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

Next Steps for Online Mapping

A TechNews (and a number of other news sites) story talks about the directions some of the larger online map providers are heading. With the release of Google Maps, Google Earth, Microsoft’s Live Local and upgrades to other online mapping sites such as Yahoo! Maps all in the past year, the online mapping industry has become very competitive. With many such sites offering a similar product, the key is to differentiate oneself from one’s competitors by offer new information or presenting existing information in a unique manner. States the article: “Microsoft Corp. is working on a mechanism that would have avid mountain bikers, for example, collectively plot good trails. Yahoo Inc. is appealing to its users to add information on local businesses and places of interest. Yahoo even recently bought Upcoming.org, a collaborative calendar of events.”

Interestingly, Mapquest “estimates that driving directions cost [the] company a penny apiece and a static map much less -- expenses recouped through sales of ads displayed at the site.” The article goes on to discuss the online map sites’ different approaches to the problem of determining the right driving directions.


European GPS

The Economist has a story about the Galileo system of GPS satellites being put into space by a group of mostly European countries. The story discusses the political and technical implications of the europeans having their own constellation of GPS satellite and seems to indicate that better positional accuracy is in the offing for GPS users.

From the article: “One is that GPS service is patchy, particularly in urban areas, and is accurate only to about ten metres. Galileo’s atomic clocks, which make the system work by triangulation of signals between satellites, are more accurate than those of the GPS system. They will give accuracy to about one metre for those with free access to the system, and down to centimetres for paying commercial users.”


Women, Men and Online Maps

Newsday.com has a story about a survey completed by Pew Internet & American Life that highlights the differences in how the gender use the Internet. One of the categories is online map use. “Eighty-seven percent of women who use the Internet turn to the Web for directions and maps, compared with 82 percent of men who are online - a statistically significant difference” according to the report.

From the article: “Though the map gap is small, it stands out in contrast to nearly 30 other tasks that men and women perform roughly equally online, including using search engines, getting travel information, looking up a phone number or address, conducting online banking and donating to a charity, according to the Pew report, which combined data collected from various studies in recent years. Each survey usually has a margin of error of 3 percent.”

Though there is no hard evidence to support this, I suspect that, though women might use online maps more than men, there are probably more men than women who are working on creating these maps.


European Maps of Africa

Afriterra has a collection of old European maps of Africa, most dating between 1500 and 1850. About 30 of these are viewable online in a zoomable and pannable format. Included in the collection is a slave factory map of 1750.

Afriterra “is a non-profit Cartographic Library and Archive assembling and preserving the original rare maps of Africa in a definitive place for education and interpretation.”

By way of A Glimpse of the World.


Mapping Tolerance in Sydney (2)

Not surprisingly, some people are upset by the map depciting levels of tolerance in and around Sydney that was mentioned yesterday. The Herald-Sun has a follow-up story on some of this reaction. The NSW Community Relations Commission Chairman is quoted as saying “I’ve got questions about the methodology used and I’ve got questions about the objectives, and the way the questions were formulated. It seems very superficial . . . and I don't think I can be confident about the results.”


Collecting Road Data

The Montgomery Advertiser has a story on the collection of road data for online mapping applications, similar to one mentioned earlier in this blog.

From the article: “In the back [of the SUV] is a bolted cabinet containing a GPS receiver attached to the antenna, a laptop docking station, power supply and cables snaking through the vehicle's interior to connect with the computer display and video camera up front. The GPS setup feeds latitude and longitude information several times a second, plotted on the display as green arrows that connect to form digital roads. The camera captures three frames a second, enough to reconstruct road signs and other details.In the databases, roads are broken into line segments, each carrying as many as 160 attributes -- such things as road quality (ranging from 1 for major arteries to 5 for local streets), presence of a divider or center turn lanes, speed limits and addresses of buildings along each side.”


Mapping Tolerance in Sydney

The Sydney Morning Herald has a story on a map produced after the Cronulla race riots earlier this month. The map is based on a survey of 1,800 respondents and was conducted by Associate Professor Jim Forrest, of Macquarie University, Kevin Dunn, of the University of NSW and others.

From the article: “Less tolerant areas include outer locations such as Gosford and Campbelltown, but also culturally mixed areas such as Bankstown and Ryde. Bankstown has a substantial Muslim population, while Ryde has many Chinese and Koreans. Culturally diverse areas such as Parramatta, Marrickville and Penrith, and the suburbs Hurstville, Randwick and Botany, are tolerant.”

