kottke.org posts about maps

Desire map of the worldApr 22 2015

This map was compiled using the autocomplete results for "how much does a * cost" for every country in the world.

Desire Map World

Some notable desires: Mexican tummy tucks, Brazilian prostitutes, Albanian nose jobs, Russian MiGs, Lebanese PS3s, and Japanese watermelons.

See also the desire map of the US.

Play Pac-Man in Google MapsMar 31 2015

Ok, April Fools' is still idiotic, but this is pretty cool: you can play Pac-Man in any neighborhood on Google Maps.

Pac-Man Google Maps

NYC's West Village is a fun place to play. See also Pac-Manhattan, a real-life game of Pac-Man played on the streets of Manhattan in 2004 by a group of ITP students, including Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley.

Desire map of the 50 statesMar 13 2015

What States Want

In Alaska, people search for the cost of a gallon of milk. In Alabama and Florida, people search for the cost of abortions. In other states, vasectomies, facelifts, and taxis are popular searches. The map was compiled using the autocomplete results for "how much does a * cost"... for each of the 50 states. (via mr)

The real subway map of ManhattanMar 12 2015

Real subway map of Manhattan

From Thrillist, the real subway map of Manhattan, your one-stop shop for Manhattan neighborhood stereotypes. (via @mkonnikova)

1940 Nazi tourist map of ParisMar 04 2015

Nazi Tourist Map Paris

In 1940, Germany published a tourist map of occupied Paris intended for use by German soldiers on leave.

The sea of NYCFeb 18 2015

NY Sea

Jeffrey Linn makes maps that show how extreme sea level increase will impact major cities around the globe. Recently he made a map of NYC showing what it would look like if sea levels rose by 100 feet, which is what would happen if a third of the world's ice sheets melted. So long, most of Manhattan and Brooklyn; hello Coral Gardens, Prospect Beach, and Sunset Island. Prints are available.

See also Linn's maps of a drowned London, the bay of LA, and islands of Seattle.

National Geographic's maps are 100 years oldFeb 04 2015

National Geographic's cartographic department celebrates its 100th birthday today. Here's a look back at their work and some of NG's most memorable maps.

National Geographic MapNational Geographic Map

Our family subscribed to National Geographic for awhile when I was a kid. The maps and photos contained within brought this country bumpkin in closer contact with the world at large than even the TV news (which was admittedly all of 13-inches and in B&W to boot).

NYC sledding locationsJan 27 2015

A bit late for today, but for future snow day reference, here's a crowdsourced map of good places to go sledding in NYC.

(via @alainabrowne)

A map of physics, circa 1939Jan 16 2015

Map Of Physics 1939A map published by Bernard Porter in 1939 depicting physics as a landmass through which several rivers corresponding to the main branches (light, sound, heat, etc.) run and converge into one.

A timeline of the abolition of slavery in the AmericasJan 15 2015

Here's a map showing when slavery was abolished in North and South America:

Slavery Abolition Map

Surprising, right? Along with Cuba, Brazil, and Puerto Rico, the United States was among the last nations in the Americas to abolish slavery. Americans like to think of ourselves as freedom-loving, progressive, and more "evolved" than other countries, particularly those in the "third world" (what a loaded term that is), but this map shows differently.

It's tempting to dismiss American attitudes toward slavery as something that happened long ago. Except for, you know, the whole Civil Rights Movement and the ongoing racism against African Americans in the US. And there are also many respects in which the US is currently less free, less progressive, and less evolved than some less industrialized nations, e.g. on things like gun control, murder rate, use of the death penalty, prison population, healthcare, and anti-science views (evolution, vaccines). So maybe the lag in abolishing slavery shouldn't be so surprising, particularly because it was so lucrative and the only thing Americans have historically cared more about than freedom is money. (via civil war memory)

The US border is 100 miles wideJan 14 2015

Today I learned that the US government considers the US border as extending 100 miles into the country. This means that states like Maine, Michigan, and Florida are entirely within the border area and 2/3 of the US population lives within the border.

US 100 Mile Border

The problem with this, from the standpoint of the ACLU, is that Border Patrol agents have "certain extra-Constitutional powers" within this area and "routinely" overstep their bounds and violate the constitutional rights of innocent people.

See also 35 maps that explain how America is a nation of immigrants. (via @tcarmody)

Update: So, as you may know, I am not a Constitutional lawyer or even a regular lawyer. The ACLU presumably employs and/or utilizes experts on Constitutional and immigration law. But they have a viewpoint, right? They are interested in the civil liberties of individual Americans. Anyway, Scott Bomboy of the National Constitution Center (who is also not a lawyer), notes that the US has a couple of different ideas of what a border is and what can be done at or within each kind of border is slightly different.

Legally, the 100-mile-wide region is called the "extended border" of the U.S., as defined by Title 8 of the Federal Code of Regulations. There is also something called the "functional equivalent" border, which is the area around international airports in the interior region of the U.S.

The DHS ruling from last Friday said its "warrantless searches" applied to the U.S. "border and its functional equivalent," with no mention of the extended 100-mile border.

Two analysis papers from the Congressional Research Service from 2009 offer some legal insight into what tactics agents can follow within the 100-mile-wide extended border, and why the distinction between the extended border and the other two borders is important.

Searches within the 100-mile extended border zone, and outside of the immediate border-stop location, must meet three criteria: a person must have recently crossed a border; an agent should know that the object of a search hasn't changed; and that "reasonable suspicion" of a criminal activity must exist, says the CRS. (The service had done the legal analyses to prepare Congress members for legislation.)

"Although a search at the border's functional equivalent and an extended border search require similar elements, the extended border search entails a potentially greater intrusion on a legitimate expectation of privacy. Thus, an extended border search always requires a showing of 'reasonable suspicion' of criminal activity, while a search at the functional equivalent of the border may not require any degree of suspicion whatsoever," the CRS says.

In November of 2014, This American Life aired a piece on several people who record on video their interactions with Border Patrol agents at inland checkpoints.

So if you haven't spent much time in the Southwest, you might not know about this. But there are these Border Patrol checkpoints that are just like in the middle of highway interstates and other roads, not at the border, not even near the border. They're as far as 100 miles from the border.

There are dozens of these interior or inland checkpoints across the country. They're mostly in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. But now there are a couple in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Washington state. You know that you're approaching one of these checkpoints, because the speed limit will suddenly drop to 45 miles an hour and then 25. You'll slow down, and you stop, you see these orange cones coming up. And then often there's this big sort of tent-looking structure, like, right in the middle of the highway.

And then you stop, and you're right in the middle of the highway. And an agent in uniform, an armed agent walks up and asks you questions like, are you an American citizen? Sometimes he asks to look in your trunk. All this so they can catch undocumented immigrants and drug smugglers.

I've been through one of these checkpoints in VT, about 40-50 miles from the Canadian border, and hey, these checkpoints really make you feel like a criminal...like if you seem nervous they're going to pull you over and detain you because you seem like you've done something wrong. And that's what the ACLU is concerned about: Border Agents routinely treating law-abiding US citizens as criminals far from their true areas of jurisdiction. Again from This American Life, one guy got his car window broken at a checkpoint because he did not want to cooperate with the agents:

Violence like this doesn't happen a lot in these videos, but it does happen. Agents also broke the window of that pastor I mentioned earlier, Steven Anderson. They tased him and bloodied his face.

