the entire Little Miami Scenic Trail before the end of Summer.

Part One
Part Two

Xenia to Corwin (Waynesville), 14.3 miles one-way this time.

Followed by lunch at the Corwin Peddler (Beef and Ale Pie).

Less than forty miles to go. We'll probably do it in two trips in August.

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Butterfly Maps

Butterflies cut from vintage maps:

From Image Surgery

Via GeoLounge


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Japan Cutting Board

From Room Service of Cleveland, Ohio.

"made with oak hard wood
hand sewn (to perfection!)"

OK, I'm confused. It's a piece of wood cut in the shape Japan. What part of it is sewn?

"circle cut into the board so that you could hang it....if hung it will fall in the EXACT position in which the island is on a map!"

Now that part is cool. Well thought out design. Seems like the perfect accessory for a sushi chef!

HT to Hunter



Thursday, July 2, 2009

Empire: Striding Across Africa

I've been reading Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power by Niall Ferguson wherein he explains how "an archipelago of rainy islands... came to rule the world." Richly illustrated with maps charts and drawings, this book relates the events that led to British domination in India and Africa, and a presence on every continent. It was not hyperbole to say that the sun never set on the British Empire. Some critics have called Ferguson's work "revisionist", as he often defends the actions of the Empire as an overall good thing for its subjects (contrary to other recent scholarship). His final chapter is directed at the United States. What lessons can be learned from British successes and errors by the inheritors of the new "world empire" as that power is challenged?
Several chapters are devoted to the British advances across Africa; to the South from Egypt and to the North from The Cape. Cecil Rhodes, the diamond magnate and founder of the state of Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe and Zambia), had a vision of the Empire in Africa connected, north and south. In the illustration below, Rhodes can be seen sneering at his critics.

Lord Salisbury, the Foreign Secretary and later Prime Minister, was opposed to this vision: "I can imagine no more uncomfortable position than the possession of a narrow strip of territory in the very heart of Africa, three month's distance from the coast, which should be separating the forces of a powerful empire like Germany and... another European Power." He did not believe that territory should be acquired, simply because it looks good on a map. Speaking of Rhodes, he said, "I think that the constant study of maps is apt to disturb men’s reasoning powers"

This quote has of course become the motto for Cartophilia.

Rhodes' vision of connecting African holdings, North and South, came to fruition after the First World War and the acquisition (by League of Nations "mandate") of Tanganyika (later Tanzania).

Thanks to Pascal for tipping me off to this one.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day!

Today is Canada Day! So, in honor of our neighbor to the north, I offer two amusing videos, presumably by Canadians, to poke a bit of fun at the United States as well as boost their egos. Both videos make use of maps for comedic effect.

Canada previously on Cartophilia

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Britain's Secret Weapon Against Invasion

BibliOdyssey, the home of delightful illustrations from vintage books, is featuring An Incomplete Evolution of the Cartoon Political Map.

The earliest illustration is from 1791 and the latest from 1900. Here we see "The French Invasion, or John Bull, bombarding the Bum-boats" (1793). As the French Revolution threatened to spill across the channel, satirical illustrator James Gillray offered his own explosive solution to a French invasion. These fears of invasion were not unfounded. The last attempted invasion of Britain did, in fact, take place in 1797.

HT to Eric