The map itself is fairly generalized and could use a better colour scheme. Based on 1,800 respondents across the area, that means that less than 100 residents would determine how a neighbourhood is classed. Still, in light of recent events in Australia, an interesting map.


New Cartouche Editors

At this time last year the CCA was looking for an editor for our newsletter, Cartouche. Claire Gosson, Diane Lacasse, and Anita Muller stepped up to the plate as a team and put out some very impressive newsletters - including our first ever with colour. Unfortunately, the combined effects of pregnancy, health, stress and workload have taken their toll on the team over the past year and they have now turned over the reins to a new team consisting of Barb Duffin and Lori King.

Please take a moment to thank the outgoing editors for all their hard work and another to welcome the “new kids”.

This is your newsletter, and it will succeed best with your input. We are always looking for articles and ideas. Please send your submissions and comments to Lori King .

Rick Gray
CCA President


A Year after the Tsunami

It has been almost one year since the earthquake and tsunami hit Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and other Indian Ocean countries. The European Space Agency has a story about how satellites (and, by extension, mapping) is helping the rebuilding process in those countries.

A segment of ESA’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative is known as Respond and is intended to “addressing the geospaital information requirements of the humanitarian aid community.” Following the earthquake and the tsunami, Respond “carried out a large amount of rapid mapping in the immediate days to follow creating over 210 individual maps involving more than 19 different satellites.” A number of these maps and satellite images are available on the ESA website.

Higher resolution maps and images can be viewed on Respond’s own website, along with other images of past disasters, including the Kashmiri earthquake. Plenty more maps and images are available if you follow some of the links on this site.

By way of La Cartoteca.


Breeding Bird Atlases

Breeding bird atlases are a collection of maps used to indicate the presence of bird species, usually over a 5 year period. The maps are usually broken into small gridded areas, e. g. 10 kilometre squares, and birding volunteers populate the squares with data that reflect their observations on the presence of specific bird species. A large number of U. S. states and Canadian provinces have their own breeding bird atlas. Outside of North America they are less popular.Most of the atlases listed here have simple maps with points or grid squares indicating the presence of species. Only the Australian site lists some sort of interactive map, albeit limited. Other breeding bird atlases have websites but only the only listed actually have web-accessible maps. A number of atlases are in the process of being updated or created.

Australia: View interactive map. Click on “Range” or “Breeding”, then select a species and hit “Go.” This site also has an animated map showing migration patterns of various species.

Britain & Ireland: Older breeding bird atlas results are viewable on the web by species.

Contra Costa County, California, United StatesClick on a species name to see a species distribution map. Maps are fairly small and grid resolution is fairly coarse.

Florida,United States: Click on a species name to see a basic state map with sightings locations.

Illinois, United States: View maps by species.

Kentucky,United States: No state maps with a grid indicating a presence of specific species but North America-wide maps showing species status. Click on a species name and scroll down the resulting web page to see distribution and range maps.

Louisiana, United States: View by species. Maps are small and combined with photos of the various bird species.

Maryland, United States: A bird survey is currently being undertaken. No species maps are available but a couple of maps exist showing the number of species per block reported to date.

Missouri, United States: No species maps available but state-wide maps showing the number of species reported per block are available.

New York, United States
View maps by species for 1980 - 1985 or 2000 - 2005 or get a topographic map of an atlas block.

North Dakota
, United States: View maps by species – a little digging is required.

Northern Territory, Australia
: View interactive map. Click on a square on the map to get a list of species appearing within that square. Click on a species name to show the locations of sightings.

Ohio, United States
: View maps by species. Each species map is part of a species document in pdf format.

Ontario, Canada
: View maps by species or produce your own topographic map for use in birding surveys.

South Dakota, United States
: View simple line maps by species

: View maps by species. Maps are (mostly) in pdf format.

Texas, United States
: View maps by species.

Vermont,United States
: A bird survey is currently being undertaken. No species maps exist but topographic maps of each block in jpg or pdf format can be downloaded.

Wisconsin, United States
: View maps by region or species.


