Tuesday, August 31, 2010

T-Shirt Tuesday: Empire Builder

Previously on Cartophilia:

Railroad board games with great maps: Railways of the World (Railroad Tycoon), Ticket to Ride and Settlers of America: Trails to Rails.

However, there is an entire category of rail games not yet covered here; the so-called "crayon games". The grandaddy of these game from Mayfair is Empire Builder. In this game, you actually get to DRAW ON THE GAME BOARD with special wax crayons, or depending on the board, dry-erase markers. In Empire Builder, you build track routes between cities of North America by drawing the connections. Build an efficient network and deliver goods between these cities to make the most money.

Empire Builder is just the beginning. Also available, Eurorails:

[Boardgame map photos from BoardGameGeek]

Other Mayfair crayon rail game maps include Britain, Australia, India, China, Russia and Mars!

In these games you cannot help but learn a few things about the geography of these countries and regions. Which brings us to the T-shirt for today: Everything I know about U.S. Geography I learned from Empire Builder, available from Off World Designs.

Actually, I already knew a fair amount of geography before playing these games, but they are great fun nonetheless.

HT to Phil (Thatsaabguy)

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wisconsin 1, Da Yoo Pee 0

From Thatsaabguy:

Yeah yeah, I know, it's Yet Another Michigan Post. But it's entirely too cool!

I love our friends at The Consumerist, who consistently entertain, shock and amuse me with their consumer-centric stories. This one it cool, for obvious reasons:

Apparently the Cheese State needed more room for dairy cows, so those pesky Great Lakes just HAD to go. Might as well annex The Rabbit while you're at it....

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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Rap Map

From Thatsaabguy:

Under even the best of circumstances, I'm not a fan of hip-hop music. You'd never guess this by my ability to quote the movie "Friday" almost verbatim, nor my recent fascination with the Boondocks cartoon on Adult Swim...but pay no attention to the crazy man.

What we have here is The Rap Map, a lovingly compiled page that catalogues all manner of hip-hop locations in numerous American cities. These locations are sometimes historically important to the genre (such as Mos Def's Childhood Home and Eminem's alma mater, Osborn High School), sometimes mentioned in songs ("Glock-Glock" and a Home Depot parking lot), sometimes apropos of nothing at all (the Folsom Street Fair).

In almost every case, the descriptions given in these links are NSFW, but what did you expect from a catalogue of all things hip-hop? If nothing else, it's a cool use of Google Maps!

Don't worry, next time I'll post something slightly less shocking, I promise...

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome to Guest Blogger and The Ten Cent Maps

Today I would like to introduce Phil (posting as "Thatsaabguy", a long time carto-fan of Cartophilia. If you look at my posts over the last year, you will see that in many of them I gave a HT (hat tip) to Phil for pointing out to me this or that amusing or interesting little map thing. Since my frequency of posting has decreased lately, I thought it might spice things up if we included some input from other map lovers.

To start things off, here is a little story of his. Soon, he'll post his own stories about his map fetishes and geographic adventures.
Howdy folks! Thanks to Cartophiliac for allowing me access to his precious, I shall do my level best to not let him down! It’s weird – Cartophiliac and I SHOULD have met each other many times over, as we have mutual friends, play similar board games, both live or lived in Dayton, and both have an unhealthy map fetish. Thanks to the power of the interwebs, however, we’ve hooked up and will be bringing you double the mappy goodness!

Just to show you how deep is my obsession, here’s a true tale from this past weekend. I was garage-saleing with my wife (whose Mapkini has been featured in these very hallowed pages) and came across a small box labeled “MAPS 10¢”. When I naturally asked about them, the nice lady explained they were a collection of National Geographic maps from “I dunno, starting sometime in the 1960s is all I know. You can have the entire box for A DOLLAR.”

That’s right, one crisp American dollar.