In Robert's case, he says the agents seized his cameras, put him in handcuffs, drove him far away to a holding cell, and detained him for hours. Then they drove them even farther away to El Cajon, California, let him out late at night at a bus station, and drove off.

You can watch the video here:

The glass is broken at ~11:00. (thx, @harryh & martha)

The Invasion of AmericaJan 09 2015

From eHistory, a time lapse view from 1776 to the present day of how the US government systematically took land from Native Americans through treaties and executive orders that were rarely honored for long.

There's a companion piece at Aeon by Claudio Saunt as well as an interactive version of the map featured in the video.

The final assault on indigenous land tenure, lasting roughly from the mid-19th century to 1890, was rapid and murderous. (In the 20th century, the fight moved from the battlefield to the courts, where it continues to this day.) After John Sutter discovered gold in California's Central Valley in 1848, colonists launched slaving expeditions against native peoples in the region. 'That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between races, until the Indian race becomes extinct, must be expected,' the state's first governor instructed the legislature in 1851.

In the Great Plains, the US Army conducted a war of attrition, with success measured in the quantity of tipis burned, food supplies destroyed, and horse herds slaughtered. The result was a series of massacres: the Bear River Massacre in southern Idaho (1863), the Sand Creek Massacre in eastern Colorado (1864), the Washita Massacre in western Oklahoma (1868), and a host of others. In Florida in the 1850s, US troops waded through the Everglades in pursuit of the last holdouts among the Seminole peoples, who had once controlled much of the Florida peninsula. In short, in the mid-19th century, Americans were still fighting to reduce if not to eliminate the continent's original residents.

FYI, it's always a good rule of thumb to not read comments on YouTube, but in this case you really really shouldn't read the comments on this video unless you want a bunch of reasons why it was ok for Europeans to drive Native Americans to the brink of total genocide.

Mapper's DelightDec 26 2014

A project called Maximum Distance. Minimum Displacement. analyzed the lyrics of several popular rappers for geographical mentions and had an industrial robot draw each rapper's lyrical journey through the world. At a glance, you can see how worldly (Niggas in Paris) or locally oriented (Straight Outta Compton) each rapper is. Compare world-traveller Jay Z:

Rap Map 01

with Kendrick Lamar:

Rap Map 02

Kendrick Lamar's analysis is culled from the lyrics of his underground & independent albums and is heavy with Compton references. Over the next few years it will be interesting to see how mainstream successes and personal experience change the travel of his lyrics.

The Game MapDec 02 2014

Game Map DorothyThe Game Map from Dorothy is a street map made up of references to more than 500 video games.

The imaginary map is loosely based on an area of Tokyo, a city that was home to some of the all time classic arcade games of the late 1970's and early 1980's that paved the way for the modern day gaming industry. The map features districts dedicated to survival horror (Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Sweet Home), beat 'em ups (Street fighter, Streets of Rage, Double Dragon) and Nintendo classics (Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Land, Luigi's Mansion) as well as many geeky 'in' references to entertain the most hardcore (or the oldest) of gamers.

The Knowledge of LondonNov 11 2014

Great piece about The Knowledge, the collection of geographical information that all London taxi drivers must learn before becoming a cabbie.

The guidebook issued to prospective cabbies by London Taxi and Private Hire (LTPH), which oversees the test, summarizes the task like this:

To achieve the required standard to be licensed as an "All London" taxi driver you will need a thorough knowledge, primarily, of the area within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. You will need to know: all the streets; housing estates; parks and open spaces; government offices and departments; financial and commercial centres; diplomatic premises; town halls; registry offices; hospitals; places of worship; sports stadiums and leisure centres; airline offices; stations; hotels; clubs; theatres; cinemas; museums; art galleries; schools; colleges and universities; police stations and headquarters buildings; civil, criminal and coroner's courts; prisons; and places of interest to tourists. In fact, anywhere a taxi passenger might ask to be taken.

If anything, this description understates the case. The six-mile radius from Charing Cross, the putative center-point of London marked by an equestrian statue of King Charles I, takes in some 25,000 streets. London cabbies need to know all of those streets, and how to drive them -- the direction they run, which are one-way, which are dead ends, where to enter and exit traffic circles, and so on. But cabbies also need to know everything on the streets. Examiners may ask a would-be cabby to identify the location of any restaurant in London. Any pub, any shop, any landmark, no matter how small or obscure -- all are fair game. Test-takers have been asked to name the whereabouts of flower stands, of laundromats, of commemorative plaques. One taxi driver told me that he was asked the location of a statue, just a foot tall, depicting two mice sharing a piece of cheese. It's on the facade of a building in Philpot Lane, on the corner of Eastcheap, not far from London Bridge.

The goal is to install a complete map of London in the brain of every licensed taxi driver. And indeed, according to neuroscientist Eleanor Maguire, the part of the brain responsible for memory becomes physically bigger as The Knowledge is absorbed.

Seeing, for a Knowledge candidate, is everything -- at its heart, the Knowledge is an elaborate exercise in visualization. When McCabe called-over, he closed his eyes and toggled between views: picturing the city at street level, the roads rolling out in front of him as if in a movie, then pulling the camera back to take in the bird's eye perspective, scanning the London map. Knowledge boys speak of a Eureka moment when, after months or years of doggedly assembling the London puzzle, the fuzziness recedes and the city snaps into focus, the great morass of streets suddenly appearing as an intelligible whole. McCabe was startled not just by that macroview, but by the minute details he was able to retain. "I can pull a tiny little art studio just from the color of the door, and where it's got a lamppost outside. Your brain just remembers silly things, you know?"

I could go on and on...I loved this piece. Don't miss the video of a prospective cabbie calling out the route he would use to go from Rotherhithe Station to the Natural History Museum, entirely from memory without looking at a map. Compare with Google's driving directions.

Update: View From the Mirror is a blog written by a London cabbie, which includes his experience training for The Knowledge. (thx, bryan)

CosmigraphicsOct 17 2014

Cosmigraphics

From Michael Benson comes Cosmigraphics, a survey of many ways in which humans have represented the Universe, from antiquity on up to the present day.

Selecting artful and profound illustrations and maps, many hidden away in the world's great science libraries and virtually unknown today, he chronicles more than 1,000 years of humanity's ever-expanding understanding of the size and shape of space itself. He shows how the invention of the telescope inspired visions of unimaginably distant places and explains why today we turn to supercomputer simulations to reveal deeper truths about space-time.

The NY Times has an adaptation of the introduction to the book.

Among the narrative threads woven into the book are the 18th-century visual meditations on the possible design of the Milky Way - including the astonishing work of the undeservedly obscure English astronomer Thomas Wright, who in 1750 reasoned his way to (and illustrated) the flattened-disk form of our galaxy. In a book stuffed with exquisite mezzotint plates, Wright also conceived of another revolutionary concept: a multigalaxy cosmos. All of this a quarter-century before the American Revolution, at a time when the Milky Way was thought to constitute the entirety of the universe.

