Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Extermination of the American Bison

Artist David Buckley Borden created this wonderful, sad map showing the demise of the bison.

Borden adds many clever touches to his maps including the downward facing buffalo head.
The map is based on conservationist William Hornaday's 1889 map that showed the declining range of the bison throughout North America. Hornaday is credited with preserving the bison from extinction. The present day (2003) tiny distribution of bison herds is shown in the tiny upside down* map in the bottom right corner.

Hornaday's original map is also quite striking.
 Here is a detail-you can click on the map above for a full, zoomable version.
*The upside down map is a theme of Borden's. Here is a detail of his Ecological Distress Hydroscape Map. I like the clever use of arrows to indicate distress points-including the City of Ecological Sin.
In Borden's words:
No disrespect should be shown to the map of the United States of America; the map should never be displayed with the Great Lakes down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life, property or landscape.

More of his maps can be seen on this page.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Trip Happy

TripHappy, an online booking site created some nice visualizations, showing trips planned using their online booking tool.
Points represent stops along a travel itinerary. Land and water are removed to emphasize the patterns. They are colored based on clusters - places that show up on the same itineraries. The pattern in the Western Hemisphere is unremarkable but the Eastern side has some interesting clusters. Northern and Eastern Europe cluster together. Southeast Asia is more connected to Australia and New Zealand (left off the image below due to space constraints) than to China, and Russia is connected to parts of the Middle East.
There are also some interactive graphics showing the number of trips per city and country. One bug is that each city is listed by country name instead of city name.
These interactive visualizations were created using Tableau Public, which I don't know much about but seems to have some great visualization tools. Finally, here is a map showing country connections though without any other geographic aids just looks like one of those rubber band balls.
The list below it explains the connections better. Here the most connected countries.
    1    Hong Kong to China
    2    Brazil to Argentina
    3    Tanzania to Kenya
    4    Macau to Hong Kong
    5    Macau to China
    6    Netherlands to Germany
    7    United Kingdom to France
    8    United States to Canada
    9    Uganda to Congo
    10    Germany to Czech Republic
    11    Thailand to Cambodia
    12    France to Spain
    13    Vatican City to Italy
    14    Turkey to Greece
    15    Germany to Austria

To see the maps, visualizations and more details click here.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Snark Map

It's nice to start a new year off on a clean slate so here is the map of the ocean from Lewis Carroll's nonsensical poem "The Hunting of the Snark."
The poem is divided into eight "fits"-  the map is described in the second.
He had bought a large map representing the sea,
   Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
   A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
   Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
   "They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
   But we've got our brave Captain to thank
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best—
   A perfect and absolute blank!"
This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
   That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
   And that was to tingle his bell.

The poem was published on April Fool's Day in 1876. Artist Henry Holiday created nine illustrations for the poem, including the map. His text along the margins is interesting. Cardinal directions are as expected but the positions of the equator and poles are random. He also included geographic concepts such as Zenith, Nadir and Equinox as if they were places.

The entire poem can be found here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Some people see geography everywhere. I once mapped a New Jersey-shaped sidewalk crack. French Cartographer Jules Grandin has a collection called #Thingsmaps that labels cartographic features seen in clouds,
 and salad greens - this one looks pre-arranged.
Even fantasy worlds-here's Westeros, from a gap in the trees.
Scroll thru the collection here

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bubble Wrap Map

I love the satisfying sensation of popping bubble wrap. Now you can pop with purpose - to show your travels through the world, or at least through Budapest.
Sator Space, designer of the previously featured Egg Map, is back with Pop Map.
From their press release:
PopMap is not only an unconventional, playful tourist guide, it also serves as a great tool to release nervous energy while exploring the world. Several studies have shown the stress-relieving effect of popping bubble wraps and the way it relaxes people. Plus Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is a REAL thing, celebrated around the world on the last Monday of January. So pop through the sights with your therapeutic map and leave not a bubble behind.
The map is nice and colorful. Here's a close up view.
and a view from underneath.
Here's a view showing part of the legend.
For now, they only have Budapest in stock but there other cities that will be pop-able soon.
For more info see their product page, to puchase see their web shop. The shop also features other cool products like the Metroshka, based on the Russian matryoshka (nesting dolls) -  nesting transit.
If you're Hungarian and want to read it in your native language go here.

Vidd magadal az utazásaidon és ne hagyj egy buborékot se érintetlenül ezen a terápiás térképen!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

People Mapping With Street View

In a recent article in Places Journal, geographer Richard Campanella used Google's Street View images to document the rebounding population of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. He created a grid throughout the city and counted the number of people visible on Google's images in 2007 and 2016.
The legends on these maps are hard to read at this size but darker colors means more - in this case people. Here are bicycles.
What these maps show is not so much population as "public space occupancy"-people are walking down the street, sitting on their front steps, sitting at outdoor parks and cafes, and riding bikes. The percentage increases here are quite a bit higher than the population and tourist increases in the city. This suggests a more vibrant city where improvements to infrastructure have encouraged more people to occupy the public space. Campanella takes care to point out that not all of this occupation of public space is from happy gentrifiers. There is a cost in the displacement of:
"lower-income residents-who, we should remember, occupied streetscapes in their own way, with elders on stoops and children playing in the streets. (Rare is the sight of either in the French Quarter today.) It’s also important to note that some of the patterns in these maps do not represent people contentedly occupying the public space, but rather relegated there."
A by product of gentrification is an increase in graffiti, as seen proliferating in the same neighborhoods.

The article suggests that public space occupancy is an important and overlooked consideration in urban planning. It also shows that Street View data, while very imperfect can and should be used, possibly with automated processes to enumerate these phenomena.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Halifax Explosion

100 years ago Halifax, Nova Scotia suffered a horrific explosion that killed about 2,000 people, injured many more and destroyed much of the city. Windows 50 miles away were shattered.
Two ships collided, one carrying explosives that were meant to go to France during World War I. The ship with the explosives caught fire and drifted towards the city. As people watched the burning ship it exploded, instantly killing almost 2,000 people. The explosion resulted in a Tsumani that killed even more people and wiped out a Mi'qmak First Nation community in Dartmouth.

The Halifax Herald put together this remarkable graphic showing the destroyed buildings in great detail, UPDATE: No it didn't - see below
as well as a timeline of events.
Pretty amazing to have produced this map on such notice and under such trying conditions - that was my original text. It turns out this was a recreation by Snodgrass Design. Fooled again!

More on the explosion can be found on Wikipedia.