I cannot begin to describe my squeals of joy. Upon further inspection, the box weighed a good 20 pounds, and was essentially a solid brick of mappy love. As you can see, it covers my dining room table to a thickness of about two inches. I haven’t catalogued them yet, but I’m half tempted to just wallpaper a room with them and get it over with.


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Map Quilt Art?

Regretsy is the website that highlights less than stellar art to be found on Etsy, the sell-it-yourself arts and craft website. Regretsy has become such a popular site, sometimes I wonder if people intentionally create regretful art in hopes of being featured there... Intentional, ironic, satiric or serious, this one cannot be ignored:

These United States of America
by the seller "muddlefoot".

Titled "Continental Drift" on Regretsy.

Via The Map Room

UPDATE 8/25: Geography blogger, "kuschk", has solved the mystery of the quilt... it is a cartogram!

More images and commentary at his new blog The Basement Geographer

"kuschk" describes himself as an, "Obsessive-compulsive geographer with a morbid sense of humour that I try and keep out of my blog." I'll be adding this one to the list of blogs I follow.

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T-Shirt Tuesday: No Michigan (Dream on)

The undergrads are gathering on campus, it is almost September... time to think about college football!

Like every younger sibling (probably adopted) who cannot ever seem to measure up to their big brother's intellect and serene superiority, fans of that cow college in Columbus must exercise their inferiority complex through childish exhibitions. After all, not everyone can attend the most important school in the Midwest.

This T-shirt, available from Donkey Tees is typical of that fruitless envy. In the end, the Columbus Cow College could not survive without Michigan. They would lose their purpose in life. But if you really must wear a shirt in that accursed color, a map shirt will at least raise you in the world's esteem.

Go Blue!

HT to Phil, who had the good sense to leave this state...

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

State Map Route Markers

In the United States, in addition to the Interstate Highway System (previously on Cartophilia here, here and here) each state maintains its own system of highways.

State highways are generally a mixture of primary and secondary roads, although some are freeways. Each state has its own system for numbering and signage. Some states (the really lame ones) use simple square or circular designs. Others use a symbol that is associated with that state (see Pennsylvania's Keystone State design). The coolest states, however, are the ones that use a map on their State Route signage.

Besides the four shown here, the other cool state highway systems are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and the District of Columbia. Of course, Wyoming and Colorado could be using their state shape... and who would know?

Take a Sporcle quiz to see if you can identify more State Route highway signs than your cubemate.

You can even order your own State Route sign (standard reflective or high intensity!) with the highway number of your choice.

In case you were wondering, Montana has the longest State highway route.

The best part about State map route signs: There is never a question which state you're in.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

T-Shirt Tuesday: How Many Licks?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of the earth? For those of you too young to remember, this is a reference to the age old question: how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? (See video below)

This t-shirt, designed Ian Leino, delves deep underground to reveal the secrets hidden under that earth's flaky crust...

"How Many Licks" from Threadless Tees

What is T-Shirt Tuesday?

Other map T-shirts on Cartophilia

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Monday, August 16, 2010

The State of Cheese

Last week we had wine. Now it is time for cheese. What is the state of cheese? Here we see cheese on Michigan:

Etsy seller, AHeirloom
sells this cutting board, as well as California, Pennsylvania and others. Strangely, no Wisconsin. (Sorry, Cheeseheads.)

The images can also be seen here at The Kitchn

HT to Hunter



Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I can always count on Salon.com to come up with some of the most interesting map related graphic images... Today's article in the food section caught my eye.

Meritage: New world grapes and old world blends Your guide to some truly great American wines, made in French style, by Steven Kolpan

California winemakers have coined a term for wines produced in the style of well known French wines:
So, what constitutes a Meritage wine? First of all, the wine must be made from a blend of at least two traditional Bordeaux grapes -- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot for reds, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for whites (more than 80 percent of Meritage wines are red). Second, no varietal can exceed 90 percent of the blend.
The article goes on to list some of the better tasting "Meritage" wines.

If you wine connoisseurs wish to argue the relative merits of California vs. French wines, be my guest. I'll just admire the maps. (It took me a moment to figure out that red splotch in southern California... sorry Corsica...)

