Mapographer – Art from Maps

I was just catching up on some emails after a hectic couple of days of grant writing, giving an exam, and grading, and Elaine, one of our readers, sent me a link to a website called Mapographer, which features the work of Scott Wittman. Scott uses maps to create artworks, and there are some cool examples of his work on the site.

The link to the site came from a mapping blog called Great Map, which focuses on providing links and info about map-related sites and news stories. I’ve just started reading it, but there are a lot of great links. The blog’s author is also interested in mapping knowledge domains, and has a couple of examples posted.

NACIS Map Design Survey

The North American Cartographic Information Society has rolled out an online survey in order to gain and understanding of what the mapping community thinks about map design. The survey will be open through April 6, 2007, so if you have a few minutes to spare head over to and share your thoughts on map design.

The results of the survey will be presented at the 2007 NACIS meeting in St. Louis and in Cartographic Perspectives, the journal of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).

Want to find your way around the NYC subway – consult your condom wrapper

New York City distributes approximately 1.5 million condoms each month in regular wrappers, but is still faced with large numbers of people who are contracting STDs and HIV. In an effort to increase free condom usage in the city, officials have decided to distribute an “official” New York City condom, complete with snazzy design for the wrappers.

One of the leading ideas for the NYC condom wrapper design: NY subway maps! Yes, that’s right, in the very near future, someone may ask a passer-by in New York how to get somewhere on the subway, and they can whip a handy condom out of their wallet or purse and show the way!

No word yet on when the final design will be decided upon, but here’s rooting for the world’s first geo-themed condom!


Melting ice in the Arctic revealing new coastline geography in Greenland

The New York Times has another article on the impacts of global warming, this one discusses how the melting of glacial ice is exposing new land area and changing our knowledge of the coastline geography of Greenland. This is illustrated by the example of a recently-identified island, which was thought to be part of a peninsula of land under the ice until the ice melted and a channel of seawater was exposed between the island and the mainland. As the melting continues, there will surely be more efforts to map these new topographic features, even though their exposure through ice melt is continuing evidence that the climate is rapidly changing. This may also impact other disciplines like archaeology, since sites that were once occupied in past times when the earth was warmer may now be exposed again by melting ice.

We don’t need no stinkin’ address!

What do you do if you have to send something to someone and can’t remember their address? Well if you live in the UK, apparently all you need to do is give the postman a map! This nice gentleman couldn’t remember his recipient’s address, but he could draw it on a map. Nine days later, his friend received the postcard meant for him.

Geography teachers should print this out and hand it to any student who asks, “What do we need this stuff for anyway?” Simple – so you can send a letter if you have to 🙂

Can you place the US States on a blank map?

It’s harder than you think. To test your skill, check out this flash game. It’s pretty tough, especially if you have to start with an interior state. The states come up in random order. I discovered that I honestly had no idea where Missouri or Arkansas were actually located on the map. I was WAY off on those two.

I got an 86% my first time out. Anyone else do better?

Zoom Into Maps- nice Library of Congress educational site

Zoom Into Maps is a nice educational tool for an introduction to historic maps and the Library of Congress’ digital map collections. There are digital images of maps on various themes, including exploration, migration, local places, and, since it’s getting close to election time, I especially enjoyed looking at the original broad-side from 1812 popularizing the term “Gerry-mander” and depicting the districts around Salem and Danvers, Massachusetts as a salamander.

If you are interested in historical maps and cartography, and want to see the amazing maps in the Library of Congress’ collection, then definitely check out Zoom Into Maps.

Digital copies of US federal land patents and survey plats

Back at the end of August, the US Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office website made some of its survey plat collection available online as searchable images that can also be downloaded. I finally had a few minutes to check it out, and this is a really useful resource if you are involved in research related to land titles, although not all the US states are represented in the current online collection. In addition to the survey plats, the site has copies of federal land patents, including images of the original documents, and users can also download certified copies of these documents for a fee. Most of the data are related to the 30 US states that are known as Public Land States, but there are some documents related to other states as well, and it looks like they hope to add more. If you are interested in historical land documents, definitely check out this collection.

Via MapUser

Springfield Map

SpringfieldHave you ever sat watching “The Simpsons” and think, “Hey, I wonder how far Homer has to travel to get to the power plant? Or Moe’s even?” Well now you can find out! Here’s a pretty detailed map of Springfield! It has all the places mentioned in the show. My personal favorite is the Springfield Cemetary – come for the funerals, stay for the pie – but Styx and Stones Records is a close second. Springfield is a pretty large place, all in all.

Note the map isn’t georectified or anything, so be careful when importing it into Arc!

US Population Statistics – Interactive Map

MSNBC has an interactive map with some stats on US population, including information about individual state population figures, population change, and population density. Along the bottom of the map window, you can also click on links to additional media, and see historical maps of the US boundaries and population figures, where they are available. It’s a pretty nice quick resource for US population geography.