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

Using Yahoo! Maps to Plot GPS Tracks

Much of the effort to develop add-ons for mapping sites has focused on Google Maps. GoogleMapsMania is, in fact, dedicated to this sort of thing. So it is refreshing to see tool development for mapping sites others than Google Maps. Trip Track Map is a Yahoo! Maps based tool that allows users to paste in GPS track locations (formatted for Garmin receivers) and plot them on the map. It also enables users to plot an altitude graph (based on the GPS receiver’s own data) and to show an animated movement of the track over time. The site provides an example that’s worth checking out (click on GPS, then Example on the bottom corner of the popup screen).

By way of Map GIS News for UK, Europe and World Maps


Map of the Happy Planet

A coouple of days ago I posted an entry on the (Un)Happy Planet Map, a world map that displays how happy the people / planet as measured by longevity, life expectancy and ecological footprint, with a heavy emphasis on the later. The University of Leicester’s Adrian White has produced what he calls “the first map to illustrate international differences in happiness.” White looks only at people’s happiness, as based on studies conducted over a 3 year period that involved over 80,000. The resulting geographic / un-projected Flash map holds no real surprises: the rich western nations of the world seem to be the happiest, although the richest nation isn’t necessarily the happiest. The map is zoomable, pannable and downloadable in a variety of formats (the downloadable versions are projected).

Read The Globe and Mail story on the map.


Check Your Catalogue . . .

. . . before you buy because you might already own what is being auctioned off. This was the case with Library and Archives Canada with regards to Forlani’s map of 1562 that makes mention of Canada for the first time (see previous entry from May of this year). The Globe and Mail reports that Library and Archives Canada, currently working on getting funding for a new information management system, almost purchased Forlani’s map vefore realizing that it already owned a copy. Strangely, this map hadn’t been regulated to some dusty corner but had been acquired in 1981 and exhibited as one of the collection’s prize pieces. Ingrid Parent, Library and Archives Canada’s assistant deputy minister “points out that archives often have more than one edition of a rare book or map, and adds that it was difficult for the cartography division to tell from the auction house’s on-line description just how similar it was to the one at LAC.” In fact, Library and Archives Canada already had two copies of the map. The story briefly touches on the interesting shift that is occurring from the all-knowing curator to a more democratized and open approach to tracking what is in the collection.

By way of MapHist



The Guardian has an article on how the UK is threatening to kill INSPIRE, the European initiative to make government data more accessible across borders. The INfrastructure for SPatial Information in Europe’s principles include:
  • Data should be collected once and maintained at the level where this can be done most effectively
  • It should be possible to combine seamlessly spatial data from different sources and share it between many users and applications
  • Spatial data should be collected at one level of government and shared between all levels
  • Spatial data needed for good governance should be available on conditions that are not restricting its extensive use
  • It should be easy to discover which spatial data is available, to evaluate its fitness for purpose and to know which conditions apply for its use.
Writes The Guardian: “Nearly everyone supports the idea. But making geographical data freely available would destroy the business model of agencies such as Ordnance Survey, which funds activities by making a ‘profit’ on sales of maps and geographical data.” The UK government supports the OS’s right to charge for data, putting it in direct conflict with INSPIRE. “A spokesman for the UK in Brussels said the UK would support Inspire, but only if it agreed with the final text. ‘Our position is firmly that it is up to member states to decide the level of charging.’ The implication is that Britain would be prepared to see the directive fall rather than compromise OS’s commercial position.” A critic of the UK’s approach suggests that it is suffering from an “island mentality.”

Read the full story.


Map of the (Un)Happy Planet

The (Un)Happy Planet Index has a map that shows how “happy” various countries are, not just in terms of human life but also in terms of how each treats the planet. The index is based on 3 statistics: life expectancy is multiplied by life satisfaction and the result is divided by the ecological footprint for that country. The results might be a bit surprising.

A question arises as to whether this is, in fact, an accurate indication of people amd planet satisfaction. Why not use the UN’s human development index instead? And can the ecological footprint numbers be considered valid? The ecological footprint of banana plantations, for instance, is attributed to the countries that consume the bananas, not the ones that produce them. No indication on the site as to how thenumbers for this statistic (or any other) were derived.