Toronto Toxin Map

The Toronto Environmental Alliance has produced a map of Toronto showing the location of toxins released within the city boundaries in 2003. Over 8,500 tons of chemicals were “knowingly dumped into Toronto’s air, land and water” that year. Data was taken from the federal government’s National Pollutant Release Inventory. the Alliance states that “this map is only part of the picture. 10s of 1000s of polluters in Toronto don't have to report their releases to the public at all.”

The map - a good looking item - is available in a barely readable jpg format (you will need to right-click on the link and “Save As . . .” to view it). A hard copy map is also available upon request. Read the accompanying press release or a local news story on the map.


Canada Election Maps (2)

The current Canadian election campaign has been a bit of a lacklustre affair to date. With the race between the two leading parties - the Liberals and the Conservatives - being so close, it is surprising that the election hasn’t been anymore hotly contested. The Globe and Mail has a very bluish jpeg map that highlights 60 electoral ridings across the country that had very close finishes in the last election - less than 5% of the vote separated the winners from the nearest rivals.

For other Canadian election-related maps, see the earlier posting Canada Election Maps.


Israel Wiped Off the Map

GeoCarta points to a New York Jewish Times story about the United Nations’ map used at a “Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” recently that appears not to show Israel. A photo of the map is available at Publius Pundit along with a couple of videos of the ceremony. Looks like the Iranians got what they wanted.


Probability of a White Christmas Maps

NOAA has put out a map that indicates the average likelihood in any given year of a location having a white Christmas. The map is only valid for the continental United States. Nothing similar to this exists for Canada although Environment Canada has a listing of locations and probabilites. Accuweather has a map showing the chances of having a white Christmas for this year. Again, the map focuses on the U. S. with some overlap in Canada. The Weather Channel also has a similar map with slightly different probabilities.


Filling in the Blanks

The Innu in Newfoundland and Labrador are looking to add 700 names to the province’s official listing of geographic names. A CBC new story writes that “many places with no official name will get an Innu one, while known places with English names will get a second, Innu name.” I’m sure they consulted Murphy’s Law for Cartographers and selected the longest names for the smallest spaces.


Map Projections for All

The self-declared goal of the Map Projections web page “is to present on-line, as complete a collection as possible, historical published map projections.” Currently there are over 300 such examples, all as black line drawings in pdf format, classed into 7 categories. The map projections were produced using personally developed computer programs, some of which is available for download or by way of email request (see About - in pdf format).

By way of La Cartoteca.


Bird's Eye Views

Tom Patterson of the U. S. National Park Service has published a 32 page paper on the creation of bird's eye views. The paper, published in NACIS’ fall issue of Cartographic Perspectives, is available on his Shaded Relief website and is in pdf format. Also available are numerous examples. From the abstract: “A brief historical review looks at the antecedents of current NPS products dating back to the Renaissance. The practical second half of the paper focuses on how the NPS now designs these bird’s-eye views with 3D software, with an eye toward cost savings. Topics include viewing parameters in a 3D scene, preparing DEMs, modeling buildings, designing trees, and creating environmental special effects.” Patterson points out in his paper that “If the output from 3D software has a visual fault it is the tendency for it to look hyper-realistic—too smooth, shiny, and simulated.” The paper contains numerous tips for the creation of a realistic bird’s eye illustration.

By way of Cartotalk.


Military Maps

The United States Military Accademy’s History Department has a lengthy listing of maps of military campaigns and battles, from the Persian Empire in 490 BC to the campaign in Somalia in 1992 -1993. Maps are in jpg format, large enough to ready easily. The maps come from a variety of sources and are not consistent in style and appearance. In particular, the Second World War maps (European Theatre & Pacific Theatre) are fairly extensive.


Snow Maps

Officially winter doesn’t start in the northern hemisphere until December 21st but Canadians know differently. This year especially has seen an early start to the snow season, at least in central Canada. Both Canada and the United States have websites indicating snow levels for their countries. The American one is operated by the National Weather Service and offers both static and interactive maps depicting snow depth, snow water equivalents and other measures. Data generally ends at the U. S. border with some exceptions. Also included on the site are some kml overlays for use with Google Earth.

State of the Canadian Cryosphere is a site with similar datasets and images but covering Canada and, in some cases, North America. Daily snow maps, are, however, a few days behind.