Beautiful mapsOct 16 2014

Beautiful Maps

Like it says on the tin: a collection of Beautiful Maps. I wish there was some attribution attached to each map though. The map above is by Claude Bernou circa 1681. (via @khoi)

Five favorite mapsSep 29 2014

Bill Rankin of radicalcartography picks his five favorite maps. The historical meanderings of the Mississippi River map from an Army Corps of Engineers report is a favorite of mine too:

Mississippi Meandering

Unbiased cellular coverage mapsSep 11 2014

Sensorly

If you're thinking of switching mobile carriers (b/c perhaps a certain fruit company is releasing new models), you should check Sensorly for "unbiased" coverage maps of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and even smaller companies like Metro PCS and US Cellular. Looks like the maps are somewhat inaccurate because they rely on contributions only from Sensorly app users. For example, there are large swaths of upper Manhattan and the Bronx which show coverage only along major roads. But still helpful to use beside the companies' official coverage maps. (via @ludacrisofficia)

Update: Rootmetrics also has coverage maps for the major carriers. (via @ropiku)

OpenStreetMap turns 10Sep 10 2014

In August, the open source mapping project OpenStreetMap turned 10 years old.

When the project was begun by Steve Coast in 2004, map data sources were few, and largely controlled by a small collection of private and governmental players. The scarcity of map data ensured that it remained both expensive and highly restrictive, and no one but the largest navigation companies could use map data. Steve changed the rules by creating a wiki-like resource of the entire globe, which everyone could use without hinderance.

The magic of OSM's early success was not just its timeliness -- GPS was becoming affordable, storage was increasingly cheap, and the iPhone was around the corner -- but its provision of a read-write canvas where emerging mapping enthusiasts could convert their frustration into action. Maps, of course, are intimately personal, but also overtly political: as a true, citizens' map of the world, OSM could address that particular paradox -- no longer were mapping resources allocated by revenue potential; instead, all one needed was time and a computer connection to add data about their country or their neighborhood.

As you can see, from a fledgling project, a rich collection of data has taken shape:

Still my favorite use of OSM: Stamen's watercolor maps. Happy birthday, old thing.

The precision of lat/long coordinatesSep 05 2014

Let's say you have latitude/longitude coordinates of 40.742041, -73.989579 (my current location). How precise are those 6 digits after the decimal point? Well, five decimal places will get you to within a meter and six will get you to within 11 cm:

The fifth decimal place is worth up to 1.1 m: it distinguish trees from each other. Accuracy to this level with commercial GPS units can only be achieved with differential correction.

The sixth decimal place is worth up to 0.11 m: you can use this for laying out structures in detail, for designing landscapes, building roads. It should be more than good enough for tracking movements of glaciers and rivers. This can be achieved by taking painstaking measures with GPS, such as differentially corrected GPS.

(via teendrama)

Judgmental mapsAug 21 2014

Tumblr of maps of cities with stereotypical labels. For example, NYC, land of Nuclear Industrial Cesspool, Asshole Cops, and Worst Train Station Ever.

Judgmental NYC map

(via subtraction)

Westeros transit mapAug 15 2014

If the continent of Westeros from Game of Thrones had rail service, this is what the transit map might look like. Here's the King's Landing transport hub:

Westeros Transit Map

The maps are the work of designer Michael Tyznik and are available as prints: Westeros and The Known World.

Digital Atlas of the Roman EmpireAug 04 2014

Digital Map Ancient RomeThe Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire lets you explore ancient Rome in a Google Maps interface. (via @pbump)

Update: From Vox, 40 Maps That Explain the Roman Empire.

Two thousand years ago, on August 19, 14 AD, Caesar Augustus died. He was Rome's first emperor, having won a civil war more than 40 years earlier that transformed the dysfunctional Roman Republic into an empire. Under Augustus and his successors, the empire experienced 200 years of relative peace and prosperity. Here are 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire -- its rise and fall, its culture and economy, and how it laid the foundations of the modern world.

The first world atlas confused Cuba with CyprusJul 30 2014

The Utrecht University Library tells the story of a 1606 edition of Gerard Mercator's Atlas sive Cosmographicae Meditationes... that was, um, less than perfectly prepared:

In the Utrecht copy shown here the map of Cyprus has been included twice. One time at the right place at the description of the island, and one time incorrectly at the description of Cuba! To err is human, also when making an atlas. In this case the printer used the wrong copperplate when printing the map on the overleaf of the text pages which had been made earlier via another technique, namely letterpress printing. Or a mistake must have been made during the collection of the map prints needed, if the texts had to be printed afterwards. The latter way of working was quite unusual however. As far as we know, only the Utrecht copy contains the mistake of the switched Cuba-Cyprus map. But that is not to say that incorrect placements and switched maps did not occur in other old atlases. In a copy of the same edition of Mercator's atlas, housed in the University Library of Odense, the continent map of Africa has been switched with the one of America.

Kaart Cyprus Cuba (uitsnede2).jpg

Mercator (of projection fame) had died in 1594. His Atlas the first "book work with maps (1585-1595) which was given the name Atlas," and popularized the term, but Abraham Ortelius's "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" in 1570 was probably the first book we'd recognize as a modern atlas. Mercator wanted to bring scholarly, scientific precision to the work that Ortelius and a generation of mostly-Dutch commercial mapmakers had pioneered.

But the atlas was unfinished, with only 79 of a planned 120 published, and another 34 complete. There were no maps of continents outside Europe, or even of Spain and Portugal. Mercator's son Gerard Jr. sold his father's copperplates, and they eventually ended up in the hands of cartographer Jodocus Hondius. Hondius assembled and augmented Mercator's maps, adding four maps of Africa, eleven of Asia, and five of the Americas, plus correcting that pesky Iberian peninsula problem. He published them as a series, they became hugely popular, and Mercator's reputation was restored.

But there is that one weird Utrecht edition with Cyprus standing in for Cuba and Africa for America. Still, in fairness to whoever switched the bookplates: they had probably never seen images of any of these places before.

(via @marcovanegmond by way of @burritojustice)

Don't Fly Drones HereJul 24 2014

Drones Nofly Map

From Mapbox, a map of places in the US where it is unsafe or illegal to fly drones. Forbidden areas include near airports and in National Parks. (via @tcarmody)

Maps don't love you like I love youJul 18 2014

From Flowing Data, 19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won't Believe Your Eyes. Watch. It's the maps listicle to end all maps listicles.

Useless maps

Smarty PinsJul 02 2014

Smarty Pins is a Google Maps-based geography quiz...you drop pins on the map to answer questions. You start with a total of 1000 miles and the game subtracts the number of miles you're off by for each answer.

Smarty Pin

I just spent far too long playing this. Can you beat my score of 39? Also, this reminds me of GeoGuessr, which is a lot more difficult.

Realtime map of lightning strikesJun 23 2014

This map showing where lighting strikes are happening right now is kind of great:

Lightning Map

Average delay is about 3-5 seconds. Make sure you turn the sound up too. That's the North American map...there are also maps for Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America, although only NA, Europe, and Australia seem to have detectors in place.

The detection system is volunteer community effort. Anyone who wants to can buy a detection kit (for around 200 Euro) and hook it up to the Internet to provide strike data. In turn, the data collected from stations is made available to any station owner. See also the wind map of the Earth and the realtime map of global ocean currents.

Cartography portraitsJun 10 2014

Ed FairburnEd Fairburn

From artist Ed Fairburn, a collection of portraits drawn on top of maps. Reminiscent of Matthew Cusick's map collages. (via @damienjoyce)

Comic book cartographyJun 04 2014

large_BaxterCutawayFF3.jpg

Comic Book Cartography is a now-dormant blog devoted to maps, charts, diagrams, and other visual explainers of (mostly) fictional worlds found (mostly) in old comic books.

