A weblog for members of the Canadian Cartographic Association and other individuals interested in all things cartographic



Canadian Road Network Data


Statistics Canada has released the National Road Network data as part of its Census Geography data collection. I haven’t had time to check it out yet but I dare say that it is the same as what has been available over at Geobase for a while. Data formats include ESRI shapefile, MapInfo tab file and GML.

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To follow up with the two previous posts on copyright issues - the New York MTA is offering iPodSubwayMaps the right to redistribute their maps in iPod format for $500. What obviously started out as a hobby has suddenly been throuwn into the world of business, it seems. Not having an iPod myself, I hadn’t bothered to check out the iPodSubwayMaps site until now and am surprised to discover that there are more than 20 subway maps available, including ones of Berlin, Boston, Toronto, Tokyo, Paris, and London. These can be previewed on the site. Essentially it appears that the maps are sliced up versions of the official transit maps - hence the issue around copyright. Compare the sample Toronto map at right to the original, official version (pdf).

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Copyright Issues Follow-up


As a follow-up to an earlier posting on copyright issues, check out some of the discussion occurring on this topic at Bayosphere.

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This is not just a just a gazetteer but somewhat of an encyclopedia based on geographic names. Type in a place name and you will receive a number of results. Click on the little icon next to one of these results to find out it’s hierarchy (sort of like “The Universe, Milky Way, Solar System, Earth, North America, etc.”). Click on the name of the result and you’ll receive latitude and longitude values and sometimes a little history, and other sub-names that would fall under this result (e.g. neighbourhoods in cities). It also lists sources.

By way of Extrapolated Facts.

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Marathon Map


MarathonGuide has an interactive map of the United States that shows the locations of upcoming marathons. The map is zoomable, pannable and by clicking on a location you can bring information about a particular event. You can narrow your search for marathons by date. The size of the event is reflected in the size of the point that symbolizes it. Surprisingly, this is not a Google mashup - a refreshing change - but it still suffers from the use of a geographic “projection.”

By way of tahiggins.

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Radical Cartography


Radical Cartography is not so much radical as it is interesting. There are a number of interesting maps on this site, including a flash map of the development of telephone area codes in the United States, a comparison of projections of South America, a scale comparison of North American subway networks, and a map of North and South America showing place name etymologies. As well, there are a number of links to interesting resources, some of which are dead (including the Starbucks Avoidance Map - has anyone seen this?). Worth spending some time visiting.

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Upside Down Maps


For cartographers, having north at the top of a map is a convention, something that is assumed needs to be the case when creating a map. When convetions are broken, it causes us to think twice about what is happening and sometimes makes us see things in a different light. Upside Down maps have north at the bottom and south at the top and suddenly a county like Canada looks tucked away at the bottom of the map, far from the centre of the action. Curious how this happens.

The Upsided Down Map Page has a number of such maps and list of other resources.

By way of blog.kart.no.

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Copyright Issues


I have always found copyright of maps and map data to be unclear. Holders of copyrighted maps / map data have often taken an approach that differs with what a great number of map/data users would like to see. For instance, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority and BART in the San Fransisco Bay area are seeking to enforce what they perceive as their copy-rights on the issue of iPOD maps. Users, on the other hand, continually push for greater and freer access to data and maps, wanting fewer copyright impediments. Interestingly, these arguments seem to focus only on government-produced data.

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Places and Spaces


This has been mentioned before by other bloggers but it’s still worth mentioning here. Places and Spaces: Cartography of the Physical and the Abstract is an exhibition that is making the rounds. It’s nearing the end of its journeys but there are still a few more locations it will be visiting. It has a collection of maps, diagrams and map-like objects on its website that is worth perusing, from the antique to the very modern. A nice touch is the side-by-side comparison of maps that might not normally be paired.

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DataCloud


DataCloud is a free, online application that uses Shockwave to display the weather conditions in 142 cities around the world. It does this solely through the appearance of the city names. “The type size relates to visibility, the color to temperature, the transparency to humidity. The city’s name moves with the speed and direction of the wind. The atmospheric pressure is applied as a friction to the movement.” It is a lot of information to capture and display and requires one to think about what one is looking it. It is an interesting exercise in information display.

By way of information aesthetics.

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Fallen Fruit Maps


“After discovering an arcane Los Angeles city law that makes any fruit overhanging on sidewalks public property,” CalArts professors Dave Burns, Matias Viegener, and Austin Young have created Fallen Fruit, a website that hosts maps of where to find appropriately positioned fruit trees. The maps are free to download and use. Cartographic quality varies.

By way of BoingBoing.

