BBC News provided an article on a project led be University of Leeds and University of Nottingham and 19 other organizations that seeks to map underground utilities in the UK. The goal is to create a 3D subsurface map to within 5cm that can be used on portable devices to support utility workers. I couldn’t find details, but there is fairly general information on the project on a couple pages if you would like to search, but the BBC article is a good overview.
OK, there are some really cool maps out there, but I don’t know how many could beat this: a nanoscale ‘map’ of the Americas, done by Paul Rothemund from the California Institute of Technology. He has invented a process he calls ‘DNA origami’ which uses strands of DNA to create 2-dimensional patterns, which he expalins in an article about his research on the Nature website. You definitely have to check this out.
Hugo at UNEP/GRID-Arendal was kind enough to share a press release on a project he is working with us. The focus of their center is to provide generally understandable representations of scientific information. Their new maps and graphics site is a clearinghouse of many of these representations that takes advantage of web mapping with some back-end GIS in addition to providing static graphics. Overall, this is a great resource and will probably be especially useful for the classroom.
Maps and Graphics at UNEP/GRID-Arendal
UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics library.
Ok, it’s a fluff piece, but it’s a cute fluff piece.
A Mexican government funded commission is moving to distribute 70,000 maps to aid people trying to cross into the US. They will feature water cache locations, show transportation routes, and locations of rescue beacons. Although I’m not an expert, this is one of the first instances I’ve heard of a government using mapping to help people leave its own country. CNN has the details
From Jesse:Ã‚Â A map of Arizona!
If so you may be interested in the spanish speaking blog La Cartoteca. From the entries that I have ‘read’ (my spanish teacher would be sad) so far La Cartoteca seems to focus on cartography with some general geography and miscellaneous content for good measure. Alejandro Polanco Masa, the blog author also has another interesting blog called Technologia Obsoleta. Check them out if you speak spanish, or you can try a Babelfish translation if you are truly curious.
One of the main issues in geospatial technologies today is the quality of the output whether it be for a presentation, map in a document or a poster. The underlying issue is the lack of training in digital cartographic concepts, the art that enables the user to convey the science. In Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, John Krygier and Denis Wood, both well published Geographers and Cartographers, are cognizant of this duality and have presented a unique mix of visual example and explanatory text that introduces readers to the basic concepts of creating effective maps.
The first impression, before you even begin to read this book, as you are leafing through, is that the authors had a specific objective: to introduce the reader to map design. This is conveyed in the text of course, but the layout of the book is as much an exercise in, and example of, design as the content inside. From chapter headers to the figure layout and captioning, the content works to blend form with function in a way that makes it obvious that this book is separate from most of the current texts on map making. This is definitely an example of practice what you preach.
The actual text may seem overly simplistic at first, especially if you are familiar with cartography texts by MacEachren, Kraak, and others; however, this is deceptive as the format and organization the authors chose allow the reader to get to the heart of the information in an informal yet effective style. In all honesty I was quite critical when I began the book but quickly came to enjoy the book because of its minimal text and graphical approach to the subject matter.
Overall, Making Maps will make a strong textbook for digital cartography classes and a useful text for those of us who have been struggling with map design for representing our analyses. Even seasoned GIS professionals and cartographers will find useful information and design tips in the book. It is almost worth picking up for the glowing cover blurb that Anne Knowles provides alone. The one wish that I have is that it would be great to have a companion CD or website for the book, which could present interactive examples and more examples in color.
One of our listeners, Jody, emailed us a link to ColorBrewer, an online tool to help people select color schemes for maps. It uses a flash-based map to demonstrate how changing colors affects the look of a map and how that impacts the information being represented. It’s a nice tool to give a user an introduction to choosing colors for maps, so they can immediately see the visual impact of their choices. Cynthia Brewer, the Penn State geographer who designed the ColorBrewer, has also written the book Designing Better Maps: a Guide for GIS users.
A cartogram is a map that distorts geographic boundaries based on different values of a variable. So, if smaller areas have higher values, they will be deliberately distorted to look bigger. Here is an example of the world map distorted based on population. It was done by ODT, Inc. which produces alternate views of map, such as world maps with South on the top or the Pacific Ocean in the center.
A student in the UK has mapped the London Tube system using time as his base of measure, not distance. While his approach isn’t exactly novel, it is interesting, especially coming from a non GIS background.