Monday, November 30, 2009

West Virginia Gives Us The Finger

As has been noted here previously, Michigan is the most anthropomorphic state in the Union. We Michiganians are proud to show you where we live (or where we're from) by pointing to a spot on our hand.

I also think Florida is anthropomorphic... but I"m not going there.

However, in a recent NPR Wait Wait Don't Tell Me blog post about the Senators drawing their home states, Ian Chillag pointed out that his home state of West Virginia can also be represented by the human hand:
We have a unique way of representing our geography: you take your left hand, stick your thumb out to the side, and stick up your middle finger. There it is, The Mountain State, staring you in the face. It's especially useful for explaining West Virginia geography to someone who just cut you off in traffic.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Swindon's Magic Roundabout

In what looks to me like a driver's nightmare: Swindon's Magic Roundabout.

Constructed in 1972, the roundabout consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle. Its name comes from a popular children's television series The Magic Roundabout. Depending on your BBC survey, it has been voted the fourth or seventh scariest junction in Britain.

View Larger Map

A few weeks ago, Ms. Cartophiliac's friend sent a hilarious YouTube video of the roundabout in action, with a Benny Hill soundtrack. Sadly, it has already been taken down. But below are several more videos to give you a flavor of the experience.

Here is one recommended by Jude (see comments):

And for those of you new to driving through roundabouts, here is a useful instructional video:

And finally, my favorite Roundabout:

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Beginning to Look Like an Ebay Christmas

According to Ebay:
Every minute, every second, every nanosecond — someone's taking advantage of eBay to find that special item they love. Others use eBay to sell great stuff. It's a match made in shopping heaven.

The Ebay animated map shows sales throughout the day yesterday; the so-called "Black Friday" of Christmas shopping. It makes the United States look like it has been decorated with Christmas lights...

At least if you do you Black Friday shopping on Ebay (or Amazon), you don't have to worry about being trampled to death...

HT to Matt

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tunnel vision: a history of the London tube map

At the Guardian: Tunnel vision: a history of the London tube map

Jonathan Glancey asks, Is it the end of the line for London's iconic tube map?
The expansion of the Oyster card brings yet more change for Harry Beck's classic design. It's time to go back to the drawing board.
Can any of my UK readers explain to me what is an Oyster card?


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What's Cooking on Thanksgiving?

The New York Times has a series of maps showing search terms being used Wednesday at, providing clues to what dishes are being served around the nation today:


Minnesota: Biggest Turkey State

According the National Geographic, Minnesota is the number one turkey producing state, closely followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and California.

Meanwhile, the top producers of cranberries are Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

Today, I am thankful for all my Carto-friends. Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Nine Nations of China

Inspired by Joel Garreau's The Nine Nations of North America, Patrick Chovanec at The Atlantic has created an article and interactive map, describing the different socio-economic-cultural regions of China:

As China’s economy becomes more integrated, these regional differences are taking on greater importance than ever before. Each of the Nine Nations faces a unique set of challenges and opportunities in carving out its own competitive niche. Anyone who wants to do business in China, make policy towards China, or simply comprehend the dramatic changes happening there should understand the Nine Nations and the role each of them is playing in shaping China’s future.
Previously on Cartophilia:

Via The Map Scroll

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Monday, November 23, 2009

AT&T Fights Back With Big Map

Unable to get any traction in the courts, AT&T has taken to the airwaves to fight Verizon Wireless: Map vs. Map.

Nice postcards, Luke. I thought I even saw a couple map postcards in the mix...

Via Mashable

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Map Tie and the Big Five Oh Oh!

This is Cartophilia
post #500!

(Queue the balloons
and music!)

That's post #


I forgot to note my 2nd Anniversary back in September but, by golly, I'm not going to let this milestone go unnoticed!


Ok, enough of that. Today I am going to highlight this nifty map tie.

Ms. Cartophiliac found it last week at a thrift store. Score!