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American Ethnic Geography, a course offered at Valparaiso University, has a number of interesting maps showing the distribution of American religious adherence. The regional differences are quite remarkable, in some cases. The maps rely on data collected by the Glenmery Research Centre in 2000.

By way of Great Map.

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Early Modern Cartography


Mark Koch, a professor at St. Mary's College in Michigan, has written a paper entitled “Ruling the World: The Cartographic Gaze in Elizabethan Accounts of the New World.” In it he describes the development of maps from bird's persepctives to a more overhead perspective and the power assocations that come with it. “The ruled map presented a privileged view of the land,” writes Koch. “The rediscovery of this grid system, first used by Greek and Roman empires, profoundly affected the European construction of space, changing art, architecture, and cities, as well as changing representations and conceptions of the world.”

The paper is fairly lengthy but comes complete with footnotes and references. Sadly, only a few maps are incorporated into the paper.

The Early Modern Literary Studies, which hosts this paper, also has an extensive listing of resources on early modern cartography.

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James Stoup in Apple Matters wonders how far Google Maps will go. “What if google decided to take cartography to the next level, where would they start?”” he writes. Unfortunately, though his suggestions are good, they have very little to do with cartography: searching for addresses and services, improved satellite imagery, etc. Taking Google Maps cartography to the next level might mean offering maps in a projected format (instead of the all too easy geographic ““projection”), allowing users to change symbology and showing or hiding different data layers. Or, perhaps, simply improved non-road data, particularly for areas outside the United States.

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New generation of GPS satellites


Today’s Globe and Mail has a short story on the launch of the first of the new generation of GPS satellites. The new satellites should provide improved signals to civilian users. The NewScientist.com has a slightly more detailed story. Still no details on what improvements in accuracy and reliability will be seen by civilians users as a result.

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The Miami Herald has a story today about a small company called MAPSource that produces street and road maps for the Gulf Coast area of the United States. It turns out their maps are in high demand as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

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1659 Doncker Sea Atlas & Verbiest Map


The National Library of Australia has posted a completed digitized version of Hendrick Doncker’s 1659 Sea Atlas. All plates are viewable as zoomable jpg. There are 19 maps and cover and title pages available for viewing as well as more information on Hendrick Doncker and his atlas.

“he Verbiest map of the World is believed to have been drawn for the Emperor K’ang-hsi or a senior official of the Chinese Emperor’s court between 1665 and 1688.” It is a map of both eastern and western hemispheres produced on silk. The images are in zoomable jpg format and are difficult to read. Some historical background is also provided.

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The following is a copy of an email sent from Brad Green, President of World of Maps, a seller of maps, including Natural Resources Canada’s line of topographic maps, the National Topographic System maps. Essentially, NRCan is looking to discontinue printing its own maps and is seeking to focus on maintaining its digital data.

Brad Green has provided essential NRCan contacts on this issue, including the current Minister of Natural Resources, John Efford. These are listed below. Below this listing of contacts is his letter regarding NRCan’s decision.

John Dawson
A/Director CTI-O, ESS/GC-MSB/CTI-O
Natural Resources Canada
615 Booth Street, 07Ath Floor, Room. 712
Ottawa, ON
Canada K1A 0E9
Telephone: (613) 947-0112
Fax : (613) 995-2000
E-mail: john.dawson@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca

Jean Cooper
Director General, ESS/GC-MSB
Natural Resources Canada
615 Booth Street, 07Ath Floor, Room. 718
Ottawa, ON
Canada K1A 0E9
Telephone: (613) 947-0793
Fax : (613) 995-2000
E-mail: Jean.Cooper@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca

Richard B. Fadden
Deputy Minister, DMO/DMO
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street, 21st Floor, Room. B5-1
Ottawa, ON
Canada K1A 0E4
Telephone: (613) 992-3280
Fax : (613) 992-3828
E-mail: Richard.Fadden@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca

John Efford
Minister of Natural Resources Canada, MINO/DO
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street, 21st Floor, Room. C7-1
Ottawa, ON
Canada K1A 0E4
Telephone: (613) 996-2007
Fax : (613) 996-4516
E-mail: john.efford@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca

----- Original Message -----
From: Brad Green
To: Cheryl Woods
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2005 4:20 PM
Subject: NRCan announces end to paper topo maps Jan 2007

Dear Cheryl,

Would you please send this note to the CARTA list and any other interested parties. If you agree with me that this is a very bad policy decision (abandoning paper topographic maps) could you please assist me in making this fact known.

