Archive for the 'Maps' Category



19
Sep
12

business insider: you are really going to hate apple maps

Business insider is reporting that the initial findings on the new Apple Maps app is that it really sucks.

The new iOS6 will drop Google as the default mapping program and begin using the package that Apple has developed with a number of vendors including TomTom.

Apples new iPhone5

Several differences have been highlighted, including the lack of transit information in the new package, but Apple intends to overcome this by integrating the best public transit apps around, providing a more thorough handling of local transportation.

However, many developers and privileged insiders are already using iOS6 and are reporting a much bigger problem with the maps – they don’t use Google. Apple has utilized the Yelp search engine to provide results for geographic queries. However those used to the powerful Google engine could well be disappointed with the results. According to BI, one Apple Repair Shop employee they interviewed demonstrated how a search for ‘Ipad Repair’ yielded no results. Yelps struggles with searches that are not based on Yelp categories, business names or addresses.

To add to the noise, Noam Barden, CEO of Waze (itself a super social/crowdsourced/opensource mapping application that runs on the iPhone) is quoted as saying that TomTom were “the weakest player” that Apple could have partnered with, and warns that users may find that at least initially, many places just don’t show up or are misplaced on the maps.

2 million pre-order customers are still coming to terms with the fact that their old cables will not be usable on their new iPhone 5s,  so the lack of a quality mapping application on their 5th generation handset could make life unbearable for a short time. Whilst we can only speculate as to how much of an inconvenience the teething troubles will be, this is yet another reminder as to the huge hold that Google continues to have over the world’s geographic data.

Rest assured that print maps will not be affected by the new operating system and can be purchased here.

Unhappy with your new iPhone 5? If you experience disappointment with your brand new gadget, whether because of cables, maps, reception or any other reason, our editors will happily exchange them for fully tested alternative phones from big name suppliers including Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola, fully tested over long periods (ie used).

18
Sep
12

BBC Interviews Jerry Brotton: Maps and their biases from Mercator to Google

In “A history of the world in 12 Maps” Professory Jerry Brotton demonstrates the bias and distortion behind a variety of cartographic examples  stemming back to the first Mercator projections. In this interview for the BBC, he shows how maps at their worst can be a deceptive expression of the politics of the author,  or simply a reflection of a particular contemporary view of the world. He asks if there should be more concern about a private entity such as  Google being the single biggest collector and owner of geographic data worldwide.

(Of course some authors would argue that expressing our feelings and beliefs through maps is a freedom we should treasure and celebrate).

Help yourself to a Peters or Mercator projections at Maps.com’s online map store.

BBC Meet The Author: Prof. Jerry Brotton

18
Sep
12

Wikipedia Map Fail, courtesy of The Atlantic

Once again the news world has errantly relied on Wikipedia for its information. Worse, they used it as the basis for the premise of their article. Max Fisher of The Atlantic recently published an editorial about the protests in the Middle East and beyond (“An Annotated Map of Today’s Protests and of the ‘Muslim World‘ 9/14/12). In it he uses the following map graphic, grabbed from the hallowed ground of Wikipedia and modified to show selected protest sites:

Image

Red indicates violent protests over the film, yellow indicates non-violent protests. Click to enlarge. (Wikimedia/Atlantic)

If you didn’t catch the issue as soon as you looked at the map, don’t feel bad. Apparently neither did the author nor The Atlantic. If you look closely, you will see that the map’s legend is labeled incorrectly as the percentage of Muslim population. How can any group have over 100% of the population in a country? Must be that new math they keep talking about. What the map actually shows is the total population of Muslims in each country. By using this map in this way, the author is (consciously or simply in error) showing the center of Muslim World much farther eastward towards South Asia, when it is generally accepted that the ‘Muslim World’ is defined roughly as North Africa and the Middle East – where the faith has the greatest influence and control. A better map to use in this instance is a map of showing the % of Muslim population. While we don’t think that this was a malicious or intentional deceit, it is certainly one that we would put in the category of a Map FAIL. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Fisher corrects the error and if the use of a correct map will change any of his conclusions.

14
May
12

congratulations mcgraw-hill on your codie award

Maps.com is celebrating with Educational Publisher McGraw-Hill after they scooped a CODiE award for “Best K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution”

Networks: A social studies learning system” is a complete Social Studies resource incorporating print and digital solutions. The system is designed to bring abstract concepts to life through hands-on, interactive activities such as interactive maps and games, graphic organizers and engaging multimedia.