I find the way the tie designer mashed together geographic features to be reminiscent of the Calendria map from earlier this month, as well as Island Girl and Coastal Merger

UPDATE 11/19: And of course, the Mapkini!

On to 1,000!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Senators Draw Home States

We all know that Sen. Al Franken can draw all 50 states from memory, but can your U.S. Senator draw your state? To help kick off Geography Awareness Week, National Geographic invited all 100 U.S. Senators to draw a map of their home state from memory and to label at least three important places. It seems only eleven twelve of them were brave enough to give it a try, including Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Susan Collins of Maine:

Michael Enzi of Wyoming also participated, but I think those square states are just too easy...

HT to Marilyn Terrell

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Visualizing Empires' Decline

As an experiment in information art, Pedro M. Cruz has created video representation of the evolution of the top four empires in decline during the 19th and 20th centuries; the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese:

Visualizing empires decline from Pedro M Cruz on Vimeo.

More info on how he did it.

Via Coming Anarchy

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Kaffeslump World

Erik Johansson, of Gothenburg, Sweden, is a photographer who likes to have fun with Photoshop.

Kaffeslump (Coffee Spill?):

Via Bored Panda

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Amusement Park Maps

The high point of the summer vacation, for many a kid, was an all-day trip to the nearest amusement park. Roller coasters, getting wet on the log ride, sometimes a cartoon character not named Mickey, and junk food on the midway trying to win stuffed bear. As a very young child growing up near Detroit, the park of choice was Boblo Island. Operating 1898 to 1993, boarding the SS Columbia or SS Ste. Clair riverboat ferries for the 18-mile trip downriver to the island park was always an adventure.

Later, my parents got more adventurous and were willing to make the 4-hour drive to Ceder Point, on Lake Erie, in Sandusky, Ohio. Being a young cartophile, the first thing I always did upon entering the park was purchase a map. Then carefully plan a course through the park that would most efficiently get me on all my favorite rides.

The amusement park aficionados at Theme Park Brochurs have pulled together maps and brochures from amusement parks all over the country. Their earliest map is from 1931! Unfortunately, they do not have a Cedar Point map from the late 1960s or early 1970s which would have been the first time I was there. Here is a map from 1980 (as a teen and young adult, being able to drive to Cedar Point with my buddies (or even better, a girl!) was a special kind of independence.)

Click map to enlarge

I first visited Kings Island, near Cincinnati, sometime around 1972 (the date for this map):

Click map to enlarge

It wasn't until I moved down here with my children that we visited regularly. I think I enjoyed it as much (if not more) then them. For a couple years we purchased season passes, and sometimes I would even sneak down on my own, without the kids, to ride some of the roller coasters that they were to small ride themselves. Every year, amusement parks try to top each other with the most thrilling hi-tech ride, but my favorites are still the old wooden roller coasters like the Blue Streak at Cedar Point or The Beast at Kings Island.

Of the two maps above, I still prefer the "cartoon" style of the 1972 Kings Island map. That is the style I remember and loved from my first visits to Cedar Point. The map from 1980 may have been clearer, and more accurate, but it certainly lacks charm. The single map from Boblo Island (1987) is so ugly, I cannot bring myself to reprint it here.

Also, here is an opportunity to pimp my friend Pat's blog, wherein he documents his amazing feat last summer, 12 Parks. 69 new coasters. 14 days in his Blog of Unintended Consequences.

Via Boing Boing

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Give the Gift of Map Books

The holiday shopping season is rapidly approaching. Here are two recently published books of interest to that cartophile on your shopping list:

The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography by Katharine Harmon

In a sequel, of sorts, to her previous book on map art, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, Harmon promises to lead her readers to:
different destinations: places turned upside down or inside out, territories riddled with marks understood only by their maker, realms connected more to the interior mind than to the exterior world. These are the places of artists' maps, that happy combination of information and illusion that flourishes in basement studios and downtown galleries alike.
You Are Here featured previously on Cartophilia:
Happy Father's Day to Me
On the Road to...?
Be My Cartographic Valentine

Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities by Frank Jacobs

Jacobs has been publishing his hugely popular Strange Maps blog since 2006, where he "collects and comments on all kinds of cartographic curiosa". As has become a blogger custom lately, he has collected over one hundred of his strangest maps into this handsome soft cover coffee table book. Includes his extensive commentary.