Google Earth Security Issues

The International Herald Tribune has a lengthy article on the security issues arising from Google Earth’s satellite imagery. The article mentions India’s concerns and others, including Australia and South Korea. The article suggests that the access to high resolution satellite imagery is an unstoppable trend: “Imagery is growing harder ot control especially as it makes its way around the Internet. Several countries, notably Nigeria, China and Brazil, have lainched their own satellites, making it harder for any one government to impose restrictions.”

The article mentions all too briefly another byproduct of increased access to satellite imagery. Advocacy groups use satellite imagery to monitor tropical deforestation and publicize North Korea’s forced labour camps.


Prescription Drug Atlases

The University of British Columbia’s Centre for Health Services and Policy Research has released two atlases that depict the use of prescription drugs in Canada and British Columbia. Both are available in pdf format.

The Canadian RX Atlas (pdf) shows prescription drug use by province (territories are not included) and maps drug use by cardiovasculars, psychoterapeutics, chlosteral agents and 7 other categories. The 80 page atlas contains numerous maps, all of the same extent and style. It would seem that New Brunswick is the most medicated of the provinces while Saskatchewan is the least. The mpas have one fault - that is, they are essentially bitmapped images placed inside a pdf. The low resolution of the images makes them a little difficult to read.

The British Columbia RX Atlas (pdf) is of a style similar to the Canadian RX Atlas. However, the maps are cartograms that are meant to reflect the relative size of the health service delivery areas that the province is divided up in. As cartograms they work fairly well but they require a bit of time to fully understand. Themes mapped in this 67 page atlas are similar to that of the Canadian RX Atlas with a few additions. The maps are clear and easy to read. Both atlases come with numerous graphs and charts.

Read the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research’s press release on the 2 atlases.


Canada Election Maps

Those of you living in Canada are already aware that another election - the second in less than 2 years - is well under way. Canada follws a parlimentary system of democracy. The country is broken into 301 constituencies representing about 100,000 people. Elections Canada has detailed maps of each constituency, searchable by postal code, province or place name. All maps are available in a pdf format in colour or in black and white.

The Atlas of Canada site has an interactive maps for the past two elections in 2000 and 2004. The 2004 map is the one to watch as some suspect that it won’t change too much this time around. Elections Canada has a 29 inch x 59.5 inch pdf map showing the voting pattern for the entire nation in the last election along with a listing of each constituency. The maps clearly indicate a fragmentation in voting that seems to follow regional lines; none of these maps indicate the percentage by which a political party won.

This is more clearly shown in the Wikipedia entry for “Canadian federal election, 2004 map gallery.” Each province or region has a number of different maps, one for each party, showing their voting strengths for each constituency. Maps are available in png format. Unfortunately, one does not exist for the entire country. Nveretheless, it is a useful resource to discover regional voting patterns.


Trench Maps

The (British) Imperial War Museum, in conjunction with the Naval and Miltary Press, has released a CD on trench maps of the First World War. An extensive description of trench maps and their development is available on their website. The description is very much from a British perspective but it suggests that all the combatants’ maps followed similar developments at the same time.

From the website: “It was forbidden to show British trenches, as it was feared that maps might fall into enemy hands. This misplaced attempt at security resulted in troops being deprived of maps of their own increasingly labyrinthine trench system, and much swearing and confusion resulted. Worse, the front-line troops made their own manuscript maps, including all sorts of vital but secret information, which could easily be captured by the enemy in raids. The ludicrous situation developed in which units had to capture the enemy’s maps in order to find the plan of their own trenches! It was gradually admitted that the Germans were quite capable of making maps of the allied trenches, having aeroplanes and cameras, the allies having nothing like air superiority.”

No examples of the trench maps are available on the Naval and Military Press website but you can purchase the CD for £85 + taxes and shipping.

Other websites have some examples of trench maps, including smithmaps and Map Room.

By way of Great Map.


A Map Room to Visit

The New York Times has a story on the New York Public Library’s newly restored map room. The New York Pulbic Library has the largest map collection of any public library in the world and a $5 million restoration project sought to not only return the room to its originally intended appearance but bring it into the digital age. With 420,000 maps, this place is obviously worth a visit when in New York. “The map division has some of the rarest maps in the world, yet all of them can be studied, and handled, by the public.” Also in the works is “a geographical search engine - a cartographic user interface, as it were - that could relate maps to other collections of the library.”

And if you can’t make it to New York anytime soon, you can always browse the Library’s online c+ollection. A search for “map” produced viewable 280 results.