Lebanon Maps

Al Mashriq - the Levant has a number of maps of Lebanon, some relating to the current conflict. Part of the collection is a set of 1:200,000 topographic maps of the country, both in Arabic and in English. Images are viewable on screen but cannot be saved, unfortunately. Other maps in the collection include a pdf map of the Israeli air strikes, 1:500,000 maps of Beriut from the 1960s, and a map showing the Israeli occupation zone of 1998. Google Earth files showing Israeli airfields and air strikes are also available.

Thanks to Manuel.

See also Israel - Lebanon Maps 1 and 2.


Middle East Conflict Map

The New York Times has two delicious graphic maps that display the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The first displays the many different conflicts across the area; the second focuses on the conflict between the United States and Iran. Very interesting maps.

By way of information aesthetics who has a number of links to other graphics relating to the Middle East.


Cartography Summer School

For those cartographers who have been delinquent in their studies or merely need a very cartographic-focused refresher on what it is they do, the UK’s Society of Cartographers is holding its annual summer school September 4 to 7 at Keele University in Staffordhsire. Topics include green mapping, mapping for tourism and leisure and historical mapping. A full programme is available in pdf format.


Israel - Lebanon Maps (2)

A couple of more maps that are covering the events in the Middle East:

The New York Times has a map of Israel and Lebanon showing attacks on both sides. It is a Flash map and users can select a date and see what happened on that day. Very simple and straightforward and one of the best I’ve seen on the conflict. The base map can be switched from a topographic view ot a population density view. Also included are rockect ranges.

The Truth Laid Bear has a map that shows attacks, related news story, photo and blog locations using Microsoft’s Live Local. Nice map but what’s the point of those numbered labels? (By way of Map GIS News Blog for UK, Europe and World Maps)


Map Projections in Java

Henry Bottomley has put together a Java applet that can dispaly that world in 14 different projections. Users can select a projection and specifiy its parameters and project not only a basic map of the world but also an image of the world at night, a topographic image of the world, the moon, Jupiter and Mars. The basic map of the world seems to be most effective in displaying the distortions that occur with any projection.

By way of Map GIS News Blog for UK, Europe and World Maps and La Cartoteca


Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era

The University of British Columbia Library has a collection of 285 Japanese maps available for viewing online. The maps are from the Tokugawa Era, 1600 to 1867, and focuses on “privately published and travel related maps and guides” from that period. The collection is mostly from the George H. Beans collection, acquired by the UBC Library in 1965 and since added to. Maps are available in jpeg format and are zoomable.

By way of Cartotalk


Israel - Lebanon Maps

Maps of the current violence in the Middle East between Israel and Hezbollah are appearing everywhere. The usual news sources have their set of graphics and maps that outline the events in different ways. The Guardian has an animated Flash map which steps through the various incidents that has led up to the current state of affairs, including a day by day summary that is current to the 20th. The map shows Hezobollah and Israeli attacks and also the approximate range of Hezbollah missiles.

The BBC has a static colour image of the incidents of 19-20 July
. This seems to be updated every couple of days. The Globe and Mail also has a static map, this one in black and white, suitable, of course, for the newspaper.

Equally interesting are some of the maps and data being produced by various individuals. Kathryn Cramer has produced a snapshot of Google Earth showing the ranges of Hezbollah missles (where’s the kmz file for this?) and Ogle Earth points out kmz files of the conflict that pinpoint the rocket attacks and bombings that have happened.

By way of the Map Room and others.


The PRISM Group has created a series of grids showing temperature and precipitation datasets for the continental United States. Datasets include average maximum and minimun temperatures, precipitation, and average dewpoint. The collection - available both in image and grid format - provides 12 monthly averages for the period 1971 to 2000 but also provides individual monthly averages for 2000 to 2006. The latter is updated monthly. Indivudual monthly data sets are also available back to 1895 in an Arc/Info ascii grid format.

Data is free to download but may only be used for noncommercial purposes.