These maps are beautiful, but they're also packed with definitive detail. I love the stern "SAVE THIS FOR FUTURE REFERENCE" on the first-ever cutaway of the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building, from issue #3. Two issues ago, you've got the FF someplace called "Central City," and The Thing looking like a poop with arms and a mouth, but already, there's a fixed architecture for midtown Manhattan offices packed with reference ideas for future storylines. A man, a plan, Jack Kirby.

In these flattened worlds for tiny obsessives, you've got your narrative and your database all in one: not just maps, but routes, connections, circuits, ideas, topologies. Really, it's dataviz, only since comics don't have, you know, large data sets for running regressions, it's a lot of tiny illustrations with copious labeling. Still, the future of the modern impulse to an "all in one chart" aesthetic probably starts here as much as anywhere. (Via @justinNXT.)

Update: There's an active "Comic Cartography" Tumblr that includes more contemporary examples. Also, John Hilgart, the proprietor of Comic Book Cartography, runs an active blog on images from classic comic books called 4CP (for four-color process, naturally). (Thanks, Hampton)

London growingMay 29 2014

Video of the growth of London from Roman times to the present, with a focus on the structures that have been protected from each era.

London was the most populous city in the world from the 1830s, a title it took from Beijing, until the 1920s, when New York City took the crown.

Google Maps' impressive attention to detailMay 23 2014

If you look at the Washington Monument in Google Maps, the monument's shadow follows the motion of the Sun throughout the day.

Google Maps

The utility of this feature is unclear, but that is some impressive attention to detail. (via @sippey, @kennethn, @chrisfahey)

40 maps that explain the Middle EastMay 05 2014

Middle East Maps

From Max Fisher at Vox, 40 maps that explain the Middle East.

Maps can be a powerful tool for understanding the world, particularly the Middle East, a place in many ways shaped by changing political borders and demographics. Here are 40 maps crucial for understanding the Middle East -- its history, its present, and some of the most important stories in the region today.

(via @jbenton)

US states north of CanadaMay 01 2014

What's your best guess without looking: How many US states are at least partially north of the southernmost part of Canada?

...

(It's probably way more than you think.)

...

Ok, I'll give you two hints...

1. Wyoming is almost *entirely* north of the southernmost point in Canada.

...

2. Part of a state that borders Mexico is north of the southernmost point in Canada.

...

One more big hint: more than 25% of US states are entirely north of Canada's southernmost point.

So, here's the answer:

States North Of Canada

27 US states, more than half, are at least partially north of Canada's southernmost point. (via @stevenstrogatz)

Baseball fandom map of the United StatesApr 24 2014

From the NY Times' new site, The Upshot, a bunch of maps showing the borders of baseball team fandom, with close-ups of various dividing lines: the Munson-Nixon Line, The Molitor Line, The Reagan-Nixon Line, and the Morgan-Ripken Line.

Baseball Map

The NYC and Bay Area maps are so sad...the Mets and A's get no love. (via @atotalmonet)

A tour of the accents of the British IslesApr 07 2014

Using Google Earth, dialect coach Andrew Jack gives a tour of the accents of Great Britain and Ireland.

The audio is originally from this BBC program. See also Peter Sellers doing various English accents. (via devour)

Unleash the maps!Apr 03 2014

Viele Map Close

Last week, the New York Public Library released a massive collection of maps online...over 20,000 maps are available for high-resolution download. An incredible resource.

Hand-drawn cityscapesApr 01 2014

Ben Sack makes these amazingly detailed maps of cities, all drawn by hand.

Ben Sack Map

And just so you can get a sense of how large these drawings are:

Ben Sack Map Progress

Here's a peek at his process:

Reminiscent of Stephen Wiltshire's work. And every time I see something like this, I think about when I went to the Met a few years ago and noticed the sketchbook of this guy working the membership desk. It was filled with beautifully intricate drawings of NYC-style city streets. I chatted with him about them briefly, but I wish I'd asked if he had put any of it online. Would have been neat to share his drawings with you. (via waxy)

Medieval maps from the 11th to 14th centuriesMar 20 2014

From Retronaut, a collection of maps dating from 1000-1300s.

Maps Before Maps

How were maps perceived 1000 years ago? Did they blow people's minds with physically impossible views of cities, states, and continents? Could a circa-1200 scholar imagine himself looking down from several miles in the air and seeing the same thing he was seeing on a map?

Food mapsMar 14 2014

Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin favor food as a medium for creating art. Their country maps made from native foods were cute at first glance, but in many cases the maps also reveal a link between a country's food and its culture that I'd never really thought about before. For instance, the maps of India and British Isles feel very representative of their respective cultures to me:

Food Map IndiaFood Map British Isles

Map interface with HD satellite videoMar 05 2014

It's only around 30 seconds long, but this video showing a standard web maps interface paired with satellite video is pretty mindblowing:

This quick shot by Skybox's SkySat-1 shows multiple planes landing at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) airport in Beijing on December 30, 2013. You can easily see a large plane landing on the runway at right. Using the video's timestamp and public flight logs, Bruno identified this plane as Air China Limited flight 1310, a wide-body Airbus 330 flying from Guangzhou to Beijing. Operating as a codeshare, that flight was also listed as Shenzhen Airlines 1310, United Airlines 7564, SAS 9510, Austrian 8010 and Lufthansa 7283.

I remember when satellite photography first became available in online maps; this feels similarly jawdropping. Gonna be more difficult to stitch video together into seamless interfaces than still images, but once it happens, it'll prove quite useful.

Time zone offset mapFeb 28 2014

Stefano Maggiolo made a map of how much the time zones of the world vary from solar time. The darker the color, the more the deviation.

Time zone offset map

Looking for other regions of the world having the same peculiarity of Spain, I edited a world map from Wikipedia to show the difference between solar and standard time. It turns out, there are many places where the sun rises and sets late in the day, like in Spain, but not a lot where it is very early (highlighted in red and green in the map, respectively). Most of Russia is heavily red, but mostly in zones with very scarce population; the exception is St. Petersburg, with a discrepancy of two hours, but the effect on time is mitigated by the high latitude. The most extreme example of Spain-like time is western China: the difference reaches three hours against solar time. For example, today the sun rises there at 10:15 and sets at 19:45, and solar noon is at 15:01.

Something to note: China is about as big across as the continental United States and has only one huge time zone. (via slate)

Realtime map of global ocean currentsJan 31 2014

Ocean currents map

To go along with his wind map of the Earth, Cameron Beccario has made a world map of global ocean currents with data that updates every five days or so. Not quite realtime, but still, er, current enough.

World map of vaccine-preventable outbreaksJan 16 2014

World map of vaccine-preventable outbreaks

From the Council on Foreign Relations, a world map showing outbreaks of diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. (via @jopearl)

80 maps that explain the worldJan 15 2014

From the Washington Post, an interesting collection of 80 maps (in two parts: one and two) that explain the world and how it works. One of my favorites is this map of actual European discoveries of land previously unknown by humans.

Actual Euro Discv

Antarctica is all stripey on that map and I realized I didn't know who had first clapped their peepers on the only continent discovered in the last millennia, so I did some reading on the subject. From the Holy Book of Wikipedia:

The first land south of the parallel 60° south latitude was discovered by the Englishman William Smith, who sighted Livingston Island on 19 February 1819. A few months later Smith returned to explore the other islands of the South Shetlands archipelago, landed on King George Island, and claimed the new territories for Britain.

In the meantime, the Spanish Navy ship San Telmo sank in September 1819 when trying to cross Cape Horn. Parts of her wreckage were found months later by sealers on the north coast of Livingston Island (South Shetlands). It is unknown if some survivor managed to be the first setting foot on these Antarctic islands.