Maps as Lifesavers

WFAA.com (also in the Denton Record-Chronicle and a few other sites; free subscription required for each site) has a story about the work of the GIS Corps in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the role that maps and GIS have played in the locating and resuce of trapped people in need of help. For those of us who work in the field of mapping and GIS, all of this comes as no surprise. But for many others, this is new technology and for some, it is even a source of wonder.

From the article: “We're using mapping for distribution sites, shelters, hospital locations, helipads, search and rescue and debris fields,” said Brian Adam, director of the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center. “There is no way we could have made it without our maps.”


Google Maps Geo Tools

Jonathan Stott has posted a number of somewhat useful geographic tools on his site:
  • Place Finder - utilizes a place names database of 5.5 million records; zooms to a Google Map showing that location.
  • Location Finder - provides latitude and longitdue values for any place in the world that is selected in a Google Map interface.
  • Time Zone and Local Time Finder - click on a point on a Google Map and get the time zone for that location.
  • Height Finder - find the elevation for a specified point on a map; results use SRTM elevation data (doesn’t seem to work for Canadian locations).
  • Sunrise / Sunset Time Finder - click on a point on a Google Map and get the sunrise and sunset times for that location.
  • Distance Finder - calculates the straight line distance between two points using a Google Maps interface.


2006 CCA Conference - GeoTec Event: Call for Papers

Call for Papers, Posters

Deadline for Abstracts: January 15, 2006

A Call for papers has been issued for the 2006 CCA conference in Ottawa

The conference is being held in conjunction with the 2006 GeoTec Event - “Celebrating History and Innovation” marking the one hundredth anniversary of the Atlas of Canada and the 20th anniversary of GeoTec. The event will feature sessions that commemorate the innovative contributions of the Atlas of Canada, and the contributions by Canadians in the advancement of geospatial technology.

The conference will be held jointly with the Association of Map Libraries and Archives (ACMLA), the International Cartographic Association Commission on National and Regional Atlases and the International Cartographic Association Commission on Maps and the Internet and promises to be a well attended event.

CCA members are encouraged to submit proposals for conference presentations (papers, posters) that will be organized into general thematic sessions. In addition, you can organize a special session, a panel discussion, or host a workshop.

Abstracts of 100-200 words must be submitted before Jan. 15, 2006 to the Interest Group chair in whose track you wish to present. The IG chairs will be coordinating their sessions within the overall framework of GeoTec tracks and also in special CCA tracks.

For further information, or for submission of an abstract, contact your IG chair:
  • Analytical Cartography and GIS - Andrew Millward (millward@gwu.edu)
  • Cartographic Education - Ian O’Connell (oconnell@office.geog.uvic.ca)
  • History of Cartography - David Raymond (david.raymond@nscc.ca)
  • Map Use and Design - Sally Hermanson (sallyh@geog.ubc.ca)
  • Map Production Technology - Lori King (lori.king@mnr.gov.on.ca)
  • General/Other - Christine Earl (cearl@connect.carleton.ca)


The French newspaper Le Monde has a news story and a couple of accompanying maps (English translation) about the transport and detention of possible terror suspects in Europe. One map entitled “Les prisons et les vols secrets et de la CIA” (Secret Prisons and Flights of the CIA) shows the number of CIA flights to various European countries and the host countries of suspected CIA detention centres. Another, smaller map entitled “Les vols secrets de la CIA en Europe” (Secret Flights of the CIA in Europe) depicts countries that were stopovers, flown over or destinations of CIA flights. The information is based on that collected by Human Rights Watch which drew on information supplied by keen and avid planespotters—people who photograph and track aircraft as a hobby and post the findings on various websites—among other sources.


MaPublisher 2005 Awards

Avenza has announced the winners for its annual map contest. Essentially, entries have to be created using MaPublisher software, a GIS-type add-on on to Adobe Illustrator. The entries are impressive and fall into a number of categories: special purpose, general purpose, topographic, geologic, thematic, academic, collection and notable entries. The winning entries are on display in jpg or pdf formats on the Avenza website and clearly show that the art of cartography is not dead.


