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Announcing Natural Earth v2.0.0, release candidate 3

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Just in time for NACIS 2012 in Portland, Oregon!

This is a followup to the earlier version 2.0.0 release candidate 2. Read more about RC2 »


Please submit bugs or other oddness found release candidate 3 to myself ASAP. The plan is to cut a final 2.0.0 release by the end of October. View full combo change log for 2.0.0 »

What’s new in 2.0.0 release candidate 3:
  1. Added explicit labelrank in the admin-0 XLS doc. Also added homepart (map units, map subunits, brkaway) and tiny (country) to better deal with labeling awkwardness and adds consistency between themes and scalesets.
  2. Updated sr_label_i, sr_label_o  on tiny_countries for better labeling.
  3. Added 3 new “mapcolors” for 7-up, 8-up, and 9-up into details doc and onto the admin-0 and admin-1 themes. This adds to the 13-up original. The 9-up is optimal, the others are useful in their own ways. 
  4. Renamed the “note” in the admin-0 files to “note_adm0” and added details for Korea and Japan parts (just the exterior bits). Added AUZ note for CSI, Cayman Islands, Turks, etc.
  5. Added the disputed areas note directly to the admin-0 details, named “note_brk“.
  6. Fixed admin-0 coding with Georgia to fix map units bug. Added new Caribbean Netherlands and metropolitan Netherlands codes to reflect rejigger there.
  7. Added continent codes for admin-0 countries and their various parts. Stubbed out region and subregion fields, values to come later release. Thanks SmugMug!
  8. Removed “County” admin-0 feature class, remapping it to “Country” (Finland only).
  9. Removed parenthetical () from notes, see Faulkland Is. etc. Removed all claim notes except from the BRK bits in admin-0 details. Add that while labeling now (consistent with other app logic now).
  10. Add admin-0 diffs for sov, adm0, map units, map subunits, and disputed areas are now calculated on the a3 code, not the name. This can be used for progressive labeling, fixing problems in Tanzania and elsewhere. You still need logic in your app to determine if the labeling name is different, but now it’s consistent.
  11. Added Taiwan to disputed areas. Renamed Congos (eg Democratic Republic of Congo instead of Congo (Kinshasa)).
  12. Modified the scalerank of Venezuala claim into Guyana boundary line fix 10m theme. Similar for the Saichen Glacier.
  13. Changed the scaleranks on all 10m claim polys. Most now appear at scalerank 6 and in.
  14. For labeling, added name_len to the admin 1 and admin 0 details and themes.
  15. Changed several scaleranks of marine label areas in 10m and 50m themes.
  16. Added continent code for roads (partial) so North America and Europe can be separated out easier. Might build topology for roads in final release to make future cleanup easier.
  17. Updated, added new Airports by rerunning export from Mile High Club, with better field names.
  18. Updated, added new Ports by rerunning export from High Seas, with better field names. This added inland ports especially along the North American Great Lakes.
  19. Promoted a few populated places up to scalerank 1 and 2 to give better balance to compilation. Many cities have more accurate pop_max values (partial, more due in final release). Thanks for the nudge Craig!
  20. National park (protected areas) points were missing “name”. Some reranking for park points in urban centers (to scaleranks 7, 8, 9). A couple park areas reranked around scalerank 3. Added Cesar Chavez NM and added missing unit_codes for Clinton Birthplace NHS and River Raisin NBP. Thanks Tom!
  21. Add admin_0 alpha3 codes to boundary lines to allow better selection (grab the boundaries of USA only, for instance). Also added left and right names to allow better admin-0 line labeling on zoom in.
  22. Parts of Chile and Cyprus were missing in derived admin-0 themes (were present in scale rank masters) so modified some label points so their scalerank is now <= 6 for admin-0 selection. These had been 7 and 8.
  23. Removed old versions of admin-1 lines from the ZIPs.
  24. Added left and right names for admin_1 boundary lines for better labeling once zoomed in. Because native names are in UTF8 (from the polygons), also added a “master” lines version in GeoDB format along with the SHP version, sidestepping character encoding problems. Thanks Mamata and Mike!
  25. The admin-1 boundary between Tasmania and mainland Australia is now straight (thanks Craig!). Adjusted admin-1 boundaries in Bhutan to match new admin-0 disputed areas and boundaries.
  26. Added Australia and Brazil admin-1 lines and polys to 50m. Redid the 50m and 110m admin-1 attributes (lines, polys) to match the 10m. Added scale_rank version of the polys at 50m and 110m to allow for easier updates. Recut a lakes erase version of the 50m admin-1, but now using lakes with scalerank <= 0 instead of 1 (North America’s Great Lakes, but not Florida or Utah lakes) at Mike Bostock’s suggestion.
  27. Modified scaleranks on the 10m urban areas and copied those over to the 50m urban areas. Deleted a bit of 10m urban on Mt. Hood, Oregon snowfield.
  28. Redid marine label area scale ranks.
  29. Removed duplicate Laccadive Is. from 10m-geography-regions.
  30. Fixed river scalerank bug in 10m theme in Canada for the Nelson River leading out of Lake Winnipeg, thanks Gregor!