By way of Geotechnologies in Education


Global Shoreline Data

The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency from the U.S. has released a prototype global shoreline data set that covers the entire globe. The vector shoreline data has been derived from orthorectified Landsat imagery from 2000. The white paper (Word document) accompanying the dataset suggests that the data has a 50 metre accuracy and contains gaps where there was cloud or ice cover in the imagery - about 10% of the area. The data is available for download in sections. The file format is shapefile.

EVS-Islands compares the prototype global shoreline dataset to the enhanaced vector shoreline set he is creating and is impressed. The EVS dataset appears more accurate but does not cover as much shoreline (at least currently).

By way of Geotechnologies in Education

See also previous posting on EVS-Islands.


Canadian Cardiovascular Atlas

The appearance of the Canadian Cardiovascular Atlas reminds me that there are always more things to map. The Atlas, produced by the Canadian Caridovascular Outcomes Research Team is a collection of academic papers accompanied by maps that focus on cardiovascular health and outcomes. The maps follow a standard format and employ the same colours for each classification scheme. Data sources for the atlas are listed in detail on page 6 of the document. The Atlas is available in pdf format and can be downloaded; those seeking to do so will need to register for free. A paper copy of 240 page document can also be reserved.

By way of Docuticker


MAPublisher 7.0 Released

Those cartographers who produce maps strictly within Adobe Illustrator will be happy to know that Avenza has released its latest version of the MAPublisher add-on. As well as including all of the features of previous versions of MAPublisher, the latest version also boasts enhanced label placement, improved grid, graticule and scale bar creation and numerous other features. Version 7 is compatible with Illustrator CS and CS2 and costs about $1,149US. A trial version of the software is available for download. The latest release is so new that the product brochure (pdf format) on the Avenza site has not yet been updated.


Mr. Geography, the Cab Driver

(Apologies, again, for the lack of postings. A home power outage since Monday night will do that . . . .)

If you are in Toronto and are looking for a free cab ride, there’s a couple of things you can do:
  1. Be sure to get Mohammad Saaed Collins as your cab driver.
  2. Be sure to anwer his first geography question correctly.
Apparently Collins is known locally as Mr. Geography and will give a free ride to anyone who can answer his first question. Admittedly, he pulls ou the toughest questions first because, as he puts it, “because I have to survive and get paid for the ride.”

Read the story in the Toronto Star. I would assume that he knows his way around town as well.


Vacation: French River Trip

No postings for the past four days or so because of a quick jaunt up to the French River. Google Maps has, fortunately, some high resolution imagery for the area. As a result you can almost see the places we camped.

It'll be a few days until I get caught up on items.


Chicago Market Maps

The ESRI blog, Geography Matters, points out Chicago Market Facts, a web page put together by Chicago Business. The site hosts an interactive map of the city that displays layers of all the standard census statistics, including income, population, and employment as well as a couple of unusual one (MP3 player demand). The map is zoomable, pannable and queryable.

More interesting, however, all the static maps and charts accessible by category from the main page of the Market Facts page. The maps and charts are in pdf format and cover a wide range of data including energy consumption, travel, spending and weather. The maps and charts are very colourful, clear and simple but sometimes border on the USA Today style of “info-tainment” graphics (see, for example if Chicagoans are dog people or cat people). As well, it’s interesting to note the selective inclusion of data on some of the charts and maps in order to put Chicago in a good light.


Jules Verne in Maps

For those of you who grew up reading Jules Verne novels, you might want to check out Garmt de Vries’ Jules Verne Collection. As well as having bibliographries, images and quizzes on Jules Verne, de Vries has also included scans of the original maps that accompanied the Verne books. As well, there is a collection of what he calls “unofficial” maps, done in the same style. All scans come in a small size and a larger, easily readable size. In addition, there is a world map upon which any or all of the travels in the Verne books can be plotted.

By way of MapHist


Plaque to Honour A-Z Maps Creator

The BBC has a short story about a plan to unveil a plaque in Southwark, a neighbourhood of London, in honour of Phyllis Pearsall who walked 3,000 miles in an effort to map the streets of London in the mid 1930s. Pearsall went on to found the A to Z Map Company, a producer of popular street maps in the U. K. From the Southwark Council website:
“(Phyllis Pearsall) spent the first few years of her bizarre and often traumatic childhood in Court Gardens Lane. By the time she was 15 her father was bankrupt and had abandoned his family. Her mother and stepfather had turned her out on the streets and she’d moved to France to live the Bohemian life with her artist brother.”