The first confirmed sighting of mainland Antarctica cannot be accurately attributed to one single person. It can, however, be narrowed down to three individuals. According to various sources, three men all sighted the ice shelf or the continent within days or months of each other: von Bellingshausen, a captain in the Russian Imperial Navy; Edward Bransfield, a captain in the British navy; and Nathaniel Palmer, an American sealer out of Stonington, Connecticut. It is certain that the expedition, led by von Bellingshausen and Lazarev on the ships Vostok and Mirny, reached a point within 32 km (20 mi) from Princess Martha Coast and recorded the sight of an ice shelf at 69°21′28″S 2°14′50″W that became known as the Fimbul ice shelf. On 30 January 1820, Bransfield sighted Trinity Peninsula, the northernmost point of the Antarctic mainland, while Palmer sighted the mainland in the area south of Trinity Peninsula in November 1820. Von Bellingshausen's expedition also discovered Peter I Island and Alexander I Island, the first islands to be discovered south of the circle.

(via @daveg)

Brits label American states poorlyNov 27 2013

Buzzfeed asked some Brits to label states on a US map. They didn't do so well:

USA states brit

My favorite is "Further South Dakota". In fairness, most US citizens would be hard pressed to name any of the counties of England, much less place them on a map.

Update: See how Americans fared on placing European countries. (Not well.)

What if all the ice melted?Nov 05 2013

Ice Melt Map

If all the glaciers and snow and ice in the world melted, the sea level would rise 216 feet and, as this National Geographic map of the world shows, things would look a little different.

There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we'll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58.

See also Flood Maps.

The Best American Infographics 2013Oct 08 2013

Sadly, most infographics these days look like this, functioning as a cheap and easy way to gussy up numbers. But when done properly, infographics are very effective in communicating a lot of information in a short period of time and can help you see data in new ways. In The Best American Infographics 2013, Gareth Cook collects some of the best ones from over the past year. Wired has a look at some of the selections.

Dog Infoviz

World War II in 7 minutesOct 07 2013

A 7-minute time lapse video of the European front line changes during World War II, from the invasion of Poland to (spoilers!) the surrender of Germany.

Surprising to me how much of the war involves no shifting front lines...the map view really emphasizes this in a way that other WWII narratives do not. (via open culture)

Just for the mapsSep 27 2013

Kottke loves maps. My favorite of last few years is "Local vs Tourists," but so, so many are fantastic & so is the fact that Kottke loves maps. So there's that to get out of the way: I would be a rabid Kottke fan just for the maps.

But he also loves, among others, Eggers and Tufte and Morris (if you missed this, go back and read the series) and generally keeps his smart-o-meter well-calibrated and active. There's also design and sports and computing and po -- well, no, not politics, but that's just not his thing. Jason can sometimes be snarky (this take-down was epic), but he never throws elbows and what's politics about if not elbows?

I sometimes ask myself, "What don't I get introduced to by Kottke anymore?" A lot, I suppose (I thought I was introduced to parkour by him, but checked and his first post on the sport was a link to a piece in The New Yorker by Alec Wilkinson, which I would have read) -- but what does it say that even if he didn't introduce me to something, it feels like he did? That is the secret ingredient of Kottke -- which will not, must not, ever be distilled or revealed. It certainly can't be imitated, as those of us posting today learned as one-or-another-time guest-bloggers here on Kottke.org.

And now Jason is 40. Can't believe how far back on the Wayback Machine I went to write this post, but hope it continues to go Wayforward: Happy Birthday, Jason!

Time corrections for Big Ben's chimeSep 13 2013

The universal availability of accurate synchronized time is taken for granted in most areas of the world today, but 'twas not always so. When Big Ben was built in 1859, charts were issued to show the allowance that had to be made for the sound of the bell, traveling at ~768 mph, to reach different parts of London. This one is from 1875:

Big Ben Ring CorrectionBigger version here. The correction at Paddington Station was 6 seconds, 8 seconds in Notting Hill, and 13 seconds at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, itself the seat of a fledgling universal time standard. (via @michalmigurski)

1861 map of US slaverySep 11 2013

Using data from the 1860 US Census, the Department of the Interior made this map showing the percentages, by county, of the slave population of the southern states.

1861 map of slavery

Though this map was simple, it showed the relationship between states' commitment to slavery and their enthusiasm about secession, making a visual argument about Confederate motivations.

Schulten writes that President Lincoln referred to this particular map often, using it to understand how the progress of emancipation might affect Union troops on the ground. The map even appears in the familiar Francis Bicknell Carpenter portrait First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, visible leaning against a wall in the lower right-hand corner of the room.

Here's a larger version. The numbers in some locations are staggering and sickening -- in many counties 75% of the population was enslaved and the rate is over 90% in a few places.

NFL TV maps for 2013Sep 08 2013

It's NFL season again and it's time to tune into the NFL TV maps site to find out when your favorite team isn't on TV because the network is contractually obligated to show the pathetic Jets.

Insanely detailed maps of fictional Koana IslandsAug 23 2013

Ian Silva Maps

Ian Silva is a Australian commuter train driver who spends his spare time mapping an invented country called the Koana Islands.

People in the Koana Islands love baseball. The first league play started in 1882, barely six years after the MLB. Between the top-tier, Triple- and Double-A leagues, there are over 180 teams spanning the island nation. Fans are so rabid that there's even talk of expanding to a Single-A league, adding even more teams. If you're a baseball fan, you might be surprised you've never heard of this. You'll be even more surprised when you try to find the Koana Islands. That's because the 32-island chain, with its nine major cities, 11 national parks, 93 million residents and a landmass that is equal to Spain and Sweden combined does not really exist.

(thx, toni)

Lovely world maps made with a SpirographAug 12 2013

Rachel Evans Spirograph Map

Rachel Evans makes colorful world maps out of Spirograph-produced patterns. Prints are available.

Circular NYC subway mapJul 29 2013

A very pretty but almost completely useless circular map of the NYC subway.

Radial NYC Subway Map

There's a London Tube version too.

Hand drawn map of Midtown Manhattan from 1890Jul 26 2013

From 1890, a hand-drawn map of Midtown Manhattan "from 34th Street to 59th Street and from 1st Avenue to 6th Avenue".

1890 Midtown Manhattan Map

And you shall know us by the locations of our StarbucksJul 26 2013

Quiz: Can you name these cities just by looking at their Starbucks locations? Here's a fairly easy one:

NYC Starbucks map

Paramount Studio location map of CaliforniaJul 22 2013

Published in 1927 in a publication called The Motion Picture Industry as a Basis for Bond Financing, this map shows what locations in California look like other places from around the world.

CA Movie Locations

(via flickr)

Anagram map of the London UndergroundJul 10 2013

Otter Bends, Queer Spank, Frog Innard, and Lob Horn are some of the stations on the anagram map of the London Underground.

Anagram London Tube Map

Interactive map of the Battle of GettysburgJul 02 2013

Smithsonian.com has a neat interactive map that shows how the Battle of Gettysburg played out in the Civil War. For best results, do one run through zoomed out a little and then another run-through to at a closer zoom level to see the details. (via digg)

Hollywood Star ChartsJun 20 2013

New prints in the Dorothy shop: these really cool Hollywood Star Charts, available in Golden Age and Modern Day editions.