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

T-Shirt Tuesday: Reach For The Sky

This T-Shirt, with a New York City theme, was designed by Alan Segama. Featuring Lower Manhattan and The Battery, this graphic highlights transit routes below the city, city streets and the city skyline.

Reach For The Sky.

"Reach For The Sky" from Threadless Tees

What is T-Shirt Tuesday?

Other map T-shirts on Cartophilia

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bicycling The Great Miami River Recreation Trail

Last summer, I bored you all with my adventures as Ms. Cartophiliac and I bicycled the Little Miami Scenic Trail. In 15 to 25 mile bits, mostly on railroad right-of-way, we bicycled from Springfield, Ohio, almost down to the Ohio River.

We are not serious bicyclists. My little green 3-speed Electra Amsterdam is great for toodling about town. Speedy McBikepants passes us on a regular basis. However, we enjoy getting out for some sunshine and a bit of exercise. Unfortunately, this summer, several circumstances kept us from getting out on our bikes until today.

This summer, we will be working on the Great Miami River Recreation Trail. The trail is not quite as long or as scenic as the Little Miami. Very little of the route uses railroad right-of-way, so it is not quite as flat, although most of the time we are on top of the levy, built after the Great Flood of 1913, but at least it is closer to home. Today's leg was from Carillon Park in Dayton to Miamisburg:

The Deeds Carillon contains 57 bells which are rung via an electronic keyboard.

While the weather was great, we saw little wildlife, besides ducks, geese, and one heron. We did however, get a lovely view of the power plant.

Near the end of our route, we were inspired by this railroad trestle, painstakingly painted with bible verses...

All three photos above are from the Great Miami River Recreation Trail website.

23 miles total, there and back again. I was totally whipped. I'm out of shape. Hopefully we'll get back out there soon.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bikinis from California to Georgia

While the Beach Boys loved those American girls, especially the ones from California...

The Beatles were in love with those girls from Back In The USSR

Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the west behind

And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia's always on my my my my my my my my my mind

Speaking of those girls on the beaches, whether it is California or Georgia, Slate offers A Brief History of the Bikini: How the tiny swimsuit conquered America.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Boring Postcards

Carto-friend and blogger, Michael5000, and Mrs. 5000, like to collect boring postcards. In the introduction to his series of posts on boring postcards, he attempts to define a boring postcard:
Although there are no universal rules, common characteristics of the properly boring postcard might be:
  • it shows an "attraction" that no one would ever actually want to visit
  • the attraction lacks visual interest
  • the attraction is something that is common as dirt
  • a genuinely interesting attraction is made to look uninteresting
  • the image is poorly photographed or framed
  • text on the postcard carries an unintentional pathos or irony
Also, although every era produces its own boring postcards, our favorites tend to be from before 1970.

Mrs. 5000 offers this addition to the definition:
One endearing trait of boring postcards is their essential optimism. The more banal the diner façade, the more featureless the Minnesota lake, the more poignant is its presence on a postcard. Someone wanted you to love it and remember it. Or at least to recognize it and return.

The 5000s saw these three boring map postcards and immediately thought of me.

Why, thank you!

It is not that Michigan, Minnesota or Ohio are boring places to visit. Quite the contrary! But I have to agree that there is nothing about these map postcards that will entice a tourist to agree with "Wish You Were Here!"

Here are some slightly more interesting map postcards of Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio.


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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Map McDraw

A.E. McDraw (or Anne E. McGraw), offers original art in oil, acrylic and watercolors, as well as prints, notecards and crochet on her Etsy page.

For cartophiles, she offers a gallery of map prints, including this 8x10 of North America:

Her latest map painting was inspired by the Oil Spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you would like to help the Gulf Coast, and get some nice vintage, art and craft items, check out this special Etsy shop: Help the Gulf Coast!
100% of the proceeds (after etsy & paypal fees) will be donated to OxFam America and the National Wildlife Federation.

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