Thanks,
Brad Green
President, World of Maps Inc.
Sept 22, 2005

On September 7, 2005 Natural Resources Canada invited the Regional Distribution Center (RDC) business representitives from across Canada to hear the bleak future prospect for paper topographic maps in Canada.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. John Dawson, Acting Director Centre for Topographic Information. Other government representatives attending are:
  • Ms. Jean Cooper, Director General, Mapping Services Branch
  • Barbara MacIntosh, Manager CMO
  • Marjo Lalonde, Supervisor
  • John Donner, CTI
  • Sylvain Lemay, CTI
  • Pat Fish, CTI
  • Donna Williams, Atlas of Canada
  • Steve Westley, Atlas of Canada
  • Craig Stewart, Geo Connections
Current plans from the federal government is that the Canada Map Office (CMO) is to be permanently closed at the end of the current business lease for the 130 Bentley Ave warehouse in Jan 2007.

The CMO has already discontinued press runs of all NTS maps.

The CMO now wants to discontinue printing - plotting paper maps of any sort (currently a plotter is used to replenish out of print paper maps).

The CMO states that paper maps are not their "raison d'etre" they want to concern themselves with the digital map files only, they claim because that is better but I am convinced their real motivation is simply because they think digital data is cheaper than a warehouse of paper maps.

The CMO proposal at the moment is that RDC's would access vector data and produce paper maps for sale. The actual exact method this will take is unknown, a presentation by PCI Geomatics of a map server model they developed was given.

World of Maps Inc. is an RDC and there are ten other private and government agencies acting as RDC's across Canada. This distribution network for selling paper topographic maps has been established successfully for about 10 years. There are also thousands of smaller retail dealers across the country as well. The users of topographic maps (our customers) are from various groups including: Search & Rescue, Forest Fire crews, Hunters, Fishermen, Outdoor recreation users, Engineering firms, Environmental firms, developers, Oil & Gas Pipeline companies, Mining firms, University field workers and many other organizations and individuals.

The issue of the old dates of topographic maps was raised at the meeting as it always is, this time used as a reason to discontinue paper maps. (NRCan policy decisions to cut costs some years ago was to no longer update any more paper topo maps) The majority of the Canadian landmass is unpopulated, and there is likely no difference to when the paper maps was originally produced. That small percentage of topographic maps near populated areas are indeed quite old and that is important. Our experience is that people use topographic maps for either remote areas or for the actual accurate geographic information and the date of the maps is not as important a factor.

The government claims that they have up-to-date digital vector map data (their demonstation map at this meeting did not support that claim however) and it appears to me that the government feels that there is no longer any need to continue to produce paper maps. The quality of the demonstration topo map produced was inferior in quality to a regular paper topo map with that typical computer generated "schematic" look. While the demo map featured an old road network presumably once operational the main advantage of this type of product is that it is "more up-to-date" as I pointed out above that is not relevant to most of the Canadian landmass.

The RDC's were told that if there is a business case it is up to each individual RDC to purchase a large format printer and necessary software to print and distribute topographic maps in the future because the government policy at this time is to abandon paper maps as much as possible.

In my opinion it is the responsibility of the federal government to continue to produce paper maps of the Canadian landmass for Canadian taxpayers. If indeed the digital vector map data can be used to produce a more up to date paper map it is the responsibilty of the government to do that. Our business has the printing facilities to produce maps as suggested but I would prefer to be able to do that AND continue to access the existing paper maps at the CMO because despite being old they are of better quality and paid for in full by Canadian taxpayers.

I intend to make this issue known to all interested parties, please contact me if you agree and can help in any way.

Faithfully,
Brad Green
President
--
========= World of Maps Inc. =========
The Source for Geographic and Travel information
1235 Wellington St. Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1Y 3A3
Telephone (613) 724-6776 -OR- 1-800-214-8524
Fax. (613) 724-7776 or 1-800-897-9969
http://www.worldofmaps.com
mailto: info@worldofmaps.com

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Oil Maps


The Oil Drum is a blog that features news of interest to the oil industry. These days, there’s a bit of focus on the hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. As well as having a link to the previously mentioned RigZone/RigLogix interactive map of the Gulf, it has a number of links to other maps of interest, including one by CNN of the location of oil refineries and the forecasted track of Hurricane Rita. I can’t find this map on the CNN site and the forecasted track is a bit dated but it does still have value (even if their choice of symbology can be improved).

The American Minerals Management Service has a large map of the Gulf of Mexico showing oil platforms in pdf format. It is a 5 MB download.