“The idea that changed her life came to her a few days after her 29th birthday after she returned to London and became lost trying to find the homes of people whose portraits she had been commissioned to paint. Within days, she had taken to the streets - all 23,000 of them - determined to sketch, index and publish them. Despite scepticism and ridicule, the A-Z was on the bookshelves of WH Smith in 1936.”

“Today, the company publishes over 250 titles ranging from street maps and atlases to large scale plans of towns and cities.”


Surname Mapping 2

A while ago Spatial-Literacy.org came out with a mapping tool that allowed users to search for the prevalance of people with a particular surname in the U. K. Other, similar services are available for a number of other countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Poland, France, Belgium and the United States. Each country is broken down differently with areas of differing size and prevalance of families names is not consistently represented from one country ot the next.

See also the earlier post on Surname Mapping.

Courtesy of Betonbldg.de


Animated Obesity Map

MSN has an anaimated map showing the growth of obesity in the U. S. over the past 20 years. Coourful, if nothing else, the map cycles through the years from 1986 to 2004. It’s a bit misleading at first since many states don’t have any statistics, making them appear white (or thinner than the are). Each state is clickable for more information.

By way of Boing Boing.


UK's OS Staff Walkout

According the BBC, Ordnance Survey staff are walking out for 12 hours today in protest of pay rates. Read the very short story here. Can we expect to see something from Ed Parsons on the issue? Probably not. Let’s see if this gets resolved before a full blown strike.

By way of Map GIS News Blog for UK, Euorpe and World


Cancer and Tobacco Atlases

The American Cancer Society has published two atlases, The Cancer Atlas and The Tobacco Atlas. Both are available for sale and online in pdf format. The pdfs are, however, mostly broken out by page so that if you wanted to view the entire atlas you would have to download numerous pdfs.

The Cancer Atlas is broken into a number of sections, including risk factors, cancer economics and taking action. Within each section are a number of topics with each topic being given a two page spread that includes a map or two and a number of graphics and text.

The Tobacco Atlas is set up in a very similar manner, broken into sections covering such topics as prevalence, cost and the tobacco trade. Each individual topic in each section is also given its own two page spread. This is the 2nd edition of this atlas and it is also available as an online atlas in Shockwave format. The interactivity is limited to zooming in and out and navigating from map to map is a little tricky.

The atlases were produced by Myriad Editions which has also produced a few other globally themed atlases. Some upcoming titles include the The Atlas of Climate Change, The Atlas of Religion and The Atlas of the American Empire. Some online atlases that are available for viewing include Mapping Biodiversity for the World Wildlife Fund (UK) and Saying Yes to Children for NetAid.


A couple of posts ago I mentioned that digital elevation data was freely available from Geobase for most of the country at 1:50,000 and for all of the country at 1:250,000. Here is some related information on the data collection happening for the Far North.

Natural Resources Canada would ideally like to have complete 1:50,000 coverage for the entire country but the cost of collecting and producing this data is prohibitive. There is and area the equivalent of about 1,500 1:50,000 topographic maps in the Far North that have never been mapped. These are remote areas with rugged terrain that are covered in snow and ice most, if not all of the time, making traditional data collection challenging and difficult.

In December 2002 NRCAN performed tests “performed tests to produce maps and digital elevation models with Earth observation data from satellites,” specifically Radarsat and Landsat. The results were promising enough for NRCAN to award contracts to produce 150 topographic sheets by this process. “This approach will use aerial photography as source for planimetric data and the GeoBase Landsat 7 orthoimage for updating. DEMs are produced from ERS radar data or aerial photography depending on the type of terrain.” The plan is to produce the data for 150 1:50,000 topographic sheets per year.
Read the two short articles on the project on NRCAN’s website (“New Mapping in the North with Satellite Data” and “Topographic Data Acquisition in Northern Canada”).