MSN Live Local

Directionsmag has a short feature on Microsoft’s LiveLocal, the new version of Virtual Earth. Aside from the usual mapping features LiveLocal also includes some oblique air photos of U. S. cities and a “Locate Me” feature for those who use WiFi technology (download required). The bird’s eye imagery is more interesting than useful and sometimes can be a little confusing as streets and addresses are not labelled.

Unfortunately, LiveLocal doesn't succeed in the basics of online mapping: finding addresses. Searching for addresses in the United States is no problem but anything beyond it borders fails miserably. A search for Paris, France ends up in Paris, Illinois with a number of other options being offered, none of them the correct one. The same applies for Toronto, Ontario and Melbourne, Australia. Panning and zooming is also a bit choppy; perhaps we’ve all become spoiled by Google Maps draggable panning feature.

In short: LiveLocal still needs alot of work.


Disappeared in America

Disappeared in America provides a database-driven Flash map of the United States showing the locations of people who have disappeared since 9/11. Hover over a circle and see a list of individuals who have been detained by the U. S. government over secuirty concerns (presumably).

By way of information aesthetics.


The 3,000 or so residents of the islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia have been working on putting together a community atlas of their neighbourhood. The maps in the atlas are produced by residents - non-cartographers - and use a variety of media. Some samples are available at the Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia’s website. They have also produced a paper copy of their atlas entitled Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas, published by Heritage House.

From the press release: “During a five year period, The Islands in the Salish Sea Community Mapping Project engaged the help of enthusiastic local groups to gather information on everything from oral history with elders to scientific data. More than 30 local artists then brought these layers of accumulated information to life in vividly unique and extraordinary maps.”

By way of Cartotalk.


Map of Antarctica

A new cloud-free, 150 m resolution composite satellite image of Antarctica has been created and is available for download. The image is a result of a partnership between NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center and the University of New Hampshire. The satellite image is a mosaic of images taken from NASA’s Moderate Imaging Resolution Spectrometer’s Terra and Aqua satellites. A new digital elevation model of the continent is expected to be released next year.

From the press release:
“The Antarctic Mosaic shows a lot of very subtle changes in the slope of the terrain that you cannot see from the ground,” says Robert Bindschadler, chief scientist of Goddard’s Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory. “These subtle variations are important because they tell us the direction the ice is flowing now and they indicate where it has gone in the past. The surface roughness also tells us about the bed underneath the ice and whether the ice is sliding over the bed or frozen to it.”

The image above is a sample taken from 750 m hue-lightness-saturation image converted to red-green-blue 24-bit colour.


Maps of the Human Footprint

The Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment has put together a series of maps showing the effects humans are having on the landscape of the world. Data sets include population, land area, cropland area, major crops and land suitability. Interestingly, cropland area is available for various years back to 1770.

Registration is required to access the data. A gridded ASCII file will result in a php file that is viewable in an Internet browser. The resolution is not the finest (0.5 degrees).

Read the news release.


Brush up on your Spanish (or Catalan). With data from more than 2,000 weather stations dating back to the 1950s, the Climatic Atlas of the Iberian Peninsula provides temperature means, minimums, and maximums as well as precipitation and solar radiation for each month of the year. This fine looking mapping site is a creation of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and was just released last month.

By way of La Cartoteca.


Wind Power Maps

With rising energy costs and a search for more environmentally friendly energy sources, wind power has become a bit of a favourite. Wind power maps are an essential part in determining prime locations for potential wind turbine sites. Below is an incomplete listing of available wind maps. Access to data layers is spotty and difficult to find.

World: A world map showing wind resources is available in jpg format. The data is from 1980 and is based primarily on meteorological data. Good for a quick, very general picture of the world.

WindAtlas.dk has a listing of numerous wind atlases, some of which can be requested through e-mail. Most of the countries listed are European; others include the United States, Australia, Egypt and South Africa.

Winddata.com has a listing of maps for about 25 countries from around the globe. The quality of the maps vary; some are in pdf format, others are simple and small jpgs. Some of them are hosted on the site; most are links to other sites.

Brazil: AWS Truewind has a map of wind speed at 50 m available on its site. Map is in pdf format.

Canada: The Canadian Wind Energy Atlas is an interactive atlas where users can select heights and click on an image to get a more detailed map. Radio buttons allow the user to display mean wind speed, mean wind energy, and topography. Clicking on a location in the map brings up a wind rose and wind compass for that specific location. Tiled spatial data can also be downloaded in MID/MIF or RPN formats.