If (free) oil infrastructure maps are what you are looking for, then go to MapSearch. This site has a number of jpg maps of Canada and the United States that show oil pipelines and refinery locations, among others. The detail is not great but it highlights the vulnerability of the American oil industry to Gulf hurricanes.

All above links by way of The Oil Drum.

The New York Times has a map showing the potential impact of Hurricane Rita on oil facilities and structures in Texas and Louisiana as does The Globe and Mail. The Times map shows a little more details and dispenses with some of the unnecessary bells and whistles.

For worldwide oil and gas maps, Petroleum Economist looks to have the best set around. Unfortunately, you’ll need to own part of an oil company to pay for them as the maps are not free and cost a pretty penny. Tantalizing thumbnails are available on their website.

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Today’s online edition of The Globe and Mail offers a story (registration may be required but is free) on the little known American National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Having been mostly focused on intelligence gathering outside of the United States, the agency’s satellites have turned their attention to American locales, particularly along the Gulf coast, in the the wake of Hurricane Katrina and now Rita.

CNN has a similar story on the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

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Map and Graphic Skills


Map and Graphic Skills - The World and beyond!

It is official and it is exciting! The Ontario Government revised curriculum for Social Studies grades 1 to 6 now includes a mandatory Map and Graphic Skills component.

Beginning in grade 1 students are expected to make, construct, and read a variety of graphs, charts, diagrams, maps and models to clarify and display information. By the end of Grade 4 students create and use a variety of thematic maps using symbols and legends. In Grade 6 students use special-purpose maps to find specific information. They compare various map projections of the world and use base maps and a variety of information sources to sketch the relative position of places. The Map and Graphic Skills component continues on in the Grade 7 and 8 Geography curriculum.

Why a sudden interest in Map and Graphic Skills at the elementary and intermediate levels? Could it be the recognition that maps are a form of communication that enables students to inquire, research and distill information? With the emphasis on cross-curricular linkages it is important to focus on tools that offer teachers the opportunity to integrate literacy and numeracy as well as research and communication skills into their course work.

Students are increasingly expected to apply acquired skills and knowledge to new experiences. Recognizing that we can not possibly teach children all that they need to know but rather equip them for life-long learning has been a major step forward in modern education. Incorporating maps into new programmes built on this premise makes sense. At once simple and complex, maps can also evoke images, encouraging children to think beyond the familiar and the expected.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein

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Mapping the Web’s Future


Forbes has a story about Google Maps and the development of the many mashups associated with it. Nothing really new for those of us who have been following Google Maps for the past six months but it provides a business perspective on it.

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Gulf Oil Rigs and Hurricanes


We have all experienced the effects of a hurricane tearing through the gulf, if only by a subsequent rise in oil prices. Now you can see part of the reasons why a hurricane affects the production of oil so much. RigLogix and RigZone have a couple of interactive maps showing the location of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and hurricane tracks. Click on the Hurricane Katrina button and see a map of damaged oil rigs. Identify an oil rig and get an update on the repair time. The Hurricane Rita map doesn’t list damaged rigs but shows a more complete list of the rigs in the Gulf. Something to watch over the next few days as Hurricane Rita passes through.

By way of Poynter Online

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Multimedia Lessons Learned


The USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review has a very worthwhile listing of some lessons learned regarding the use of interactive multimedia. Users were tested with a number of multimedia pieces regarding last year’s tsunami and the results obtained from users’s interactions led to five key lessons. Anyone who is looking to put together an interactive online map might do well to heed these tips. Included are links to the reviewed interactive sites.

By way of Vector One.

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Maps from the Second World War


If you are looking for maps from the Second World War (as opposed to of the Second World War), there are a couple of sites that host worthwhile collections. One of them is the University of San Diego’s History Department. The department hosts a number of black and white maps of the time, showing various campaigns and battles. Most are in jpg format and vary in resolution. These maps comes from a variety of sources, but mostly, it seems, from the Illustrated London News that was fond of perspective views.

Indiana State University also hosts a number of maps from the Second World War. The selection is smaller and the maps are divided by theatre of war.

Many of other maps of the Second World War exist (for example), but these seemed to have been created after the fact.

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Another Google Map mashup


It is, of course, not the intent of this blog to keep everyone apace with the developments in the Google Maps corner of the universe. That iss already being covered well by Google Maps Mania. But I would like to point out a new mashup.

Ontario Parks (the organization that runs the park I was actually camping in this weekend) is now using Google Maps to display the location of nearby provincial parks. It’s not an usual or even particularly spectacular application (why not show all the parks on Google Maps at once instead of one at a time?) but it is significant in that a government department is using Google Maps for a public purpose instead of its own data rich mapping tools. There may be a number of reasons for this but one of them would be that it would be easier and faster to make use of an existing interactive web road map that create one from scratch even if many of the components are already available. For good or ill, using a Google Map as a basis to display data is quickly becoming standard.

