The Map Room - A Weblog about Maps
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.
As I said during the Q&A part of my fantasy maps presentation at Readercon (see previous entry), maps of other worlds in the solar system are usually images from space probes that have been set to a map projection. The key word is usually. On Monday the U.S. Geological Survey released a geologic map of Mars that "brings together observations and scientific findings from four orbiting spacecraft that have been acquiring data for more than 16 years." Via io9 and Wired.
In Mapping It Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies, out now from Thames & Hudson, editor Hans Ulrich Obrist invited contributors "to create a personal map of their own, in whatever form and showing whatever terrain they choose, whether real-world or imaginary." Examples of the results can be found on the websites of Design Week, FT Magazine and the Guardian; the New Yorker has posted an excerpt from Tom McCarthy's introduction.
Readercon 25 is less than two weeks away. Now that the program schedule has gone live, I can tell you what I'll be doing there. Quite a bit, as it turns out. And not coincidentally, there is quite a bit of map-related programming.Thursday, July 10: 8:00 PM The Map and the Story. Jonathan Crowe (leader), Chris Gerwel, Greer Gilman, Shira Lipkin. Maps are a familiar sight in our field, but lately a number of stories have placed maps and cartography at the core of the story itself. Maps serve as portals to other worlds, cartographers remake the world in a map's image, and mapmaking itself becomes a means to discuss the distance between perception and reality, between the map and the territory. Panelists will discuss the ways in which maps and cartography have escaped from the endpapers in recent works of fiction.
This is the first of three map-related programming items this year. We'll be talking about map-related stories like "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" by E. Lily Yu, to take one example. Note that Thursday evening programming is open to the public -- a Readercon membership is not required. So if you're in the Boston area, why not stop by for a look?Friday, July 11: 7:00 PM An Illustrated Guide to Fantasy Maps. Jonathan Crowe. Why do the maps in fantasy novels look the way they do? Could they be different? Jonathan Crowe describes fantasy map design elements, looks at good and bad executions of the fantasy map design, compares fantasy maps with their real-world historical equivalents, and explores some new and different takes on the fantasy map.
A slideshow presentation. If you were at Can-Con in 2012, you saw an early version of this. I'm working on it like mad right now. This is the second map-related programming item this year.Sunday, July 13: 10:00 AM Books That Deserve to Remain Unspoiled. Jonathan Crowe, Gavin Grant, Kate Nepveu, Graham Sleight, Gayle Surrette (moderator). In a 2013 review of Joyce Carol Oates's The Accursed, Stephen King stated, "While I consider the Internet-fueled concern with 'spoilers' rather infantile, the true secrets of well-made fiction deserve to be kept." How does spoiler-acquired knowledge change our reading of fiction? Are some books more "deserving" of going unspoiled than others? If so, what criteria do we apply to determine those works?
Incidentally, the third map-related programming item takes place on Sunday afternoon:1:00 PM Unlikely Cartography. Shira Lipkin, Sarah Pinsker. This summer, Unlikely Story will publish their Unlikely Cartography issue, featuring stories by Shira Lipkin, Kat Howard, Sarah Pinsker, Carrie Cuinn, and others. Together with editor A.C. Wise, these authors will discuss their stories, and other authors (historical and modern) who similarly explored the cartography of the fantastic. Influences and discussion topics may include Calvino's Invisible Cities, Eco's Legendary Lands, Post's Atlas of Fantasy, Mieville's The City and the City, and more.
I'll be in the audience for this one. The Journal of Unlikely Cartography was released last Sunday; I'll have a post discussing the stories shortly.