Hollywood Star Chart

The Modern Day version of our Hollywood Star Chart features constellations named after some of the most culturally significant films to have appeared on the silver screen since 1960 - present day. The stars that make up the clusters are the Hollywood stars that appeared in them.

The chart is based on the night sky over New York on June 16th 1960 -- the date of the first showing of Hitchcock's 'Psycho' at the DeMille Theater. With its new approach to storytelling, characterisation and violence it is seen as a key movie in the start of the post-classical era of Hollywood.

The 108 films featured include those chosen for preservation in the US National Film Registry due to their cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance; Academy Award winners; and a few personal favourites. Films include Easy Rider, Bonnie and Clyde, The Exorcist, The Godfather, Chinatown, Star Wars, Pulp Fiction and Avatar.

You may remember Dorothy from their movie name maps.

All of the riversJun 13 2013

Perhaps inspired by All Streets, Ben Fry's map of all the streets in the US, Nelson Minar built a US map out of all the rivers in the country.

All RiversAll Rivers detail

Minar put all the data and files he used up on Github so you can make your own version.

Hand-drawn map of Greenwich Village from 1925Jun 11 2013

From a 1925 issue of Quill magazine, a map of NYC's Greenwich Village hand-drawn by Robert Edwards.

Greenwich Village 1925

Maps of US linguistic patternsJun 06 2013

Joshua Katz has been studying American dialects and has made more than 120 maps of some of the differences in American speech. Here are a few examples:

Us Dialects Map 1
 

Us Dialects Map 2
 

Us Dialects Map 3

(thx, everyone)

Update: As he notes on the site, Katz's maps are based on the research and work of Bert Vaux...Vaux's maps of the same data can be found here. (thx, molly, margaret, & nicholas)

Explore history through Google MapsMay 16 2013

MyReadingMapped makes use of Google Maps & Google Earth to tell stories about history. For instance, here are maps of The Civil War and the American Revolution, a map of Roald Amundsen's 1910 South Pole expedition, and a map of the wars of Alexander the Great.

Time lapse satellite images, 1984-2012May 10 2013

Working with the USGS, NASA, and Time, Google has built a viewer for satellite image time lapses. Among the images are those of the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the retreat of an Alaskan glacier, and the growth of Dubai. You can also refocus the map on any other area you want. More info here and here's the extensive Time feature.

Historical maps overlaid on Google MapsMay 01 2013

View the maps from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection overlaid on their locations on Google Maps.

Rumsey Google Maps

A great way to browse an incredible collection of maps. See also Google Earth Time Machine. (via @H_FJ)

New York elsewhereApr 30 2013

The Morning News has a collection of maps showing the neighborhoods that New Yorkers might want to move to in a variety of cities around the world. Probably lots of generalizations to argue about here...have fun!

Prenzlauer Berg = Park Slope. Among the first neighborhoods to be gentrified after the Wall fell, Prenzlauer Berg (the locals shorten it to Prenzlberg, which isn't all that much shorter, but whatever) is populated by the same desperately, tragically hip mothers and fathers as Park Slope. But American yuppies have nothing on their German counterparts, who will invade a coffee shop, block the door with strollers, and turn it into a temporary romper room.

The subways of North AmericaApr 08 2013

XKCD has linked all the subway systems of North America into one map. That South Ferry to San Juan submarine line is a hike.

An atlas of world maps by illustrators and storytellersMar 13 2013

This looks beautiful: A Map of the World is a collection of maps by illustrators and storytellers. I've featured at least a few of the maps in the book here on kottke.org. Here's a sample:

Map Of The World Book

You can see more of the maps in the book on the publisher's web site. (via raul, who says "This book is insanely beautiful. Buy it if you love maps. It will make you happy.")

Fifty US states with equal populationFeb 13 2013

As part of a thought experiment to reform the electoral college, Neil Freeman redrew the US into 50 new states with equal population. In trying to balance the interests of the popular vote vs the integrity of states, he's split the baby so that no one is likely to be happy. Perfect!

electoral_map_FITNR.jpg

The map began with an algorithm that groups counties based on proximity, urban area, and commuting patterns. The algorithm was seeded with the fifty largest cities. After that, manual changes took into account compact shapes, equal populations, metro areas divided by state lines, and drainage basins. In certain areas, divisions are based on census tract lines.

Keep in mind that this is an art project, not a serious proposal, so take it easy with the emails about the sacred soil of Texas.

(via ★doingitwrong)

Laser-cut wooden maps of underwater contoursJan 03 2013

There's not much to say about these gorgeous, wooden, laser-cut bathymetric charts of various bodies of water except that just look at them!

Below The Boat

(thx, mouser)

Google Maps for iOSDec 13 2012

Your Apple Maps nightmare is over. Google has (finally!) released an iOS app for Google Maps.

Hand drawn map of NYCDec 10 2012

Illustrator Jenni Sparks has made an awesome hand drawn map of New York City.

Jenni Sparks MapPrints are available.

Scientists un-discover an islandNov 26 2012

A group of Australian scientists sailing to research plate tectonics discovered more than they were expecting. Well, less. They sailed right through where an island should have been.

Dr. Maria Seton, our cheif scientist, noticed that on the path that we were taking there was this very unusal island. Essentially it was on all the Google Earth maps and it was on all the weather charts. But when you zoom in on it it was just a black blob. Google had no photos from it. It was just this sort of slit in the Earth.

(via ★interesting-links)

County-by-county voting maps for the past 112 yearsNov 16 2012

The Blaze has a collection of county-by-county election maps for every US Presidential election since 1900.

1932 Election Map

The video at the bottom is worth watching to witness the shift between a north/south divided country to a urban/rural divided country over the past 20 years.

US state matching gameSep 28 2012

Starting with a blank map of the US, the object is to place each state in its proper place.

US map game

My average error was 8 miles. A better test would be to start each state with the blank map...placing Colorado in the western part of the country without any guide is much tougher than doing it last. (via @notrobwalker)

1000 years of war in 5 minutesSep 20 2012

This is a time lapse world map showing all the battles that have occurred in the past 1000 years. Worth sitting through the whole thing to see Europe go absolutely bonkers in the late 1930s.

(via @DavidGrann)

Radio's circuits shaped like London tube mapSep 13 2012

There's not a whole not more to this radio than what it looks like, but I will forever have a soft spot for things that mimic the London tube map.

London Tube Radio

Now, if it contained vacuum tubes or something...

How Google builds its mapsSep 07 2012

The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal gets an inside look at how Google builds its maps (and what that means for the future of everything). "If Google's mission is to organize all the world's information, the most important challenge -- far larger than indexing the web -- is to take the world's physical information and make it accessible and useful."

NFL TV maps 2012Sep 07 2012

Once again, here's the link to the maps that show which NFL games will be shown in which parts of the country.

Infinite Atlas and Infinite MapSep 06 2012

In July, we mentioned Infinite Boston, a project from William Beutler to map and photo the Boston-related locations in Infinite Jest. Today Beutler announced Infinite Atlas, which expands nationally on this project, and Infinite Map, a limited edition print featuring 250 "of the most interesting locations" from Infinite Jest.