By way of Google Maps Mania.

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Treasured Maps


The New York Public Library is currently holding an exhibition of 80 maps taken from its own map collection. This exhibition is on view from September 9, 2005 to April 9, 2006. Yesterday's New York Times has an interesting review of the exhibition suggests that the show’s “sampling is dizzying.” The review also suggests that “maps are less metaphysical than they once were and more explicitly functional, serving a particular purpose and leaving higher concerns for other arts.” An indication of a trend for the future? Possibly, especially considering the increased use of satellite and air photo photography as well as land-based photography.

By way of VerySpatial.

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Summer School Presentations


The Society of Cartographers holds an annual summer school for cartographers and this year’s event was held earlier this month. Eleven presentations are currently online in Microsoft Powerpoint, html and pdf formats. Topics include crime mapping, web mapping and data issues, maong others.

By way of CartoTalk.

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Flooding in New Orleans (12)


MSNBC has come out with a very flashy website called Katrina Flyover powered by Virtual Earth. It is essentially a satellite image with street names and features overlayed. there are also little camera icons scattered about the map that if you click you can get before and and oblique aerial photos of that specific area. Very usedul if you live (or lived) in New Orleans and want to find out what state your neighbourhood is in. I tried using the site in Firefox and it partially worked (I couldn't be the side-by-side before and after photos to come up next to each other) and in IE (nothing came up then) so it seems that there are still a few bugs to work out.

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Mapping Cellphone Usage


Researchers at MIT have created a map of Graz, Austria showing cellphone usage. Data from many cellphones can be collected and mapped simultaneously, resulting in a dynamic and ever-changing map of cellphone use. A press release and web site provides more detailed information. Some images are on display on the website and a pdf contains more images. Sadly, none of these has a legend or any text explaining what the viewer is looking at. The dynamic maps will be on display at M-City at Kunsthaus Graz from October 1, 2005 to January 8, 2006.

By way of Boing Boing

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Designorati


Designorati seems to be a relative newcomer in the Internet world and bills itself as “a 360° view of the creative world.” Happily this also includes cartography. The site is broken into sections, including desktop publishing, creative design, typography and cartography. Content is still a little slim but there are already some interesting features. Worth paying attention to.

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Map server


Map server hasn’t been updated for about 2 years by the looks of it but it still manages to offer a huge selection of scanned maps from around the world, many of which are in the 1:25,000 to 1:100,000 scale range. Maps are arranged somewhat by geographical area and are mostly available in jpeg format. Image resolution is quite good and, as a result, the file sizes are around 3 to 4 MB, depending on the map. This is definitely worth a look, especially if you are looking for maps of Eastern Europe and Russia. Expect to spend some time here as there is about 19 GB worth of images to browse. A pleasant find in a “dusty corner” of the Internet.

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You think you know maps?


Here’s a game that will test you geographic knowledge. It comes in diffierent difficulties and with different geographical focii. It asks you to match a name or a shape to a geographical feature and gives you a score of how you did at the end. Requires the Shockwave plug-in to operate.

By way of Coming Anarchy.

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Neu-York


No, that’s not a typo in the title. This site has a number of detailed map views of Neu-York - or what New York might have looked like if the Germans had conquered the city in World War II. English place names and street names have all been meticulously replaced with German counterparts. It’s a bit eerie but manages to portray a familiar place in a different light.

By way of Great Map.

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Killer Maps?


Technology Review has a lengthy article on Google Maps/Earth and the technological evolution of maps on the web. The article, entitled “Killer Maps,” highlights Google’s success in the online mapping world since it stepped on to the scene earlier this year and gives a little history of web mapping to boot.

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Historical Interactive Boston Map Site


Maps Over Time features an interesting combination on historical maps and current technology. The interactive java map viewer (which doesn’t seem to work with Mozilla’s Firefox browser) allows users to zoom in and out, pan, search for an address, turn on and off and fade in and out up to 3 layers at a time. Maps date back to 1775 and include ortho air photos from 1994. It is an interesting way to view development in the Boston area.

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Patterns in Geospatial Data


From the ridiculous to . . . well, you decide.

The Norwegian Cartozoologic Society is a group friends who look to discover and study “animals outlined paradigmatically by street layouts as they appear on maps, especially with reference to physical evidence of the animals’ presence in the corresponding terrain.” In other words, they look for shapes on street maps that correspond (roughly at times) to animal shapes. They host a number of examples on their site. The site is also in Norwegian.

