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Posts Tagged ‘maps’

Can Geography Be Radical?

Guernica recently interviewed “radical geographer” Denis Wood about his work and the power of map (a topic we’ve touched on before). Here’s a particularly interesting excerpt:

But I’ve seen maps that I find completely terrifying. Maps of uranium mining and of various illnesses in the Navajo reservations—they’re just insane. They just make you furious. Bill Bunge’s map—which I still think is one of the great maps, the map of where white commuters in Detroit killed black children while going home from work—that’s a terrifying map, and that’s an amazing map. He knew that. They had to fight to get the data from the city. They had to use political pressure to get the time and the exact location of the accidents that killed these kids. They knew what they were looking for. I didn’t have anything to do with that project, so when I saw the map for the first time, it was like, “Oh my god.” It’s so powerful to see maps like that. That’s the power of maps, or one of the powers of maps: to make graphic—and at some level unarguable—some correlative truth. We all knew that people go to and from work. But to lay the two things together reveals something horrible.

(HT: The Daily Dish)

Flight Status

If you are in the least bit an airplane junkie, you should follow the advice of Jason Kottke (no relation to Daniel, or Leo, fwiw) and search for “planes overhead” on the Wolfram Alpha search engine. It returns a list of airplanes above your geographical location, including carrier, origin/destination, altitude, angle, type, slant distance, as well as a sky map so you can find the actual planes in the sky:

Expanding Waistlines Around the World

Obesity is far from just an American problem. These nifty maps from the Economist display average BMI for males around the world in 1980 and 2008, and the percentage change.

Google Earth as Big Brother?

Google Earth isn’t just for kicks anymore: FP reports that governments around the world are using the service to catch everyone from tax evaders to marijuana growers.

Can Gerbils Read Maps?

National borders may sometimes seem like arbitrary lines drawn on a map, but a new study from the University of Haifa reveals that those borders mean something to the resident animal populations.

Maps: Fighting Disease and Skewing Borders

A while back, we blogged about a site called Strange Maps, which features all sorts of strange, fascinating, and even influential maps. (Maps in general have since come up on this blog quite a few times.)
Frank Jacobs, the London-based journalist and creator of Strange Maps, has now published a book, Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities.
He has agreed to answer a few of our questions about maps and why he finds them so compelling.

The Paradox of Road Choice

Two physicists and a computer scientist used Google maps to study traffic in Boston, London, and New York, and found that when people use real-time driving maps to try to pick the fastest routes, traffic slows down.

Mapping Power

An Economist article discusses how simple maps have become one of the most powerful tools that interest groups use to promote their causes. The Grim Reaper’s Roadmap, for instance, maps out mortality rates in Britain from different causes in hopes of sparking investigations., by mapping instances of violence in Kenya, wants to hold the government accountable. And MAPlight maps political donations to show how money influences congressional votes.

Get Out of P.O.W. Camp Free?

A few weeks back we linked to a blog post describing the optimal strategy in the game Monopoly. This fascinating article by Brian McMahon describes how the game of Monopoly was used during World War II to aid in the escape of Allied POWs. (Is it just me, or does it seem from reading the story that this was an . . .

The FREAKest Links: What’s $4 Billion Between Friends Edition

1. Tired of Google Street View yet? Here, via TechCrunch, is the next step on the horizon: Microsoft’s Photosynth Project is developing a network of 3-D virtual maps depicting actual places. Meanwhile, 3-D street views of ten cities will launch this fall on Everyscape. No word yet on whether the scenes will feature virtual peeing bystanders, dozing cats, or Dubner’s . . .

Google Street View, Circa 1935

Google’s new Street View feature has caused a predictable sort of hubbub. Privacy advocates are upset; one woman freaked out when she could see her cat through the window of her house; one man was caught peeing by the side of the road. (We interviewed Google’s project manager on our site; his answers, hardly earth-shaking, were still interesting.) I understand . . .

The FREAKest Links: Retro Postcard and Google Hating Edition

Reader Sean Swanzy alerted us to Penny Postcards, a wonderful Web site that allows private collectors to share images of postcards from every county and state in the union, with mailing dates spanning the twentieth century. Not that we’re geographically biased, but the New York City collection is particularly impressive. From the Gainesville Sun via Consumerist: Florida’s Sun State Credit . . .

What Do Saudi Arabia and Tennessee Have in Common?

Over at the very, very compelling Strange Maps site (warning: do not click unless you have an hour to kill) is a map of the U.S. with each state renamed for a country with a similar GDP. In case you’re wondering where the really big countries are, here’s another map, in which Japan gobbles up our entire midsection and New . . .

Google Maps Project Manager Speaks Out on “Street View”

Last week was a busy one for the visual wizards at Google. First, the company launched Street View, which offers street-level photos of San Francisco, New York, Miami, Denver, and Las Vegas; the remarkable new service promptly drew controversy as bloggers and surprised photo subjects raised privacy concerns. Then came word that the alleged JFK bombing suspects had used images . . .