New Maps Out of Old

Layla Curtis, an artist, has created some new maps by putting together a collage of old ones. The result are maps that, at first glance, are familiar but on closer inspection are odd and unusual. She has a collection of such collages on her website, most of which are not at a high enough resolution to read, unfortunately. The page runs in Flash so click on Work > Collages to get to the maps.

Layla Curtis has undertaken another project, “Message in a Bottle” in which she inserted messages and GPS units in bottles with the hopes of them reaching the nearest inhabited place on the opposite side of the world to Ramsgate, England. So far, the furthest venturing bottle has gotten to the Netherlands. You can follow their progress on the project’s website. This project was also mentioned in Else/Where: Mapping (see my review on the book or visit the book’s website).

By way of CartoTalk


Canadian Digital Elevation Data

I have no idea how long this has been there but Geobase has a somewhat complete set of digital elevation files for the country at scales of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000. The files are split into east and west portions for each tile and are in USGS DEM format. The 1:250,000 set is complete for the entire country (all 9,976,140 square kilometres of it) while the 1:50,000 set covers about 2/3 of it and about all of its populated areas (some of which is still in production - as indicated by the orange squares on the map to the right). Both can be browsed by drilling down through a map or by using the wms that Geobase has put up. Registration is required to download the files but it is free. Technical specifications on the data are available from the site in pdf format.

For a while access to base data has been more accessible in the United states than in Canada but with datasets like this that is changing. Though some essential large scale datasets are still publicly unavailable (e.g. drainage), the ease of accessing data on the Geobase is much easier than on the USGS site. Sometimes the simplest thing works the best.

Also available on the site is the national road network and orthorectified Landsat images for the country.


Proportional Military Deaths Map

The Institute for Analytic Journalism has a link to another map showing the locations of the hometown of those Americans who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has been done before (see the posting on Iraq War Fatalities Map and a Google Maps mashup showing service personnel's hometowns - which doesn’t seem to be working right now). The Palm Beach Post has created an interactive map showing the same thing (available at two locations - here and here). Clicking on a location will bring up information on the service personnel who died. In an unusual reversal, the static map they provide (even though it appears a bit grainy) is more interesting to look at. The height of the bars reflect the number from each town or city that died but the colour reflects the rate per 100,000 inhabitants. It appears that the cities and town on the American MidWest have proportionally suffered greater losses than other parts of the United States.

Read the short accompanying story in the Palm Beach Post.


3D Air Pollution Map

The London Air Quality Network has an interactive map that displays the prevalence of various air pollutants. The map is pannable and zoomable (using the overview map) and clicking on triangular portions of the map will produce a 3 dimensional view of the area with the selected pollutant draped over the landscape, giving a flooded look to the scene. A timeline bar at the bottom of the map extends from 2003 to 2010 and gives the impression that pollutants are being (or will be) reduced.

By way of Digitally Distributed Environments who have a 3-dimensional surface video of some of the data.


Mapping, circa 1940

Caught Mapping is a 9 minute black and white documentary (?) on the mapping process in 1940 America. Strangely, it all seems vaguely familiar: substitute the old car and the “special intrusments” with an SUV equipped with a laptop and a GPS receiver and voila! You have the road warriors of today out collecting and updating road data (see Collecting Street Map Data, NavTeq, TeleAtlas Road Data Collection, Road Data Collection Again, and Road Mapping).

The film is available as a download in various formats or streamed over the Internet.


Interactive Subway Maps

Greg Brail has produced two interactive subway maps using Google Maps. These are not just pan and zoom maps but maps where the user can select an origin, a destination and a time and a route will be mapped out, along with the estimated time of travel. Currently maps exist for New York and London.

By way of Maps and GIS News Blog for UK, Europe and World


Globe 4D

Globe 4D is a unique globe that combines physical and digital technologies to produce a physically manipulatable globe that can display any part of the earth over time. It is a sphere that can be rotated in any direction by hand onto which images are projected. As well, by moving a ring that circles the globe, users can control the time line being displayed. It is a model that seems ideally suited to museums. The globe can also be used to display other spherical objects as well. Check out one of the videos for a demonstration. Globe 4D is a project by Dutch multimedia students from Leiden University.

By way of information aesthetics


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