UPDATE 11/13: The Freakonomics blog has an interview with Frank Jacobs (HT to The Map Room).

Interestingly, both books feature upside-down/inside-out maps on their covers.

Tell them Cartophilia sent you.


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Desktop Earth

Cartofan Joel recommends his favorite desktop wallpaper application for all its mappish goodness. Desktop Earth:

Desktop Earth is a wallpaper program that shows what Earth looks like from space. The program can be configured to update regularly, changing the view based on local time or seasons.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Interactive Ship Traffic Map

Since 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has required vessels to carry an AIS (Automatic Identification System) transponder on board, which transmits their position, speed and course, among some other static information, such as vessel’s name, dimensions and voyage details. All this data has been pulled together into an academic, open, community-based project:

Here we see ships "squeezing" through the Straits of Gibraltar.

The data is uploaded in the database in real time, and the positions on the map are correct to within one hour.

The project is currently hosted by the Department of Product and Systems Design Engineering, University of the Aegean, Greece. While the system is not intended as a method to enhance safety at sea (in other words, don't use this tool to avoid collisions), the creators intend this data to be used as research to simulate vessel movements in order to contribute to the safety of navigation as well as provide design models for the spotting of the origin of pollution and creating efficient algorithms for sea path evaluation and for determining the estimated time of ship arrivals.

It is also just fun to watch the ships moving about.

My first fear about this tool, was that it might be used for evil purposes. Couldn't pirates use this tool to plan their next attack? Fortunately, the mapping tool does not extend to the Horn of Africa waters near Somalia.

Via Coming Anarchy

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

AT&T Sues Verizon Over Coverage Map

For several weeks, the Verizon Wireless commercial mocking AT&T for their coverage has caught my eye:

I thought at the time that there had to be something wrong with those maps. I could not believe that AT&T customers were that limited...

It turns out, AT&T agrees. They have filed a lawsuit, claiming that Verizon is misleading "consumers into believing that AT&T doesn't offer ANY wireless service in the vast majority of the country."

So, what the map really shows is 3G coverage, whatever that is. AT&T apparently offers less 3G coverage, but most of the country is covered for standard cell phone service.

Full disclosure: I am a Verizon Wireless customer, but sadly, I have not received any sort of considerations from them. Hey! I'm easy. For a significant discount on my cell phone service, I could become a shill for Verizon. Can you hear me now?

UPDATE 11/20: I see that AT&T has lost their battle...

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Electrofork designer and illustrator Elizabeth Daggar sent to me a copy of her "timely" 2010 calendar/poster, Calendria:

The twelve nations of Calendria take their names from months on the calendar: Decembreland, Januarria, Octsburg, etc. Included with each month is a history of its nation, with notes on its geography and culture.

But take a closer look at the map... so much seems familiar. In a special section of her website, she gives a detailed, step-by-step guide to how she created her world:
How to design a world? (It begins with a love of cartography.)

I really just wanted to design a map. The reemergence of Electrofork's annual calendar seemed a perfect excuse– to create a world that felt familiar, at least at first glance. Maybe a kind of Pangaea. The point of departure: screen shots of the two hemispheres of earth; one containing North and Central America, the other displaying Europe, the Near East and the Northern portion of Africa. This afforded both the scale and a motley of shapes to reference.
This cartographic flight of fancy should provide entertainment year-round. Available via Etsy.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Movie Characters in Narrative Chart

xkcd, the "webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language", offers these charts that show movie character interactions:

The Lord of the Rings chart is also "geographic" in its presentation.


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