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The Map Room - A Weblog about Maps
Dyson’s Dodecahedron started out as a blog about role-playing games that over time transformed itself into a source of dungeon maps; the impetus was a dungeon he’d written up for a one-page dungeon contest:
I wasn’t happy with the map I drew for that dungeon, and started looking at the maps drawn by other members of my various RPG groups. I started to develop a new style for my maps. Not an “original” style overall—it is strongly based in the cartography I enjoyed from old Palladium and Chaosisum products, but significantly less like the style of the traditional D&D map which is very grid-oriented.
Then I started to post maps drawn in this style. As I practiced the style, I challenged myself to draw a geomorph every other day until I had at least 100 geomorphs. The blog got pretty boring during this stretch, but I learned a lot about mapping and dungeon design, and the blog got a reputation as a mapping blog.
NASA Earth Observatory: “Clouds may seem like distant, ephemeral features that have little to do with life on Earth. In fact, they affect everything from the viability of ecosystems, to how much carbon plants absorb, to the reproductive success of reptiles. So by mapping clouds, new research shows, scientists can indirectly map life.”
Rather than doing a gift guide to map books for the holiday season, as I’ve done in previous years (2015, 2014, 2013), I’ve created a Map Books of 2016 page, organized by month, that I’ll be updating throughout the year as new titles are announced. Possibly you will find it useful.
The Bristol Post reports on artist Gareth Wood (aka Fuller), whose iconic London Town—now acquired (as an archival print) by the British Library—was preceded by a similar map of Bristol. An exhibition of his work, called Get Lost, will run from 5 to 26 May at the Palm Tree Gallery, 291 Portobello Road, London, W10 5TD. [WMS]
Previously: Fuller: London Town.
Another Italian map exhibit to tell you about: 1716-2016 Cielo e Terra, featuring the cartographic holdings of Rome’s Biblioteca Casanatense, including the 1716 celestial and terrestrial globes of Amanzio Moroncelli, opens tomorrow and runs until 28 November. [WMS]
Previously: When Italy Drew the World.
Produced by the Malta Map Society and Maltese publisher BDL, Albert Ganado and Joseph Schirò’s Pre-Siege Maps of Malta “embraces all the pre-siege separate maps of Malta, whether manuscript or printed, as well as the appearance of Malta on the maps of the Mediterranean drawn by Ptolemy in the second century AD, by Al-Idrisi in 1157, and by practically all the cartographers that came after them up to 1564.” More from the Times of Malta. Not available at Amazon, but can be purchased directly from the publisher. [WMS/WMS]
This interactive map of the number of intercity rail trips between Ukrainian cities would be a little easier for me to parse if I could read Ukrainian, but I agree with Aleks Buczkowski’s assessment that it’s well designed. [Geoawesomeness]
Self-driving cars need extremely detailed and comprehensive maps in order to work—far more detailed than what’s usually available. Paradoxically, Vox’s Timothy B. Lee reports, that’s going to require significant human labour, in the form of human analysts annotating the map. “As Google and its competitors expand their self-driving vehicle programs nationwide, they’re going to have to hire thousands of human analysts to produce the detailed maps that enable cars to drive safely.” [MAPS-L]
The show includes portraits of both as well as a half-dozen books to evoke the libraries each brought and the impact they had. Most helpful, however, are two large touchscreens, one for each map, that allow us to access translations and summaries of many of the texts. This quickly becomes addictive, because the journey is full of surprises. Here, we read about scientific theories or descriptions based on travelers’ accounts. There, we learn how best to capture a unicorn.
Quartz’s Corinne Purtill has a Q&A with fantasy cartographer Jonathan Roberts, who drew the maps in The Lands of Ice and Fire (see my review). Roberts has a lot of interesting things to say about his work, the differences between the Game of Thrones TV show and the books, and fantasy map design in general. (I spoke to Purtill a few days ago while she was preparing this piece, and did my best to offer some background on fantasy maps in general.)
Kenneth Field’s map of Mars (note updated link) now includes an option to add oceans, with checkboxes to fill the landscape to various elevations.
You can irrigate the planet below the areoid on this map using the water layers. You’ll notice the water layers aren’t blue. On Earth, water appears blue due to red, orange, yellow and green wavelengths of light being absorbed more strongly than blue and also the reflectence of the blue sky. Since Mars has relatively little atmosphere and it’s farther from the sun it’s likely water will appear differently. We’re imagining wavelengths will be absorbed differently, perhaps returning an alien green?
Previously: Kenneth Field’s Map of Mars.
Edgar Allen Beem’s essay in the May/June issue of Humanities serves as a good introduction to the Osher Map Library, a major map collection housed at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The Osher Map Library turns up a lot in my online cartographic perambulations; it’s good to know the history and origins of the place and the people working there (e.g. faculty scholar Matthew Edney, who also directs the History of Cartography project, and director Ian Fowler, who joined in 2014).
Mosaic map murals graced the Times Square Information Center when it opened in 1957. Now the building is a police substation, and there are hopes and expectations that an upcoming renovation of the substation will preserve the murals. [NYPL]
While poking around the University of Chicago Press website yesterday, I noticed that a fourth edition of Norman J. W. Thrower’s history of cartography textbook, Maps and Civilization: Cartography in Culture and Society, is due out this month: Amazon. The changes from the third edition (Amazon, iBooks) appear to be limited: “For the fourth edition of Maps and Civilization, Thrower has added an additional chapter that serves to bring the volume completely up to date.” My gaps in cartographic knowledge are such that I’ve never read this book; this may be an opportunity to rectify that.
Le Télégramme, a French newspaper based in Brittany, maps the percentage of immigrants in France by canton; a second map shows the largest source of immigration (Portugal shows up more than any other country). In French. [Maps Mania]
The Electric Map of Gettysburg, now residing at the Hanover Heritage and Conference Center in Hanover, PA, is slated to open to the public in June. The Center will hold a public event on 3 June; if all goes well, the map program will open the following night. A director, responsible for the historical programming, has also been hired. See the announcement on Faceboook. [WMS]
Previously: The Return of the Electric Map.
Neil Freeman of Fake Is the New Real takes this whole “reorganize the United States into states with equal population” thing just one step too far:
the United States divided into fifty concentric states with equal population pic.twitter.com/cLQ1wCdfbR
— Neil Freeman (@fitnr) April 12, 2016
My eyes are bleeding again. [Kottke]
As I mentioned earlier this month, the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University opens today (KQED coverage). To celebrate, there’s a grand opening and open house tonight from 6 to 7 PM at the Center, which is located on the fourth floor of Green Library. Presentations and workshops take place on the 20th and 21st, for which registration is required. That’s followed by a day-long open house on the 22nd.
The Center’s first exhibition, A Universe of Maps: Opening the David Rumsey Map Center, runs from today until 28 August (here’s the online version).
Previously: David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford Opens April 19.
A map on a display at the CDC’s in-house museum hides in plain sight what U.S. government authorities are reluctant to admit: the origin of the 2011 cholera epidemic in Haiti (a U.N. peacekeeping base housing a batallion from Nepal). All the more amazing by its juxtaposition with John Snow’s famous 1854 cholera map of London. It’s as if they wanted us to tell us something while being prevented from doing so.