Archive for the 'Cartography' Category

25
Mar
14

Russia Draws Maps to Include Crimea

Russia moves forward with the remapping of teh Crimean peninsula

Russia moves forward with the remapping of the Crimean peninsula

You’ve surely seen the coverage in the news about Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. While most of the World is refraining from making changes to official maps, including those from Maps.com, the Russians see this as a done deal. We will be taking a more pragmatic approach and wait until the dust settles, but that could take some time with the West objecting to the annexation of a portion of a sovereign nation. Depending on how this plays out, it is entirely likely that our maps will be shown with an “occupied by” notation for the Crimea. While we wait to see how this plays out, the Russians are moving ahead full steam, as you will see below…

 

 

 

 

Russia on Monday redrew its official maps to include Crimea after annexing the peninsula, even though the move has not been internationally recognized. Maps on the Kremlin and government websites include Crimea, describing it as the “youngest region of Russia.” Russia’s absorption of Crimea has drawn international condemnation and sparked the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

Russian troops have seized Ukrainian military bases on the mostly Russian-speaking region of two million people since a March 16 independence referendum. Several of Russia’s most popular websites including the main search engine, Yandex.ru, have also changed their maps. But on a parallel site for Ukrainian users, Yandex.ua, it continued to show Crimea as part of Ukraine.

Yandex, which is based in Moscow, wrote on its official blog last week that “maps will be different for different countries. That is Crimea will be shown according to the official position of each country.” Yandex said it would also change the way it presented news, with stories about Crimea being classed as domestic news for readers based in Russia. The Russian language version of Google shows Crimea with a dashed border line, used for “disputed” boundaries.

Russia’s biggest Internet company, Mail.ru, was one of the first sites to change Crimea to part of Russia on March 21, the day that President Vladimir Putin signed the agreement absorbing the peninsula. Russia’s television channels have for several days included Crimean towns in their national weather broadcasts.

One Russian bank used the change as an advertising opportunity, covering the side of a building in central Moscow with a map of Crimea and the slogan “Russia and Crimea together forever.”

Source Agence France Presse, reprinted from the International Map Industry Association

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29
Jan
13

CAR-Tography

A UK design agency has reproduced the world map using outlines of Landrover’s familiar range of 4×4 vehicles.

Under the title ‘70% of the world is covered by water, the rest is covered by Discovery’ this delightful marketing piece uses  irregularly shaped topography to accommodate its vehicle silhouettes. This is a great example of cartographic double entendre that is arguably more honest and open than many accepted or ‘real’ world maps in print.

This is not the first imaginative, travel-themed campaign adopted by Landrover, according to the Creative Review Blog. In 2011 they used a cluster of passport stamps in the shape of a Land Rover Vehicle as part of a print campaign.

What Cartographic Advertising favorites stick in your mind? Let us know in the comments.

landrovermap4_0

landrovermap2_0

14
Jan
13

Its that time of year when Geography People get to strut their stuff……

Geography Bee season is upon us, and this year Maps.com was lucky enough to take part at grass roots.

Instead of just writing about maps, geo-politics and an increasingly bizarre group of place-shaped kitchen products we elected to use our time more effectively by assisting in the early rounds of the National Geographic Geography Bee at our local school, Goleta Valley Junior High.

The results were inspirational. This is the second Geo Bee we have been involved with locally in recent weeks and once again it was a delight to see kids of school age up for geography.

You can read about it here at our Maps101 blog.

30
Nov
12

In Theaters Now – Caught Mapping, The Movie.

Ever wondered what goes into a map? We let the cameras behind the scenes at Maps.com to reveal the intricate and detailed work of our expert draftsmen and scouts. Its truly amazing some of the tricks they use to ensure that maps can be updated almost every 2 weeks! All done unmindful of gruelling road and weather conditions.

Vacuum frames, glass negatives and zinc plates – Enjoy this 9 minute vintage movie all about mapping for the modern motorist, keeping pace with the rapid change of America’s roads.

26
Nov
12

Sandy. No, the other one. The Island.

An intrepid team of Aussie researchers set out to find the prize of explorers for centuries, undiscovered lands. In this case, it was a small-ish island shown on some maps as lying between Australia and New Caledonia. There was some disagreement as to whether the island even existed. You see, some maps showed it, including Google, while others did not, like nautical charts. Which was right? Why were there no records of inhabitants on this island or previous landfalls? Could this be where Amelia Earhart landed? Or where all those missing from the Bermuda Triangle were transported?