By way of blog.kart.no.

If you think that finding non-spatial patterns in spatial data is merely an amusement to pass the time, consider this story in the Washington Post. Apparently someone has come up with an explanation for Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans and causing all that damage. Check out Steve Lefemine’s own site for his own ideas on the matter, including a badly put-together side by side image that “rests his case.” John Krygier has improved on his argument (if that’s possible) by resassembling the images and including them in his Geography class notes (scroll about half way down the page).

By way of John Krygier.

It’s amazing what you can come up with with a little spatial analysis.

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NACIS 2005


The North American Carotgraphic Information Society is holding its 25th anniversary meeting in Salt Lake City on October 12 to 15. The schedule for the meeeting looks good and includes a keynote speech by David Rumsey, the annual Map-off, a practical cartography day and much more. A more detailed program guide is available as well.

By way of John Krygier.

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Maps of Jerusalem


The Jewish National University Library and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have put together a collection of maps of Jerusalem dating back to the 13th century. The maps are available online and in high resolution, Mr. SID format. The collection is searchable by date and author.

An old, less portable map of Jerusalem is the Madaba Mosaic Map. The Madaba Map continues to serve as the floor of a Greek Orthodox church but was formerly part of a Byzantine church built in the 6th or 7th century. The original mosaic was about 15 m x 6 m but only about a quarter of that is still in existence. The map illustrates various parts of the what is now currently Israel, including Jerusalem. The site highlights various sections of the map and provides a host of links and background information.

If you are interested in the history of cartography, both of these sites are worth checking out. Read the Jerusalem Post story on these and other maps.

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David Rumsey Podcast


Those of you who were at the Canadian Cartographic Association’s conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland and caught Edie Punt’s presentation on David Rumsey’s collection and the work she did on Cartographica Extrordinaire will probably recognize some of the maps and topics that David covers in this podcast.

By way of edparsons and The Map Room.

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Is cartography dead?


Lars Drodersen ponders this question in Geo-connexion and argues that cartography is not dead but its definition needs to be broadened to include geo-communication. Lars has a number of other papers relating to maps and cartography on his website, both in English and Danish, that are worth checking out, including one entitled “Maps as Communication.”

By way of CartoTalk.

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Airport Maps & Database


Keeping with the aviation theme, for those looking to plot airport locations from around the world, the best approach would be to visit Partow.net which has a free online database of about 9,300 airports. Fields include name, airport code, country, latitude, longitude and elevation. The database is available in a text format which can easily be imported to Excel where it can be prepared for export to a mapping program. This database requires a little less work than the one available at Universal Avionics. The data is available in pdf but this can be copied and pasted into a text document and imported to Excel. This database only includes region, latitude and longitude (which needs to be parsed) and the number of runways.

For American airports, the FCC has a more complete database available in text format. Again, some clean up of data would be required before it’s useable in a GIS or mapping program. There is also a database import program that works with MapInfo.

MapQuest UK has maps for some of the larger airports that can be viewed either as an airport plan or in the context of the local street network. The maps are a little too small, however, to be of much use. MapQuest USA has a similar listing for American airports but show the airports only in the context of their street maps.

Individual airport website often have maps of their airports. Airports.com has a searchable database of 378 of these airports that will provide you with a direct link to the airport’s website. To search for an airport you will need to know the three letter airport code. Airline websites will also often have maps of the airports they fly to but these may or may not be complete. Alternatively, World Airport Codes has a searchable online database of airports. Type in a country or city name or the airport code and a Google Map mashup appears along with runway information, elevation and latitude and longitude values. Airport maps in this case are only as detailed as the Google Map itself.

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Airline Route Maps


Airline companies have regularly used maps as part of their promotional campaigns or their in-flight magazines. Many of these maps are available for viewing at AirlineRouteMaps.com. These range from the professional and busines-like to the hand-drawn folksy look and everything in between. L0oking at these maps, one realizes that not all maps are created equal.

AirlineRouteMaps.com has a fairly extensive collection. Thei mages seem to either have been scanned or screen-captured from airline websites. Unfortunately, many of the route map images are a bit too small and the East Asia section seems to be missing.

If current airline route maps are what you are looking for, then your best best is to visit Airfarewatchdog.com. This site has a number of links to the actual maps hosted by the various airline websites. Some of these maps are interactive and some are simply static images. A quick review indicates that cartographic quality (and cool factor) varies. The focus seems to be primarily on airlines operating from the United States. The Independent Traveler also has a numbero f links to domestic U. S. discount airline route maps.

