5,000 Years of Rule in the Middle East

With the Iraq war very current for the US, especially in the media, it sometimes helps to take a bit of an historical view of the region. Simply put, the Middle East has been in claimed by lots of different empires in the last 5,000 years. Luckily for those with a tenuous grasp of the history of the region, the good folks at Maps of War have put together this handy flash map! It shows all the empires that have claimed the region in the last 5,000 years. It’s a rather impressive display that I think puts some of today’s tensions in historical context. In the US (and elsewhere for that matter), we like to think of the “Middle East” as one big homogenous region. The map shows that the region has been subjugated to lots of different, and often contentious, cultural and political forces.

TeleAtlas MapInsight – users help improve data accuracy

TeleAtlas has a new service in limited release – MapInsight – where users can report errors in TeleAtlas’ addressing data layers. After a year of all those stories about drivers going the wrong way down one way streets; driving into streams with no bridges, etc., here is a chance for users to help improve the accuracy of at least one geographic database out there.

Also, be sure to check out the Directions Media podcast on Map Insight.

(My laptop’s letter “i” is only barely working, so I apologize for any missing letters I didn’t catch)

MapMarketplace – the Cafepress for cartographers

Maps.com, a leading online map seller, has launched a new service called MapMarketplace, a kind of CafePress for cartographers where you can sell your cartographic masterpieces.

“MapMarketplace creates an opportunity for small independent cartographers to connect with a broad consumer base,” says Jeff Chappell, Maps.com Online Director. All you have to do is register through the Maps.com website, submit your map products for review and, once your maps are approved, they will be available for sale via the MapMarketplace. Maps.com handles all the transactions and directly prints, laminates, and ships the map products to customers. If your maps actually sell, you get a monthly earnings check directly from Maps.com. So, if you’ve made some nice maps and you think, hey, that would look great on someone’s wall, maybe you can make a few bucks selling your maps online. I know I am going to look into it as soon as we get our latest round of projects done.

Via BusinessWire

Blue Planet Globe – for the geographer who has everything

Blue Planet GlobeI admit I am an HGTV junkie, especially the show called “I Want That!”. This past weekend’s episode included the Blue Planet Globe, from The Science Source

Here is the compelling description from the HGTV website:

The Blue Planet Globe is a dramatic rotating, illuminated globe that accurately depicts the seasons as they unfold around the world. Slowly spinning inside its sleek tinted case, it creates a mesmerizing view of Earth as seen from outer space. The mechanism design is based on an astronomically true formula and lets you see in 6-minute intervals the changing pattern of sunlight falling over each hemisphere during the year.

Now, as I watched the demo of the Blue Planet Globe in the lovely make-believe living room, I thought to myself that clearly I must have one of these, until I saw the $850 price tag! Now, for those of us with a more limited budget, The Science Source does have a much less expensive ($75) Season Modelling Globe which does the same thing but without the full smokey acrylic case.

Amazon GIS

I haven’t highlighted a really good GIS project in awhile, so I thought I’d mention the Amazon GIS project, run by the Smithsonian Institution and other collaborators. They have spent years mapping the Amazon’s resources and have a number of Internet map services in conjunction with ESRI, World Wildlife Fund, the USGS, and Conservation International that cover data themes such as land cover, hydrology, elevation, satellite imagery, and parks. While they’re not the fanciest mapping applications, I really think it’s an important project that shows how GIS can be used in conservation. Also, they probably have the coolest GIS lab location – the Amazonia exhibit building at the National Zoo!

Mapping the World’s Languages

Dr. Steven Huffman has posted a series of maps of the world’s language families, based on Merritt Ruhlen’s “A Guide to the World’s Languages”, as a project using Global Mapping International’s (GMI) World Language Mapping System (WLMS). This is a commercial product which offers language data in GIS point and polygon format. A selected set of Dr. Huffman’s maps are available for download in PDF format, but the ArcGIS project files and other data will only work for users with a WLMS license. Still, if you’re a researcher who’s involved in language research, this might be something you want to check out.

Via MappingHacks

Visualizing World Population

The Hive Group created this cool visualization of population facts for the world’s countries using 2004 CIA Factbook data. In addition to representing countries in a tree structure that can be organized by continent, area, population or density, there are also slider filters that let you zoom up and down the tree structure. Definitely worth checking out.

Via Digg

North American Paleogeography Maps

A couple of days ago, the Cartography blog linked to Dr. Robert Blakely’s site with over 40 amazing maps of the paleogeography of North America. As archaeologists in our previous lives, Jesse and I really thought they were just great, but I think anyone will appreciate these maps, so definitely check this site out.