Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mapping Drug Research in South Africa

Professor Anne Pollock created Mapping iThemba, an interactive map for a research project on health issues based at iThemba Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company based on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Pollock wrote the text while the map was illustrated by J. Russell Huffman.  The lack of a traditional mapping background of the map's creators makes for a unique visual presentation. It does not look like a typical GIS or Google-based map though there are Google-y teardrop-shaped icons to click for more information.
The non-strict locational accuracy allows the highlights to be shown more clearly and frees up a more artistic interpretation. The map shows relevant details, leaving out many other details of the Pretoria-Johannesburg area, most notably the sprawl.
Except where needed-surrounding the medial campus. 
There are many other interesting details and side stories such as the historic dynamite factory, now a museum.
Those of us who make maps professionally often complain about maps made by non-cartographers but in the hands of the right people the results can be pretty nice.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pictorial Maps-a more detailed review

Last week I visited the Osher Map Library where The Golden Age of American Pictorial Maps runs through September 3rd. I did a very short blog post. Now that I have more time here are some more detailed highlights. Most of the exhibit's maps can be seen and zoomed into online at this link. I took my own pictures to give a detailed look at parts of the maps and also to make the text more readable

The "Golden Age" of American pictorial maps is defined as the 1920's-1960's, a time when maps were part of and a reflection of the popular culture.  There are seven parts to the exhibit - I will try and show highlights from each in order.

1. Early Pictorial Maps
The first map in the collection is actually not from this time period - it is from a 1662 Joan Blaeu world atlas.  The point is to illustrate an early version of a map with many pictorial elements.
After touring the exhibit, I got a chance to hold a volume of this atlas in my hands. The atlas is full of great details that I hope to revisit in a future post.

George Walker & Co., Bird's Eye View from Summit Mt. Washington (ca. 1905)
 This is a spectacular art/map combination. Here's a picture I took of the summit.

Fresno County and Mid-California's "Garden of the Sun" (author anonymous) is another one of my favorites:
Also in this section is the London Wonderground Map  that was the subject of a previous Map of the Week post.

2. Maps of Place and Region

Ilonka Karasz, Plan de Paris (1927)
Of course I love Paris but I also love the way the streets have hatch lines that make it look like they were stitched onto the map.

Carl Crow and V. V. Kovalsky Illustrated Historical Map of Shanghai (1935)
I liked the title block so I photographed it.

3. Maps to Instruct

Arthur B. Suchy Ohio, Mother of Presidents (1939)
The regions are interesting and new to me-lots of good small details too.
Emma Bourne, America-A Nation of One People From Many Countries (1940)
This was published by the Council Against Intolerance in America to show how well immigrants have been integrated into society. "With the exception of the Indian all Americans or their forefathers came here from other countries." While I was at this exhibit, Donald Trump was across town trying to blame Maine's Somali immigrants for an imaginary rise in crime.

 Edward Everett Henry, The Virginian (1960)

a remarkably detailed map illustrating the first "western" novel.

4. Maps to Amuse
Ray Handy's Paul Bunyan map is some good, ridiculous fun.

Also, similar to my old Texan's map postcard is this Angeleno-centric "brag map"- proudly showing off local geographic ignorance. Chicago is a state but Wisconsin a mere city within Minnesota.  States are placed in ridiculous locations with a giant Iowa in the middle and phony places like "Feudville" in Kentucky.
5. Maps for Industry

Cleveland Terminal Group, The Capital of a New Trade Empire (1929)
Civic pride on steroids! I chose this one because my wife could find the intersection where she once lived on the map-it's right there in the lower right - see it?

Map of Michigan (Slightly Exaggerated) Shafer's Bakeries, Inc. (1949)
Similar to the LA "brag map" but also advertising bread ("such crust!") and using loaves as border decorations. Nice references to Florida as "Southern Michigan," California as "Western Michigan" and Chicago as the "Gateway to Michigan."

6. Maps for War.
 Ernest Dudley Chase, Japan, The Target: A Pictorial Jap Map (1943)
World War 2 in the North Sea Area...(1944)
This one was in a big glass display in the center of the room. As a result I was not able to get a picture without lots of reflections so use the link to see it better.

7. Maps for Postwar America.

There are lots of good maps in this collection, but I like this juxtaposition of an optimistic map of New York from 1958 followed by a gloomy view of LA from a decade later. The LA view features pink sky, smog and a sickly sun.

Nils Hansell, Wonders of New York (ca 1958)
Gene Holtan, Los Angeles (1968)
One final note: The staff at the Osher Library were extremely welcoming and helpful. Mr. Osher even dropped in to see what I was doing. I would like to thank them for all their help - and the lunch recommendation!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Golden Age of American Pictorial Maps

 Today I am posting live from the Osher Map Library where The Golden Age of American Pictorial Maps runs through September 3rd. I planned to do a "live blog" but this exhibition has greatly exceeded my expectations. In order to do it justice, I will need to do a more thorough post when I have the time. In the meanwhile here are some highlights. Here is the Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion Projection on the side of the building
Projected Global Air Routes- link
Rio-World's most beautiful (and maybe polluted) harbor. Site of tomorrow's Olympics
On the trail of Moby Dick-link
Dystopian LA with its Pepto-Bismol Sky-link
Also, they let handle an Atlas by Joan Blaeu!
More on that and everything else later.   

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Greenbar Africa

 When I was a child, my dad would bring me computer drawings from work on greenbar paper. An early computer map of Maryland that appeared in Cartographic Perspectives reminded me of those drawings.
I began to wonder how I could re-create such a map using modern GIS tools. It turned out to be remarkably easy. Here it is again, enlarged a bit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chessey Factoid

Brie is not just a cheese but an historical region of France. The region roughly corresponds to today's Seine et Marne Department.
This cheese wheel from Formaggio Kitchen shows a faint map of the region. Here is a modern one with a similar color scheme - via Urbaliste.
Here is a more legible map of the region via HotelsTravel.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fantasy Map of Damariscotta (a real place)

I made this fantasy map of Damariscotta, Maine, where I've spent a week each summer for the last 17 years. This map was done for a tutorial on manipulating maps in Photoshop. It's not much and I could have done more to it but I'm on vacation!
I added a few viking ships and a longhouse at the last minute to give it a little life. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Theoretical Nation States of Europe

I came across this map recently showing the possible sovereign nation states of Europe. The full map can be linked here.
There's lost of fine detail with most of today's countries being carved up into smaller units.
Even smaller states such as Latvia and Lithuania are subdivided.
The map extends far enough east to include the ethnic jumble of the Caucasus.
They were able to find capital cities for most places, even tiny little Morpeth in Northumberland, but nothing for Basque Country.
Of course a map like this is by nature subjective and bound to upset people, especially those fighting for or against independence. Here are a few things I wonder about:

  • Is England really that divided?
  • Is Ireland really that united?
  • When did Athlone become the capital of Ireland?
  • What country includes the midlands of England - is it really part of the Isle of Man?
  • Is Occitania really that different from France?
  • Seems like northern Italy is divided into the medieval city states but not the South.
  • I think there are biases towards and against certain countries here but I don't want to speculate too much not knowing much about the origin of this map.