Airchive.com also has an extensive but by no means exhaustive collection but this site also includes old maps and schedules. These are scanned brochures and map contributed by various individuals and most at a good readable size. These are certainly a pleasure to browse through. It is interesting to note the changes in style over the years, from the advertisement/map/graphic style of the 1940s to the angular, “modern” style of the 1970s.

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Putting an interactive map on a web page used to be a time consuming and expensive proposition that only tech-heads could accomplish. Then, of course, along came Google Maps with its API. As this story in the Chicago Sun-Times says, “it costs an experienced Web programmer nothing more than an afternoon’s work.”

Google Maps is not GIS and tech-heads are still required to run GIS but when Google Maps starts becoming “a fundamental part of the Web experience” it’s something to pay attention to. Perhaps ESRI has missed the boat on this one.

But other free interactive map-building software exists - it just requires a tech head to operate. If you have such an inclination, visit MapTools.org, a repository of open source mapping software and tools.

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FEMA Flood Maps


Forbes.com has a story today on the status of FEMA’s flood mapping and its ties to flood insurance premiums. FEMA, of course, is looking to modernize its flood maps and bring them in to digital format. Up to date maps are often resulting in larger flood zones, something homeowners who have to pay higher premiums are not necessarily happy with. On the other hand, out dated flood maps are not doing anyone any favours either (registration may be required).

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Flooding in New Orleans (11)


More updates, more maps. The University of Texas at Arlington has a page listing mapping and GIS resources including before and after images and hurricane and weather mapping.

By way of Mapz Librarian.

The Map Room also has an updated listing of Katrina maps, including a link to a Google Maps mashup where you can click on a location and get a report back on the amount of flooding at that point.

DigitalGlobe has updated their gallery of images with new ones from 3 September. Resoultion is 60 cm for many of them. SpaceImaging, similarly, has posted new images of New Orleans and other Gulf coast cities. SPOT has an updated infrared image from 2 September. Orbimage has alos added another page of black and white satellite images.

NOAA has more complete post-hurricane imagery, available through a map index.

MODIS has updated smaller scale imagery of the Gulf coast. MODIS, in fact, updates its imagery daily regardless of cloud cover. Earth Observatory has a couple of before and after images of damage in Mobile, Alabama, along with some descriptive text.

The Perry-Castańeda Library has an extensive set of links to maps and satellite imagery through out the Internet.

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If you dug a hole in the ground, where would you end up?


Google Maps mashups have been used for many things. Now you can use a Google Map mashup to find out where you would end up if you dug a hole straight through the earth. A complete waste of time, of course.

By way of Very Spatial and download squad.

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Map Morphing


Edgelab has used MorphX, a Mac-based software, to morph one map into another. They have two examples up on the site - one of the London Underground (link seems to be down) and one of the ancient world. Interesting.

By way of Very Spatial.

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Flooding in New Orleans (10)


GISUser has a listing of satellite images, maps and links to the events on the Gulf coast that’s worth checking out. It also has a story about some USGS high resolution aerial photos that should be available this evening after 6 PM Eastern.

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Be careful what maps you carry


The Globe and Mail has a lengthy story about Ahmad El Maati, a truck driver crossing the border into the United States who happened to carry an out-dated,m publicly available map of the government building complex in Ottawa known as Tunney’s Pasture. The map sparked border guards’ interest in August 2001 and resulted in him being questioned and interrogated by U. S., Syrian and Egytian authorities. Sady, the truck he was driving at the time wasn’t his usual truck and he had hardly been to Ottawa.

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Plant Hardiness Zone Maps


There are a few plant hardiness zone maps available on the web, mostly for Western nations. The quality and detail varies but most follow the U. S. Department of Agriculture's guidelines for zone classification. Be sure to check the map you are refering to for details.

Australia: A fairly generalized map of the country is available. Keep in mind that Australia uses a different rating system then the USDA; a comparison chart is available.

Canada: Both 1967 and 2000 versions are available in interactive web mapping format. The 2000 map is also available as a pdf. Seeing as this is the Canadian cartographic Association’s weblog, I may be biased in saying that this is the best plant hardiness zone map available anywhere on the web but I doubt if I would be wrong.

Europe: Two plant hardiness maps of the continent are available at PlantIdeas (1 and 2). Another is available at GardenForum. None are particularly detailed.

New Zealand: A generalized map is available through Liddle Wonder. Unforntunately there is no map text that can be used for reference.