Of course not. That’s because the island doesn’t exist. When the ship arrived at the place that was supposed to be an island, all they found was water. About 1400 feet deep of the stuff. When asked, Google merely said that the World is a constantly changing place, so maybe it sunk, or something to that affect.

All we could surmise was that the grant that the Aussies had was specifically to pay for a boat expedition. It would have been too fast to consult satellite imagery or too easy to fly a plane over the area. Had to be a boat. Hope they went fishing too.

Get the real story here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20442487?goback=%2Egde_1494267_member_188928862

21
Nov
12

United Nations News Centre – UN court rules Colombia has sovereignty over islands claimed by Nicaragua

United Nations News Centre – UN court rules Colombia has sovereignty over islands claimed by Nicaragua.

Islands off Nicaragua ruled to belong to Columbia

03
Oct
12

Maps for the Blind: From 1837 to today.

Recently a group of Maps.com representatives head to San Diego for the ESRI User Conference.

They absorbed a ton of information covering wide and varied topics in the mapping and spatial data arena. One of the main themes of the conference and a recurring one in Cartographic arenas is how we gather, process and present the amazing amounts of data now available via the internet. 3-D terrain data, publicly sourced cartographic data, Landsat imagery and collaborative imagery management are all topics that were discussed and reviewed at the event.

Using a tactile map

When creating maps for the blind, less is truly more. For a product to successfully convey spatial data it must be limited to the most vital information and avoid data ‘clutter’. This most disciplined branch of Cartography has actually been around for over 180 years and  is addressed in this recent Strange Maps article. Those with visual impairment and blindness are required to be more spatially aware than most of us as they negotiate the hazards of everyday life, but when it comes to the bigger picture cartography frequently comes up short in trying to deliver ‘the Google Maps’ experience to this audience.

In 1837 the New England Institute for the Blind published 50 copies of the ‘Atlas of the United States printed for the use of the Blind’. The maps are produced in a Braille-type print that embosses the various lines of the map for touch reading. The text was not produced in Braille (an alphabet consisting of raised dots in various configurations) but in standard Latin characters. The ocean is distinguished by horizontal cross-hatching and the major cities are identified using a key. There are 24 state maps which included numbers for latitude and longitude and illustrations for mountain ranges.

Each map is accompanied by a descriptive piece outlining points of note about the region covered, again using Latin characters as opposed to Braille.

Despite being a pioneering innovation, with such limited circulation it is difficult to regard the atlas as a major commercial success, however parallels can be drawn  with some of the innovations in contemporary cartography as we attempt to use our maps to solve very specific problems and address the difficulties of presenting complex data in a user friendly format. This atlas also represents the first instance of touch operated maps – an altogether more common attribute since the advent of the iPad.

Jump forward to today and there several approaches to providing mapping for the blind. A German project, The Look and Listen map, is attempting to crowd source data that we naturally absorb and process and adapt to as we walk down the street. For example locating street crossings that have tactile paving and sound or vibration alerts can be a vital part of safely negotiating a busy downtown. In France, researchers have used stereo cameras mounted on glasses to record and render 3D imagesthat are then translated through an electronic tactile device that instantly produces embossed maps similar to the ones Lowe produced, but with greater detail and accuracy.

Maine Map for Blind Readers

Map of Maine, S. Howe 1837. C. David Rumsey Collection

“The ability to wander around and get  lost on a map is so much better than getting lost in real life” said Josh Miele, a scientist at the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, himself blind, in an interview with NPR. The maps they have developed are printed by the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco using an automated version of Lowe’s embossing process, which enable blind people to build up a strong cognitive understanding of an area before they have visited it.

The report reveals a change in the attitudes of cognitive scientists who have long believed that blind people could never understand maps because they are visual representations of spatial concepts. While tools such as the Trekker Breeze – a GPS device that gives voice prompts regarding current locations, intersections etc offer a detailed view of immediate surroundings, tactile maps give a much broader relational view of an area. Interestingly the concept of all maps being a ‘spatial’ tool as much as a visual tool is reinforced when one considers the pros and cons of the Breeze-type device versus the Braille print version.

Smith Kettlewell have been attempting to bridge the gap with its Audio Tactile maps which include a detailed audio component activated when using a tactile map. They have produced a version for the BART stations in San Francisco including street, concourse and platform maps for each station.

Much more of the atlas can be viewed here in the David Rumsey collection.




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