A weblog for members of the Canadian Cartographic Association and other individuals interested in all things cartographic

Global Risk Maps

AON, the insurance company (although better known around here as a residential landlord) has produced a couple of global risk maps. One indicates the likelihood of terrorist attacks. Another indicates political and economic risk. A third indicates risks to filmmakers. Interesting maps (I wonder what data they used) but couldn't they have picked a better colour scheme?


National Archives of Japan

The National Archives of Japan has a number of old maps available on its website. The maps date from 1848 to 1945 and are of various parts of the Japanese islands. They are available in jpeg and jpeg 2000 format at high resolutions. They provide an interesting glimpse into non-Western cartography.


Not quite cartography . . .

. . . but interesting nonetheless. Geograph is a UK site that seeks to collect a photographic image of every 1 km square area in the British Isles. The idea is that each photograph is representative of that square kilometre. So far, about 9,000 of the 241,000 possible squares have been photographed. A map viewer allows the user to navigate about the country and zoom in. Unfortunately, there is not data on the map except for the location of the photographs so the user has to rely on memory as to where cities or features are located.

A similar exercise for Canada, though not impossible, would probably be too daunting. You'd be better off going to the Degree Confluence Project that seeks to photograph each confluence of latitude lines with longitude lines.


Cartouche, Spring 2005

The latest issue of Cartouche arrived in the mail today. What a pleasant surprise to see it's cover is living colour.

Well done on the first issue, editors!


Continuing Education in Cartography: Option 2

Continuning one's cartographic education long after having graduated from the college diploma program or the university degree program can be difficult. Courses in cartographer for cartographer are non-existent. Edward Tufte, however, provides the next best thing. His website is filled with book reviews, discussion groups, and essays on the graphic representation of data. His own books are an invaluable resource and available free to anyone who takes his day long course (looks like a great deal to me). On another site, some one has posted notes made during one of Tufte's lectures on maps. Comments like "avoid legends" could be an interesting discussion starter.

(Option 1, by the way, is the annual CCA conference.)


Mapping the Swiss Political Landscape

Here is an interesting application of cartography to displaying a non-spatial data. Members of the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich have taken the results of 184 federal referenda from 1982 to 2002 and mapped them on three axis: liberal-conservative, left-right and ecological-technocratic. Read about and see the interesting visual result they've come up with. The map is all part of an Atlas of the political Landscape. Those of you who can read German might want to take a closer look at some of the other similar work that the two authors, Michael Hermann and Heiri Leuthold, have produced. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a detailed description in English of how they put this map together.


UK Election Results Maps

Whenever an election occurs in this country, I am always keen to see the results on a map. The next election might be soon but , in the meantime, there are the results of the recent UK election to enjoy in a cartographic format. The BBC has an interactive flash map of the 2005 election as well as for the 2001 election. Click on the map to zoom in and see the voting results for each riding. The Guardian also has a flash map and a less colourful html version. The Times also has a similar html map.

Perhaps something similar will come along for Canada's next election? Any takers?


Instant 3-D Data Collection and Rendering

This 3-dimensional image of downtown Berkeley was created in less than 4 and 1/2 hours - 26 minutes or data collection and 4 hours of processing. Using lasers to measure distances and combining that information with 2-dimensional images, engineers at the University of Berkeley assembled a virtual reality model in a new process called "virtualized reality." The implications for mapping are obvious. Read about it at the New Scientist website.

And we thought the cartographic revolution had already happened.


Shuttle Radar Topography Mission

In February 2000, the Space Shuttle Endeavour flew an 11 day mission called the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) to map the earth’s surface. What resulted was a digital elevation model that covers land areas between 60° N and 56°S at a resolution of 90m. More detailed 30m coverage is available for the United States.

TheSRTM’s homepage is, surprisingly, not much to look at. Neither is it a good place to start your hunt for data. Another page provides a short description as to what the SRTM is all about but it also is not a good place to start looking for data. For an example what the data looks like, visit the SRTM gallery page. Check out the SRTM digital elevation model with a Landsat overlay of Mount Kilamanjaro, for instance.

To download data, go to the Seamless Data Distribution Page’s international data page. This page provides an ArcIMS map that you can navigate and use to download a number of different datasets, most of them restricted to the extent of the United States. To view and download, be sure to have “SRTM 90m shaded relief” checked off on both the Display and Download tabs on the right. This page, surprisingly, only provides SRTM 90m data for North and South America below 60° N. A more extensive and complete dataset is available elsewhere in 1° tile format in zipped hgt files.

Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to view what you’ve downloaded is to use 3Dem, a free terrain visualization software. Not only does it allow you to view digital elevation models in a variety of different file formats, but it allows you to create flybys and 3-D views, as well as export capabilities. It also allows you to drape geo-referenced images over the digital elevation models.


The Atlas of Cyberspaces

The challenge for cartographers is to provide a clear visual explanation of the relationship of people, objects and/or places. The Internet poses its own set of challenges to the would-be mapper: it is location-based but its internal structure is different from what we are used to. The Atlas of Cyberspaces documents a number attempts at mapping the Internet, some more successfully than others. Some maps are more recognizable as maps; others look more like diagrams (the Linuz system, apparently, looks a lot like a black hole). Still, even with something that looks more like a diagram than a map, there is something
that is pleasing to the cartographic eye.

The Atlas covers a wide number of aspects of the Internet. It is an interesting site to view novel approaches (how about the “London Underground” approach?) to mapping the Internet. The only drawback with the site is that many of the maps are already 3 or 4 years old.


London Underground maps

A few months ago a colleague loaned me a copy of Mr. Beck's Underground Map. It is a richly illustrated book on the development of the London Underground map, something that is now considered a classic in design. A great online companion to this book is Owen's Massey's Mapper's delight:The London Underground diagrams. It provides links and descriptive text to a number of sites that show different versions of the London Underground map as well as other attempts at mapping the Underground. Of particular interest to cartographers are the maps of the actual geographic layout of the system. Compare this to the Beck-designed map.


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