McGraw-Hill Networks US History image

US History – Grades 6-8: McGraw-Hill Networks

The publisher included comprehensive teacher resources, worksheets, training videos, lesson plans and assessment tools.

Over 600 maps were produced for the project by Maps.com Cartographers, while the company’s programming team developed a presentation platform for the digital content that included  timeline animations, voice narration and editing tools for a truly interactive classroom experience.

“The success of this project was the result of a huge effort by the McGraw-Hill team and we congratulate them on this significant recognition.” Revealed Bennett Moe, who coordinated the digital and cartographic elements delivered by Maps.com. “We are proud to have played a key role in such a high profile and challenging project and delivered exactly what was required.”

The CODiE awards are annually presented by the Software and Information Industry Association – the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries. Initial reviews are carried out by tech-savvy educators, with a shortlist of 128 finalists reviewed by a panel of SIIA members.

Maps.com has more than 20 years of experience in the mapping industry and serves a variety of markets including education and news media. They have an in house development team producing  location based applications including online store locators and smart phone apps and ebooks. Maps.com is also home to the world’s biggest map and map related online retail store which receives almost 1 million visitors each month.

11
May
12

apple dropping google in cartographic celebrity divorce?

According to several sources close to Apple, the new IOS6 operating system for iPhone will no longer include Google Maps, and will instead feature an Apple developed mapping service believed to be faster, cleaner and more reliable. It will also proudly boast awe inspiring 3d rendering developed by C3, a spin-off of the Swedish auto and aerospace manufacturer SAAB, which was purchased by Apple in July 2011. C3 specialized in developing 3d rendering from color aerial photography.

Rumors about this change have been circulating ever since the purchase of Placebase, a mapping software developer, was revealed in 2009. Initial evidence of a split was seen earlier this year when iPhoto for the iPad was found to be using Open Street Map instead of Google Maps as in previous versions and the outcome became an inevitability when Apple failed to renew its contract with Google that was due to expire at the end of 2012.

9to5Mac Mockup of 3D rendering comparisons

Whilst nothing has been officially announced it is expected that maps will once again be making the headlines at the forthcoming iOS6 launch. Who knows, maybe they can make some fundamental improvements like including the names of rivers in the new maps and find some of the more recently ‘lost cities’.

04
May
12

Maps.com products for sale on your website

As you may or may not know, Maps.com is not only the home of some wonderful cartographers, programmers, designers and all-around smashing type people, it is also the location of the world’s largest map store at http://www.maps.com.

We have literally tens of thousands of titles viewed by millions each year looking for everything from guidebooks for their vacation to giant wall maps, to delivery maps for their restaurant and surf maps for their latest wild excursion. We also provided exclusive access to some of the worlds most talented, independent cartographers through our publisher program.

Pillows

Maps on Everything at Maps.com

We are contacted frequently by bloggers and sites whose content has a link to maps in some way shape or form, and for this we refer you to our affiliate program. The affiliate program is incredibly successful, having run for over a decade and proving incredibly successful for hundreds of website owners. We provide lots of ads and updates and plenty of incentives for your visitors to click through and make that purchase.

There is a great new blog about our affiliate program from Snow Consulting. Subscribe to see regular updates on new products and discounts that you can really move.

20
Apr
12

GPS – For the love of the rain forest.

People indigenous to some of the world’s most precious natural environments are helping to preserve their way of life using GPS mapping.

Communities native to the world’s second biggest rainforests in the Congo Basin, for example, rely on the ecosystem for 80-90% of their resources, through activities such as hunting and fishing that they have practised for years.

GPS_Training_in_DRC

GPS training in the DRC: Rainforest Foundation.

Because they are semi-nomadic, meaning that they move around the rainforest rather than living in a single, fixed location, the extent to which they live and work there is often disputed. The rainforests are under constant threat from industries such as logging and farming (both legal and illegal), so already these people are used to seeing their world shrink around them. But even conservation itself can, ironically threaten their way of life, as frequently protections not only prevent the destruction of the forest but also their right to continue their own activities there.

Tribes are also enabled, using their GPS devices, to hold companies who have been granted specific rights to be held accountable when they exploit or violate restrictions that have been set upon their operations. For example more than 6000 Bantu and 1500 Pygmies are now involved in policing logging activity in the Bandundu and Equateur provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo through participatory mapping.

Organizations such as Rainforest Foundation UK have been training community members as ‘Master Mappers’ to create maps by initially sketching their homeland out and then using GPS devices to accurately locate the places on the map.