Infinite Jest Map

A fractal tour of EarthSep 05 2012

Paul Bourke has collected a bunch of images from Google Earth of natural features that display fractal patterns. This one, from Egypt, is flat-out amazing:

Google Earth Fractal

(via ★interesting)

Google Earth Time MachineJul 30 2012

The Google Earth Time Machine blog uses Google's historical satellite maps to make now-and-then comparisons of interesting places around the world. Like the transformation of this Texas river bend into an oxbow lake over 60+ years:

Google Earth Time Machine 01Google Earth Time Machine 02

(via stellar)

Map made from movie namesJul 23 2012

Design firm Dorothy has created a map where all the features are movie-themed: Jurassic Park, Shutter Island, Howards End, the Soylent Green...that sort of thing.

Film Map

See also their song map.

2012 map of baseball player hometownsJun 21 2012

If you've ever wondered if any Major League Baseball players come from your favorite city, this is the map for you. See also the 2011-2012 NHL Player map. The maps are by Mike Morton, and I'm fascinated by the fact the NHL had players from both Africa and Brazil, while MLB did not. (via @jonahkeri)

An atlas for the blindMay 22 2012

The Atlas of the United States Printed for the Use of the Blind, published in 1837 before Braille was widely used, used embossed printing of lines, words, and symbols to be finger-readable.

Atlas For The Blind

Without a drop of ink in the book, the text and maps in this extraordinary atlas were embossed heavy paper with letters, lines, and symbols. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first atlas produced for the blind to read without the assistance of a sighted person. Braille was invented by 1825, but was not widely used until later. It represented letters well, but could not represent shapes and cartographic features.

(via @ftrain)

Fantastic time lapse map of Europe, 1000 - 2005 A.D.May 15 2012

This time lapse covers more than 1000 years and shows the shifting national borders of Europe.

There's also a slowed-down version that shows the year and some annotation of events. (via ★interesting)

Update: The originals got taken down but the company responsible for the historical mapping software put up similar versions that I've embedded/linked above. But the new versions are worse and not quite so fantastic. Why is that always the case? (thx, andrew)

Matthew Cusick's map collagesApr 24 2012

I love love love these collages made up of mappy bits from Matthew Cusick.

Matthew Cusick 01Matthew Cusick 02Matthew Cusick 03

(thx, mouser)

Visualization of shipping routes from 1750 to 1855Apr 17 2012

This video is a visualization of the how ships moved goods and people around the world from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century.

Here's more on how it was done.

This shows mostly Spanish, Dutch, and English routes -- they are surprisingly constant over the period (although some empires drop in and out of the record), but the individual voyages are fun. And there are some macro patterns -- the move of British trade towards India, the effect of the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and so on.

There are times in the video when a single nation dominates all of the shipping traffic...the British in the early 1800s and the Dutch from the mid 1830s on.

Lovely watercolor mapsMar 21 2012

Well, now, this is gorgeous. Stamen Design overlaid watercolor textures on OpenStreetMap map tiles to show you what it would look like if your favorite watercolorist designed Google Maps.

Watercolor maps

It's fun to scroll and scroll. (via @tomcoates)

And since we all could stand to look at more pretty things, watch this video of what different landscapes would look like if Earth had Saturn's rings. (via @ianmurren)

The best US mapJan 03 2012

Best US mapThis map of the US was made by David Imus -- he worked seven days a week for two years on it -- and it won the Best of Show award at the Cartography and Geographic Information Society competition for 2010. Here's why.

According to independent cartographers I spoke with, the big mapmaking corporations of the world employ type-positioning software, placing their map labels (names of cities, rivers, etc.) according to an algorithm. For example, preferred placement for city labels is generally to the upper right of the dot that indicates location. But if this spot is already occupied-by the label for a river, say, or by a state boundary line-the city label might be shifted over a few millimeters. Sometimes a town might get deleted entirely in favor of a highway shield or a time zone marker. The result is a rough draft of label placement, still in need of human refinement. Post-computer editing decisions are frequently outsourced-sometimes to India, where teams of cheap workers will hunt for obvious errors and messy label overlaps. The overall goal is often a quick and dirty turnaround, with cost and speed trumping excellence and elegance.

By contrast, David Imus worked alone on his map seven days a week for two full years. Nearly 6,000 hours in total. It would be prohibitively expensive just to outsource that much work. But Imus-a 35-year veteran of cartography who's designed every kind of map for every kind of client-did it all by himself. He used a computer (not a pencil and paper), but absolutely nothing was left to computer-assisted happenstance. Imus spent eons tweaking label positions. Slaving over font types, kerning, letter thicknesses. Scrutinizing levels of blackness. It's the kind of personal cartographic touch you might only find these days on the hand-illustrated ski-trail maps available at posh mountain resorts.

(via @rosscot)

If the Nazis conquered AmericaNov 04 2011

Matthew Porter's photo composite Empire on the Platte is arresting.

Empire On The Platte

Pairs nicely with Melissa Gould's Neu-York, "an obsessively detailed alternate-history map, imagining how Manhattan might have looked had the Nazis conquered it in World War II".

Neu-York

In 1942, Life magazine speculated about what an Axis invasion of North America might look like.

Nazi invasion plan

NFL TV maps for the 2011-2012 seasonSep 15 2011

These maps are updated every week and they tell you which games are on TV in which parts of the country. Not an issue if you have DirectTV or whatever, but for the rest of us... (thx, joshua)

How old is your globe?Sep 01 2011

This handy chart of defunct country names can help you determine the age of your globe.

globe age chart

When you find the FORMER place name on your globe instead of the NEW name, you have confimed the age of your globe.

RorschmapJul 29 2011

Rorschmap is a trippy Google Maps mashup by James Bridle that provides kaleidoscopic views of locations from around the world. Here's Paris, complete with MegaSeine.

Melty roadsApr 11 2011

Clement Valla collects Google Earth images where the 2-D to 3-D terrain mapping doesn't work as well as it should.

Clement Valla

(via lens culture)

OpenStreetBlockApr 06 2011

OpenStreetBlock is an open web service developed by Michael Frumin that converts lat/log coordinates to plain English location names.

OpenStreetBlock is a web service for turning a given lat/lon coordinate (e.g. 40.737813,-73.997887) into a textual description of the actual city block to which the coordinate points (e.g. "West 14th Street bet. 6th Ave. & 7th Ave") using OpenStreetMap data.

There are likely many applications for such a service. It should be quite useful any time you might need to succinctly describe a given location without using a map.

(via stellar)

How Manhattan got its gridMar 21 2011

The NY Times has an interactive look at how the Manhattan grid came to be.

In 1811, John Randel created a proposed street grid of Manhattan. Compare his map, along with other historic information, to modern-day Manhattan.

This article has more about the map. (via ★raul)

Mississippi River system as subway mapFeb 23 2011

A map of the Mississippi River and all its tributaries drawn in the style of Harry Beck's London Underground map.

Mississippi Metro Map

Prints are available. (via strange maps)

Musical subway mapJan 31 2011

Alexander Chen made a version of the NYC subway map that plays music as the trains intersect routes.

At www.mta.me, Conductor turns the New York subway system into an interactive string instrument. Using the MTA's actual subway schedule, the piece begins in realtime by spawning trains which departed in the last minute, then continues accelerating through a 24 hour loop. The visuals are based on Massimo Vignelli's 1972 diagram.

Check out the full version; there are more details here. See also Isle of Tune. (via about 20 people on Twitter just now)

Amazingly detailed map of Central ParkJan 27 2011

This illustrated map of Central Park individually depicts, labels, and categories by species every single significant tree in the park. All 19,630 of them.