Still to do for final release:

  • Rebuild the 10m, 50m, and 110m admin 0 themes using the new details. Add area_sqkm to all themes after build.
  • Merge in modified 10m China, Taiwan admin-1 from a fork, thanks Chunshek!
  • Merge in modified cities in China, Taiwan from a fork, thanks Chunshek!
  • Merge in modified 10m lakes from a fork, thanks Craig!
  • Resolve ne_10m_railroads_beta1_north_america_original.shp
  • Finish adding continent codes on 10m roads, this might involve adding topology to crack geoms.
  • Include PRJ files with each GeoTIFF, for Jody and the uDig app on OSGeo disk.
  • Update quickstart MXD, QGIS docs with new file names, paths, field names / values.

The man who coined “Bird’s eye views” and his map of the US Civil War (NY Times)

Saturday, August 20th, 2011


[Editor's note: Thanks Gene! Republished from the New York Times. Map from David Rumsey's collection.]

Virginia Goes to the Birds

In late July 1861, the noted lithographer John Bachmann published a captivating visual picture of Virginia, offering Northerners a powerful and intuitive way to follow the ongoing conflict. Of course, there were already lots of maps of the Old Dominion. What set this one apart? Perspective: looking westward with the Chesapeake Bay in the foreground, it offered a bird’s eye view, an intuitive but, for many, novel look at the unfolding conflict. His “wide angle lens” approach enabled viewers to follow not just the actual location of the battles, but the terrain of the conflict and a larger sense of the geography of the eastern theater.

Continue reading at the New York Times »

The ESRI UC ArcGIS 10 Q&A Response Is Up (James Fee)

Friday, July 9th, 2010

jmf-where20-2009-sidebar[Editor's note: As the GIS community prepares for the just released ArcGIS 10 and gathers for the annual User Conference in San Diego, Ezree cum E.S.R.I. has posted a Question and Answer FAQ about the new release. Notable to me: Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is resurrected for the last time, time to learn Python! James Fee translates from corporate speak.]

Republished from Spatially Adjusted.

One of the best insights into ESRI and their direction is the UC Q&A. ESRI has posted the latest one here and some highlights are below:

Q: What has ESRI done in the area of map books?

A: At ArcGIS 10, functionality has been added to allow you to create map books using a feature layer to define map extents for multiple pages. This new functionality, in conjunction with all the other enhancements to support map books, is referred to as data driven pages. Data driven pages give you the ability to generate multiple pages by taking a single layout and iterating over a set of map extents. Any feature layer, point, line or polygon can be used, along with a margin, to define the extents.

A question I still get asked again and again is when is ESRI going to update DS Mapbook. Well now you’ve got a real solution built into ArcGIS 10.

Q: Does ArcGIS 10 open up more functionality for use with Python?

A: Python integration is one of the key features of ArcGIS 10. At this release we’ve introduced a new Python subsystem called ArcPy, which exposes many of the ArcGIS functions.