United States: The U.S. map covers all of Canada and Mexico as well and is zoomable to a region level. The detail is not great. Sunset Garden has a different plant hardiness map that takes into account the amount of rainfall, summer and winter temperatures and other environmental factors. As a results, their classification system is very different from the USDA’s (Sunset Garden link by way of Rich - thanks).

If anyone knows of other plant hardiness zone maps, let me know.

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Principles of Cartographic Design


Neer Cartography has posted a listing of five principles of cartographic design - concept before compilation, hierarchy with harmony, simplicity from sacrifice, maximum information at minimum cost and enge the emotion to engage understanding. For practical cartographers, they are principles worth considering and implementing.

By way of CartoTalk.

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Flooding in New Orleans (9)


GeoCarta has posted a couple of pictures on the changes to the Mississippi River and the shipping channel.

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Flooding in New Orleans (8)


For Google Earth users, flood overlays have been created and are available for download from the Google Earth community. More overlays are available here as well as some maps. Google has also posted numerous overlays and before and after images.

By way of Archinect.

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Flooding in New Orleans (7)


It looks like a number of sites have updated their imagery. DigitalGlobe has perhaps the best images of New Orelans available anywhere, including an overview one of the downtown area and a more detailed one that includes the Superdome. As well, some detailed images of the levee breaks are also available. Earth Observatory has taken one of the images and provided some textual background to it.

Landsat has a couple of more before and after shots of parts of the Gulf coast. Unfortunately cloud cover obscures some of the details.

Orbimage also has a few new photos, including before and after shots of the Louis Armstrong International Airport and Tulane University. All these images are in black and white; nevertheless, they clearly show the extent of flooding. Included in the set is one image swath that covers an extensive part of the city.

Spot Image has an infrared satellite image of New Orelans on its site at 20 m resolution. Again, flooding is very visible on this image.

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Mapped Web


Mapped Web tries to take psychological distances between countries and map them - a tricky proposition and one that depends on the topic being used as a search term. Essentially, it “does this by taking the chance that given a page contains the name of one country it will also contain the name of another country as a measure for psychological distance. The resulting images show us how close countries are to each other in psychological terms.” Some interesting maps result from this. Unfortunately, the images are just a bit too small for comfortable reading.

There are also a few other interesting mapping projects on this site as well, including LandGeist which maps countries by how likely they are to show up in relation to a search term (e.g. hot) and Mind World Map which takes what people think the world should look like and makes a map with the input.

By way of Vector One.

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Flooding in New Orleans (6)


The NY Times has a map of New Orleans showing points of interest, population statistics, elevation and satellite images of sites along the Gulf coast. The map of the levees gives some idea of the extent of flooded areas.

By way of CartoTalk.

The LA Times also has a map in pdf format that clearly showing the levee system, with notes on features of the disaster.

DirectonsMag has a roundup of mapping efforts and commentary on the mapping efforts.

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World Atlas of Great Apes


The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre(UNEP-WCMC) has launched an online atlas entitled World Atlas of Great Apes and their Conservation. Maps are available in tiff or jpeg format. The atlas is just one example of the kind of work the UNEP-WCMC does. Other items of interest on the site include maps of the UN’s Forest Stewardship Council Certified Forest Sites. These are also the people who worked on the One Planet, Many People atlas mentioned earlier in this blog. GLOBIO, a partner in putting the Atlas of Great Apes together also has a few interesting maps on the human impact on the environment (see the bottom of the page).

By way of CartoTalk.

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Flooding in New Orleans (5)


Global Security has posted a few before and after images of the flooded areas. GlobeXplorer also has posted some satellite images (by way of GISuser).

Global Landcover Facility has some data and images available on its site but I had difficulty downloading and viewing the imagery because of traffic. Data includes Landsat, SRTM and MODIS.

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The Evolution of Cartography


DirectionsMag carries an article today on the development of geo-spatial information and the directions it seems to be heading. Where the map was once the data, now the data produces the map. An interesting read.

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Flooding in New Orleans (4)


Digital Globe has posted a couple of before and after satellite images of New Orelans showing the extent of flooding and damage. It appears that the darkened areas in the New Orleans image are areas that are underwater. There are also a couple of after images of Biloxi that show the extent of damages.

More imaages are available through NOAA. These seem to focus primarily on the Mississippi coast at present. The destruction of highway bridges is fairly evident and dramatic. Tim Holtt has put otgether a few mouse-over images that flip back and forth between before and after shots, highlighting some of the destruction that has occurred. Via Boing Boing.

On more of a mapping note, a Google mashup exists marking locations and comments from observers. Via Google Maps Mania. This is, of course, only as reliable as the information put into it.

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