Roman Ladder

Because a Funny Thing Happened

Posts tagged cartography

24 notes

It turns out, then, that this is not just an internet problem. A textbook education in cartography will not teach you, in scientific terms, why a choropleth Mercator map is worse than a choropleth sinusoidal map or a proportional symbol map. Interpretation of area in quantitative maps gets no quantitative explanation; instead it gets basically the same treatment as propaganda maps and the whole Peters thing, which paraphrased boils down to “bigger things totally look more prominent and important because they’re bigger.” Semiology of Graphics is the only book I have that really addresses size directly and as matter of fact—noting among other things that “it is not possible to disregard it visually” and “in any map representing areas of unequal size, what is seen is [quantity] multiplied by the size of the area”—but even if he was correct, Bertin was pretty much making things up. Mentioned more commonly but no more deeply explained is the need to normalize data to account for area in choropleth maps, i.e., not mapping counts. Considering this rule, the projection requirement, and a host of “ideal” enumeration unit characteristics, choropleth mapping just starts to sound like a terrible idea for anything at all. Size variation that is not directly related to numerical variation seems to cause nothing but problems. Danny Dorling’s arguments for cartograms and mapping human phenomena in human space, not geographic space, start to sound appealing. Too bad cartograms are also kind of awful.
Andy Woodruff (via roomthily)

This is good stuff, something that’s always bothered my about choropleth maps but I haven’t been able to put my finger on. Too bad most of my GIS career has been in making them.

(via fuckyeahcartography)

Filed under cartography geography GIS

76 notes

oneofthepaths:

The Five Types of Territorial Morphology sounds like a fun parlour game, at least in cartophile circles (is Portugal compact or elongated? Is or isn’t Somalia prorupt? Does New Zealand qualify as fragmented?) But there is a serious, geopolitical concern behind this attempt at classification. For a country’s shape has a profound impact on its economic success, and even its political viability. (via 595 - It’s Always Chile in Norway: the Five Types of Territorial Morphology | Strange Maps | Big Think)


This is covered in Geography 101, literally. Sweet!

oneofthepaths:

The Five Types of Territorial Morphology sounds like a fun parlour game, at least in cartophile circles (is Portugal compact or elongated? Is or isn’t Somalia prorupt? Does New Zealand qualify as fragmented?) But there is a serious, geopolitical concern behind this attempt at classification. For a country’s shape has a profound impact on its economic success, and even its political viability. (via 595 - It’s Always Chile in Norway: the Five Types of Territorial Morphology | Strange Maps | Big Think)

This is covered in Geography 101, literally. Sweet!

(via fuckyeahcartography)

Filed under geography cartography

3 notes

Too Real

Glanced at this Apartment Therapy article on the new Google 3D maps for mobile devices.  To be honest, I didn’t really read it after the tease, because I was too distracted by the video there.

Using our technology to make ever more and more accurate models of the world is all well and good, it makes a great demo and is fun to play with, but it doesn’t make for a very useful actual map.

The whole point of a map is that it is an abstraction of the real world.  A map is great not only for what it includes, but for what it does not include.  A good road map does not need to show you median income by voting district any more than a good map of income distribution needs to include how the power grid is laid out.  Yes, Google Earth and Maps let you turn layers on and off, customize your map to suit your purpose, but what is happening now, with photo-realistic 3D portrayals of buildings and terrain, is less an enhancement for navigation and information gathering and more a good location scouting tool for your next movie.*

The ultimate most accurate map possible would be exactly the same size and appearance as the real world, like the Matrix.  How useful would that be for getting around, or gathering information about spatial relationships in the world?

*I will grant you, those fly-overs in the video are gorgeous from a scenery standpoint.  Google has handed the amateur filmmaker their very own 3D rendering shop for digital establishing shots; no need to go to a location and rent a helicopter!

Filed under cartography Google maps

32 notes

This is a fascinating map.  I’m embarrassed to admit it took me a few minutes to work out just where everything was.  The coordinate system does not match the one we use today, though it is somewhat related.  This map was made far before the advent of the accurate measurement of longitude, and it shows.  I love that it depicts bits of the New World, but I am not clear on if the map itself was made in 1380, more than a hundred years before Columbus’s voyages, or if it was made later to describe voyages made in that time.
Either way, a wonderful specimen.

