The Map Room - A Weblog about Maps
Map projections are inherently interesting, and also a great way to start a fight among a group of cartographers: just ask them their favourite and step back. Everyone has their preferred projection, me included, that fits their own needs and aesthetic. Cartographer Tom Patterson, whose work I've featured previously on The Map Room, has added another projection to the mix, the eponymous Patterson Projection, a cylindrical projection which "falls between the popular Miller 1, which excessively exaggerates the size of polar areas, and the Plate Carrée, which compressess the north-south dimension of mid latitudes." It looks like a compromise projection in cylindrical form. A full article on the design and development of the projection is forthcoming at the link.
Geologic maps of Vesta, the asteroid visited by the Dawn spacecraft between July 2011 and September 2012, have been produced for a special issue of the planetary science journal Icarus. Above, a global geologic map of Vesta, compiled from 15 individual quad maps and using a Mollweide projection (Vesta itself is decidedly non-spheroid, but still). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU.
Previously: Atlas of Vesta.
Another one for those of you who like geofiction as much as I do. The Sorolpedia is an online encyclopedia of the distant and fictional world of Sorol, containing articles about the planet and its inhabitants. The maps are something else: far better than you'd expect from such a project (there's even a KML file to import it into Google Earth). Its creator has put it on indefinite hiatus since 2010, so we may not see any more updates, but it's still fascinating stuff.
Every year, at about this time of year, I assemble a gift guide listing some of the noteworthy books about maps that have been published over the previous year. This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you have a map-obsessed person in your life and you'd like to give that person a map-related gift, this list might give you some ideas.
This year's list includes several lavishly illustrated histories of maps and globes, interesting reads about map thieves and forgotten places, an a couple of guides to map art and personal mapmaking.
Once again, books bought through these Amazon affiliate links (routed to what my web server thinks is your nearest English-language Amazon store) make me a little money. Thanks for your support.Illustrated Histories of Map and Mapmaking
- Great Maps by Jerry Brotton (Dorling Kindersley, August 2014). The author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps returns with an illustrated look at the history of cartography through nearly 60 historical maps. Wired Map Lab.
- Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power by Sylvia Sumira (University of Chicago Press, April 2014). A history of globes from the late fifteenth to the late nineteenth century, showcasing the British Library's extensive globe collection. My blog post.
- Finding Longitude by Richard Dunn and Rebekah Higgitt (Collins, June 2014). Official publication accompanying a National Maritime Museum exhibition on the quest for longitude. My blog post.
- The Times History of the World in Maps (Times Atlases, November 2014). 11×14-inch, 256-page atlas containing original historical maps.
- London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689 by Robert K. Batchelor (University of Chicago Press, January 2014). Batchelor uses the information on the Selden Map to demonstrate how the city of London "flourished because of its many encounters, engagements, and exchanges with East Asian trading cities." My blog post.
- The Map Thief by Michael Blanding (Gotham Books, May 2014). A book-length study of Forbes Smiley, the notorious map dealer caught stealing nearly a hundred maps from libraries in the U.S. and Britain. My review.
- Off the Map/Unruly Places by Alastair Bonnett. Short essays on lost and forgotten places around the world. First published as Off the Map: Lost Spaces, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Islands, Feral Places and What They Tell Us About the World (Aurum Press, April 2014) in the U.K., it came out under the title of Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies in Canada (Viking Canada, July 2014) and the United States (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 2014). The Guardian has a review.
- Map Art Lab: 52 Exciting Art Explorations in Mapmaking, Imagination, and Travel by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNeilly (Quarry Books, May 2014). A collection of "52 map-related activities set into weekly exercises, beginning with legends and lines, moving through types and styles, and then creating personalized maps that allow you to journey to new worlds." My blog post.
- Mapping It Out edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist (Thames and Hudson, June 2014). Obrist invited more than a hundred contributors "to create a personal map of their own, in whatever form and showing whatever terrain they choose, whether real-world or imaginary." My blog post.
- Make Map Art: Creatively Illustrate Your World by Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell (Chronicle Books, February 2014). A "creative toolkit" that includes a booklet and 30 pull-out sheets to use as templates for personal mapmaking projects. My blog post.
Previously: Gift Guide: Map Books of 2013.
Maps of planets, moons and other objects in our solar system always get me excited, though truth be told they were among the less popular posts on my old Map Room blog. Here are a couple of rather colourful recent examples:
- Above left, a preliminary map of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the subject of a visit by the Rosetta mission, that colour-codes several morphologically different regions.
- Above right, a topographical map of the Moon's surface based on laser altimeter data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Image credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA (above left); NASA/Colorado School of Mines/MIT/GSFC/Scientific Visualization Studio (above right).
For another example of using fantasy map design language to create real-world maps, here's the work of geography professor Stentor Danielson, who draws maps of U.S. cities in the style of fantasy maps and sells them on Etsy. Boston, Cleveland (above), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington are available. His Tumblr. Via io9.