Central Park Entire, The Definitive Illustrated Map is the most detailed map of any urban park in the world. I spent over two years creating it, walking more than 500 miles as I documented over 170 different kinds of trees and shrubs. Central Park contains over 58 miles of paved paths and many more miles of obscure woodland trails. I hiked along every one of them multiple times in order to identify and pinpoint each major tree. There are 19,630 trees drawn and placed in position on this map. There are no filler trees, no fluff. Every tree symbol represents a real tree in the Park, and you can identify its genus or species with the accompanying tree legend.

If you've got a subscription to the New Yorker, you can read about the map in this week's issue. (thx, @bamstutz)

1770 map of NYCJan 19 2011

The Brooklyn Historical Society recently restored a 1770 map of New York City, one of a handful of "Ratzer maps" that have survived to the present day.

A British Army officer in America, Lieutenant Ratzer was a surveyor and draftsman, and his map was immediately praised as a step forward from those of his predecessors. For his trouble, his name was misspelled on initial versions of his maps, called the "Ratzen plan."

The map included a detailed rendering of the island's slips and shores and streets in Lower Manhattan, the familiar mixing with the long gone. Pearl, Broad, Grand and Prince lay beside Fair and Crown and the "Fresh Water" pond.

"Manhattan, at least the part shown here, was mapped as precisely as any spot on the Earth at the time," said Robert T. Augustyn, co-author of "Manhattan in Maps: 1527-1995". "There was no more beautiful or revealing a map of New York City ever done."

The side-by-side comparison of the restored map with the pre-restored map is worth a look. And compare with the Viele map of Manhattan made in 1865.

North American English dialect mapDec 28 2010

Massive and detailed dialect map of North America. (via @brainpicker)

Autocomplete map of the United StatesDec 08 2010

Dorothy Gambrell looked up all of the state names on Google and made a map of what the autocomplete suggestions were. Here's part of it:

Autocomplete map

Lots of sports and schools.

The readability of online maps: it's the detailsDec 03 2010

A really nice analysis of the readability of maps from the three big online mapping companies: Google, Bing, and Yahoo. As you might expect, Google is the clear winner; they pay more attention to the little details than the other two services.

It turns out that Google uses a variety of techniques and visual tricks to help make its city labels much more readable than those of its competitors. From the use of different shadings to decluttering areas outside of major metro areas, it sure seems like Google has put a lot of thought into how it displays the labels appearing on its maps. I have no doubt that little touches like these are among the many reasons why Google remains the web's most popular mapping site.

Map of the world rearranged by populationNov 23 2010

If all the countries in the world swapped geographic positions based on population, then you'd have something that looked a bit like this:

World map by population

Take the world's largest country: Russia. It would be taken over by its Asian neighbour and rival China, the country with the world's largest population. Overcrowded China would not just occupy underpopulated Siberia - a long-time Russian fear - but also fan out all the way across the Urals to Russia's westernmost borders. China would thus become a major European power. Russia itself would be relegated to Kazakhstan, which still is the largest landlocked country in the world, but with few hopes of a role on the world stage commensurate with Russia's clout, which in no small part derives from its sheer size.

Canada, the world's second-largest country, would be transformed into an Arctic, or at least quite chilly version of India, the country with the world's second-largest population. The country would no longer be a thinly populated northern afterthought of the US. The billion Indians north of the Great Lakes would make Canada a very distinct, very powerful global player.

The full map is here. Interestingly, four countries stay in the same positions: the US, Ireland, Yemen, and Brazil.

First election mapNov 11 2010

Matthew Ericson tracked down the first national election map published in the NY Times; it showed William McKinley's victory over William Jennings Bryan.

1896 Election Map

The speed with which the results made it into print boggles the mind given the technology of the day (especially considering that in the last few elections in the 2000s, with all of the technology available to us, there have been a number of states that we haven't been able to call in the Wednesday paper).

(thx, tyson)

NFL TV maps for 2010 seasonOct 08 2010

I'm a little late this year, but the 2010 NFL maps site has been up and humming for four weeks now. The site displays what games are going to be on TV in different parts of the country.

Map of online communitiesOct 06 2010

XKCD has updated their map of online communities.

XKCD map of online communities

I like the Sea of Zero (0) Comments. (via waxy)

European map according to AmericansSep 30 2010

Europe According To USA

Larger version here. Other stereotype maps are available, including Europe According to Bulgaria and Europe According to Gay Men.

NYC maps exhibitionSep 23 2010

Starting tomorrow and continuing through November, Pratt Manhattan Gallery has an interesting show about maps and NYC. Among the works displayed will be:

- a three-dimensional map of the lower Manhattan skyline made of a Jell-O-like material by Liz Hickok
- a "Loneliness Map" from Craigslist's Missed Connections by Ingrid Burrington
- personal maps created from a call for submissions by the Hand Drawn Map Association
- Bill Rankin's maps of Not In My Back Yard-isms showcasing various geographies of community and exclusion
- a scratch-and-sniff map of New Yorkers' smell preferences by Nicola Twilley

Opening reception is tonight from 6-8. (via edible geography)

Job opening: NYC transit map designerSep 09 2010

The MTA in NYC is looking for someone to keep their transit maps fresh.

As part of a two-person team, the incumbent of this position is responsible for the design and timely updating of NYCT's printed and online map products, including the extensive service schedule panels on the reverse side of all "pocket" bus maps; researching and responding to map design and information issues; identifying, researching, recommending, and adapting evolving map drawing and production technologies; adapting Transit's map products to the agency website and providing modified products for third party publications; advising on or producing custom maps for major agency initiatives and proposals; advising and assisting on other product design, graphics technology procurements and related staff training for all graphics services in Marketing and Service Information.

This has to be some kottke.org reader's dream job...go get it!

Google Maps without the mapAug 20 2010

This is a Google Maps interface with everything but the location labels taken away.

Maps Without Maps

Take a little time with this one, zoom it in and out, especially on big cities. Excluding everything but the labels from the map emphasizes the Powers of Ten-like design of highly effective zoomable online maps. (via waxy)

Rap lyrics mappedAug 20 2010

The Rap Map plots locations mentioned in rap songs on Google Maps. For instance:

Back in the late 90s, Club New York was one of the hottest clubs in the city, even though it sounds like some sort of fictional club in the direct-to-DVD Night at the Roxbury 2

Then, one wintry evening in 1999, Diddy, J-Lo, and Shyne were at the club when all hell broke loose. Guns were pulled, women were shot in the face, and when all the dust settled, Shyne and Diddy were on trial at Manhattan Criminal Court

Diddy was acquitted, while Shyne was sent to prison for 9 years.

How big is history?Aug 19 2010

Built by BERG, the BBC Dimensions site allows you to overlay the geographies of historical events and significant places onto more familiar locales. Here's the Apollo 11 Moon walk positioned over the Statue of Liberty, the size of the radiation cloud if Chernobyl had happened in Chicago, and the Marianas Trench stretching from Manhattan's West Village to Sunset Park in Brooklyn.

Chernobyl/Chicago

World population maps by latitude and longitudeAug 17 2010

From Bill Rankin's excellent Radical Cartography, maps of the world's population graphed by latitude and longitude. Here's the latitude map:

World population by latitude

You can almost see the Guns, Germs, and Steel in there.

Best of Kottke: Maps Ahoy!Aug 12 2010

#OhMyGodICan'tBelieveHowManyPostsJason'sWrittenAboutMapsInTwelveYears

This is a very slim, highly-curated selection of some of Kottke's favorite maps, emphasizing the old, weird, and awesome:

Enjoy!

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