This is a fascinating map.  I’m embarrassed to admit it took me a few minutes to work out just where everything was.  The coordinate system does not match the one we use today, though it is somewhat related.  This map was made far before the advent of the accurate measurement of longitude, and it shows.  I love that it depicts bits of the New World, but I am not clear on if the map itself was made in 1380, more than a hundred years before Columbus’s voyages, or if it was made later to describe voyages made in that time.

Either way, a wonderful specimen.

(Source: talltales-and-tealeaves, via fuckyeahcartography)

Filed under cartography geography

20 notes

sticky-allie:

What is the point of this??? Why would someone go out of their way to make something like this? What can you possibly get out of this that you can’t do in a chart or normal map?
Why are you all so complicated?

Oh my goodness.  When you are talking about large numbers (like whole country populations), the figures are too abstract to intuitively compare.  With a cartogram, the brain can use its considerable visual processing power to almost effortlessly compare spatial areas.  That’s one benefit.
The other benefit of a cartogram such as this is that we are so familiar with what a traditional map of the world should look like, it renders an immediately apparent contrast.  Take Russia, or Canada, countries we innately know have terrific land masses.  Their cartogram representation puts their populations in stark contrast to that.  What conclusions might you draw from the apparent size of Japan here?  Or the size of Mexico as compared to the United States?
A cartogram absolutely gives you intuitive information that you don’t get from a “normal” map.

sticky-allie:

What is the point of this??? Why would someone go out of their way to make something like this? What can you possibly get out of this that you can’t do in a chart or normal map?

Why are you all so complicated?

Oh my goodness.  When you are talking about large numbers (like whole country populations), the figures are too abstract to intuitively compare.  With a cartogram, the brain can use its considerable visual processing power to almost effortlessly compare spatial areas.  That’s one benefit.

The other benefit of a cartogram such as this is that we are so familiar with what a traditional map of the world should look like, it renders an immediately apparent contrast.  Take Russia, or Canada, countries we innately know have terrific land masses.  Their cartogram representation puts their populations in stark contrast to that.  What conclusions might you draw from the apparent size of Japan here?  Or the size of Mexico as compared to the United States?

A cartogram absolutely gives you intuitive information that you don’t get from a “normal” map.

(via fuckyeahcartography)

Filed under cartography geography

62 notes

cartophile:

This company in the UK makes stainless steel 3D topo maps. Amazing. 

Wow, that’s neat.  I wish one could send them a shapefile for a specific area.  (Well, I’m sure I could commission something special, but it would probably cost a pretty penny, not that it wouldn’t be worth it.)

Filed under geography cartography

15 notes

cartophile:

Map of the Sandwich Isles by Artist / Cartographer Blaise Domino

A very pretty piece of art, but a terrible map.  Yes, I read the “Cartographer’s Notes,” and I can appreciate that there are anachronisms and the separation of the islands has been changed to suit the composition.  I would have preferred that the lines of latitude and longitude be omitted, because as it stands they are utterly incorrect, and it just looks wrong to me.
Not having the lines and degrees noted in the border wouldn’t make it look very “cartographic,” though, would it?  Why not have adjusted the lines accordingly, then?  I don’t see any reason for this to be cartographically incorrect.

cartophile:

Map of the Sandwich Isles by Artist / Cartographer Blaise Domino

A very pretty piece of art, but a terrible map.  Yes, I read the “Cartographer’s Notes,” and I can appreciate that there are anachronisms and the separation of the islands has been changed to suit the composition.  I would have preferred that the lines of latitude and longitude be omitted, because as it stands they are utterly incorrect, and it just looks wrong to me.

Not having the lines and degrees noted in the border wouldn’t make it look very “cartographic,” though, would it?  Why not have adjusted the lines accordingly, then?  I don’t see any reason for this to be cartographically incorrect.

Filed under geography cartography hawaii

66 notes

pretendparades:

my sister got me this awesome compass necklace (that actually points north!) for my birthday.

three things i love: compasses, maps, and arizona.

Very nice, bonus that I love Sedona.

But it got me thinking: wonderment at a compass that points north?  I’m not saying it’s the case here, but it occurs to me there are kids out there who see something like a compass and take it for granted that there are microcontrollers and circuits involved.  Are they teaching the basic science these days, the very basic ways we can understand and interact with our environment?

(via fuckyeahcartography)

Filed under geography cartography science