Archive for September, 2012

Amazing Maps, How Sweet the Sound

Amazing maps, how sweet the sound,

That saved a GISer like me.

We once were lost

but now we’re found,

Was blind,

but now, we see.

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Cartoreading: Current Cartography News

A few items on my radar this week:

Brain Timoney created a video map of all the Springsteen touring spots in the U.S. going back to 1973. This map has just made it into Slate. My take away from this success is that if you make a map about popular culture it will get a million times more viewers than if you, say, come up with a novel method of delineating variable width buffers based on elevation along a river line (pdf).

The New York Times is running an article on the many ways in which maps are being turned into wearable objects, such as flip-flops, which, by the way, brings new meaning to the term cartoflop*: Maps Go in New Directions, and Don’t Require Folding.

If you would like to read more about my background, what got me into GIS and cartography, why I write cartography books, and what my biggest frustration with the current state of cartography is, check out a recent interview I did with the GIS Lounge people: Gretchen Peterson, Profiles From the Geospatial Community.

*Which, to be honest, I just made up.

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Topographic Map of America, 1884

This 1884 relief map of America is being sold at the New Hampshire antique store Mill Goods. Not only is it a unique shape, it’s quite large too: 4′ high by 6′ 4″ at its widest point.* The cartographer is Edwin E. Howell, a USGS Geologist who made many—at least 56—relief maps, though this is the only one I can find in this odd shape. It’s made of painted plaster and surrounded with a wood frame.

I’m sort of wishing I could be pouring plaster right now, instead of mocking up a webmap in Balsamiq. Maybe my webmap client would enjoy a plaster mockup instead?!

On a non-related note, if anyone has advice regarding the use of Google Web Fonts in IE 7 and 8, could you let me know? I’ve heard they are rendering incorrectly but am unsure if that’s just for bold and/or italic variants.

*That’s got to be heavy.


GISCI Poster Contest, 2012

Yesterday was judging day for the 2012 GISCI poster contest. In case you aren’t familiar with the annual contest, there are cash prizes for the top winners, with $500 going to the first place winner and $500 going to the People’s Choice winner. Winners also get their initial or renewal certification fee waived. A $250 second place award, $100 third place award, and honorable mentions are also given.

The judging criteria are: accuracy, design/layout, legibility, visual appeal, effective communication, effective use of geographic information, and originality.

This is my second time as a guest judge, which means giving a score for each of the above criteria to the top 12 finalists. You can view the top 12 finalists here. When the winners are announced, soon probably, I’ll write a post about them. Here are the comments I sent in with my scores:

“There was a lot of originality in this year’s maps! Though some of the original ideas didn’t really work for me, I was thrilled to see people attempting new and interesting things. There were plenty of take-away ideas for my own future designs.

Many of the remarks in the comments column are critical of certain aspects of the designs, but folks must always realize that when asked to critique, the critics will always find fault in things. It is always easier to critique than to create. Certainly, I admire everyone’s efforts and contributions.

While judging these, I tried to visualize each one on the walls of GISCI headquarters. ‘Which one would show us off the best?’ was my guiding thought.”


How to Design a Good Webmap, a Table of Awesomeness

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