Posts Tagged ‘Geography

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.

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.

23
Jul
12

There’s Buddingtonite in them there hills

The USGS has used hyperspectral imaging data to map out Afghanistan’s mineral resources.

More than 200 flight paths  at 50,000 feet were used to measure surface reflectance  covering over 70% the country. The results were then analyzed to determine which minerals, among other surface materials,  were represented. The various levels (across 800 million pixels of data) were plotted for each flight in a data layer over Landsat satellite imagery.

USGS: Afghanistan

Because the accuracy of the process can be adversely affected by the occurrence of airborne dust, cloud cover and surface moisture, in some areas the map is cross hatched, for example, to indicate possible discrepancies in the data. These inaccuracies do not affect the viability of the process however, given the huge surface areas that can be covered much more practically than with any other process. The results also show the locations of vegetation, water, ice and snow cover.

No news on when a new version of Google maps is due out with ‘mineral deposits view’ as a switchable layer.

22
Jun
12

Calling All Patrons of Past Pineapple Produce Plantations

Next time you have some extra cash lying around, why not use it to buy a tropical island?  98% of Lanai, the sixth largest island in the Hawaiian chain, was just sold to the sixth richest man on Earth.

Lanai, HI

How does this affect you?  Well, if you happened to be aiming for Hawaiian island ownership sometime in the next few years, let’s just say that it will take more than a few pineapples to barter a deal.  Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison, reportedly forked over roughly half a million big ones to long-time owner and head of Dole Food Company, David Murdock.

Lanai is home to a couple of five-star Four Seasons resorts, amongst other residential and commercial infrastructure, but hold on – it gets more interesting.

Lanai’s Decimated Pineapple Fields

Here’s a breakdown of the island’s geography:

* The land area totals ~141 square miles
* Roughly 3,000 people call Lanai “home”
* At one point in time, 75% of the world’s pineapples were grown on the island
* There is one school: Lanai High and Elementary School
* There are two golf courses; both were designed by professional golfers
* There are NO traffic lights
* 400 of its ~430 miles of roads are unpaved
* Many of the island’s most spectacular spots can only be seen by four-wheel drive

Struggling with tourism, it is speculated that Ellison may provide economic stimulation to draw in more people to Lanai.  Or, maybe he’ll just keep it for himself.  That’s what being a billionaire is all about, right?

Garden of the Gods, Lanai, HI

05
Jun
12

no one’s snoring in dull or boring

Location related news flash:

The tension is building in the closely related, soon (hopefully) to be sister towns of Dull, Scotland, and Boring, Oregon, according to reports from the BBC and MSNBC, as well as numerous other media organizations on what must be a slow news day.

This is a picture of the Boring/Oregon City si...

The scheme, to make them ‘sister towns’ is the brainchild of Perthshire resident Elizabeth Leighton, who traveled through Boring on a cycling vacation and on seeing the name immediately called her friend, a Dull resident. Dull is a small village in Perthshire, not too far from Edinburgh, Scotland, while in mediocre contrast Boring is home, just outside Portland, to 12000 residents in what, unsurprisingly, is an unincorporated area. If that comparison wasn’t startlingly black and white enough for you, Dull’s main commercial activity is tourism, while Boring is considerably more industrial.

Although it is widely reported that Boring was named after settler William H Boring, and Dull from the Gaelic word for ‘meadow’, we are behind the alternative explanation that boring is so called due to a distinct lack of excitement there since the arrival of a straightlaced settler called Bill. Meanwhile Dull earned its name after more than 1000 years of overcast weather predating the Domesday book  (both entirely fictional of course).

A decision out of Oregon is expected to be delivered without pomp or ceremony by Wednesday morning, GMT. It is believed to have been tabled as part of the agenda of the Boring Community Planning Organisation, who’s constitution prohibits ‘extraordinary general meetings,’ we imagine.

 

STOP PRESS: (Well 24 hours later) Officials in Boring DID in fact vote yes to the relationship. Celebrations ensue in Dull and Boring locations. 

 

Dull, Perthshire, Scotland in a rare moment of excitement: Google Maps.

Boring, OR: Enthusiasm couldn’t be higher. Google Maps.




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