The aim is to create a territory map that can be presented to the Congolese Government when they meet on May 8th to determine the future of the rain forest – with regard to parceling of the forest for industrial purposes. The government has already made 11 concessions to logging companies from several European nations.

The maps will be offered as hard proof that these communities exist and live throughout the rainforest, and offer their representatives a chance to play a part in negotiations about their homeland.

As reported on CNN, a similar project has existed for more than 10 years in the Cameroon, where tribes in the Boumba Bek collected honey, mangoes and medicinal plants prior to it receiving National Park status under the jurisdiction of the World Wildlife Fund.

The Baka people were able to provide similar GPS based evidence and restore their right to operate within the region.

GPS offers an opportunity to these indigenous peoples to talk in the technological language that those contesting their rights have traditionally used to defeat them, and provides a very portable, low impact way of preserving their way of life.

Villagers celebrate completion of a community map, this time in the Central African Republic.

This article was also published on our K-12 Education blog – The maps101 blog.

14
Mar
12

Cartography with Pan-ache

If you’ve ever wanted to have your pancakes Pennsylvania shaped, or your eggs over easy and in the shape of Ohio?

These super cast iron skillets come (soon) in the outline shapes of your favorite (48)  states, cost a sizeable number of dollars and weigh even more in pounds. They come with a magnetic wall hanger and can be seasoned (so your food doesn’t stick to them) on request. Buy a whole cluster of states and fit them together, they are fun to collect.

Nonetheless they are the coolest additon to the map geek’s kitchen. Check out FeLion’s website  for more info.

Send us your pictures of your culinary creations especially if you managed to use Michigan. And if you are planning on cooking up a barnstorming breakfast using Delaware, we’re busy that day.

Look Mom - I see Wisconsin in my eggs!

12
Mar
12

Apps That Take You Places

Ventura County, CA recently unveiled their new “Bikeways Map App” created by Maps.com.

The Bikeways Map app displays a scalable map of designated bike paths and lanes throughout the county (all 350 miles worth). The GPS-based program shows color-coded routes by type, pinpoints the lane nearest a cyclist’s location and guides the rider to their destination in real time. It can also track progress along the route and provide a summary of the trip, detailing mileage and average speed. Other features include safety tips, bike laws and color-coded path descriptions.

Locals will rely on it, visitors will love it, and Ventura County proves to be a step (or pedal) ahead.

Ventura County Bikeways App screen shot

Maps.com is helping companies reach new audiences and grow revenues with mobile apps.

Read more @ vcstar.com

03
Feb
12

Maps.com Teaches Cartography to Local Elementary School Students

By Eric Wilder, Cartographer, Maps.com.

Monte Vista Science Night Sign

It's Science Night

Last week marked an exciting time for Maps.com, as it was the culmination of the critically acclaimed Monte Vista Elementary School Science Night.

For many K-6 graders in Santa Barbara, Science Night is one of the most anticipated days of the year; Monte Vista Elementary School hosts dozens of local scientists from a wide variety of disciplines who enthusiastically share their profession with young minds of tomorrow. The evening gives students the opportunity to touch a human brain, hold a python, experience static electricity, and as of 2012, learn about MAPS!!!

As a past student of Monte Vista who vividly remembers the thrills of Science Night, I was ecstatic to see things come full circle and return 15 years later as a cartographer. Teamed up with my partner in crime, Maps 101Customer Account Specialist, Terry (also a proud Monte Vista graduate!), we prepared a presentation that we hoped would engage students and get them interested in maps.

Feeling on top of the world

Global Appeal

Despite the fact that the cartography exhibit was placed right next to the reptile exhibit – tough competition to say the least – it is safe to say that the kiddos were enthralled to learn about maps. Crowded around the big maps we brought with us, Monte Vista students were quickly able to spot their school’s location on a map, identify ways that the Santa Barbara area has changed in the past century using our Santa Barbara Antique Wall Map, find their California mission on our Maps 101 missions map, and discover the uses of imagery in mapmaking. You would be shocked to learn how many first, second, and third grade students have used Google Maps before!!

Kids show cartographer how to read a map

No, THIS is longitude, Mr.

Seeing that I once had a cartographer visit my classroom in fifth grade, we at Maps.com understand the value of introducing the science of cartography to our society’s next generation of geographers. After a very fun evening complete with prize giveaways and contests, it is without doubt that the future looks bright for the cartographers of tomorrow!




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