|It’s Friday! Well, it is for me right now this afternoon in Santa Barbara, but for almost half of the planet, it’s already Saturday. As midnight sweeps around the world, a new day comes into being, and the process starts as midnight crosses an entirely arbitrary line in the Pacific – the International Date Line. Unlike 0 degrees, the line of longitude that goes through Greenwich, England, the Date Line is a very crooked boundary indeed. More or less directly opposite the Prime Meridian, it bends this way and that in order to allow various island nations and island groups to be unified on the day of the week they’re observing. There are no World Government rules about the placement of the International Date Line. If an island nation feels sufficiently strongly for reasons of trade or location to redefine the line in relation to their position, they can do it autonomously. Of course it’s not a small decision, so it doesn’t happen often or on a whim. One of the more unusual changes came at the end of the 20th century when the island group nation of Kiribati bent the line far to the east so that its easternmost island outpost would be the first to see the sun rise on the new century. Not long ago, Samoa decided to push the line to its east in order to share the same working day as Australia and New Zealand, their biggest trading partners. Tokelau also went along with them to the new day, and in the process each lost December 30, 2011. History will record that nothing whatosever happened on those islands on that day because for them, it never existed.|
Archive for the 'Maps' Category
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
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.
This blog has something of a history of being slightly cynical about map-shaped things. Or at least reporting them in a cynical way. If anybody DID want to send us a skillet in the shape of Texas it would not be returned to sender.
One of the craftiest members of our team (and by that I mean artistic crafty) has been customizing iphones using old maps and we have to say the results are wonderful. The process is simple and looks equally good whether you are using maps of South Africa or San Francisco. Indeed, if you are seeking a gift for your favorite couple you could even refer back to one of our recent stories using maps from Scotland and the American North West and wish them a Dull and Boring Christmas from the bottom of your heart.
Get the full story – including a detailed ‘how-to’ in the following video.
Our crafty friends over at Benchmark Maps have compiled a plethora of ways to make use of your old maps and atlases. You can do it with your new maps even. Just traipse over to the Maps.com store and buy more when you are done!
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:
Today’s entry in our Hurricane Week series comes from our Classified Concepts blog. Check it out.
What does the Coriolis Effect have to do with Hurricanes?
According to About.com, The Coriolis Effect is defined as “result(ing) from the earth’s rotation causing freely moving objects to veer toward the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. It effects things like wind, ocean currents, airplanes, missiles, but does not effect toilets or sinks.” (In case you were wondering, that would be better referred to as “ambient swishing.”)
In our brief series on hurricanes this week, we’re sharing Hurricanes and the Coriolis Effect straight from the Geography In The News archives. Read on to learn more…
The devastation of the U.S. Gulf Coast by hurricanes Katrina and Rita has captured the media’s attention for weeks. Even as New Orleans and the impacted Gulf Coasts of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas begin to recover, questions are being asked about the characteristics of hurricanes and similar storms.
A reader of Geography in the News recently wrote asking about the rotation of storms. He said he knew that winds around low pressure cells in the Northern Hemisphere rotate counterclockwise, but did not understand how the Coriolis effect was involved in all wind circulations.
Sailors have long recognized that wind directions are deflected, seemingly by some invisible force. In 1835, however, French mathematician Gaspard G. Coriolis first described the phenomenon. Originally, it was called the Coriolis force, but the more recent and more accurate name is the Coriolis effect.
The result of the Coriolis effect is that wind directions in the Northern Hemisphere are deflected to the right, while those in the Southern Hemisphere are deflected to the left. The cause of the Coriolis effect is the earth’s rotation.
As a simple example, a hypothetical airplane leaves the North Pole on a 12-hour trip flying directly south toward Quito, Equador, located on the equator (80 degrees west longitude). During this 12-hour trip, the earth would rotate half way around and the plane would arrive in Sumartra, Indonesia (100 degrees east longitude). Clearly, from the ground, the plane’s direction was due south, but the earth’s rotation beneath the plane’s flight path created the illusion of the plane flying southwestward—a deflection to the right (from the plane’s origin at the Pole). No matter which direction air moves in the Northern Hemisphere, the earth’s rotation causes it also to be deflected to the right for the same reason.
A simple experiment used by geography teachers is to cut a circle of cardboard, punch a hole in its center and place it on a pencil. While spinning the cardboard disk counterclockwise to simulate the rotation of the Northern Hemisphere, the demonstrator can attempt to quickly mark a straight line on the disk with a marker. Regardless of the direction attempted, the mark will always turn to the right. Turn the disk over, rotate it clockwise to simulate the Southern Hemisphere and the mark will always turn to the left.
Winds blow from high to low pressure. These winds attempt to move in a straight line, but are always deflected by the Coriolis effect. For example, as wind moves toward a low pressure center, as with a hurricane, its direction is altered so that as wind crosses each isobar surrounding the low, it must cross to the right of a right angle. The cumulative effect causes the hurricane to circulate counterclockwise.
Although this counterclockwise motion may seem counter intuitive, it makes perfect sense by standing at the wind’s origin and realizing that the deflection is causing the wind to cross each isobar to the right, rather than at a 90 degree angle. If it were not for the Coriolis effect, the wind would blow straight into the eye of a hurricane and there would be no circulation.
Conversely, as wind blows out of a high pressure cell, it also must cross isobars at right angles. Putting one’s self at the origin, or the center of the high pressure, it is easy to realize that high pressure cells circulate clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.
Wind direction, then, can indicate many things to those who closely monitor the weather, even novice weather forecasters. A conclusion called Ballot’s Law says that if you face directly downwind in the Northern Hemisphere, the center of a low pressure cell should be located somewhere to your left. This accounts for the counterclockwise rotation of storms, such as hurricanes and other low pressure cells.
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