ArcPy is still a little kludgy, but wasn’t isn’t with ArcGIS 10.

Continue reading at Spatially Adjusted . . .

Wildlife made from collaged maps (boingboing)

Thursday, April 15th, 2010


[Editor’s note: Also check out the work by Shannon Rankin who takes maps and re-creates them into landscapes. Maya Lin has similar interests. Thanks @amproehl, @vicchi, and others.]

Republished from BoingBoing.

Artist Jason LaFerrera makes wildlife collages out of old maps. His first show is coming up in Richmond, VA, and he’s posted some samples of the material he’ll be showing, along with some limited run prints on Etsy.

Check out the artwork . . .

Twitter Updates for 2010-04-04

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

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Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
  • RT @justinputney: MergeTextFrame scripts for #InDesign has new features! Run on every page of a document – #
  • @sfmuni ur final human announcer of eve should be advised muni central is not air traffic control and to step away from mic. 1am close, WTF #

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Friday, April 2nd, 2010
  • RT @infosthetics: Must read! Obama’s Data Visionary: interesting interview of Edward Tufte (via @Databasejism) #
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  • RT @derekwillis: File Under: Awesome | Millions of GPS records from New York taxi cabs mapped (via @nytgraphics) #
  • RT @michalmigurski: William Gibson, “The Consumer”, Cory Doctorow, the iPad – #linkblog #
  • RT @timoreilly: Where’s the Map? Must-read roundup of #where20 explains why location != maps Insightful, quotable #
  • @IMGoph gotta compete with bing. Been tested in the API version of gmaps for a bit. in reply to IMGoph #
  • RT @barbarahui: Points on a map no longer (if ever) a good dataviz solution for large datasets. Need other methods to get overview. #where20 #

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Thursday, April 1st, 2010

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Twitter Updates for 2010-03-31

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
  • RT @maureenjennings single thing to improve #where20 conference sessions – announce/project next session in room at end of each session? #
  • RT @barbarahui: Kibera considered “forest” despite 1 million inhabitants. Project using OSM to map the slum. #where20 #
  • RT @geocommons: Want the Census Participation Data in a variety of #geo formats? #where20 #census #
  • RT @geoparadigm: BLDGBLOG: New Terrains From Cartographic Manipulation #maps #art #
  • RT @vicchi: New Geo Bloggage: Of building blocks, rosetta stones and geographic identifiers - #where20 #
  • Yahoo’s new Condordance converts between the namespaces of WOEIDs, ISO 3166, FIPS, INSEE, Geonames, JGDC, IATA and ICAO. #semanticweb #
  • RT @n8agrin: What is this grey disc stage right with orange and green lights? Brainwash device? #where20 #
  • RT @tobiassp: 55% of sms messages are “where are you?” projected 65bln in 2010 #where20 #
  • Maps as Place browswer, app platform, place of biz; social hub, mobile app says Michael Jones #Where20 #
  • RT @where20: A few Where 2.0 presentation slides are already up: #where20 #
  • It’s official! Indiemapper is launching April 12, 2010. Check out the intro video now at via @axismaps #
  • Golden hills of California looking mighty green. #
  • RT @ericg: Notes on why Onion moved from Drupal 2 Django “reusable components across applications”; tagging back n forth. #
  • RT @flowingdata: Mapping the GitHub community #
  • RT @lesewesen: Lovely. The difference between Nerd, Dork and Geek explained by a Venn Diagram. Very much on the money. #
  • DC humor from Washington Post, annual Easter “peeps” show contest, now with lame iPhone app! #
  • Fast 3g? Hello sf bay area. #att #fail #where20 #
  • RT @geocommons: Finder! example data about cities that allow/disallow chickens #where20 #
  • RT @ridethecity: Sign up to test Ride the City – SF! #
  • RT @DiAnnEisnor: so great @fekaylius you will love this #where20 go stamen! #
  • RT @GeoEntelechy: smart data structures and dumb code work better than the other way around #where20 #

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