Ontario has a large number of pdf maps at various scales, displaying wind speeds and wind powers at various heights, along with transmissions lines. Maps are available in pdf format. Also available is an interactive wind power atlas. Winddata.com also has a map of British Columbia in pdf format on its site.

Ireland: AWS Truewind has a number of publicly available maps on its site. Maps are in pdf format and show wind speed and power at 50 m, 75 m and 100 m heights, as well as roads and transmission lines.

Mexico: AWS Truewind has wind speed and wind power maps at 50 m for the state of Oaxaca available on its site. Other state maps are available at the Mexico Renewable Energy Program site. All of the Mexican maps vary greatly in quality and resolution.

Southeast Asia: The Asia Alternative Energy Program produced a Wind Energy Resource Atlas that is available in pdf or html format. The maps themselves are only available in pdf format.

Sri Lanka: AWS Truewind has wind speed and wind power maps at 50 m on its site. Includes a road network.

United States: The Wind Energy Resource Atlas of the United States was published by the National Renewable Energy Lab in 1986 and is available online, complete with maps. The maps are a bit small and unspectacular.

The U.S. Department of Energy also covers the entire country but has links to individual state maps. Not all of the states have maps; most of the southeastern states lack maps. Maps are for wind power at 50 m, classed into 7 categories. Also included are transmission lines and indian reservations. Maps are available in jpg and pdf formats. Spatial data is available for download in shapefile format. AWS Truewind has similar coverage for the United States.

Windpowermaps.org focuses on the northwestern states and includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Maps in jpg format of wind power and speed at 50 m and wind power at 50 m. Wind power classed in to 7 categories and wind speed classed in to 12 categories. Jpgs are of a high enough resolution to read and print. Selected county maps are also available. An interactive map of the western part of the United States displays not only wind power potential but also biomass, solar power and geothermal power potential. The interactive map is searchable by location but the legend and metadata links don’t work in Firefox. This site also has pdf versions of renewable energy atlases of Washington and Idaho.


BusinessWeek Online reviews Google Maps

BusinessWeek Online has posted a review of Google Maps, one in a series of review of some of the services Google offers. The reviewer gave it a 4 out 5 stars. From the review:
  • The Good: Many features, from satellite imagery to draggable maps
  • The Bad: Jumbo maps can be a pain to navigate
  • The Bottom Line: More useful and user-friendly than rival services
I take issue with the “jumbo maps” being difficult to navigate; I never found that to be a problem. Read the CCAblog reivew of Google Maps here.

By way of Connotea


More on Russian Maps

GeoCarta, another blog, has a posting on intentional errors in Russian maps, including a link to a story about the issue in the International Herald Tribune: “The doctored maps belong to a deep-rooted Russian tradition of deceiving outsiders.” Access to such things as Google Earth helps to alleviate some of the frustration in dealing with the misleading maps but the challenge is still there.


Book Reviews on Books of Maps

The Guardian Umlimited has a review by Paul Hamilos of three books: Cities of the World: A History in Maps by Peter Whitfield; Atlas Maior by Joan Blaeu; and Descriptive Map of London Poverty 1889 by Charles Booth. The Guardian Umlimited also has a number of images from the books on its site. Booth’s map of London is available online in various pieces and formats, including one interactive one that compares his map to another of modern London.


Painting Maps

The Maya Stendahl Gallery in New York is currently having an exhibit of Paula's Scher’s works, some of which are maps that she has painted. Writes ArtForum critic Neil McClister: “Without actually painting any thing, Scher presents a way to think about a country, a continent, a world.” The Villager has an article on Scher and her work.

The exhibit runs until December 17th.


Google Maps & Yahoo! Maps: Side by Side by Side

Jon Aquino has put together a Ning page that shows Google Maps next to Yahoo! Maps AJAX version and Yahoo! Maps Flash version. Zoom and pan in one of the maps, and the other two follow suit. This is certainly a useful tool for comparing cartographic design in the 3 formats (not much difference really) and data content (a bit more content on the Google Map, a few different road classifications).


The golden age of mapping

In detnews.com, there is a brief, very general story about the directions the mapping industry is headed. With GPS, a growing collection of high resolution satellite imagery and the availabilty of online, interactive maps, “anyone can become a sophisticated cartographer.” Just like that. No training required.


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